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2024 Lifting Girls Up Gala

About the 2024 Strong, Smart & Bold Leadership Honorees

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Annette Bening

Academy Award Nominated Actress and Activist

Award presented by Tony Award Winning Actor, Composer and Singer,  Brian Stokes Mitchell

Annette Bening is a Tony Award and five-time Academy Award nominee, and two-time Golden Globe,and Screen Actors Guild Award winner. Most recently, she appeared in Nyad, directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, and Poolman, alongside Danny DeVito and directed by/co-starring Chris Pine. Bening will soon be seen in Peacock ́s mini series, Apples Never Fall.


Additional film credits include Jerry and Marge Go Large, Death on the Nile, Hope Gap, The Report, Georgetown, Life Itself, The Seagull, Captain Marvel, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, 20th Century Women, Rules Don’t Apply, Danny Collins, The Search, The Face of Love, Ruby Sparks, Girl Most Likely, Ginger & Rosa, The Kids Are Alright, Mother and Child, Being Julia, American Beauty, In Dreams, The Siege, The American President, Mars Attacks!, Richard III, Love Affair, Bugsy, Regarding Henry, The Grifters, Guilty by Suspicion, Valmont, Postcards from the Edge, and The Great Outdoors.


On stage, Bening was last seen in Jack O’Brien’s Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s classic All My Sons alongside Tracy Letts, for which she earned a Tony Award nomination. Previous stage credits include: Public Theater’s 2014 Shakespeare in the Park production of King LearRuth Draper Monologues at Geffen Playhouse; Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Mark Taper Forum; Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads at Tiffany Theater; Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler at Geffen Playhouse; and Medea at UCLA. Bening also received a Tony Award nomination and won the Clarence Derwent Award for Outstanding Debut Performance of the Season for her role in Coastal Disturbances


Bening graduated from San Francisco State University and trained at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco until she joined the acting company.

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Donna Vieira

Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Sallie Mae

In this role, Donna oversees Sallie Mae’s top line revenue growth, product, and pricing as well as distribution, marketing, customer and digital experience, and brand.

Donna joined Sallie Mae in 2019 as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Prior to joining Sallie Mae, Donna served as chief marketing officer for consumer banking and wealth management at JPMorgan Chase. There, she led the development of strategic marketing and brand initiatives to grow deposit and investment balances and customer relationships. Prior to that, Donna served as product and marketing chief for Chase business banking, where she focused on product and innovation development. She has also held executive leadership roles at Dun & Bradstreet, Merrill Lynch, and American Express.

"Education is the foundation for success, and nobody can take it away from you. It’s also the foundation for our mission here at Sallie Mae – power confidence for students as they begin their unique journey. We are focused on helping our customers achieve access and complete their higher education, overcoming barriers to success, and striving to empower financial independence."

Donna was appointed by Delaware Governor John Carney to Chair of the Office of the Treasurer’s Plans Management Board — helping families plan and save for post-secondary education. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Choice Hotels International. A staunch supporter of athletics and causes that support individuals and families with disabilities, she is also an active volunteer with Special Olympics Delaware.

Donna has been recognized multiple times by Savoy Magazine as one of the “Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America.” She is also a member of The Executive Leadership Council, the pre-eminent membership organization committed to increasing the number of black executives globally.

Donna earned a Bachelor of Commerce from Mount Allison University, Canada, and a Master of Business Administration from Pace University.

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Doris P. Meister

Chairman & CEO, Wilmington Trust Bank and Wilmington Trust, N.A.

Doris oversees M&T Bank’s wealth management business and is Chairman and CEO of Wilmington Trust Company and Wilmington Trust, N.A. She is also Senior Executive Vice President of M&T Bank Corporation and a member of its Management Committee.

Doris is a financial services executive with four decades of experience, with a particular focus on serving wealthy individuals and not-for-profits. Doris is known for her keen intellect, empathy, and deep understanding of global capital markets and the regulatory landscape.  She brings a broad and long-term perspective on the changing needs of high-net-worth individuals and families, foundations, and endowments. She thrives in purpose-driven environments, producing significant and sustainable results for all stakeholders.

Since joining the firm, Doris has driven significant transformational change, spearheaded growth initiatives, and ultimately positioned Wilmington Trust as one of the country's leading wealth management firms and a company of choice for corporate transactions and structures.

Before joining Wilmington Trust in 2016, Doris served as Co-President of U.S. Markets for BNY Mellon Wealth Management, responsible for significant initiatives to scale the business; was Managing Director of the New York office of Bernstein Global Wealth Management, its most prominent and longest-standing office; and founded and headed the Private Banking and Investment Group at Merrill Lynch, one of its most successful businesses.  Earlier in her career, she was a member of the Financial Institutions Group at McKinsey & Company.

Doris is a member of two preeminent women’s organizations: the Committee of 200, where she is on the Executive Committee of the Board, and The Women’s Forum of New York, where she served as president. Doris is on the Advisory Council for the Women’s Business Collaborative. She is also a member of the Economic Club of New York.

Barron's recently recognized Doris as one of the Top 10 Women in Wealth Management and a Top 100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance (2023)*. She holds a master’s degree in finance and marketing from The University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Smith College.

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Priscilla Sims Brown

CEO & President, Amalgamated Bank

Priscilla Sims Brown is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Amalgamated Bank. Ms. Brown is a multi-national board director and C-suite executive with 30 years of financial services experience. Prior to joining Amalgamated Bank she was the Group Executive for Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, where she focused on rebuilding trust and pride in the bank with direct responsibility for end-to-end marketing, branding, stakeholder insights, government and public affairs, and environment and social policy.

Prior to Commonwealth Bank, Ms. Brown held senior positions at AXA Financial, Inc., Sun Life Financial, and Lincoln Financial Group. She has advised several digital startups and served as the Chief Executive Officer of, a digital health insurance broker.

She was a member of the AXA Financial US Executive Committee, serving as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), where she directed all aspects of US marketing and led global digital marketing initiatives. Prior to AXA Financial, Ms. Brown served as CMO at AmeriHealth/Caritas, where she developed a new go-to-market strategy for the largest Blue Cross/Blue Shield Medicaid company in response to the Affordable Care Act. At Sun Life, Ms. Brown served as CMO and Chief Strategist, where she negotiated and managed Sun Life Stadium naming rights, Pro Bowl, Super Bowl and other major events with the Miami Dolphins NFL football team.

During her 18-year tenure at Lincoln Financial Group, Ms. Brown held numerous leadership positions where she integrated acquired companies, established new businesses and led the consumer brand. She established the firm’s first investment management profit center, targeting midsized insurance companies. She also started and chaired Lincoln’s first family of standalone mutual funds and served as president of the broker-dealer. Ms. Brown also led the investor relations function, before expanding her responsibilities to include corporate and strategic marketing.


For the past three years, she served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (‘TIAA’), a US Fortune 100 financial services firm with over $1.2 trillion in assets under management. She served on the TIAA Investment, Nominating and Governance, and Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility committees, as well as Trustee and CEO selection subcommittees.

Ms. Brown’s personal and professional experiences have enabled her to reach across cultural boundaries to ensure collaboration among diverse teams and drive successful outcomes for organizations.



Brian Stokes Mitchell

Tony Award Winning Actor, Composer, and Singer

Brian Stokes Mitchell is an American actor, composer, and singer. A powerful baritone, he is one of the central leading men of the Broadway theater. He has received two Tony Awards, Drama Desk, Broadway World and Outer Critics Circle Awards and is a Grammy Award nominee. He has numerous film and television credits and serves as Leadership Council Chair of the Entertainment Community Fund.

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