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The 2024 50 Over 50

The Age Disruptors

City & State presents the 2024 50 Over 50.

City & State presents the 2024 50 Over 50. Rachel Elkind; Provided; Mitchell Headshots

For some people, turning 50 is not something to celebrate. There are more wrinkles, more achy joints, more gray hairs – or simply less hair. In a culture obsessed with youth and beauty, there’s often a feeling of falling short.

But that’s not the full picture. For many of us, passing the half-century mark coincides with a peak in our professional lives. Mastery within a field has been achieved, tangible achievements amassed, earnings maximized. More broadly, those over the age of 50 have learned valuable life lessons and attained wisdom that comes with decades of experience. And especially in the arena of politics and government, seniority is often synonymous with influence.

That’s why every January, City & State puts a spotlight on 50 highly accomplished individuals who are over 50. The feature, presented in partnership with AARP New York, highlights an impressive cohort of older adults in New York, who share sage advice about what motivated them and how they achieved success. Among them are five Icon honorees, including state Transportation Department Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez, New York City Council Member Gale Brewer and NY1’s Cheryl Wills. We’re pleased to present the 2024 50 Over 50.

ICON: Gale Brewer

New York City Council Member
Gale Brewer / Emily Assiran

New York City Council Member Gale Brewer wants to end the speculation and cut right to the chase.

“I sleep fine,” Brewer says. “I don’t need a lot of sleep.”

Brewer, the former Manhattan borough president, is famous for her relentless schedule of community meetings, town halls and events, along with her reading of every report, spreadsheet and document imaginable. While she appreciates the speculation about her sleep habits and whether or not she has a body double, she insists it’s all her.

She credits her intensive study habits and desire to know everything to her onetime boss, then-Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger. Brewer was Messinger’s chief of staff when Messinger held the Upper West Side council seat Brewer now occupies.

“She reads 10 times more than I do,” Brewer says of Messinger. “She’s a speed reader. I can’t keep up with her. She can do the budget in her sleep. I try.”

Brewer came into city government through the women’s movement and has worked with every mayor since John Lindsay. She has often focused on the unglamorous but crucial minutiae of city government, including technology, data science and land use, and has mentored thousands of interns. Through it all, Brewer has built up a following that has elevated her to iconic status that few in city politics ever achieve.

Brewer shows no signs of slowing down or taking a vacation, though she confessed to a three-day getaway during her borough presidency.

The reason she rarely travels? “I’d miss a meeting,” Brewer says.

ICON: Marie Therese Dominguez

Commissioner, State Department of Transportation
Marie Therese Dominguez / Brian Styk

Marie Therese Dominguez didn't focus on a career as a practicing attorney after law school. Instead, her varied career has included stopping oil spills, overseeing Army flood prevention efforts, keeping planes from crashing and even being in charge of stamps.

“It is a bit of serendipity,” Dominguez says of how she ended up going from studying law to specializing in transportation and logistics.

Dominguez was recruited by the federal government to work on implementing the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act after law school, which led to stops at the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Administration – and now as New York’s transportation commissioner.

And while serving as the U.S. Postal Service’s chief lobbyist, Dominguez was also put in charge of the nation’s stamps, a $860 million business line.

“It was very unique,” she says of being the stamp czar. “It was the ultimate combination of the creative and the business side.”

Dominguez says the experience also gave her exposure to the design work, which is a key element of her current responsibilities.

She speaks with enthusiasm of reconnecting communities across New York, including opening up the Hunts Point waterfront in the Bronx, rebuilding the Livingston Avenue rail bridge between Albany and Rennesslaer and adding a bike and pedestrian path, removing the Interstate 81 viaduct in downtown Syracuse and reconnecting Humboldt Parkway over the Kensington Expressway on Buffalo’s East Side.

“We are doing more to reconnect communities than any state in the country,” Dominguez says.

ICON: Bill Imada

Chair and Chief Connectivity Officer, IW Group
Bill Imada / Emily Assiran

Bill Imada’s professional path isn’t a straight line – it was a series of curves as he sought out a career arc that let him pursue his passion.

Imada landed in human resources, thinking he would enjoy hiring people, until he had to start firing them. Then came a stint in executive recruiting that wasn’t for him. Imada next tried politics, but decided the “drama” wasn’t for him. Then came a conversation on a plane that prompted him to create an ad agency, which failed. Finally, he had a temp job at a major advertising agency that was about to become permanent – before fate intervened. 

Anheuser Busch was looking to reach Asian American consumers, and he was asked to take on the challenge.

“It was an odd request that no one knew how to manage and it fell in my lap,” Imada says. 

That experience led Imada to launch IW Group, an advertising and marketing firm based in Los Angeles and New York.

Now, Imada’s passion is connecting Americans to volunteer service. He’s committed to finding ways to bridge the national divide, including creating the National Millennial and Gen Z Community to develop a constructive dialogue in those generations. While Imada divides his time between the coasts, he is engaged all across the country and relishes spending time in communities such as Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Salina, Kansas.

“Every single person in our country has something of value to work, encourage and inspire others,” Imada says.

ICON: Louis Maldonado

Partner and Managing Director, d expósito & Partners
Louis Maldonado / Emily Assiran

Advertising was never the plan for Louis Maldonado, who had always dreamed of being a musician.

A music performance major in college, Maldonado always saw business and marketing as a back-up career while he pursued his true passion. Maldonado worked in the music industry for a while, and then transitioned to marketing and advertising after he got his MBA. At the same time, he’s never let his first love go.

“I have an inner creative spirit as a musician,” Maldonado says.

Maldonado has established himself as a leading expert in multicultural marketing, with a particular focus on the Hispanic community. He said he found this area to be the one where he could achieve the most.

Maldonado has been especially active in issues related to long-term care and seniors in the Hispanic community. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York, Maldonado helped develop prevention and vaccination campaigns targeting the Hispanic community. He said this type of work keeps him motivated.

“In many cases we sell stuff,” he says, “but in many cases it is the championing of your community.”

Maldonado is particularly proud of his service as a board member of the National Puerto Rican Day parade, stepping in as part of the team that saved the parade in 2014. He continues to support the annual event to this day.

“We really had to revamp what is a highly visible aspect of our culture and have it thrive,” he says.

ICON: Cheryl Wills

Anchor, “NY1 Live at Ten”
Cheryl Wills / Emily Assiran

For Cheryl Wills, journalism is more than a career – it’s a calling to do the right thing for her hometown.

The Queens native has used her perch at NY1 to tell groundbreaking stories about New York and New Yorkers, whether it’s firsthand accounts of Sept. 11 first responders or breaking news about female genital mutilation. She has seen competitors, including national figures like Barbara Walters, follow her lead.

“I cannot tell you how proud I am of the work I have done over the past 30 years,” Wills says. “It has been a powerful 30 years.”

Wills aims to elevate the role of journalism. Wills explains that as a journalist, she has been able to keep the endeavors, and the ensuing health issues, of 9/11 first responders in the news for years, even as much of New York City moves on.

“We shine the light into darkness. We save Americans from a lot of harm by exposing corruption, but by showing the good as well,” Wills says of journalism. “We are the town criers.”

A Syracuse University graduate who grew up in public housing, Wills says at times she thought maybe she was aiming too high by trying to become a television news anchor, but she pushed through. Now she tells the next generation of children growing up in public housing that they should not stop dreaming.

“I know what it is like to be afraid to dream,” Wills says. “I teach them to run into the fear.”

Mohamed Adam

President, May Ship Repair Contracting Corp.
Mohamed Adam / Davey King

Mohamed Adam is committed to growing Staten Island, not just as part of the borough’s thriving maritime industry but also through community empowerment. He has led his company, May Ship Repair Contracting Corp., in spurring innovation in the maritime sector, with new barges and ferry landings across the region. He is a leader in Staten Island’s nonprofit sector, with a focus on improving community health and wellness. Adam believes that helping others is the “ultimate achievement” and has focused his attention on doing that in Staten Island commerce and volunteerism.

Khayriyyah Ali

Executive Director, SUNY Queens Educational Opportunity Center
Khayriyyah Ali / Provided

With over 45 years of experience in human services and educational development, Khayriyyah Ali’s current work centers around adult and higher education initiatives at the SUNY Queens Educational Opportunity Center. Paying specific attention to underserved and underrepresented populations, Ali guides the center’s academic and career training services for New York residents, preparing students for entering the workforce or further education. Throughout her leadership and advocacy efforts, Ali says she remains motivated by “challenge, change and the evolution of people, and the world.”

Madna Aubry

Vice President of Foster Care, Homefinding and Adoption Services, Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York
Madna Aubry / Heather Monks

Madna Aubry began working at Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York in 1989 as a case planner. Today, she serves as vice president of foster care, homefinding and adoption. The nonprofit organization specializes in support for children, adults and families dealing with developmental disabilities, a mission Aubry is deeply passionate about. “Every day and in every aspect of my work,” she says, “I keep in mind that there are real people who are depending on us … on me, and that they deserve the best we can offer.”

Michael Avella

Partner, Dickinson & Avella PLLC
Michael Avella / Provided

Michael Avella had dedicated his career to making Albany work for the people of New York. Prior to founding Dickinson & Avella PLLC, he was chief counsel to two state Senate majority leaders and a Senate adviser on tax, gambling and budget issues. Avella says his work for clients to pass same-sex marriage is his proudest accomplishment, both by helping New Yorkers and paving the way for legalizing it at a national level. “I attribute my professional success to an emphasis on integrity, follow-through and treating others with dignity and respect,” he says.

Matthew Bauer

President, Madison Avenue Business Improvement District
Matthew Bauer / Andrew Werner

Bond Street in London and Paris’ Avenue Montaigne and Rue Saint-Honoré are among the world’s premier luxury shopping streets. As president of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District since 1999, Matthew Bauer has kept Madison Avenue at the same level. “I am motivated by the fact that thousands of New Yorkers are employed by the retailers, salons, hotels, restaurants and service establishments of Madison Avenue,” Bauer says. “Our work to strengthen Madison Avenue is directly tied to providing jobs and economic opportunities for residents of our city.”

Jennifer Blum

Senior Vice President of Operations and Administration, Kasirer
Jennifer Blum / Mitchell Headshots

Before Jennifer Blum joined the top-ranked lobbying firm Kasirer, she was senior vice president of administration at The Doe Fund, a homeless services and supportive housing organization. She not only managed operations for the 500-employee nonprofit, but also drove its nimble response to COVID-19. Blum says she’s proud of her efforts to keep clients safe by moving “half of their homeless population from congregate shelters into a hotel on the Upper East Side within 48 hours, thus achieving one of the lowest mortality rates in the DHS system.”

Jane Builder

Principal Manager of Network Advocacy, Northeast Region, T-Mobile U.S.
Jane Builder / Chris Hietikko Photography

Connecting people to the world around them motivates Jane Builder. In her advocacy efforts at T-Mobile U.S., Builder focuses on expanding service for New Yorkers, including pushing for 5G deployment across each of the five boroughs and building consensus in New York City to shape the telecommunications regulatory landscape. Builder cites “tenacity, perseverance, trustworthiness and a love of people” as the key traits driving her professional success. Builder’s career highlights include leading the efforts to restore wireless communications in lower Manhattan following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Tracey Capers

Executive Director, The HOPE Program
Tracey Capers / Clarisa James

Tracey Capers is driven by a desire to achieve economic justice and end intergenerational poverty. Capers, who previously spent two decades at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp., has since last fall led The HOPE Program, a job training and placement nonprofit. She helped reach underbanked communities during the pandemic and, earlier, to expand CitiBike to low-income and minority communities. “The effort has served as a model helping to pilot strategies for engaging communities,” she says, “and Lyft/CitiBike has since integrated much of the learnings in their community engagement strategy.”

Alexandra Cheriyan

Chief of Staff, Good Shepherd Services
Alexandra Cheriyan / Wanda Papayer

Alexandra Cheriyan attributes her professional success to her adaptability within the evolving nonprofit sector and her learning-focused mindset. Cheriyan has worked with Good Shepherd Services for 17 years; she currently serves as chief of staff, working closely with the executive team and CEO to further the organization’s goals and mission. Cheriyan stays motivated by the organization’s partnerships with youth and families, which aims to help these individuals achieve their goals. “We do this largely through the commitment and dedication of our program staff, who are truly an inspiration to me,” she says.

Scott Christiansen

Vice President of Marketing and Media, Boldyn Networks
Scott Christiansen / Boldyn Networks

Scott Christiansen has done it all – helping launch NY1 in New York City and other local news and sports channels across the country, developing New York’s winter sports industry, investing in local businesses, beating throat cancer – and he’s not stopping. The Time Warner Cable veteran is now spreading the word about Boldyn Networks, an innovative and expanding neutral host network provider on a global scale. “I am motivated by success stories,” he says. “I enjoy seeing them develop. I love the moment they happen, and I am proud of the legacy they create.”

Maria DeJesus

Chief Talent Officer, Grand St. Settlement
Maria DeJesus / Grand St. Settlement

For over a century, Grand St. Settlement has provided supportive services to New Yorkers of all ages. As its chief talent officer, Maria DeJesus spearheads all phases of human resources and labor relations, including union arbitrations, employee relations and benefits administration for over 500 employees. “Seeing our services’ participants and our staff happy is more than gratifying to me,” DeJesus says, reflecting on her engagement with the Grand St. community. DeJesus also ranks earning an MBA among her greatest achievements, which she completed while working full-time and raising her children.

Dan Fuller

Senior Vice President, Ostroff Associates
Dan Fuller / Elario Photography

Dan Fuller loves to solve complex problems. And in his prior role as deputy secretary for education for Govs. Kathy Hochul and Andrew Cuomo, Fuller confronted one of New York’s most complex challenges: educating children in a global pandemic. Fuller, who helped the state’s education system adapt as New York teachers and students navigated uncharted waters, also worked on college access programs and increasing supports for students at all levels of education. Now at Ostroff Associates, he’s proud of “working to obtain funding for schools that serve kids with unique learning needs.”

Mark F. Glaser

Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig
Mark F. Glaser / Greenberg Traurig

A leading state expert in government ethics, Mark Glaser helped to draft the 1987 Ethics in Government Act as Assembly majority counsel. Now at the law and lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig, Glaser handles compliance, legislative issues, governmental procurement practices, competitive bidding requirements, manufactured housing and racing and gambling matters as well. Glaser, who has served on the state Commission on Uniform Laws, is driven to provide premier service to his clients. “I have been fortunate to have excellent mentors who taught me the importance of always striving for excellence,” he says.

Steve Hamilton

Senior Vice President and Designer-in-Residence, Ponce Bank
Steve Hamilton / Ponce Bank

Steve Hamiliton is a curious person, and this trait has been essential to the human-centered, design-led perspective he brings to Ponce Bank. Hamilton drives all design aspects for the minority-owned community bank, including from a branding perspective and the development of community-centered branches. Hamilton started out as a film editor, sound designer and artist exhibited at major film festivals around the world. “As designer-in-residence,” he says, “I’m always researching, trying to learn, to empathize with, and to improve the environment within which I’m engaged whether through mentorship, process improvement, or experience design.”

Patricia A. Harris

Special Counsel, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP
Patricia A. Harris / Brian Swift

Patricia Harris is streamlining the regulatory process. The Zetlin & De Chiara LLP construction attorney a decade ago founded LicenseSure, which manages licensing processes for construction and design firms and is now an international go-to firm on complex regulatory issues. “My mother always told me I could do and be anything I wanted,” she says. “In the same vein, I am motivated to be a mentor to young women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, help them grow and develop in the workplace and let them know they have a right to a ‘seat at the table.’”

Michael Hershman

CEO, Soloviev Group
Michael Hershman / Watson and Company

Michael Hershman’s career has been characterized by groundbreaking investigations and efforts to cultivate a robust civil society. Earlier in his career, he served in military intelligence, as a deputy chief investigator for the U.S. Senate Watergate Committee and as inspector general of the U.S. Agency for International Development. He now leads the Soloviev Group, a global conglomerate with holdings in real estate, agriculture and logistics. “Business success comes to those who work hard, recognize opportunities, and above all honor their families, community and country,” Hershman says.

Rick Horan

Executive Director, QueensRail
Rick Horan / Kate Horan

Rick Horan just wants people in the Rockaways and other parts of Queens to get to Manhattan easier by rail. The lifelong entrepreneur heads up QueensLink, a project of the nonprofit QueensRail advocating for converting an unused section of rail as a park and new transit link between the Rockaways and existing subway lines. Horan knows it’s a David vs. Goliath battle, but predicts his community group will be able to overcome the powerful. “I’m proud to advocate that the people, not the politicians, will ultimately decide the future of this game-changing project,” he says.

Douglas Jablon

Executive Vice President, Community Relations and Special Assistant to the President, Maimonides Medical Center
Douglas Jablon / Patrick Weinberg

Every time Douglas Jablon sees a patient being safely discharged with a smile on their face, it motivates him to keep going and get back to work. Jablon, who has spent 45 years at Maimonides, is an advocate for patient care, patient rights and customer service, gathering feedback from patients and the broader community. “I am proud that over my career I have worked my way up from the mailroom to an EVP,” Jablon says. “I've learned every aspect of working in a hospital and know that it takes a true team.”

Deborah Johnson

Vice President and Market Manager, New York and New Jersey Public Engagement, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Deborah Johnson / Provided

In a financial career spanning four decades, Deborah Johnson has achieved success built on strategic partnerships. At JPMorgan Chase & Co., Johnson has collaborated with the New York Mortgage Coalition and Diversified Resource Network on taking a trauma-informed approach to supporting women through goal planning. “I’m motivated by the belief in empowering individuals with choices – whether it’s owning a home, starting a business, pursuing education or advancing in their careers,” she says. “Financial health awareness opens doors to more choices, providing opportunities for personal and community growth.”

Sandra Karas

Secretary-Treasurer, Actors’ Equity Association
Sandra Karas / Sean Turi Photography

Sandra Karas has had many roles, and not just as an actor. Karas, who’s also a labor leader, lawyer, accountant and financial adviser, has advocated for tax fairness for workers in the entertainment industry. “It has been said that skill only comes from plying your craft over and over with determination,” she says. “Applying your skill for your own benefit and that of others brings success to you both.” Apart from her myriad professional pursuits, Karas is especially proud of her two young adult children, who are “engaged and contributing members of society.”

Mike Klein

President and CEO, Urban Strategies
Mike Klein / Provided

Mike Klein’s career has taken him from working closely with a number of elected officials to helping to shape national drug policy to running one of the top parks advocacy campaigns in New York City history. Klein credits the bosses and mentors he has had with not just nurturing his love of public service but on how to be effective. Through his government affairs and strategic services firm, Urban Strategies, Klein tackles issues at the forefront of the public debate and keeps himself focused on remembering that “results matter, people matter.”

Sandy Klein

Director, Administration and Marketing, New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Center
Sandy Klein / Ben Klein Photography

Promoting community mental health awareness is a key focus of the New York Psychotherapy and Counseling Center, and Sandy Klein has been at the forefront of that effort for the past 17 years. Klein has established and expanded new marketing channels for the center, including initiatives to combat the stigma associated with mental health challenges. “I’ve spearheaded initiatives fostering a culture of collaboration, cultivating an environment where staff achieve a harmonious work-life balance,” she says. “My passion for helping others in need is my motivator.”

Mary Beth Labate

Senior Adviser, Brown & Weinraub
Mary Beth Labate / Provided

Mary Beth Labate is no stranger to the world of advocacy in Albany. Prior to joining top-ranked Albany lobbying firm Brown & Weinraub, she led The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York, where she advocated for over 100 private colleges and universities. Labate credits her success to “working hard, learning the issues and developing positive relationships.” Labate’s competitive spirit has helped her navigate Albany and deliver wins for her clients and for college students, faculty and administrators. But her proudest accomplishment? “My family,” she says.

Maria Lizardo

Executive Director, NMIC
Maria Lizardo / Create the Remarkable

Since joining NMIC, formerly Northern Manhattan Improvement Corp., in 1998, Maria Lizardo has proudly served the communities that helped raise her. A trained social worker by trade, Lizardo has climbed the professional ladder to her current role as NMIC’s executive director, providing supportive services to 14,000 community members in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. Seeing the fruitful impacts of community work continually motivates Lizardo, who attributes her professional success to the women and social workers who “opened doors” for her career to flourish. “This is a collective professional success,” she says.

Hossam Maksoud

CEO, Community Care Rx
Hossam Maksoud / Provided

Solving customer problems and spurring innovation in the pharmaceutical industry define the career of Hossam Maksoud. Maksoud founded his first pharmaceutical company at the age of 24. Now he is at the helm of Community Care Rx, his Plainview-based pharmacy services company that serves the tri-state area and provides 24/7 emergency services, medication packaging and technology, clinical support, quality assurance and continuum-of-care services. Maksoud, who also co-founded the sterile injectables and ophthalmology-focused Dawah Pharmaceuticals, credits his “passion and vision” for pharmacy work dating back to working at his father’s pharmacy.

Arthur Malkin

Co-Founder and Principal, Malkin & Ross
Arthur Malkin / Brendan Principato

During his 45 years in Albany, Arthur Malkin has prioritized the amplification of underrepresented communities’ voices at the state Capitol. Malkin’s track record includes campaigns to pass a hydraulic fracturing ban, a mental health parity law and AIDS confidentiality legislation. As a co-founder of Malkin & Ross, Malkin leads the firm’s lobbying efforts and specializes in legislative strategy and communications support for clients. He attributes his successes to “working on great issues; having hardworking, dedicated coworkers and deeply committed activist clients; and having two tremendous partners: in business – Donald K. Ross; and in life – Jill Goodman.”

Lawrence A. Mandelker

Senior Counsel, Eiseman Levine Lehrhaupt & Kakoyiannis PC
Lawrence A. Mandelker / Submitted

Known for providing legal counseling to high-profile clients – including Bernie Sanders, Rudy Giuliani and Ed Koch – Lawrence Mandelker has a reputation as an accomplished litigator and lobbyist. After Mandelker’s beginnings as a middle-class child in the outer boroughs, he currently serves as senior counsel at Eiseman Levine Lehrhaupt & Kakoyiannis PC, which he attained thanks to his commitment to “the ethos of being a lawyer, (promoting) utmost loyalty, discretion, civility, appreciation of opposing arguments, probity and compassion,” he says. “I am never satisfied that I’ve done enough.”

Jane Martínez Dowling

Chief External Affairs Officer, KIPP NYC
Jane Martínez Dowling / Emmanuel Abreu, E. Abreu Visuals

Jane Martínez Dowling is an educator through and through. Now a key executive for KIPP NYC, she served as a charter corps member of Teach for America, led Teach for America in New York and helmed ExpandED Schools and Student Sponsor Partners. Dowling enjoys watching her former students continue to succeed. “My greatest wish,” she says, “is that 50 years from now, my grandchildren will drive through the Bronx, see amazing schools and be able to say that their grandma helped to change the educational landscape of New York City for the better.”

Claude Millman

Partner, Kostelanetz LLP
Claude Millman / Roland Millman

Few people understand New York arcane public procurement laws like Claude Millman does. A former assistant U.S. attorney, New York City chief procurement officer and head of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, Millman is a litigator and a go-to lawyer for government contractors. Millman, who has been at Kostelanetz LLP since 2011, says he’s particularly proud of a 2023 case in which he helped a nonprofit client continue caring for 139 foster children whose lives would otherwise have been devastatingly disrupted. Overall, he attributes his successful career to two things: “Hard work and restless nights.”

Jai Nanda

Founder and Executive Director, Urban Dove
Jai Nanda / Morgan Wordes

In the 1990s, Jai Nanda launched an after-school program that became Urban Dove, which in turn led to the creation of Urban Dove Team Charter School. “My proudest accomplishment has been sustaining two successful organizations for over two decades,” he says. “Urban Dove began as an idea I had in the ’90s, became a renowned after-school program, then a first-of-its-kind transfer high school, and will soon expand into four schools.” The mission-driven leader, who also helped found the national youth sports-based development coalition Up2Us, is motivated to serve young people and their families.

Kevin Owens

President and CEO, NYSTEC
Kevin Owens / Nick Antz, NYSTEC

Kevin Owens joined the New York State Technology Enterprise Corp. in 2010, focusing on health information technology before assuming the top post in 2021. Under Owens, the growing nonprofit technology consulting company has delivered on governmental goals while also investing in economic and workforce development projects under the IgniteU banner. “While NYSTEC’s client work can impact all New Yorkers,” Owens says, “it’s that our work often benefits those in our state who do not have the same opportunities and access to all of the things most of us take for granted like housing, education and health care, among others.”

Manny Pastreich

President, 32BJ SEIU
Manny Pastreich / 32BJ SEIU

Manny Pastreich was born into the labor movement. His father founded a health care union, illustrating the transformative impact of unions. Following the same path, Pastreich has advocated for strawberry workers and aviation employees, office cleaners and fast-food workers, gig workers and Deliveristas. “The best advice I received was from my predecessor, who reminded me that even as president of 32BJ, it is all about the team,” says Pastreich, who succeeded Kyle Bragg at the helm of the 175,000-member union. “Support from and building up others has helped me grow more than I ever imagined.”

Derek Perkinson

Advocacy Director, Bluejacket Strategies
Derek Perkinson / Provided

Derek Perkinson is dedicated to grassroots advocacy and racial justice. A former New York field director for the National Action Network and the founder of D Perk Consulting Group, Perkinson has advanced criminal justice reform, census outreach, voting rights and economic justice. “I was taught early on to just work harder and smarter than the next person,” says Perkinson, who is advocacy director at the strategic communications firm Bluejacket Strategies and leads the nonprofit Youth Construct. “Know the history of things. Genuinely care about people and the state of our community, and (find) ways to improve our condition for the better.”

Diane Recinos

President, Berkeley College
Diane Recinos / Jurrissa Jones

Diane Recinos only became president of Berkeley College in 2022, but it’s the latest stop in her three-decade journey at the institution. She started at Berkeley as director of financial aid, and later assumed two senior vice presidency posts. This journey helped deepen her experience and put her on the path to the presidency. “Nothing motivates me more than seeing our students’ growth and accomplishments,” she says. “Their resilience and success drive the Berkeley College mission and remind me daily of the significant impact we have in guiding their paths forward.”

Michael N. Rosenblut

President and CEO, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation
Michael N. Rosenblut / Parker Jewish Institute

Michael N. Rosenblut is motivated by the residents – and his team – at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation. “One year, we facilitated the ability of a 104-year-old resident to attend her granddaughter’s bat mitzvah during COVID-19,” he says. “Another year, a resident and his wife renewed their 35th anniversary wedding vows. These uplifting moments inspired us all.” An adaptive and innovative leader, Rosenblut established the institute’s Indian Cultural Unit, which delivers care centered around the community’s cultural traditions. The son of a health care leader, Rosenblut said his father taught him to learn more each day.

Henry Rubio

President, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators
Henry Rubio / Rachel Elkind

For Henry Rubio, it’s all about family. The chief of New York City’s school administrators union, Rubio says his family keeps him centered and reminds him that the public school system is ultimately also about helping families. “I’ve been an educator for over 20 years, and I’m still motivated by the same priority: How can we provide all New York City children with a high-quality education in a safe school?” says the former principal of Manhattan’s A. Phillip Randolph Campus High School. “Every day I ask how I can better support school leaders in their heroic efforts.”

Erika Sanger

Executive Director, Museum Association of New York
Erika Sanger / Provided

One of the defining characteristics of New York is its thriving museum scene, and Erika Sanger is committed to the success of these cultural attractions statewide. Sanger, who joined the Museum Association of New York as executive director in 2016 after stints at the Albany Institute of History & Art and other first-class museums, has helped the association grow, both financially and in terms of total members. “I embrace the qualities of both transformational and participative leaders,” she says, “helping others reach their goals by being both an ignitor and a pollinator.”

Luis Scaccabarrozzi

Director of Research and Grants Management, Amida Care
Luis Scaccabarrozzi / Provided

Luis Scaccabarrozzi’s professional success is the result of taking jobs he enjoys – and that suit his passions. A native of Peru, Scaccabarrozzi has long advocated for those with HIV and hepatitis C in New York, whether it’s developing public health agendas, fundraising or adapting to COVID-19. For Scaccabarrozzi, who was at the Latino Commission on AIDS before coming to Amida Care, success means “always finding ways to generate results and the burning desire to take things further, and working on building the future.”

Chris Shaw

Partner, Barclay Damon LLP
Chris Shaw / New Box Studio

Chris Shaw doesn’t give up easily. He’s proud of “a select group of cases over the years where I was able to prevail through sheer hard work, creative problem-solving and perseverance when the case or situation was generally understood to be hopeless and without a chance of success.” Shaw, who joined Barclay Damon LLP in 2021 after serving in the state Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, often defends health care providers and practitioners. “I like solving problems,” he says, “especially those of clients who are presented with audits and investigations that are potentially life-changing,” he says.

Anthony Simon

General Chair, SMART Transportation Division
Anthony Simon / Robert Martin Photographer

Anthony Simon has been working for the Long Island Rail Road since 1990 – and has been advocating for fellow workers nearly as long. As a labor leader, Simon has delivered wage increases and enhanced health care and pension benefits for conductors, track workers and supervisors, building and bridge workers, and other personnel. What drives Simon? “Being able to deliver for MTA union workers and their families in an effort for them to thrive and provide for their families,” he says, as well as “delivering on safe and reliable service for the riders that rely on the railroad.”

Lorraine Stephens

Chief Operations Officer, JCCA
Lorraine Stephens / JCCA

When Lorraine Stephens was first deputy commissioner at the New York City Department of Homeless Services, she spearheaded efforts to provide short-term shelter for homeless individuals and oversaw repairs for the shelter system. “I believe that when poverty, substance abuse, child welfare involvement and other issues are prevalent in a community, what we’re seeing are the consequences of systemic underinvestment,” says Stephens, who’s now in a key role at the nonprofit service provider JCCA. “Nevertheless, I’m motivated by the resilience of these communities and love seeing individuals within them thrive when given a bit of support.”

Claude Szyfer

Partner, Hogan Lovells
Claude Szyfer / Provided

Claude Szyfer is the antithesis of a “one and done” lawyer. His expertise in antitrust, real estate, commodities and derivatives law enables him to foster long-term relationships with clients. At Hogan Lovells, Szyfer crafts “creative and sophisticated solutions” to complex legal issues. Notably, Szyfer has served as counsel for the Real Estate Board of New York for two decades. “Providing clients with solutions that make sense both from a legal perspective as well as for their day-to-day business needs is something that my clients value,“ he says.

Wayne Tyre

Director, Goddard Riverside Resource Center
Wayne Tyre / Goddard Riverside

Wayne Tyre has led Goddard Riverside’s Resource Center since it opened in 2007, helping New Yorkers obtain government benefits and other types of support. Despite his extensive experience, he had to start from scratch when the coronavirus pandemic hit. “We had to change our whole model,” he recalls, “from people coming in for face-to-face services to doing everything remotely while under tremendous pressure from an explosion in numbers.” As director, Tyre has expanded the center’s annual household service reach from 650 to more than 2,100 and launched the Whole Family initiative, integrating a multigenerational approach.

Valerie White

Senior Executive Director, LISC NY
Valerie White / Phaats Photos

Valerie White is dedicated to economic development in underserved and marginalized communities. White, who’s been with LISC NY since 2020, previously headed up the state’s minority and women’s business development division at Empire State Development and was an executive at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. “No matter where I’ve worked, from government, to nonprofits, to the private sector,” she says, “I wake up every day excited by the prospect that I can focus my efforts on making capital investments and shaping policy that’s centered on a platform of equity and will have a long-lasting, global social impact.”

Jo-Ann Yoo

Executive Director, Asian American Federation
Jo-Ann Yoo / Jenny Shin

Jo-Ann Yoo has been on the front lines combating the wave of anti-Asian violence that crashed into New York City starting in 2020. The leader of the Asian American Federation developed the Hope Against Hate campaign, an initiative to improve safety for Asian American populations. She has also helped shape federal and city policy on racial justice issues and reducing hate crimes. “My proudest accomplishment has been leading and steering the Asian American Federation for over a decade,” she says. “I am incredibly proud of my staff, and seeing what they accomplish each day motivates me further.”