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Savvy Ladies Annual Benefit Gala 2015

  • Nasdaq MarketSite 4 Times Square New York, NY, 10036 United States (map)

Celebrating the New Face of Business: Today's Female Entrepreneur

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Savvy Ladies Annual Gala Fundraiser. We are thrilled at the opportunity to host our event at the NASDAQ MarketSite in the heart of Times Square. The MarketSite houses a state-of-the-art digital broadcast studio that transmits approximately 100 live market updates and is the broadcast home of Fast Money.

Our honorees, Alexandra Lebenthal, CEO of Lebenthal & Co, and Stephanie Newby, CEO of Crimson Hexagon, perfectly reflect the event’s theme as we dedicate the evening to female entrepreneurs and the growth of women-led businesses.

To acknowledge a pioneer of Wall Street, Savvy Ladies will award for the first time The Sayra Fischer Lebenthal Award for Professional Excellence in Finance, in honor of the Cofounder of Lebenthal & Company, Sayra Fischer Lebenthal.

An entrepreneur and innovator, Sayra became the first woman to run a Wall Street brokerage and the first to organize a department exclusively for women investors.


Co-Chairs Letter

Dear Friends,

The Savvy Ladies community will come together on October 15th for our Annual Benefit Gala,  Celebrating the new face of business: today’s female entrepreneur.

The rising number of female-owned businesses has been key to the recovering US economy. In 2014 there were 9.1 million women-owned businesses, employing 7.9 million people and generating 1.4 trillion in sales.  As we celebrate our achievements in business, let’s dedicate ourselves to the empowerment of all women.

This year we will present The Sayra Fischer Lebenthal Award for Professional Excellence in Finance in honor of the Cofounder of Lebenthal & Company, Sayra Fischer Lebenthal. It is fitting that Alexandra Lebenthal, CEO of Lebenthal Holdings, will be the first recipient of the award that honors her grandmother.

The Savvy Ladies Board of Directors chose to create an award to honor the legacy of one of the first women on Wall Street, Sayra Fischer Lebenthal, who in 1925, along with her husband Louis, democratized the municipal bond business. A positive female force on Wall Street, Alexandra Lebenthal shares her grandmother’s passion to ensure that women are educated about their investments.

We are also pleased to present the Savvy Ladies Change Maker Award to Stephanie Newby, CEO of Crimson Hexagon and Founder of Golden Seeds. After a successful career on Wall Street, Stephanie wanted to provide early stage funding to women entrepreneurs, which in 2005 were only receiving 5% of venture capital investment dollars.  Since its beginnings, Golden Seeds has invested over $70 million in more than 65 exciting women-led enterprises.

Savvy Ladies is a unique organization dedicated to the financial empowerment of women. To date, the organization has provided educational programs and resources to more than 12,000 women to ensure they are prepared and proactive about their finances. 

In the decade since Savvy Ladies began offering free workshops, the statistics regarding the financial well-being of women are still alarming. Women will receive half the benefits of men in retirement due to lower pay and fewer years in the workforce. Today three out of five women over 65 cannot afford to cover their basic needs. As a community of business leaders, we need to address the quiet epidemic that keeps women at an economic disadvantage. 

On behalf of the entire Savvy Ladies Board of Directors, we thank you for your support of the important work Savvy Ladies is doing to empower all women.

We hope to see you at this year's event!                                

Stacy Francis and Amy Goldsmith                                               
Co-Chairs, 2015 Annual Gala Fundraising Committee

The Sayra Fischer Lebenthal Award

A formidable business woman with the highest of standards,Sayra Fischer Lebenthal believed that serving clients with honesty and integrity was the best and only way to do business. This award is presented to a woman in the financial services profession who, like Sayra, believed in teaching women the importance of understanding their investments and taking responsibility for their financial lives.


Sayra Fischer Lebenthal (October 1898 – March 1994) was a Wall Street Legend.

In 1925 at the age of 27, Sayra Fischer Lebenthal cofounded the investment banking firm Lebenthal & Company with her husband Louis Lebenthal, and was responsible for democratizing the Municipal Bond business.  The company thrived, continuing to do so even after the death of Louis Lebenthal in 1951. Mrs. Lebenthal, grieving, decided to stay in business, becoming the first woman to run a Wall Street brokerage firm. She specialized in tax-exempt municipal bonds for small investors, and watched the market for them soar. Among her innovations: She organized a department exclusively for women investors. Sayra continued to work full time until the age of 92.

Inaugural honoree:

  • Alexandra Lebenthal, President and CEO, Lebenthal & Co.

Savvy Lady of the Year

The Savvy Lady of the Year Award recognizes someone who has demonstrated significant fiscal responsibility in her own life, as well as encouraging others to do the same. The recipient of this award is committed to continuing financial education, the cornerstone of the Savvy Ladies’ mission.

Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated, tour de force of wit and neuroticism from the Garden State. She is the youngest of four girls (yes, her poor father – that's Hal to be exact) and a comedienne, writer, Columbia University graduate & ex-MTV personality. As she watched her marriage fall apart with a bonafide good man but bad match, she put herself and her life back together by writing about her experiences. A contributor for the "New York Times The Motherlode", "The Huffington Post", "PopSugarMoms", "HuffPostLive" and more, read her rantings on marriage, divorce, parenthood, and life at frommtvtomommy or follow her on Facebook or Twitter

"I was a stay-at-home mother who merely taught part time and freelanced while my husband ran the finances and paid our bills. I had lived on my own before I met him, but when we decided to divorce, I was afraid of managing my finances again, especially since due to being out of the workforce, my income isn't sizable. Savvy Ladies got me in touch with a financial planner for free and I was able to get a budget planned, as well as some support in trying to make smart financial choices in the most devastating of times (a home foreclosure, divorce, and student loan repayments). I will never be so dependent on anyone again, and I am so grateful for all of Savvy Ladies' help." - Laura L.

Read Laura's article Why I Will Never Live On Another Man's Dime

Master of Ceremonies

As CNBC's senior personal finance correspondent, Sharon Epperson covers the many facets of how people manage, grow and protect their money. Her expertise includes saving and investing for retirement, paying for college, managing mortgage, student loan, credit card and other debt, and building a financial legacy through estate planning.

Epperson was named one of the "Best Personal Finance Experts of 2014." In addition to reporting for CNBC and CNBC Digital, she hosts the weekly original CNBC Digital video program "Retire Well," which is CNBC's top-performing digital show. She also appears regularly on the syndicated program On the Money and Public Television's Nightly Business Report. Both shows are produced by CNBC. Epperson is also a regular contributor on NBC's Today, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC and NBC affiliates nationwide.

Her personal finance expertise has been featured in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, USA Weekend, Self, Essence, Ebony and TIME, where she had covered business, culture, social issues and health as a correspondent prior to joining CNBC.

She is committed to improving financial literacy, particularly in underserved communities. She has been invited to the White House to speak about financial literacy and to moderate a public meeting of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability at the U.S. Treasury Department. She also speaks frequently at conferences and events for local and national organizations, colleges and universities about many facets of personal finance.

Earlier Event: February 7
Savvy Ladies Annual Benefit Gala 2013
Later Event: October 20
Savvy Ladies Annual Benefit Gala 2016