About our Gala Honorees

Kimberly Godwin
ABC News

Kim Godwin, President of ABC News, oversees the editorial and business operations for broadcast, digital, streaming and audio news across the organization, which includes trusted and iconic franchises “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight,” “20/20,” “Nightline,” FiveThirtyEight, “The View” and “This Week.” She is the first Black woman to serve as a network news president. Godwin reports to Peter Rice, chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content.

Godwin brings a breadth of experience in newsroom leadership garnered from an accomplished 35-year career dedicated to excellence and the vital role of journalism. As an experienced and strategic executive, she has overseen newsgathering and managed full editorial oversight across a global portfolio of news properties. At the network level, Godwin has executive produced news programming, managed a nightly news broadcast, created cross-digital content, and earned recognition for award-winning programming and reporting. She began her career running local newsrooms in markets across the U.S., including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia and Cleveland.

Godwin joins ABC News at a time of incredible strength across the organization. “Good Morning America” is No. 1 for the ninth straight year, and “World News, Tonight with David Muir”, is No. 1 across the board, ranked as the No. 1 evening newscast for the last 54 weeks in Total Viewers, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49. “20/20” is Friday’s No. 1 newsmagazine, beating “Dateline” in all key demos this season. Honored with the Daytime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Informative Talk Show and delivering its most-watched season in seven years, “The View” ranks at the top of all network and syndicated daytime talk shows; plus, “Nightline” and “This Week” are posting their most competitive seasons in years. ABC News has covered the biggest stories with distinction, from COVID-19 and racial reckoning to the election, its aftermath and the crisis at the border. Additionally, ABC News reached over 132 million people monthly and delivered over 11 billion video views on digital and social platforms. Since January 2020, an average of 20 million viewers have tuned in monthly to ABC News Live, the network’s streaming news channel, an increase of +142% year over year. ABC News has won the Edward R. Murrow Awards for Overall Excellence in Television five out of the last seven years and three for Overall Excellence in Radio in that time, plus numerous prestigious honors in journalism, including DuPont, SPJ, NABJ and Emmy Awards.

 Godwin joins Disney from CBS, where she was second-in-command as executive vice president of News directing newsgathering across the global portfolio with full editorial oversight. A multitalented trailblazer with exceptional journalistic instinct and skills, she also served as vice president of News, CBS News executive director for Development and Diversity, and senior broadcast producer of the “CBS Evening News.” At CBS, she oversaw Network News Services and 400 domestic and foreign affiliates; CBS Audio Services, including over 600 affiliates and podcasts; the National Desk and domestic bureaus; News Standards & Ethics; and Race & Culture. She joined the network in 2007.

A fierce champion for inclusion and telling representative stories, in 2020, Godwin helped to develop and oversaw both the CBS News Race & Culture Unit and CBS Village, a multiplatform franchise to highlight content about diverse groups. She was recognized in November 2020 by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with the Ida B. Wells Award for her work in advocating for coverage of communities of color, building a diverse newsroom, and championing young journalists throughout their careers.

Before joining CBS News, Godwin honed her journalistic and leadership skills for 20 years at top local stations in the United States. She was the acting news director and assistant news director at WCBS-TV, New York City; vice president and news director at KNBC-TV, Los Angeles; vice president of News Operations, NBC Television Stations; vice president and news director at KXAS-TV, Dallas/Fort Worth; and news director at the duopoly WOIO/WUAB in Cleveland.

Godwin is a proud graduate of Florida A&M University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in broadcast journalism. FAMU was the first historically Black university to have an accredited journalism program. She is currently the chair of the board of visitors at her alma mater’s journalism school.

Over her career, Godwin has been honored with six National News and Documentary Emmy Awards, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia award, and a Sigma Delta Chi Award. She is also a well-regarded member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Godwin is married to an accomplished high school principal and has a wonderful blended family of two daughters and two stepchildren.


Roy Kearse
Vice President of Recovery Services and Community Partnerships
Samaritan Daytop Village

Roy Kearse, LCSW, CASAC, is Vice President of Recovery Services and Community  Partnerships at Samaritan Daytop Village. He has successfully led the agency's efforts to create a recovery-oriented system of care and assist in our broader outreach efforts. Mr. Kearse has more than 40 years of experience in the field of human services, helping develop an effective treatment in both substance use and mental health settings.

Mr. Kearse is a staunch advocate of services for recovering individuals, often highlighting his own recovery as proof of the merits of the recovery process. He has worked extensively over the past 15 years to advance services for veterans.

Mr. Kearse previously spent 13 years as Samaritan Daytop Village’s VP of Residential Services. Before joining Samaritan Daytop Village, Mr. Kearse held positions at the Educational Alliance, including Assistant Executive Director. He is a licensed clinical social worker, credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor (CASAC Emeritus), and a trained recovery coach.

Mr. Kearse served on the Credentialing Board of the NYS Office of Alcoholism, was president of the NYS Association of Substance Abuse Providers and was a member of the Governor's Advisory Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Mr. Kearse also served as 2nd Vice President of the NYC Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Board Chair of Faith Mission Crisis Center, and Chair of the New York State ASAP Veterans Committee. Currently, he is President of the NYS Certification Board, which certifies recovery coaches and peer advocates, Board Vice President of Exponents, a harm reduction agency, and Board member of the Treatment Communities of America.

Mr. Kearse is active with Long Island Prison Ministries and numerous community and civic organizations and has received recognition and awards for his contributions. He obtained a B.S. from York College and a Master's in Social Work from Fordham University. Mr. Kearse is married and resides on Long Island. He is the father of five children and has two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.




Honorary Chair | Al Roker | Weather and Feature Anchor, TODAY & Co-Host of 3rd hour, TODAY
Gala Chair | Deborah Roberts | Senior National Affairs Correspondent, ABC



Steve Rockman, Committee Chair
Jamie Covello  |  Brad Dubler  |  Jody Silva Falk  |  Richard Haray
Bernard Kaplan  |  Harriet Norris  |  Sher Sparano



Colleen Taylor | Chairperson
Robert M. Harding, Esq. | Vice Chair & Treasurer
Wallace Leinhardt, Esq. | Secretary
Timothy J Cochrane
Jamie Covello
Michelle Goldstein
Eric Hadar
Richard J. Haray
Sher Sparano