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Cocktails, Conversations & Champions

Thursday, May 4, 2023
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Sam's of Gedney Way
White Plains, NY 

Meet Our Honorees

Assembly Member MaryJane Shimsky
MaryJane Shimsky has represented New York’s 92nd District in Westchester County since January 2023. Her district includes most of Greenburgh, Mount Pleasant, and a portion of northwest Yonkers. She serves on the Assembly’s committees on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions; Local Governments; Real Property Taxation; Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports Development; and Transportation.

MaryJane served on the Westchester County Board of Legislators from February 2011 through December 2022. She served as Majority Leader (2020-21) and Majority Whip (2012-13, 2018-19), and led on issues relating to the environment, flood mitigation, infrastructure, and public health. She was the sponsor of legislation to protect access to women’s health clinics and raise the tobacco age to 21, as well as the authorization for the County’s first opioid lawsuit. Known for spearheading the reconstruction of the Ashford Avenue Bridge, she was responsible for advancing hundreds of construction projects for roads, sewers, parks, historical preservation, and other public facilities.

A native of Scranton, PA, MaryJane graduated from Yale University and New York University School of Law, and earned a PhD in History from the City University of New York. She and her husband are 26-year residents of the Rivertowns area of Westchester County; their two grown children attended Hastings-on-Hudson public schools.

Cheryl Geller
Cheryl began her political work in the 1960s, being a “Johnson girl” when President Lyndon B. Johnson’s campaign train stopped in Richmond Virginia. She cheered him on as his train came to town. From there, she was the chair of the first campus service organization at Virginia Commonwealth University, the College Quota Club, and organized blood drives for soldiers fighting in Vietnam.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Costume Design, Cheryl moved to New York City and volunteered with the Vietnam Peace Parade Committee and marched on Washington and in New York City against the war, not against the soldiers. She also volunteered for the election campaign of New York City Mayor John Lindsay, making phone calls and encouraging people to vote for him.

Cheryl also volunteered one-on-one with cancer patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering, trying to make them more comfortable in their surroundings, and at the Newark YMCA with her future husband Harvey to help underserved young people get into college under the guidance Donald Payne who later became a beloved Congressman.

In the late 1970s, Cheryl moved to Westchester County where she continued her service to the community. She was President of the PTAs at the elementary, middle and high school, then chair of the PT Council in Harrison. She led a successful campaign to get seatbelts on the school buses. 

Cheryl was a committee member for the American Cancer Society Fantasy Ball fundraiser for several years and also served as a Board member of the Jewish Community Center of Harrison, as well as the Harrison Youth Council. She was an original committee member in organizing Gilda’s Club Westchester (a cancer wellness center) and became a board member a few years later. When Gilda’s Club Westchester opened, Cheryl put her artistic skills to use and painted the 7’ x 12’ mural in the entryway. Cheryl is a member of Westchester Women’s Agenda and has been a committee member of the Voting Rights and Reproductive Justice committees.  

In addition to her community involvement, Cheryl has been very involved in political work as well. She joined the Harrison Democratic Committee as a district leader and worked on the local campaigns. She was also a campaign volunteer in for presidential candidate John Kerry in Pennsylvania in 2004, a volunteer for the Barack Obama presidential campaign in Westchester and Pennsylvania in 2008, organized Soundshore for Obama in 2011 and opened office in 2012, and worked for President Obama in Virginia for the last several weeks of the campaign in 2012. Cheryl worked on and attended on the 2013 inauguration for President Obama.

Following her campaign work for President Obama, Cheryl became a Rye City Democratic District leader. She worked on several local campaigns including Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker’s first campaign, George Latimer’s campaigns for New York State Senate and his for Westchester County Executive campaign, and volunteered for New York Senator Shelley Mayer. She also serves on an advisory committee for Senator Gillibrand.

Cheryl helped open presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign office in White Plains and was a member of the Hillary campaign team at the Philadelphia Democratic Convention. Cheryl also co-chaired the Westchester For Biden campaign, as well as being a team member of 11 individuals who helped run the New York State Biden-Harris campaign.

In 2016, Cheryl became a Board member for Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic Action Fund and committee member of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic Votes. During her years there she worked on several fundraising events and lobbied federal and state elected officials to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care. Cheryl also organized two "campaign" schools through Eleanor's Legacy, sponsored by PPHP Action Fund.

In addition to her community service and political work, Cheryl ran her own business, Cheryl Harvey Interiors, for 12 years, and costumed children’s theatre in Westchester as a volunteer.

Cheryl is currently on leave from most of her passions to spend time with my husband, Harvey, of over 50 years, and with her children Kate and Noah, Chris and Jill, and two terrific grandchildren Miles and Judah.