NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 15: (L-R) Jerry Vittoria, Linda Levy, Arva R. Rice, and Helen Shelton attend a luncheon hosted by the New York Urban League to honor Linda G. Levy and The Fragrance Foundation @ Champions 2023 on February 15, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Fragrance Foundation)

Linda G. Levy, president of The Fragrance Foundation (TFF), was honored with the New York Urban League’s first-ever Catalyst Award for her leadership in advancing DEI in the multi-billion-dollar fragrance industry.  Some 250 leaders from the fragrance industry, multiple business sectors and the civic community came out in force to celebrate Levy at the New York Urban League’s 2023 Champions of Diversity Symposium and Awards event. Levy spearheads #FragranceForwardTFF, The Fragrance Foundation’s sweeping DEI initiative to provide real-time opportunities for people of all backgrounds, and to ensure that the industry reflects, embraces, and includes everyone, equitably, in the U.S. 

The occasion also marked the launch of a new, comprehensive partnership between the New York Urban League (NYUL) and The Fragrance Foundation. The Fragrance Foundation Catalyst Initiative will benefit NYUL’s Diversity Lab and provide training, career development, mentorship, and job opportunities for professionals of color interested in careers in the fragrance industry. The initiative is supported by all 200 TFF member companies in a focused effort, including Fragrance Houses, Brands, Retailers and related businesses.

“I am honored to receive the inaugural Catalyst Award from the New York Urban League on behalf of The Fragrance Foundation and community,” says Linda G Levy. “It is not only about the Award itself, but what is symbolizes:  our long-term commitment to ensuring that the entire industry reflects all people. We are 100 per cent committed to providing opportunities and building a sustainable platform to meet the interests of those served by the New York Urban League, its innovative Diversity Lab and the lasting impact our combined efforts are designed to have.”

As one of the nation’s oldest civil rights organizations, the New York Urban League is dedicated to the empowerment of New York’s BIPOC communities through economic empowerment, career development, job training, education, mentorship and health advocacy. “New York Urban League is proud to present our 2023 Champions of Diversity with Linda Levy as our very first Catalyst Award winner,” says Arva R. Rice, president and CEO of the New York Urban League. “Linda and The Fragrance Foundation are at the forefront of taking the action and steps to diversify the industry in a bold new way.” 

Jerry Vittoria, TFF’s Board Chairman, participated in the awards presentation to Levy, stating, “Linda has always been a catalyst of change, a catalyst of courage and a catalyst of doing the right thing. She puts DEI at the forefront of all TFF activities and is dedicated to bringing people together and opening the door for the exciting possibilities that the fragrance industry offers.”

Hosted by Arva Rice, Emceed by WNBC-TV anchor David Ushery and chaired by Helen C. Shelton, Global Chief Diversity Officer at FINN Partners and NYUL Board Member, Champions offered an insightful forum where leaders – new and established – gathered to exchange ideas on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion and to celebrate those who are making a tangible impact in this critical area. Fragrance industry leaders paying tribute to Linda and her impact as an authentic DEI leader include Fragrance Society founder Tiff Benson; Tricia Butler, president, Givenchy and Kenzo, North America, LVMH; Chris Collins, founder World of Chris Collins; Ann Gottlieb, president, Anne Gottlieb Associates; Sharné Jackson, executive director, TFF; Nicole Monson, senior vice president, Estée Lauder Companies; Giancarlo Pérez and Bernardo Möller,founders, House of Bō; Linda Song, senior perfumer, Givaudan; and, Jerry Vittoria. The full video tribute can be seen here.

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