• Event Attended by More Than 1200 People
• Keynote Speaker Carlotta Walls LaNier


Rochester, NY, October 3, 2018: The YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County hosted its 12th annual Empowering Women Luncheon today at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. The event is both the largest fundraising event for the Rochester community’s YWCA and an opportunity to celebrate women who are role models for the empowerment of women. This year’s Empowering Women Luncheon was attended by more than 1200 people.

Keynote speaker and racial justice icon Carlotta Walls LaNier made history as the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African-American students who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Ms. LaNier spoke about the core values she learned growing up – honesty, integrity and respect for education – and how those values helped guide her during the very difficult experience of being in the vanguard of desegregation. She did not perceive herself as a trailblazer at the time, she explained. She simply wished to exercise the right to education that the Supreme Court had granted all US citizens three years earlier in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Jean Carroll, former President & CEO of the YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County, was honored at event with the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her 33 years of service to the YWCA. Also honored at the event was Lakisha Sims, a graduate of the YWCA’s Steppingstone Supportive Living Program and the recipient of a $10,000 scholarship from the Helen L. Morris Scholarship Fund, administered by the YWCA.

The YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County is very grateful to the event sponsors, our program speakers and all who joined us for this year’s luncheon. The organization is also thankful for the hard work of the YWCA staff members and the many volunteers who worked so hard to make the day a success.

Thank You to our Generous Sponsors!

Conifer Realty, LLC

ESL Charitable Foundation


Nixon Peabody LLP


UBS Financial Services, Inc.

UR Medicine/Highland Hospital

Stand Against Racism

Stand against racism

The Annual Stand Against Racism Breakfast was held April 12, 2018 at the Joseph A. Floreano Riverside Convention Center.

This event aligns with our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women—as we believe we cannot effectively serve all women without addressing the disparities faced by women of color.

The 2018 theme:
“Braving our History, Building our Future; Women of Color Working Beyond the Glass Ceiling”

Special Guest:
Alejandra Y. Castillo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of YWCA USA.

2018 Distinguished Panelists:
Corinda Crossdale, Commissioner, Monroe County Department of Human Services

Ahlia Kitwana, Lead Engineer, Specialty Engineering Space and Intelligence Systems, Harris Corporation

Tina MacIntyre-Yee, Photojournalist for Democrat & Chronicle Part of USA Today Network

Dr. Tomicka Wagstaff, Assistant Vice President, Student Access and Success , Division of Diversity and Inclusion, Rochester Institute of Technology

Mistress of Ceremony | Alexis Arnold 13 WHAM ABC, Fox Rochester, The CW Rochester Anchor / Reporter