Student Leadership Network Honors Global Philanthropists and Advocates of Education at Its 13th Annual (Em)Power Breakfast

Donors Include Proskauer, Andrew Farkas, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Fairstead, Estee Lauder Companies, and Paul Weiss

NEW YORK--()--Today, The Student Leadership Network (SL Network), hosts its 13th (Em)Power Breakfast, celebrating the organization’s students and their academic accomplishments. The annual gathering of over 700 guests celebrates the educational achievements of more than 9,000 girls who are impacted by The Young Women’s Leadership Schools (TYWLS) in New York City and 15 Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) affiliate schools nationwide. The event also recognizes business and philanthropic leaders for their continued commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty through equalizing education.

This year’s event honors four distinguished industry leaders who, through their work, empower girls and shine the spotlight on issues that affect young women throughout the world. Following are this year’s honorees:

  • Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode is a development specialist, international NGO expert and human rights activist specializing in women’s and girls’ initiatives. Muhammed-Oyebode is co-founder and CEO of the Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF), and co-founder of the Bring Back our Girls (BBOG) activist group.
  • Gbenga Oyebode is Chairman of Aluko & Oyebode, one of the largest integrated law firms in Nigeria. Oyebode serves on the Global Advisory Council of the African Leadership Academy. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and chairman of Teach for Nigeria. He is a member of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, one of Nigeria’s highest honors, and a recipient of the Belgian royal honor of Knight of the Order of Leopold.
  • Lesley Stahl is a 60 Minutes correspondent, and former Face the Nation moderator and White House correspondent at CBS News. A recipient of Radio Television Digital News Association’s Paul White award for lifetime achievement, Stahl boasts a renowned journalism career that spans more than four decades on both U.S. and foreign-related issues. Stahl is also the author of two books: Reporting Live and New York Times bestseller Becoming Grandma.
  • Brad Ruskin is being honored as this year’s “The Man We Love”. This distinction is bestowed upon a man who is firmly aligned with the mission of Student Leadership Network and has demonstrated steadfast support of the Network’s TYWLS and YWLN affiliate schools. Ruskin is a senior partner at Proskauer Rose LLP and co-chair of its Sports Law Group.

“This annual event underscores our mission at TYWLS to provide young women with the best educational opportunities and resources to develop into the next generation of innovators, change agents, and leaders,” said Ann Tisch, SL Network Founder and President. “Their drive to succeed and outstanding accomplishments, coupled with the continued support from their families and educators, are what make this organization so special.”

Since 2001, TYWLS has helped garner nearly $150 million in scholarships and financial aid for students going to college, and nearly 100% of students graduate each year. TYWLS students also graduate from college at nearly four times the rate of their peers.

“We are extremely appreciative of Aisha, Gbenga, Lesley, and Brad’s contributions and their efforts to leverage the power of education to improve underserved communities throughout the world, setting an incredible example for our students,” added Yolonda Marshall, SL Network’s CEO.

The (Em)Power Breakfast is made possible by support from generous donors including Proskauer, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Fairstead, Estee Lauder Companies, Paul Weiss, Richard Cohen, Andrew Farkas, Fredda Cassell and Jim Maher, and Brad Ruskin.

Past (Em)Power Honorees have included: Tory Burch (Fashion Designer and Philanthropist), Idina Menzel (Tony Award-winning Broadway star), Susan Lyne (Gilt Groupe), Judith Rodin (The Rockefeller Foundation), Jill Beraud (PepsiCo), Thelma Golden (The Studio Museum of Harlem), Yara Shahidi (Actress and Philanthropist), Tracee Ellis Ross (Actress and Philanthropist) and more.

About Student Leadership Network

Student Leadership Network empowers young people from underserved communities to access educational opportunities that prepare them to lead successful lives. With its three pillar programs – The Young Women’s Leadership Schools, CollegeBound Initiative, and Young Women’s Leadership Network – SL Network impacts over 25,000 students nationally through the work being done in 31 New York City public schools and 15 all-girl affiliate schools across the country.

The Young Women’s Leadership Schools (TYWLS) are five New York City public schools grades 6–12 that promote high-quality student learning opportunities in and out of the classroom. Our schools provide a single-sex educational choice for students who are often the first generation in their families to attend college. Students are admitted based on their interest in, and commitment to, obtaining a single-sex college preparatory education. TYWLS are open to girls of all academic abilities. The success of the TYWLS model has inspired dozens of single-sex YWLN affiliate schools to open nationwide including in California, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina and Texas.


Brian Ringel

Release Summary

The Student Leadership Network hosts its 13th (Em)Power Breakfast, celebrating the organization’s students and their academic accomplishments.


Brian Ringel