Thank you for making the 2017 Breakthrough Inspiration Awards a success!

On Friday, November 3, 2017, Breakthrough celebrated our annual Inspiration Awards at the Edison Ballroom in New York City. The Breakthrough Inspiration Award honors pioneering leaders who show extraordinary leadership and vision in their field while channeling their influence toward concrete, sustained, positive change in the larger world. The 2017 gala was also a celebration of the 18 years of inspired leadership by Breakthrough founder Mallika Dutt, and a festive welcome of incoming president and CEO Sohini Bhattacharya. The evening included a sit-down dinner and live auction and welcomed luminaries from the business, entertainment, and philanthropic communities.

Congratulations to our Honorees:

Breakthrough Culture Change Inspiration Award

Julie Parker Benello

Co-Founder of Chicken & Egg Pictures & Gamechanger Films

Breakthrough Changemaker Inspiration Award

Krati Prakash

Manager of Implementation, Uttar Pradesh

Breakthrough Special Honor

Mallika Dutt

Breakthrough Founder


Marissa Wesely

CEO, Win-Win Strategies

Sunil Savkar

Gala Co-Chair, Breakthrough Board Member

Mona Sinha

Gala Co-Chair, Breakthrough Board Member

Evening Program:

Negin Farsad

Comedian, actor, writer, director

Master of Ceremonies

Aasif Mandvi

Actor, writer, and comedian

Govind Ramakrishnan

Poet, Founder of Youth Against Sexual Assault (YASA)

Donna D’Cruz

DJ’ing Meditation Guru

Co-Chairs: Stefanie Birkmann & Sunil* Savkar, Ravi* & Mona* Sinha

Sohini Bhattacharya, CEO, Breakthrough

Host Committee

Susan Adelman and Claudio Llanos
Nasser Ahmad & Romita Shetty
Maggie Bangser*
Marilia Bezerra*
Mallika Dutt*
Shruti Ganguly
Akash Goel
Michael Hirschhorn* and Jimena Martinez
Tom Johnson

Fred & Helaine Leibowitz
Camille Massey* and Gillie Holme
Shoba Pala-Krishnan and James Locke
Anupama and Guru Ramakrishnan
Zainab Salbi
Joanne Sandler* & Ray Tekosky
Leslie Sokol and Robert Detweiler
Marissa Wesely & Fred Hamerman

*Breakthrough Board Member

About the Breakthrough Inspiration Awards


The Breakthrough Inspiration Awards convene, inspire, engage, and enable leaders for change—from the CEO of a global corporation to young activists in Indiana—in our own worlds and beyond. You are building the Breakthrough Generation as a global movement for hope and action.


We are all part of the Breakthrough Generation. Only when we all stand together to make violence against women unacceptable everywhere can we build a world where everyone lives with dignity, equality, and justice.


Our benefit dinner brings together more than 400 leaders and social change actors—representing global media, financial services, philanthropy, and women’s and girls’ rights—to drive and celebrate change.