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Groups Celebrate Empowerment at Two Forums

Updated: May 1, 2022

By Christine Sampson

A pair of upcoming events aimed at empowering young women to achieve their fullest potential will bring quite a few extremely accomplished women to Sag Harbor and East Hampton on Friday and Saturday.

At the heart of the mission of the Pierson Women’s Issues Club is exploring feminism. Working toward that goal, the club will host a panel on Friday at the high school in an event titled “Feminism Now: Issues, Ideas and Inspiration.”

Liz Abzug, who founded the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute in honor of her mother, the late New York State Congresswoman Bella S. Abzug, will give the keynote address and moderate a panel discussion.

The keynote speech will be “about women, power and politics, and how we need to have young women to grab the mantle of leadership in the 21st century,” Ms. Abzug, a part-time Sag Harbor resident, said in an interview. “They need to complete our unfinished business.”

The panel will include Kathleen King, who built Tate’s Bake Shop — now a nationally known cookie brand — from the ground up, beginning in 1980 in North Sea. Her cookies were voted the number-one cookie in America in 2011 by Consumer Reports, and are found on grocery store shelves across the United States. Joining Ms. King on the panel will be Minerva Perez, the executive director of Organización Latino-Americana (OLA) of Eastern Long Island, which focuses on advocacy, education, the arts and bridging relationships between Latino and non-Latino communities.

April Gornik, an internationally acclaimed artist who calls North Haven home, will also be a panelist. Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of American Art and more. She is also a dedicated community volunteer and activist, most recently leading efforts for the Sag Harbor Partnership to purchase the Sag Harbor Cinema property damaged during the December 16 Main Street fire. Katie Lee, a celebrity chef and co-host on the Food Network show “The Kitchen,” is the final Pierson panelist. Ms. Lee has authored numerous cookbooks and a novel, and is active in the organizations Feeding America and 96 Elephants.

The Pierson panel will begin at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a meet-and-greet at 9 p.m. Baked goods made by club members with the help of Ms. King will be served at the event.

On Saturday at Guild Hall, the nonprofit organization i-tri will host a “Women in Science” panel that begins at 12:30 p.m. with a special screening of the film “Hidden Figures.”

To be moderated by Dr. Max Gomez, a medical correspondent for CBS News, the i-tri panel will include six scientists, researchers and teachers whose lists of accomplishments are long: Brooke Phillips, a Ph.D. student at Stony Brook University who is researching the planet Mars and its potential for habitability; Jennifer Gatz, who teaches Advanced Placement biology and research in the Patchogue-Medford School District; Dr. Bonita London, a social and personality psychologist whose expertise is in the factors influencing success among historically underrepresented groups on the basis of gender, race, and sexual orientation; Dr. Nancy Hollingsworth, a genetic researcher and professor at Stony Brook University; Gitte Pedersen, a chemical engineer and entrepreneur who has worked for the Danish government and many biotech companies; and Kimberly Barbour, the marine program outreach manager who oversees the Back to the Bays Initiative and Marine Meadows Program for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.

Both events are open to the public. For more information on the Pierson event, visit For more information on the i-tri event, visit

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