2016 Archive

Chelsea Gardner (host)

Chelsea is a current senior at The Hewitt School. She is the Upper School Student Council President and Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Hewitt Times, Hewitt’s online newspaper. At Hewitt, Chelsea also participates in ACTION, a social justice and advocacy club,  and Spectrum, a discussion-based club on LGBTQ+ issues. On Saturdays, Chelsea tutors 5th graders in accelerated English Language Arts and Math at a public school in the East Village. She likes to engage herself and the rest of the Upper School at Hewitt in conversation surrounding social and political challenges in the United States to raise awareness and to empower Hewitt girls and young women. She also enjoys photography, taking long walks, and dancing in her room.

Jessica Abo (speaker)

Jessica Abo is a journalist by day and social entrepreneur by choice.  You may have seen her on NY1 covering everything from breaking news to Fashion Week or spotted her playing herself in The Amazing Spider-Man 2Delivery ManGirl Most LikelyGossip Girl and Nurse Jackie.

Jessica recently launched her own media startup to empower kids, teenagers and college students. Her YouTube channel “JaboTV” was featured in Forbes as a place millennials are going to be inspired; and, she was invited to speak at the United Nations about how her channel is giving today’s youth the tools they need to power through their personal challenges. Jessica’s videos appear on several media platforms including Entrepreneur.com. She recently appeared on “The Meredith Vieira Show” sharing tips for parents and kids on How to Confront Bullying.

Jessica has won several awards for her journalism and philanthropy work. She has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for a variety of causes by running marathons and organizing her own charity events.  Her last black-tie affair supported the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. To date, Jessica’s “Marrow Match Gala” has made 18 matches and facilitated three transplants.

Jessica received her bachelor and master degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is currently working on her first book and will be launching a fashion line in 2016.

 Allyson Ahlstrom (speaker)

Allyson Ahlstrom, a Junior at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, created a full-service clothing boutique that has allowed over 2,700 girls in need to each pick out two brand-new outfits for free over the past five years. Her “Threads for Teens” nonprofit also has also provided 130 girls with backpacks filled with school supplies, and has given out 100 prom dresses. Allyson got her inspiration from a book she received as a Christmas present, which told the stories of teens who had undertaken remarkable service projects. Realizing how important clothes can be to a teenage girl’s self-esteem and dignity, Allyson decided that she would try to make a difference by making new, fashionable clothing available to girls in foster care or other situations of poverty. She immediately sent letters and email notes to more than 300 companies and stores, asking for clothing donations. Within a couple hours, she had her first donation and the responses grew quickly from then on. “I didn’t know that people would be so inclined to help with something like this,” she said. “When I started out I had no idea I’d get to where I am now.” To date, she has received more than $150,000 in monetary contributions and over $200,000 in clothing donations that include more than 40 national brands, such as Urban Outfitters, Claire’s, Francesca’s Collections and American Eagle Outfitters. When girls make appointments to shop at Allyson’s boutique, located in a local storefront donated by a property management company, they browse through the racks of new clothes and accessories, and pick out two head-to-toe outfits. These past two summers, Allyson took her Threads for Teens to the road, and visited the 48 continental states. A semi-truck was converted into a 60-foot long mobile boutique, where over 2,000 girls across the United States were able to come and pick up a brand-new outfit. Allyson has had the good fortune to be able to promote the mission of Threads for Teens through avenues such as the Today show, the Queen Latifah show, the Katie Show, and many other media outlets across the country. In Fall 2012, Nick Cannon honored Allyson with a TeenNick HALO Award. In partnership with Nickeloden, he gave her $22,000 to further Threads for Teens’ cause, along with the opportunity to meet Tyra Banks to discuss girl empowerment. This aired in a special on the Nickeloden. Furthermore, the Disney Channel filmed Allyson for an interstitial clip in 2012 that continues to be aired. She currently joins supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whitely as a face of the Moroccanoil ‘Inspired by Women’ ad campaign, which collectively has garnered millions of views on Youtube as well as placements in national magazines such as Vogue and Variety.

As a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Allyson is a part of MUSE (Marketing Undergraduate Student Establishment) Promotions and Web Committee as MEME Chair, Class Board 2017 as Vice President of External Affairs, is on the events committee for The Walk fashion magazine, and serves as the External Social Chair for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. Additionally, Allyson plays the harp and piano. She studies business, with specific focuses in real estate and finance, and plans to minor in Art History.

The Bright Side (performers)

Lexi Glicksman (The Hewitt School ‘16), Julia Glicksman (The Hewitt School ‘18), and Madeline W. (The Hewitt School ‘16) just started playing music seriously together last year; however, they have been close since Middle School at The Hewitt School in NYC. Sisters, Lexi and Julia Glicksman, have grown up singing together and have been involved in theater and music at school for a number of years. Madeline W. started singing and playing piano with Lexi in the 8th grade. Passionate about music, they have performed in the talent shows, at faculty meetings, and in the choir at The Hewitt School. The three of them have created their own music club, and as a result, have formed their own group.

Patrick Kochyan is a Middle and Upper School French Teacher at The Hewitt School with a very strong interest in piano, singing, and songwriting. Patrick is always working on new solo material and he makes up one half of The Soloists, a band started in his home state of Michigan. He is especially excited to collaborate and perform with some of Hewitt’s most creative musicians. Singing and writing with the girls has been a very rewarding process, as they come together because of their serious passion for music.

Philo Cohen (speaker)

Philo Cohen is a 17 years old junior in high school at the Professional Children’s School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She moved from Paris to New York City a year and a half ago and now lives in Brooklyn.

Philo is the creator and artistic director of the website SPECIWOMEN, which she first imagined after realizing how minor the representation of female artists was. SPECIWOMEN’s goal is to put forward young women from all around the world to prove how the next generation of artists could shape a world of equality and power.
Philo’s goal is to help creative women to make it in History and become big.
Philo’s parents being filmmakers, she grew up on movie sets and has therefore always been familiar with an artistic environment. She draws, paints and has been in the Advanced Art Studio classes of the different schools she went to. She worked on several of her dad’s movies as an actress and a set photographer.
She did internships at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City last June and at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris two years ago.
Her passion for photography lead her to start a  photography blog that she keeps feeding gluttonously. She also sings and has a Soundcloud page.

Jenni Luke (speaker)

Jenni Luke is CEO of Step Up, a nonprofit membership organization inspiring women to inspire girls. In this role, she leads one of the nation’s most sought-after women’s groups in its second decade of service.

Overseeing Step Up’s offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, Jenni directs the organization’s objective of propelling girls from under-resourced communities to fulfill their potential. Under her leadership, Step Up empowers girls to become confident, college-bound, career-focused and ready to join the next generation of professional women. Jenni and Step Up recently announced the organization’s expansion to Dallas and Atlanta, slated to occur by 2017.

Jenni has been featured in numerous media outlets, including The Nonprofit Times, Inc., InStyle, Real Simple, W, CBS Moneywatch, Yahoo! Hot Jobs, The Huffington Post and Cosmopolitan. In 2014, she was named to Marie Claire’s list of 20 Women Changing the Ratio. She also has contributed to Fortune, MariaShriver.com, and Women & Co., Citi’s financial lifestyle website.

She sits on the advisory board for the National Conference on Girls’ Education, and frequently speaks on various topics affecting women and girls and nonprofits. Jenni has served as a guest speaker for the American Marketing Association and Los Angeles magazine’s CityThink Series.

Jenni came to Step Up from within the nonprofit sector, having worked with The Alliance for Children’s Rights and the ACLU of Southern California. She began her career in law and focused on social justice issues. Jenni holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law and a BA from UC San Diego.


Noa Mintz (speaker)

Noa Mintz is the 16-year old founder of Nannies By Noa, a full-service childcare agency, serving families in New York City and the Hamptons. With its large network of highly experienced sitters and nannies who are passionate about caring for kids, Nannies by Noa is a leading destination for reliable, engaging and educated childcare providers.

Like many entrepreneurs, Noa experienced first-hand a problem she wanted to solve: her family had trouble finding trustworthy, “city-savvy” babysitters who were fun and interactive. By the time she was 12, Noa already had a reputation among family and friends for using creative ways to find the city’s best sitters. Six months later, Noa launched Nannies By Noa, the agency built around her innovative and intuitive approach to matching families and caregivers. Along with her talented team, Noa has raised the bar about how much personal attention clients can expect and continues to build a deep bench of superstar sitters who genuinely love being actively involved in the lives of children.

Noa has appeared on national television shows including “The Steve Harvey Show,” “The Today Show,” CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” and “Money with Melissa Francis” on FOX Business. She has been interviewed by Ryan Seacrest and BBC Radio. Her entrepreneurial journey has been covered by publications and websites including The New York Post, New York Magazine, TIME Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, Teen Vogue, Buzzfeed, and Mashable. Noa was most recently named to Crain’s New York Business inaugural 20 Under 20.

When she isn’t growing Nannies By Noa, Noa attends tenth grade in a New York City school and participates in weekly community service activities for The Friendship Circle, a program pairing teens with special-needs kids. She enjoys spending time with friends, attending fitness classes, watching romantic comedies, and indulging in frozen yogurt.

Noa lives in Manhattan with her parents and three younger siblings.

                                            Follow Noa on Twitter @Noa_Mintz

Michele McKeone (speaker)

Michele is an award winning thought leader and pioneer in the autism education community and was featured on MSNBC, WHYY and TECHCRUNCH. Recently named a Woman of Distinction by the Philadelphia Business Journal, Michele has won grants from the University of Pennsylvania and The Corzo Center for the Creative Economy to bring her vision of empowering individuals with disabilities to life. Michele earned a BS in Digital Media from University of the Arts, where she studied development of streaming media and social networking sites before the launch of YouTube and Facebook. Earning a Master’s of Special Education, she studied how technology could circumvent learning disabilities. As a high school teacher, Michele led her students to compete (and win) at Philadelphia’s Regional Computer Fair. Her specialized background in digital literacy and autism education led to consulting/training for The New Teacher Project and the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Specialized Services, designing workshops that motivate both young and veteran teachers to use technology in the classroom.

Amanda Sabater (speaker)

A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Amanda Sabater is the co-founder of NextRound Productions, a full-service video production company based in New York City. A writer, director, and producer, she combined her professional skills and schooling with her entrepreneurial spirit to form NextRound in 2013. Through her company, Amanda has worked with clients such as Time Inc., The Partnership for a Healthier NYC, The Rogosin Institute, Chicken of the Sea, DailyWorth, and more. Amanda is especially passionate about NextRound’s work with non- profit and female entrepreneurs. She has found a specialty in working with women stepping out on their own to build businesses and empowering them to tell their stories. Inspired by her own journey from student to business owner, Amanda co-created “Living the Dream,” a nine-episode Web series featuring interviews with young creatives and entrepreneurs figuring out how to make a living following their dreams.

Amanda also works as a freelance writer with essays featured in Elite Daily, Young Entertainment Mag, OogeeWoogee, The NotSoStarving Artist and more. Her writing spans her passions for travel and social justice, as well as her personal struggles with wellness and body image. She is currently writing a book exploring her mental and physical journey through a 100+- pound weight loss. Her aim as a writer is to share her journey in the hopes of helping young women and girls.

 Valerie Weisler (speaker)

At 14, Valerie was bullied for being shy. One day, she saw a boy getting called, “Fattie!”. She went up to him and told him, “You matter.”
That moment led her to a journey to validate young people globally. What started out as a makeshift website at her kitchen table is now an award-winning organization. Now a a senior in high school, Valerie is the founder and CEO of The Validation Project. She now works with 6000 teenagers in 100 countries, solving global issues using media, community service and mentoring. Valerie’s entrepreneurial curriculum has replaced government anti-bullying curriculum in 970 schools.
Valerie also serves as an ambassador to the UN with A World At School, Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN and was newly appointed to the Harvard Advisory Board of Graduate Education, where she will make sure every student at Harvard utilizes their degree to make a difference. Valerie is a recipient of the National Jefferson Award of Peace/Justice and the International Princess Diana Award from Prime Minister David Cameron.
She traveled the globe this summer, making a documentary about youth issues in Southeast Asia and is working with the White House and State Department to implement a media platform advocating to solve youth issues into the U.S government.
Valerie’s work has been featured on CNN, Inc.,

The Meredith Vieira Show and Crain’s New York Business Magazine as one of the ’20 Under 20′.

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