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Lifting Girls Up Gala

About the Honorees and Performers

About the Honorees

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Thasunda Brown Duckett
President and CEO, TIAA

Thasunda Brown Duckett is President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA, a Fortune 100 provider of secure retirements and outcome-focused investment solutions to millions of people working in higher education, healthcare and other mission-driven organizations. As TIAA’s CEO, Duckett leads a company whose mission is defined by financial inclusion and opportunity – goals and values she has upheld throughout her career. 

Duckett joined TIAA after serving as Chief Executive Officer of Chase Consumer Banking, where she oversaw a banking network with more than $600 billion in deposits and 50,000 employees. Previously, she was the CEO of Chase Auto Finance, one of the leading U.S. providers of auto financing, and National Retail Sales Executive for Chase Mortgage Banking, where she managed 4,000 mortgage bankers. Earlier in her career, she was a Director of Emerging Markets at Fannie Mae, where she led the implementation of national strategies designed to increase homeownership among Black and Hispanic Americans.  

Duckett serves on the boards of NIKE, Inc., Brex Inc., Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Sesame Workshop, National Medal of Honor Museum, Economic Club of New York, University of Houston Board of Visitors and Dean’s Advisory Board for the Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business. Member of the Executive Leadership Council, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Jack and Jill of America Inc. 


She founded the Otis and Rosie Brown Foundation, in honor of her parents, to recognize and reward people who use ordinary means to empower and uplift their community in extraordinary ways. She is passionate about helping communities of color close achievement gaps in wealth creation, educational outcomes and career success. 

Duckett grew up in Texas and lives in Connecticut with her husband and four children. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Houston and an MBA from Baylor University.

Thasunda Brown Duckett

La La Anthony
Actress, Producer, and Philanthropist

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La La Anthony is an actress, producer, New York Times best-selling author and entrepreneur. La La is best known for her role as Lakeisha Grant on the hit show Power, which wrapped its sixth and final season on Starz in 2020. La La has since joined the cast of SHOWTIME’s The Chi and announced that she will be starring in indie drama Nine Bullets with Lena Headey and Sam Worthington. Additionally, she will also be appearing in the upcoming seasons of Black Mafia Family (Starz), Wu Tang: An American Saga (Hulu), animated comedy The Freak Brothers (Tubi) and starring opposite Gabrielle Union in the recently announced Netflix feature film, The Perfect Find


Adding to her producing credits, La La has teamed up with Issa Rae to executive produce the forthcoming horror comedy for Universal Pictures, Juju, in addition to executive producing a project about the life of Cyntoia Brown alongside 50 Cent for Starz. La La made her Broadway producing debut in 2016 with Tony-nominated Eclipsed, starring Lupita Nyong’o, which made history as the first all-female, all-Black show on Broadway. 


La La has also written two New York Times best-selling books, The Love Playbook, which she is adapting into a TV series, and The Power Playbook


She began her entertainment career in radio at the age of 16 at Atlanta’s Hot 97 station. Following a brief internship while still in high school, she was given her own show, the wildly popular Future Flavas, alongside rapper/actor Ludacris. In 2001, she joined MTV and became the network’s premiere talent, co-hosting the original TRL and Direct Effect.

Beatrice Dixon
Founder & CEO, The Honey Pot Company

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Beatrice Dixon began The Honey Pot Company in 2014 after a vivid dream from an ancestor, who inspired her to create a line of plant-based feminine hygiene products offering women a healthy femining carealternative to feminine care that is free of chemicals, parabens, carcinogens and sulfates. The Honey Pot Company's products are available nationwide at stores such as Target, Walmart, CVS, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. 

Ms. Dixon has received the Sundial and Unilever’s multimillion-dollar New Voices fund, and was one of the first 40 women of color to raise over one million dollars in venture capital. She has been featured in T -Pain's School of Business, BuzzFeed's Ladylike series, Today Show, CNN, The New York Times, Entrepreneur, ELLE, and ESSENCE. Most recently, Ms. Dixon was recognized by Goldman Sachs as one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2021 at its Builders + Innovators Summit, Worth’s Worthy 100, Forbes' Top 100 Female Founders, and Inc. Magazine’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs.


The Honey Pot Company won a CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women’s) Beauty Creator Award in 2021, an ESSENCE Best in Black Beauty Award and a WWD Beauty Inc. Wellness Award. Ms. Dixon also hosts “Your Next Move”, a Capital One Business and Inc. Magazine interview series in which she interviews other successful founders.

Janice Reals Ellig
CEO, Ellig Group

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Janice Reals Ellig is CEO of Ellig Group, a game changing firm whose focus is Reimagining Search by increasing the placement of women and diverse candidates in the executive suite and on corporate boards. Named by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of “The World’s Most Influential Headhunters,” Janice has 20 years prior experience in corporate America, including Pfizer, Citibank and Ambac Financial Group, which she helped take public.

As the co-author of two books, Driving the Career Highway and What Every Successful Women Knows, Janice is a frequent media guest, writes numerous articles and moderates discussions focused on enhancing gender representation in the boardroom and establishing DEI in the DNA of all companies.

Janice is Past President of the Women’s Forum of New York and Founder and Chair of its Breakfast of Corporate Champions, an event Janice continues to spearhead honoring companies committed to board diversity and encouraging CEOs to sponsor board-ready women for the Women’s Forum database. Janice is the Chair of the University of Iowa Center for Advancement; National YMCA Board; Past Chair of the YMCA Board of Greater NY, and member of the Economic Club of NY; and 2022 recipient of the Alum of the Year award at the Tippie School of Business, University of Iowa.

About the Host


Abbi Crutchfield
Host, Hulu's Up Early Tonight
Actor, Writer, Comedian

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Abbi Crutchfield is the host of Up Early Tonight on Hulu. You have seen her on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Comedy Central, and as the host of You Can Do Better on TruTV. She has been a staple of the NYC stand-up scene and has toured nationally.

About the Performers


Arielle Jacobs
Actress, Broadway show Between the Lines

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Arielle Jacobs is a New York City based Broadway actress. She stars in the upcoming Broadway musical Between the Lines, and most recently was seen as Princess Jasmine in the original Australian company of Disney’s Broadway hit musical Aladdin, and as Nessarose in the Broadway cast of Wicked. She also starred on Broadway as Nina Rosario in the four-time Tony & Grammy award winning Broadway musical In the Heights, opposite composer/creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. 


Smashworks Dance Company • Ashley McQueen
Founder and Artistic Director

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Smashworks Dance is a New York-based group of movers advocating for human rights through arts activism and site-specific work. 

Founder and Artistic Director Ashley McQueen directs and choreographs for Smashworks Dance, teaches as an Adjunct Professor of Dance at Manhattanville College, performs with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre, and works as a freelance choreographer and teacher.

For additional information and sponsorship inquiries, please contact Shea Harris, by email or by phone 212-531-7620 x406

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