Young Women Run New York: Electeds


Women in Politics Lunch

Guests announced on a rolling basis. 


Adrienne Adams, Councilmember District 28 A lifelong resident of Southeast Queens, Council Member Adrienne E. Adams was elected to the New York City Council in November 2017, becoming the first woman elected to represent City Council District 28, which covers the Queens neighborhoods of Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Richmond Hill, and South Ozone Park.


Zunera Ahmed, Community Board #13 Brooklyn Zunera Ahmed served as IGNITE's New York Fellow. She is currently a senior at Brooklyn College, City University of New York pursuing a degree in psychology. Her passion for politics began at a young age and has carried into her college career. She serves as the Speaker in her campus student government has previously interned at Brooklyn College’s NYPIRG chapter. These experiences sparked her passion for advocacy. Zunera was a member of IGNITE’s inaugural college council in 2016-2017 where she was introduced to politically ambitious peers from across New York’s boroughs. As a Fellow, Zunera hopes to educate and support her fellow college women to pursue careers in government, while creating a safe space for women to ask questions and challenge themselves. After graduation and the fellowship, Zunera plans to run for City Council in New York.

Lindsey Boylan, Congressional Candidate Lindsey Boylan is a Democratic candidate running for Congress. Lindsey is a lifelong public servant who helped secure hundreds of millions of dollars for underfunded public housing in New York and was instrumental in creating new job growth in the state. She was a strong advocate for passing Paid Family Leave; she helped lead the fight for a $15 minimum wage in New York; and Lindsey led the state’s efforts to provide assistance for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.


Taylor Darling, Assemblywoman Taylor Darling is an American and British citizen who was born in Brooklyn, NY to Raulston and Towana Bertley. The standard of excellence they applied to their lives was immediately bestowed onto her. Her father, Raulston, served in the military and her mother, Towana, devoted her life to law, justice and education. During her early childhood, Taylor lived in Europe with her devoted parents. It was there that she welcomed her little sister, Sydney, who has been Taylor’s biggest supporter and best friend ever since. In an effort to increase the amount of healthy two-parent households in America, Taylor devoted her life to the field of psychology. She attended her dream college, Spelman, at 16 years old and was accepted into a Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at age 19. Taylor eventually transferred to Hofstra University and became an Industrial Organizational Psychologist. She has worked in several industries creating and implementing systems to increase efficiency, productivity and profitability. Taylor’s holistic and humanistic approach kept her in high demand in the private sector. Taylor is a crusader for inclusion, equity and economic and social justice. She leads with transparency, strategic efficiency, simplicity and curiosity.
Yvette Clarke, United States House of Representatives, 9th District Hailing from central Brooklyn, Congresswoman Yvette Diane Clarke feels honored to represent the community that raised her. She is the proud daughter of Jamaican immigrants and takes her passion for her Caribbean heritage to Congress, where she co-chairs the Congressional Caribbean Caucus and works to foster relationships between the United States and the Caribbean Community. Clarke is Vice Chair of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee and a member of the Homeland Security Committee. Clarke has been a member of the Congressional Black Caucus since coming to Congress in 2007 and today chairs its Immigration Task Force while acting as an active member of its Census 2020 Task Force.
Nathalia Fernandez, Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez is the vibrant, young Democratic Assemblywoman representing the 80th Assembly District, a community that has held a part of her heart throughout her life. A daughter of immigrant parents, Nathalia was raised to understand the benefits of a strong work ethic. As the current elected official, Nathalia intends to champion education reform, criminal justice reform, and mental health awareness. She has brought State resources into the District, including $500,000 to establish a low-cost mental health clinic at Yeshiva University in Morris Park, $75,000 to the local libraries, and $30,000 to local community groups. Nathalia has worked to bring more funding to schools and more social programs into our communities. Nathalia has chartered legislation to establish reports on at-risk of suicide demographics such as Latinas and Veterans. The Assemblywoman is a staunch advocate of such underserved communities and aspires to be a continued liaison for their needs. As her second full year in office comes around, Assemblywoman Fernandez will continue her upward trajectory and bring positive representation to New York.
Shahana Hanif, NYC Council Candidate, Brooklyn District 39 Shahana Hanif, a Bangladeshi-American Muslim feminist and community organizer born and raised in Kensington, Brooklyn is running to represent Brooklyn’s 39th District in the City Council. Hanif, 28, would be the first Muslim woman to hold elected office in NYC.
Vanessa Gibson, New York City Council Member - District 16 Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson proudly represents the Bronx’s 16th Council District. As the West Bronx’s voice at City Hall, she passionately advocates for affordable housing, low income families, seniors, job creation, and meaningful opportunities for our youth. Gibson has been a leader in school safety reform, championed criminal justice reform legislation, and is a vocal proponent of anti-gun violence programs. Under her leadership, the Council was able to secure funds necessary to expand the NYPD’s headcount almost 1300 officers in FY16, and expand the DAs baselined budgetary allocation by over $21 million in FY17, with over half of the money going to the historically underfunded boroughs of the Bronx and Staten Island.

Judy Griffin, NYS Assemblywoman Judy Griffin was elected on November 6, 2018, to represent the 21st Assembly District, which includes Lynbrook, Rockville Centre, Malverne, South Hempstead, Baldwin and parts of Freeport, West Hempstead, Oceanside, East Rockaway, Lakeview, Hewlett, Hempstead, Franklin Square, and Valley Stream. Legislative priorities for Judy include: bringing back a fair share of the tax revenue to the district; ensuring government is kept out of women’s personal reproductive health decisions; strengthening gun safety measures; expanding voting rights; promoting legislation to protect our environment; and enacting common-sense ethics rules to clean up corruption in Albany. Judy will advocate for a comprehensive approach to the opioid epidemic, with more emphasis on prevention, and wants to explore more effective ways to help our veterans, seniors, and young people. And, as always, Judy will continue to stand up for the hard-working men and women of labor. 
Rebeca Lafond, Presidential Delegate Candidate for Elizabeth Warren Rebeca Lafond is a current NY-09 Presidential Delegate Candidate for Elizabeth Warren and serves as the Director of Constituent and Support Services for New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte. Rebeca is a graduate of Brooklyn College where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology with a double minor in Political Science and Criminal Justice. At Brooklyn College, Rebeca served as the President of the Women of Color Club, Outreach and Engagement Chair for the CLAS Student Government Assembly and Main Delegate for the CUNY University Student Senate where she served over 500,000 CUNY students. Rebeca is passionate about social justice and empowering women of color to be both civically and politically engaged. While in college, Rebeca served as a CUNY intern for the New York State Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, Women Public Service Intern for the New York State Assembly and Caucus CUNY Scholar for the The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. Rebeca plans to pursue a career in law and governmental relations.
Rebecca Lamorte, Candidate, New York City Council Growing up in a politically active family on Long Island, Rebecca learned early on how deliberate, bold action can change people’s lives for the better. After a subway accident left her partially disabled, she saw an intimate portrait of how New York can work better for all communities, and was inspired to grow her involvement in efforts to make New York City a place where everyone can thrive. Rebecca has served on Manhattan Community Board 8 since 2017; she currently serves as secretary and is a member of the Transportation and Housing committees. She is also a member of the East River Democratic Club, serving on the Club’s executive committee, and has helped to spearhead public events and policy work in which the Club has participated. Rebecca serves as a Development Board member of Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC).



Catherine Nolan, NYS Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan represents the 37th Assembly District in Queens County, which includes the historic New York City neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Long Island City, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria, Woodside, Maspeth, Dutch Kills and Blissville. Assemblywoman Nolan is Deputy Speaker of the NY Assembly, appointed by Speaker Carl Heastie in 2018. Prior to becoming Deputy Speaker, Ms. Nolan chaired the Assembly Education Committee (2006-2018). She has spearheaded efforts to achieve class size reduction, universal pre-k, middle school initiatives, improve high school graduation rates, and other measures that will promote success for the more than three million school children in New York State. As a parent of a public school student, Assemblywoman Nolan brings a parent’s perspective to ongoing education debates. In addition to the Education Committee, Ms. Nolan was the Assembly’s representative to the MTA Capital Program Review Board, where she successfully signed the third MTA Capital Plan, driving millions of dollars to mass transit. Currently, the Assemblywoman serves on the Assembly Majority Steering Committee, and the Rules Committee. In addition, she serves on the Ways and Means Committee and Veterans' Affairs Committee. The Assemblywoman is also a proud past Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. She is active in many civic associations in her district, supporting the work of the diverse constituency of the 37th Assembly District.


Naomi Peña, President, Community Education Council 1 Naomi Peña is a native New Yorker raised in the Lower East Side. Her parents were immigrants who instilled the need to excel through education. As a result, her career has allowed her to work in places that she never knew was possible. In 2015 she joined the Community Education Council for school district 1. During her time on the council, the council worked on the first ever district-wide diversity admissions policy in NYC. Through the councils relentless commitment for diversity, a version of their plan has been implemented for the ‘18-‘19 school year. As of 2017, Naomi has been the President of the CEC1. She continues to be unapologetically honest about diversity and parent involvement in DOE.


Karines Reyes, Assembly Member Karines Reyes has been a Bronxite for nearly 20 years. Born in the neighborhood of Los Minas, Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, she identifies as an Afro-Latina. She is a registered nurse in the Oncology Department at Montefiore Einstein Hospital. Karines has two young sons and has been balancing the tasks of being a nurse, union representative, activist and volunteer without neglecting the duties of her most important job – being a mother. Karines has devoted much of her career, both in labor and in nursing, to helping others. She has made it her life goal to be sure to represent those who need it most and will continue to do so as the New York State Assemblymember for the 87th District.
Helen Rosenthal, New York City Council Member Helen Rosenthal represents the Upper West Side in the New York City Council. She is a leading voice on issues of gender equity and civic engagement, tenants’ rights, accessibility, education equity, and funding for the city’s social safety net. As a member of the Council’s Budget Negotiating Team (BNT), Helen has successfully fought for increased investment in City-funded nonprofits who provide essential social services to 2.5 million New Yorkers, especially seniors, children, and people with disabilities. Helen currently chairs the Committee on Women and Gender Equity and helped to spearhead the Council’s groundbreaking 2018 Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, as well as laws increasing public accountability and protections for incarcerated people and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. In 2017, Helen and her colleagues wrote a historic package of laws which provide greater protections for tenants against harassment and unsafe conditions.
Rebecca Seawright, Assembly Member Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright represents the 76th Assembly District, including the Manhattan neighborhoods of the Upper East Side, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island. She is the first woman to serve the district and since her election in 2014 has been a voice for over 133,000 constituents and has secured $10 million of funding for her district's public schools, senior centers and parks. Seawright is a lifelong advocate for women’s rights and is a champion for public schools, senior citizen rights, human rights, LGBTQ+ rights, affordable housing, environmental protection, public health, election reform, criminal justice reform, and government transparency.
Amanda Septimo, candidate for NYS Assembly Born and raised in the South Bronx, Amanda Septimo has a long, rich history of service to the community that began with community activism in her teens. Over the years Amanda has worked with local community organizations to advance an agenda of inclusive, sustainable, and responsible growth in The Bronx. Most recently, Amanda Septimo ran for New York State Assembly in The Bronx’s 84th District. The core message of her campaign was built on the ideas that everyone deserves access to opportunity, and that we must support policies that work to uplift the entire community. Prior to running for State Assembly, Amanda Septimo worked with the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) to ensure that school leaders and students have the resources they need to transform every school into a thriving learning environment. Before joining CSA, Amanda Septimo spent four years working with Congressman Jose E. Serrano in The Bronx. In 2014, Amanda became one of the youngest serving senior staffers in Congress when she was promoted to District Director for the 15th Congressional District. In her time as District Director, Amanda Septimo significantly expanded the pool of federal resources in the district and amplified the array of services available to constituents.
Tricia Shimamura, Council Candidate 2021 Tricia is a progressive activist, trained social worker and proud resident of the Upper East Side. She serves as Second Vice Chair of Manhattan Community Board 8, and is also the Chair of the Diversity and Outreach Committee of Four Freedoms Democratic Club. Previously Deputy Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Tricia has also volunteered on several NY campaigns, including Christine Quinn, Rebecca Seawright, Carolyn Maloney, and Hillary Clinton. Tricia is a new mom to Teddy Gibor and a candidate for New York City Council’s 5th District, which includes the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island. Together with other like-minded women, Tricia founded and Chairs She Will Rise, which seeks to combat gender inequality through building a pipeline of female leadership and inspiring young women to engage with their local communities. She Will Rise prepares women to rise up and become the next generation of leaders in government and across professional sectors through offering a wide array of leadership training and programming, including Government 101 classes, financial literacy trainings, and professional development seminars.
Latrice Walker ESQ, Assemblywoman for the 55th District of New York Latrice Monique Walker was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2014 in a special election. A native of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker is a licensed attorney, and has made a name for herself as a strong voice and advocate from the streets of Brownsville to the Halls of Justice. Assemblywoman Walker represents the 55th Assembly District in the New York State Legislature as a member of the Housing, Election Law, Energy, Correction, and Insurance Committees. Currently, she serves as the Chair for the Subcommittee on Renewable Energy, the Taskforce on Woman’s Issues and as Chair of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators.

Kimberly Watkins President, Community Education Council, District 3 Kimberly Watkins serves as President of CEC3, the Community Education Council, of District 3, NYC’s version of the school board. She is currently serving her third 2-year term, the second term as President. She is also a mom to an elementary school daughter and works part time as a long distance running coach and fitness expert. Watkins has served in the community in many ways since moving to Upper Manhattan in the 1990’s. She has volunteered for the NYPD Auxiliary Police and the NYC Parks Department, and has recently been active in the gender pay equity issue as a result of her discriminatory firing by Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang. She lives in Harlem with her family.


Tremaine Wright, New York State Assembly Member, 56th AD - Brooklyn Tremaine S. Wright is an attorney, entrepreneur, small business owner and activist who is a second-generation Bedford-Stuyvesant resident invested in preserving the rich legacy of her community and building a strong foundation for the future.