The Feminist Power Awards

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About the Feminist Power Awards

The Feminist Press Annual Feminist Power Awards are presented to visionaries whose leadership advances human rights, dignity, and empowerment. This yearly celebration is attended by a dynamic group of 200–250 leaders in business, arts, politics, community, and culture, active in support of women’s, LGBTQ, and diversity issues.

Past honorees and presenters have included Mariam Chamberlain, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, Marilyn French, Kathleen Hanna, Arianna Huffington, Teri Hines, Sheila Johnson, Kerry Kennedy, Janet Mock, Mira Nair, Gloria Steinem, Cyndi Lauper, Aydian Dowling, Uma Thurman, Alice Walker, Barbara Walters, Jill Soloway, Chirlane McCray, and Joan Jett.

The 2018 Feminist Power Awards were held on October 2 at City Winery. Download the electronic Gala Journal.

For more information, please contact the Feminist Press Gala office at 212-817-7928 or

Meet the 2018 Feminist Power Award Honorees


Prisca Bae

Senior Director, Global Public Policy & Government Affairs, PepsiCo

Prisca Bae is a Senior Director for Strategy & Planning in the Global Public Policy & Government Affairs group (PPGA) at PepsiCo. In this role, Ms. Bae serves as chief of staff to the Global and North America SVPs.

She previously managed the gender diversity and women’s strategy for PepsiCo's Global Diversity & Engagement Center of Excellence, where she led the development and launch of a $100 million commitment to women and girls for Performance with Purpose 2025, the company’s sustainability agenda.

Before joining PepsiCo, she worked with Fortune 100 companies on strategic women’s empowerment programs as vice president at Seneca Point Global (SPG), an advisory firm founded by Ambassador Melanne Verveer, the former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, and Kim Azzarelli, author and advocate for women and girls. Prior to SPG, she helped launch and served as the inaugural Director of the Women in the World Foundation, a public charity founded out of Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit at Newsweek and the Daily Beast.

She joined Women in the World from Goldman Sachs, where she managed Goldman Sachs Gives, a billion-dollar charitable fund available to partners of the firm. Prisca was also an attorney at Latham & Watkins, LLP in New York, and served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable William M. Hoeveler, Senior Judge in the Southern District of Florida. She has also worked for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and on the Ron Kirk for United States Senate Campaign in Texas, where she led Asian American stakeholder and community engagement.

Ms. Bae received her B.A. from Columbia College, Columbia University and J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). She lives in New York City.

photo: Margot Duane

photo: Margot Duane

Deborah Santana

Founder and CEO, Do A Little

Deborah Santana is an author, business leader, and activist for peace and social justice. Editor and co-publisher of the 2018 anthology, All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World, she seeks to promote the wisdom of women of color.

Her nonprofit, Do A Little, serves women and girls in the areas of health, education, and happiness. With a passion for girls’ education, Ms. Santana has supported and loved the young women at Daraja Academy in Nanyuki, Kenya since 2009.

In 2005, she published her memoir, Space Between the Stars. Ms. Santana has produced five short documentary films, four with Emmy Award-winning director Barbara Rick: Road to Ingwavuma, Girls of Daraja, School of My Dreams, and Powerful Beyond Measure.

Ms. Santana is married to actor Carl Lumbly and is a mother to four beloved adult children: Salvador Santana, a songwriter and instrumental artist, Stella Santana, a singer/songwriter, Angelica Santana, an archivist and film producer, and Brandon Lumbly, a filmmaker and actor.

A leadership donor to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, she cares deeply for the rights and equality of all people.

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Jules Spector

Founder, Teen Feminist

Jules Spector is the founder and author of, started in late 2013. As a member of the 2013-2014 class of Teen Advisors and the codirector of the New York Coalition for Girl Up, she has dedicated herself to advocating for the rights of girls and women around the world. She is a contributor to the online Gen Z think tank Irregular Labs. She has been profiled in Mashable, BuzzFeed, Dolly Magazine, the Guardian, and Seventeen Magazine. She will be attending Wellesley College in the fall of 2019. She believes that girls everywhere are the future.  

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Marcy Syms

Social Entrepreneur; Philanthropist & Chair, ERA Coalition

Marcy Syms is the founding trustee and president of the Sy Syms Foundation and president of TPD Group LLC, a multigenerational succession planning company. She is the former chair and CEO of SYMS, one of the first companies to offer designer and brand-name clothing at “off-price” rather than “regular-price." In 1983, when taking SYMS public, Ms. Syms became the youngest female president of a New York Stock Exchange company. In 2009, SYMS acquired Filene's Basement and operated fifty stores under both names.

Ms. Syms serves on numerous boards, including the National Public Radio (NPR) Foundation, the Macaulay Honors School at CUNY, and the ERA Coalition, where she is the board chair. Her work has been honored by Women's eNews, the Ms. Foundation, Boston University, and more.


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Anna Blue is the Co-Executive Director of Girl Up, a leadership development organization that trains and empowers influential teen girl leaders through community organizing, advocacy and global networking, creating an empowered generation of changemakers.  

Anna is an innovative leader in program and policy development, with nearly two decades of experience implementing education and activism-based programs. Prior to Girl Up, Anna managed fundraising and communications campaigns for nonprofits, and served as a multi-state organizer during the 2008 presidential election. A committed advocate for global gender equality, Anna proudly serves on the board of directors of Elizabeth Seton High School and Girls Health Ed.

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Carol Jenkins is a women’s rights and media activist, author, and filmmaker. An Emmy Award–winning former television journalist, she hosts the Emmy-nominated interview show Black America on CUNY TV. She serves on numerous boards including the ERA Coalition, Amref, and the Feminist Press. Ms. Jenkins founded Women’s Media Center and is the coauthor (with her daughter) of Black Titan: A.G.Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire.

Kavita Ramdas is a globally recognized advocate for gender equity and justice. She is an inspirational speaker and thought commentator on the challenges facing philanthropy and civil society as they seek to advance equitable and sustainable development and gender and racial equity. She currently serves as the Director of the Women’s Rights Program at the Open Society Foundations after completing her tenure as Strategy Advisor for MADRE, an international women’s rights organization. She founded KNR Sisters, an independent consulting venture.


Dawn L. Smalls is an established leader with experience across law, government, politics and philanthropy. Dawn is currently a partner in the New York City office of the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner. Her practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and crisis management and government response. Ms. Smalls also brings to clients expertise of “how government works,” as well as the complexities of navigating federal agencies and various rulemaking processes, particularly those before the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

From 2012-2014, Dawn directed the Ford Foundation’s work in democratic participation where she was responsible for four grant-making initiatives in the United States, China and Eastern Africa with a focus on increasing civic and political participation; promoting electoral reform and democratic participation; promoting a transparent and effective and accountable government, and strengthening civil society and philanthropy. Earlier in her career, Dawn also served as a Program Officer at the Open Society Foundations, developing grant making strategies on civic engagement, political reform, media policy and other issues of interest to the Foundation.

Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, Ms. Smalls served as Executive Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, the third largest rulemaking agency in the federal government with a budget of $940.9 billion, almost a quarter of all federal outlays, and 11 operating divisions. As Executive Secretary, Ms. Smalls served as a principal advisor to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Chief of Staff, and as the chief regulatory officer for the agency. From 1998-2000, Ms. Smalls served as Assistant to White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, and as a Special Assistant in the Office of Management and Budget, where she assisted in policy development for issues affecting the District of Columbia including governance, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, education, and public safety.

During the 2008 campaign cycle, Dawn served as the New York State Political Director for the "Obama for America" campaign. In that capacity, she managed communication with New York state officials and party leaders and represented the campaign at local political meetings, fundraisers, and events. Prior to that role, Dawn served as a Regional Political Director for the "Hillary Clinton for President" campaign where she served as the Iowa and New Hampshire political desk and managed political outreach in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, and Oregon, as well as the Assistant Director of Delegate Selection.

Dawn is a Board Member of the American Constitution Society, a national progressive legal organization with chapters in almost every law school in the country and lawyer chapters in over 40 cities. Dawn also serves as a Commissioner on the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, having been appointed to that position by the New York State Senate Minority Leader.

Dawn received her law degree from Stanford Law School and her B.A. from Boston University.


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