PRESS/Queens Tribune To Honor Six Cracking The Glass Ceiling At Women’s History Month Event

BY NATHAN DUKE

The Queens Tribune and Press of Southeast Queens will hold an event next week to honor women who are paving the way and cracking the glass ceiling in Queens.

Although the Tribune features a special section every March, which is nationally recognized as Women’s History Month, honoring women of distinction in the borough, the March 30 awards ceremony will be the first of its type held by the paper. The event’s theme is “Breaking the Glass Ceiling.”

The honorees have provided a wide variety of service to Queens. Stella Aquino is the business director of Empire BlueCross BlueShield’s Actuarial Valuation for small and large group and individual business.

Barbara Armand is the founder, president and CEO of Armand Corporation, which offers construction management services throughout the East Coast and is a minority and woman-owned business enterprise (M/WBE). The company provides disaster recovery, multi-family housing, educational facilities, transportation and commercial buildings.

Vivian E. Cook is a New York state assemblywoman for District 32, which covers such Queens neighborhoods as Jamaica Estates, Rochdale Village and Springfield Gardens. Cook first took office in 1991 and is the current chairwoman of the Assembly’s Committee on Committees.

Vasundhara Kalasapudi, M.D., is a geriatric psychiatrist and executive director of India Home. Currently, she works in Queens and Brooklyn in a variety of psychiatric settings to provide care for developmentally disabled and other vulnerable patients. She founded India Home in 2008 after she could not find culturally appropriate medical services for her aging parents. The company is a pioneering nonprofit that services vulnerable South Asian seniors.

Jenifer Rajkumar was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as the director of immigration affairs and special counsel for the New York Department of State. There, she focuses on implementing the governor’s immigration initiatives. But she also has a variety of experience in litigation, policy and electoral politics and practiced civil rights law for several years at Sanford Heisler, LLP, where she focused on class action litigation on behalf of women and workers who had experienced discrimination in the workplace.

And Claire Shulman was the first women to be elected as Queens borough president, an office that she held for nearly 16 years, after having been former borough president Donald Manes’ director of community boards and deputy borough president. As borough president, Shulman rezoned a number of Queens neighborhoods to create appropriate zoning restrictions while also encouraging development, assisted in the revitalization of downtown Jamaica and western Queens, expanded the borough’s infrastructure, increased funding for senior centers and libraries and saw the completion in 2001 of the Queens Hospital Center.

The awards ceremony will kick off with a networking and reception, which will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will be followed by a dinner and awards program, which runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The event will be held at Douglaston Manor, which is located at 6320 Commonwealth Blvd. in Douglaston.

For more information, contact Shanie Persaud by calling (718) 357-7400, ext. 133, or emailing spersaud@queenstribune.com.

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