As March ushers in Women’s History Month, we’d like to take the opportunity to recognize the profound impact women have had on Downtown Brooklyn – in particular the women leaders of organizations in the Brooklyn Cultural District. With this series of spotlights, we wish to share their remarkable work with you.

Photo by Noam Galai

Gina Duncan
President, Brooklyn Academy of Music

Gina Duncan was appointed as BAM’s president in February of 2022. The appointment marked a return to BAM for Duncan, who joined BAM’s executive team in January 2017 as Associate Vice President, Film — a newly-created role overseeing BAM Rose Cinemas and the institution’s repertory film program. Under her leadership the program flourished, and Duncan’s revolutionary approach to repertory programming centered on underrepresented voices in cinema was recognized as a “vital” part of the New York film landscape by The New York Times. In 2019, she became Vice President, Film and Strategic Programming; adding Humanities and Archives to her portfolio. Duncan also served as interim head of Marketing and Communications during the first six months of the pandemic and led BAM’s curatorial team in transitioning to programs online to reach audiences across the nation.

Duncan was selected to be a part of Variety’s New York Women’s Impact Class of 2023 as well as Harvard Business School’s Executive Program for Arts Leaders in 2022, and was recently named one of 2024’s Black Power Players by PoliticsNY. She currently serves on the board of New York City Tourism + Conventions and the Gotham Awards Advisory Committee.

Lydah Pyles DeBin
Executive Director, The Center for Fiction

Lydah’s passion for books and reading has guided her career. Prior to joining The Center for Fiction in 2023, she held leadership positions at Literary Arts in Portland, Oregon. During her decade-long tenure — first as Director of Development & Marketing before rising to Deputy Director — the organization became the fastest-growing literary nonprofit in the Pacific Northwest, with Lydah as a key driver of sustainable resource development to support an inclusive and bold vision for a thriving creative community.

Prior to her time at Literary Arts, Lydah worked in sales roles for Penguin Young Readers Group, Simon & Schuster, and Random House. She is excited to be living in Brooklyn and ready to take on the challenge of raising her twin eight-year-old boys as city kids.

We’ll be spotlighting even more notable women in Downtown Brooklyn throughout Women’s History Month – stay tuned to our website and socials for more!