Power Lists

The 2024 Bronx Power 100

The movers and shakers in a borough on the rise.

City & State presents the 2024 Bronx Power 100.

City & State presents the 2024 Bronx Power 100. Brian Logan / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The Bronx is booming. The borough – once known for years of unfavorable headlines in the 1970s and 1980s – has been seeing increased development and attention from the business community and policymakers in recent years. New investment is coming to all parts of the borough, perhaps most notably in the South Bronx.

The needle is moving on major issues that have been at the top of community discussion for decades. State transportation officials have made reconnecting communities cut off by major roadways a top priority, and redesigning the Cross Bronx Expressway is at the top of the list for change, a move that would address economic and environmental justice issues. After years of debate, officials are looking to push forward a plan for the future of the Kingsbridge Armory. And plans for a new “blue highway” to move supply chain transport to the water is on the verge of transforming the Hunts Point Produce Market, the Fulton Fish Market and the Hunts Point waterfront. Here are the leaders who are making sure the Bronx continues to grow and thrive.

1. Carl Heastie

Assembly Speaker
Carl Heastie / Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

As one of Albany’s famed three people in a room, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie wields power over every issue that passes to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk. Despite their disagreements, the former Bronx Democratic Party boss has made collaboration with Hochul a priority. During this year’s budget season, Heastie helped shepherd the passage of a compromise housing plan that included pieces sought by a variety of stakeholders. Heastie, who has led the Assembly since 2015, has been an active defender of members of his conference, including recent appearances touting funding and projects in the districts of incumbents facing primary challenges from the left.

2. Jamaal Bailey

Chair, Bronx Democratic County Committee
Jamaal Bailey / Provided

State Sen. Jamaal Bailey knows how to wield power in both Albany and the Bronx. As leader of the Bronx Democrats, Bailey has established the party as perhaps the strongest and most unified party organization in New York City. In Albany, Bailey chairs the influential state Senate Codes Committee, where he helped pass the Clean Slate Act. Bailey also sponsored a new law to require hairstylists to learn how to style all hair textures and is sponsoring legislation to make prison phone calls free.

3. Darcel Clark

Bronx District Attorney
Darcel Clark / Eric Steltzer

The state’s first Black female district attorney, Darcel Clark has outlined an ambitious agenda for her third term as the borough’s top prosecutor. Chief among her priorities is addressing mental health and gun violence in the borough, including through the creation of a youth advisory council to combat teen gun violence. She is also touting a new federal grant to use genetic testing and genealogical research to solve cold cases, and using state funds to handle discovery reform and upgrade her office’s information technology. Clark has asked the New York City Council to invest more money into mental health, including creating a mental health treatment court in the Bronx, housing and job creation as a way to reduce crime.

4. Ritchie Torres

Member of Congress
Ritchie Torres / Office of Rep. Ritchie Torres

In just his second term in Congress, Rep. Ritchie Torres has embraced foreign policy, positioning himself as one of the most outspoken pro-Israel Democrats in Washington, D.C. During a recent trip to Israel, Torres deemed himself an “accidental advocate” for the country but said he plans to press ahead on his efforts. Torres has introduced bipartisan legislation to create a federal college antisemitism monitor. Locally, Torres announced over $18 million in funding for his district, including library repairs, a prison education and reentry program, the Muslim American Society’s Bronx Muslim Center and a sensory playground in Morrisania.

5. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Member of Congress
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Laurel Golio

In the six years since Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leapt to national fame with a remarkable upset election, she has steadily evolved. The progressive icon has been outspoken on the Israel-Hamas war, drawing attention to the famine in Gaza and supporting student protesters. Yet she has also adopted an increasingly pragmatic approach in Washington, D.C., while avoiding the kinds of primary challenges facing other members of “The Squad.” In the Bronx, her district funding deliverables include $2 million for new youth recreational spaces at the Sotomayor Houses and the Monroe Houses, $1 million for upgrading Westchester Square Plaza and $1.5 million to renovate a youth center.

6. Nathalia Fernandez, Gustavo Rivera, Luis Sepúlveda & Jose M. Serrano

State Senators
Nathalia Fernandez, Gustavo Rivera, Luis Sepúlveda & Jose M. Serrano / Alex Porco; New York State Senate Photography; NYS Senate Media Services; State Senate

State Senate Health Committee Chair Gustavo Rivera’s mission is to overhaul health care in New York, championing legislation that would create a state-run single payer program. The progressive lawmaker, who’s known for bucking the local Democratic leadership, has called on state officials to cancel a contract with a private equity firm to help those impacted by the war on drugs to open cannabis dispensaries, saying it would lead to large amounts of debt.

State Senate Alcoholism and Substance Use Disorder Committee Chair Nathalia Fernandez is aiming to overhaul the state budget process by removing the governor’s main advantage. Fernandez has filed legislation to remove the governor’s power to insert policy proposals into the budget. She has also introduced legislation to remove the distinction between voluntary and involuntary intoxication in sexual assault cases.

State Senate Majority Conference Chair Jose M. Serrano has been a longtime champion of arts and culture, leading committees on that topic both in the state Senate and the New York City Council. Serrano co-hosted an arts rally during the state budget process in order to boost arts and culture funding, noting the sector is an economic engine. Serrano is supporting the NY HEAT Act, saying it will help enact the state’s climate goals and lower energy costs.

State Senate Cities 1 Committee Chair Luis Sepúlveda is celebrating passage of the state budget, in particular policy provisions that he says will help New York City. Among them are provisions to increase penalties for assaults on retail workers, new tools to crackdown on illegal cannabis shops, the compromise housing plan and a plan to eliminate cost-sharing for insulin.

7. Rafael Salamanca Jr.

Chair, New York City Council Land Use Committee
Rafael Salamanca Jr. / Office of NYC Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr.

Entering his final two years as the powerful chair of the New York City Council Land Use Committee, Rafael Salamanca Jr. is looking at his political future – and that could be a 2025 Democratic primary challenge to Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson. Salamanca has opened a campaign account for a borough president run. At City Hall, Salamanca is working to address the city’s affordable housing crisis by setting affordable housing targets citywide and advocating for plans to convert unused offices to residential housing.

8. Vanessa Gibson

Bronx Borough President
Vanessa Gibson / Finalis Valadez

The borough’s first female president, Vanessa Gibson is the borough’s biggest advocate and is touting a number of accomplishments on her watch. In her recent State of the Borough address, Gibson pledged to fully fund an opioid treatment center in the borough, committed $2 million to the Kingsbridge Armory and celebrated economic growth in the South Bronx. Gibson, a key city advocate for maternal health, is helping to develop a birthing center in the Bronx. Yet Gibson could face a 2025 primary challenge from New York City Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr.

9. Adriano Espaillat

Member of Congress
Adriano Espaillat / Office of Rep. Espaillat

Perhaps the top Latino political leader in New York City, Rep. Adriano Espaillat is a power player in Washington, D.C., and in Washington Heights. Espaillat, whose district also includes part of the Bronx, is one of only two New York City members of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, wielding influence over Congress’ own budget as the ranking minority member of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee. He has used the post to fight Republican efforts to eliminate the House of Representatives’ diversity office and to address congressional security following the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.

10. Stanley Schlein

Attorney
Stanley Schlein / Provided

A self-described “technician,” Stanley Schlein knows innately how Bronx politics works and has long held a perch in the inner sanctum of borough affairs, including as a trusted member of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s inner circle. The powerful lobbyist is at home in the corridors of power, having served as a constant in the Bronx’s evolutions of political power for decades. A former New York City Council adviser, Schlein has served as chair of the New York City Civil Service Commission.

11. Michael Benedetto, Kenny Burgos, Jeffrey Dinowitz & Karines Reyes

Assembly Members
Michael Benedetto, Kenny Burgos, Jeffrey Dinowitz & Karines Reyes / new York State Assembly

In the months after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, Assembly Codes Committee Chair Jeffrey Dinowitz has become one of the most outspoken lawmakers denouncing antisemitism and pro-Palestinian protests. Dinowitz has introduced legislation that would make it a felony for protestors to block roads and highways.

In what has become a proxy war between progressives and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Education Committee Chair Michael Benedetto is facing off for the second time against primary challenger Jonathan Soto, a former campaign staffer for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A key issue is Benedetto’s support for continued mayoral control of public schools, which Soto and his allies in the Working Families Party opposed.

Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force Chair Karines Reyes has got New York’s political class on the move. She has announced a third annual Somos conference in the Dominican Republic, adding to the existing conferences in Puerto Rico and Albany. In January, she passed legislation to create a task force to study missing and murdered women and girls of color in the state.

Kenny Burgos, the Reentry and Transitional Services Subcommittee chair, has been a proponent of closing the Rikers Island jails complex. And don’t make Burgos pay more for his Wendy’s. The lawmaker was out front in opposing the proposed “surge pricing” at the fast food giant, immediately proposing legislation to ban the practice, which he said could rise with artificial intelligence.

12. Randy Levine

President, New York Yankees
Randy Levine / New York Yankees

Randy Levine’s career has been split between serving New York City and baseball – and for the past 24 years, he has combined the two objectives as president of the New York Yankees. A Giuliani-era deputy mayor for economic development, Levine has helped to guide the Yankees through an ever-evolving professional sports world, whether it’s creating the Yankees’ television network or capitalizing on the rise of sports betting. He recently led the Yankees into the world of padel, a paddle tennis sport popular in Spain and Latin American countries.

13. Jamaal Bowman

Member of Congress
Jamaal Bowman / Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The latest congressional redistricting returned Co-Op City to Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s district, adding a little bit more of the Bronx to his largely Westchester district. But while it may benefit the second-term lawmaker and former Bronx school principal, he’s still in a fight of his political life in the June primary, with a high-profile challenge from Westchester County Executive George Latimer. Bowman’s criticism of Israel during the war in Gaza has fueled the challenge. Bowman is touting delivering $14.6 million in funding for projects in his district.

14. Philip Ozuah

President and CEO, Montefiore Medicine
Philip Ozuah / Serge Neville

Dr. Philip Ozuah likely never guessed an early morning flight from New York to Florida in 2020 would lead to the transformation of medical education in the Bronx. The leader of Montefiore Medical, a major medical institution that also oversees Albert Einstein College of Medicine, sat next to longtime Einstein faculty member Ruth Gottesman on that flight, striking up a friendship with the future medical school board chair. That connection was key to Gottesman’s decision to donate a whopping $1 billion to Einstein in February to provide free tuition to medical students going forward.

15. Adolfo Carrión Jr.

Commissioner, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development
Adolfo Carrión Jr. / NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Adolfo Carrión Jr. has taken on many challenges in his public service career – and none may be more challenging than his current work leading New York City’s housing development, one of the top issues facing the city and state. The former Bronx borough president and federal housing official has called on the federal government to do more to spur housing development. In the Bronx, Carrión was part of the team that broke ground on The Peninsula, a new affordable housing development with public space in Hunts Point.

16. Eric Dinowitz, Amanda Farías, Oswald Feliz, Kevin Riley, Pierina Sanchez & Althea Stevens

New York City Council Members
Eric Dinowitz, Amanda Farías, Oswald Feliz, Kevin Riley, Pierina Sanchez & Althea Stevens / NYC Council Media Unit; Johnny Nunez/WireImage; John McCarten, NYC Council Media Unit; Harry Montás

New York City Council Member Amanda Farías is only in her third year in the legislative body, but she’s catapulted to the top ranks. Farías became the City Council’s first Latina majority leader this year in a surprise appointment. She has already been making an impact on the business community in her role as Economic Development Committee chair. Farías also is focused on preventing parking garage collapses.

Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Pierina Sanchez has been at the forefront of efforts to solve the city’s housing crisis. She has proposed that the city invest $2 billion in affordable housing and is pushing Mayor Eric Adams to enforce a rental voucher expansion program that passed over his veto. Sanchez introduced legislation to increase apartment building safety inspections.

Children and Youth Committee Chair Althea Stevens is targeting the impact of social media use on pre-teens and teens, introducing legislation for a city study on mental health and social media. She has also said that the city should not balance the budget by cutting youth services.

Higher Education Committee Chair Eric Dinowitz is a leader in combating antisemitism. He co-chairs a City Council task force to combat hate and described the Columbia University pro-Palestinian encampment as threatening to Jewish students. He objected to a proposal from City Hall to bring an international cricket championship at Van Cortlandt Park, saying it could damage the park.

Small Business Committee Chair Oswald Feliz is aiming to address a rise in empty storefronts in the Bronx. He has proposed a legislative package that would offer grants to stores looking to locate in areas with high vacancy rates and to waive city fees for businesses filling empty storefronts.

Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee Chair Kevin Riley has been at the forefront of shepherding Adams’ City of Yes zoning proposals to law. Riley said his panel canceled a proposal to make it easier to open corner stores in residential neighborhoods, citing community board reservations.

17. Paloma Izquierdo-Hernandez

President and CEO, Urban Health Plan
Paloma Izquierdo-Hernandez / Romina Hendlin

Paloma Izquierdo-Hernandez has been widely recognized for developing Urban Health Plus into a community health powerhouse. Izquierdo-Hernandez was elected last year to serve as board chair of the National Association of Community Health Centers, amplifying her voice in the national health policy conversation. This year, Izquierdo-Hernandez was honored as the “people’s choice” honoree for the Bronx Walk of Fame and designation as the borough’s first Health Care Hero. Her organization also counts the Greater Hunts Point Economic Development Corp. as an affiliate.

18. Phillip Grant

Chief Executive Officer, Hunts Point Produce Market
Phillip Grant / Richard Louissaint

Since the earliest days of the United States, the Hunts Point Produce Market has played a crucial role in feeding New Yorkers. Today, the market is in the middle of a transformation as part of New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ efforts to revitalize the Hunts Point neighborhood. With $400 million in government funds already committed to the market’s revitalization, Phillip Grant said another $250 million is needed to complete the ambitious project. Grant is currently leading efforts to reduce the market’s carbon footprint and to comply with new federal food storage rules.

19. Meisha Porter

President and CEO, The Bronx Community Foundation
Meisha Porter / Christian Fernandez

Former New York City schools Chancellor Meisha Porter is now focused on improving her home borough. The inaugural leader of The Bronx Community Foundation, Porter teamed with the Center for an Urban Future to work with 50 community leaders to compile a report on 50 ideas that could move the borough forward. Among the ideas: expanding free broadband to all Bronx NYCHA complexes, a Bronx workforce development training center, developing a long-term plan to have Bronx students reading at grade level, a borough beautification initiative and boosting the borough’s film industry.

20. Daniel Kane

President, Teamsters Local 202
Daniel Kane / Adrian Reagan

The Hunts Point Produce Market carries out the monumental task of feeding New York, and Daniel Kane makes sure that the workers at the market are making a fair wage to feed their own families. The longtime Teamsters local president led a successful 2021 strike at the market to secure higher wages for his members. Kane started his own career at the produce market before moving into the union leadership as the local’s secretary-treasurer in 1991 and then president in 1999. In 2022, he became a trustee of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

21. Marcos Crespo & Ruben Diaz Jr.

Senior Vice President, Community Affairs; Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Montefiore Medicine
Marcos Crespo & Ruben Diaz Jr. / Montefiore Einstein; Montefiore Medical Center

Marcos Crespo and Ruben Diaz Jr. have brought their extensive political and government expertise to the borough’s largest health care provider. Diaz, a former borough president, and Crespo, a former state legislator and Bronx Democratic Party chair, are in key roles at Montefiore as the health system continues to make more inroads to serving the local community, including a new study into the impact of long COVID-19 and a new program to reduce allergic reactions to chemotherapy. Another former Bronx elected official, former Assembly Labor Committee Chair Latoya Joyner, recently joined the Montefiore team as well, as a senior labor adviser.

22. Lisa Sorin

President, Bronx Chamber of Commerce
Lisa Sorin / Richard Rosario Photography

Lisa Sorin and her fellow borough chamber of commerce leaders want you to know that small businesses are the lifeblood of New York City – and they are thriving. In a recent Bronx Community Foundation report on the borough’s future, Sorin called for the city to pilot a learning program in the Bronx that would bring work-based training to city schools, followed by an integrated internship program for middle and high school students. She also serves on the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

23. Christopher Mastromano & Christopher Roker

President and CEO; Chief Growth Officer, NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and North Central Bronx; NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
Christopher Mastromano / NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and North Central Bronx

As high-level executives within New York City’s vast public hospital network, Christopher Mastromano and Christopher Roker are focused on improving the health of Bronx residents. In his role leading the system’s Jacobi and North Central Bronx hospitals, Mastromano oversees a $950 million budget and 4,000 employees. For his staff at North Central Bronx Hospital, Mastromano recently opened an employee wellness room to allow hardworking medical workers a place to recharge. Last year, he presided over a new partnership between the hospitals and Norwood Community Library to provide book access to patients. At the 362-bed Lincoln Hospital, Christopher Roker last fall thanked Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson for capital funding that allowed the hospital to purchase new state-of-the-art beds for patients, saying it would improve the quality of care.

24. Tania Tetlow

President, Fordham University
Tania Tetlow / Dana Maxon

From the Big Easy to the Boogie Down, Tania Tetlow has been breaking barriers in Catholic higher education. The first woman and layperson to lead Fordham University, Tetlow previously accomplished the same milestones as president of Loyola University in New Orleans. Tetlow has been navigating campus protests regarding the Israel-Hamas war, clearing encampments at Fordham’s Manhattan campus. Outside of foreign affairs, Tetlow indicated a top concern for her is the rising cost of college, and she is aiming to address the issue at Fordham.

25. George Alvarez, Landon Dais, Chantel Jackson, Amanda Septimo, Yudelka Tapia & John Zaccaro Jr.

Assembly Members
George Alvarez, Landon Dais, Chantel Jackson, Amanda Septimo, Yudelka Tapia & John Zaccaro Jr. / George Alvarez, Landon Dais, Chantel Jackson, Amanda Septimo, Yudelka Tapia & John Zaccaro Jr.

Assembly Member Amanda Septimo has a message to former President Donald Trump: He’s not welcome in the South Bronx. Septimo helped coordinate efforts to oppose Trump’s May rally in the neighborhood. The Banks Committee member also wants to better regulate the lawsuit lending industry.

Micro Business Subcommittee Chair Chantel Jackson has passed legislation to require a license to purchase or have a semiautomatic rifle and was part of a legislative delegation who traveled to the Dominican Republic to meet with the nation’s president and legislature. 

Yudelka Tapia, who was elected in 2021, is looking to crack down on lithium-ion battery fires and has proposed that the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority create a rebate program for exchange of the batteries.

Assembly Member George Alvarez arrived in Albany after pulling off a shocking upset over longtime lawmaker Jose Rivera in the 2022 Democratic primary. His committee assignments include the transportation, labor and real property taxation panels.

Assembly Member John Zaccaro Jr. is looking at new ways to crackdown on illegal cannabis shops in New York. He has proposed legislation to revoke tobacco and liquor licenses for any store that sells marijuana without a license.

Assembly Member Landon Dais may be the state’s most junior lawmaker, but he has already racked up a legislative win. Dais, who was elected in a February special election, passed legislation in the state budget to criminalize deed theft.

26. Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez

Commissioner, New York City Department for the Aging
Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez / Richard Henry, NYC Department for the Aging

Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez has established herself as one of the leading advocates for the aging population in New York. In her role as New York City’s aging commissioner, Cortés-Vázquez has established the first city aging cabinet to better align service delivery and policy across city government for the population. She has also been promoting the city’s Silver Corps program to expand employment opportunities for the senior population. Cortés-Vázquez is a former New York secretary of state, AARP executive and Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member.

27. Fernando Delgado

President, Lehman College
Fernando Delgado / Brian Hatton

Fernando Delgado is leading Lehman College in addressing the key issues of the day, from the 50th anniversary of hip-hop (which was born in the Bronx) to tackling the state’s nursing shortage. Earlier this year, he presided over the opening of a $95 million Nursing Education, Research and Practice Center. At last year’s commencement, hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash received an honorary degree. A veteran higher education leader of colleges in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Arizona before joining Lehman, Delgado was a finalist to be the chancellor of the University of Minnesota Duluth earlier this year.

28. Daisy Cocco De Filippis

President, Hostos Community College
Daisy Cocco De Filippis / Naugatuck Valley Community College, NVCC

Daisy Cocco De Filippis proved that you can leave the Bronx, but you’ll often come back. De Filippis returned to Hostos Community College as president in 2020, after 12 years leading a community college in Connecticut. As president at Hostos, she has welcomed the college’s largest-ever donation, led a successful site visit from accreditors and created an ambitious new strategic plan. She has seen success in retention of students, a key issue facing college leaders.

29. Donald Eversly

Executive Director, Greater Hunts Point Economic Development Corp.
Donald Eversly / Provided

The growth of the Hunts Point neighborhood has been a critical component in the economic resurgence of the South Bronx, with the Greater Hunts Point Economic Development Corp. helping to lead the way. As executive director of the organization, Donald Eversly has become a premier advocate for the neighborhood. Among its programs is WorkForceBX, a workforce development and training program focused on skills development for the region. Eversley also oversees capital projects and community development for Urban Health Plan, which is affiliated with the Greater Hunts Point Economic Development Corp.

30. Larry Scott Blackmon

CEO, The Blackmon Organization
Larry Scott Blackmon / Andrew Morales

Government relations leader Larry Scott Blackmon has moved on from his lobbying role at FreshDirect to fully focus on his eponymous consulting firm. A key thought leader, Blackmon led a recent TED talk on visionary leadership and has received a number of recent awards celebrating his leadership on behalf of New Yorkers. He chairs the board of BBB Serving Metropolitan New York and is the president of the New York Association of Chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha. A former deputy New York City parks commissioner, Blackmon has crafted strategies to develop minority- and women-owned business agreements for major projects in the city.

Editor’s note: Larry Scott Blackmon is a member of City & State’s advisory board.

31. Kristy Marmorato

New York City Council Member
Kristy Marmorato / Friends of Kristy

X-ray technician Kristy Marmorato pulled off a rare feat last year as a Republican elected in the Bronx, defeating Democratic New York City Council Member Marjorie Velázquez. (Former state Sen. Guy Velella, who left the Senate in 2004, was the last Republican elected official in the borough before her.) Marmorato is the first Republican woman elected official in Bronx history. Despite strong backing from some Donald Trump supporters, Marmorato campaigned on local issues like overdevelopment, and likely capitalized on the opposition to the controversial Bruckner Boulevard rezoning.

32. Miguel Fuentes

President and CEO, BronxCare Health System

BronxCare is a major provider of health care for Bronx residents as the largest nonprofit health and teaching hospital in the central and southern parts of the borough. Miguel Fuentes sits atop this health care behemoth, which is also one of the largest outpatient health care service providers in New York City. BronxCare has been at the forefront of addressing health inequalities in the borough while developing action plans for Bronxites. The system is in the process of increasing the number of medical surgical beds to expand services.

33. Mark Stagg

Founder and CEO, Stagg Group
Mark Stagg / Enormous Creative

Since its 1996 founding, Stagg Group has developed over 3,500 units of affordable housing, a portfolio totaling some $1.5 billion in new development. The developer has made community involvement a critical part of his work in the Bronx, including an annual turkey donation to borough residents. In 2023, Stagg provided over 15,000 hot meals to Bronxites during the holidays as well as 4,000 Thanksgiving turkeys. On the development front, Stagg has filed plans for the second phase of an affordable housing project in Longwood.

34. Susan Burns

President, University of Mount Saint Vincent
Susan Burns / College of Mount Saint Vincent

A native of Iowa, Susan Burns fell in love with the Bronx from the moment she set foot on the University of Mount Saint Vincent’s campus in Riverdale. Burns has set her focus on raising the profile of the university, noting that it should be more than a “hidden gem.” In January, Burns presided over the campus’ formal transformation to university status and sent a message to the world that the higher education institution will be growing. As part of its global path, Burns has announced a new partnership with Open University Malaysia.

35. Jason Laidley

Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Moonshot Strategies
Jason Laidley / Dominique Maddox, London House

A key political adviser to Bronx Democrats and the county’s Democratic leader, state Sen. Jamaal Bailey, Jason Laidley is bolstering the county party and increasing the number of women of color on the New York City Council. A veteran of city and state government, Laidley works with clients at the top government relations firm Moonshot Strategies and through his own firm, London House. His London House clients have included the New York Botanical Garden, Grubhub, Charter Communications and No Kid Hungry.

36. Robb Menzi & John Calvelli

Interim President and CEO; Executive Vice President for Public Affairs, Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society manages some of New York’s most visited and acclaimed landmarks, including the Bronx Zoo, the Central Park Zoo, the Prospect Park Zoo and the New York Aquarium. In addition, the organization advocates for wildlife conservation worldwide. Robb Menzi and John Calvelli manage and advocate for WCS and its critical work in protecting wildlife. They recently reopened Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Zoo after a 239-day closure due to flood damage.

37. Mychal Johnson

Co-Founder and Board Chair, South Bronx Unite
Mychal Johnson / Amanda Johnson

In April, the Urban Affairs Association presented its 2024 community activist award to Mychal Johnson for his efforts to improve the South Bronx, including advocating for the Hunts Point community and expanding access to economic opportunities in the neighborhood. Johnson, a co-founder and board chair of South Bronx Unite, is a longtime advocate for supporting the South Bronx without gentrification as well as addressing environmental justice issues. He serves on a number of boards, including the city Waterfront Management Advisory Board and the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality.

38. Ramon Tallaj

Founder and Chair, Somos Community Care
Somos Community Care / Ramon Tallaj

Dr. Ramon Tallaj is a rising leader in the New York City health care sector. The founder and board chair of Somos Community Care, Tallaj has strived to improve culturally competent health care with his large health care network, which serves 1 million New Yorkers. A leader in the early days of the pandemic in calling out health inequalities, Tallaj worked to bring coronavirus tests and vaccinations, along with food deliveries, to low-income New Yorkers. He was recently honored for his work alongside other New York luminaries during the Casita Maria Fiesta gala.

39. Daniel Reingold

President and CEO, River's Edge
Daniel Reingold / RiverSpring Living

Daniel Reingold has put himself on the cutting edge of nursing homes and elder care in the nation in his work at RiverSpring Living and leading the Hebrew Home in Riverdale. In the 1990s, the Hebrew Home was the first in the country to establish guidelines to allow sex among residents and more recently developed the first guidelines for medical marijuana use. Reingold has also been a leader in combating elder abuse. In April, Reingold handed the reins to David V. Pomeranz and transitioned to a new role leading the affiliated River's Edge, which bills itself as "New York City's first Life Plan Community."

40. Lourdes Zapata

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Lourdes Zapata / Provided

A longtime expert in expanding access for minority- and women-owned businesses in the government procurement sector, Lourdes Zapata has brought her expertise to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as the agency’s new top diversity and inclusion officer. Zapata came to the position after supporting the resurgence of the South Bronx as president of South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. Zapata has been the state’s chief diversity officer and headed MWBE economic development for Empire State Development.

41. Nilka Martell

Founder and Director, Loving the Bronx
Nilka Martell / Corey Torpie

Nilka Martell cares for the Bronx so much she’s making sure that everyone else is Loving the Bronx too. Martell has been a local leader in efforts to address the environmental and health impacts of the Cross Bronx Expressway while pushing state and city leaders to develop solutions to address the harms of the expressway causes for residents. Outside of targeting state transportation policy, Martell and Loving the Bronx are hosting a number of programs to showcase the borough’s history and culture.

42. Blanca Ramirez

President and CEO, Comunilife
Bianca Ramirez / Ron Jautz

Blanca Ramirez has had large shoes to fill since taking over recently from the legendary founder Rosa Gil as the leader of Comunilife, the Bronx-based nonprofit that served over 4,000 homeless and low-income New Yorkers last year. Ramirez has outlined a vision to build on Gil’s legacy in the areas of providing social services and housing to the Comunilife service community. With a deep background in the housing sector, Ramirez joined Comunilife from Hudson Housing Capital, where she served as vice president for acquisition and underwriting.

43. Sandra Lobo

Executive Director, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition
Sandra Lobo / David Walcott

Sandra Lobo and the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition are taking on one of the trickiest issues facing the Bronx: the future of Kingsbridge Armory. The coalition’s vision is to create a community hub at the armory, including spaces for high-tech manufacturing, an events venue and food stalls. The proposal is based on a number of community conversations that Lobo and the coalition held to assess community needs. The $1 billion plan is the latest in a series of proposals over the past three decades to redevelop the site.

44. Peter Madonia

Chair, Belmont Business Improvement District
Peter Madonia / Belmont Business Improvement District

With a deep background in city government and on Arthur Avenue, Peter Madonia is proactively promoting the economy and the rich culture of the Little Italy neighborhood of the Bronx. Madonia leads the board of the Belmont Business Improvement District, which markets the neighborhood’s businesses and coordinates cultural events such as the annual Ferragosto Festival. Madonia was former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s chief of staff, the city’s first deputy fire commissioner, a deputy commissioner in the city Department of Buildings and chief operating officer of the Rockefeller Foundation.

45. Wilma Alonso

President and CEO, Fordham Road Business Improvement District
Wilma Alonso / Provided

A longtime leader in the Fordham Road business community, Wilma Alonso is continuing to position the thriving neighborhood as an economic center for the borough and beyond. Alonso played a key role in obtaining funding that led to one of the largest public lighting projects in the borough’s history, a project that has helped to support Fordham Road’s retail district. Alonso also established a patrol ambassador security program for the business district and secured $3.5 million for the renovation of Bryan Park.

46. Prisca Salazar-Rodriguez & Jose Rodriguez

Partner; Senior Vice President, Bolton-St. Johns
Prisca Salazar-Rodriguez & Jose Rodriguez / Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade; Natalie Cartz

Prisca Salazar-Rodriguez and Jose Rodriguez bring deep experience in government to their roles at top lobbying firm Bolton-St. Johns. Salazar-Rodriguez, a veteran of the New York City mayor’s office and Empire State Development, has a comprehensive knowledge of the Bronx, honed from her 22 years in the borough president’s office. She works closely with clients on such issues as economic development, land use and emerging markets. A former chief of staff to the deputy speaker of the New York City Council, Jose Rodriguez has been on the ground level in the Bronx as district manager of Community Board 4, where he focused on a number of issues. He also chaired the New Yankee Stadium Construction Advisory Committee, navigating community issues surrounding the stadium project, and led a panel studying the borough’s community boards.

47. Yaron Tomer

Dean, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

A nationally recognized diabetes researcher, Dr. Yaron Tomer took over as the leader of Albert Einstein College of Medicine last fall. Tomer assumed the dean’s role after leading more than 700 full-time faculty members as chair of the Department of Medicine at Montefiore Einstein, the medical school’s affiliated teaching hospital. Tomer is settling into the top spot at Einstein at a monumental moment in the school’s history, as board chair Ruth Gottesman has donated $1 billion to the school to make it tuition-free.

48. Roberto Ramirez

Partner, MirRam Group
Roberto Ramirez / Ali Garber

Few know Bronx politics better than Roberto Ramirez. The former Assembly member and longtime Bronx Democratic Party leader is a partner at his lobbying powerhouse MirRam Group. He has been deploying the expertise gained from a longtime Albany career and his role as the nation’s first county Democratic leader of Puerto Rican heritage to assist clients in achieving their objectives. While in the state Legislature, he chaired the Social Services Committee and the Real Property Taxation Committee.

49. Plinio Ayala

President and CEO, Per Scholas
Plinio Ayala / Brad Angevine, Per Scholas

A workforce development leader in the Bronx, Plinio Ayala has focused his efforts on bridging the digital divide and cultivating technology skills within the emerging workforce. The work of Per Scholas, which operates in 20 cities nationally, has paid off with an 85% graduation rate and many graduates finding careers in the technology sector within a year of graduation. In September, Ayala accepted a $20 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, which Ayala said will help to expand the program on a national level.

50. Janet Peguero

Bronx Deputy Borough President
Janet Peguero / Finalis Valdez, NBG

The first immigrant woman from the Dominican Republic to serve as deputy borough president, Janet Peguero is focused on tackling some of the borough’s toughest challenges. She is in the middle of the long-running debate over the future of the Kingsbridge Armory – and developed a partnership with city and state officials to obtain a $200 million grant to fund the armory’s revitalization for future use. Partnering with Bronx economic development officials, Peguero secured a $20 million loan fund to assist empowerment zones in the borough.

51. Paul Thomas

Partner, The Parkside Group
Paul Thomas / The Parkside Group

A former chief of staff to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Paul Thomas knows his way around the halls of power from the Bronx to Albany. Thomas deployed his understanding of how policy is made to help his clients at The Parkside Group achieve their goals. He manages the firm’s budgetary advocacy practice and has worked to help nonprofit organizations secure millions of dollars to fund their services. Thomas serves as a New York City regional board member of the New York League of Conservation Voters.

52. Bharati Sukul Kemraj

Senior Associate, Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates
Bharati Sukul Kemraj / Provided

Bharati Sukul Kemraj has spent her career focusing on lifting up the people of the Bronx. A veteran of BronxNet, where she told the stories of the people of her home borough, she now works at Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates, a well-connected government relations firm, where she advises clients on navigating the city and state governments. She has served as a member of both Bronx Community Board 11 and Community Board 9. While a Community Board 9 member, she served as the board’s treasurer and chaired its Youth, Education and Planning Committee.

53. Arthur Goldstein

Partner, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP
Arthur Goldstein / Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP

A veteran of Ed Koch’s City Hall, Arthur Goldstein now oversees the New York City government relations practice for lobbying powerhouse Davidson Hutcher & Citron LLP. His many areas of focus include administrative law, economic development, tax credits, land use and the hospitality industry. A key part of his work involves connecting policymakers with the hyperlocal impact of their decisions. Goldstein was also a key adviser in the New York City Council.

54. Michael Stinson

Vice President, Corporate and Legislation, Kasirer
Michael Stinson / Greg Morris

A longtime Bronx resident, Michael Stinson brings extensive experience in city, state and federal government to his work at Kasirer, New York City’s top lobbying shop. At Kasirer, Stinson utilizes his background in strategic planning and community relations to assist clients in achieving their goals, including in education funding. Stinson has served as Manhattan borough director in the New York City comptroller’s office, as New York City affairs adviser for former Rep. Steve Israel and chief of staff for Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon.

55. Sean Ebony Coleman

Founder and Executive Director, Destination Tomorrow
Sean Ebony Coleman / Provided

Sean Ebony Coleman is the founder and executive director of Destination Tomorrow, an LGBTQ+ center that assists the community in the Bronx with job preparation, HIV testing and emergency housing. Coleman is a leader of the Black transgender community and has worked through Destination Tomorrow to open transitional housing for transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming individuals who are victims of sexual violence. As a consultant, Coleman has worked on DEI strategies for the transgender community.

56. Ariana Collado

Executive Director, Bronx Democratic County Committee
Ariana Collado / Yovan Collado

The Bronx Democratic Party is one of New York’s strongest county political organizations, due in part to the hard work of Ariana Collado in running the day-to-day functions of the party operation. Collado comes to her work at party headquarters after serving as an aide in the New York City Council. When she took the job in 2021, Collado outlined a goal of wanting to tap into the energy for Democratic Party politics generated following the 2016 election in order to expand its reach and impact in the borough.

57. Rob Walsh

President, Bronx Economic Development Corp.

Rob Walsh brings extensive economic development credentials – including a dozen years as the New York City Department of Small Business Services commissioner – to his role in leading economic development in the Bronx. Walsh has launched BX-Factor, a small-business grant competition that awards a $10,000 grant to the winner after having finalists make public pitches as part of Bronx Week. He has also launched Bronx Beat, a partnership between the corporation and 1010 WINS, which has radio spots highlighting small businesses in the borough.

58. David Pinero

Vice President, Facilities and Vendor Management, Ponce Bank
David Pinero / Ponce Bank

David Pinero is a Bronx native who channels his energy into improving his home borough. He has worked his way up in Bronx-based Ponce Bank from being a teller at the Southern Boulevard branch to his current role in overseeing the bank’s facilities, including the design of bank branches. In his branch design work, he seeks to incorporate the latest technology and create a welcoming environment and safe space for community members to do their banking and to attend workshops from Ponce on financial literacy.

59. Michael Max Knobbe & Gary Axelbank

Executive Director; Host, “BronxTalk”, BronxNet
Michael Max Knobbe & Gary Axelbank / BronxNet; Jose Giralt Photography

The future of local journalism is a subject of much hand-wringing across the country, but a news desert will not exist on a boroughwide level in the Bronx as long as Michael Max Knobbe and Gary Axelbank are on the scene. Knobbe, BronxNet’s executive director, and host Axelbank ensure the news is covered all across the Bronx. Knobbe says a key mission for the public access station is focused on educating borough residents on issues impacting them. Axelbank has created a new outlet to celebrate the Bronx, with a podcast focused on local music and musicians.

60. Marc Jerome

President, Monroe College
Marc Jerome / Monroe College

Marc Jerome loves pie. The Monroe College president gives a pie to each of the college’s staffers every Thanksgiving as a token of appreciation. Apart from pastries, Jerome is making connections between Monroe College and Caribbean countries. This spring, Jerome signed a memorandum of understanding with the deputy prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to create a program providing scholarships for 50 first-generation college students from the island nation to study at Monroe. In Grenada, Jerome met with Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to discuss higher education programs.

61. Arline Parks

Vice Chair and CEO, Diego Beekman Mutual Housing Association
Arline Parks / MarissaGPhotographyINC

A longtime local leader in Mott Haven, Arline Parks has dedicated her career to lifting up the Bronx. Parks has been pushing a plan to improve the South Bronx surrounding Diego Beekman, including proposals for the city to invest in anchor institutions and beautification programs to promote public safety and new collaborative service delivery for residents. Parks is currently working on a collaborative to provide increased services to the Diego Beekman community and the surrounding Mott Haven neighborhood. 

62. Charles Moerdler

Of Counsel, Patterson Belknap
Charles Moerdler / Michael N. Meyer

Charles Moerdler is not just a prominent attorney in New York, but a distinguished New York City civic leader. The former city housing and buildings commissioner has a resume of civic engagement that sets him apart. He has served on the boards of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the New York City Air Pollution Board and the state Insurance Fund. The attorney, who previously spent decades at Stroock, has counseled blue chip businesses, international banks and public employee labor unions.

63. Nicole Ackerina

CEO, Fulton Fish Market Cooperative
Nicole Ackerina / Barbara Mensch

For over two centuries, the South Bronx-based Fulton Fish Market Cooperative has been keeping New Yorkers supplied with fresh seafood. Nicole Ackerina is shaping the future of the city’s seafood industry. Ackerina, who came on as the market’s first CEO last year, announced a new partnership with First Down Materials, a South Bronx-based barging company, to enhance barge usage by the fish market, part of New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ “blue highway” initiative to increase commercial water transport.

64. Wesley Caines

Interim Executive Director, The Bronx Defenders
Wesley Caines / The Bronx Defenders

A veteran of the public defender nonprofit Bronx Defenders, Wesley Caines took over as the organization’s interim executive director in January, after serving as deputy executive director and chief of staff. Caines has sought to build the organization’s policy, communications, impact litigation and community engagement departments into a cohesive group that can focus on developing new programs to better the Bronx. He also developed the Bronx Cannabis Hub, which aims to bring those impacted by marijuana laws into the burgeoning industry.

65. Abe Fernández

Vice President of Collective Impact, Children’s Aid
Abe Fernández / Children’s Aid

A child of the Bronx, Abe Fernández is now focused on helping the children of the Bronx. Fernández started his career in education at Riverdale Country School and then moved to Union Settlement before landing at Children’s Aid – where his first project was to help start up two community schools in the Bronx, putting him on the path to focus on providing educational opportunities for Bronx students. Fernández is a national thought leader on community schools, authoring and co-authoring a number of articles for the Brookings Institution.

66. Daniel Barber

Chair, New York City Housing Authority Citywide Council of Presidents
Daniel Barber / Provided

Residents of the New York City Housing Authority need to have a voice at the table – and Daniel Barber is that voice, in his role chairing the Citywide Council of Presidents of residents associations for public housing communities across the city. A lifelong resident of the Jackson Houses in the Melrose neighborhood, Barber says NYCHA residents have been historically “shut down” by the city. He said the key is for NYCHA residents to speak for themselves.

67. Mari Millet

President and CEO, Morris Heights Health Center
Mari Millet / Juan Villalba

Mari Millet is striving to improve health care for New Yorkers, both in and outside of health centers. Within the Morris Heights Health Center, Millet has spearheaded improvements to internal organization and finances in order to better provide medical services to the 57,000 patients it serves across New York City. Outside of the health center’s walls, Millet is focused on addressing health inequality and creating community gardens to address food deserts.

68. Eileen Torres

CEO, BronxWorks
Eileen Torres / Russ Campbell

Leading BronxWorks in its mission of addressing economic and social improvement for Bronx residents, Eileen Torres is brimming with innovative ideas. In a Bronx Community Foundation report on improving the borough, Torres proposed raising the state minimum wage. She points out that the pandemic exposed broader economic issues and that the current minimum wage does not meet cost of living in New York City – and especially in the Bronx, which is the county with the most eviction filings. Torres also argued against cuts to the social services safety net.

69. Rocky Bucano

Executive Director, Universal Hip Hop Museum
Rocky Bucano / Robert A. Mayer

The 50th anniversary of hip-hop has come and gone, but the work of the Universal Hip Hop Museum continues to promote the history and cultural impact of the transformative musical genre. During the museum’s inaugural gala last year, Executive Director Rocky Bucano praised the gathering as not just a celebration of the genre but as charting the path ahead to continue the legacy of hip-hop. As part of the 50th anniversary, the museum brought the story of hip-hop to the country, including a traveling exhibit in North Carolina.

70. Milo Riverso

President, Manhattan College

While the presidency of Manhattan College is Milo Riverso’s first job in higher education, he brings a deep background in engineering and administrative experience to the post. Riverso spent four years as president and CEO of the New York City School Construction Authority. He has donned his engineering hat for his initial agenda of addressing the deferred maintenance backlog at the Lasallian Catholic institution – which, despite its name, is located in the Bronx’s Riverdale neighborhood. Riverso has faced some challenges in his inaugural year amid budget and personnel cuts.

71. Jeffrey Menkes

President and CEO, Calvary Hospital

With deep experience in the health care sector, Jeffrey Menkes now leads Calvary Hospital, the nationally recognized palliative care hospital in the Bronx. Prior to assuming his post at Calvary, Menkes was a senior executive at Montefiore Health System for a decade, including leading Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in Westchester County once it came into the system. Calvary has been addressing the city’s nursing shortage by implementing a palliative and end of life care residency program for nurses, in hopes to grow the specialty.

72. John Doyle

Associate Director of Public Relations, NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi
John Doyle / Dominique Maddox

John Doyle knows City Island. The NYC Health + Hospitals public relations associate director is also president of City Island Rising, ensuring the coastal community is top of mind for city leaders. Doyle has been addressing climate change and flooding-related issues on the island, including getting the city to install four flood sensors, with more planned for Pelham Bay Park. He has testified at hearings to make sure state officials account for the East Bronx in climate discussions at the community level. Doyle led efforts to bring 24/7 bus service to City Island and to resolve issues surrounding the NYPD’s Rodman’s Neck shooting range.

73. Liz Neumark

Founder and CEO, Great Performances
Liz Neumark / Michael Lionstar

Liz Neumark is a trailblazer in the food, employment, agriculture and health spaces and in the arts. The founder of the Bronx-based event company Great Performances, Neumark has provided food service employment to women in the arts. She has also founded The Sylvia Center, a children’s health nonprofit and Katchkie Farm, an organic farm and learning center in the upstate community of Kinderhook. Neumark is advocating for increased local food production, saying it will address food insecurity issues.

74. Maria Torres

President and Chief Operating Officer, The Point Community Development Corp.

Maria Torres is on point in developing the South Bronx. Torres presides over community development organization The Point, where she runs a variety of programs serving the Hunts Point neighborhood in the arts, youth development and environmental policy. In the fall, Torres helped unveil district markers on Manida Street in the South Bronx, which was designated as a historic district by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

75. Odetty Tineo

Political and Legislative Director, District Council 37
Odetty Tineo / DonChristian Jones

Odetty Tineo is a labor union veteran who is making a key impact on local politics in her role as political and legislative director at District Council 37, the largest public sector union in New York City. Politically, that includes last year’s victory by New York City Council Member Chris Banks in Brooklyn, which ended the Charles and Inez Barron political dynasty. Tineo also worked to secure a major labor agreement with New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Tineo is a veteran of the New York State Nurses Association and 32BJ SEIU.

76. Thomas Brown

Vice President of Development, Trinity Financial
Thomas Brown / Geoff Hauschild

The Bronx has been booming with development, and Thomas Brown has been a driver of that real estate boom. The Trinity Financial development executive oversees the company’s efforts to develop large-scale mixed-use and mixed-income developments, which have become integral to the redevelopment of the borough. Brown recently worked on a project at 425 Grand Concourse, a 310,000-square-foot development in Mott Haven with a health center, cultural resources and a supermarket, which is serving as a part of the resurgence of the lower part of Bronx’s premier boulevard.

77. Denise Rosario Adusei

Executive Director, Bronx Children’s Museum
Denise Rosario Adusei / Joseph Martin, Keyz2Life Media

Since taking the helm of the Bronx Children’s Museum last year, artist, author and educator Denise Rosario Adusei has been bringing a fresh perspective to the almost 15-year-old museum. Her work has included growing the offerings of the museum and the development of new programs to increase access to the arts for young people across the borough. The museum has been gaining national attention with first lady Jill Biden and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor visiting the museum last year.

78. Dan Leventhal

Founder and Executive Director, Bronx Lacrosse
Dan Leventhal / Lonnie Webb

A Teach for America alum in the Bronx and a onetime Tufts University lacrosse player, Dan Leventhal has married his passion and his teaching experience to create an innovative program to support lacrosse in the Bronx. Students in the program not only play lacrosse but participate in tutoring and academic endeavors. Bronx Lacrosse reports that participants have a 95% school attendance rate, a 86% algebra Regents exam pass rate and a 100% rate of high school on-time graduation and college enrollment. Last year, Bronx Lacrosse added an academics director and launched new school partnerships and has plans to grow the program by 25%.

79. Ryan Nelson

Managing Principal, Turnbridge Equities
Ryan Nelson / Provided

At 1.3 million square feet, the new Bronx Logistics Center is the largest industrial development in New York City – and Ryan Nelson has been overseeing this transformative project for Turnbridge Equities. The project is not just a supply chain hub but a clean energy leader for the city. The project features a 2.9 megawatt solar energy project on the roof, one of the largest to be constructed in the city. This is part of 4.7 megawatts of solar energy that Turnbridge, under Nelson’s leadership, has developed for its projects across the city.

80. Bob Kaplan

Executive Director, Center for Shared Society, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York
Bob Kaplan / Provided

Bob Kaplan has long been a leader in the Bronx Jewish community, spending decades at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, where he organizes trips to Israel for political leaders and provides community services. In the months since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, Kaplan has been integral to city discussions on ways to reduce religious hate crimes, working with interfaith leaders and city officials to develop and implement strategies. He also serves on the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

81. Camelia Tepelus

Executive Director, Morris Park Business Improvement District
Camelia Tepelus / Olivia Tepelus

A veteran of the New York City Department of Small Business Services, Camelia Tepelus became the inaugural executive director of the Morris Park Business Improvement District in 2018. With development of four new Metro-North Railroad stations coming to the Bronx, including Morris Park, Tepelus is now looking forward to the transformative effect of new transportation options in the area. She and other business leaders have been coordinating with city planning officials on the development around the planned transit hubs.

82. Ramon Peguero

President and CEO, Committee for Hispanic Children and Families
Ramon Peguero / Box of dreams photography

Ramon Peguero has established himself as a leader lifting up New York’s low-income residents, both in the nonprofit world and in serving on boards. Peguero heads the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, which provides a variety of services to New Yorkers across all five boroughs. Recently the organization teamed with Housing Works to address asylum-seeker housing. Peguero serves on the board of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. and is a former New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board member.

83. Tomas Ramos

Founder, President and CEO, Oyate Group
Tomas Ramos / Greg Hernandez

Tomas Ramos is focused on creating a better life for the people of the Bronx. A onetime congressional candidate, Ramos ended his House campaign in order to focus his attention on pandemic assistance. Then he founded the Oyate Group, focused on food security, youth and small business. He recently teamed up with Grubhub and the New York State Latino Restaurant, Bar and Lounge Association to create a $200,000 small business microgrant program. Last fall, the Oyate Group distributed 2,000 Thanksgiving turkeys to families in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan.

84. Sally Page Connolly

Chair, City Island Oyster Reef
Sally Page Connolly / Gail Ablow

Sally Page Connolly has lived most of her life near Long Island Sound, and she is dedicated to protecting the local natural treasure. Connolly is leading City Island Oyster Reef to improve the marine environment, including the creation of three oyster reefs around City Island, a project currently in the permitting process. City Island Oyster Reef has provided internship opportunities for 15 students from middle school to graduate school and has obtained funds to purchase $15,000 in science equipment for P.S. 175 to bolster the school’s oyster and marine ecology curriculum.

85. Ninfa Segarra

Senior Vice President, Government and Community Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer, SBH Health System
Ninfa Segarra / Samira Pinu

Ninfa Segarra has made her mark on the Bronx and New York City in a career that has seen her serving as deputy mayor for human services and education in the Giuliani administration and having the distinction of being the last president of the old New York City Board of Education. She’s now focused on improving health care in the Bronx as a senior executive with SBH Health System, a Bronx network whose flagship is St. Barnabas Hospital. Segarra has also served as executive director of the New York City Police Museum and advised Mike Bloomberg’s mayoral campaigns on education issues.

86. Melissa Sigmond & Matt Abrams Gerber

CEO; Chief Operating Officer, Riverdale Y

One of the most influential centers of Jewish life in the Bronx is the Riverdale Y. In addition to the Y’s recreation, education and community activities, the organization has been at the forefront of supporting Israel and promoting religious tolerance. Chief Operating Officer Matt Abrams Gerber announced a new initiative to increase tolerance in the borough following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel. In April, CEO Melissa Sigmond traveled to Israel as part of a Bronx delegation that included Rep. Ritchie Torres and the UJA-Federation New York. In December, the Y joined the Neighborhood Association for Inter-Cultural Affairs to coordinate a holiday celebration for the children of asylum-seekers.

87. Ray Oladapo-Johnson

President and Executive Director, Wave Hill

Ray Oladapo-Johnson was sitting in Denmark last summer when he got the offer to succeed Karen Meyerhoff in protecting the jewel of the Bronx, the Wave Hill Public Garden and Cultural Center. A former vice president at Friends of the High Line, Oladapo-Johnson’s transition marked a return to the Bronx, where he once worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo. Wave Hill is gearing up to launch its annual Wednesday night summer concert series in July.

88. Pedro Suarez

Executive Director, Third Avenue Business Improvement District
Pedro Suarez / Coro Leadership

Building up the small-business economy on Third Avenue is Pedro Suarez’s focus, and new initiatives from Bronx economic leaders and city officials are helping him achieve his vision. Suarez is supportive of a new program from the Bronx Economic Development Corp. to provide technical assistance to business improvement districts, including presentations from a retail corridor expert on active public spaces and a public relations firm on marketing and communications. Suarez has also praised a new initiative from New York City Mayor Eric Adams to streamline services for BIDs.

89. Kathleen Carrasco

Borough Director, Bronx Neighborhood Library Networks, New York Public Library
Kathleen Carrasco / Jonathan Blanc, New York Public Library

The point person for the borough’s public libraries, Kathleen Carrasco is pushing city officials to address the digital divide in the Bronx. As part of a report on ways to improve the Bronx, compiled by The Bronx Community Foundation and the Center for an Urban Future, Carrasco outlined a proposal to have the city expand free broadband access to all New York City Housing Authority complexes in the Bronx. Carrasco also proposed city-funded increased subsidized broadband for low-income residents outside of NYCHA housing and increased multilingual digital literacy programs.

90. Michael Alfultis

President, SUNY Maritime College
Michael Alfultis / Virna Wong, Office of Communications, Maritime College

Michael Alfultis is in his final months helming SUNY Maritime College, having announced his July retirement last summer. In his decade leading the school, Alfultis has increased alumni engagement, obtained a new training ship for the program and led the development and implementation of a new strategic plan for the college. The college’s new training ship completed its first voyage to Puerto Rico in January and will be ferrying students to Europe and back this summer.

91. Milton Santiago

Interim President, Bronx Community College

Milton Santiago has been getting used to leadership roles at Bronx Community College. Santiago took over as interim president of the college last summer after serving as the school’s interim vice president for administration and finance. His current agenda as the institution’s temporary head includes balancing the school’s budget, student retention and student services, including mental health and child care. Last month, Santiago inaugurated the college’s Early Childhood Center to provide educational opportunities for the children of Bronx Community College students.

92. Timothy Tapia

Director of External Affairs for New York City, AT&T
Timothy Tapia / NY Headshots

A veteran of Letitia James’ teams at the state attorney general’s office and the New York City public advocate’s office, Timothy Tapia is using his expertise in how New York City works to handle external affairs for AT&T in the city. Tapia has helped provide tablets to Bronx students impacted by the Twin Parks North fire so they could be connected for their education. He also coordinated a summer drone program for students across New York City and in Harlem opened AT&T’s first Digital Learning Lab.

93. Warren Kent

Executive Director, Bridge Builders Community Partnership

Bridge Builders Community Partnership has for over three decades been a vital community development agency in Highbridge. Under the umbrella of Children’s Village, Bridge Builders has offered programs that include a food pantry, assistance with public housing applications, community events and family enrichment. Under the leadership of Executive Director Warren Kent, the organization has been a partner in efforts to reimagine the Cross Bronx Expressway and the highway’s environmental impact on the South Bronx. New York City officials have designated the alliance as a community partner on the expressway’s future.

94. Jairo Guzman

Founder and President, Mexican Coalition for the Empowerment of Youth and Families

Since its founding, the Mexican Coalition for the Empowerment of Youth and Families has provided critical legal, health, language and citizenship services to the immigrant community. The coalition’s mission is expanding, as it is one of multiple nonprofit organizations making up the New York City-funded Immigrant Peer Navigator Program, a Rockefeller Foundation initiative assisting asylum-seekers in the city. Under the leadership of Jairo Guzman, the group has also been chosen by city transportation officials to be part of a community partner program to reimagine the Cross Bronx Expressway.

95. Michael Brady

Founder and Principal, Canon Strategy Group
Michael Brady / ANHD

Michael Brady knows economic development, land use and public policy, and is putting that expertise to work for his clients at Canon Strategy Group. A veteran of C-suite positions in a number of the borough’s leading economic development organizations, Brady specializes in organizational management, land use, industry and environmental policy. While he was CEO of the Third Avenue Business Improvement District, he led the neighborhood’s business community through the COVID-19 pandemic, helped create the city’s Open Streets and Open Dining programs, provided emergency funds to local businesses and addressed food security.

96. Siddhartha Sánchez

Executive Director, Bronx River Alliance
Siddhartha Sánchez / Provided

Siddhartha Sánchez may be new to leading the Bronx River Alliance, but he is not new to efforts to clean up the Bronx River. As an environmental justice adviser to then-Rep. José E. Serrano, Sánchez led the lawmaker’s efforts to restore migratory fish to the Bronx River in 2007. The alliance recently received federal funding to restore the habitat of a meadow within Concrete Plant Park, which historically floods, in order to reduce stormwater runoff. New York City officials have made the alliance a community partner in efforts to reimagine the future of the Cross Bronx Expressway.

97. Fernando Ortiz Báez

Assistant Vice President, Government and Community Relations, New York City Economic Development Corp.
Fernando Ortiz Báez / Loredana Vicari

Fernando Ortiz Báez is the Upper Manhattan and Bronx borough director for the New York City Economic Development Corp., where he has helped to obtain government funding to improve the Kingsbridge Armory, renovate the Hunts Point Produce Market and create an electric freight hub in Hunts Point. Outside of government, he has proposed creating the Port Morris Eco-District, which would promote environmental justice in the waterfront neighborhood. In Hunts Point, he led a study to identify the hottest parts of the neighborhood and heat mitigation strategies.

98. Fidel Malena

Bronx Regional Representative, Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul

When Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to know what’s going on in the Boogie Down, Fidel Malena is there to give her the rundown. Malena brings on-the-ground experience in the Bronx and community relations, making him well positioned to keep Hochul in the know on every area from Kingsbridge to Throggs Neck. Malena was a Bronx specialist for the New York City mayor’s public engagement team and was a staffer in the New York City Council. He is also a former community board member in the borough.

99. Erin Clarke

Senior Account Executive, Anat
Erin Clarke / Sarah Huny Young

During her five years as NY1’s Bronx reporter, Erin Clarke told the stories of people all across the borough. Now in her role as the Bronx point person for the nonprofit-focused PR firm Anat, Clarke continues to help organizations and individuals in the Bronx. Clarke teamed up with BronxNet to develop a series of shows about a number of proposals for the future of the Bronx that are part of a new Bronx Community Foundation report on 50 ideas for Bronx growth. She also organized a press conference in collaboration with the borough president’s office and the Bronx Economic Development Corp. to unveil a $10 million loan program for Bronx businesses.

100. Angel Hernandez

Bronx Borough Historian
Angel Hernandez / Michael Knobbe

The Bronx has a rich history spanning nearly three centuries, and Angel Hernandez is in charge of preserving and telling its story. Hernandez was appointed borough historian last year by Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, succeeding Lloyd Ultan, who served as historian for over two decades. Hernandez, an Ultan protege, has outlined an agenda of communicating to the world the borough’s many firsts, including as the birth of hip-hop, and emphasizing that Bronx history is not limited to the struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. Hernandez is also government relations director at the New York Botanical Garden.