Keia Clarke has all the right moves, from the basketball court to the C-suite. Clarke is coming off her first season as chief operating officer of the New York Liberty, a WNBA team that now calls Westchester home. The 2019 season will be the team’s second season using the Westchester County Center in White Plains as its home arena. Clarke has been with the WNBA for 12 years and with the Liberty for eight. She currently oversees strategy, budgets and day-to-day business.
The Westchester Watch List
The Westchester Watch List
In the Westchester Power 50, we take a closer look at the movers and shakers of Westchester County. Since we cover politicians on a day-to-day basis, we limited this list to those who are not strictly in government but instead influence it from the outside.
We partnered on this project with Suzanne Colucci, an award-winning television journalist based in Westchester. We reached out to insiders and experts to compile this list, ranking each person based on their accomplishments, their sway in political and policy matters, their economic clout, their philanthropic efforts, their ties to powerful politicians and the constituencies they represent.
It’s worth noting that the people on it are predominantly white and male, which simply reflects our best attempt at identifying the power structure as it is. We sought to balance that by presenting an additional – and more diverse – list of younger figures on the rise.
These 10 people who live or work in Westchester County have begun to make their mark on New York’s political world – and each of them is worth watching in the years ahead.
Christie Houlihan is bringing a burst of energy to the family business, which has been around for more than a century. She is the senior director and counsel at White Plains-based Houlihan-Parnes Realtors LLC, handling the development, financing and legal representation for the company’s portfolio, which includes over 8.5 million square feet of commercial real estate and 25,000 multifamily units nationwide. She is the first woman to work in the family business, which she joined after practicing real estate law.
When people think of Westchester, hunger doesn’t come to mind as a real problem. Yet 1 in 5 people in the county will be affected this year – and Ayesha Khan is doing all she can to help them. The nonprofit veteran oversees the development team at Feeding Westchester, a nonprofit working to end hunger in the county. It’s the heart of a network of more than 300 partners that distribute food and other resources to people all over Westchester.
Antoinette Klatzky is all about empowering young women. She is the executive director and co-creator of the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute. Founded in 2010, the program promotes leadership in young women through self-empowerment and activism. It started out small but has grown into a year-round, growing nonprofit thanks largely to Klatzky’s efforts. She co-developed the Handloom Project, a human rights initiative in India as well as the Green Eileen recycled clothing initiative, and continues to facilitate leadership and empowerment workshops.
From Capitol Hill to the state Capitol to New York City Hall, this political maven took her legislative savvy to Regeneron in 2012. Now, from her perch in Westchester, Erin Loosen is advancing state corporate and government affairs for the largest biopharmaceutical company in New York and one of the most innovative and well-respected companies in the world. She is positioned at the intersection of industry, government, real estate and academia advocating for Regeneron and building a life sciences ecosystem that competes nationally.
Mark Lungariello is an investigative reporter covering government and politics for The Journal News. Since coming on in 2015, he has contributed to USA Today’s 2016 presidential election coverage and has become a go-to source for county and regional political news. Recent scoops include uncovering sexual harassment complaints within the Harrison Police Department and exposing illegal dumping in Mount Vernon. He has appeared on MSNBC and “The Brian Lehrer Show,” and co-hosts his “High Noon” radio show on WVOX.
Sarah Jones-Maturo knows how to make a deal and now she’s teaching others to do it. As a broker, Jones-Maturo has had clients like Sony, Sprint and Dow Jones, and in 2014 and 2015 alone she had deals totaling over 1 million square feet. She now heads Harrison-based RM Friedland, Westchester’s largest privately held commercial real estate brokerage company. This year, she became the exclusive leasing agent for a $120 million, 28-story mixed-use building in New Rochelle.
To say Christian Petroni is having a good year would be an understatement. Not only was the charismatic Westchester chef crowned the next “Food Network Star” and is about to get to get his own show, his Fortina restaurants are packed. Petroni opened his first Fortina in 2013 and now has five Italian eateries, having just opened the newest one in Yonkers. Petroni had already been a regular on Food Network shows like “Chopped” – a competition he won.
School is back in session for Bradley Porche, the superintendent at the New York School for the Deaf. Founded in 1817, it is the country’s second-oldest deaf education program. The 2018-19 school year will be the second one for Porche, who is deaf himself and came to the Westchester school with 14 years of experience. He is especially focused on enriching the school’s academic and career programs to ensure that his students are empowered after they graduate.
Adam Stone founded Examiner Media at age 29, launching The Examiner community newspaper in 2007. The Examiner initially covered two Westchester communities, Mount Kisco and Pleasantville, circulating only 2,000 copies per week. Since then, Stone has expanded the coverage area as well as starting three additional print publications: The Northern Westchester Examiner, The Putnam Examiner and The White Plains Examiner. The four newspapers now distribute a combined 25,000 copies each week., while also operating a popular local news website.