Each year, West Side Spirit, the largest community newspaper on the West Side of Manhattan, pauses to salute dozens of New Yorkers whose accomplishments deserve to be highlighted.
We call our civic awards the Westys, which stands for West Side Spirit Thanks You.
The requirements to be considered for a Westy are simple. The awards go to New Yorkers who live or work in the area and whose accomplishments help improve the neighborhood. Nominations are made by prominent West Siders, by other Spirit readers and by our editorial staff. The editors and I narrow the lists in each category and select a handful of nominees to honor in person and in the pages of this newspaper.
We hope you enjoy reading about these accomplished neighbors in the following pages, and we look forward to hearing more about their achievements in the coming year.
President & CEO
The Honorable Westy Advisory Board
Barbara Adler, executive director of the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), has lived on the Upper West Side for more than 45 years and raised her three grown children there. She worked as an art director in publishing for years before becoming a freelance illustrator and graphic artist, but was inspired to go back to work full-time when the Columbus Avenue BID formed more than 10 years ago. As a member of Community Board 7 for more than 20 years, Adler was able to apply her skills and knowledge of the neighborhood to her job, which she still loves. As sponsors of the very successful New Taste of the Upper West Side event, her job is always challenging, but very rewarding.
Behind every politician is a campaign button. And on the West Side, behind every campaign button is Mort Berkowitz, president of Bold Concepts Unlimited.
Berkowitz also heads up Mort and Ray Productions, which helps nonprofit organizations sponsor and produce street festivals. Between April and October, Mort and Ray Productions will oversee at least 13 festivals, many on Broadway and the Upper West Side, as well as the Feast of San Gennaro.
Since 1970, Berkowitz has helped organize dozens of block associations on the West Side and he is co-founder of the Federation of West Side Block Associations. He was community affairs director of the Citizens Committee for New York City from 1975 to 1983. Berkowitz is also on the board of directors of the Westside Crime Prevention Program and is a member of his co-op board.
Kathleen McGovern Kearns
Kathleen McGovern Kearns is the public face of some of the best hospitals in the world. As senior vice president of development and external affairs for Continuum Health Partners, McGovern Kearns is responsible for all external relations and fundraising for the hospital system. The sixth largest employer in New York, Continuum is the parent company of Beth Israel Medical Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Medical Center, Long Island College Hospital and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.
McGovern Kearns was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the Workforce Investment Board of the City of New York, and she chairs its strategic planning committee.
Lisa Linden is one of the top public relations professionals in the field, having helped scores of clients to define themselves, communicate effectively, build their brands and identities, and develop strategies that yield high-profile, high-impact publicity.
With more than 25 years of experience in the private and public sectors, she has advised high-profile political figures, having held key consulting and staff positions on presidential, congressional and statewide campaigns. As CEO of Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Inc., she has developed and implemented results-oriented public relations programs for a diverse group of clients, including top celebrities and entrepreneurs, prominent public and private companies and non-profits.
Prior to becoming CEO of her firm, she was a senior vice president at Howard J. Rubenstein Associates, Inc. Prior to that, she was deputy chief of staff and press secretary to State Sen. Roy Goodman.
Howard J. Rubenstein
Howard J. Rubenstein devotes his life to providing communications advice and wise counsel to his many clients. That’s how it is when you’re a world-famous public relations executive.
In 1954, he founded Rubenstein Associates, which has built a reputation for a “strategic, results-oriented” approach to media relations.
The group, with a strong record of achievement in public relations, has more than 450 clients served by a staff of more than 200. The firm manages everything from crises to financial relations and serves as a counselor when it comes to image management and corporate citizenship.
The client list includes global corporations, media and entertainment companies, sports teams, financial services organizations, real estate concerns, educational and cultural institutions, law firms, healthcare providers, not-for-profit organizations, business executives and public figures.
Some of Rubenstein’s signature accounts include Rupert Murdoch and News Corp., the New York Yankees, Tribeca Film Festival, Larry Silverstein and the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, BMW, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Late Night with David Letterman and Time Inc.
Westsider of the Year: Betsy Gotbaum
Bravest & Finest: Kathleen O’Reilly
Bravest & Finest: Police Officer Clark Tiger
The Charity List: Colleen Jackson
The Clergy: Dr. James F. Karpen and Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon
Community Builders: Paul S. Bunten
Community Builders: Batya Lewton
Community Builders: Richard Emery and Erika Petersen
The Culture Club: Thomas Mellins
The Educators: Dr. Virginia Pepe
The Educators: Teresa Arboleda
The Educators: Brian Greene
Entrepreneurs: James Weeks and Dr. Ina Obernesser
Entrepreneurs: Zachary Rubin
HealthCare Pros: Dr. Brenda Matti
HealthCare Pros: Jed Levine
Real Estate Royalty: Leonard Litwin
Real Estate Royalty: David L. Picket
Real Estate Royalty: Joe O. Brusco
Restaurateurs: Bill Telepan
Restaurateurs: Chander Malik
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