Photos By: Patrick McMullan

Master Of Ceremonies Jean Shafiroff

Wendy Wade With Nancy Houghton

Jeri Powell
Philanthropist and Author Jean Shafiroff Served as Master of Ceremonies throughout the evening at the 66th Annual New York Junior League Winter Ball at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. The evening also featured an awards presentation by New York Junior League (NYJL) President Suzanne E. Manning, who presented the NYJL Outstanding Sustainer Award to Nancy Houghton and Wendy Wade, and the NYJL Outstanding Volunteer Award to Mary Catherine Burdine, Katie Cook, Nicole Ferrin, Elizabeth Fabsits Pavone, and Kim Essency Pillari. The Riviera Romance themed fundraiser raised more than $530,000 for NYJL Charitable Activities.

Jean Shafiroff With Jessica DeSantes, Jeri Powell And Ashley Ma

Notable attendees included: Jean Shafiroff, Philanthropist, Author and 2018 Winter Ball Master of Ceremonies; Suzanne E. Manning, President, New York Junior League; Kim Essency Pillari; Elizabeth Fabsits Pavone; Nicole Ferrin; Katie Cook; Mary Catherine Burdine; Wendy Wade; and Nancy Houghton.

Jean Shafiroff With Suzanne Manning

Natalie & Eric Ross With Dr. Penny Grant

Mary Catherine Burdine
The Winter Ball was attended by more than 600 guests. Proceeds help support the charitable works of the NYJL. The NYJL has been helping build a brighter tomorrow for children and families in New York City since 1901. Today, the NYJL is more than 2,800 volunteers strong and provides more than 250,000 hours of service to the community each year. The NYJL seeks to strengthen the health and well-being of the children and families of New York through five distinct program areas—Adult Education & Mentoring, Child Health & Welfare, Children’s Education, City Impact, and Culture & the Arts.


Jean Shafiroff, philanthropist, activist, humanitarian, and author of Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life by What You Give, is at the vanguard of a new movement of modern philanthropists. Jean's philanthropy goes beyond financial contributions and includes the gifts of extensive time and knowledge. Through her work, she encourages and seeks to empower all individuals to become philanthropists so that they can build the fulfillment of giving into their lives.

A volunteer fundraiser, leader and spokesperson for several charitable causes, the spectrum of Jean’s philanthropic work includes improving the lives of underserved populations, women’s rights and well-being, health care, animal welfare and resources for children in need, in addition to other causes. Jean serves on the boards of New York City Mission Society, New York Women’s Foundation, French Heritage Society, Couture Council (Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology), Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services (20+ years), Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Honorary Board, Southampton Bath & Tennis Club’s Charitable Foundation, and Global Strays, and is an Ambassador for the American Humane Society.

Widely recognized for her philanthropic work, Jean has been recognized and featured in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Gotham Magazine, The New York Times, Hello, Hola, New York Social Diary, Avenue, Hamptons Magazine, Huffington Post, among others.

Jean works closely with the multiple causes she supports. Each year she chairs numerous galas and hosts events benefiting numerous not-for-profit organizations. She is well-known for her leadership in raising money for many charities, including the Southampton Hospital, New York City Mission Society, New York Women's Foundation and the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation. Jean is often a guest speaker on TV and radio shows throughout the country. The subjects she speaks about include philanthropy, human rights, fashion and animal welfare.

Jean has been honored by several organizations including the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, New York City Mission Society, Youth Counseling League, Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, Surgeons of Hope, The Ellen Hermanson Foundation, Pet Philanthropy Circle, Animal Zone International, and the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation.

Jean holds an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University and a BS in physical therapy from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She has worked both in public finance and private partnerships on Wall Street. Prior to that, she was a physical therapist at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City. Jean is married to Martin Shafiroff, an investment advisor, and together they have two daughters, Jacqueline and Elizabeth, who share their mother’s interest in charitable causes. Jean and her family reside in both New York City and Southampton, NY.


For an NYJL Sustainer, the Outstanding Sustainer award is the highest honor she can receive. Every year, two Sustainers are chosen by a committee of her peers to receive this prestigious honor. Outstanding Sustainers carry on the NYJL mission through continued service both for the NYJL and in the community at large.

Nancy Houghton has spent her life making positive changes in her community. Nancy served on the NYJL’s Early Childhood Development committee for over 18 years. She also worked with the Breast Cancer committee, bringing awareness to the disease. She often made presentations explaining the life-saving importance of self-examinations to employee groups in New York City. She also held roles on the Placement and Thanksgiving Eve Ball committees. Today, Nancy is the Executive Director at Health Advocates for Older People where she uses her training and past experiences with the NYJL to provide 700 free programs each year for more than 1,000 participants.

Wendy Wade has had a long and extraordinary tenure with the NYJL. During her time with the organization Wendy chaired the Provisional Training and Personnel committees. She also chaired the Winter Ball and Thanksgiving Eve Ball committees. Wendy was on the Board of Directors as Secretary where she wrote for the New York Junior League newsletter. Serving on the Board offered Wendy a special opportunity to help plan and shape the future of the NYJL. In 1980, Wendy was named an Outstanding Volunteer. Outside of the Junior League, Wendy was the first Vice President of Health Advocates for Older People and currently holds positions on many boards including NYC Parents in Action, Episcopal Charities and the Garrison Forest School.


The Outstanding Volunteer award is the highest honor that an NYJL active volunteer can receive. Since the Winter Ball’s beginning in 1952, five active volunteers have been selected each year to receive this prestigious honor. Outstanding Volunteers have achieved the highest standard of excellence in volunteerism in advancing the mission of the NYJL.

Mary Catherine Burdine has utilized her professional and philanthropic skills in event planning and fundraising to develop public awareness and donor relations campaigns for the NYJL. Mary Catherine served on both the Fundraising Events Council and the Development Work Group, ultimately holding the position of Fundraising Events Senior Council Head where she helped identify and set goals that ensure her programs added to the fiscal health and overall wellbeing of the NYJL to advance its mission and programming. Mary Catherine has been instrumental in driving fundraising revenue to new heights that has allowed the NYJL to expand its impact and reach. She has now shifted focus to developing future NYJL leaders by serving on the Provisional Training committee.

Katie Cook served on the Playground Improvement Project as a committee member and vice-chair before becoming the co-chair in 2013. She collaborated with the park’s manager to revitalize Tompkins Square Park. Katie also co-chaired the Community Improvement Project committee, where she helped lead the partnership with Union Settlement Association to renovate their multipurpose room making it a sanctuary for youth in East Harlem. As a professional chef, Katie’s expertise was perfectly suited for her position as co-chair of the Cooking and Health Education for Families committee (CHEF). Now the Child Health & Welfare Council Head overseeing CHEF, she is still strongly connected to the committee and is actively working to ensure its success.

Nicole Ferrin joined the NYJL in 2007. Since then, Nicole has touched the communities the organization serves in a variety of ways. She was a member and then co-chair of the Performance of a Lifetime committee where she worked with children at Boys & Girls Harbor, introducing them to live performances at community venues. This work led her to serve as Culture & the Arts Council Head where she oversaw the New York Junior League’s 25th Playground Improvement Project. Nicole is currently the Community Senior Council Head and serves on the Strategic Planning Work Group, helping to shape the organization’s future. Last year she served on the 115th Anniversary Task Force, planning 115 hours of continuous volunteering for Around the Community, Around the Clock. She excelled in coordinating participants including NYJL volunteers and community members to provide 1,500 hours of service.

Elizabeth Fabsits Pavone transferred to the NYJL from the Junior League of Chicago in 2004. Elizabeth joined the Advocates for Public Policy committee where she worked to advocate for policy change related to domestic violence. She also served on the Nominating committee and then co-chaired the Community Improvement Project, when they partnered with the Hartley House for the renovation of their creative learning space for youth. She led over 30 volunteers, who collectively gave 650 hours of service to complete the renovation project. Elizabeth now serves as the City Impact Council Head overseeing large scale projects including the Playground Improvement Project and Community Improvement Project.

Kim Essency Pillari has held many positions throughout the NYJL. She served as a member of the Playground Improvement Project committee, as well as chair and member of the Skylines committee. In 2007, she started to focus on communications, serving as the Communications Vice President and Secretary on the Board of Managers. Kim has also served on the Nominating and Governance committees. In 2011, she was proud to be part of the Communications Task Force that created our “I Volunteer Because…” campaign. To ensure the League’s continued success, Kim uses her storytelling expertise to cultivate donors and corporate sponsors while as the co-chair of the Development Work Group. She has also served as the chair of the Audit committee and a member of the Investment Work Group. Today, Kim is serving as a Director-at-Large on the Board of Directors.

“We are grateful for the generous support of our Winter Ball guests, donors, and sponsors. It is because of you that the New York Junior League can continue to provide critical community programs to some of New York City’s most vulnerable populations. The New York Junior League was founded in 1901 by Mary Harriman who led a group of women whose mission was to help and advocate for New York City’s most vulnerable populations. This year’s New York Junior League Outstanding Sustainers and Outstanding Volunteers truly embody the humanitarian spirit of Mary Harriman and through their remarkable community service help keep her legacy alive,” said Suzanne E. Manning, President, New York Junior League.