Honorees 2021

Meet the 2021 Honorees

Savvy Ladies is pleased to announce the 2021 exceptional leaders supporting & leading financial empowerment for women. This year’s theme revolves around inspiring & motivating women to create their roadmap for financial success. Our amazing roster of honorees are recognized for their unwavering commitment to financial education & advancement of financial literacy for women.

Inspiration Award

Savvy Ladies recognizes inspiring work with the Inspiration Award. Given to a woman for her significant impact engaging collaborating, driving inclusiveness, diversity, and innovation. And has used perseverance, dedication, determination, and, most importantly, now serves as a role model to give hope and inspiration to others.

Savvy Ladies Inspiration Award Winner Grace Vandercruze

Grace Vandecruze

Founder and Managing Director, Grace Global Capital LLC

Grace Vandecruze’s career has been dedicated to the relentless mission of advising her clients in effectively executing growth strategy and managing change. Her purpose is to assist organizations, teams, and leaders in realizing their highest potential by charting a range of possible futures, rather than one predetermined outcome. She is the Founder and Managing Director at Grace Global Capital LLC a consulting firm providing M&A financial advisory, restructuring, and valuation to insurance executives, boards, and financial regulators since 2006. Throughout her career, Grace has delivered advisory expertise on over $25 billion of insurance transactions. Additionally, Grace is the author of “Homeless to Millionaire, 6 Keys to Uplift Your Financial Abundance.”

Male Ally Award

Celebrating male allyship, Savvy Ladies is launching its inaugural Male Ally Award this year honoring a male in the financial field who has gone above the call of duty to support his female colleagues, bringing about positive change, valuing equality, and actively work to achieve it.

Savvy Ladies Inspiration Award Winner Grace Vandercruze

John L. Carter

President & COO, Nationwide Financial

As president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Financial, John knows firsthand how great service and firm growth cannot happen without great talent. John is proud to have led the development of cultural programs that have produced world-class engaged teams as measured by Gallup. In partnership with the Human Performance Institute, Nationwide introduced work-life-balance tools and instruction resulting in a best-in-class sales force, high-performing teams, and an environment that attracts, develops, and retains top-performing and diverse talent.

Stacy Francis Founder Awards

The Stacy Francis Awards for Excellence in Mentorship honor two individuals (mentor/mentee) who mutually impact one another’s lives and careers — and those of others. The Awards reflect the legacy and impact of mentorship advancing women’s financial empowerment and leadership. Paying tribute to Stacy Francis, founder of Savvy Ladies, this pair of awards honor Stacy as a mentor to a generation of rising women leaders in the financial services industry and beyond.

Savvy Ladies Inspiration Award Winner Grace Vandercruze

Frances J. DiSarro

KPMG LLP Deputy General Counsel and Principal (Retired)

Fran served in KPMG’s Office of General Counsel for over twenty-five years, including as Deputy General Counsel of Litigation and later as Deputy General Counsel of the Practice Advisory Group. Prior to her retirement in 2020, Fran also oversaw special projects for the General Counsel and Vice Chair Legal Regulatory and Compliance. 

Fran has served on the Boards of Legal Information for Families Today and The World’s End Theatre Company and on the Board of the Garrison Union Free School District. She is active in KPMG corporate responsibility initiatives and local charities and community-based organizations in  New York City, Westchester, and the Hudson Valley.


Savvy Ladies Inspiration Award Winner Grace Vandercruze

Rahshiela T. White

OGC Executive Assistant KPMG

Rahshiela is a seasoned Executive Assistant with a demonstrated history of accomplishments working for senior executives and partners in the accounting and legal industries. She began her career at KPMG LLP in 2007 in the Office of General Counsel (OGC) as a Senior Administrative Assistant and was promoted in 2015 to her current position as Executive Assistant.  Rahshiela served as the Executive Assistant to Frances DiSarro, the former Deputy General Counsel of the OGC Practice Advisory Group, and currently serves in that capacity for the organization’s Deputy General Counsel Litigation. Throughout her tenure in OGC, Rahshiela has provided support to OGC counsel in connection with a wide variety of sophisticated and complex legal matters involving litigation, practice advice, and contracting. 

Change Maker Awards

The Change Maker of the Year Awards are given to individuals who are making a significant difference in the lives of women. The recipients are chosen for their demonstrated valuable actions in the financial world that have resulted in creating positive change for women.

Savvy Ladies Inspiration Award Winner Grace Vandercruze

Jeanne Sun

GM for Inclusive Investing, J. P. Morgan Wealth Management

Jeanne Sun is a Managing Director and the General Manager of Inclusive Investing for J.P. Morgan Wealth Management. In this role, she leads the strategy, design, and delivery of products and experiences to better serve under-represented investments clients including Women, Black, and Latinx investors. By better understanding diverse clients’ needs, challenges, and wishes, Jeanne and her team will enhance the end-to-end client experience so clients can better engage with their money, so they can make the most of their lives.  

Savvy Ladies Inspiration Award Winner Grace Vandercruze

Jennifer Zuccarelli

Head of Communications and Content, U.S. Wealth Management, J. P. Morgan Wealth Management

Jennifer Zuccarelli is a seasoned communicator with international and domestic public relations experience in business and politics. As Head of Communications and Content for J.P. Morgan Wealth Management, her work helps J.P. Morgan’s clients across the wealth spectrum access the news and information they need to make smart investment decisions. Jennifer and her team oversee media relations, internal communications, advisor social media programs, digital content creation, and thought leadership distribution for this business.

Jennifer became a Managing Director for the firm in 2014 and has served in several positions in Corporate Communications and the Corporate and Investment Bank. 

Savvy Ladies Inspiration Award Winner Grace Vandercruze

Heather Ettinger

Founder & CEO, Luma Wealth Advisors

Heather Ettinger is a champion for women and girls and is widely recognized for her experience and dedication to helping women build their financial acumen and wealth. As a published thought leader and frequently featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Bloomberg, and Your Teen Magazine, Heather is a highly requested speaker for industry associations, company women’s initiatives, and wellness events. For conceiving new ideas and tools that have propelled the financial industry forward, she was recognized as a 2019 “Icons and Innovators” honoree by Investment News. In 2019, she also proudly accepted The Ruth Bader Ginsburg award for advancing the aspirations of women from the Women’s Vote Project; and the best-selling author of Lumination: Shining a Light on a Woman’s Journey to Financial Wellness, published in November 2020.

Sayra Fischer Lebenthal Award

The Sayra Fischer Lebenthal Award for Professional Excellence in Finance was created in 2015 to honor Sayra Fischer Lebenthal, the co-founder of Lebenthal & Company.  A formidable businesswoman with the highest 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 professionals who, like Sayra, believed in teaching women the importance of understanding their investments and taking responsibility for their financial lives.

Savvy Ladies Award Honoree

Manisha Thakor

Manisha Thakor, CFA, CFP®, is a nationally renowned financial literacy advocate for women and founder of MoneyZen, a boutique financial wellbeing consultancy. A 25-year veteran of the financial services industry, her work has been featured in a wide range of media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, CNBC, Women’s Health, and Real Simple. Manisha sits on the board of The National Endowment for Financial Education and has authored two personal finance books: On My Own Two Feet and Get Financially Naked. Manisha earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Wellesley College.

Savvy Lady of the Year Award

The Savvy Lady of the Year Award recognizes a woman who has demonstrated significant fiscal responsibility in her own life and is taking the steps to build her financial roadmap to independence.  The recipient of this award is committed to continuing financial education, the cornerstone of the Savvy Ladies mission.

Savvy Ladies Inspiration Award Winner Grace Vandercruze

Maxi Delrosario

Administrative Assistant

Maxi is an administrative assistant working in the financial services industry, having recently transitioned from a background in the healthcare sector and dedicated volunteer work in nonprofit and charitable organizations. Maxi is excited to begin this journey of financial literacy, being empowered through economic stability and sharing this knowledge with others.