Over 400 women leaders in business, the nonprofit sector and the arts came together at Cipriani 42nd Street recently for United Way of New York City’s Women’s Leadership Council’s eighth annual Power of Women to Make a Difference Awards Luncheon. The event honored the achievements of outstanding women leaders whose professional accomplishments are matched by their commitment to philanthropy.

The event was hosted by Alina Cho, a renowned journalist and the newly appointed editor-at-large of Ballantine Bantam Dell. MaryAnne Gilmartin, president and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, was honored with the 2014 Woman of Distinction Award. Deanna Mulligan, president and CEO of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, received the 2014 Corporate Leadership Award. Lori Silverbush, a filmmaker and hunger relief advocate, was honored with the 2014 Advocacy Award.

The luncheon highlighted United Way of New York City’s (UWNYC) educational initiatives and the need to support students from “cradle to career.”

Qynasha McCrae from Cobble Hill School of American Studies and Markal Walker from East Brooklyn Community High School spoke about the instrumental role UWNYC has played in keeping them on track to graduate and preparing them for college through the College Readiness Academy.