2016 Hope & Heroes Gala

Celebrate spreading the message of Hope & Recovery!

Join us along with our special honorees:

  • Recording Superstar Bobby Rydell
  • Boxing Legend Gerry Cooney
  • Subway's Chief Development Officer Don Fertman
  • N.Y. State OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez
  • United Steelworkers Emergency Response Coordinator & Author Allan McDougall.

Enjoy an evening of fine food and company, one night only in New York City!

Tables are going fast!  Every guest will receive a copy of the evening's commemorative journal!

Our Special Emcee For The Evening:  TV Sportscaster Scott Clark!

Of WABC-TV fame, Scott Clar initiated some of the funniest and most anticipated sports features with his weekly segments, "Out Of This World", "Highlight Zone", and "Armchair Quarterback". The Emmy award winning sportscaster not only nabbed exclusive interviews throughout the years, but also covered sporting events first hand. Scott signed on and played with a professional football team. He stood with bat in hand at home plate to face the likes of Doc Gooden and Goose Gossage, and played basketball against the Harlem Globetrotters. If that wasn't enough, he's been a Drag Racer, Sky Diver, Bronco Buster, and yes, even a Bull Riding Fool that earned him a week's stay in the hospital!

Off the air, Scott served as Vice President on the Board of Directors of the Alcoholism Council of New York. In addition, he serves on the Advisory Board of the National Sportscasters Association, and the Board of Trustees of the Starlight Foundation, where he is a Hall Of Fame inductee.

New York's 1998 Big Brother of the Year also loves to play golf, and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity by hosting his own golf tournaments over the years.


 RSVP & Register Today!  We can't wait to see you! 


Thursday October 6, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM EDT


Masonic Hall Building
71 West 23rd Street
Second Floor Ballroom
New York, NY 10010


Denise McIntee
Empowering Productions
(845) 359-3299

An Empowering Productions Event

Empowering Productions is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3)  organization.  Contact us for more information.

Empowering Productions

Empowering Productions produces Steppin’ Out Radio – The 12-Step Radio Show featuring true stories of people who have triumphed over adversity and substance abuse. We bring the message of experience, strength and hope to those who are looking to recover.

Everyone knows someone struggling to overcome a dependency, and Steppin’ Out Radio brings insight and support to those needing it.  These stories are not only for them, but also for their loved ones, who want to learn how to regain control over their lives.

Empowering Productions is proud to present our honorees who have shown outstanding dedication in reaching out those in need.

About Bobby Rydell...

Bobby Rydell’s career spans six decades and encompasses every area of the entertainment world. His debut in the late ‘50s as a rock and roll teen idol lead to starring roles in such hit films as “Bye Bye Birdie” and plays such as “West Side Story.” Bobby has made countless network TV appearances throughout the world on shows like Ed Sullivan, Jack Benny, George Burns, Milton Berle, Perry Como and of course American Bandstand.   A polished performer at the age of 19, he was the youngest person ever to headline the famous Copacabana in New York. Bobby’s recording career earned him 34 Top 40 hits, placing him in the Top 5 artists of his era according to Billboard Magazine. Bobby’s hits include million selling singles “Volare,” “Wild One,” “We Got Love,” “Kissin’ Time,” “Swingin’ School,” and “Forget Him,” selling a combined total of over 25 million records.  Today Bobby enjoys a career that is full.  Bobby also performs regularly in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. For the past 25 years, Bobby has also performed over 700 shows in the must-see production called “The Golden Boys.”  This is a happy, fun-filled look back at a simpler time in music history with his childhood pals, Frankie Avalon and Fabian.  Bobby Rydell is also author of the book Teen Idol On The Rocks, in which Bobby delves into the darker and more dramatic aspects of his life, including the death of his beloved first wife, Camille, his decades of alcohol abuse, and the last-ditch transplant surgery that saved his life.

About Gerry Cooney...

In the wild and wicked world of boxing, Gerry Cooney is a rarity: a fighter who has enjoyed success in and out of the ring. As a world-class heavyweight, Cooney advanced to number-one contender. In 1982, he challenged Larry Holmes in one of the most anticipated title fights in history. As a businessman, Cooney has promoted championship boxing shows, owned share of several minor league baseball teams, and founded F.I.S.T. (the Fighters’ Initiative for Support and Training), a non-profit organization which helped boxers make the transition from the ring to the real world by providing job readiness, training, and career assistance.  Cooney went on to engage in high-profile bouts vs. Michael Spinks and George Foreman. He retired in 1990, having compiled a pro mark of 28-3 with 24 knockouts and was ranked 53rd on Magazine’s list of 100 greatest punchers of all time. Cooney has maintained close ties to boxing. From 1988 to 1992, he served as president of Gentleman Gerry Productions, promoting bouts involving ring legends Roberto Duran, Hector Camacho, and Foreman.  Today, Gerry lends his support to various charities and is often sought out to tell his story. He is a vocal advocate speaking out against drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence. On Monday and Friday nights, he co-hosts a boxing radio show “Friday Night at the Fights” on Sirius radio. In his free time Gerry enjoys golf and teaches boxing. Cooney resides in New Jersey with his wife, Jennifer. They have 3 children.

About Don Fertman...

Don Fertman is the Chief Development Officer for Franchise World Headquarters, the service company for Subway and affiliated brands, a position he has held since 2010.  In this capacity, he oversees all departments handling the franchise development pipeline, including Franchise Advertising and Marketing, Sales, Real Estate, Store Design, Site Development and Non-Traditional locations.  Don previously held the position of Director of Development and simultaneously functioned as Director of Franchise Sales since 1988. Since joining the franchisor in 1981, Don has handled Public Relations, Publications and has even been the company photographer in the early days of his Subway career.  He has seen the company grow from 166 restaurants at the time he began his career to 45,000+ units in more than 110 countries today. Featured in one of the highest-rated episodes of “Undercover Boss”, the hit CBS reality show, Don donned a disguise and learned the Subway business first hand as a “sandwich artist”.  He was later invited to appear on the follow up episode, “Epic Bosses”, showcasing several of the more intriguing executives from the first four seasons of the show.  Don has been a member of both the Domestic and Global Strategic Planning Committees and currently serves on the System Advisory Council and Management Committee at Subway World Headquarters. 

About Arlene González-Sánchez...

Arlene González-Sánchez, MS, LMSW, was appointed Commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NYS OASAS) by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Jan. 3, 2011. As Commissioner, González-Sánchez oversees one of the nation’s largest addiction services systems, a system of 1,500 providers that serve nearly 100,000 individuals on any given day. Commissioner González-Sánchez has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of behavioral health services administration, health policy development, and medical research. Under the Commissioner’s leadership, OASAS works to realize her vision for transforming the current system of care for individuals with substance use disorders into a comprehensive, patient-centered and family-focused system. Commissioner González-Sánchez serves on the Governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Behavioral Health Subcommittee. She is co-chair of the State’s Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council and a co-chair of the Responsible Play Partnership which addresses problem gambling in New York State. On a national level, Commissioner González-Sánchez serves as Region II Representative on the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) Board, representing New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

About Allan McDougall...

Born and raised in poverty on a dairy farm in Ontario, Canada, Allan McDougall spent more than twenty years underground as a miner in the mineral-rich Sudbury Basin.  Numerous challenges and abuses lead him down a self-destructive path into alcohol abuse.  At the moment of truth, he pulled himself out of his downward spiral and today his focus is, as he says, “Not to see through people, but to see people through.”  Drawing from his real life experiences, Allan is a unique voice among public speakers, one capable of influencing, motivating, educating and inspiring audiences to take the actions required to change their lives for the better. Recently, Allan has authored Breaking Through Discovering the Riches Within, an insightful account of his triumphant and inspiring story.  Allan retains his lifelong passion for hot rods and enjoys nothing more than driving his 1966 Shelby Cobra through the countryside near his Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania home while listening to the “doo-wop” music of his formative years.


2016 Hope & Heroes Gala