WHITE PLAINS, NY, November 14, 2023 — In a nod to the legacy of the late Lillian Vernon, a famed Westchester entrepreneur and trailblazer known for her commitment to community, the Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC) has named its 2023 Lillian Vernon Awards winners. Receiving the prestigious honor this year, at a reception in Peekskill, were Filomena Fanelli, CEO and founder of Impact PR & Communications in Poughkeepsie, and Amy Hall, owner of Hudson Valley Books for Humanity in Ossining.
Lillian Vernon’s son, David Hochberg, was on hand for the ceremony and to present the awards, alongside WEDC CEO Nikki A. Hahn. As part of the event, attendees were invited to bring entrepreneur- or business-related books to donate to WEDC’s Lillian Vernon Business Lending Library, which equips WEDC program participants with valuable resources.
“Each year we recognize women business owners who, like my mother, know that true success means giving back generously to your community,” said Hochberg. “Filomena and Amy embody that spirit.”
“Both honorees show that it’s possible to innovate as entrepreneurs, while also paying it forward and empowering others,” said Hahn. “WEDC is happy to shine the spotlight on Filomena and Amy and the sizeable impact they’ve had in the Mid-Hudson Valley, Westchester and well beyond.”
The Lillian Vernon Award was named for its first recipient, Lillian Vernon, who began a mail order catalog business in 1951 at her kitchen table in Mount Vernon and grew it into a multimillion-dollar empire and household name. She became equally well-known for her generous donations of funds and merchandise to nonprofits, as well as her keen interest in sharing her business acumen and inspiration with women entrepreneurs.
The Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC) is a 501(c)(3) corporation that empowers women entrepreneurs in Westchester County and the Hudson Valley so they can build successful small businesses through access to traditional business and financial resources. WEDC provides comprehensive, high quality business training programs, one-on-one business and loan counseling, networking opportunities, assistance with loan applications for microloans and crowd funding through Kiva Zip, and MWBE certification assistance in English and Spanish. WEDC’s overarching goal is to build a vibrant community of women business owners, comprised of start-up and established companies. WEDC serves both women and men. For further information, visit www.wedcbiz.org.