Cherie Blair Foundation for Women Hosts Manhattan Soiree

By Sara Herbert-Galloway.

New York, N.Y.  John and Margo Catsimatidis, Francine LeFrak, and Pamela Newman hosted an exclusive reception at The Four Seasons Restaurant for Cherie Blair, champion of women’s right’s and wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Cherie Blair was in New York while the United Nations was in session to raise awareness and support for her cause, The Cherie Blair Foundation.

_DSC6040Cherie Blair, champion of women’s right’s and wife of former British Prime Minister
Tony Blair in New York to raise awareness and support for her cause,
The Cherie Blair Foundation.

_DSC6043Cherie Blair was surprised to be recognized for her birthday.

_DSC6007 _DSC6004_DSC5875 Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

The U.N. General Assembly was in session causing gridlock and heightened security throughout N.Y.C. President Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama, President Raul Castro – and every other dignitary and high ranking official were visiting New York. Distinguished guests battled the traffic and street closures to attend the reception and support the hosts and Mrs. Blair.

_DSC6024_DSC5692John and Margo Catsimatidis, Francine LeFrak, and Pamela Newman hosted
the Four Seasons event for Cherie Blair. Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

It’s always a treat to visit The Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram’s building, especially even more so now since their lease hasn’t been renewed. Moments spent there are a treasured time. The restaurant’s interior, designed by the building’s architects Philip Johnson and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, has been almost unchanged since its construction in 1959.

_DSC5731_DSC5747_DSC5754Philanthropist Jim Luce was in attendance with the author Sara Herbert-Galloway.
Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

John Catsimatidis was the first person I saw along with Julian Niccolini, one of the owners of The Four Seasons who greeted guests with his customary welcoming smile as we walked up the staircase into the crowded Grill Room.

Some of the many notable philanthropic guests were Rita Cosby, Henry Buhl, Michelle Herbert, Meera Gandhi, Joy Marks, Jean Shafiroff, Rick Friedberg, and Jim Luce.

_DSC6111_DSC5806rtBroadcaster Rita Cosby and Tomaczek Bednarek add life to any party!

Many women wore glass beaded jewelry created by artisans from Same Sky, a cause-based trade initiative founded by Francine LeFrak. Same Sky empowers impoverished women by providing them with training and employment.

_DSC5611_DSC5767_DSC5621Socialites from Palm Beach to the Hamptons attended. Joy Marks, Chele Chiavacci,
Lauren Lawrence, Francine LeFrak with Laura Stebbing, Partnership Director
of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

Since the Cherie Blair Foundation was established in 2008, over £10.7 million has been raised for the economic empowerment of 118,000 women in 80 emerging and developing countries around the world.

_DSC5945_DSC5755_DSC5614Philanthropist and social maven Jean Shafiroff. Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

Mrs. Blair shared her personal story:

When I was eight years old, my father abandoned my mother, myself and my sister. She was left with very little education and struggled to bring up her two daughters.

She, like so many women across the world was resilient, resourceful and determined to make sure that my sister and I got everything that she had been deprived of.

As a result of that, here I am today, a lawyer, married to the Prime Minister and now able to speak at the UN and CGI. That is all because of the amazing woman, my mothers, investment in me.

_DSC5804_DSC5963Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

Referencing her foundation, she said, “This is not about feeling sorry for women, this actually recognizes the strength in women and gives them the tools so that they can do the job they can best do, which is actually looking after their families and improving the world.”

_DSC5897_DSC5780_DSC5937Attendees included Jimmie Chue and Lily Li. Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

Mrs. Blair spoke of the difficulties women in many countries experience such as the impossibility of escaping a father who wants to marry her off at early age, saying no to a husband who beats her, widow’s who’s children take her belongings and home from her, and so on.

_DSC5623John Catsimatidis and friends. Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

Mrs. Blair encourages entrepreneurship for these women saying:

I believe that if we can invest in entrepreneurs, they are the drivers of development. Women across the world are entrepreneurial but they suffer many disadvantages and barriers to help them grow their businesses.

Women often don’t get the same level of education as men, so, when it comes to actually knowing how to run a business, simple business training skills, they don’t have that information so my foundation works with them to give them the business training skills so they can run their businesses.

_DSC5636Lauren Lawrence and Henry Buhl. Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

As I listened to Cherie Blair speak, I felt that the hardships she had witnessed her mother experience helped to mold her into the strong woman’s rights advocate that she is today. Cherie Blair graduated from The London School of Economics with a Degree in Law, taught Law at the Polytechnic of Central London (University of Westminster), became a barrister in 1976 and Queen’s Counsel in 1995.

_DSC5777_DSC5760Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

She is a founding member of Matrix Chambers in London which was formed in the year 2000 specializing in human rights law and has championed many causes.

_DSC5972The author with the former first lady. Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women provides women with the skills, technology, access to capital, education and networks required to become successful small and growing business owners. The Foundation is a development organization that aims to support female entrepreneurs in developing countries.

_DSC5597To learn more, please visit Photo: Jillian Nelson/Jillpics.

The mission statement reads, “Our mission is to provide women with the skills, technology, networks and access to capital that they need to become successful small and growing business owners, so that they can contribute to their economies and have a stronger voice in their societies.” To learn more, please visit

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About Sara Herbert-Galloway: Herbert’s Heroes

View all posts by Sara Herbert-Galloway: Herbert’s Heroes
Sara Herbert-Galloway: Herbert’s Heroes
If you had to encapsulate a person's life work in one word, Sara Herbert-Galloway would best be described as a humanitarian due to her focus on helping those who are most vulnerable. Through her charitable work and civic involvement, Sara has been able to impact the lives of many. When Sara isn't busy chairing an event, consulting for a charitable cause or fund raising, she busies herself as a photojournalist. She is a Registered Nurse, former fashion model, actress and spokesperson for several companies. Sara enjoys bringing notoriety to people and causes through her writing. Sara attributes her values to her upbringing and nursing experience. Her unwavering commitment to help as many people as she can in her lifetime is an admirable legacy that will live on and inspire her two children and others to do the same. Sara divides her time between New York City, Greenwich, CT and The Hampton's. She works with several organizations and is a member of the Board of Directors of the J. Luce Foundation.

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