Berkeley College Presents Women Entrepreneurship 2020

October 07, 2020  
Sponsored By Berkeley College
8:30AM - 3:30PM
Change Leaders Women Recalibrating the Future
Event Description

To empower the futures of women in entrepreneurship and business, Berkeley College, in partnership with City & State New York, will host a special event that includes discussions with prominent leaders in business, government and media. Women Entrepreneurship Week (WEW) is a global movement. More than 200 universities and colleges in 60 countries hosted events in 2019. WEW is also a local movement that provides a platform for professional growth, leadership development and activism centered on equity.

Panel topics include:

  • Courageous Women Advocating for Equality and Justice
  • Empowering Businesses Beyond the Reopening
  • Reclaiming New York City – Bringing Back NYC’s Economy
  • Lunch and Learn with Career Coaches and Media Experts
  • All About You – Focus on Empowering Your Personal Brand
  • Corporate Learning Partners Roundtable
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul
Opening Keynote
New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was elected in 2014 and re-elected for a second term in 2018. She is the highest-ranking female elected official in statewide office in New York State. She has worked in all levels of government, from Hamburg Town Board to Erie County Clerk to Congress – where she represented New York’s 26th Congressional District. The Lieutenant Governor chairs the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils, which have reinvented economic development in local communities. She also chairs the State Workforce Investment Board, which addresses the number one concern of businesses – the lack of skilled workers. Hochul serves as co-chair of the State’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force working to combat the epidemic and develop a comprehensive strategy for New York in partnership with experts and community members. She spearheads the administration’s efforts to advance equality, championing campaigns for fair wages, Paid Family Leave, Enough is Enough to combat sexual assault on college campuses, and eliminating the gender wage gap. She continues to be a champion for women and families across the State, serving as co-chair of the State’s Child Care Availability Task Force and chair of the New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission. The Lieutenant Governor is dedicated to her role as the Governor’s eyes and ears on the ground, making it a point to travel to all 62 counties every year – traveling enough miles to circle the globe more than 10 times. Representing the Governor across the State, Hochul tours main streets, meets with local business owners, visits college campuses, and meets regularly with mayors, supervisors and other community leaders. She also builds support for the Governor agenda and initiatives from increasing the minimum wage to ethics reform and infrastructure investment. As Lieutenant Governor, Hochul is liaison to New York’s federal representatives in Washington, D.C. While in Congress, Hochul served on the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, traveling to Afghanistan to confer with military leaders and meet with active-duty men and women. Her focus in Congress was job creation and bridging the skills gap by bringing together business and academia, and creating opportunities for returning veterans. Prior to becoming Lieutenant Governor, she was Group Vice President for Strategic Relationships at M&T Bank, serving as liaison for community matters and significant economic development projects. Hochul received a law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., serving as legal counsel and legislative assistant to Congressman John LaFalce and Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan before starting her career in public service. In 2006, Hochul joined her mother and aunt in establishing the Kathleen Mary House, a transitional home for victims of domestic violence.
Joyce Chang
Chair, Global Research, J.P. Morgan, Closing Keynote
Joyce Chang is Chair of Global Research for J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Bank, a global leader in banking, markets and investor services. J.P. Morgan’s Global Research professionals study all sectors in which the firm does business, including equities, fixed income, currency and commodities, emerging markets, derivatives and structured finance. The global research team has been named the top global research firm for 2017 and 2018 by Institutional Investor. Chang was most recently Global Head of Research for the Corporate and Investment Bank, a role she held for more than five years. She was previously Global Head of Fixed Income Research and began her career as an Emerging Markets Strategist. From 1997 through 2012, Chang held top rankings in Institutional Investor surveys for Emerging Markets research, earning 25 No. 1 individual rankings. In 2014, she was inducted into the Fixed Income Analyst Society Hall of Fame. Chang was a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch and Salomon Brothers prior to joining J.P. Morgan Chase in 1999. She serves on the Board of Directors of Trickle Up and Girls Inc. and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of New York, the Bretton Woods Committee and the Inter-American Dialogue. She is the Senior Sponsor for J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Bank Women on the Move Network, the network for employees of Asian heritage (AsPIRE) and Nonprofit Board Service. She has been named as one of Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance by American Banker since 2012. Chang holds an MPA from Princeton and serves on its External Advisory Council for the Center for Public Policy, and has a BA from Columbia, where she was awarded the John Jay award for professional achievement and serves on its Board of Visitors.
Moya Bansile, Esq.
Co-Chair, Berkeley College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and Professor, Legal Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies
Moya S. H. Bansile, Esq. is an Instructor in the Legal Studies Department, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Berkeley College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. Bansile obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall University of Law in 1996 and is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey and federal courts. Since joining Berkeley College in 2006, she has taught a wide range of legal courses, initially as an adjunct Instructor, but later as a full-time faculty member. Bansile serves as Pre-Law Advisor, as a Berkeley College Ambassador, and as a member of the Legal Studies Advisory Board, Task Force on Innovation and Academic Affairs Committee. She is a 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient, and was the 2018-2019 Commencement Faculty Speaker. During her more than 20 years in private practice, Bansile has engaged in a general practice with a significant focus on family law, immigration law and employment law. Early in her legal career, Bansile interned with the United States District Court and Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, and clerked for the Honorable Kenneth S. Levy, Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County, Law Division – Criminal Part and later Chancery Division – Family Part. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Bansile worked as a Senior Accountant for K-III Magazines and an Accountant with First Investors Company. In addition to her legal career, Bansile is engaged in various community outreach initiatives and legal workshops in northern New Jersey and in New York City, and has presented as panelist or keynote speaker at a variety of conferences and conventions.
Heather Briccetti, Esq.
Chief Executive Officer and President, The Business Council of New York State
Heather C. Briccetti, Esq. is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Business Council of New York State, Inc., advocating for New York’s business community. Briccetti joined The Business Council in 2007, as Vice President of government affairs, overseeing the organization’s legislative and pro-growth agendas. She holds a Juris Doctor from Albany Law School. Prior to The Business Council, Briccetti was a consultant and lobbyist for Powers and Company, working on issues including the Javits Center expansion and the new Yankee Stadium. She has also served as assistant counsel to the New York State Senate majority; legislative aide and counsel to the New York State Assembly majority committee on Racing and Wagering; and special counsel in the New York State Attorney General’s office. Briccetti has served on numerous boards and committees, including: Climate Action Council Energy-Intensive and Trade-Exposed Industries Advisory Panel; New York Forward Reopening Advisory Board; New York State Thruway Authority; New York State Child Care Availability Task Force; Secure Choice Savings Program; CATS Industrial Advisory Board; Capitalize Albany, Corporation; New York State Council for Women and Girls; Berkeley College Board of Trustees; Council of State Chambers (COSC) Board of Directors; New York State Wage Board; American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), board of directors; Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, board of directors; US Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs Committee; the State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division’s Third Judicial Department Committee on Character and Fitness; the Commercial Division Advisory Council for the Supreme Court of the State of New York; the New York State Tax Relief Commission; the New York State Tourism Advisory Council; and the Chairman's Committee for the Regional Economic Development Councils.
Edwina Dunn, OBE
Chief Executive Officer, The Female Lead
Edwina Dunn is one of the most successful leaders in the data industry, with a career of delivering transformational business change, together with her long term partner, Clive Humby. Dunn & Humby revolutionized the world of retail and consumer goods when it pioneered Tesco Clubcard and other global loyalty programs, eventually selling dunnhumby to Tesco in 2011. At this stage, the business had 1,500 employees across 25 countries and was managing engagement strategies for 350 million customers including Kroger, Macy’s and Best Buy. Dunn is now forging a new era of consumer insight and technology with Starcount. Her business is already working with some of the biggest and best global brands looking for new customer journey tracking and new product development. In October 2018, Dunn was appointed to the The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, an advisory body set up by the government to investigate and advise on how the public maximizes the benefits of data-enabled technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI). In July 2019, Dunn was appointed to The Geo-Spatial Commission to provide expert, impartial advice to the government on geo-spatial data, including on strategic priorities and value for money, to inform the United Kingdom’s strategy. Previously, Dunn chaired the Your Life campaign to encourage more young people to study math and science, and founded The Female Lead, a nonprofit project celebrating the achievements, endeavours and diversity of women; donating 18,000 copies of The Female Lead: Women Who Shape Our World to schools and universities across the United Kingdom and United States. Dunn has four Honorary Doctorates, is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge, a Patron of MRS and an Honorary Fellow of the IDM and Marketing Society. In 2019 she received an OBE for her services to data and business in the United Kingdom.
Wendy Garcia
Chief Diversity Officer, New York City Comptroller’s Office
As Chief Diversity Officer, Wendy Garcia is responsible for increasing contracting opportunities for Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and managing the Comptroller Office’s internal supplier diversity initiative, as well as other diversity related projects across all bureaus of the agency. Garcia also leads the Comptroller’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth through Diversity and Inclusion – a group comprised of national, local, corporate and government experts seeking to increase supplier diversity in the public and private sectors. The Comptroller’s Office of Diversity Initiatives, led by Garcia, releases “Making the Grade: New York City Agency Report Card on Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises,” a report that examines how well City agencies meet existing supplier diversity goals while outlining additional measures that could be taken to increase the participation of MWBEs in City contracting. Previously, she served as the Deputy Chief Diversity Officer at the Office of New York City Comptroller, Director of Community Outreach and Partnerships at the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), Deputy Director of the Manhattan Borough President’s Northern Manhattan Office, and Immigrant Research Analyst for the Rockefeller Foundation through Baruch College. Garcia earned a Master’s degree in Urban Policy and Management from New School University with a concentration in Economic Development, and a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Delaware.
Man-Li Kuo Lin
Economic Development Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration
Man-Li Kuo Lin is an Economic Development Specialist with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) New York District Office. She joined SBA as a Business Development Specialist in 2006. She has also served in district roles as Emerging Leaders CEO Training Program Project Manager, International Trade Officer, PRIME Grantee Liaison, Supervisory Economic Development Specialist, Veteran Business Development Officer, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Project Officer; and Women’s Business Center (WBC) District Office Technical Representative. Prior to her arrival at SBA, Lin was a 14-year Employment Services Representative and Business Services Representative for the New York State Department of Labor. She established the Asian Job Service Employer Committee for the U.S. Department of Labor to help educate Asian businesses and help bridge the gaps between Chinese-American businesses, community and the government. Lin also founded the Long Island Families Adopt Children from China (FCC LI) Chinese School in 1999; and the TzuChi Foundation Long Island Chinese School in 1998. Lin was born in Taiwan and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chinese Literature from the National Taiwan University. She also earned two Master’s degrees in Management Engineering in Computer Science and Teaching English as Second Language from Long Island University, Post campus in Long Island, NY.
Melva Miller
Chief Executive Officer, Association for a Better New York
Melva M. Miller is the first Chief Executive Officer. for the Association for a Better New York (ABNY). Working with the Board of Directors, she is responsible for the overall success of the organization through economic development, long-term planning, stakeholder engagement, strategic partnerships and the expansion and evolution of ABNY's membership. Prior to this role, Miller led the organization’s Census 2020 initiative for an accurate count of New York. In addition to her new role, Miller continues to support census efforts underway by the U.S. Census Bureau, State and City of New York, and in coordination with community-based organizations in an effort to help New York City and State achieve the most fair and complete census count possible. Miller has also served as the Deputy Borough President of Queens, working with the Borough Presidents on moving Queens forward. Her achievements include the creation of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a $153 million stakeholder-driven strategy to increase quality employment, economic diversity and financial security in downtown Jamaica. She was also the lead organizer of the Western Queens Tech Strategic Plan, an initiative that produced a five-year, $300,000 planning initiative that produced a blueprint for equitable growth of the Long Island City and Astoria tech ecosystem. Miller has held several senior economic development roles throughout her career, including Director of Economic Development for the Borough of Queens and Executive Director for the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District. She serves on the Boards of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Habitat for Humanity New York City, and the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. Miller holds a Bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work, and recently received a second Master’s Degree in Philosophy from The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Social Welfare program at CUNY's Graduate Center.
Helen Rosenthal
Council Member, Committee on Women and Gender Equity, NYC Council
Helen Rosenthal represents the Upper West Side in the New York City Council. She is a leading voice on issues of accessibility, gender equity and civic engagement, affordable housing, education equity, and adequate funding for social service providers. Elected to the City Council in 2013, Rosenthal’s vote total in the general election was the highest of any candidate running for City Council in New York City. As Chair of the Contracts Committee during the 2014-2017 session, she successfully fought for increased City investment in nonprofits that provide essential social services to 2.5 million New Yorkers, especially seniors, children and people with disabilities. Rosenthal successfully advocated for changes to the way the City funds these nonprofits, along with increased wages for 180,000 social service workers. In 2017, Rosenthal and her colleagues wrote a historic package of new laws, which provide greater protections for tenants against harassment and unsafe conditions. These bills make it easier to hold abusive landlords accountable and help tenants protect their homes. Under her leadership, the City Council Women’s Caucus released a groundbreaking report in August 2017 about the declining number of women in the City Council, how New York compares to other American cities, and the public policy impacts of the lack of gender parity in legislative bodies. Currently only 11 of the City Council’s 51 seats are held by women. As Chair of the Committee on Women for the 2018-2021 session, Rosenthal plans to target sexual harassment in the municipal workforce, the gender wage gap, the systemic under-representation of women in elected office, and the lack of adequate support for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. In addition to her committee assignments, she is also Co-chair of the Council’s Manhattan Delegation, and a member of its Budget Negotiating Team.
Angelica O. Tang
Senior Advisor, Asia Value Advisors
Angie Tang is Senior Advisor of Asia Value Advisors, a leading venture philanthropy advisory firm based in Hong Kong. She is a columnist for The Diplomat, the premier online magazine on Asia policy. From 2009 to 2014, Tang served as Executive Director of the Committee of 100, a Chinese American leadership organization. Prior to her executive leadership position in the non-profit sector, Tang was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao's spokesperson and regional executive. Before joining the federal government, Tang was a cabinet official in the administration of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. She started her career in public affairs as a policy advisor to New York City Council President Andrew Stein. She was elected Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and served on the Board of Directors of several nonprofit organizations. She is a recipient of several leadership awards including the 2013 Above & Beyond Chairperson Award from New York's City & State magazine. Tang is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Princeton University, and Columbia Business School. She was elected to Berkeley College’s Board of Trustees in 2013.
Elinor Tatum
Publisher and Editor in Chief, New Amsterdam News
Elinor Tatum is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of the New York Amsterdam News, the oldest and largest black newspaper in the City of New York, and one of the oldest ethnic papers in the United States. Tatum was appointed Editor In Chief in 1997, becoming one of the youngest publishers in the history of the black press. She began at the newspaper as a journalist, covering issues local and national issues affecting Harlem and the black community. Under her watch, the Amsterdam News was modernized to include an online edition, a new layout, and refocused with content relevant to a wider African American community in New York and across the nation. In addition to publishing the Amsterdam News, Tatum produces and co-hosts a weekly segment of Al Sharpton’s Weekly Radio Show “Keep’in It Real” – a nationally syndicated talk show. Tatum appears regularly on WNBC evening news, and on the new international network ARISE, and has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, 20/20, TODAY, NBC Nightly News, WNBC, Fox 5, NY1 News and CUNY TV. She has also been a substitute host on WWRL Radio. Tatum was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from St. Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Science in Government Studies. She continued her education at Stockholm University in Stockholm, Sweden, studying International Relations and the Swedish model of government. Tatum holds a Master’s degree in Journalism in Mass Communications from New York University. Tatum is a member of the Board of Trustees of her college alma mater, St. Lawrence University. In addition, she sits on the board of the New York Urban League, the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, the Chinatown YMCA, Manhattan Community Board 3, and the Creative Visions Foundation. She is also the former Secretary of the National Newspaper Publishers Association.
Jessica Walker
Chief Executive Officer and President, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
Jessica Walker is President and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, a powerful community of business leaders and entrepreneurs who help one another succeed - thereby driving broad economic growth thoughout the region. She is a public policy expert who has advocated on behalf of New York City residents, neighborhoods and businesses for more than 15 years. Her work has made an indelible imprint on the city that she loves. In 2019, Walker was included on City & State’s Manhattan Power 100 list, which ranks the most influential community leaders in the borough. Before joining the Chamber, Walker was Vice President for Government Affairs at the Partnership for New York City, an organization that represents the city’s major corporate employers. She served as the chief liaison between elected officials and the city’s business leaders and as a policy analyst, advisor and writer for the organization’s CEO. Walker previously served as a leading advocate for elderly New Yorkers. At the New York Academy of Medicine she oversaw the launch of Age-friendly New York City, a public-private initiative designed to make the city a better place in which to grow old. She also served as a policy analyst at United Neighborhood Houses, the association of community centers and settlement houses throughout New York City. Walker was born in Detroit, raised on the Navajo Indian reservation in New Mexico, attended Princeton University, and is now a proud resident of Harlem.
Angela Harrington
Vice President, Communications and External Relations, Berkeley College
Angela Harrington, Vice President, Communications and External Relations at Berkeley College, founded Women’s Entrepreneurship Week in 2015 as part of a global initiative to bring a voice to women and address gaps in equality, diversity and inclusion across myriad sectors pertaining to business, media, entrepreneurship, government career development, education and opportunity. At Berkeley College, Harrington oversees public relations, media relations, reputation management and community relationships, maximizing the College’s presence in New York and New Jersey, globally and online. A fellow of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Institute for Educational Management, (2017), Harrington holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Rutgers University, and a Master of Science in Business Management and Organizational Development from Capella University. Harrington is a member of the Advisory Council BOC Bronx Women’s Business Center. She co-chairs the Newark City of Learning Collaborative Higher Education Committee, and is a member of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association Postsecondary Education Task Force. An Emmy Award-winning journalist, Harrington was named a Top 25 Brand Builder by Leading Women Entrepreneurs & Business Owners (2018), and a Best 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ (2007).
Adel Wilson
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Celebrity Media Group
Adel Wilson is America’s premier media coach for entrepreneurs, professionals, executives and business owners who want to attract their ideal client, elevate their brand, grow their business and become the go-to expert in their field. She is the Founder and CEO of Celebrity Media Group, a media and marketing agency, based in the New York City area. Wilson’s bestselling book is titled Celebrity Media Secrets: 7 Simple Steps to Present with Power, Poise and Style On-Camera, Get Booked on TV & Media and Become a Celebrity in Your Industry. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from New York University, graduating both with Honors. Wilson is a two-time bestselling author and speaker, with more than a decade of experience in front and behind the camera as an actress, award-winning producer, television host, and media coach. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Wilson has trained more than 14,000 students from all walks of life, and her holistic approach to media training incorporates her education in psychology with her business background and her years of experience in publishing and entertainment. Wilson is based in the New York City area.
Amy Soricelli
Vice President, Career Services, Berkeley College
Amy Soricelli has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of recruiting and career services. She joined Berkeley College in 2009 as Director, Alumni Placement. She was appointed Vice President, Career Services in April 2017. In this role, Soricelli oversees a dedicated staff of Career Services professionals. Soricelli prides herself on her LinkedIn expertise, and enjoys a network of more than 25,000 connections. Prior to joining Berkeley College, Soricelli was Account Manager at Taylor Grey, a staffing firm where her primary focus was the placement of administrative support in New York City, Connecticut and Long Island. Soricelli served almost 14 years as Director of Placement at the Katharine Gibbs School. While there, she won the Top Placement Award for eight consecutive years. Soricelli is a graduate of the Herbert H. Lehman College. She holds an Master of Science in Specialized Services in Education with a focus on Guidance and Counseling, and a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Jennifer Jones Austin, Esq.
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, FPWA
A fourth-generation leader of faith and social justice, child and family advocate, thought leader, public speaker and nonprofit chief executive officer, Jennifer Jones Austin, Esq., fights for equity. As CEO of FPWA, she leads poverty-fighting, policy and advocacy efforts to strengthen and empower the disenfranchised and marginalized communities. Jones Austin is a sought-after speaker who appears regularly on television and radio, and at community events, faith gatherings and professional convenings. She guest hosts the nationally syndicated radio program, “Keep’n It Real with Rev Al Sharpton,” and the cable program, Brooklyn Savvy. She was born and raised in New York City.
Jasmine Briggs-Rogers
Director, Career Services, Berkeley College
Jasmine Briggs-Rogers is a career coach, resume writer, and Director of Career Services with 10 years of experience in workforce development and employment services. She started her career in legal recruiting, then transitioned into human services, supporting people with disabilities or substance abuse issues find employment. She has been with Berkeley College for seven years, starting as a Career Counselor for the Fashion and Marketing programs and now serving as the Director of Career Services in New York City. Briggs-Rogers holds a Bachelor’s Degree from The George Washington University, a Master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology, and is Certified as a Digital Brand Strategist. She has her own resume-writing and career coaching practice, where she supports clients with all aspects of career planning and management, from resume and LinkedIn profile writing, personal and social branding to job search and promotion strategies. She has also been published on, Find My Profession and Quorum.
Nancy Robles-Guess
Executive Vice President, Operations and Compliance, Eastern Funding LLC
Nancy Robles-Guess is Executive Vice President of Operations and Compliance Officer of Eastern Funding LLC. She joined Eastern Funding in 2005, bringing invaluable operations and contract experience to her role with the company. Robles-Guess manages all aspects of credit, documentation, funding and loan servicing at Eastern Funding. She is also responsible for internal and external audits, drafting compliance policies and procedures, and works in conjunction with Eastern Funding’s Credit Committee to enhance and maintain integrity within the company’s loan approval process. In recognizing the strategic advantages of utilizing advanced technology, Robles-Guess also spearheaded Eastern Funding’s financing system upgrade efforts and led implementation teams that successfully integrated existing programs with innovative software packages designed to maximize customer service and enhance bottom-line growth. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Management from Berkeley College, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership. She sits on the Board of the Berkeley College Foundation.
Naomi Dunston
Berkeley College Student
Naomi L. Dunston is a student leader at Berkeley College’s Midtown Manhattan campus. She will be graduating in Winter 2021 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in General Business and is in pursuit of a career in Public Relations/Marketing within the fashion industry. She serves as the President of Fashion Cords, the fashion club on campus, is a Member-at-Large for the Student Government Association, and is an executive Board Member of The National Society of Leadership and Success, the nation’s largest honors society. She is currently maintaining her spot on the Dean’s List and is interning for Studio Thr33, a multi-disciplinary design studio headed by a Berkeley College alumnus.
Pam Cohen
Vice President, People and Culture, Affinity Federal Credit Union
Pam Cohen has worked for more than 20 years in the Human Resources field. She has a Master’s in Human Resources Management from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing an MBA from Berkeley College. Cohen currently works at a large credit union headquartered in New Jersey as Vice President of People and Culture. Prior to working at the credit union, she has worked for various global corporations in the actuarial and compliance industries. Her areas of expertise include human resources, HR consulting, learning, development and executive and leadership coaching. She helps organizations improve their organizational culture and employee engagement. She has developed and delivered management and leadership programs, as well as coached employees through career changes.
Michael J. Smith
President, Berkeley College
Michael J. Smith was appointed President of Berkeley College in June 2015. As President, Mr. Smith is unwavering in his commitment to student success. As such, he has been an instrumental leader in the conceptualization and implementation of initiatives aimed at making graduation an institutional priority, thus leading students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers. Mr. Smith has placed a particular focus on the delivery of extensive student support services, the integration of career-focused preparation into academics, and the use of assessment and technology to enhance the delivery of teaching and learning. Under the leadership of Mr. Smith, Berkeley College has expanded its reach among diverse communities, including through prominent Latino and African-American organizations. In addition, the College has been recognized for its volunteer and community service contributions, and was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Prior to becoming president, Mr. Smith held key leadership positions at Berkeley College for 19 years, including Senior Vice President, Finance, and Chief Financial Officer of BES Inc., the corporate office of Berkeley College. He also was Treasurer for the Berkeley College Board of Trustees and Campus Operating Officer of Berkeley College in White Plains, NY. In addition, he has served as an evaluation team member for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, a regional accrediting organization covering the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Under Mr. Smith’s leadership, Berkeley College garnered numerous best workplace and best employer awards. Before joining Berkeley College, Mr. Smith was Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of MetLife Realty Group. He is also an accomplished public servant. He was twice elected to represent the 55,000 residents of District 3 on the Westchester County Board of Legislators from 2012 to 2015, serving as the Chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and Capital Projects during the 2014-15 legislative term. From 2005 to 2011, Mr. Smith served on the Valhalla Union Free School District Board of Education, where his peers elected him President of the Board of Education for three consecutive years from July 2008 to June 2011. Mr. Smith is a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Financial Analyst. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Fordham University Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Fairfield University.
Nancy Ploeger
Executive Director and Secretary, IWEC Foundation
Nancy Ploeger is a Co-Founder of IWEC, a 501(c)(3) international women’s business organization. She served as President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce (MCC) for 21 years. IWEC supports businesses by providing market intelligence, education, connection and visibility. Partners are chambers of commerce and women’s business organizations from around the globe. During her time at the MCC, Ploeger led the organization to develop robust economic development initiatives that enabled it, and its members, to create a network of reciprocal collaboration, trade, empowerment and partnerships with organizations, associations and businesses in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Prior to the MCC, Ploeger helped to build the New York Sports Clubs from five clubs to more than 150 on the eastern seaboard. She previously worked for Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s) in executive recruiting.
Diane Recinos, EdD
Senior Vice President, Student Success, Berkeley College
Diane Recinos, EdD, was appointed Senior Vice President, Student Success, at Berkeley College in October 2016. In this role she oversees the departments of Student Development and Campus Life, Disability Services, Career Services, the Office of the Registrar, Institutional Effectiveness, and the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs. Previously, she served as Senior Vice President, Enrollment Management. Recinos began her career at Berkeley College in 1992 as the Director of Financial Aid for the Woodbridge campus. She was later promoted to Director of Financial Aid for all of the College’s New Jersey campuses. In 2001, she became Director of PeopleSoft Development, working as Project Manager during the college-wide computer software upgrade. In 2003, she served as Business Systems Analyst to oversee the implementation of additional new technologies. Recinos became Campus Operating Officer for the Middlesex campus in 2004, and served as Campus Operating Officer for the Woodland Park campus in 2009. In 2016, Recinos was named one of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ. She holds a Doctorate in Education from St. John Fisher College, a Master of Business Administration from Wagner College, and a Bachelor of Science from Davis and Elkins College.
Sonia Ossorio
President, NOW New York
Sonia Ossorio, President of NOW New York, has been at the helm of NOW-NYC and Women’s Justice NOW since 2005. She has led NOW-NYC, and its 20,000 activist members and supporters across the state, in changing laws to further women’s equality and to hold business and government accountable to the women of New York. Named in the 2019 Albany Power 100, she has led successful campaigns to repeal the statute of limitations on first-degree rape and end child marriage in New York State, challenge the commercial sexual exploitation of girls in New York, improve protections for women in the workplace, and help propel women to elected office. Ossorio leads with strength, courage, and audacity – all qualities that make her an effective activist and that have powered the unprecedented growth of the organization and its capacity to make lasting change. For the past decade, she has been at the forefront of revitalizing NOW’s activism and overseeing its educational programs, activist workshops, and the sustained protest and resistance that has touched the lives of thousands of women.
Adriana Romero
Berkeley College Student
Adriana Romero is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Management from Berkeley College. She is a volunteer for the Mexican-American Progress Movement (MAPM), a nonprofit that works to promote culture, education and empowerment among youth. Through her work with MAPM, Romero has worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, as well as with local officials throughout Passaic County. Her career goal is to work with a nonprofit that empowers immigrants and refugees to build new lives in America. Romero is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, and has been named to the President’s and Dean’s lists at Berkeley College. She has worked with 1iota and attended MTV’s Music Video Awards, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, YouTube events and more. She is currently an intern in Business Development for DoNYC and for the Office of Communications and External Relations at Berkeley College.
Linda Baran
Linda Baran
President & CEO, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce
Linda M. Baran President and CEO, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Linda Baran has worked at the Staten Island Chamber of Chamber for the past 34 years. The Chamber is the largest business organization on Staten Island and is comprised of over 600 businesses with approximately 20,000 employees. In May 2004, Baran was elected by the Chamber’s Board of Directors as the first woman President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the organization, which was established in 1895. Prior to that, she served as the interim president for seven months and held the position of vice president of finance and resources. Baran has worked in many areas of the chamber, including Finance & Operations, Membership Development, Community Relations, Special Events as well as Government and Legislative Affairs Baran has worked tirelessly in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to provide resources and information to affected Staten Island businesses and continues to advocate on behalf of Sandy recovery and relief. Under Baran’s direction, the Chamber has undertaken the formation of the East Shore Local Development Corporation, focused on attracting the right business mix to the beachfront communities that dot the East Shore. The organization is also deeply rooted in the revitalization of the Bay Street corridor in Downtown Staten Island. To help more businesses, the Chamber brings Chamber-On-The- Go services to all corners of the borough. Baran is a diligent advocate for improved transportation on Staten Island, including a strong proponent of a transit solution on the North Shore, and has met with numerous high-ranking officials from the Federal Transit Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Port Authority, MTA, and the NYS and NYC Departments of Transportation, among other transportation agencies. Seven years ago, Linda decided to launch the Chamber's Young Entrepreneur Academy to ensure the success of the next generation of business leaders. Going forward, Baran sees the member organization taking a more active role in the area of workforce development. Ms. Baran serves on the board of Notre Dame Academy, and as an advisory board member for the Small Business Development Center at the College of Staten Island. She is a Past President of the Staten Island Rotary Club, Past President of the Chamber Alliance of New York State (CANYS) and continues to play an active role in the 5 Borough Chamber Alliance. In 2003, Baran received a Certificate in Nonprofit Organization Management from the U.S. Chamber Institute of Organization Management at Villanova University, Villanova, Pa. A native Staten Islander who grew up in Midland Beach, she currently resides in Great Kills with her family.
Regina Myer
President, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
Regina Myer is President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a not-for-profit local development corporation that serves as the primary champion for Downtown Brooklyn as a world-class business, cultural, educational, residential and retail destination. Until October 2016, she served as President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, transforming 85 acres of formerly industrial Brooklyn waterfront into a world-class open space that welcomes millions of visitors a year, leading the mission to plan, construct, and maintain the sustainable waterfront park stretching 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline, creating a recreational, environmental and cultural destination enjoyed by the residents of, and visitors to, New York City. Prior to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Myer was the Senior Vice President for planning and design at the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, and the Brooklyn Borough Director for the New York City Planning Department, where she directed the comprehensive redevelopment of the Greenpoint/Williamsburg waterfront, the rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn for high density office and residential development, and numerous neighborhood rezoning efforts. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan, and resides in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Lourdes Zapata
President & CEO, South Bronx Overall Development Corporation
Lourdes Zapata joined SoBRO in August of 2019 as its President and Chief Executive Officer – becoming the first woman and first Latina to lead this South Bronx economic development nonprofit corporation. First established in 1972 to reverse the flight of businesses and jobs from the South Bronx, SoBRO has since evolved into a multifaceted organization addressing all aspects of community and economic development: assisting businesses to get started and grow, training residents according to the needs of employers, offering opportunities for youth to learn and develop, and creating affordable housing and commercial space that reverses blight in the community. Since its founding, SoBRO has served more than 20,000 students, helped to create and retain more than 40,000 jobs for area residents, and created the climate for hundreds of million dollars of capital investment into the South Bronx. Prior to joining SoBRO, Zapata was appointed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo as Chief Diversity Officer for the State of New York, where she supported the Governor’s programs and initiatives to increase diversity within the State workforce and engaged in policy and program development to increase the participation of women and people of color in all areas of State government. She also served the State as Executive Vice President of the Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development at Empire State Development (ESD). Her responsibilities included the development and oversight of statewide MWBE procurement policy as required by Article 15A of the Executive Law – reflective of New York State Governor Cuomo’s priority to promote equality of economic opportunities for Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and to eliminate barriers to their participation in obtaining State contracts. She oversaw the Division’s certification, compliance and business development activities, and worked with State Commissioners and the Legislature on matters affecting the MWBE community. Her public service also extends to her earlier tenure as Community Development Director for the City of Newburgh in Orange County, NY. Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Zapata received her Master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University and a Bachelor’s degree from Hood College in Frederick, MD.
Dynishal Gross
Deputy Commissioner, Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity, NYC Department of Small Business Services
Dynishal Gross is the Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity (DEFO) at the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). DEFO certifies minority and women-owned, emerging and local businesses and also offers programs to help these firms grow through government contracting. In addition, Gross oversees the City’s Division of Labor Services, which monitors vendor compliance with equal employment opportunity, labor standards and other regulatory mandates. Gross' career in public service includes five years of work for members of the New York City Council. She spent two years as Assistant Commissioner for Business Programs in SBS’ Division of Business Services, overseeing targeted programs for women entrepreneurs, New York City Housing Authority residents, and longstanding neighborhood businesses. Gross is a first-generation college graduate, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies from Cornell University, a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College, and a Juris Doctorate from Columbia University School of Law. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife, Judith M. Smith, and their son, Bayard.
Elizabeth Lusskin
President, Long Island City Partnership
Elizabeth Lusskin is the President of the Long Island City (LIC) Partnership and Executive Director of the LIC Business Improvement District. In this role, she promotes economic development across the vibrant Long Island City industrial, commercial, residential and cultural arts mixed-use community. Lusskin is the Co-Chair of the Sunnyside Yard Master Plan Steering Committee, was Co-Chair of the Amazon Community Advisory Committee Project Plan Committee and is a member of the Western Queens Tech Task Force, the NYC BID Association Board of Directors, and other roles. Prior to LIC, she served as the Chief of Staff and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU. Through her former consulting practice, Elizabeth Lusskin Consulting LLC, she advised public, private for-profit and nonprofit clients on economic and community development, organizational management and strategic planning. Lusskin has served as Deputy Commissioner of NYC SBS, General Counsel to the Downtown Alliance and Legislative Counsel at NYS Office of Federal Affairs. She is a graduate of Yale University and NYU School of Law.
Sheena Wright
President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way of New York City
Sheena Wright was named President and CEO of United Way of New York City (UWNYC) in October 2012, the first woman to lead the organization in its 75-year history. UWNYC is a nonprofit, community service organization with a long and rich history of helping people build more self-sufficient lives. As one of the best-known nonprofits and part of the worldwide United Way brand, UWNYC mobilizes our communities to eradicate barriers and create opportunities that improve the lives of lowincome New Yorkers for the benefit of all. Under Wright’s leadership, UWNYC focuses on implementing strategies in the areas of education, income, health, and strengthening nonprofits. Prior to joining UWNYC, Wright served as President and CEO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, where she was responsible for leading and managing one of the nation’s premiere community and economic development organizations. She serves on the board of trustees of the Vera Institute for Justice and the New York City Regional Economic Development Council. Wright is a graduate of Columbia University, which she entered at age 16, received her law degree from Columbia Law School, and is a member of the New York State Bar. She was born and raised in the South Bronx and now lives in Harlem, NY, with her three sons.
La'Shawn Allen
Director of Training, New York City Health + Hospitals
La’Shawn Allen has worked as a New York City public servant with New York City Health + Hospitals since 1997, establishing herself as a champion of people, economic empowerment and change. Allen has been responsible for a multitude of career pathway success stories through her work in healthcare; leading to successful outcomes that earned high regard from Mayor Bloomberg’s Center for Economic Opportunity and the federal government. She is currently the Director of Training within the Workforce Development Department and serves as Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Worker Education Fund and the employee Tuition Discount Program. In this role, Allen is responsible for workforce planning, development of education programs and program evaluation. She is a certified Executive Coach. She completed her training with Howard University, Executive MBA program in 2018. Allen is also the Founder and President of Entrepreneurs of New York, Inc., a social media platform design to develop innovative strategies to promote cooperative economics for small businesses and those seeking to become business owners. The ENY Facebook group has grown to nearly 10,000 members.

 Zoom Networking



Angela Harrington, Vice President, Communications and External Realtions, Berkeley College (Mistress of Ceremonies)



Michael J. Smith, President, Berkeley College


Opening Remarks

Naomi Dunston, Berkeley College Student


Keynote Address, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, New York


Panel #1

Change Leaders - A Conversation on Social Activism - Then and Now

Meet the courageous women advocating for equality and justice. 

Elinor Tatum, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief, New York Amsterdam News

Edwina Dunn, Chief Executive Officer, The Female Lead

Jennifer Jones Austin, Chief Executive Director & Executive Director, FPWA

Sonia Ossorio, President, National Organization for Women NY, Women's Justice NOW

Sheena Wright, President & Chief Executive Officer, United Way of New York City

Moderator: Moya Bansile, Co-Chair, Berkeley College Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force & Professor, Legal Studies, School of Professional Studies




Panel #2

Government Leaders Roundtable: Empowering Business Beyond the Reopening  

This panel explores the challenges facing minority and women-owned businesses and the various government resources available to support them. Why are minority and women-owned businesses disproportionality affected by the pandemic and what is being done to help sustain MWBEs in the long term? How are government agencies recalibrating to serve the needs of minority and women-owned businesses? What incentives do businesses have to stay in New York City in a time of COVID? What does the supply chain look like for MWBE contractors? How can businesses protect themselves from predators?  Where are the opportunities for MWBEs in this environment?

Man-Li Kou Lin, Economic Development Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration

Wendy Garcia, Chief Diversity Officer, New York City's Comptroller's Office

Helen Rosenthal, Council Member, Committee on Women & Gender Equity, New York City Council

Dynishal Gross, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Economic & Financial Opportunity , NYC Department of Small Business Services

Moderator: Heather Briccetti, Esq., President & Chief Executive Officer, The Business Council of New York State




Panel #3

Reclaiming New York City After The Pandemic

In an unprecedented time in New York City history, what will it take for businesses to recover in the five boroughs? Hear from the women in the trenches of bringing the economy back.

Melva Miller, Chief Executive Officer, Association for a Better New York

Jessica Walker, CEO & President, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce 

Lourdes Zapata, President & CEO, South Bronx OVerall Economic Development Corporation (SoBro) 

Linda M. Baran, President & CEO, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce 

Regina Myer, President, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership 

Elizabeth Lusskin, President, Long Island City Partnership 

Moderator: Angelica Tang, Senior Advisor, Asia Value Advisors


Lunch Break


Career Services Workshop

Amy Soricelli, Vice President, Career Services, Berkeley College

Adel Wilson, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Celebrity Media Group

Jasmine Briggs-Rogers, Director, Career Services, Berkeley College


Corporate Learning Partners Roundtable 

Pam Cohen, Vice President, People & Culture, Affinity Federal Credit Union

Nancy Robles-Guess, Executive Vice President, Operations & Compliance, Eastern Funding, LLC

Nancy Ploeger, Executive Director & Secretary, IWEC Foundation

La'Shawn Allen, Director of Training, New York City Health + Hospitals

Moderator: Diane Recinos, EdD, Senior Vice President, Student Success, Berkeley College


Closing Keynote

Joyce Chang, Chair, Global Research, J.P. Morgan 


Naomi Dunston, Student, Berkeley College

Adriana Romero, Student, Berkeley College


Sessions Conclude

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