Friday, June 14, 2024


Cocktails: 6:00 PM

Dinner & Program: 7:00 PM


Giando on the Water
400 Kent Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249


Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso


New York City Councilmember Farah Louis


Renee McClure, National Grid


David Mair, Kaiser Saurborn and Mair PC


Teri Coaxum, Coaxum Connects & Coaxum Connects Wellness Foundation


Pastor Gilford T. Monrose, Faith Advisor/Executive Director, NYC Mayor’s Office of Faithbased and Community Partnerships


Honoree Ambassador
Karen Katz, TV Executive Producer & Writer



  • Antonio Reynoso - Brooklyn Borough President
  • Council Member Farah N. Louis, New York City Council
  • David Mair - Kaiser Saurborn & Mair
  • Renee McClure - National Grid
  • Teri Coaxum - Coaxum Connects
  • Pastor Gilford T. Monrose - Faith Advisor, Office of The Mayor
  • Karen Katz - Honoree Ambassador

Antonio Reynoso – Brooklyn Borough President

Antonio Reynoso, making history as Brooklyn’s first Latino Borough President, is a testament to overcoming adversity. Growing up in South Williamsburg in a Dominican immigrant family, Reynoso faced economic hardships, relying on social programs while contributing to his family’s income. This background fostered a deep commitment to addressing poverty and food insecurity.


Education, emphasized by his parents as the pathway out of poverty, propelled Reynoso from a scholarship at La Salle Academy to a BA in Political Science from Le Moyne College. Returning to Brooklyn, Reynoso initially engaged with ACORN, focusing on advocacy for low-income families, before moving on to impactful work in local government.


As City Council member, Reynoso prioritized initiatives directly affecting the economically disadvantaged. His efforts were instrumental in reducing waste management burdens in impoverished areas, enhancing tenant safety against exploitative landlords, and supporting rezoning to protect low-income communities. His leadership on the Sanitation Committee significantly impacted environmental justice, improving living conditions for vulnerable populations.


Now, as Borough President, Reynoso is dedicated to eradicating poverty and food insecurity in Brooklyn, leveraging his experience to ensure all residents have the opportunity to thrive. His life and career, rooted in battling economic injustice, reflect a relentless pursuit of equity and prosperity for all. Reynoso resides in Williamsburg with his family, continuing his advocacy from the heart of the community he serves.

Council Member Farah N. Louis, New York City Council

Council Member Farah N. Louis passionately represents Brooklyn’s 45th Council District, a mosaic of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Flatlands, Marine Park, and Canarsie. Her unwavering commitment to addressing critical issues such as food insecurity underscores her tenure. Amidst a backdrop of achievements, including pioneering 100% affordable housing projects in District 45, Louis’s dedication shines brightly in her fight against hunger and poverty.


Amid her trailblazing initiatives, Louis has been a vocal advocate for comprehensive policies tackling affordable housing, reproductive rights, domestic violence, immigration reform, and equitable access to mental health services, all crucial for nurturing the resilience and prosperity of New Yorkers.


Her proactive strategies in violence prevention, youth entrepreneurship, and advocating for fair opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (MWBEs) underscore her holistic approach to community empowerment. Notably, her advocacy for Black maternal health and mental healthcare has mobilized significant resources, securing over $5 million in funding, reflecting her profound impact on enhancing the lives of the city’s underserved populations.


With her recent leadership role in the Committee on Women and Gender Equity, Louis is at the forefront of championing economic, social, and leadership advancements for women and girls. Her commitment to leveraging government power ensures equitable access to opportunities that pave the way for generational prosperity and safety.


Raised in Brooklyn by an immigrant and pro-union family, Louis’s roots in investigative journalism and activism fuel her drive for systemic change. Her role as Co-Chair of the Brooklyn Delegation highlights her relentless pursuit of resources for her community, epitomizing her dedication to creating a more inclusive and supportive New York City for all.

David Mair –  Founding Shareholder, Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C.

For more than twenty-five years, David N. Mair has focused his practice on representing clients in high-stakes employment disputes and complex employment litigation. His clients include senior financial services professionals, executives at private and public companies and lawyers, physicians, accountants, and academics at leading global professional firms and academic institutions. He also represents executives and professionals in negotiating employment transitions, team moves, and severance arrangements.


Known for his pioneering legal strategies, David frequently represents executives and employees in Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claims. He also represents both U.S. and foreign executives and professionals in cross-border employment disputes, often working together with foreign law firms to implement joint negotiating and litigation strategies for clients in financial services and other industries. David’s practice also includes representing a wide range of clients in high-stakes business and real estate litigation, including representation of residential and commercial property owners in real estate and construction disputes and litigation. As part of his deep commitment to pro bono work, David also counsels and represents clients in employment matters for the Cancer Advocacy Project of the New York City Bar Association.


David was awarded the highest “AV Preeminent” Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, one of the country’s leading legal directories. He has also been named each year since 2012 to the list of New York Super Lawyers, a peer-reviewed listing of the top attorneys in New York. David is also a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. He was elected as a Fellow by the Board of the American Bar Foundation.

Renee McClure – Director, NYC and LI Customer, National Grid

Renee is a dynamic motivational speaker, panelist, and trainer renowned for her participation in professional conferences and workshops. She has engaged with esteemed organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, Blacks in Technology, Black Data Processing Associates, and MIT’s Race for the Digital Divide, including various nonprofits and religious groups.


Her insights and articles have been highlighted in Networking World, Black Enterprise, KIP Business Report, Diversity Careers, and more. Renee has also made appearances on popular radio and talk shows like Tony Brown’s Journal and Talking Success.


Throughout her career, Renee has been actively involved in leadership and participatory roles with organizations including Junior Achievement, the Future Business Leaders of America, and has served as President of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Young Adults, local and National President of BDPA, and Chairperson of Black Leadership at KeySpan. Currently, she holds the position of Community Chairperson at Alliance of Black Professionals at National Grid and plays significant roles at the Weeksville Heritage Center, the National and New York chapters of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, HeartShare, Women in Energy and Communications, and the Pocono Farms Country Club Association.


Renee’s exemplary service and leadership have earned her numerous accolades, including the Queens Powerlist Award, the Thomas Cuite Memorial Award for Community Leadership, and the Living Legend Award, among others.


Married for over 14 years, Renee continues to push forward with her goals, supported by her family. She remains optimistic about the future, hoping to inspire and foster positive, fulfilling lives for all.

Teri Coaxum – CEO, Coaxum Connects & Coaxum Connects Wellness Foundation

Teri Coaxum stands as a beacon of empowerment and advocacy for the food insecure, leading the charge against hunger through her visionary leadership at Coaxum Connects LLC and Coaxum Connects Wellness Foundation. Her profound impact extends into pioneering youth development and violence prevention initiatives, aimed at fostering safer, more resilient communities. Ms. Coaxum’s work, notably her involvement in economic development and technology, directly benefits underserved populations, addressing critical needs and enhancing community prosperity.


As CEO of Coaxum Connects, Ms. Coaxum’s transformative approach to leadership has led to the development of exceptional programs in schools and the community, including her instrumental role in the Brooklyn Entrepreneurship Academy Course. Here, she guided 16 BIPOC women towards entrepreneurial success, a testament to her commitment to economic empowerment and community development.


Ms. Coaxum’s career is marked by distinguished roles in public service, including significant positions under President Obama’s Administration and within the New York State government. Her advocacy for small businesses and her tenure as the Region II Advocate for the Office of Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration highlights her dedication to ensuring equitable economic growth.


With academic credentials from renowned institutions like John Jay College, Metropolitan College of New York, Harvard University, and NYU, Ms. Coaxum’s expertise is unmatched. Her recognition as the “Global Ambassador for Entrepreneurship and Business Development” by African Views, along with receiving “The President Joseph R. Biden’s Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award,” in October, 2023, underscores her unparalleled contributions to public service and entrepreneurship.


Beyond her professional accomplishments, Teri Coaxum is celebrated for her personal dedication as a mother, grandmother, and caregiver. Her affiliations with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Eureka Grand Chapter Prince Hall Order Eastern Star, Inc., further demonstrate her commitment to community service.

Pastor Gilford T. Monrose – Faith Advisor/Executive Director, NYC Mayor’s Office of Faithbased and Community Partnerships

Pastor Gilford T. Monrose, Faith Advisor to Mayor Eric Adams and former founding president of the GodSquad, embodies the intersection of spiritual guidance and civic engagement within New York City’s diverse tapestry. In his role, Pastor Monrose has been instrumental in launching pivotal initiatives aimed at addressing the city’s pressing challenges, most notably the innovative Faith-Based Shelter Program.


In June 2023, Pastor Monrose stood alongside Mayor Adams and NYC faith leaders to announce this program, designed to mobilize houses of worship across the city in providing sanctuary and support for asylum seekers. This initiative reflects a broader commitment to inclusivity and care, central to New York City’s ethos, under Pastor Monrose’s stewardship within the Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships.


Beyond organizational roles, Pastor Monrose actively bridges government action with community needs, embodying a proactive approach to crisis management. His leadership in the Faith-Based Shelter Program illustrates a holistic strategy towards the migrant crisis, transforming it into an opportunity for the faith community to act on its core values of service and hospitality. The program not only offers relief through shelter and meals but also fosters a sense of community among asylum seekers, crucial for their integration into the city’s fabric.


Pastor Monrose’s collaborative spirit has been a hallmark of his tenure, reflecting a deep understanding of the complex interplay between faith institutions and public service. His advocacy for faith institutions’ role in public service and crisis response has been a constant, drawing on experiences from his collaborative work with Mayor Adams dating back to their time in the Brooklyn Borough President’s office.


His legacy includes the GodSquad, a testament to his commitment to community safety and unity, which continues to impact the community even as he has stepped away from its leadership. This initiative, along with his current efforts, showcases Pastor Monrose’s vision for a harmonious community supported by faith and action.


As Faith Advisor, Pastor Monrose’s contributions extend to enhancing the city’s food pantry network through faith-based organizations and facilitating the community integration of asylum seekers. These initiatives highlight his capability to not only address immediate needs but also contribute to the long-term well-being and resilience of New York City’s populations.


In recognizing Pastor Monrose’s work, it’s clear that his contributions have significantly shaped the landscape of civic engagement and community support in New York City. His leadership, innovation, and commitment to service continue to inspire, embodying the spirit of compassion and action essential for facing the city’s humanitarian challenges.

Karen Katz, TV Executive Producer & Writer

The Campaign Against Hunger is honored to welcome Karen Katz as the Honoree Ambassador for our 13th Annual Planter Awards. Karen’s illustrious career and dynamic personality make her a perfect fit for this prestigious role.


Karen Katz is the author of the acclaimed memoir “Getting Sauced,” a warm, funny read that offers behind-the-scenes insights into the reality of food television production. The book blends her personal journey with sure-fire palate-pleasing recipes, capturing her adventures in food TV with humor and self-deprecation. “Getting Sauced” has been praised as “Sauce for the Soul,” an inspiring and delightful read for fans of food TV and anyone who loves to eat.


Karen’s professional journey is equally impressive. She served as Executive Producer for Chef Emeril Lagasse at the Food Network, producing over 1500 hours of broadcast television. Her expertise spans competition, lifestyle, documentary, reality, children’s, and music/variety programming. As a multi-award-winning TV Executive Producer, Development Executive, Showrunner, and Writer, Karen is known for her leadership in managing production teams and multimillion-dollar projects efficiently and creatively.


Having worked on both sides of the desk—as a network executive and an independent producer—Karen has a comprehensive understanding of the development process and production execution. She has created a variety of programming concepts and revitalized existing series to extend their reach and longevity. Her strategic thinking and ability to balance passion with practicality have made her a prominent figure in the industry.


Karen’s storytelling is not limited to the screen. Her memoir weaves tales from her childhood, where fish sticks were a staple, to her experiences dining on Michelin star masterpieces. Her personal anecdotes and professional insights offer a relatable and entertaining look at the world of food and television.


Beyond her professional achievements, Karen is known for her strong internal communication skills and ability to advocate for projects while being a team player. She has formed co-producing partnerships and developed creative cross-cultural concepts across the globe, from Hoboken to Europe and Southeast Asia.


Karen Katz embodies the spirit of enthusiasm, creativity, and resilience. Her contributions to food media and television have entertained millions and inspired many to pursue their passions. Her work demonstrates a deep commitment to storytelling and a genuine love for food, making her an inspiring role model.


We are thrilled to celebrate Karen’s remarkable journey and achievements at The Planter Awards. Her presence as Honoree Ambassador highlights the values of creativity, dedication, and passion that we cherish at The Campaign Against Hunger. Join us in honoring Karen Katz, a true pioneer in food television and a beloved storyteller who continues to enrich our lives with her work.

Live Auction

Eliza Cuddy, Vice President – Lending Specialist, Americas New York

Eliza is Vice President and head of the SFS Portfolio in North America. Before joining Sotheby’s in 2013 Eliza worked as an Assistant to David Zwirner, supporting gallery openings, special events, and art fairs. Previously she was a Gallery Assistant at the Luhring Augustine Gallery where she built many of her relationships with collectors, curators, and other art world stakeholders. Eliza graduated cum laude from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts in both art history and economics.


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