Kara Ross, Karine Ohana, Susan Rockefeller

This year’s theme at Ohana & Co.’s eight Success for Progress luncheon was focused on how leaders find meaningful ways of giving back.

Ohana & Co. joined forces with philanthropists Susan Rockefeller and Kara Ross for the annual get-together last week.

The event was held at the home of Ross in Manhattan. Guests included entrepreneurs, philanthropists and company leaders.

Karine Ohana, managing partner at the investment banking firm, opened the event and spoke briefly about the concept of giving back.

Rockefeller, a renowned conservationist, spoke about her platform called musingsmag.com, which coaches entrepreneurs about sustainability, and provides examples of how both business and environmental needs can coexist. “Women want to protect the next generation,” she said.

Ross spoke about her mission, Unleashed, a social impact nonprofit organization that supports female artisans by providing capital and markets where they can sell their work. She also spoke about a series of short films in the Connecting Threads series, which profiles the lives of the artisans.

The honored guest this year was Sheila Marcelo, founder of care.com, a publicly listed firm focused on providing home assistance, whether caregivers for senior care, child care professionals, pet care or housekeeping help. Marcelo spoke about being a six-year-old who was influenced by the character Diana Prince, the female protagonist of comic superhero Wonder Woman, and how her experiences growing up here and in the Philippines led her to found care.com. She also emphasized to attendees, “Heroes are everyday people sitting next to you. They are people giving back.”

Also speaking was Francine LeFrak, who provided a brief look at the work of her firm Same Sky. The organization is a trade initiative that creates employment opportunities for women. One initiative works with refugee camps in Rwanda, while another in the U.S. helps to employ women who leave prison so they can become self-supporting.

Other speakers include Suzie Wang of 100% Pure and Jennifer Bandier, who spoke about her high-end activewear start-up Bandier. She also spoke about how to be of service to others.

Ohana also gave attendees a Fragonard bag created in India. Fragonard partnered with the San Jose Puran Girls orphan school in India. Every 15 bags purchased helps finance a year’s education for one orphan student.


A look at the Fragonard bag, which helps finance a year’s education for an orphan student in India.  Courtesy Photo