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Woman of Distinction

Carol Gomes with NYS Sen. Anthony Palumbo at Senate Women of Distinction event in Albany. Photo courtesy Office of Anthony Palumbo

State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) proudly announced Carol Gomes as the 2024 New York State Woman of Distinction for the 1st Senate District at this year’s annual New York State Senate Women of Distinction event at the state capitol.

“Today marks a celebration of extraordinary dedication and leadership in health care,” Palumbo said. “It is my great privilege to honor Carol Gomes as my 2024 New York State Woman of Distinction.”

On Tuesday, May 14, Gomes of Mount Sinai, joined Palumbo and guests at the New York State Senate in Albany for her recognition. As chief executive officer of Stony Brook University Hospital, Gomes has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to excellence in health care.

“It is an honor and privilege to stand beside the many accomplished women leaders in New York State for this prestigious recognition,” Gomes said.

With over 35 years of experience, Gomes has played a pivotal role in elevating Stony Brook University Hospital to its status as Long Island’s premier academic medical center. Her leadership as CEO and COO has propelled the hospital to new heights of innovation and patient care.

Under Gomes’ guidance, Stony Brook Medicine completed its largest expansion project in 2019, including the opening of the Medical and Research Translation, Stony Brook Children’s and Hospital Pavilion. Her strategic vision and operational excellence have positioned Stony Brook University Hospital as a beacon of cutting-edge health care delivery.

“Carol Gomes’ remarkable achievements and unwavering dedication make her a true inspiration to us all,” Palumbo said. “Her leadership in health care has touched countless lives, and her commitment to excellence sets a standard for others to follow.”

As a recipient of numerous leadership awards, including recognition from the American Society of Clinical Pathology and recipient of the American College of Healthcare Executives Award of Distinction, Gomes’ impact extends far beyond the walls of Stony Brook University Hospital. Her leadership in sustainability efforts and commitment to quality care have earned her the respect and admiration of colleagues and peers alike.

“Her contributions to health care in our community and beyond are immeasurable, and her legacy will continue to inspire future generations,” Palumbo said.

Suffolk County Legislator Steven Englebright presents Margo Arceri with a Woman of Distinction proclamation at the May 7 th General Meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature. Photo from Legislator Steven Englebright’s office

Suffolk County Legislators are asked to name a Woman of Distinction from their district to commemorate Women’s History Month in March. The award recognizes women who demonstrate leadership qualities and involvement in and commitment to their communities.

This year’s honorees were recognized at a luncheon at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge on May 7. Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffery announced the women’s names at the Legislature’s General Meeting earlier that day.

When asked to choose a Woman of Distinction for Legislative District 5, the first person who came to Legislator Steven Englebright’s (D-Setauket) mind was Margo Arceri. The legislator said Arceri’s interest in preserving the Three Village area’s history and sense of place is apparent in her volunteer work and business ventures. He values how she has kept the history and true tales of Kate Wheeler Strong, an early female historian, and Revolutionary War spy Anna Smith Strong alive. Englebright also recognizes that Arceri’s work and volunteer efforts, as well as her role as president of the Strong’s Neck Civic Association, further educates residents and area visitors about the importance of Setauket Harbor from a historical perspective as well as from a natural history, water chemistry and overall ecological health perspective.

After the General Meeting, Arceri thanked the Suffolk County Legislature members and Legislator Englebright. “The Legislature has always inspired me,” she said. “To be able to carry on the history of our community in some small capacity is truly an honor. I have always felt that the community is our museum and everywhere you turn is an artifact. One of the most important parts of that museum are the docents … the people of this community who keep our history and our heritage alive for generations to come.”

Growing up in Strong’s Neck, Arceri knew historian Kate Wheeler Strong (1879-1977), the great-great-granddaughter of Anna Smith Strong. Kate’s great-great-grandmother was believed to have strategically hung her laundry on a clothesline to send messages to her fellow Setauket spies, who were part of the Culper Spy Ring, during the Revolutionary War. 

The honoree, a former vice president and past secretary of the Three Village Historical Society, continues to volunteer with the society. In 2023, she facilitated a $300,000 Suffolk County JumpSMART grant for TVHS.

In conjunction with the historical society, she created Tri-Spy Tours, where participants follow the footsteps of the Culper Spy Ring by walking, biking and/or kayaking through Setauket. Her entrepreneurship with Tri-Spy Tours fostered an even greater appreciation for local history. It inspired her to create the annual Culper Spy Day, now hosted by the Three Village Historical Society. The event features a self-guided tour where attendees visit various structures and museums in the area to learn how the Setauket spies assisted General George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

She has frequently volunteered during the Setauket Harbor Task Force’s Annual Harbor Day. One of TBR News Media’s 2017 People of the Year, she is the executive producer of the television series “Redcoats and Petticoats.” Arceri is also an active member of St. James R.C. Church, serving as the parish point person to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Center, a lector, healing minister and capitol campaign committee member.

Caption: Suffolk County Legislator Steven Englebright presents Margo Arceri with a Woman of Distinction proclamation at the May 7th General Meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature. Photo from Legislator Steven Englebright’s office

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker and Bea Ruberto. Photo courtesy Anker's office

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) presented Sound Beach resident Bea Ruberto with a proclamation.

The proclamation recognizes Ruberto as a Woman of Distinction in 2022 and for her ongoing dedication to her community. In addition to serving as president of the Sound Beach Civic Association, Ruberto is the co-owner of Pern Editorial Services, a member of the Brookhaven Anti-Litter Task Force, and a leader in local diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. She also served as president of the auxiliary of the Sound Beach Fire Department. 

“It is not primarily the geography of a town that makes it remarkable,” Anker said. “It is the passion and dedication of its residents that make a community distinguished. Bea makes Sound Beach shine, and it fills me with joy to present her with this recognition.”

Marisa Pizza with Legislator Nick Caracappa

Each year in March, Women’s History Month is celebrated in Suffolk County.  In 2002, the Legislature passed a Resolution (No. 786-2002) stating that each Suffolk County Legislator shall select a “Woman of Distinction” who resides in his/her respective Legislative District to be honored as such. For 2021, Legislator Nick Caracappa named Marisa Pizza of Farmingville as the Woman of Distinction in the Fourth Legislative District. Caracappa presented Ms. Pizza with a Proclamation and bouquet of flowers to commemorate the event.

For well over a decade, Marisa Pizza has been actively involved with the Farmingville Residents Association and the Farmingville Hills Chamber of Commerce, working diligently to improve the quality of life in her district.

Since 2011, she has been the Recording Secretary on the Executive Board of the Brookhaven Chambers of Commerce Coalition, being awarded the Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year award for 2020. Marisa joined Move to Amend Brookhaven in 2012, and currently serves as the Public Relations Coordinator. She also serves as Town of Brookhaven’s Women and Youth Advisory Board, as well as Vice Chair of the Green Party of Suffolk County.  Ms. Pizza states, “I enjoy working with everyone across Suffolk County, no matter their affiliations or lack thereof.”

When she is not engaged in community volunteering, Marisa also works at the Long Island Feline Adoption Center in Smithtown as the Event Coordinator.  Additionally, she is the News Director for the Graveyard Blues Radio Program, which airs on 94.3 ‘The Shark’ locally, as well as stations in Kansas City and the UK. 

“The list of Marisa’s accomplishments stated here are not exhaustive,” stated Legislator Caracappa. “I’ve never met a person who does so much for her community, and so willing to work with everybody. I consider it an honor and privilege to recognize her as the Woman of Distinction in the Fourth District, and thank her for all of her selfless efforts.”