A superhero night to remember

A superhero night to remember


If you’ve attended any of our past celebrations, you know that we at the Pension Rights Center know how to throw a party! And that’s just what we did to celebrate our 40th anniversary.  On Thursday, October 6, the Pension Rights Center held an anniversary reception, and, in keeping with tradition, we honored a number of Retirement Security Superheroes for their outstanding work in protecting the retirement security of workers, retirees and their families – with great music and superhero capes donned by Karen Ferguson and Karen Friedman.

Retirement Security Public Service Superhero Awards

The night’s first set of awards was presented to a trio of government officials who have dedicated their lives to public service:

  • Phyllis C. Borzi, Assistant Secretary, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor;
  • J. Mark Iwry, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Retirement and Health Policy, U. S. Department of the Treasury, and
  • Thomas Reeder, Jr., Director, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

All awards were presented by members of the Center’s Board of Directors who have had first-hand experience in working with the night’s honorees. Nancy Altman thanked Phyllis for her unwavering commitment to protecting investors from biased investment advice, her vision in ensuring the transparency of 401(k) fees, as well as her past work as a Hill staffer in helping pass laws that expanded protections for widows and former spouses.  Debra Whitman praised Mark for his years of working in the interests of participants, particularly for being the creative force behind the concepts of  automatic enrollment and other innovative features that expand savings in 401(k) plans, state-administered retirement savings plans, and the myRA. Finally, Regina Jefferson presented Tom Reeder with his award, comparing him to Clark Kent for both his humility and mild-mannered ways. Regina  commented that like Clark Kent, Tom transforms himself into a super power by jumping out of the metaphorical telephone booth to save the day – and rescue participants’ pensions.

Retirement Security Public Interest Superhero Award

The evening’s Public Interest Superhero Award was presented to Norman P. Stein, for the thousands of hours he has devoted to helping retirement plan participants protect and obtain the benefits they have earned, as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Pension Rights Center.

Retirement Security Activist Superhero Awards

The Center also honored six activists by presenting them with Retirement Security Superhero medals for inspiring work.  The night’s first activist superhero honoree was Mary Rich, whose dogged determination and relentless dedication helped more than 800 of her fellow colleagues at the Hospital Center at Orange retain their pensions. Learn about her story.

We’ve gotten to know the other activist superheroes, Bob Amsden, Tommy Burke, Rita Lewis, Greg Smith and Mike Walden, through our work on the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act. They all stood to lose more than half of their pensions if the Central States Pension Fund’s request for retiree pension cuts had been approved. Together they rallied to spread the word, launched letter writing and media campaigns, met with their elected representatives, organized rallies, and mobilized others to act against the cuts. Fortunately, the Treasury Department rejected the Fund’s request, but the work isn’t finished. Their superhero efforts have just begun.

Video and Photos

If you missed the event, you’re in luck because we recorded the whole thing. See below for videos of the whole night.  And here’s a link to photos of the night’s festivities.


The night would not have been possible without the generous support of the event’s sponsors.  See here for a full list or listen to the “Happy Sponsor Blues” as written by Karen Friedman and performed by Celeste Crenshaw, Debra Tidwell and the Burnett Thompson Trio.

Super Sustainers 

AARP | Altman Fund | Anonymous | International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers | Stris & Maher LLP

Cosmic Contributors

Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll PLLC | Financial Engines | Keller Rohrback L.L.P. | Schlichter Bogard & Denton LLP | Stephen R. Bruce Law Offices

Dynamic Donors

American Academy of Actuaries | American Retirement Association | Association of BellTel Retirees Inc./ProtectSeniors.Org | Baker Botts L.L.P. | Cheiron | Covington & Burling LLP | Ian Lanoff | International Brotherhood of Teamsters | Keightley & Ashner LLP | Marion H. Mudd | McDermott Will and Emery | National Retiree Legislative Network | Overlook Foundation | Pensions & Investments | Proskauer Rose LLP | Service Employees International Union | Slevin & Hart, PC | Steptoe and Johnson LLP

Spectacular Supporters

American Federation of Teachers | BenefitsLink | Charlie McBride and Peggy DeBell | Daniel H. Mudd | Ellen A. Bruce and Richard Segan | Fred and Michelle Reish | Henry Rose | International Brotherhood of Boilermakers | Janet Janjigian, in memory of Reuven Frank | Lucia and John Mudd | Martin & Bonnett PLLC | Melanie & Larry Nussdorf | National Education Association | Olena Lacy | Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP | Ralph Nader | Sandals & Associates, P.C. | Teamsters Local 100 | The Terry Group | United Steelworkers

Fantastic Friends

AFSCME | American Benefits Council | Anonymous | Barbara Kennelly Associates, LLC | Caricatures by Tom Chalkley | Clark Law Group | Daniel Halperin | DeBofsky Sherman & Casciari P.C. | Dianne Bennett | Helene Madonick & Laura Einstein | John H. Biggs | Judith Mazo | Minnesota Committee to Protect Pension Rights | North Carolina Committee to Protect Pensions | Promotional Marketing Services | Randy Barber | Ron Dean | Scott Macey | Squire Patton Boggs | Wayne Turner

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