Westchester Power 100: 51-100

City & State recognizes the most powerful people in Westchester.
City & State recognizes the most powerful people in Westchester.
TJ Brown/Shutterstock
City & State recognizes the most powerful people in Westchester.
Power 100

Westchester Power 100: 51-100

The movers and shakers rocking New York City’s northern suburbs.

51. Steve López

President, Yonkers Board of Education

The Rev. Steve López is deeply engaged in Westchester, serving as chaplain for the Yonkers Police Department, as associate pastor at Calvary Center Church in Yonkers and as president of the Yonkers Board of Education, where he’s helped navigate the response to the coronavirus and the restart of in-person classes in October. López is also chair emeritus of the Council of Big 5 School Districts, a group representing New York’s biggest school districts.

52. Samantha Rosado-Ciriello

President, Yonkers Federation of Teachers

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Samantha Rosado-Ciriello has been standing up for the teachers she represents during the coronavirus pandemic, calling for better ventilation in schools, adequate space for social distancing and isolation rooms separate from nurse’s offices, while also fielding any health and safety concerns members may have. She has also pushed for better teacher training and technology implementation for remote learning. Rosado-Ciriello is also pushing for passage of the HEROES Act in Washington.

53. Louis Cappelli

Chairman and CEO, Cappelli Organization

When New Rochelle became an early COVID-19 hot spot in March, real estate developer Louis Cappelli responded quickly by donating $200,000 from his Louis R. Cappelli Foundation to support relief efforts. Cappelli’s family-run company, which has been in Westchester for more than six decades, has also continued to expand his $3 billion real estate portfolio, with residential and mixed-use development projects underway or in the works in New Rochelle and White Plains.

54. Allison Lake

Executive Director, Westchester Children's Association

An advocate for children’s rights, criminal justice reform and community development, Allison Lake recently called attention to the challenges posed by remote learning during COVID-19, noting that many students lack access to the necessary technology. She has been with the Westchester Children’s Association since 1998 – becoming its executive director in 2018 – and has been recognized for her work dealing with child homelessness and youth justice. 

55. Maria Samuels

Executive Director, Westchester Disabled on the Move Inc.

Maria Samuels was elevated to lead Westchester Disabled on the Move Inc. last December. The nonprofit, known as WDOMI, advocates for “independence and equal rights for individuals with disabilities” – and is largely staffed and run by people with disabilities. Samuels, the organization’s deputy executive director since 2016, has experience in hospital administration and working with students with autism and behavioral disorders. She also oversaw the nonprofit’s REV UP Westchester voter engagement effort.

56. Michael Fosina

President, NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital

New York’s first documented coronavirus case was identified at NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital, and the 291-bed Bronxville facility quickly adapted. “We literally built an ICU in the middle of the night, ensured all rooms were prepped to be ICU-ready as needed and planned for staffing,” Fosina recalled. “We did about a year’s worth of work in a matter of weeks.” Last year, Fosina was elected chair of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

57. Susan Fox 

President and CEO, Westchester Institute for Human Development

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Susan Fox is in her fourth year leading the Westchester Institute for Human Development. As leader of the county’s largest private provider of child welfare services, she helped secure funding to provide 30 Chromebooks to children in foster care who didn’t have devices to participate in remote school or therapeutic activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fox also has ramped up telehealth services this year. 

58. Shawyn Patterson-Howard

Mount Vernon Mayor

Shawyn Patterson-Howard made history last fall when she became the first woman elected to lead the town of Mt. Vernon after a hectic year during which three other people claimed to be the city’s rightful mayor. After Patterson-Howard was overwhelmingly elected to the post, the city has returned to relative normalcy. The former YMCA executive recently touted her economic development efforts, increased census turnout and police reforms.

59. Eileen Egan

Executive Director, Phelps Hospital

Eileen Egan took over as executive director of Phelps Hospital in June after shepherding the facility through the peak of the region’s coronavirus outbreak. Her tenure at the Northwell Health facility in Sleepy Hollow includes 17 years as an emergency department nurse. Phelps Hospital was recently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with “Magnet Recognition” status for its “commitment to excellence in nursing and dedication to exemplary patient care.”

60. Derek Anderson

Executive Director, Northern Westchester Hospital

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Derek Anderson became executive director at Northern Westchester Hospital in 2019. He has worked at several Northwell Health facilities; he was previously at Long Island’s North Shore University Hospital, where he carried out $417 million in capital projects, including a surgical pavilion expansion. He’s now poised to continue making progress at the Mount Kisco facility, which announced the opening of a $3.6 million cardiac catheterization lab in September.

61. Marvin Krislov

President, Pace University

Marvin Krislov says the pandemic and this year’s racial unrest has exacerbated an existing mental health crisis among college students, especially students of color at universities like Pace. He’s taking a collaborative approach to address the problem at the private college where he’s been president since 2017 – that means training faculty, staff and student leaders on mental health best practices and resources as they work to “build a culture of mental health and well-being.”

62. Michael Romita

President and CEO, Westchester County Association

On March 1, Michael Romita took the reins at the Westchester County Association, succeeding Bill Mooney. His ascent preceded the pandemic by just a couple weeks, forcing him to pivot any plans he had for one of the region's leading business advocacy groups. He has expressed optimism about Westchester’s ability to “bounce back” economically. To that effort he brings experience as an attorney, an oil executive and lobbyist.

63. Jewel Williams

President, Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, Inc.

Westchester is home to one of the state’s most powerful Black women, the trailblazing state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, but she’s just one of a number of Black female politicians in the county to break through – which is a testament to the work of Jewel Williams’ organization. Williams, who has been with the group for over a decade, has applauded the growing attention to issues important to Black voters. 

64. Hector Santiago

Founder, Stop & Shake

In 2015, activist Hector Santiago partnered with the Yonkers Police Department on “Stop and Shake,” an initiative encouraging people to shake hands with officers on the street to build better relationships. The Yonkers native, who used to be homeless and involved with a gang, has spoken out on other issues, walking from Yonkers to Albany in 2017 to highlight mental health issues and organizing a peaceful protest in response to George Floyd’s death. 

65. W. Franklyn Richardson

Senior Pastor, Grace Baptist Church

A pastor for more than 50 years – with the last 45 of them spent at Grace Baptist Church – W. Franklyn Richardson last month helped launch a program providing residents from underserved communities virtual access to legal help and representation. Earlier this year, the longtime civil rights leader opened a temporary coronavirus testing site at the Mount Vernon-based church – which has undergone significant expansion in the past decades. 

66. Anthony Viceroy

CEO, Westmed Medical Group 

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Westmed Medical Group planned to move to a new corporate headquarters in Rye Brook this summer, with CEO Anthony Viceroy touting the new location’s “amenities, services and space” that are “aligned with the evolution and growth of our business.” It’s one of multiple moves for Viceroy’s 500-provider organization, which has boosted telemedicine for patients in Westchester and Fairfield counties due to COVID-19 while also adapting to both its elderly and millennial clientele.

67. Tim Hall

President, Mercy College

“Where does systemic racism live on college campuses?” Tim Hall asked in a recent Journal News column outlining steps Mercy College has taken to “close racial gaps in success.” Hall, who has led the Dobbs Ferry-based college since 2014 with a focus on boosting enrollment – he improved retention rates by almost 10% – recently pushed back against a request from adjunct faculty asking to be allowed to teach remotely. 

68. William F. B. O’Reilly

Partner, The November Team

Although Republicans have not won a statewide office in years and lost the state Senate in 2018, there are still conservative candidates across the state – and top GOP political consultants like William F. B. O’Reilly remain in demand. O’Reilly’s firm, The November Team, worked this cycle with longtime client Rob Astorino, the former Westchester County executive and former gubernatorial candidate who’s leading in the race for a key state Senate seat. 

69. Milagros “Milly” Peña

President, Purchase College

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Milagros Peña was named president of Purchase College in May, leaving her post as a dean at University of California, Riverside, to relocate to the State University of New York school on the Connecticut border. Peña, who is also an accomplished sociologist and author as well as an administrator, is the daughter of Dominican immigrants and the first Hispanic woman to lead a college in the SUNY system. 

70. Alexander Roberts

Executive Director, Community Housing Innovations

Alexander Roberts, who has served as the executive director of Community Housing Innovations since he founded it in 1991, is a champion of affordable housing development in the New York City suburbs and is behind the development of hundreds of affordable housing units in the Hudson Valley and Long Island. A member of the Westchester Workforce Housing Coalition, he has also rebutted concerns about affordable housing diminishing property values.

71. Christian DiPalermo

Principal and Founder, CDD Strategies

Christian DiPalermo is the founder of CDD Strategies, a government affairs and strategic planning firm specializing in energy, transportation and green spaces, but that’s just one of his many jobs. The former aide to Rep. Nita Lowey and former executive director of the nonprofit New Yorkers for Parks is also a founding partner of the law firm MarksDiPalermo and a board member with the New York League of Conservation Voters.

72. Theo Oshiro

Deputy Director, Make the Road New York

Make the Road New York, which is known for its work on immigrant rights, affordable housing and criminal justice reforms, has been expanding into Westchester County, an effort led by Theo Oshiro. And with the organization’s leaders set to step aside, Oshiro, a Peruvian immigrant who joined Make the Road New York in 2005, will take over as one of three co-executive directors in April.

73. Lindsay Farrell

President and CEO, Open Door Family Medical Center and Foundation

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In May, Lindsay Farrell’s Open Door Family Medical Center and Foundation announced a new program designed to support its most vulnerable patients – providing a variety of resources to people who test positive for COVID-19. The organization, which Farrell has led since 1998, operates 14 in locations, providing medical, dental and behavioral health services to more than 55,000 people each year who otherwise could not afford them. 

74. William Cuddy Jr.

Executive Vice President, CBRE

William Cuddy Jr. isn’t just a leading real estate executive in Westchester – he’s a civic leader, whether it’s calling for policy changes to pave the way for more affordable housing or advocating for the county’s development as a tech, health care and finance hub. He has brokered deals in Westchester for big-name corporations and local institutions, including Entergy, IBM, Mercy College and New York Medical College. 

75. Martin Berger & Michael Klinger

Managing Members, Saber Real Estate Advisors

In December, a partnership of Saber Real Estate Advisors, PCD Development and Circle Squared Alternative Investments broke ground on “The Duet,” a White Plains residential development, just the latest project from Saber principals Martin Berger and Michael Klinger. The Armonk-based firm boasts more than $2 billion of development and acquisitions, many of them in Westchester, but with projects in New Jersey and Florida as well.

76. Seamus Carey

President, Iona College

Last year, Seamus Carey was named president of Iona College, a private, Catholic institution with nearly 4,000 students. This year, Carey has contended with disruptions wrought by COVID-19, quickly closing its doors this spring due to its proximity to the March hot spot in New Rochelle, reopening this fall with strict public health protocols, then temporarily going all-remote in October due to an outbreak before resuming in-person classes.

77. Dean Bender, Elizabeth Bracken-Thompson & Geoff Thompson

Partners, Thompson & Bender

For leading institutions and organizations in Westchester County, the go-to advertising, marketing and public relations firm is Thompson & Bender. Its client list includes many corporations, colleges, real estate firms, nonprofits and governmental entities. Dean Bender was a veteran journalist before pivoting to PR, while the husband-and-wife duo of Elizabeth Bracken-Thompson, an advertising and marketing pro, and government relations guru Geoff Thompson round out the leadership. 

78. Nader Sayegh

Assembly Member

When Nader Sayegh was elected to the Assembly in 2018, he became the first Jordanian-American in the state Legislature. This month, the Democratic lawmaker from Yonkers ran for reelection unopposed. An advocate for education funding, he also set aside his personal views last year to cast a pivotal vote advancing legislation ending the state's religious exemption for vaccinations to a vote, on the grounds that it merited a full debate. 

79. Frank Coleman

President, NAACP Yonkers Branch

The NAACP has a long history in Yonkers, from its landmark 1986 settlement requiring busing of students to today’s Black Lives Matter movement. The local chapter’s leader, the Rev. Frank Coleman, came on in 2019. He has criticized the promotion of a local firefighter who posted racist comment online, and called the death of George Floyd a “horrific and repugnant murder.” Coleman is also the senior pastor at Messiah Baptist Church.

80. Cristle Collins Judd

President, Sarah Lawrence College

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Sarah Lawrence College President Cristle Collins Judd recently reported that the institution has experienced “extremely low rates of COVID-19 infection” on the liberal arts school’s Bronxville campus, crediting students and staff for wearing masks and social distancing. The school’s president since 2017, Judd is a Texas native and music scholar who previously worked as a senior program officer with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

81. Robert Amler 

Dean, School of Health Sciences and Practice, New York Medical College

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of investing in and understanding public health, and experts like Robert Amler have provided invaluable insights into how to respond and what to expect next. Amler, who worked on New York’s landmark Berger Commission and at the federal level for the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Diseases Control, has frequently weighed in on vaccine development, air travel, and more. 

82. Eddie Monroy & Aleida Frederico

President; Chair, Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 

Business consultant Eddie Monroy last fall was elevated to lead the Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which seeks to serve the county’s growing Hispanic population and support business leaders and entrepreneurs from that community. Helping direct the organization’s efforts is its chair, Aleida Frederico, who is also a senior relationship manager and vice president for TD Bank and a member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. 

83. Catherine Lederer-Plaskett

President, WCLA-Choice Matters

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Catherine Lederer-Plaskett’s political action committee advocates for abortion rights, an issue that has come to the fore now that conservatives make up a 6-3 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. Locally, however, Lederer-Plaskett played a role in two recent political victories – keeping former Independent Democratic Conference member David Carlucci out of Congress, and getting Suzanne Berger elected leader of the county’s Democratic Party.

84. Michael Welling & Joanne Gere

Co-Founders, Westchester Biotech Project

Michael Welling and Joanne Gere have a shared vision of a thriving life sciences ecosystem in Westchester – and they’ve made recent progress in having it become a reality. They bring together researchers, academics and government officials, touting two projects – the Ardsley Park campus renovation and the proposed North 60 Project – in the works or underway. Their efforts have even piqued the interest of J.P. Morgan. 

85. Michael Geisler

President, Manhattanville College

Rarely does a college course focus solely on an ongoing crisis, but that’s what Manhattanville College did with its summer course on COVID-19 – with President Michael Geisler addressing students at its conclusion. It reflects the innovative approach Geisler brought when he arrived from Middlebury College in 2016. Like other schools, Manhatanville has also had to adapt to the pandemic, with a hybrid of in-person and remote classes. 

86. Millie Hernandez-Becker

Founder, Skyqueen Realty

Although COVID-19 has devastated the airline industry, Millie Hernandez-Becker accentuates the positives, including her view that private jet travel will be in higher demand once the pandemic ends. The former owner of Westchester Air and Skyqueen Enterprises recently founded Skyqueen Realty, a licensed firm that marries her backgrounds in aviation and real estate with a national focus. She also serves on the board of the Business Council of Westchester.

87. Cynthia Delfino

President and CEO, YMCA of Central Northern Westchester

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Cynthia Delfino’s political roots run deep. Not only has she served as Tarrytown’s village administrator and as assistant village manager for Briarcliff Manor, but her father, Joseph Delfino, was the mayor of White Plains. After more than a decade in higher education, she in 2013 took the reins at the YMCA of Central Northern Westchester, where she has helped respond to the coronavirus pandemic with a county child care program. 

88. Juanita Lewis 

Hudson Valley Organizing Director, Community Voices Heard

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The challenges facing tenants aren’t limited to the five boroughs – as Juanita Lewis can tell you, many Hudson Valley residents struggle to pay the rent too. As an organizer with Community Voices Heard for over a decade, Lewis has been fighting for low-income families and individuals of color. The Minnesota native was part of an effort last year to survey Black women on which policies need to change in New York. 

89. Bill O’Shaughnessy

President and CEO, Whitney Global Media

Bill O’Shaughnessy has long been a leading voice in Westchester radio as the man behind Whitney Global Media, which runs the independent radio stations WVOX and WVIP. As the county shifts to the left politically, O’Shaughnessy has remained outspoken in espousing conservative views, including an October editorial endorsing President Donald Trump for reelection. At the same time, O’Shaughnessy has been an ardent supporter of Mario Cuomo and his son, Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

90. Janice Griffith

President, NAACP White Plains and Greenburgh Branch

Janice Griffith, the president of the White Plains and Greenburgh NAACP, led a rally and vigil in May for George Floyd, demanding change and saying, “This has got to stop. This is enough. When will it be enough?” And in September, Griffith was appointed to be the chair of a new White Plains committee on policing, which will hear from the local community on potential reforms.

91. Robert Martinelli

CEO and President, Today Media 

The Martinelli family has deep roots in Westchester County, with a long history in local publishing and family patriarch Angelo Martinelli getting elected Yonkers mayor six times in the 1970s and 1980s. Leading the way these days is Robert Martinelli, whose Today Media publishes Westchester Magazine – with features on local restaurants, culture and politics – as well as several other publications and lifestyle magazines in Delaware and Philadelphia. 

92. Hector Lopez

Chair, Westchester Hispanic Law Enforcement Association

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With police interactions with people of color under scrutiny, Hector Lopez is in a position to help bridge the divide in New York as leader of the Westchester Hispanic Law Enforcement Association. Yet while Lopez is a champion of Latinos in law enforcement, his scope is broader: He also serves on the Yonkers Hispanic Federation Chamber of Commerce, the Westchester County Hispanic Advisory Board, and the Yonkers Hispanic Cultural Foundation.

93. Damon Jones & AJ Woodson

Publisher; Editor-In-Chief, Black Westchester

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Black residents make up 16.7% of Westchester County, but all too often their stories are not told in the media. That’s where Black Westchester comes in. The online magazine, at www.blackwestchester.com, is run by publisher Damon Jones and editor-in-chief AJ Woodson. The duo put the spotlight on Black political players in the county, offering commentary on candidates for office, highlighting efforts to reform policing practices, and covering everything from sports to music.

94. Meiling Macias-Toro

President, 100 Hispanic Women, Westchester Chapter

Meiling Macias-Toro is the president of the Westchester chapter of 100 Hispanic Women, which she helped found in 2003. The organization helps young Latinas in various ways, including mentorship, college scholarships and networking events. Macias-Toro has also continued to advance in her own impressive career, launching MMT Media, which helps companies produce TV, radio and web commercials in English and Spanish and find talent, four years ago.

95. Stacey Cohen 

President and CEO, Co-Communications

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Having founded the marketing and public relations firm Co-Communications more than two decades ago, Stacey Cohen has her finger on the pulse of Westchester. That’s why she was brought on by the Cuomo administration to market the construction of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. The award-winning firm, which relocated from Mount Kisco to West Harrison in 2018, offered free consulting help for nonprofits struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

96. Diana Sánchez

Co-Founder, Yonkers Sanctuary Movement

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Diana Sánchez is a co-founder of Yonkers Sanctuary Movement, a grassroots group dedicated to defending the rights and safety of undocumented immigrants in Westchester County. The organization, which has a number of DACA recipients on its board, counts among its goals making Yonkers a sanctuary city. Sánchez, who was born in Mexico and raised in Westchester, has been a community activist since she was a teenager. 

97. Hussein Rababah

New York State Director, MAS-PACE

Hussein Rababah, a leading defender of the Muslim community in New York, was nominated to Westchester County Executive George Latimer’s new Arab American Advisory Board in December and confirmed in February. As director of the New York branch of the Muslim American Society’s Public Affairs and Civic Engagement division – or MAS-PACE – Rababah has criticized President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, condemned anti-Semitism and pushed for higher voter turnout. 

98. Michael Lillis

President, Lakeland Federation of Teachers

This summer, Lakeland Federation of Teachers President Michael Lillis penned an open letter about the safety risks with efforts to restart in-person classes – and more than 50 teachers union leaders signed on. And it’s not the first time the physics teacher in the Lakeland Central School District has made waves – he also mounted a 2017 bid to be president of NYSUT, the state teachers union.

99. Nada Khader

Executive Director, WESPAC Foundation

Nada Khader has run WESPAC Foundation, a progressive organization pushing for social change, for nearly two decades. Khader, who has spoken out for criminal justice reforms in the wake of the death of George Floyd, was recently appointed to White Plains’ police reform committee. Her social justice organization also advocated for refugees and spent years pushing to shut down the local Indian Point nuclear power plant.

100. Eridania Camacho & Carmen L. Martínez-López

Director, Gateway to Entrepreneurship; Dean, School of Business and Professional Careers, Westchester Community College

With 13,000 students, Westchester Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the county – and in the midst of a severe recession created by the coronavirus pandemic, its emphasis on workforce development and economic mobility is increasingly critical. One way the college carries out that mission is through its Eridania Camacho’s Gateway to Entrepreneurship, a program the college describes as a “resource hub for entrepreneurial development.” Meanwhile, Carmen L. Martínez-López, the dean of the college’s School of Business and Professional Careers, engages directly with local government as a member of County Executive George Latimer’s Hispanic Advisory Board. 

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