Each year, the YW presents the W Award to women who embody the YW mission — to eliminate racism and empower women. Visionaries, innovators and trendsetters, the W Award recipients stand as inspirations for us all.
The YW was pleased to honor Pamela Fiori and Laura Maniec with W Awards at the 9th Annual Summer Soirée.
Pamela Fiori is an editor, a writer and an authority on luxury travel and lifestyle. From 1993-2010, she was editor-in-chief of Town & Country, the oldest continuously published general-interest magazine in America (established in 1846). Under her leadership, Town & Country expanded its coverage of fashion and style, beauty and health, wealth management, home design, the arts and philanthropy as well as documenting the changing face of affluence in America.
Prior to joining Town & Country, Fiori was at American Express Publishing Corporation where she was widely credited with the success of Travel & Leisure, which she edited for fourteen years. In 1989, she was named executive vice president and editorial director of all of the company’s publications (including Departures and Food & Wine).
At both Town & Country and Travel & Leisure, Fiori wrote monthly editor’s letters and also feature articles, interviews and profiles of prominent people such as Ralph Lauren, Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Giorgio Armani and Audrey Hepburn.
Ms. Fiori has published five books. Her two most recent are A Table at Le Cirque (Rizzoli) and In the Spirit of Palm Beach (Assouline) .
Pamela Fiori has received many honors including the Chevalier de l’Ordre de Merite from the French Government; the Matrix Award for journalism; and the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award from UNICEF.
She is the co-founder of the annual UNICEF/Snowflake Ball and serves on the board of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. She is married and lives in New York City.
Shamika Lee is Director of East Coast Accounts for BET Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB) and the leading provider of entertainment for the African-American audience and consumers of Black culture globally. In this role, she partners with advertisers and agencies to find creative ways to market to and target BET viewers.
Prior to BET, Shamika was Senior Manager of Digital Partnerships for American Express where she was responsible for managing several merchant relationships for American Express including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and GSI Commerce. Before that role, Shamika managed the multi-channel upgrade acquisition strategy and execution for the Delta American Express Card.
Shamika has been recognized as a L’Oreal Woman of Worth for her work with Graham Windham Services for Families and Children, a 200 year old organization that focuses on the most underserved population in NYC, foster children. Additionally, Shamika is an active volunteer with KIPP NYC. Her work in the technology and business plan competition for 7th graders has been likened “Shark Tank for Middle Schoolers”
Shamika graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Communications and she earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. She currently lives in NYC.
Master Sommelier Laura Maniec brings her extensive wine knowledge and passion for teaching to Corkbuzz Wine Studio, which she opened with her business partner Frank Vafier in 2011. Already a rising star in the wine world, Maniec is also the face of Corkbuzz, which she plans to expand to other markets.
Maniec’s fresh approach to wine has made Corkbuzz a destination for expert and novice wine drinkers alike and earned her recognition as both a sommelier and entrepreneur. Since opening Corkbuzz, The Wall Street Journal called Maniec the “It Girl” of the New York wine scene, Crain’s New York Business honored her as one of their “40 Under 40” and Food & Wine magazine named her one of 2013’s “Sommeliers of the Year.”
Located in New York’s Union Square Neighborhood, Corkbuzz is part wine bar, part wine school, all wrapped up in a cool, casual studio designed to feel like a living room. Maniec created the wine program to bring casual and professional wine drinkers together in one space with approachable yet comprehensive classes. The wine bar also offers a robust, seasonally inspired menu with dishes designed to complement Maniec’s changing wine and Champagne offerings.
Maniec first discovered her true enthusiasm for wine through an 18-week sommelier certification class at Windows on the World, and just as she was legally allowed to drink, she became a sommelier at Blue Fin, a 400-seat restaurant in New York City. Progressing quickly, she was made a partner as well as wine and spirits director for the entire B.R. Guest Restaurant Group of 20 restaurants across the country. At only 25 years old, she was managing the wine lists as well as educating the entire front-of-house team on wine.
Maniec earned her master sommelier designation, the highest accreditation given to wine professionals, in 2009 after nearly eight years of intensive study. She is currently just one of 20 women to have the designation.
In summer 2010, Maniec left B.R. Guest and spent the harvest season in Champagne, which she recounts as one of the best experiences in her life. After finishing the harvest, Maniec returned to New York City to pursue her dream of opening Corkbuzz.
In addition to her work at Corkbuzz, Maniec is on the board of directors for the Guild of Sommeliers and the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas, and is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier’s New York chapter. She regularly sits on The New York Times tasting panel also contributes to industry publications, including Food & Wine and Sommelier Journal.
Past W Award Recipients
- 2012 Katie Workman, Author, Editor in Chief of Cookstr.com, and Tracey Zabar, baker, jewelry designer, and author
- 2011 Diane Salvatore, Editor-in-Chief, Prevention Magazine, and Weight Watchers International, Inc.
- 2010 Donna Hayes, Publisher & Chief Executive Officer, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, and Lisa Price, Founder & President, Carol’s Daughter
- 2009 Kym Hampton, Fan Development Leader, New York Liberty, and Barbara Jones, Editorial Director, Hyperion Books and VOICE
- 2008 Carla Hendra, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Ogilvy North America, and Women’s Health, accepted by Tina Johnson, Vice President/Editor-in-Chief and Mary Murcko, Vice President/Publisher
- 2008 Janice Huff, Meteorologist, NBC 4
- 2007 Patricia Schultz, Author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, and Soledad O’Brien, CNN, Reporter and Anchor
- 2006 Star Jones Reynolds, Television Personality
- 2005 Marian McEvoy, Lifestyle and Design Author