2016 New York Honorees
The Late Thom Casadonte | Head of Global Events, Bloomberg
Thomas “Thom” David Casadonte had an exceptional career as a prominent, seasoned B2B and B2C executive with end-to-end marketing management experience. At the top of his craft after over 25 years in the industry, Thom excelled in strategic planning, program development, integrated marketing communications, brand strategy, experiential marketing, event design and production. As an impactful and inspirational change agent, Thom deftly built and cultivated high performance departments, cross-functional teams, and managed key relationships all while delivering best in class marketing programs and experiences that delivered real business results. Thom’s deep expertise in fusing sales and marketing strategies to drive business results fueled his success in various leadership roles at globally renowned companies, from Sony and IBM on the client side, to George P Johnson and Maritz on the agency-side, and culminating with the role he was most passionate about: Bloomberg LP's Global Head of Experiential and Event Marketing. For the past five years, Thom worked to build and lead Bloomberg’s Global Event Team across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific managing all external client facing proprietary engagements, third party/industry-sponsored programs, and internal employee events across the entire company. A strong advocate of education, Thom was also a pillar of his community, serving as a member of the Rutherford Board of Education for 12 years and as its President from 2007-2013. Thom died suddenly late last year, and the outpouring of support from industry colleagues and friends has been overwhelming. He is survived by his wife Teresa and daughters Kathryne and Madeleine. With his indefatigable spirit, inimitable emotional intelligence, and enthusiasm for his community and the marketing communications industry, Thom will be deeply missed. His passion was infectious, his leadership continues to inspire, and his legacy will live on.
Mary Dearborn | Vice President of Sales, CxRA
As the Vice President of Sales Mary oversees all the event sales at exclusive CxRA locations in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Morgan Library, Museum in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the Penn Museum in Philadelphia and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC to name just a few. Mary joined Restaurant Associates as Director of Catering Sales in 1987.  In this role she established the CxRA central catering sales office and staffing services department.  Mary was responsible all off-premise event catering as well as the corporate hospitality entertaining at the US Tennis Open, Tour Dupont Cycling Stage Race and multiple PGA tournaments. In 1998 Mary was promoted to Vice President of Catering Sales and assumed the additional responsibilities of overseeing the group sales department, business development for catering and all new account openings. Mary is the past president of NYC Chapter of SITE (Society of Incentive Travel Executives) and was the recipient of the first June Briggs Award for Excellence in Hospitality. Mary is a graduate of Smith College.  After graduation Mary returned to Paris to attend Ecole de Cuisine LaVarenne where she received her Grand Diplome.
David Stark | President and Creative Director, David Stark Design 
David Stark is a renowned New York-based event producer, designer, and five-time author, as well as President and Creative Director of David Stark Design and Production, a full-service event design and planning firm. Starting out as a painter, before moving into floral design, David Stark has since been a leader and innovator in the event industry for over 20 years. His firm is celebrated for the inventive, imaginative events it creates for a wide range of high-wattage celebrity clients and events, such as Glenn Close, Brad Pitt, Mariska Hargitay, and SNL’s 40th Anniversary, major corporations such as Target, TBS and Louis Vuitton, as well as high-visibility events and fund-raising galas for the nation’s most elite not-for-profit organizations including The Robin Hood Foundation, The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Metropolitan Opera. David Stark is also an active member of the not-for-profit and design communities, sitting on the Leadership Council of God’s Love We Deliver and on the Board of Advisors for the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS
DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS raises awareness and grants funds to organizations that provide treatment, direct care services, preventive education programs and advocacy for individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS. The success of DIFFA’s fundraising is the result of the imagination and generosity of the design industries and the volunteers who support our events and initiatives. Since its founding in 1984, DIFFA has emerged from a grassroots organization into one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education in the U.S. With chapters and community partners across the country – including Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Seattle— DIFFA has granted more than $41 million to support hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the country combating HIV/AIDS through preventive education, treatment, direct care and advocacy. Mobilizing the resources of the design industry to raise awareness and funds, DIFFA has created legendary programs and events that highlight a cause that has significantly impacted the industry for over three decades.  Over the last 30 years, DIFFA’s events have created unique platforms for creative professionals to highlight their talents – whether through fashion, interior design, architecture, table top, photography, graphic design, or the performing arts – which have led to one-of-a-kind events that are still talked about as touchpoints in the fight against AIDS, from the Heart Strings tour to the legendary Love Ball to 20 years of Dining by Design. Combating misinformation, ignorance, and prejudice is a vital element in the fight against HIV/AIDS and DIFFA is committed to continuing its support for this important work. By combining talent, creative marketing strategies, and a national network of volunteers and donors, DIFFA has found a way to merge care with commerce to great success. 
Gary Pagano | Vice President Special Events, Viacom 
Gary Pagano is the Vice President of Viacom‘s Special Events team where he produces a wide variety of events internationally. He has been with VIACOM for almost 17 years.  Gary is  also is an instructor at NYU  where he has been teaching for over 10 years  and recently has written the curriculum for their new diploma course in Event Production .  He is an international judge on for the Event Industry Awards in Ireland as well as representing Viacom on the Board of Directors for United Neighborhood Houses, a part of Viacommunity, Viacom’s extensive Corporate and Social Responsibility initiatives. This past year Gary was an attendee at the First Global Event Summit held in Frankfurt and Scotland by ILEA, IMEX and Visit Scotland where the group worked on a white paper about the challenges to the live events industry at present as well as the future of our industry. 
Past New York Hall Of Fame Inductees
      Felice Axelrod
      Vice President of Protocol
      Lehman Brothers
Arthur Backal
C.E.O. & Founder
Backal Hospitality Group
Alex von Bidder
Four Seasons Restaurant
Liz Bigham
Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing
Jack Morton Worldwide
Joel Dolci
      New York Society of Association              Executives
Tom Finn
Tom Finn Productions
Peter and Penny Glazier
Glazier Group
Michael and Sunny Halperin
Party Rental Ltd.
Robert Isabell
Robert Isabell Inc.
Elyse Kroll
Founder & C.E.O.
ENK International
Jim Kirsch
Abigail Kirsch Culinary Productions
J.B. Miller
President & C.E.O.
Empire Entertainment
Kathleen Moore
Vice President of Senior Event Marketing
JPMorgan Treasury Services
Bentley Meeker
Bentley Meeker Lighting and Staging
Julian Niccolini
Four Seasons Restaurant
Robin Hood Foundation
Katharine Stapleton
Executive Director
      Greater New York Chapter of                      Hospitality Sales & Marketing                    Association International 
Peter Scharff
Scharff Weisberg
Barbara Tober
Museum of Arts & Design
Elliott Winick
Winick Productions
Dorothy Aschkeneasy
Event Associates Inc.
Jaclyn Bernstein
President & Partner
Empire Force Events
Preston Bailey
Preston Bailey Entertainment & Set Designs
Cathi Culbertson
Executive Director of Event Marketing & Protocol
Forbes Media
Susan Magrino Dunning
President & C.E.O.
Susan Magrino Agency
Elisabeth Familian
Chris Giftos
Manager of Special Events
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Elizabeth Harrison
Harrison & Shriftman
Robert Isabell
Robert Isabell Inc.
Ed Kane
Director of Catering
Sheraton Hotels of New York
George F. Little
President & Chief Operating Officer
George Little Management
Fern Mallis
Senior Vice President
IMG Fashion
Jean McFaddin
McFaddin Associates
Anthony Napoli
President & Owner
Briggs International
Peter Rosenberger
Sports Alliance
Radio City Music Hall
John Schwartz
President & Chief Operating Officer
Suzanne Tobak
Suzanne Tobak Events
Mark Veeder
C.E.O. & Executive Creative Director
Sylvia Weinstock
Sylvia Weinstock Cakes
       Karl Anden
       New York Cruise Lines
Daniel Boulud
Joe Benincasa
Executive Director
Actors' Fund of America
Joe Cozza
Executive Director of Catering
New York Marriot Marquis
Ellin Delsener
Event Associates Inc.
Edna Greenbaum
Executive Director
Council of Protocol Executives
Gael Greene
Restaurant Critic
Robert Hulsmeyer
Senior Partner & Owner
Empire Force Events
Harriette Rose Katz
Founder & President
Harriette Rose Katz Events
Peter Kohlmann
PeKo Productions
Alan Liebensohn
Show Director
New York International Automobile Show
Daniele Menache
Managing Director & Global Head of Events
AllianceBernstein L.P.
Patrick McMullan
C.E.O. & President
Patrick McMullan Company
Liz Neumark
Great Performances
Gina Rogak
Director of Special Events
Whitney Museum of American Art
Karen Shackman
Founder & President
Shackman Associates New York
Lara Shriftman
Harrison & Shriftman
Preston Robert Tisch
Loews Corporation
Village People
Paul Wilmot
Paul Wilmot Communications