“I have introduced Nobel Prize Laureates… but I have never introduced someone who belongs to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” said Montefiore Medicine president and CEO Dr. Steven M. Safyer to award-winning music executive and record producer Clive Davis— recipient of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Women’s Division’s 62nd Annual “Spirit of Achievement” Award. Addressing the assemblage at its May 17th luncheon at The Rainbow Room, Safyer amplified: “You [Davis] have supported the need for research dollars for the care of HIV/AIDS patients…[at a] poignant moment in the history of medicine…”
Acclaimed as “The industry’s most visible and respected spokesman”, Davis modestly said: “I feel very touched. When that scourge hit humanity, I called upon Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder, Carole Bayer Sager, Gladys Knight and Burt Bacharach [and others] — who contributed all the profits from the sale of the song “That’s What Friends Are For” which “provided 85% of the funding for AIDS in the first three years.” Touting the impact of “contemporary music all over the world,” Davis—discoverer and signer of Janis Joplin, Blood Sweat and Tears, Santana, Arrowsmith, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston… through Alicia Keyes—lamented the loss of both his parents at 18: “To think that my mother died at 47 in 1950 [when] there was no treatment for hypertension, for high blood pressure! We have to support institutions like Einstein [who are] on the forefront of research.”
Also honored at the luncheon were Dr. Sharmila Makhija an international expert on gynecologic cancer at Albert Einstein; Ruth Gottesman, professor emerita of pediatrics at Albert Einstein, and Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin co-founders of theSkimm— an email newsletter providing a range of top news stories in a relatable and conversational tone which now boasts 3.5 million subscribers.
“When we were asked to be honored [with the Spirit of Achievement Award] on the same day that Clive Davis was honored, we thought it was a joke,” said Weisberg. Apropos the “how did you meet?’ query, the two young entrepreneurs—alternating at the mic— informed: “We went from interns and worked our way up at NBC [in Washington]. We were inspired by our friends who are so smart…and highly educated and have great jobs…and are very busy…and would ask us very basic questions about what was going on in the world. We saw this need… theSkimm is a daily newsletter which tells you what you need to know…. We knew that we could fix that by telling people what they need to know. We started this from our living room couch—it spread through word-of-mouth. Today we are a team of 21 employees …just moved into a new office [and] raised $7 million in funding.”
Emceed by Jill Martin, the luncheon— co-chaired by Mindy Feinberg, Jackie Harris and Andrea Stark —included greetings by Women’s Division president Carol Roaman and a comprehensive overview of the role and accomplishments of Albert Einstein College of Medicine by Allen M. Spiegel The Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean”.