Past Events

MAY 2021 | Legislative Breakfast: Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar

Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette AguiarWEDLI welcomed Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar, the first woman of Hispanic heritage to lead a Town in Suffolk County. A Retired Detective Sgt. with the NYPD Counter Terrorism Division, Aguiar also holds a PhD in business administration and had never previously run for office. She discussed her unique career path and the challenges and successes along the way, as well as revitalization and development efforts in Riverhead. We also were pleased to induct new WEDLI member Carol Lane and award the 2021 Madelyn Orsini Scholarship to Melanie Jelen.



APRIL 2021 | Wind Energy

wind farmWEDLI welcomed Jennifer Garvey, New York Market Affairs Manager at Ørsted, a renewable energy company, to speak on wind energy and its impact on the Long Island economy.

MARCH 2021 | Women in Finance

calculatorWEDLI presented an informative and personal panel discussion as three of Long Island’s leading women in finance shared their unique journeys and outlook for the future. Our distinguished panel included Janet Verneuille, Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer of The First National Bank of Long Island; Michelle McAteer, Senior Vice President, Director of Loan Operations at Dime Community Bank; and Amanda Sexton, Controller at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick. WEDLI President Cathy Allen, Partner at FisherBroyles, moderated the lively discussion.

FEBRUARY 2021 | Virtual Wine Tasting

a collection of wine bottlesWEDLI members and friends enjoyed a virtual wine tasting and special presentation by Richard and Carolyn Mora, owners of Mora’s Fine Wine & Spirits in East Setauket. The presenters treated us to a discussion of old world vs. new world style, terroir (sense of place) winemaking, flavor profile, and food pairings.

DECEMBER 2020 | Volunteering at Island Harvest

Island HarvestA group of WEDLI members and volunteers spent a wonderful morning together packing boxes of food at Island Harvest for our neighbors in need. What a rewarding way to kick off the holiday season!

OCTOBER 2020  |  Women in STEM

DNAThe study of science, technology, engineering, and math – collectively known as STEM – helps prepare future leaders to analyze information and solve complex challenges. At our October webinar, we heard from two STEM trailblazers, Dr. Subrina Oliver and Donna Tumminello, about educating and preparing students for STEM careers and feeding the career pipeline, as well as their personal leadership journeys.

Thanks also to our fabulous sponsor: The Small Business Development Center at Stony Brook University!

FEBRUARY 2020  |

group of padlocksMembers Only Event: Puzzle Break – Escape the Room!

WEDLI members enjoyed an evening of networking, food, and fun as we were challenged to solve puzzles, decode locks, and “escape the room” within one hour!

JANUARY 2020  |

Long Island mapnextLI: Long Island Index & Regional Outlook

The Long Island Index, a research report published annually to help local leaders devise solutions to regional problems, is now a website and online forum called nextLI, a project of the Newsday editorial pages. Since its initial publication in 2004, the index has galvanized support for high-profile projects such as the third track for the LIRR, redevelopment of village downtowns, and combating inequities in public school funding. At our January meeting we welcomed nextLI’s Amanda Fiscina and Coralie Saint-Louis to discuss what the latest report reflects about young residents’ perception of the future on and off Long Island.

Thanks also to our fabulous sponsor: Schroder & Strom!

DECEMBER 2019  |

Holiday tableWEDLI Holiday Luncheon

WEDLI members and guests enjoyed a strictly social event filled with networking, raffles, plentiful food, and a goody bag for all! We also collected donations of gently used professional apparel for Dress for Success Brookhaven.

Thanks also to our fabulous sponsor: Branch Real Estate Group!

NOVEMBER 2019  |

Discovery Park aerial viewDiscovery Park: Economic Engine and Gateway to Brookhaven National Lab

Discovery Park is a new vision for the gateway to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory – a world leader in discovery science and transformative technology. It also provides an opportunity for economic and community development on Long Island, New York State, and beyond. Marty Fallier, BNL Campus Development Director, joined us to discuss the planning and development of Discovery Park. He addressed the need and proposed approach for the development and how a public-private partnership approach can address a number of needs, promote technology-based economic development, and promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for Long Island.

During the meeting, we also collected donations for Island Harvest.

Thanks also to our fabulous sponsor: Carter DeLuca!

OCTOBER 2019  |

cannabis leafMedical Cannabis: Growing Long Island’s Economy

The expansion of the medical cannabis industry is a unique case study in economic development. Michelle Bodner, President & CEO of Curaleaf New York, a nationwide medical and wellness cannabis operator, and Eric Altstadter, Partner at EisnerAmper, who has worked directly with the industry players making their mark on the Long Island economy, gave us an inside look at this fascinating and growing industry.

During the meeting, we welcomed new member April Intrabartola!

Thanks also to our fabulous sponsor: Options for Community Living!


buildingsLong Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge: Anchoring the Tradable Economy

A recent Opportunity Analysis commissioned by the Suffolk County IDA revealed that the newly rebranded Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge (formerly the Hauppauge Industrial Park) has the highest concentration of tradable businesses on Long Island – offering unparalleled opportunity for Island-wide economic development. Kelly Morris, Deputy Executive Director of the Suffolk County IDA, shared the astounding results of the Opportunity Analysis, the tradable industries that are bringing new dollars and new employees to the region, and how the IDA is forging relationships between the private and public sectors to boost this economic jewel.

We also conferred a scholarship award to a promising young pharmacy student, Isabelle Litvak.

Thanks also to our fabulous sponsor: Terwilliger & Bartone!

MAY 2019  |

WEDLI’s Annual Judith McEvoy Governmental Breakfast – With our NEW State Senators!

WEDLI’s annual Governmental Breakfast was another stellar event!  We were so impressed by our guests, State Senators Anna Kaplan and Monica Martinez.  The ladies both have similar paths — they both faced hardship in their early years, never imagined a life in public service, and are both having tangible success as our newly-elected state senators!  It was an interesting and impressive discussion, led by our own impressive Judy White, a WEDLI board member and chair of the event.

It was a packed agenda — we also welcomed two new members, Jane Reed and Autumn Behm. AND we conferred scholarship awards to two promising women, Kelly Mazzio and Marshele Juste.  Our third scholarship award winner, Isabelle Litvak, could not attend this meeting but will join us in the fall.

Thanks also to our fabulous sponsor: Eisner Amper!


APRIL 2019  |

Long Island’s Environmental Sustainability

In advance of Earth Day and in the first days of Spring, WEDLI hosted a discussion about environmental conservation on Long Island with our speaker,  Carrie Meek Gallagher, the Regional Director for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  Carrie covered a wide range of issues, including safe drinking water, garbage recycling, and environmental sustainability on Long Island.

Thanks to all those who donated to our book drive, to support The Book Fairies!


MARCH 2019  |

Women’s History Month: Long Island Trailblazers

During Women’s History Month, we welcomed two female trailblazers in Long Island’s law enforcement community — Nassau County Sheriff Vera Fludd (the first woman in the position) and Geraldine Hart (Suffolk County’s first female police commissioner).  It was fascinating to learn about their career journeys, personal experiences, and leadership strategies that led them to achieve these historic firsts.

Thanks to our fabulous sponsor: Karen Dowd. Esq.


FEBRUARY 2019  |

WEDLI’s Paint Night!

As a benefit of WEDLI membership, this was a fun members-only event — an evening of networking, fun, food, and painting at Pinot’s Palette in Bay Shore!  See below for our finished masterpieces!  (We’ll be keeping our day jobs…)


NOVEMBER 2018  |

Eat Local; Drink Local: The Economic Impact of “Taste NY”

To keep the Long Island economy growing, we must renew our focus on tourism to attract new patrons to our local businesses, restaurants, and wineries and establish
Long Island as a world-class destination.  This month representatives from Taste NY discussed New York State’s official “eat local, drink local” program, the creation of new opportunities for food and beverage producers through events, retail locations, and partnerships, the process of creating the new Welcome Center on the LIE, and more.

Our guests were Claudia Barbey and Angelica Pulvirenti of Taste NY, along with several local food vendors, who provided samples to guests and discussed how they established their businesses. Joining us were Maria Camassa from Lucky Lou’s Gourmet Rice Pudding, Alex Teixteira from Plain T, Tish McCrea from Jungle Treats, and  Mary Callanan from Three Castle Gardens.

Thanks to our fabulous sponsor: H2M Architects + Engineers!  And thanks to all those who donated to our food drive this month, for Island Harvest.


OCTOBER 2018  |

NextGen Developers: Who are the Next Generation of Long Island Developers?

Construction and real estate are among the foundations of Long Island’s economy. Like other industries, when the older, established executives retire, who will take over? Enter the NextGen in the construction industry!

Our guests were Alison Brennan of First Development Corp., Scott Burman of the Engel Burman Group, and Steven Dubb of the Beechwood Organization who have each taken up the challenge of continuing the success of previous generations.

During the meeting, we welcomed new member Helen Patrikis!

Thanks to our sponsors: Raich Ende Malter & Co. LLP and Schroder & Strom, LLP!



Silicon Valley in Our Backyard: Hauppauge Industrial Park

The Hauppauge Industrial Park boasts 1,350 businesses, 55,000 employees, and $2.9 billion in combined payroll – in fact, one in 20 jobs on Long Island is dependent on the Park. It’s time to spread the word about this hidden economic engine!

WEDLI welcomed Terri Alessi‐Miceli, president of the Hauppauge Industrial Association (HIA‐LI). She detailed the HIA-LI’s efforts to forge public‐private partnerships, update technology, and rebuild infrastructure.  And she shared the staggering results of HIA‐LI’s recent Economic Impact Study that revealed the Park’s extraordinary role in the economy.


JUNE 2018  |

WEDLI Board Induction & Summer Social

One week before the official start of summer, WEDLI gathered members and guests for a networking event.  We also inducted the 2018-19 officers and board members of WEDLI.  New board members include Lauren Kanter Lawrence, Michele McQueen, Yolanda Robano-Gross, and Donna Zincone.  And we are grateful for the ladies leaving the board, who contributed so much — Becky Creavin, Pat Janco, Suzanne Kirkpatrick Nelson, and Dayna Molinelli.  And Incoming President Debra Thompson recognized the contributions of Outgoing President Jackie Peranteau.  Thanks to all who joined us!

The 2018-19 Board (Top): Michelle McQueen, Yolanda Robano-Gross, Flo Federman, Pam Praetorius, Kathleen Deegan Dickson, Lauren Kantor-Lawrence, Jodi Bloom, Kennetha Pettus. (Bottom): Cathy Allen, Donna Zincone, Debra Thompson, Jackie Peranteau, Karen Dowd.


MAY 2018  |

Judith McEvoy Annual Governmental Breakfast: with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran

Laura Curran is the ninth Nassau County Executive and the first woman elected to the office. She represents more than 1.3 million residents, has said her priorities are reestablishing faith and trust at the highest levels of government, working with local municipalities to foster economic development and regional projects that support and enhance the use of mass transit, and to restore order to a county budget process that historically yields deficits.  And she was the fabulous speaker at WEDLI’s 2018 Judith McEvoy Governmental Breakfast, introduced by the equally fabulous Judy White, WEDLI’s Co-Legislative Chair.

During the meeting, we also conferred the 2018 Madelyn Orsini Scholarship Award to two deserving college students — Maria Villon Bustillo and Gabrielle Bacarella.  The awards were presented by WEDLI Vice President Debra Thompson.

Thanks to our sponsor: Raich Ende Malter!