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Renewal: An Evening Devoted to the Wellbeing of Women


* Please note, this virtual event will take place in EST *

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Join the Stern Women in Business (SWIB) Alumnae Group for a special evening devoted to the wellbeing of women. The evening will include two consecutive fireside chats with women leaders and experts who will discuss what women are experiencing today that impacts their wellbeing, and what we can do about it. We will also host a short community meditation in between the two sessions as an opportunity to connect more deeply.


  • 6:00 - 6:50 Session 1 - Women's Wellness: The mental health impact of social media and social comparison

    • Batia Wiesenfeld, Andre J.L. Koo Professor of Management and Director of the Business and Society Program

    • Jessica Weiss, President of JMW Consulting (Columbia MBA, '07)

    • Moderated by Raffi Laitamaki, Climate and ESG Solutions Sales at Moody’s (Stern BS, ’21)

  • 6:50 - 7:00 be.still Brain Break

    • Penni Feiner (Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, be.still)

    • Geri Topfer (Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer, be.still)

  • 7:00 - 8:00 Session 2 - Wellbeing & the workplace - It can be lonely At The Top: How Women Leaders Can Avoid Feeling Isolated

    • Lanchi Venator, SVP, Global Finance Strategy & Operations, Chief of Staff to the CFO, The Estēe Lauder Companies Inc. (Stern MBA, '00)

    • Cathy Choi President and CEO of BULBRITE (Stern MBA, '96)


Speaker Bios:

Batia Wiesenfeld picture
Batia Wiesenfeld is the Andre J.L. Koo Professor of Management and Director, Business & Society Program at the Stern School of Business, New York University. She studies organizational change and the evolving nature of work and organizations, especially related to digital technology (e.g., remote work, AI), with an emphasis on employee engagement and flourishing. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Management, served on the Board of Governors, as Senior Editor of Organization Science, and currently serves on multiple editorial boards. She coaches executives and consults on organizational change in corporate and non-profit settings.

Lanchi Venator picture
Lanchi Venator is currently Senior Vice President of Global Finance & Strategy and Chief of Staff to the EVP & CFO of The Estee Lauder Companies effective as of 2017. Her responsibilities include overseeing the development of the function’s three year operational plan, leading the Finance Analytics Center of Excellence (COEs) program office and operations, including direct oversight for Strategic Price Planning & Analytics, Wholesale Commercial Investments, leading the Finance Leadership rotation program for MBAs and undergrads, providing program office management for key initiatives across the global finance teams, coordinating functional learning and development, process improvement initiatives, recruiting and supporting inclusion and diversity initiatives.  Ms. Venator also acts as the Chief of Staff to Ms. Tracey Travis, Executive Vice President and CFO for the Estee Lauder Companies. In this capacity, Ms. Venator is responsible for managing the finance
leadership team agenda, the finance operating and planning committee, functional and CFO communications and ad hoc analyses to support the CFO Agenda and Board of Director updates.

Previously, Ms. Venator was Vice President and Head of Global Strategic Pricing for the Estee Lauder Companies from 2012 – 2017. In this role, Ms. Venator oversaw the annual strategic planning process to review brand price positioning in all markets, price positioning for key new product launches and competitive review of peer pricing strategies. She was also responsible for ensuring the delivery of financial benefits from price adjustments. In both of her roles she has successfully led and managed teams globally, supported multiple corporate initiatives, realized financial targets, and delivered process improvements and efficiencies.

Ms. Venator was with Avon Products Inc. from 2008-2012 as Head of North America Strategic Planning and Key Initiatives, with responsibilities for the annual strategic plan, marketing and sales analytics, marketing process restructuring and regional commercial strategies. From 2005 to 2008, Ms. Venator was at American Express, where she held a variety of roles, including head of merchant pricing strategy for Travel and Entertainment Industry and industries new to credit card acceptance.

Prior to American Express, Ms. Venator was a consultant with A.T. Kearney, a management consulting firm based in New York City from 2000 – 2005.

Prior to moving to New York City, Ms. Venator lived and worked in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Germany – studying and working in a variety of roles, including market research consultant for multinational consumer products firms and Asia sales and distribution for art book publishers.

Ms. Venator has a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies and Economics from the University of California, Davis and an MBA in Finance and Management from the Stern School of Business, New York University.

Cathy Choi Headshot
Cathy Choi is President and CEO of BULBRITE, a leading manufacturer and supplier of energy-efficient lighting solutions.  Founded 50 years ago by her parents, Bulbrite is a family-owned business renowned for its commitment to innovation, education and exceptional service.  Choi oversees all aspects of the company’s operations including sales, marketing, operations, manufacturing and product development. 
Choi has expanded sales and services to a broader community and distributor base throughout North America.  She has helped expand the breadth of the company's product line to consumer favorites like LED decorative bulbs and patio string lights as well as a new line of smart bulbs, Bulbrite Solana® that has been featured in the Washington Post, Dwell, House Beautiful and Apartment Therapy.  

Recipient of the 2021 Women in Lighting Leadership Award and Residential Lighting Industry Leadership Award in 2010, Choi is an active leader in the lighting industry, current serving as the Co-Chair of the American Lighting Association (ALA) Women in Lighting Committee.  She is an ALA Certified Lighting Specialist and requires that her team receives ALA certifications to provide the highest level of industry expertise and customer service.

A sought-after industry expert and leadership speaker, Choi was recognized as a Woman of Influence in 2013 by the NJ Commerce and Industry Association.  Choi has put an intentional focus on the company’s culture, which has been featured in the New York Times Corner office.  In 2021, Bulbrite was featured in Forbes as an AAPI business shaping the country.  Bulbrite has also won the NJ Family Business of the Year Award in 2015, NJ Corporate Culture Award in 2016 and Best and Brightest Companies to Work for Award in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Choi has an MBA from New York University and a BA from Cornell University.  She serves as a NYU Stern Alumni Council member and is Co-Chair of the NYU Stern Women in Business (SWIB) Alumnae Group.  She also serves on the President’s Council for Cornell Women (PCCW) and sits on several corporate boards for both public and private companies.  She supports her local community by serving as a Board of Director for the Ridgewood Public Library Foundation.  She lives in Ridgewood, NJ with her husband, two teenage daughters and pandemic “puppy”.

Geri Topfer Headshot
Geri Topfer is a Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer of be.still. Geri is a seasoned professional with a solid spiritual foundation and an entrepreneurial mindset. She is a certified educator and inspirational speaker who passionately touts the virtues of integrative medicine and holistic healing. As Founder and President of Kula for Karma and leading member of their board of directors, Geri tirelessly advocates for the Kula for Karma mission, establishing strategic and meaningful partnerships with hospital systems, schools, treatment centers, homeless youth and crisis centers and yoga communities. 
Geri has successfully built the organization from infancy to its current national prominence. Despite the many demands of her role, Geri is committed to addressing the stress and burnout epidemic happening in the workplace. Introducing mindfulness in the corporate space, Geri will help shift corporate culture and cultivate an overall sense of whole person health, productivity, and wellbeing. 

Penni Feiner Headshot
Penni Feiner is a Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of be.still. As Executive Director of Kula for Karma, Penni brings passion, drive, and unwavering conviction to everything she does. A leading member of Kula’s innovative team, Penni will tell you without a moment’s hesitation, that it is an honor to serve as Kula’s ED. Along with her family, Kula for Karma, and the practice of moment-to-moment awareness, Penni savors each day with grace and gratitude.
As a life- long learner Penni continues to expand her repertoire.  Dedicated to the path of yoga for 17 years, Penni, brings her heartfelt, soulful voice and the practice of Bhakti yoga to life on and off the mat. Known for her exquisite musical talents, Penni integrates sound with movement, encouraging participants to open their hearts and explore their own inner song.
Today, Penni’s commitment to her inner landscape exploration, inspires her drive to bring mindfulness and stress resilience to the corporate space.

Raffi Laitamaki Headshot
Raffi Laitamaki (BS '21) is a graduate from the NYU Stern School of Business with a degree in sustainable business, finance, and public policy. She currently works at Moody’s on the Climate and ESG solutions Sales team. She was a board member of USWIB during her time at Stern and she was the Co-President of Net Impact. She is passionate about therapy and meditation since both of them have changed her life! 

Jessica Weiss Headshot
Jessica Weiss (Columbia University MBA, '07) is the President of JMW Consulting, and has spent the last 15 years doing endless research, speaking to thousands of people, all about happiness.

Her work brings positive psychology tools and academic research on how to use them, to organizations across the United States. In her work, Jessica shares powerful information from psychology and neuroscience as well as her own practical experience that shows how happiness leads to success in the workplace.

She has helped thousands of people find more happiness at work and helped leaders and executive teams learn how to lead with the tools necessary to drive productivity, engagement and performance. Her clients include Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Coca Cola, LVMH, Hearst, American Express and more.

Jessica is an expert in leadership, culture and organizational development who understands what it really takes to unlock engagement. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has an MBA from Columbia University.