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Over 300 guests gathered yesterday for the UJA Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy 2nd Annual Women of Influence event to honor three women for their professional and philanthropic accomplishments. The honorees were magazine editor Samantha Yanks; Alexandra Lebenthal, President and CEO of both Lebenthal & Company and Alexandra & James; and philanthropist Elyse Newhouse. Stacy London (whose 9th season of “What Not to Wear” premiered this Tuesday), who hosted the event, remarked that “it’s very rare that I am the least fashionable person in the room, so I will not ambush anyone today.” That may sound a tad self-deprecating, but the crowd did include the likes of Stephanie Winston Wolkoff; Martha Stewart Living’s Darcy Miller Nussbaum (both previous honorees); Shoshanna Gruss; Robert Verdi; and Jean Shafiroff.
Even though I’m in a room with a lot of very wonderful Jewish women, I don’t believe in guilt,” quipped Hamptons and Gotham Magazine Editor-in-Chief Samantha Yanks. She was referring to the trials and tribulations, and – of course – the rewards, of motherhood.
Good Day New York’s Rosanna Scotto moderated the panel discussion, the topics of which ran from Time Magazine’s “Are You Mom Enough?” cover to reality TV stars to “50 Shades of Grey.” The three women of the hour concurred that ultimately, the real influence has to occur at home, with one’s family and close friends. But not before Stacy London left us with this pearl of wisdom: “50 Shades of Grey is like eating 300 pounds of ice cream. You love it while you’re doing it, and then you hate yourself for it.” That might make us rethink our beach reading for the weekend.