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Luminary is New York City’s premier collaboration hub for women and women-identified who are passionate about professional development and expanding their networks. It is a refuge for the curious, the ambitious, the connectors, and the change agents. It is the ultimate career advocate for women-identified providing the professional coaching and social community needed to thrive. We are a diverse collective of women focused on fostering meaningful relationships.

Meet the Team

Cate Luzio

Founder and CEO, Luminary

Cate Luzio

Founder and CEO, Luminary

Cate Luzio is the Founder and CEO of Luminary. Cate is an advocate for gender parity and committed to leveraging her voice to empower women and girls. She serves on the National Board for Girls Inc.

Cate is a widely-recognized industry leader with over twenty years of experience in financial services. Previously, she was the Executive Vice President and Global Head of Multinational Corporate Banking for Global Commercial Banking at HSBC. In this role, she was responsible for roughly $2 billion in revenue and teams globally in 55 countries. Prior to joining HSBC, Cate spent over 6 years at J.P. Morgan as the Managing Director and Head of Multinational Corporate Banking across Europe, the Middle East & Africa. She held several Executive Sponsor positions at these organizations for various diversity and women’s groups.

Cate was named a Top 25 Women to Watch in American Banker for 2015, 2016, and 2017. She also received the Financial Times Global Diversity Champion HERoes Award in 2017. Cate has been featured in the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Bloomberg, USA Today, American Banker and Women’s Wear Daily. She holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Maryland.

Erica Lerner

Chief Operating Officer

Erica Lerner

Chief Operating Officer

Erica Lerner is an experienced founder in the real estate and health and wellness industries, with a demonstrated history working in project finance, tax and corporate law, international tax, due diligence, and corporate structuring, as well as mergers and acquisitions. After nearly a decade of working in legal and corporate environments, most recently in mergers and acquisitions at Deloitte, Erica sought out new projects to foster her curiosity and develop her strengths and achieve independence.

In 2017 she co-founded Xtend Tribeca, a premier fitness studio and the first Manhattan location for Xtend Barre. Since Xtend Tribeca’s opening, Erica has been on a mission to provide a home for thousands of women looking for creative and effective workouts in a secure, safe, judgement-free setting. Erica is excited to continue her mission in her role as the Chief Operating Officer of Luminary and to develop a new home for thousands of professional women throughout New York City and beyond.

Surabhi Lal

Head of Program Development and Learning

Surabhi Lal

Head of Program Development and Learning

Surabhi is passionate about developing talent, cultivating good management, and creating cultures where individuals and teams thrive. She is especially interested in understanding the workplace and how it impacts people’s lives. As a skilled career coach and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach she has a natural ability to see someone's unique talents and motivations in people and knows that a career impacts many facets of one's life. She gets great joy from making the unwritten rules of a job search more explicit to create equity and guiding others on their journey to career success.

She spent the last four years sitting at the intersection of conversations with job seekers and employers in the social impact space, as the Director of Career Services at NYU Wagner. Her career has spanned launching an educational site in India from the ground up, working in grant-making, and building capacity with young talent in New York City. Surabhi holds a M.Ed from The University of Vermont and two undergraduate degrees from Virginia Tech and has presented at conferences nationally. She is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Public Service at NYU Wagner.

When she’s not savoring her craft as a coach, manager, mentor, and mother, you can find her feeding her creativity, traveling, exploring food markets, cooking, and (of course) eating.

Chanel Cathey

PR/Comms Strategist

Chanel Cathey

PR/Comms Strategist

Chanel Cathey is the Founder and CEO of CJC Insights, a strategic communications and public relations consulting agency headquartered in NYC. She counsels businesses on creating and implementing effective communications and brand strategies. She partners with c-suite executives and start-up founders to build their profiles, build consumer loyalty and amplify their overall industry presence.

Previously, Chanel was the Director and Head of Corporate Practice at Hunt & Gather, a boutique marketing and communications agency. She was responsible for managing global client partnerships and fostering an innovative executive communications approach for brands like McKinsey & Company, IBM, Well+Good, iFundWomen, WeWork, Upworthy, IMAX and Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation. She worked closely with clients and specialized in corporate communications, media relations, executive positioning, brand strategy and crisis and reputation management. She has a passion for partnering with foundations, philanthropies and emerging startups.

Chanel was also the Director of Corporate Communications at Viacom. In this role, she managed internal and external communications strategy across an iconic portfolio that includes MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures and more. She led strategic communications for ad sales, integrated marketing, data and insights, innovation and corporate marketing. She translated significant and complex business milestones and announcements into industry-leading press moments and thought leadership opportunities.

With over 10 years of public relations experience, Chanel also spent time as a publicist for ABC News and in media relations at Unilever. She graduated from Fordham University and received her MPA specializing Management and Policy from New York University.

Chanel sits on the Advisory Board for She’s The First, a nonprofit organization that advances educational opportunities for women and girls. She also co-founded ELEVEN, a women’s leadership and empowerment network. Chanel served on the Board of Directors for the AIDS advocacy organization Lifebeat and is an active member of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Alumni Association.

Sej Pandya

Events Director

Sej Pandya

Events Director

Sej has over 10+ years in event management applying a performance-marketing mentality to creating events efficiently and strategically. She has success in both event execution and brand enhancement - she doesn’t look for a playbook but often writes it. Sej is passionate and dedicated to the events industry through both her professional and personal life. In addition, Sej has had her CMP for over 7 years and has received many accolades through event industry magazines & organizations.

Never having left the NY/NJ area, Sej was raised in New Jersey and still lives there with her two young daughters, Samaya and Shayla. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and International Business from St. John’s University in New York. Always up for a challenge, Sej sets her bar high and standards higher.

Jen De Leon

Fitness Program Manager

Jen De Leon

Fitness Program Manager

Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Jen de Leon moved to New York City to work as a singer and dancer in musical theatre and commercials. In 2012, after moving back to her hometown, Jen kicked off her career in fitness, managing Australia's XTEND BARRE flagship studio in Sydney. Just two years ago, she took her leadership skills back to the Big Apple to manage the city's first XTEND location. Now she serves as Fitness Program Manager for Luminary, a dream job for her as it combines her two greatest passions: spreading the joy of movement and promoting women empowerment.

Rachel Basoco

Community Director

Rachel Basoco

Community Director

Rachel Basoco is the Community Director of Luminary.

Rachel is committed to women empowerment, community, and leadership, which allow her to thrive in her position at Luminary. Her passion to build, connect, and engage women authentically led her to Luminary and the network of women she is happy to work with, and for, every day.

In addition to working at Luminary, Rachel is the CEO and Co-Founder of the lifestyle brand made by, and for, Latinas, Trenza. Through content, commerce, and community events, Trenza aims to reimagine the spaces Latinas take up by connecting, engaging, and creating what's next for the Latinx community. Since Trenza's first launch event in March of 2016 hosting Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Actress Indya Moore, and Vivian Nunez, Trenza has worked with Spotify, Bumble, Bulletin, Ramona Wines, and more to engage the NYC Latina community. The online shop hosts 16+ Latina entrepreneurs products ranging from beauty and clothing to home decor and books. 10% of every purchase benefits a Latinx serving non-profit to encourage the community to seek within first.

Before joining the Luminary team, Rachel worked in the fashion industry in a variety of roles. She was most recently at Macy's working as the Digital Strategy Merchant and Manager managing $184M in sales for women's ready-to-wear and accessory brands like FinishLine, Destination Maternity, Hugo Boss, Fur Vault and BCBGMaxarzia. Prior to that, she spent time in fashion buying at the size inclusive rental start-up, Gwynnie Bee, helping build the processes, systems, and inclusive fashion for women. Her career started in the Executive Development Program in Retail Management at Bloomingdale's where she found joy at the flagship store in NYC managing the sales of contemporary women's brands such as Whistles, Zadig & Voltaire, The Kooples, and James Perse.

When Rachel is not at work or building Trenza, she advocates as an alumni of the National Hispanic Institute. Her 10-year involvement with the institute and its leadership summer programs light a spark in her to continue her work within her community. Whether it's planning alumni socials, helping to design by-laws and organizational structures, or leading the education curriculum at summer programs - Rachel invests her time and love to the National Hispanic Institute and it's alumni in the Greater New York City area.

Rachel Basoco studied at The George Washington University and obtained a degree in 3 years, majoring in Organizational Sciences and minoring in Psychology. Her final award-winning research focused on analyzing consumer purchasing decisions in both luxury and fast-fashion retailers based on consumer's perceived interactions with Sales Professionals. Rachel is a proud Texan and currently calls the Upper East Side home.