Champion 2011: Voices of Courage and Compassion
Honoree Pamela Hootkin
Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Investor Relations of Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation
Pamela N. Hootkin is Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Investor Relations of Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, a global apparel retail and licensing company whose brands include Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, IZOD, Arrow and GH Bass. She has been with PVH for over 20 years. She has more than 30 years of diverse financial management and executive leadership experience in the pharmaceutical, perfume and cosmetics, and apparel and retail industries. She has been instrumental in building a more than 10 year relationship between Safe Horizon and Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, which extends from the CEO level to associates from many of the Company’s operating units. This partnership includes volunteer efforts at various domestic violence shelters, the Manhattan Community Center as well as being a founding member of Safe Horizon’s SafeWork initiative.
Prior to joining PVH in 1988 Ms. Hootkin held positions at Charles of the Ritz Group as Vice President and Treasurer, at Yves Saint Laurent Parfums, Inc., as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and at Squibb Corporation and Champion International in various positions in financial planning and mergers and acquisitions.
Ms. Hootkin holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from SUNY Binghamton and an MA in Economics from Boston University. She held a guest lectureship in Economics at the University of York in Heslington, England.
She is a member of the Board of Directors of Cedar Shopping Centers, a NYSE company, and serves on their Audit Committee.
Ms. Hootkin joined the Board of Directors of Safe Horizon in October of 2005 and serves as Vice Chair. She also serves on their Finance and Executive Committees. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Stephen and they have one daughter.
Honoree Suri Kasirer
President, Kasirer Consulting
Suri Kasirer is the founder and president of the New York-based consulting firm which bears her name. Kasirer Consulting, LLC specializes in government relations, public affairs and strategic consulting for a diversified clientele including nationally known businesses and public companies as well as not for profit associations, cultural groups and political figures. For nearly 15 years Ms. Kasirer has led her firm, which has consistently ranked among the best and for the past two years has been ranked the number one consulting firm in New York City.
A native New Yorker and graduate of Yeshiva University, Ms. Kasirer is active in political, cultural and social activities here in New York and across the country. She was named one of the city’s "50 Most Influential Women" by Crain’s New York Business, and was recognized as one of the “Rising Stars” by Campaign & Elections magazine. Suri has been honored by the National Organization of Women (NY Chapter) and by various other charitable organizations. Ms. Kasirer serves as a member of the board of directors of Citymeals-on-Wheels, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Coro New York Leadership Center. She is a member of the Steering committee for the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) and also a member of The NYC Partnership.
After working as an educator and running a national outreach organization, Ms. Kasirer joined the executive staff of former New York State Governor Mario Cuomo as his special assistant. After serving in State government, Ms. Kasirer established her consulting practice in New York City.
Kasirer Consulting, LLC’s business clients span the globe and are a diverse group that includes Cemusa, the Spanish subsidiary of FCC, SL Green Realty, T-Mobile, Elad Real Estate, owner of the Plaza Hotel, General Electric (GE), NBC Universal, and the Motion Picture Association. Suri has also represented Goldman Sachs & Co., Israel’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, and the America International Group (AIG).
Kasirer Consulting’s not-for-profit clients include the 92nd Street Y, Safe Horizon, American Cancer Society, Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, Museum of Arts & Design, Non-Traditional Employment for Women and a dozen other not-for-profits, serving nearly every segment of New York’s diverse population.
Honoree Elie Tahari
Chairman, Elie Tahari, Ltd.
Designer Elie Tahari has excelled at creating stylish, desirable clothes for over thirty-five years, and has built one of the most successful fashion brands in the world. With his unique talent for dressing modern, sexy, sophisticated women, Tahari runs a $500 million business with a global presence in more than 40 countries including 600 U.S. stores and free-standing boutiques.
Elie Tahari grew up in an Israeli orphanage and made his way to New York City with less than $100 in his pocket. While moonlighting at a boutique in Greenwich Village in the 70’s, he was introduced to the world of fashion. Inspired by that era’s dazzling discos, Tahari began to create flirty dance dresses and his label was born. His creations were so well-received that he was one of the first fashion designers to open a boutique on Madison Avenue in 1974. Parlaying his keen ability to predict what a woman wants from fashion before she even knows it, he turned his attentions in the 80’s to the tailored suit– a design effort that redefined a decade.
Today, Elie Tahari continues to delight women with styles inspired by his belief that “clothing should be quieter than the woman so that her true beauty can shine through.” In 2006 the company launched a full menswear line and expanded into accessories with a luxury shoe and bag collection. In 2008 the expansion continued with new licensees for men’s shirts, ties and leather accessories, as well as the introduction of women’s jewelry. In 2010 Elie Tahari continued its collaborative path with a new licensee to create the men's fall 2010 suit collection. Elie Tahari is also expanding its brand’s presence outside of Europe in Korea, Dubai, Greece and Mexico, continuing to build its international business and retail presence on a global scale making it one of the most successful labels in the fashion business.
Women have been drawn to Elie Tahari's designs for decades and his clientele continues to revel in the feminine, sensual fabrics, subtle textures and detailing that have come to define the much-loved brand. Elie Tahari has come to characterize modern sophistication with his inspired collections of understated grace and elegance.
In 2010 Stephanie March reprised her role as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot on NBC’s Law & Order: SVU. Ms. March created the role in 2000 and continued in that capacity until the end of 2003. She also starred on the big screen in The Invention of Lying, written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson.
Ms. March's other recent TV credits include a role as tortured mother on ABC's hit show Grey's Anatomy and a psychic opposite Dennis Leary in Rescue Me. March was also seen opposite Tina Fey on the multiple award-winning show 30 Rock.
Ms. March has spent considerable time in the theater. She co-starred in the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway revival of Howard Korder's Boys' Life at the Second Stage Theatre. She returned to Broadway starring in Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio, opposite Liev Schreiber. The Broadway staging of Talk Radio reunited March with her Death of a Salesman director, Robert Falls. Ms. March’s Broadway debut was in his critically acclaimed Tony-winning revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman starring Brian Dennehy. She has worked extensively in other various award-winning regional theater productions.
Ms. March appeared in the thriller Mr. and Mrs. Smith, directed by Doug Liman and co-starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for 20th Century Fox. She was also seen in the hit comedy Head of State, co-starring Chris Rock and Bernie Mac and Flannel Pajamas. Ms. March's additional film credits include East Broadway and The Treatment, starring Sir Ian Holm. Both films debuted at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.
Ms. March is active with causes benefiting women and education. She has been on the Board of Directors of Safe Horizon since February of 2004. She also serves on the advisory board of OneKid OneWorld, an organization that rebuilds schools for children in Kenya and Central America.
A graduate of Northwestern University, Ms. March currently resides in New York City with her husband, chef Bobby Flay.