Women of Honor Awards

The Gaia’s Essence Women of Honor Awards were created to recognize women who exemplify leadership and promote the health and wellness of their communities.

2019 Woman of Honor

Rebecca Sassouni Esq: Business 2019

Rebecca Sassouni has been giving her talent to many different communities on Long Island.She has been an attorney since 1996 and from  2015 in practice representing students with special needs, students facing suspension, probation.

She is an educational lawyer and has served on the board and exec committee of Temple Israel of Great Neck for 11 years. For three years she has been a Trustee on Solomon Schechter Schools of Long Island. She has been on SHAI Board over a decade, and previously co-founded Persian Culture Committee. She also served on Library Nominating Committee twice and the United Parent-Teacher Council leadership for a decade

In 2014 she was honored by the Town of North Hempstead  with the Women’s Roo of for her work with families of students in special learning needs and students facing disciplinary actions. 

Dr. Yolanda Santiago: Education 2019

Dr. Yolanda Santiago is an educational specialist, certified professional coach, licensed teacher, and graduate professor.  She is a native New Yorker. With 40 years of practical and analytical diversified leadership and also a poet. Life-long learning was instilled in her by her Puerto Rican parents who value integrity, responsibility and self-reliance. Dr. Santiago maintains family relationships and serves the community while pursuing knowledge with a passion. Possessing a strong foundation in education, holistic living and the arts  especially through poetry.

She founded ENTER ABC: Educational Network for Teaching Excellence and Resources – Access Beyond Coaching to make a difference through service. Her contributions to academic learning include curricula, grants, policy, plus Bilingual and English standards.

Her motto is “Knowledge is Responsibility.”


Dr. Coralanne Griffith-Hunte: Humanitarian 2019

Coralanne Griffith-Hunte, Psy.D. is a Human, Industrial and Trauma Psychologist. She has over 25 years’ experience. and has been a Queens community advocate since 2000. Dr.Coralanne Griffith-Hunte.

Dr. Griffith-Hunte is a Senior Legislative Advisor who works with key government officials and other organizations to advocate for legislation to create favorable changes in areas of education, human rights, mental health, domestic violence, human trafficking, anti-gang measures and community engagement.

Dr. Griffith-Hunte is the Vice President of Training and Director of Anti-Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence for Not On My Watch (Queens and LI), an organization that aims to eradicate human trafficking and domestic violence nationwide and also rehabilitate survivors. She was instrumental in advocating for the End Child Sex Trafficking bill, which was signed into law in 2018.

Past Honorees

Marcia McNair: Education 2018

Rev Dr. Gertie Hurley: Health 2018

Dr. Sabrina Caliendo: Science 2018

Christie Devereaux: Fine Arts 2018

Esther Gitobu: GAIA Award 2018

Linda Leaf: Humanitarian 2018




Amy Zaslansky: 2016

Linda Oalican: Humanitarian 2016

Colette Knuth, PhD: Education 2016

Jasmin Pitter: Humanitarian 2015

Cheryl L. Fratello: Business Award 2015

Franshuas Rodriguez: Educator 2015

You Jung Jong: Entertainment & Art Award 2015

Shalin Raj: Health & Community 2015

Dorene Romero: Women Empowerment 2014

Sang Lee: Humanitarian Award 2014

Valdelice Reis: Community Service 2014

Filomena Lombardi : Humanitarian Award 2013

Zazel O’ Garra: Artistic Expression 2013

Soh Young Lee-Segredo: Community Service 2013