Marigay McKee Has Her Moment

MARIGAY’S MOMENT: Before a crowd of 400 Tuesday at Manhattan’s Ziegfeld Ballroom, Marigay McKee discussed a side of her life few people are aware of.

“Many of you here would probably be surprised to learn that my career extends beyond the realm of luxury retail. Early on, I had the great privilege of teaching grade school in Madrid, Spain — a transformative experience that really ignited in me a love for education and prepared me for the challenges that lay ahead,” McKee told the crowd. “This pivotal chapter in my life not only taught me valuable lessons, but also instilled in me a deep sense of purpose. While my professional résumé highlights my roles in the retail and fashion sectors, my journey as an educator will always hold a special place in my heart.”

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McKee, cofounder and managing partner of Fernbrook Capital Management and a former Saks Fifth Avenue president and Harrods chief merchant, was one of two honorees at the annual Power of Women to Make a Difference luncheon, which raised more than $900,000 to benefit the United Way of New York City. Also honored was Sherry Font-Williams, principal of P.S. 179 in the Bronx.

McKee said she was “deeply moved by the legacy of my mother, an extraordinary educator, whose unwavering commitment to supporting under-resourced families has been a guiding light in my life. Growing up, our home became a sanctuary for those in need. Despite being an only child, I never felt alone. Our house was always filled with laughter, sometimes screaming, but always the wails of those my mother welcomed with open arms, many her students. Her compassion instilled in me a great love for education and a deep-rooted desire to uplift others, especially those facing adversity.”

The Ziegfeld Ballroom was filled with industry executives, women’s activists and board members of the United Way New York chapter, as well as friends and family members, including McKee’s husband Fred Powers; Anish Melwani, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH North America, who introduced McKee; Cindi Leive, cofounder of The Meteor, who gave the keynote address; Valerie Leon, president of The Americas, Givenchy; Alexandra Winokour, president, Christian Dior — Americas, and Joanna Dubin, president, Fendi Americas.

“In this room, we are surrounded by individuals who exemplify the transformative impact of leadership, innovation and compassion,” said McKee. “I would really like to recognize the incredible work of the United Way of New York. Their commitment to educational equity has had a profound impact on the lives of low-income New Yorkers, where their efforts have resulted in a remarkable 200 percent improvement in reading proficiency.”

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