Meet our Honorees:
Verena was born in Austria and raised in the suburbs of Detroit. Verena is a former music marketing and cross-promotions manager. She worked with the prestigious Ford Modeling Agency, the Island Def Jam Music Group as well as well as working with artists such as R & B singer Kelis (formerly of Arista Records), rapper Fabolous (formerly of Elektra Records), hip-hop group D12 featuring Eminem (of Interscope Records) and Queen Latifah on the urban marketing of Bringing Down the House (Touchstone). The entertainment industry’s emphasis on image was extremely influential in Verena pursuing a career in beauty. Over the course of 7 years, she had the opportunity to work with high-end beauty brands including Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, Trish McEvoy, Nars, Shu Uemura and many more as a makeup artist. Simultaneously, she also worked doing makeup for celebrity guests on NBC, VH1, MTV and the HBO film Bernard and Doris starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes while tending to private clients in the New York metro area. Verena had her first symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 16 and was later diagnosed in 2001. Despite her MS, Verena has managed to excel in both the entertainment and beauty industries. However, after becoming a wife and mother with two children, the symptoms of her MS became more debilitating. As a result, she had to find ways to adjust to its physical challenges. In 2007, Verena had the opportunity to conduct a makeover workshop at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for MS at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City. That event officially kicked off “Makeover Your MS” giving Verena the perfect venue to share the enjoyment and inspiration of her personal makeup routine and emphasize her belief that looking and feeling beautiful can be encouraging, inspirational and therapeutic to those suffering with the disease. Verena hopes to continue to encourage people Makeover “Their” MS with the beauty, confidence and optimism that inspires her each day.
Lisa Cohen is a NewYork-based photographer, designer and independent artist promoter who received her B.A. from Columbia University and her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. After three years of practicing law, Lisa realized that she wanted to work with people rather than paper and to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities in more artistic industries. She entered the independent music business and began to study photography and graphic design.
Helping musicians to run their own record labels and assisting them with all aspects of presentation and promotion became one of her passions alongside photography. Lisa was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2001 and, since then, has managed both the physical symptoms of a chronic condition and the recurring challenges involved in living life to the fullest in spite of illness. She chose to pursue her dreams of building a photography business and her Lisa Cohen Studios line of art and designs rather than deciding that settling was a “given” because of the MS. Lisa strives to express her best self through her art, to help musicians and photo clients to express their best selves and their brands, and hopes to bring this same kind of support to individuals living with MS in her role as Managing Director of Makeover Your MS. As a photographer who experienced vision impairment due to MS-related optic neuritis, she understands the cloud that an MS diagnosis and symptoms can cast on self-perception, self-esteem and self-expression. Still, she wholeheartedly believes that there’s no reason that one can’t be a “rock star” in spite of an illness and that nobody should feel that they’re required to settle for a lesser quality of life because of a medical condition. She is dedicated to helping others living with MS to enhance their quality of life and to pursue their dreams