LIVES OF COMMITMENT 2017 HONOREES

We are thrilled to honor these inspiring leaders below.

Dr. Debbie Almontaser

Dr. Debbie Almontaser is the founder and CEO of Bridging Cultures Group Inc. She is also founding and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy. A 25-year veteran of the New York City Public School System, she has taught, trained teachers, and served as a multicultural specialist and diversity adviser. Dr. Almontaser is also the Board President of the Muslim Community Network. She frequently lectures on Arab culture, Islam, cultural diversity, interfaith coalition building and youth leadership. Debbie sits on the Public Advocate Tish James’ Jewish, Muslim and Sikh Task Force to Combat Hate. Dr. Almontaser has been profiled in the New York Times, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, NY 1 and the Daily News. Recently, Dr. Almontaser was a featured speaker at the 2016 National Democratic Convention.

Eileen Fisher

Eileen is the Founder and Chairwoman of EILEEN FISHER, INC., the clothing company known for its simple shapes and beautiful fabrics. Eileen ventured into clothing design in 1984. Her original concept – pieces that work together to help women get dressed easily – still defines the company’s collections, which are sold at 65 EILEEN FISHER stores, over 300 department and specialty stores across the US, UK and Canada as well as 2 Green Eileen stores, which are part of the company’s innovative recycling program. In 2016, the company became the largest women’s fashion company to be certified a B Corporation which voluntarily meets high criterion for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. In addition, the company is the largest B Corp in the state of New York.

Eileen is passionate about business as a movement. In spring 2015, the company announced VISION2020, a bold five-year plan that addresses sustainability and human rights. In keeping with Eileen’s belief in collaboration, VISION2020 calls for partnering with other brands to shift the fashion industry.

In 2015, Eileen also launched the Eileen Fisher Learning Lab where employees and the public are invited to embark on journeys of inquiry to explore purpose, mindfulness and embodiment through a variety of workshops and events.

Eileen was presented Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP)’s Force for Good Award in February 2016. In October 2015, Fashion Group International honored Fisher with its prestigious Sustainability Award, and in 2015, she was the recipient of the Riverkeeper Award as well as BF+DA’s Corporate Leadership in Advancing Sustainability Award. Among other honors received are the 2012 Leaders of Change Award from the Global Conference for Social Change and the Board of Directors Award from the Metropolitan New York Chapter of the US National Committee for UN Women. She is a 2012 inductee into the Social Venture Network Hall of Fame and a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Lyla June

Lyla June is an Original Caretakers Fellow at the Center for Earth Ethics for her activism in protecting Native American lands and the Culture of Indigenous people. She is a musician, poet, anthropologist, educator, community organizer and public speaker. Her passion is working with youth and Indigenous emerging leaders to give voice to peace and prayer.

Raised in Taos, New Mexico, Lyla is a descendent of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) lineages. She is a co-founder of The Taos Peace and Reconciliation Council, which works to heal intergenerational trauma and ethnic division in northern New Mexico. She is a Walker within the Nihigaal Bee Iiná Movement, a 1,000-mile prayer walk through Diné Tah (the Navajo homeland) whose purpose is to educate others on the exploitation of Diné land and people by the uranium, coal, and oil and gas industries. She is the lead organizer of the Black Hill Unity Concert, which gathers native and non-native musicians to pray for the return of Guardianship of the Black Hills to the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota Nations. Lyla is also the founder of the Regeneration Festival, an annual celebration of children that occurs in 13 countries around the world every September.

In 2012, Lyla graduated with honors from Stanford University with a degree in Environmental Anthropology. She currently lives in Diné Tah, the Navajo ancestral homeland that spans New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. She shares that she ultimately attributes any achievements to Creator who gave her the tools and resources she uses to serve humanity.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City. She was installed as CBST’s first rabbi in 1992, arriving at the height of the AIDS crisis. She guided the congregation through a period of loss and change and CBST is now the world’s largest LGBTQ synagogue.

Rabbi Kleinbaum is a powerful U.S. and global voice in the movement for equality and justice for people of all sexual and gender identities, and a champion of progressive values. She is recognized by Newsweek magazine as one of the 50 most influential Rabbis in the U.S. and recognized by Huffington Post as one of Top 10 Women Religious Leaders in America.

Rev. Eboni Marshall Turman, Ph.D.

Dr. Turman is Assistant Professor of Theology and African American Religion at Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, CT. She formerly served as Assistant Research Professor of Theological Ethics, Black Church Studies, and African & African American Studies and Director of the Office of Black Church Studies at Duke University Divinity School.

An author, ordained minister, professor, and public theologian, the Reverend Dr. Marshall Turman is a refreshing addition to our most pressing national discussions of faith, race and gender. With a decidedly womanist point of view, hers stands out as one of very few scholarly millennial voices offering moral perspective on issues facing the Black community.
At a time in our history when the Black church and Black lives are once again under constant siege, Dr. Turman has committed her research, scholarship and platform to a nuanced exploration of the most marginalized among us.

A trailblazer in the church and academy, her pioneering spirit has earned her many rare distinctions. She was the youngest woman to be named Assistant Minister of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City (where she served for ten years), and the second woman to preside over the ordinances in its 208-year history; she is the only womanist theological ethicist on the faculty at Yale University’s Divinity School; one of Ebony Magazine’s Young Faith Leaders in the Black Community; included on the Network Journal’s prestigious 40 Under 40 List; and recently named as one of the “Top 5 Young Preachers in America” by ROHO.

Sharon Prince

Sharon Prince is the President of Grace Farms Foundation, a private operating foundation established in New Canaan, Connecticut, to enhance lives through engagement with nature, arts, justice, community, and faith.

Ms. Prince spearheaded the vision for Grace Farms and its accompanying River building, designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning firm SANAA. Since opening in October 2015, Grace Farms has garnered several awards, including the AIA National 2017 Architecture Honor Award and the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize from the Illinois Institute of Technology, where she participated in the symposium Reimagining the Metropolis.

In 2016, she hosted an international convening with the United Nations University entitled Fighting Human Trafficking in Conflict, which resulted in a published report to the United Nations Security Council with ten ideas for action.

She also serves on the Board of Next General Nepal, invests in women-led startups, and supports initiatives to end modern day slavery.