Debra Toppeta and Charlene Giannetti launched Woman Around Town to help other women — natives and recent arrivals — get the best out of two of the best cities in the world, New York and Washington, D.C. Debra, an attorney, and Charlene, a journalist, are combining their talents and resources, assisted by an impressive group of people who can’t wait to tell others what they love and sometimes loathe about their cities.
Debra Toppeta is the Publisher of Woman Around Town. After graduating from Cornell University, Debra began her career in financial services where she ultimately became the lead technical and motivational speechwriter for the members of the Executive Suite, including the CEO and several board members. Debra left financial services to attend Brooklyn Law School, graduating magna cum laude, and immediately joined a large white-shoe law firm in Manhattan where she spent eight long years working in mergers and acquisitions. Committed to public service, Debra has served on the board of a special education institution in Manhattan and, with her husband, has created several foundations to help underprivileged teens afford college. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Classical Orchestra, a period instrument orchestra in NYC that makes its home in Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, and was just elected to her second term on the Board of Governors of the New York Press Club. While she enjoys writing, Debra is happy to leave that to the experts and prefers to work behind the scenes of Woman Around Town getting the word out about the website, supporting all of the talented writers and keeping things legal. View All Posts By Debra Toppeta »
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines including the New York Times. She is the author of 12 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her new book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, will be published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Charlene divides her time between homes in Manhattan and Alexandria, Virginia. View All Posts By Charlene Giannetti »
Alix Cohen is the recipient of eight New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course. View All Posts By Alix Cohen »
Marti Davidson Sichel is incredibly pleased by her good fortune to join such an impressive lineup of talented contributors. A voracious reader from her earliest years, her parents were more than once called to the principal’s office to discuss her overly advanced free-reading materials. (They loved that.) Exposure to all of those big words clearly left a mark. After a brief dalliance with poetry in college (everyone experiments in college), the acquisition of an English degree and several years spent working to change other people’s words, Marti was positively brimming over with words of her own. Her background and interests lean heavily toward the scientific, but she has always had a huge place in her heart for all things theatrical, which has come to serve her well. A 2014 New York Press Club award winner (for excellence in journalism, sub-category Entertainment News, sub-category Internet), Marti finds the schlep in from Connecticut as exciting as ever. When not editing or writing (and even sometimes when editing or writing), Marti often can be found with her headphones firmly in place. If she’s not singing along, it’s either NPR or the BBC or a comedy interview podcast. View All Posts By Marti Sichel »
Merry Sheils won the New York Press Club’s Journalism Award for best business writing in 2011 and 2012. As a portfolio manager for private clients, she writes a financial column for WomenAroundTown.com as well as features and profiles. She frequently writes economic and capital markets commentary, including white papers, thought leadership pieces and investment reports, for companies and investment managers. Prior to becoming a writer, Merry worked as a senior portfolio manager and investment analyst at BNYMellon and Wilmington Trust Company (now M&T Bank). A SUNY graduate with a degree in finance, she is the author of “Debt-Based Securities” and has been published in The Financial Times, Forbes and Chief Executive Magazine, and has appeared as a guest on CNBC. She founded First New York Equity, Incorporated, an investment advisory firm, and sold it to Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). She divides her time between New York City and her 18th century house in Columbia County, NY, where she is active in the North Chatham Free Library, the Old Chatham Hunt Club and the Columbia County Historical Society. View All Posts By Merry Sheils »
Eleanor Foa Dienstag is a journalist and photojournalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper's, the New Republic, the New York Observer, Ms., McCall's,Travel & Leisure, Frequent Flyer, and many other websites and publications. Eleanor is the author of two nonfiction books: a memoir, "Whither Thou Goest: The Story of An Uprooted Wife," acclaimed by Business Week for its insights into corporate life; and "In Good Company: 125 Years At The Heinz Table," a unique view of a quintessential American company. Both books were promoted with national radio and television appearances. Eleanor served as staff speechwriter to the Chairman and CEO of American Express. In 1983, she founded Eleanor Foa Associates (www.eleanorfoa.com). It provides a wide variety of corporate services, including annual reports, executive speeches, corporate histories and marketing materials for profit and not-for-profit organizations. Eleanor is past president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), received speechwriting awards from IABC, and was awarded literary residencies at Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA). She resides in Manhattan. View All Posts By Eleanor Foa Dienstag »
MJ Hanley-Goff was a frequent contributor to Long Island’s Newsday for ten years before moving to upstate New York in 2000. She immediately began contributing to the Times Herald-Record where she continues to write on health and area events. Her work has appeared in many publications including Hudson Valley Magazine, AAA’s Car & Travel magazine, and Orange Magazine. In 2007, she self-published "The Bench," her first novel. She recently ended a stint as editor of a parenting magazine as she realized her true calling: writer. Having founded MJWRITES, INC, she is now at work on two books, “How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times: No Experience Necessary,” and “PR Tips and Secrets.” She is thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to write for Woman Around Town, and the amazing adventures it offers. View All Posts By MJ Hanley-Goff »
Winnefred Ann Frolik (Winnie for short) was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She completed the International Baccleareate program at Schenley High School and then attended the University of Pittsburgh where she completed a double major in English Literature and Creative Writing. After graduation she spent a number of years working in the non-profit sector and it was during that phase in her life she moved to D.C. Winnie co-wrote a book on women in the U.S. Senate with Billy Herzig. She enrolled in a baking program in culinary school and worked in food services for a while. She currently works in personal services while writing for Woman Around Town and doing other freelance writing projects including feeble personal attempts at fiction. Her brother is a reporter in Dayton, Ohio so clearly there are strong writing genes in the family. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with two demanding cats. View All Posts By Winnefred Ann Frolik »
Becky Langton is a professional comedian and actress for over 15 years. She began her entertainment career working at the prestigious Creative Artists Agency. Knowing her true calling to be on the performance side of the business, she trained with The Groundlings in Los Angeles and with the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in New York. Becky has performed stand-up comedy in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and London. As well as spreading laughter first hand, she went on to teach stand-up at The American Comedy Institute, William Paterson University and The South Orange /Maplewood Adult School. When she is not performing in the city, Becky is currently instructing a stand-up comedy course for children in the New York and New Jersey areas. She is the proud mom of three children who she says are the “greatest and most inspirational productions” she could have ever hoped for. View All Posts By Becky Langton »
Tamara Moscowitz is a writer on art, design, and home décor for digital and print media. Starting out as a features writer for Florida Designers Review and Florida Design she transitioned to online magazines that include elledecor.com, designintell/vandm.com, and creativeabode.com. Currently, in addition to contributing articles to Woman Around Town she also writes for InteriorDesign.net. She was Founder and Managing Editor of “The Jewish Experience,” a magazine published under the auspices of the Center for Jewish History one of several undertakings as director of communications. As a book publicist she freelanced at Harcourt, among others, planning press and publicity activities for foreign authors. Her long association with PEN American Center, the international writers organization involved fundraising events and marketing literary forums. View All Posts By Tamara Moscowitz »
Jason Veduccio is a writer, speaker and business entrepreneur. He uses his own blend of strategic philosophy and humor to help others increase value in their businesses and in their lives. While creating full-experience solutions in education and marketing, he has developed a special insight into human behavior, which he passes along to his clients and colleagues. After starting his own creative studio, he published his first book, The New American Dreamer: How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy. He frequently guest speaks at events and is active in helping under served communities. View All Posts By Jason Veduccio »
Marina began her writing career after raising her four children and returning to college at Columbia University's School of General Studies. She currently writes for Broadwayworld.com, TAPinto in New Jersey and the Hemlock News in Pennsylvania. Marina and her husband Chuck enjoy the rich cultural experiences in the greater metropolitan area. Marina is delighted to contribute to Woman About Town. View All Posts By Marina P. Kennedy »
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