For all of the star power in the room during the annual New York Women In Communications Matrix Awards Monday afternoon, the real scene stealer was a small red furry surprise presenter — Elmo. He popped up to help congratulate Sherrie Rollins Westin, executive vice president, chief marketing officer for Sesame Workshop for her honor, and sang a rousing version of “Sherry Baby” that had ProPublica editor in chief and former Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger dancing in his seat. The “Sesame Street” star had competition from Jessica Lange and Tom Hanks, who breezed in to introduce p.r. maven Leslee Dart for her apparent talent of ruining a perfectly good day in Hollywood for an actor. “You could be having a really great day…and then the world comes crashing down because you get a message from your office that said, “Leslee Dart is trying to get in touch with you,’” said Hanks. “And you almost upchuck…and you’re thinking, ‘What did I do? What have I done?’” Meanwhile, Jeff Zucker made his own flashy introduction to congratulate “Law and Order” actress S. Epatha Merkerson, using the crime drama’s opening credit and voice-over to provide the prologue to his remarks.
Others receiving honors this year included Allure editor in chief Linda Wells, who was introduced by Julianne Moore; Linda Sawyer, chief executive officer of Deutsch, Inc., who was introduced by her boss Donny Deutsch, and Dany Levy, founder of Daily Candy, who was introduced by Kurt Andersen. The former editor of New York magazine said Levy helped solve two of the three things he thought odd about the magazine when he first took the job — the lack of young employees, energy and technology available in the office. “I took care of the technology part easily, for the rest I hired Dany Levy,” he said. Steiger introduced Monica Langley, deputy bureau chief, The Wall Street Journal, and NBC’s Brian Williams introduced CNN anchor Campbell Brown, who stepped out for the first time since she gave birth to her second son three weeks ago. Other faces in the crowd included Sigourney Weaver, ABC correspondent Deborah Roberts, and the “Today” show’s Meredith Viera, who hosted the event at the Waldorf-Astoria.