Copy of Save the Date 2

BUILD NYC invites you to celebrate the power of entrepreneurship and the resilience of our remarkable students during this challenging year. The event will feature an intimate conversation with the iconic founder of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya and will showcase BUILD entrepreneurs, the businesses they have launched, and their dreams for the future. 

June 2, 2021

6:00 - 7:00PM EST

Since there is no registration fee, please consider making a gift of any size to support our youth on their college and career pathways.

About the event

On June 2nd, you will have a chance to watch how our young people have overcome obstacles and thrived during a global pandemic.  Listen to what they have discovered about themselves and their power to make a difference in their own lives and in their communities.

The highlight of the evening will be a fireside chat with Hamdi Ulukaya. Hamdi will share his entrepreneurial journey from Turkish immigrant with $3,000 in his pocket to founder of Chobani, the number one maker of Greek yogurt in America. He will also discuss his connection with BUILD students and why he believes in the power of our program to level the playing field for people who have been left out and left behind.  

BUILDFest NYC official trailer.


Join BUILD’s quest to change the educational paradigm and empower the next generation of socially conscious leaders and changemakers across America.


Hamdi Ulukaya

Founder/CEO of Chobani

Hamdi Ulukaya is founder and CEO of Chobani, one of the fastest growing food companies in the last decade and a pioneer for the natural food movement.

Raised in a dairy-farming family in a small village in eastern Turkey, Ulukaya launched Chobani in 2007 with the mission of making better food more accessible. In less than
five years, Chobani became the No. 1–selling Greek Yogurt brand in the U.S. with more than a billion dollars in annual sales. Chobani has been named to Fortune’s ‘Change the World’ list of companies, was honored with a Salute to Greatness Award by The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and named one of the ‘Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality’ by the Human Rights Campaign. 

Ulukaya has always made helping people and having a positive impact on communities a priority for Chobani. From the beginning, the company has donated a portion of its profits to charitable causes, many of them in Idaho and New York where its products are made.  A champion of reducing income and wealth inequality nationwide, Ulukaya advocated in support of a proposal to increase the minimum wage in New York that ultimately became law. In addition, Ulukaya implemented a groundbreaking profit- sharing program for the company’s 2,000 employees. He also took the rare step in manufacturing of instituting a six week, fully paid parental leave program for all of the company’s mothers and fathers. 

In 2016, Ulukaya launched the Chobani Food Incubator to mentor and support socially responsible food entrepreneurs and further deliver on the company’s mission to provide better food for more people. 

A devoted humanitarian, Ulukaya founded the Tent Partnership for Refugees to mobilize the private sector to improve the lives and livelihoods of the more than 25 million refugees around the globe. He also signed the Giving Pledge and committed the majority of his personal wealth to the cause.  For these efforts, he was named an Eminent Advocate by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and received the United Nations Foundation Global Leadership Award, among other recognitions. Ulukaya is also a recipient of the Oslo Business for Peace Award and was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for his work on the refugee crisis and his innovative approach to business. 

Ulukaya sits on the board of the Pathfinder Village and The American Turkish Council. Most recently, Ulukaya became a member of the B Team, a collective of global leaders working to inspire dialogue and business action for a fairer, greener and more human economy.  A big fan of independent films and the Turkish soccer team Fenerbahce, Ulukaya lives in New Berlin, N.Y.

Cristina Alesci

Chief Corporate Affairs Officer OF CHOBANI


Rollins Stallworth

Senior Principal at T3 advisors

According to Rollins, what is most important to understand is that his success, accomplishments and growth as an individual can be ~10% credited to himself (unmatched motivation, time management skills and team oriented competitive nature) and ~90% credited

to all of the blessings in his life. (amazing parents, family, mentors, teachers, opportunities etc…) And it is to this reason why he looks to give back his time, energy and resources to his family, community, friends, clients and the underestimated, any chance he gets!


Rollins graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. degree in Management Science and Engineering with a focus in Organizational Technology and Entrepreneurship as well as a M.A. in Communication where his Masters Thesis revolved around Virtual Reality’s impact on one’s empathy. Rollins now works as a Real Estate Advisor, New York Market Lead and Head of DEI for T3 Advisors, where he has the opportunity to partner with entrepreneurs and support high growth companies on a daily basis!

Chymeka Olfonse

Regional Executive Director of BUILD NYC

Chymeka Olfonse is the visionary leader and founder of BUILD NYC, a nonprofit focused on equipping students with critical 21st century skills through the power of entrepreneurship.  Serving as the Regional Executive Director, she leads a dynamic team of staff and advisory board members.  Chymeka’ has dedicated her career to empowering individuals through education. Prior to BUILD, Chymeka served as the Executive Director of Minds Matter National Inc., an academic mentoring nonprofit focused on college success headquartered in New York City.  During her tenure, Minds Matter doubled the number of students served and successfully launched four of its then 12 chapters.  In addition, she has worked in program, development, and senior management roles at the New York City Department of Education, The After-School Corporation (now known as ExpandEd), and Jumpstart for Young Children. Chymeka is a graduate of Yale University and received her MPA with a focus in public and nonprofit management from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. An avid learner, Chymeka also completed nonprofit leadership programs at Harvard Business School and NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. She recently became an honoree of the Jones Prize in Philanthropy and is currently a Senior Fellow with the Institute for Nonprofit Practice.


Meet the BUILD community

Click on the photos above to hear from BUILD NYC students, mentors and teachers

We Thank Our Generous Sponsors

With your support, BUILD is continuing to break down the educational and socio-economic barriers that exist for our students and create a more just and equitable society.





Interested in becoming an event sponsor, email Pamela Minetti at [email protected]

Click HERE to learn more about sponsorship packages and benefits.

Join the BUILD Community


BUILD NYC works with youth from communities that are underserved, overlooked, and underestimated. Through our innovative, entrepreneurship-based college and career readiness program, students develop the confidence, skills, and network they need to succeed in the classroom, the workforce, and life. 

BUILD upperclassmen visit Madison Square Garden to attend a discussion about leadership and career pathways with Knicks Executives

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