Elected to the New York City Council in November 2017, Adrienne Adams is the first woman to represent the 28th District in Queens. She won her seat with the backing of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The former chairwoman of Queens Community Board 12 says she hopes to inspire others to fight for gender equity, saying, “If there is no seat at the table for you, create that space for yourself.”
The 2020 50 over 50 (continued)
The 2020 50 over 50 (continued)
A government relations professional with more than 15 years of experience, Dwayne M. Andrews says he is “proud of being able to take the valuable lessons taught to me by my mentors and former colleagues – Floyd Flake, Geraldine Ferraro, Peter Peyser, Kenneth Fisher and Stuart Shorenstein – and using them to help my collegiate friend, Patrick Jenkins, build a well-respected and highly sought-after firm.”
Stuart Appelbaum has been reelected five times since he was first elected president of RWDSU in 1998. Last year, the union was a leading voice opposing Amazon’s now-shelved plan to build a second headquarters in New York City. More recently, Appelbaum applauded Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to phase out the subminimum wage for more than 70,000 tipped workers, saying it would go a long way to prevent wage theft in the car wash industry.
John Bennett leads one of the nation’s top-rated health plans, which regularly receives high marks for both employee and member satisfaction. Bennett recently announced the expansion of CDPHP’s patient care program at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, stressing the company’s commitment to providing quality care. A fellow at the American College of Cardiology, Bennett is a co-founder and past CEO of Prime Care Physicians, helping grow the multispecialty practice to 100 physicians.
A partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, Leonard Boxer heads the firm’s real estate practice and is among New York City’s most prominent real estate attorneys. He began his career doing trust and estate law in the 1960s. Known for his ability to see complex real estate transactions through to completion, Boxer oversaw a 2001 acquisition of the World Trade Center site and the development of Starrett City, the nation’s largest federally subsidized housing development.
Before co-founding consultancy Brown & Weinraub in 2001, Patrick Brown led the in-house legal team at the state Court of Appeals. In the 1980s, he advised then-Gov. Mario Cuomo on legal and public policy matters. “The advice I try to impart to new lawyers and lobbyists is: Read original source material,” he says. “Ours is a profession which rests on the written word. Attempts at divining meaning without context are, at best, foolhardy.”
Tapped to serve as TD Bank’s regional vice president for commercial lending in the New York metropolitan area a decade ago, Ralph Bumbaca oversees a team serving a range of business owners. “My proudest moment is leading a group of banking professionals that truly cares for the well-being of all New Yorkers and our communities,” he says. Bumbaca also helps run a nonprofit agency that provides services to people with developmental disabilities.
Thomas P. Butler says he was proud last year when the Public Relations Society of America’s New York chapter honored his firm’s campaign spotlighting a cluster of male breast cancer survivors. “Their story of struggle was told internationally … reaching tens of millions,” Butler says. “One great outcome was Memorial Sloan Kettering (Cancer Center) agreeing to lead a major genomic study of this male breast cancer group to identify a root cause and treatment.”
A union member for more than 50 years, James W. Cahill says his proudest professional achievement is serving as the president of his union, which represents more than 200,000 unionized construction workers across New York state. “The biggest change in New York that I have seen in the last three decades has been the advancement of on-the-job safety,” says Cahill, a longtime advocate for safe work sites.
Longtime educator Mark Cannizzaro began his career as a physical education teacher in Staten Island, moving on to administrative roles and eventually working his way up to the top position at the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators. Asked to impart advice to young people entering his profession, Cannizzaro cautions: “Your actions and words will have a profound effect on your students, so choose them wisely. … You have the power to change and save lives!”
An influential figure in the Brooklyn Democratic Party and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s longtime ally, Frank V. Carone had been head of Abrams Fensterman’s Brooklyn office for five years when he was promoted to name partner in 2017. Last year, Carone was sworn in as president of the Brooklyn Bar Association. “We’re a borough with immigrants from all over the world,” he said after the ceremony. “We want to make them feel welcome and empowered.”
Mario Cilento started working at the New York State AFL-CIO in 1992 and was elected as its president in 2011. He helped lead a successful campaign to defeat the 2017 constitutional convention ballot proposal, which at the time seemed like an uphill battle based on early polling. With Cilento at the helm, the state federation in March 2019 launched its “Union Strong” podcast, which reached more than 10,000 listeners in its first year.
Louis J. Coletti has led the Building Trades Employers’ Association since 1997. He says his proudest achievements are “being a co-founder of the construction skills program, which gives preference to NYC high school graduates in getting into building trades apprentice programs, and the recent reauthorization of the (state minority- and women-owned business enterprises) law, which provides a foundation for growing MWBE contractors.”
A leader in workforce development for nearly 20 years, Doug Cotter has spent more than half of that time with Grant Associates, and the past four years as the company’s president. He used to serve as the president of 4Evolution Staffing, a boutique employment agency. Cotter has delivered presentations on workforce development issues to the U.S. Administration for Children and Families and the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals.
Rick Cotton’s 2017 appointment as executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey came at a time of unprecedented mass transit usage. Now, after decades of “underinvestment in transportation infrastructure and a lack of vision that ultimately saddled the state with appallingly subpar legacy facilities,” Cotton says, “we are making huge investments in projects that build 21st century, world-class transportation facilities.”
Leecia Eve joined Verizon Communications in 2013, after working as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s deputy secretary for economic development and as an adviser to Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton when they were U.S. senators. Eve, who has led the company’s public policy initiatives in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, recently lost a bid to be state attorney general. She previously served as senior vice president and general counsel of Empire State Development.
As the head of legislative and government affairs for a trade association that has been building roads, bridges and subway tunnels for over a century, Felice Farber has a lot to say about infrastructure. “New York City’s quality of life, and its ability to compete in a challenging global economy, continues to depend on its level of sustained investment in the city’s infrastructure,” Farber says. She previously served as special counsel to the city’s transportation commissioner.
Kenneth J. Fasola joined the managed care insurer and pharmacy benefit manager after three decades in the health care industry, most recently as the head of HealthMarkets, one of the largest health insurers in the U.S. Fasola, who was previously the CEO of UnitedHealth Group division Secure Horizons, said in a press release that he plans to meet with stakeholders “to refine our strategy and lead this company into the next phase of growth.”
“I am deeply committed to enhancing the role of public higher education as a positive transformative force in the lives of the people of New York,” says Jay Hershenson, adding that being the son of an immigrant motivates him “to do everything possible to ensure quality educational opportunities for students of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds.” He previously served for 32 years as a CUNY vice chancellor.
Helen S. Jarrett’s role at the Communications Workers of America Local 1180 consists of moving more than 9,000 union members “in different directions for numerous actions,” she says. A civil servant for 38 years and community activist for 25 years, Jarrett began her career in 1981 as an office aide at the NYPD. “One of the best parts of working at CWA Local 1180 is being able to meet, engage and interact with our members,” she says.
A top litigator focusing on complex securities, white-collar and antitrust litigation, Mark A. Kirsch has represented financial giants like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. In the 1990s, Kirsch served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York, focusing on complex financial crimes. “Obsessive preparation is the best predictor of success,” he says. “You can’t control if others are smarter. You can control whether they outwork you.”
After beginning his career in 1989 as an assistant to the Bronx borough president, Peter Krokondelas has worked to elect candidates at all levels of government – including managing Eliot Spitzer’s successful gubernatorial campaign. He now manages campaigns for organizations including Cornell University and Walgreens Co., and previously helped win city approval for the Domino housing development in Brooklyn. “More than any individual accomplishment, I value the many friendships I have made over the past 30 years,” he says.
A seasoned union organizer and a central member to the founding of the state Working Families Party, Bob Master counted helping his 150,000-member union win strikes against NYNEX in 1989 and against Verizon in 2016 among his proudest achievements. “My advice to young people joining the labor movement today is to take the long view,” he says. “The struggle to revive and invigorate the labor movement will be a long and unpredictable one.”
As CUNY’s first minority chancellor, Félix V. Matos Rodríguez strives to help pave the way for others. “My experiences have shown me, time and again, the incredible power that educators have in opening the doors of opportunity,” says Matos Rodríguez, who credits his grandmother, a longtime public school teacher, with creating opportunity for his family. Matos Rodríguez previously served as president of Queens College and Hostos Community College.
Michael McKee and his political action committee helped Democrats take control of the state Senate in 2018, and he counts expanding rent control throughout the state among his proudest accomplishments. The past three decades has brought activism among tenant rights groups to upstate and more unaffordable housing in New York City after “25 years of weakened rent laws,” McKee says. He urges young people to “take the long view; change does not normally happen overnight.”
Michael McKeon is a leading expert in crisis communications and public affairs. A former journalist, McKeon advised Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential bid and former Gov. George Pataki’s reelection campaigns in 1998 and 2002. He also served as Pataki’s communications director, helping manage the state’s response after 9/11. However, he isn’t limited by partisanship – he led the Republicans for Cuomo group and his firm has veteran operatives from across the political spectrum.
Jeanne Mullgrav has spent decades working in New York City and state government as well as the nonprofit sector. As a former commissioner of the New York City Youth and Community Development Department, she led it through a significant transformation under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Her career includes stints at The After-School Corp., a nonprofit provider of services to students, and Safe Horizon, which provides services to crime victims.
Jeffrey Rodus joined the lobbying firm after more than two decades with the New York City Council, where he served as deputy chief of staff to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “My proudest professional achievement was being the lead negotiator for the City Council … on New York City’s fiscal year 2015 budget,” Rodus recalls. “This and my other experiences at the council have helped many clients navigate the complexities of the budget process to secure city funding.”
A former research scientist and a 30-year veteran of the state Department of Health, Patrick Roohan previously served as deputy commissioner of health for the Office of Quality and Patient Safety. In this role, he oversaw information technology advances and the evaluation of the state’s Medicaid program. Since joining MVP Health Care in 2017, he has focused on helping the regional health plan build its data and analytics capabilities.
Peter John Sacripanti advises boards and corporations on activist campaigns, whistleblower accusations, commercial disputes, investigations and mass tort allegations. Ranked among the country’s top lawyers by Chambers USA, he began his career as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. His legal successes include devising an unprecedented legal strategy to restrain the prosecution of more than 200,000 asbestos-related claims against a Fortune 500 company.
Katie Schwab brings decades of government experience to her role helping Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies’ clients navigate New York City’s regulatory, legislative and procurement systems. “I would advise young people to approach every professional experience as a learning opportunity, and to invest equally in developing their skills and their relationships,” she says. “We are problem-solvers in this line of work, and mental agility and empathy are two keys to success.”
Bart M. Schwartz says his proudest achievement was monitoring the United Arab Emirates’ compliance in returning children to their own countries who were trafficked to become camel jockeys. “This engagement … inspired me to work with anti-human trafficking organizations,” Schwartz says. As the federal monitor appointed to oversee the New York City Housing Authority, he faces the monumental task of repairing the agency’s buildings and reforming its management structure.
Louis A. Shapiro is a big believer in the link between internal culture and performance. He is credited with fostering a workplace environment that’s had the Hospital for Special Surgery and its 6,000 employees ranked as the top orthopedics hospital in the country for 10 years running by U.S. News & World Report. Shapiro started out at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh and held high-level roles in the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania.
Since taking over as president early in 2019, Jeremy Singer has helped set the strategic direction of the nonprofit where he had served as chief operating officer since 2013. His advice for the next generation: Be fluid about career planning. “Life doesn’t unfold on a schedule, and neither do career opportunities,” he says. “Worrying about job titles and promotion timelines will drive you nuts. Find interesting people tackling hard problems and get to work.”
Michael J. Smith has focused on making graduation a priority at the career-focused institution since he was appointed president in 2015. Berkeley College, which offers degrees and certification programs in more than 20 fields and has a global online student base, operates campuses serving more than 5,700 students in New Jersey, Manhattan and White Plains. Before taking the helm, Smith held leadership roles at Berkeley College for 19 years.
Stuart Rabinowitz considers the creation of the Zucker School of Medicine, established in 2008 by Hofstra University and Northwell Health, as one of his greatest professional achievements. A member of the university’s faculty for close to 30 years before he was named president in 2001, Rabinowitz became dean of Hofstra University School of Law in 1989 after joining the law school’s faculty in 1972.
After building a reputation as a health care leader in the Dominican Republic, Ramon Tallaj came to New York City at the request of the Archdiocese of New York – and created Somos Community Care, a network of physicians that serve Medicaid recipients. The doctor’s vision? “To see young talented people entering the medical profession become dedicated public servants,” he says. “It’s on us … to help institute change.”
Gary G. Terrinoni is working to help his hospital keep up with Downtown Brooklyn’s rapid population growth, and one of his goals is to make the 175-year-old Brooklyn Hospital Center an indispensable health care provider. To that end, he’s overseeing a $25 million renovation of the hospital’s emergency department, which cares for about 70,000 patients a year. He previously served in leadership roles at New Jersey’s Kennedy Health System.
Anne Welsh McNulty says her 30-year career in finance was incredibly rewarding, but it also showed her what is needed in her current line of work, which is “expanding the circle of opportunity for women in male-dominated fields” and “advocating against structural barriers that limit gender equity.” Formerly a managing director at Goldman Sachs, McNulty is also managing partner at JBK Partners, the private investment firm she founded with her late husband in 2001.
Joni A. Yoswein had significant hands-on experience before she started the government relations consulting firm that bears her name more than two decades ago. She was a member of the Assembly, worked as a senior legislative staffer and as an assistant commissioner at the New York City Department for the Aging. Her firm provides guidance on projects like the city’s first Ikea in Brooklyn, which “set a new standard for development projects across the five boroughs,” she says.