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BUILD NYC

BUILD NYC is serving over 400 students at 6 partner schools in under-resourced communities in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island.

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Students Served

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Mentors

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Youth Businesses

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Teachers Trained

The BUILD NYC Story

In our fifth year in New York, BUILD is serving over 400 students at 6 partner schools in under-resourced communities in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. Last June, our first class of BUILD students graduated from high school. We cannot wait to see what these remarkable young men and women will achieve.

Meet BUILD NYC Students

Frejoel

At first, Frejoel was a quiet student, afraid to speak English. Since BUILD, he’s grown into a confident entrepreneur. That’s not all that’s changed.

Bianca

She has developed a product called “Stress Relief Bands.” Bianca refers to herself as the “little CEO” of her BUILD NYC Student Team.

Mohammed

Mohammed is a BUILD alumni who was recently featured as a interviewee in BUILD’s COVID-19 Virtual Design Challenge. Check out his story.

Updates & Events

The BUILD NYC Team

Amy Pan

Position: FOUNDER AND PRODUCT PARTNER, THE COMBINATION RULE

Amy Pan

FOUNDER AND PRODUCT PARTNER, THE COMBINATION RULE

Andrea Atwell *Co-Chair*

Position: NYC Regional Board Chair, VP eCommerce, L’Oreal USA
Top: 2

Andrea Atwell is the Vice President eCommerce for L’Oreal USA. Prior to this position, she was VP of US Market Supply Chain at L’Oreal’s Luxe Division. Her responsibilities included business, demand and supply planning, and customer care, with the vision of leveraging improved supply chain results to drive strategic relationships with L’Oreal’s US customers. Andrea has helped to lead significant planning process initiatives for L’Oreal which has transformed forecast accuracy, service levels, and inventory results, including managing the supply chain and human transitions of 3 major acquisitions for L’Oreal USA. Andrea’s efforts helped to shape the partnership between the supply chain and brands in L’Oreal, shifting the culture to drive operational awareness, improved results and competitive advantage. Prior to her 10 years at L’Oreal, Andrea has worked in the medical device and food & beverage industries.​

Andrea has 15 years of supply chain experience and a true passion for leading and developing teams and recognizing and growing talent. She was recognized as a 2015 Visionary Leader by Consumer Goods Technology for her approach in prioritizing people and leadership to drive supply chain results. Andrea’s leadership has demonstrated that by focusing on people and creating a culture of change leaders, no business challenge is insurmountable. Andrea is also a frequent speaker on supply chain planning and talent development.​


Andrea has a BA in Marketing from Michigan State University.

Andrea Atwell is the Vice President eCommerce for L’Oreal USA....

Andrea Atwell *Co-Chair*

NYC Regional Board Chair, VP eCommerce, L’Oreal USA

Andrew Jasen

Position: American Securities

Andrew Jasen

American Securities

Ben Mangum

Position: LaunchDarkly

Ben Mangum is a sales and business development professional specializing in software startups. Ben has been a mentor and board member at BUILD since 2017.

Ben is a graduate of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ben Mangum is a sales and business development professional specializing...

Ben Mangum

LaunchDarkly

Brian Cohen

Position: Founder & President Good Cause Communications;Founding Partner, New York Venture Partners;

As an angel investor and mentor to entrepreneurs, Brian served as Chairman of the New York Angels for nearly a decade. As one of the most active angel groups in the world, they have invested nearly $200 million in over 300 startups. Notably, Brian was the first investor in Pinterest and numerous other industry leading startups.​

Brian is the author of “What Every Angel Investor Wants You To Know: An Insider Reveals How To Get Smart Funding For Your Billion Dollar Idea” published by McGraw Hill. He continues to guest lecture at Columbia and NYU. He has spoken in dozens of countries helping create and build their angel investor ecosystems.​

As a technology media strategist, Brian is considered one of the fathers of science & technology strategic communications and founded Technology Solutions, Inc. (TSI) with his wife in 1983. Notably, TSI received the Gold CIPRA Award in 1998 for the IBM Deep Blue/Gary Kasparov Chess Match Concept and Communications Program. TSI was recognized as the #1 fastest growing agency in the United States. Brian sold the company to The McCann Erickson World Group in 1997. Brian was the publisher of the first computing publications including Computer Systems News and InformationWeek Magazine. As a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award, Brian holds a Masters Degree in Science Communications from Boston University’s School of Public Communications.​

He has been on numerous Boards, including People For the American Way, The World Frontiers Forum and BUILD.org. His current interest is to launch Good Cause Communications, The very first 501C3 strategic marketing/PR agency providing almost free services to struggling nonprofits.

As an angel investor and mentor to entrepreneurs, Brian served...

Brian Cohen

Founder & President Good Cause Communications;Founding Partner, New York Venture Partners;

Brian McMahon *Co-Chair*

Position: NYC Regional Board Chair, Blackstone
Top: 1

Brian McMahon is a Business Analyst at Blackstone working in their financial technology group. Previously he spent 3 years working at Booz Allen Hamilton where he co-founded a data science strategy team. Brian has been an associate board member at BUILD since 2018.

Brian is a graduate of the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park where he was also a member of the Maryland football team.

Brian McMahon is a Business Analyst at Blackstone working in...

Brian McMahon *Co-Chair*

NYC Regional Board Chair, Blackstone

Brian Russell

Position: Gunderson Dettmer

Brian Russell

Gunderson Dettmer

Bruce Sandys

Position: Entrepeneur

Bruce has been an entrepreneur in New York City for more than 30 years. After graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he was the co-founder and president of Crescent Communications, which he helped grow into the largest privately-owned pay telephone company in New York City. After selling his payphone route, he attended Stanford Law School. During his time there, he assisted Suzanne McKechnie Klahr during BUILD’s formative stages and had the honor of being one of BUILD’s first mentors. Returning to New York after graduation, Bruce founded BAS Communications, through which he built and then sold one of the largest owner operated ATM portfolios in New York City. His most recent venture was as a co-founder and CFO of a litigation finance provider.

Bruce has been an entrepreneur in New York City for...

Bruce Sandys

Entrepeneur

Carlton J. Charles

Position: Treasurer, Hearst

Carlton Charles, Vice President, and Treasurer, Hearst, serves as global treasurer, oversees Risk Management and Insurance, leads the company’s Risk Working Group and is on the Board of Advisors of Hearst Labs, Hearst’s platform for nurturing and grooming early-stage, women-led companies. Carlton has demonstrated financial acumen through a 30-year career in treasury and risk management. Carlton was an early architect of the Enterprise Risk Management program for Moody’s Corporation, a SEC regulated company and one of the largest rating agencies in the world. Carlton regularly reported to the Moody’s board on treasury and enterprise risk topics.​

Carlton also developed the operational risk management program for Hearst and is chair of the company’s Risk Working Group. Among the focus areas for the group are cybersecurity and data privacy. Carlton has created an annual risk summit which is an annual convening of CFOs and CTOs from across Hearst’s businesses. Prior to Moody’s, Carlton held increasingly responsible positions in treasury and risk management for International Paper, Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Viacom and Philip Morris. ​

Carlton currently serves on the Board of Advisors of Hearst Lab, has been working with a group of professionals to establish a business accelerator in Upper Manhattan and The Bronx, was recently on the Board of Trustees of St. Thomas Aquinas College and previously served on The Board of the Bronx Preparatory Charter School.​

​Carlton holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Public Policy and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from SUNY at Stony Brook.

Carlton Charles, Vice President, and Treasurer, Hearst, serves as global...

Carlton J. Charles

Treasurer, Hearst

Carolina Torres

Position: DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE
Email: [email protected]

Meet Carolina Torres, a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Psychology and Spanish. While in college, Carolina volunteered for the Latin Community Center of Pittsburgh and was the Events Coordinator of the University of Pittsburgh’s Spanish Club. Carolina was elected by her peers to be a group leader of PACT- a student-run volunteer group that raised money for cancer research at the Hillman Cancer Center. In this capacity, Carolina was responsible for organizing both large and small fundraising and other events including 5K runs, concerts, food drives at the hospital, and Funday Fridays for patients and their families. Upon graduation, Carolina moved to New York City to launch her career in educational fundraising. She recently finished a Communications Internship at Brooklyn Prospect Schools and is excited to take everything she’s learned and apply it at BUILD NYC! Carolina is a first-generation Chilean American who loves hiking, traveling, and running!

Meet Carolina Torres, a recent graduate of the University of...

Carolina Torres

DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE

Chris Cunningham

Position: Investor and founder, C2 Ventures

Chris is an active tech startup investor and founder of C2 Ventures, a privately-held investment firm with a focus on consumer, data, financial tech such as blockchain and wellness. C2V provides seed capital and hustle to early-stage companies both directly and via limited partnerships with Techstars, Bowery Capital, and NYC’s leading angels. C2V’s current portfolio includes 15 investments, three of which have been acquired or returned a multiple for the investors – Arbor.io acquired by LiveRamp, Uru acquired by Adobe and MightyTV acquired by Spotify and JenJo 3X return. C2 Ventures has a 7X return over the last 4 years.​

Previously, Chris was the President of Unacast, the leading location data platform which recently raised $17M in series B funding. At Unacast, Chris built the commercial and revenue operations from zero to seven figures in 18 months and led all commercial efforts. Chris was the first US employee and 7th overall. Chris was also the CEO and Co-Founder of appssavvy, a company that pioneered in-app advertising on Facebook and mobile while putting the user experience first through timing and context. In 7 years appssavvy drove over $75MM in gross revenue for the app ecosystem.​

Chris has been named one of the “Most Important People in Mobile Advertising” by Business Insider, as well as being an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist 2 years in a row. He’s been a featured speaker at International CES, Cannes Lions, IAB’s Annual Leadership, dmexco, and f.ounders. He is a contributor to CNBC and Bloomberg TV via on-screen appearances and also produces content through C2V Studios. Chris sits on the board of both Build NYC and Cornell Tech here in New York City and strongly believes in supporting young people and their startup journey.

Chris is an active tech startup investor and founder of...

Chris Cunningham

Investor and founder, C2 Ventures

Chymeka Olfonse

Position: Regional Executive Director, NYC
Email: [email protected]
Top: 1

Chymeka Olfonse has dedicated her entire professional career to empowering individuals through education.  She currently serves as the Regional Executive Director for BUILD NYC.  Prior to BUILD, Chymeka served as the National Executive Director of Minds Matter National Inc., an academic mentoring nonprofit headquartered in New York City.  She set the organization’s strategic direction in collaboration with the leadership of 12 chapters.  During her tenure, Minds Matter doubled the number of students served and successfully launched four of its 12 chapters.  She developed a comprehensive fundraising strategy and formed partnerships to achieve scale and impact to benefit the national network. In addition, Chymeka has worked in programming, development and management capacities at the New York City Department of Education and at The After-School Corporation (TASC). As a Program Manager in the Office of Strategic Partnerships at the New York City Department of Education, she oversaw a number of large efforts to bring private-sector philanthropy into the public schools. Prior to that, Chymeka was Deputy Director for the Mid-Atlantic region of Jumpstart for Young Children

Chymeka is a graduate of Yale University where she earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with Economic Policy and African and African-American History. She completed her MPA with a focus in Public and Nonprofit Management at The Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.  In the summer of 2012, Chymeka earned a Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management certificate offered through Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program.

Chymeka Olfonse has dedicated her entire professional career to empowering...

Chymeka Olfonse

Regional Executive Director, NYC

Crissi Cole

Position: Vice President, Goldman Sachs

Crissi is a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in New York where she leads global client engagement and technology for the Private Wealth Management division. Crissi is also the Co-Founder of Project Bead Foundation, a social enterprise that sells beaded products made by female Ghanaian entrepreneurs in order to fund scholarships for children in Ghana. ​

She earned a BS in Finance from Bentley University in 2011 and a Masters in Policy and Nonprofit Management at New York University in 2018.

Crissi is a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in New...

Crissi Cole

Vice President, Goldman Sachs

Dakotah Rice

Position: INVESTOR, COATUE MANAGEMENT 

Dakotah Rice is an internet, media, and telecom investor at Coatue Management, a $30bn
hedge fund and venture capital fund based in New York. Prior to Coatue, he worked at The
Carlyle Group, where he was a private equity investor. Before joining Carlyle, he worked as
an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs, where he advised internet and media
companies on mergers and acquisitions as well as various other capital markets
transactions. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in Political Science in
2016.

Dakotah Rice is an internet, media, and telecom investor at...

Dakotah Rice

INVESTOR, COATUE MANAGEMENT 

Dan Vallimarescu

Position: Chief Executive Officer, Nardagani

Dan is the CEO of an e-learning startup called Nardagani and is involved in a number of other investment and philanthropic activities.​

Prior to that, Dan ran the Americas Debt Capital Markets Group for Santander Investment Securities for 11 years and the Latin America Debt Capital Markets Group, among other businesses, at Merrill Lynch for 13 years. Early in his career, he worked at The World Bank and the Bank of Boston. ​

Dan received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his MBA from Insead.

Dan is the CEO of an e-learning startup called Nardagani...

Dan Vallimarescu

Chief Executive Officer, Nardagani

Decota Letman

Position: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
Email: [email protected]

A graduate of Howard University with a background in Communications. Decota was born and raised in the Bronx by way of Jamaica. Hailing from a single parent home and growing up in one of the most disenfranchised communities in New York City, Decota has experienced the affects of living and surviving in an under served community. Working with students that look like her and live in the same area she grew up in brings joy to Decota’s heart knowing she can share her experience with others. It is for this very reason she BUILDS. Combining nine years of experience in communications in the entertainment, arts, and lifestyle space and five years in community engagement, Decota is excited to be a part of the BUILD NYC team as its Community Engagement Manager.  In her spare time she enjoys listening to music, grounding, traveling and experiencing all the world has to offer. She would ultimately like to create safe spaces for students in under-resourced communities to fully exercise their potential and be given the same opportunities as their counterparts.

A graduate of Howard University with a background in Communications....

Decota Letman

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER

Divya Talla

Position: Croissant

Divya Talla currently serves as Head of Partnerships at Croissant, a tech company that supports the growing remote and entrepreneurial workforce. Previously, she helped build real estate and tech brands in creative agencies. Her passion is working alongside entrepreneurs and teams building innovative products. She was born and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan and is a proud University of Michigan Alum. She’s traveled to 20+ countries, loves exploring the world’s oceans as a scuba diver, and is busy raising a feisty Husky/Retriever puppy named Rambo.

Divya Talla currently serves as Head of Partnerships at Croissant,...

Divya Talla

Croissant

Eric Donado

Position: Apax Partners

Eric Donado

Apax Partners

Erica Culpepper

Position: GENERAL MANAGER, MULTI-CULTURAL BEAUTY, L'OREAL

Erica Culpepper

GENERAL MANAGER, MULTI-CULTURAL BEAUTY, L'OREAL

Gaurav Ahuja

Position: Tech Investor, Thrive Capital

Gaurav Ahuja is an investor at Thrive Capital, a venture capital firm in NYC that has supported companies like Warby Parker, Instagram, Robinhood Markets, Spotify, GitHub, and Slack. He is responsible for executing investments in growing technology companies with the goal of helping them scale and sculpt their strategy. Prior to being at Thrive, Gaurav worked in San Francisco on later stage, enterprise software investments at TA Associates, a growth private equity firm.

Gaurav was formerly a consultant with McKinsey & Co, a global consulting firm that advises management teams at Fortune 100 companies. He was part of McKinsey’s Technology, Media, and Telecom practice. Gaurav has helped guide several large technology companies with growth strategy and go to market

Gaurav was not only born and raised in Michigan but also attended the University of Michigan, where he studied pre-medical sciences and earned a B.B.A. degree with high distinction. While at the University of Michigan, Gaurav was a Head Resident Advisor in Michigan Housing and the Director of the SAAN, a non-profit group devoted to acting on and spreading awareness of social justice issues. In his free time, he enjoys watching the Detroit Pistons lose and fantasizes about the latest consumer tech gadgets.

Gaurav Ahuja is an investor at Thrive Capital, a venture...

Gaurav Ahuja

Tech Investor, Thrive Capital

Greg Minetti

Position: Togetherwork LLC

Greg Minetti is an Associate on Togetherwork’s Corporate Development team where he works on the Company’s Mergers & Acquisitions strategy. Specifically, Greg is involved with deal sourcing, modeling and financial analysis, market research and deal diligence. Prior to joining Togetherwork, Greg worked in Advertising Sales at AMC Networks. Greg is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and History. In his spare time, Greg enjoys going to the movies, running, reading and watching sports.

Greg Minetti is an Associate on Togetherwork’s Corporate Development team...

Greg Minetti

Togetherwork LLC

Hannah Kim

Position: Kepler Group

Hannah Kim

Kepler Group

Ian Mabie

Position: Stella Connect

Ian Mabie

Stella Connect

Ike Kier

Position: Co-founder and CEO, KG Funds Management

Ike Kier is the co-founder and CEO of KG Funds Management which he established in 2008. ​

From 2004 to 2008, Ike created management groups responsible for 4 special purpose acquisition companies which collectively raised approximately $200 million from the public markets. All of the management teams completed their mergers/purchases of their targets.​

Ike’s business experience includes serving on numerous boards and building two businesses, both of which went public: Lida Inc. (formerly NASDAQ: LIDA) and eDiets (formerly NASDAQ: EDIET).​

Ike received the cellular license to build cell towers and serve the I-85 corridor between Montgomery, AL, and Atlanta, GA with cellular service. He held the rights for 2 years, and then negotiated a cash sale of his spectrum rights to the surrounding providers who were encroaching on his territory. ​

Ike earned a J.D. from George Washington University and a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University.

Ike Kier is the co-founder and CEO of KG Funds...

Ike Kier

Co-founder and CEO, KG Funds Management

Ira Levy

Position: IP Litigation Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP

Ira Levy is a senior partner in Goodwin Procter’s IP Litigation Group, whose practice focuses on the litigation of patent, trademark, copyright, false advertising and related matters for a wide array of industries and in a variety of technical disciplines. Mr. Levy has over 25 years’ experience with disputes involving biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and chemistry; electronics, computers and telecommunications; mechanical devices; industrial and consumer products; and the internet, new media, and e-commerce. ​

Ira has handled numerous bench and jury trials in federal and state courts nationwide. He also has significant experience practicing before the United States Supreme Court, and various U.S. Courts of Appeals. In addition to his litigation work, Ira works closely with the firm’s Business Law Practice counseling clients on general corporate matters involving intellectual property and the Internet, as well as transactional due diligence. ​

In addition to his legal work, Ira serves as lead director for Stomp Out Bullying, the leading non-profit focused on eliminating bullying and cyber-bullying. He is married and lives in Westchester County New York with two children and two dogs.

Ira Levy is a senior partner in Goodwin Procter’s IP...

Ira Levy

IP Litigation Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP

Jazmin Moreno

Position: Entrepreneurship Program Manager

Jazmin Moreno

Entrepreneurship Program Manager

Katie Ambrose

Position: Reddit

Katie Ambrose

Reddit

Kenya George

Position: Program Director
Email: [email protected]
Top: 3

Kenya is a dynamic community organizer and youth developer committed to the transformation and upliftment of youth, young adults and their families.  She currently serves as Program Director with BUILD NYC. Prior to build, Kenya spent over a decade with University Settlement,  a nonprofit that provides services throughout University Settlement.

As Community School Director, Kenya led a team of professionals in planning and implementing enrichment programs for youth, young adults and families, building relationships with stakeholders in the community, and raising funding to sustain and propel youth development forward.

Kenya holds a B.A. in psychology from Barnard College, a Masters of Social Work from Hunter College.

Kenya is a dynamic community organizer and youth developer committed...

Kenya George

Program Director

Kevin Beauparlant

Position: Senior Vice President, Bank OZK

Kevin Beauparlant

Senior Vice President, Bank OZK

Laura J. Patel

Position: Strategic Accounts, Density Inc.

Laura Patel is Director of Strategic Accounts at Density, an analytics platform that uses occupancy sensors to help businesses measure how their spaces are used; eliminating underutilized real estate, delivering exceptional workplace experiences, and strengthening physical security. In line with her work, Laura’s interests lie at the intersection of artificial intelligence and real estate. Prior to joining Density, she spent a decade with digital construction company DIRTT, which specializes in videogame based design, robotics, and manufacturing. She has spoken at dozens of exhibitions and conferences around the world, including the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions (Dalian, China), Thin Air Festival (Park City, UT), The Art, Science and Bottom Line of Innovative Designs & Technologies (NYC, NY), and The Office of the Future Summit (NYC, NY). ​

As an active member of the New York architecture, design and engineering community, Laura serves as Co-Chair for CoreNet New York’s Programs Committee, and on Urban Land Institute’s Technology and Innovation Council and their Women’s Leadership Council. ​

​Outside of work, Laura is a board member at BUILD: NYC, a student mentor with Student Sponsor Partners, and a post-secondary coach with Syrian Youth Empowerment. A travel enthusiast, she speaks three languages and has visited 40 countries— most recently exploring Taiwan, Bosnia, and Guatemala.

Laura Patel is Director of Strategic Accounts at Density, an...

Laura J. Patel

Strategic Accounts, Density Inc.

Maria Raftelis

Position: Grant Writer, NYC/CA
Top: 17

Maria Raftelis has more than a decade of fundraising experience in education. Before joining BUILD, Maria served as Associate Director of Foundation Relations at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. In this role, she oversaw fundraising for the Center of Radiological Research (CRR) and worked with medical faculty across the College to raise funds for research. Prior to Columbia University, Maria served as Grant Writer at the City College Fund, the fundraising organization of the City College of New York (CCNY). During my nine year tenure at the City College Fund, Maria expanded the College’s portfolio of institutional donors to double institutional giving. 

Maria resides in the Bronx with her husband and son. A graduate of the New York City public school system, Maria believed every student should have access to an excellent education that inspires them to dream and achieve their full potential.

Maria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Individualized Studies from New York University and a Master’s degree in Social Science from the University of Chicago.

Maria Raftelis has more than a decade of fundraising experience...

Maria Raftelis

Grant Writer, NYC/CA

Martin Hui

Position: BMO Capital Markets

Martin Hui is an attorney at BMO Capital Markets covering mergers and acquisitions. He was previously a corporate associate at law firm Davis Polk and Wardwell LLP. Martin is also an entrepreneur and volunteer, co-founding Everyone’s Canada, a nonprofit advocacy organization that provides a counter-narrative to rising anti-immigrant sentiment in Canada, and Richmond Youth Foundation, a youth philanthropy organization. Martin grew up in Vancouver, Canada and completed his Bachelor of Science at the University of British Columbia. While living in Toronto, Canada, Martin obtained his Juris Doctor at Osgoode Hall Law School and Master of Business Administration at the Schulich School of Business. In his spare time, Martin enjoys boxing, scuba diving, and jogging with his Klee Kai pup, Kimmy.

Martin Hui is an attorney at BMO Capital Markets covering...

Martin Hui

BMO Capital Markets

Matt Doherty

Position: FOUNDER, RESOLUTEAI 

Matt brings to BUILD NYC a wealth of experience in entrepreneurship and technology leadership. Matt is the founder of ResoluteAI, a venture-backed SaaS startup building
enterprise search solutions for R&D organizations. Prior to Resolute, Matt founded
ZergNet, an ad-tech startup currently serving over a billion ads daily. Earlier in his career, he
was the VP of Engineering for Fina Technologies, where he built trading systems using
machine learning. He has also lectured at NYU on machine learning and other computer
science topics. Matt is passionate about advocating for children and underserved
communities. He is a former board member of the Child Care Resource Center, a nonprofit
helping families find and afford quality child care. Matt has also often served as a volunteer
tutor for high school and middle school children in New York City through organizations
such as New York Cares. Matt received his S.B. and M.Eng. degrees in computer science
from MIT.

 

Matt brings to BUILD NYC a wealth of experience in...

Matt Doherty

FOUNDER, RESOLUTEAI 

Michael Cianciotta

Position: EY

Michael Cianciotta is a Senior Associate at EY where he consults financial institutions on growth, integration, and business planning through mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. He previously worked as a consultant at Capco focusing on the Capital Markets space. Michael is passionate about entrepreneurship and utilizing his experience to enhance the education of young entrepreneurs.

Michael studied Finance and Economics at the Boston University Questrom School of Business.

Michael Cianciotta is a Senior Associate at EY where he...

Michael Cleary

Position: Huemor

Michael Springer

Position: FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL ATTORNEY, SPRINGER LAW PLLC 

Michael is the Founder and Principal Attorney of Springer Law PLLC, where he represents
entrepreneurs, startups, and creative professionals in a variety of legal areas, including
business law, venture finance, intellectual property, corporate governance, entertainment
law, and commercial litigation. Michael is also an active angel investor in early-stage
companies, focusing on a range of industries, including wearable technologies, software,
fashion, medical devices, and home delivery. Michael holds a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard
Law School and a B.B.A., magna cum laude, from the Mays Business School at Texas A&M
University. He and his wife split their time between New York City and Houston, Texas.

 

 

Michael is the Founder and Principal Attorney of Springer Law...

Michael Springer

FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL ATTORNEY, SPRINGER LAW PLLC 

Michael Stern

Position: Brown Brothers Harriman

Michael Stern

Brown Brothers Harriman

Michael Stimmel

Position: Citi

Michael Wirth

Position: CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, CAPE ADVISORS, INC

Michael Wirth

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, CAPE ADVISORS, INC

Mike Portegello *Co-Chair*

Position: NYC Regional Board Chair, Partner, Northeast Region Growth Markets Leader, Ernst & Young LLP
Top: 1

Mike Portegello is an Assurance Partner at Ernst & Young LLP, where he brings more than 30 years of international and domestic experience in public accounting serving publicly traded companies with operations in both the US and abroad. Currently, he serves as the Northeast Region Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) Leader to provide services that help companies navigate the various aspects of a growth-oriented enterprise. SGM is a global network of EY professionals advising the full spectrum of dynamic, fast-moving and groundbreaking companies around the world, including VC-backed/private equity companies and their investors, large private and family enterprises, IPO-bound companies, and public companies in the Russell 3000 and 2000 indexes.​

Throughout his career, Mike has worked with clients in New York and California, as well as internationally. He has served US registrants and foreign private issuers on SEC matters including initial public offerings (IPOs), public and private debt offerings, quarterly and annual filings, acquisitions, divestitures, and stock registrations. ​

Previously, he provided overall management and led high performing teams to deliver audit services to New York State and Connecticut area clients. He continues to work closely with multinational organizations as well as high growth phase companies in the software/technology, media and entertainment, and leasing industries.​

Prior to this role, Mike served as Strategic Growth Markets Leader for New York, leading a multidisciplinary team of dedicated professionals in providing perspective to and advising our emerging, IPO-bound, entrepreneurial clients on accelerating their growth. In addition, he has served as a Co-Director of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year New York program. ​

Mike graduated Suma Cum Laude from St. John’s University and received his MBA from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at NYU.

Mike Portegello is an Assurance Partner at Ernst & Young...

Mike Portegello *Co-Chair*

NYC Regional Board Chair, Partner, Northeast Region Growth Markets Leader, Ernst & Young LLP

Miranda Belliza

Position: DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
Email: [email protected]

Miranda has a strong commitment to service and equality, working with youth to help prepare for college and career readiness since high school. Before BUILD, Miranda worked at the Ronald McDonald House of New York City, and was a camp counselor with their summer program for almost a decade. Miranda received her Bachelor’s of Science from the Fashion Institute of Technology, majoring in Advertising and Marketing Communications, minoring in Asian Studies. Miranda is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Urban Policy and Leadership from Hunter College. Outside of work, Miranda enjoys traveling, baking, reading and spending time with her family and friends.

Miranda has a strong commitment to service and equality, working...

Miranda Belliza

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

Mona Dessouki

Position: Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Chase

Mona Dessouki is an Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Chase where she leads Marketing and Digital Transformation for the U.S. Asset Management business.  She is a serial entrepreneur inside a big company – building teams and new products for customers. 

A marketing veteran, Mona has spent her career developing and implementing comprehensive marketing strategies across traditional and new media platforms for several large consumer brands.  She has a passion for improving the customer experience by leveraging data and technology to create compelling, personalized customer journeys.  

Mona has been recognized for her accomplishments by numerous organizations including the American Marketing Association as one of ‘4 under 40 Emerging Leaders’ making significant contributions to the future success of the industry.  She holds a B.B.A. from James Madison University and an M.B.A. from The University of Virginia.

Mona Dessouki is an Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Chase...

Mona Dessouki

Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Chase

Naveen Shahani

Position: Principal, Apollo Global Management

Naveen Shahani is a Principal at Apollo Global Management, where he focuses on the firm’s private equity investments. Prior to Apollo, Naveen worked in the Financial Sponsors Group in the Investment Banking Division of Credit Suisse. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Naveen currently serves on the Board of Directors of CEC Entertainment, parent company to Chuck E. Cheese.

Naveen Shahani is a Principal at Apollo Global Management, where...

Naveen Shahani

Principal, Apollo Global Management

Nicholas Felice

Position: Organic

Nick Felice is a marketer and digital product leader that has helped brands such as Samsung, PepsiCo, and AstraZeneca stand out in an ever-evolving and competitive landscape. His passion for entrepreneurship and education makes him a natural sponsor of BUILD’s mission to prepare students of today to become tomorrow’s leaders. Prior to BUILD, Nick consulted small businesses through a program at The University of Rhode Island, where he received his B.S. in Business Administration. Outside of his professional and volunteer life, Nick enjoys a challenging hike and a home-cooked meal.

Nick Felice is a marketer and digital product leader that...

Nicholas Felice

Organic

Nicolas Lirette

Position: Advisor

NICOLAS LIRETTEVice President, American Express
Nic most recently served as President at American Express, serving as Chief of Staff for the head of the Consumer business. He was responsible for a range of business planning and strategic activities and partners with leaders across the organization, from country managers globally to c-suite partners. Prior to this role, Nic worked in the Merchant business where he played a central role in the launch of EMV chip cards and contactless payments and helped improve customer satisfaction globally. Prior to American Express, Nic worked in investment banking at UBS and investment management at Wellington Management. ​

Nic holds an MBA degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree from Tufts University. Originally from Canada, Nic speaks French fluently. Nic lives in New York with his wife, son, and daughter.​

NICOLAS LIRETTEVice President, American Express Nic most recently served as...

Nicolas Lirette

Advisor

Nicole Fourgoux

Position: SVP Business Development & Acquisitions, L'Oreal Luxe

Nicole Fourgoux is Senior Vice President of New Business Development and Acquisitions for L’Oreal. ​

As Senior Vice President of Business Development and Acquisitions, Ms. Fourgoux is responsible for the strategic portfolio planning for L’Oreal with focus on M&A and brand incubation. ​

Ms. Fourgoux is a beauty veteran with a 23 year international career at L’Oreal. Prior to her role as Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Development and Acquisitions, she served as General Manager of the Multi-Cultural Beauty Division and Vice President of Marketing for Garnier after joining L’Oreal USA in 2006. Before coming to the U.S., Fourgoux held senior marketing positions for the L’Oreal Paris and Maybelline New York and Vichy brands working out of L’Oreal’s Paris headquarter as well as Germany, UK and Spain. Ms. Fourgoux is a graduate of the prestigious Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf in Germany. ​

Ms. Fourgoux currently resides in Scarsdale, NY with her husband of fifteen years and her three sons.

Nicole Fourgoux is Senior Vice President of New Business Development...

Nicole Fourgoux

SVP Business Development & Acquisitions, L'Oreal Luxe

Pamela Minetti

Position: DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPY
Email: [email protected]
Top: 2

Pam has spent the majority of her career in the financial services sector where she worked at a range of boutique and bulge bracket firms including Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Mogavero, Lee. Her diverse experience encompasses investment banking, institutional sales and marketing. She has always been passionate about educational equity and child and family welfare and has served as a mentor and nonprofit board member for over twenty years. In 2017, Pam joined the BUILD NYC team where she is responsible for all fundraising activities. Pam graduated from the University of Virginia with Highest Distinction and received her MBA from Columbia Business School.

Pam has spent the majority of her career in the...

Pamela Minetti

DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPY

Pete Van Oot *Co-Chair*

Position: NYC Regional Board Chair, Caviar
Top: 2

Pete Van Oot *Co-Chair*

NYC Regional Board Chair, Caviar

Ram Vijayanathan

Position: HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT, PINTEREST 

Ram Vijayanathan is the Head of Internal Audit at Pinterest, a visual discovery engine with
the mission to bring everyone the inspiration to create a life they love. His responsibilities
include helping the organization manage strategic, operational, and financial risk by
providing oversight to the internal audit team, developing and executing on the annual
audit plan, and supporting the company’s Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance efforts. Ram
and his team evaluate Pinterest’s systems of internal controls and operational efficiency
and effectiveness. Before joining Pinterest, Ram was an Internal Audit Director at Facebook,
Inc., where he was a part of the corporate audit function and led teams that supported the
company’s SOX efforts along with managing an operational audit plan. Prior to Facebook,
Ram held various positions of increasing scope and responsibility in audit for QVC and
American Standard. He has a background in public accounting from Deloitte. Ram has
previously served as the President and a board member of the Philadelphia Institute of
Internal Auditors and graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in
Business Logistics. In his free time, he enjoys watching all Philadelphia sports teams, riding
his Peloton, and traveling.

 

Ram Vijayanathan is the Head of Internal Audit at Pinterest,...

Ram Vijayanathan

HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT, PINTEREST 

Roger Barton

Position: Managing Partner, Barton LLP

Roger is the founder and Managing Partner of Barton LLP, a law firm of over 30 attorneys practicing across most areas of business law. Roger is widely published and speaks nationally and internationally on law firm innovation, the practice of law as a business, and forming partnering relationships with clients. Barton LLP was recently featured by Law360 in an article entitled Giving Big Law a Run for Its Money as one of “10 boutiques that have established brands on par with the biggest of firms” who are “capable of competing with – and beating – the best big firms at the highest level” and by Acquisition International as among “Ones to Watch: The Best Boutique Law Firms.” ​

Roger’s practice is mostly high-stakes commercial litigation, but he also enjoys his role as outside General Counsel and adviser to many of the entrepreneurial clients of his firm. He is rated by The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel Magazine and the National Law Journal as one of the Top Commercial Litigators in the United States. He is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, the invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society limited to less than one-half of one percent of lawyers in America and has been selected as a Super Lawyer in Thompson Reuters’ annual survey of the top 5% of lawyers in the New York Metro Area every year since 2013. He holds an “AV Preeminent” rating, the highest rating in the legal profession for professional excellence and ethical standards, as determined by the peer review of judges and lawyers conducted by Martindale.​

Prior to founding Barton LLP, Roger was with Sidley Austin in New York. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, AB Honors College, and has a JD from Fordham University School of Law.

Roger is the founder and Managing Partner of Barton LLP,...

Roger Barton

Managing Partner, Barton LLP

Ronald J Williams

Position: Founder & Managing Partner, ProofLabs; Entrepreneur in Residence at Citi Ventures

Ron J Williams is the Managing Partner of proofLabs, a strategy, and product development practice. ​

Ron helps companies connect to customer needs and design experiments in order to learn faster and innovate smarter. He has built, invested in and advised on Web 2.0 technologies for over 10 years. In varied roles as an entrepreneur, intrapreneur and consultant, he’s helped Fortune 1,000 companies re-engineer core business strategies and systems across industries. Named one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company, Ron loves puzzling out simple solutions to hard, real problems. He is an active mentor in NYC and believes his life’s mission is to “build more builders.”​

Ron graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in East Asian Studies and Economics.

Ron J Williams is the Managing Partner of proofLabs, a...

Ronald J Williams

Founder & Managing Partner, ProofLabs; Entrepreneur in Residence at Citi Ventures

Rose Cherubin

Position: COLLEGE AND CAREER ACCESS COACH
Email: [email protected]

Rose Cherubin joins the Build NYC team with years of experience in higher education admissions at her alma mater, Hobart and William Smith (HWS) Colleges. As former Senior Assistant Director of Admissions, she recruited for all five boroughs of New York City, was the office liaison for the HWS’ Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), assisted in creating and leading office-wide diversity recruitment initiatives, and also participated in final selections for HWS’ POSSE Foundation Los Angeles cohorts.

She is excited to join BUILD NYC and transition into college access and counseling, and empower young people to actualize their maximum potential. Rose is also a budding entrepreneur with a venture in digital storytelling and is a volunteer for local blogging/influencer networks. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, photography, and dance. Rose holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Rose Cherubin joins the Build NYC team with years of...

Rose Cherubin

COLLEGE AND CAREER ACCESS COACH

Sami Soma

Position: Google

Sami Soma is a Partner Lead at Google, working on Advertising and Marketing strategies for large clients within the Consumer Packaged Goods industry. Prior to her role at Google, Sami worked at L’Oreal on digital media efforts across the Luxury product division. She has also held roles in Finance and Marketing across L’Oreal Paris, Active Cosmetics Division and Lancome.

Sami graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business with an emphasis in Finance and Marketing where her passion for supporting under-resourced schools began. Since graduating she has volunteered with various organizations such as The Posse Foundation, The Exodus Foundation and iMentor.

Sami Soma is a Partner Lead at Google, working on...

Sami Soma

Google

Sandra Fong

Position: Ennovae & Company

Sandra brings more than a decade of leadership in brand, integrated marketing, public relations, and retail strategy across B2B and B2C brands. Her experience spans across Fortune 100 companies, startups, and agency. Currently, Sandra is the Director of Marketing & Partnerships for Ennovae and Co, where she provides marketing and partnerships counsel for SAP, Verizon, and JP Morgan Chase. Most recently she was the Strategic Marketing Lead at Samsung Ads. In this role, Sandra was responsible for leading in-market engagement in North America inclusive of go-to-market strategy, branding, demand generation, and content development.

Prior to Samsung Ads, Sandra was the Integrated Marketing Lead for Dolby, where she led brand strategy and partner marketing for the consumer products division and Dolby Vision. Before that, Sandra spearheaded retail and channel programs at Jawbone introducing new categories in wireless speakers and wearables. She began her career at Ogilvy and Mather in Digital Strategy where she executed award-winning digital programs for Fortune 100 companies.

Sandra graduated with honors with a dual degree in International Relations and Political Science from the University of California, Davis.

Sandra brings more than a decade of leadership in brand,...

Sandra Fong

Ennovae & Company

Sean Merriweather

Position: Publicis Media

Sean Merriweather is a strategist focused on the intersection of media, data and technology who is currently the VP of Product Marketing at Publicis Media, a top global agency. Sean also teaches in NYU’s MS in Integrated Marketing program.

I came across BUILD during a time when I was searching for a consistent organization to volunteer with and support. I’ve stayed involved over the past 2 years because of the amazing staff and the work they support. It’s great to see the growth of the students even from freshman to sophomore year; from making eye contact, to speaking with confidence and advocating for their ideas it’s incredible to play even a small part in the journey.

Sean Merriweather is a strategist focused on the intersection of...

Sean Merriweather

Publicis Media

Tiffany Reaves

Position: The Madison Square Garden Company

Tiffany Reaves is the current director of social impact and fan engagement for the New York Knicks. In this role, she sets the strategy for all community activation, youth basketball programming, and fan engagement platforms. She directs the philanthropic contributions and fundraising efforts and oversees a team that works directly with nonprofits, youth basketball organizations, corporate partners, and players to develop programs and initiatives that address local community challenges and meets business objectives.

Tiffany received her bachelor’s degree in health, recreation, and tourism management from George Mason University in 2009 and went on to attend Columbia University where she obtained her master’s degree in Sports Business. Tiffany worked at the Madison Square Garden Company for five years in marketing and corporate partnership management before leaving the company in 2014. For two years, she worked for licensing company Haddad Brands, where she managed global marketing for Levi’s and Converse Kids. Tiffany returned to The Garden in her current role in February 2016.

A native Virginian, Tiffany has lived in New York for ten years and enjoys traveling, writing, and staying active through biking, running, and volleyball. She volunteers for youth development organizations, including Girls on the Run, and serves on the associate board of youth entrepreneurship organization, BUILD NYC. She is also a board member of Manhattan Community Board 10 in central Harlem, where she currently resides with her husband, Duncan (married in 2018).

Tiffany Reaves is the current director of social impact and...

Tiffany Reaves

The Madison Square Garden Company

Tom Doctoroff

Position: Senior Advisor, Prophet

Tom Doctoroff is a Senior Partner at Prophet, a global consultancy that fuses insights, strategy, creativity, and imagination to help companies find better ways to grow their brands and businesses. Between 2012 and 2016, Tom was the CEO of J. Walter Thompson (“JWT”) Asia Pacific, one of the region’s fast growing and most profitable marketing and communications companies. He is also one of Asia’s most respected advertising professionals. His unique combination of pan‐Asian work, plus almost two decades based in China, has made him an expert in the cross‐border management of brand architecture and brand building, as well as a leading expert in Chinese consumer psychology.

He appears regularly on CNBC, NBC’s The Today Show, Bloomberg and NPR, and is featured in publications ranging from the Financial Times to the Wall Street Journal. He is a sought after keynote speaker for events such as the International Advertising Association’s global symposium, University of Chicago’s Global Management Conference and the JPMorgan Asia Pacific Equities conference. Tom is the Senior Advisor to the President of Asia Society. He is also the recipient of the “Magnolia Government Award,” the highest honor given by the Shanghai municipal government to expatriates. He was an Official Torchbearer for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Tom is the author of the best‐selling books “Billion: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer” (2006) and “What Chinese Want” (2012). He published his third book, “Twitter Is Not a Strategy: Rediscovering the Art of Brand Marketing,” in November 2014. Tom was also a driving force behind Mainland China’s first Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Tom started his career at Leo Burnett in Chicago but jumped ship to JWT in 1992. In 1994, he moved to Hong Kong as Regional Business Director for clients such as Pepsi, Kraft, and Citibank. In 1998, he landed in China as the Managing Director of JWT Shanghai and in 2002, was appointed Northeast Asia Area Director and Greater China CEO. In 2012, he was appointed the CEO of Asia Pacific for J. Walter Thompson. Through diversification into digital platform design, digital content production, trade marketing, and field marketing, JWT Asia Pacific has emerged as one the most synergistically integrated, creatively dynamic communication networks. During his 22 years based in Asia, Tom managed the strategy and marketing communications for a uniquely broad base of corporations, both multinational and Asian.

Tom Doctoroff is a Senior Partner at Prophet, a global...

Tom Doctoroff

Senior Advisor, Prophet

Trace Cohen

Position: New York Venture Partners

Trace Cohen is a serial entrepreneur in NYC and now the Managing Director of NYVP making angel investments in the best startups/founders.

He was the President and Co-Founder of Launch.it, a new self-publishing platform for PR professionals, agencies and brands to launch and socialize everything new.

Prior to that Trace was an SVP at iFluencePR where he “created understanding for a complex world.” He specializes in strategic PR for tech companies looking to develop their communications, branding and outreach strategies to connect with their communities and customers with transparency.

Trace is a graduate of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. He is one of the original Co-Founders and former CMO of Brand-Yourself.com, which helped students and young professionals manage their reputation and personal brands online. The best class he has ever taken.

Trace Cohen is a serial entrepreneur in NYC and now...

Trace Cohen

New York Venture Partners

Zach Riedy

Position: Technology Crossover Ventures

Zach Riedy is a technology investor at TCV, a $15B+ growth equity fund based in Silicon Valley with additional offices in New York and London. Previously, Zach worked in the technology investment banking group at William Blair in Chicago. Zach joined BUILD’s Associate Board in early 2019. Zach received a B.S.B.A. in Finance and Economics with honors from Ohio State University and studied at the London School of Economics.

Zach Riedy is a technology investor at TCV, a $15B+...

Zach Riedy

Technology Crossover Ventures

Carolina Torres

Position: DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE
Email: [email protected]

Meet Carolina Torres, a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Psychology and Spanish. While in college, Carolina volunteered for the Latin Community Center of Pittsburgh and was the Events Coordinator of the University of Pittsburgh’s Spanish Club. Carolina was elected by her peers to be a group leader of PACT- a student-run volunteer group that raised money for cancer research at the Hillman Cancer Center. In this capacity, Carolina was responsible for organizing both large and small fundraising and other events including 5K runs, concerts, food drives at the hospital, and Funday Fridays for patients and their families. Upon graduation, Carolina moved to New York City to launch her career in educational fundraising. She recently finished a Communications Internship at Brooklyn Prospect Schools and is excited to take everything she’s learned and apply it at BUILD NYC! Carolina is a first-generation Chilean American who loves hiking, traveling, and running!

Meet Carolina Torres, a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Psychology and Spanish. While in...

Carolina Torres

DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE

Chymeka Olfonse

Position: Regional Executive Director, NYC
Email: [email protected]
Top: 1

Chymeka Olfonse has dedicated her entire professional career to empowering individuals through education.  She currently serves as the Regional Executive Director for BUILD NYC.  Prior to BUILD, Chymeka served as the National Executive Director of Minds Matter National Inc., an academic mentoring nonprofit headquartered in New York City.  She set the organization’s strategic direction in collaboration with the leadership of 12 chapters.  During her tenure, Minds Matter doubled the number of students served and successfully launched four of its 12 chapters.  She developed a comprehensive fundraising strategy and formed partnerships to achieve scale and impact to benefit the national network. In addition, Chymeka has worked in programming, development and management capacities at the New York City Department of Education and at The After-School Corporation (TASC). As a Program Manager in the Office of Strategic Partnerships at the New York City Department of Education, she oversaw a number of large efforts to bring private-sector philanthropy into the public schools. Prior to that, Chymeka was Deputy Director for the Mid-Atlantic region of Jumpstart for Young Children

Chymeka is a graduate of Yale University where she earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with Economic Policy and African and African-American History. She completed her MPA with a focus in Public and Nonprofit Management at The Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.  In the summer of 2012, Chymeka earned a Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management certificate offered through Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program.

Chymeka Olfonse has dedicated her entire professional career to empowering individuals through education.  She currently serves as the Regional Executive...

Chymeka Olfonse

Regional Executive Director, NYC

Decota Letman

Position: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
Email: [email protected]

A graduate of Howard University with a background in Communications. Decota was born and raised in the Bronx by way of Jamaica. Hailing from a single parent home and growing up in one of the most disenfranchised communities in New York City, Decota has experienced the affects of living and surviving in an under served community. Working with students that look like her and live in the same area she grew up in brings joy to Decota’s heart knowing she can share her experience with others. It is for this very reason she BUILDS. Combining nine years of experience in communications in the entertainment, arts, and lifestyle space and five years in community engagement, Decota is excited to be a part of the BUILD NYC team as its Community Engagement Manager.  In her spare time she enjoys listening to music, grounding, traveling and experiencing all the world has to offer. She would ultimately like to create safe spaces for students in under-resourced communities to fully exercise their potential and be given the same opportunities as their counterparts.

A graduate of Howard University with a background in Communications. Decota was born and raised in the Bronx by way...

Decota Letman

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER

Jazmin Moreno

Position: Entrepreneurship Program Manager

Jazmin Moreno

Entrepreneurship Program Manager

Kenya George

Position: Program Director
Email: [email protected]
Top: 3

Kenya is a dynamic community organizer and youth developer committed to the transformation and upliftment of youth, young adults and their families.  She currently serves as Program Director with BUILD NYC. Prior to build, Kenya spent over a decade with University Settlement,  a nonprofit that provides services throughout University Settlement.

As Community School Director, Kenya led a team of professionals in planning and implementing enrichment programs for youth, young adults and families, building relationships with stakeholders in the community, and raising funding to sustain and propel youth development forward.

Kenya holds a B.A. in psychology from Barnard College, a Masters of Social Work from Hunter College.

Kenya is a dynamic community organizer and youth developer committed to the transformation and upliftment of youth, young adults and...

Kenya George

Program Director

Maria Raftelis

Position: Grant Writer, NYC/CA
Top: 17

Maria Raftelis has more than a decade of fundraising experience in education. Before joining BUILD, Maria served as Associate Director of Foundation Relations at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. In this role, she oversaw fundraising for the Center of Radiological Research (CRR) and worked with medical faculty across the College to raise funds for research. Prior to Columbia University, Maria served as Grant Writer at the City College Fund, the fundraising organization of the City College of New York (CCNY). During my nine year tenure at the City College Fund, Maria expanded the College’s portfolio of institutional donors to double institutional giving. 

Maria resides in the Bronx with her husband and son. A graduate of the New York City public school system, Maria believed every student should have access to an excellent education that inspires them to dream and achieve their full potential.

Maria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Individualized Studies from New York University and a Master’s degree in Social Science from the University of Chicago.

Maria Raftelis has more than a decade of fundraising experience in education. Before joining BUILD, Maria served as Associate Director...

Maria Raftelis

Grant Writer, NYC/CA

Miranda Belliza

Position: DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
Email: [email protected]

Miranda has a strong commitment to service and equality, working with youth to help prepare for college and career readiness since high school. Before BUILD, Miranda worked at the Ronald McDonald House of New York City, and was a camp counselor with their summer program for almost a decade. Miranda received her Bachelor’s of Science from the Fashion Institute of Technology, majoring in Advertising and Marketing Communications, minoring in Asian Studies. Miranda is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Urban Policy and Leadership from Hunter College. Outside of work, Miranda enjoys traveling, baking, reading and spending time with her family and friends.

Miranda has a strong commitment to service and equality, working with youth to help prepare for college and career readiness...

Miranda Belliza

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

Pamela Minetti

Position: DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPY
Email: [email protected]
Top: 2

Pam has spent the majority of her career in the financial services sector where she worked at a range of boutique and bulge bracket firms including Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Mogavero, Lee. Her diverse experience encompasses investment banking, institutional sales and marketing. She has always been passionate about educational equity and child and family welfare and has served as a mentor and nonprofit board member for over twenty years. In 2017, Pam joined the BUILD NYC team where she is responsible for all fundraising activities. Pam graduated from the University of Virginia with Highest Distinction and received her MBA from Columbia Business School.

Pam has spent the majority of her career in the financial services sector where she worked at a range of...

Pamela Minetti

DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPY

Rose Cherubin

Position: COLLEGE AND CAREER ACCESS COACH
Email: [email protected]

Rose Cherubin joins the Build NYC team with years of experience in higher education admissions at her alma mater, Hobart and William Smith (HWS) Colleges. As former Senior Assistant Director of Admissions, she recruited for all five boroughs of New York City, was the office liaison for the HWS’ Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), assisted in creating and leading office-wide diversity recruitment initiatives, and also participated in final selections for HWS’ POSSE Foundation Los Angeles cohorts.

She is excited to join BUILD NYC and transition into college access and counseling, and empower young people to actualize their maximum potential. Rose is also a budding entrepreneur with a venture in digital storytelling and is a volunteer for local blogging/influencer networks. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, photography, and dance. Rose holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Rose Cherubin joins the Build NYC team with years of experience in higher education admissions at her alma mater, Hobart...

Rose Cherubin

COLLEGE AND CAREER ACCESS COACH

Amy Pan

Position: FOUNDER AND PRODUCT PARTNER, THE COMBINATION RULE

Amy Pan

FOUNDER AND PRODUCT PARTNER, THE COMBINATION RULE

Andrea Atwell *Co-Chair*

Position: NYC Regional Board Chair, VP eCommerce, L’Oreal USA
Top: 2

Andrea Atwell is the Vice President eCommerce for L’Oreal USA. Prior to this position, she was VP of US Market Supply Chain at L’Oreal’s Luxe Division. Her responsibilities included business, demand and supply planning, and customer care, with the vision of leveraging improved supply chain results to drive strategic relationships with L’Oreal’s US customers. Andrea has helped to lead significant planning process initiatives for L’Oreal which has transformed forecast accuracy, service levels, and inventory results, including managing the supply chain and human transitions of 3 major acquisitions for L’Oreal USA. Andrea’s efforts helped to shape the partnership between the supply chain and brands in L’Oreal, shifting the culture to drive operational awareness, improved results and competitive advantage. Prior to her 10 years at L’Oreal, Andrea has worked in the medical device and food & beverage industries.​

Andrea has 15 years of supply chain experience and a true passion for leading and developing teams and recognizing and growing talent. She was recognized as a 2015 Visionary Leader by Consumer Goods Technology for her approach in prioritizing people and leadership to drive supply chain results. Andrea’s leadership has demonstrated that by focusing on people and creating a culture of change leaders, no business challenge is insurmountable. Andrea is also a frequent speaker on supply chain planning and talent development.​


Andrea has a BA in Marketing from Michigan State University.

Andrea Atwell is the Vice President eCommerce for L’Oreal USA....

Andrea Atwell *Co-Chair*

NYC Regional Board Chair, VP eCommerce, L’Oreal USA

Brian Cohen

Position: Founder & President Good Cause Communications;Founding Partner, New York Venture Partners;

As an angel investor and mentor to entrepreneurs, Brian served as Chairman of the New York Angels for nearly a decade. As one of the most active angel groups in the world, they have invested nearly $200 million in over 300 startups. Notably, Brian was the first investor in Pinterest and numerous other industry leading startups.​

Brian is the author of “What Every Angel Investor Wants You To Know: An Insider Reveals How To Get Smart Funding For Your Billion Dollar Idea” published by McGraw Hill. He continues to guest lecture at Columbia and NYU. He has spoken in dozens of countries helping create and build their angel investor ecosystems.​

As a technology media strategist, Brian is considered one of the fathers of science & technology strategic communications and founded Technology Solutions, Inc. (TSI) with his wife in 1983. Notably, TSI received the Gold CIPRA Award in 1998 for the IBM Deep Blue/Gary Kasparov Chess Match Concept and Communications Program. TSI was recognized as the #1 fastest growing agency in the United States. Brian sold the company to The McCann Erickson World Group in 1997. Brian was the publisher of the first computing publications including Computer Systems News and InformationWeek Magazine. As a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award, Brian holds a Masters Degree in Science Communications from Boston University’s School of Public Communications.​

He has been on numerous Boards, including People For the American Way, The World Frontiers Forum and BUILD.org. His current interest is to launch Good Cause Communications, The very first 501C3 strategic marketing/PR agency providing almost free services to struggling nonprofits.

As an angel investor and mentor to entrepreneurs, Brian served...

Brian Cohen

Founder & President Good Cause Communications;Founding Partner, New York Venture Partners;

Bruce Sandys

Position: Entrepeneur

Bruce has been an entrepreneur in New York City for more than 30 years. After graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he was the co-founder and president of Crescent Communications, which he helped grow into the largest privately-owned pay telephone company in New York City. After selling his payphone route, he attended Stanford Law School. During his time there, he assisted Suzanne McKechnie Klahr during BUILD’s formative stages and had the honor of being one of BUILD’s first mentors. Returning to New York after graduation, Bruce founded BAS Communications, through which he built and then sold one of the largest owner operated ATM portfolios in New York City. His most recent venture was as a co-founder and CFO of a litigation finance provider.

Bruce has been an entrepreneur in New York City for...

Bruce Sandys

Entrepeneur

Carlton J. Charles

Position: Treasurer, Hearst

Carlton Charles, Vice President, and Treasurer, Hearst, serves as global treasurer, oversees Risk Management and Insurance, leads the company’s Risk Working Group and is on the Board of Advisors of Hearst Labs, Hearst’s platform for nurturing and grooming early-stage, women-led companies. Carlton has demonstrated financial acumen through a 30-year career in treasury and risk management. Carlton was an early architect of the Enterprise Risk Management program for Moody’s Corporation, a SEC regulated company and one of the largest rating agencies in the world. Carlton regularly reported to the Moody’s board on treasury and enterprise risk topics.​

Carlton also developed the operational risk management program for Hearst and is chair of the company’s Risk Working Group. Among the focus areas for the group are cybersecurity and data privacy. Carlton has created an annual risk summit which is an annual convening of CFOs and CTOs from across Hearst’s businesses. Prior to Moody’s, Carlton held increasingly responsible positions in treasury and risk management for International Paper, Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Viacom and Philip Morris. ​

Carlton currently serves on the Board of Advisors of Hearst Lab, has been working with a group of professionals to establish a business accelerator in Upper Manhattan and The Bronx, was recently on the Board of Trustees of St. Thomas Aquinas College and previously served on The Board of the Bronx Preparatory Charter School.​

​Carlton holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Public Policy and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from SUNY at Stony Brook.

Carlton Charles, Vice President, and Treasurer, Hearst, serves as global...

Carlton J. Charles

Treasurer, Hearst

Chris Cunningham

Position: Investor and founder, C2 Ventures

Chris is an active tech startup investor and founder of C2 Ventures, a privately-held investment firm with a focus on consumer, data, financial tech such as blockchain and wellness. C2V provides seed capital and hustle to early-stage companies both directly and via limited partnerships with Techstars, Bowery Capital, and NYC’s leading angels. C2V’s current portfolio includes 15 investments, three of which have been acquired or returned a multiple for the investors – Arbor.io acquired by LiveRamp, Uru acquired by Adobe and MightyTV acquired by Spotify and JenJo 3X return. C2 Ventures has a 7X return over the last 4 years.​

Previously, Chris was the President of Unacast, the leading location data platform which recently raised $17M in series B funding. At Unacast, Chris built the commercial and revenue operations from zero to seven figures in 18 months and led all commercial efforts. Chris was the first US employee and 7th overall. Chris was also the CEO and Co-Founder of appssavvy, a company that pioneered in-app advertising on Facebook and mobile while putting the user experience first through timing and context. In 7 years appssavvy drove over $75MM in gross revenue for the app ecosystem.​

Chris has been named one of the “Most Important People in Mobile Advertising” by Business Insider, as well as being an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist 2 years in a row. He’s been a featured speaker at International CES, Cannes Lions, IAB’s Annual Leadership, dmexco, and f.ounders. He is a contributor to CNBC and Bloomberg TV via on-screen appearances and also produces content through C2V Studios. Chris sits on the board of both Build NYC and Cornell Tech here in New York City and strongly believes in supporting young people and their startup journey.

Chris is an active tech startup investor and founder of...

Chris Cunningham

Investor and founder, C2 Ventures

Crissi Cole

Position: Vice President, Goldman Sachs

Crissi is a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in New York where she leads global client engagement and technology for the Private Wealth Management division. Crissi is also the Co-Founder of Project Bead Foundation, a social enterprise that sells beaded products made by female Ghanaian entrepreneurs in order to fund scholarships for children in Ghana. ​

She earned a BS in Finance from Bentley University in 2011 and a Masters in Policy and Nonprofit Management at New York University in 2018.

Crissi is a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in New...

Crissi Cole

Vice President, Goldman Sachs

Dakotah Rice

Position: INVESTOR, COATUE MANAGEMENT 

Dakotah Rice is an internet, media, and telecom investor at Coatue Management, a $30bn
hedge fund and venture capital fund based in New York. Prior to Coatue, he worked at The
Carlyle Group, where he was a private equity investor. Before joining Carlyle, he worked as
an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs, where he advised internet and media
companies on mergers and acquisitions as well as various other capital markets
transactions. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in Political Science in
2016.

Dakotah Rice is an internet, media, and telecom investor at...

Dakotah Rice

INVESTOR, COATUE MANAGEMENT 

Dan Vallimarescu

Position: Chief Executive Officer, Nardagani

Dan is the CEO of an e-learning startup called Nardagani and is involved in a number of other investment and philanthropic activities.​

Prior to that, Dan ran the Americas Debt Capital Markets Group for Santander Investment Securities for 11 years and the Latin America Debt Capital Markets Group, among other businesses, at Merrill Lynch for 13 years. Early in his career, he worked at The World Bank and the Bank of Boston. ​

Dan received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his MBA from Insead.

Dan is the CEO of an e-learning startup called Nardagani...

Dan Vallimarescu

Chief Executive Officer, Nardagani

Erica Culpepper

Position: GENERAL MANAGER, MULTI-CULTURAL BEAUTY, L'OREAL

Erica Culpepper

GENERAL MANAGER, MULTI-CULTURAL BEAUTY, L'OREAL

Gaurav Ahuja

Position: Tech Investor, Thrive Capital

Gaurav Ahuja is an investor at Thrive Capital, a venture capital firm in NYC that has supported companies like Warby Parker, Instagram, Robinhood Markets, Spotify, GitHub, and Slack. He is responsible for executing investments in growing technology companies with the goal of helping them scale and sculpt their strategy. Prior to being at Thrive, Gaurav worked in San Francisco on later stage, enterprise software investments at TA Associates, a growth private equity firm.

Gaurav was formerly a consultant with McKinsey & Co, a global consulting firm that advises management teams at Fortune 100 companies. He was part of McKinsey’s Technology, Media, and Telecom practice. Gaurav has helped guide several large technology companies with growth strategy and go to market

Gaurav was not only born and raised in Michigan but also attended the University of Michigan, where he studied pre-medical sciences and earned a B.B.A. degree with high distinction. While at the University of Michigan, Gaurav was a Head Resident Advisor in Michigan Housing and the Director of the SAAN, a non-profit group devoted to acting on and spreading awareness of social justice issues. In his free time, he enjoys watching the Detroit Pistons lose and fantasizes about the latest consumer tech gadgets.

Gaurav Ahuja is an investor at Thrive Capital, a venture...

Gaurav Ahuja

Tech Investor, Thrive Capital

Ike Kier

Position: Co-founder and CEO, KG Funds Management

Ike Kier is the co-founder and CEO of KG Funds Management which he established in 2008. ​

From 2004 to 2008, Ike created management groups responsible for 4 special purpose acquisition companies which collectively raised approximately $200 million from the public markets. All of the management teams completed their mergers/purchases of their targets.​

Ike’s business experience includes serving on numerous boards and building two businesses, both of which went public: Lida Inc. (formerly NASDAQ: LIDA) and eDiets (formerly NASDAQ: EDIET).​

Ike received the cellular license to build cell towers and serve the I-85 corridor between Montgomery, AL, and Atlanta, GA with cellular service. He held the rights for 2 years, and then negotiated a cash sale of his spectrum rights to the surrounding providers who were encroaching on his territory. ​

Ike earned a J.D. from George Washington University and a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University.

Ike Kier is the co-founder and CEO of KG Funds...

Ike Kier

Co-founder and CEO, KG Funds Management

Ira Levy

Position: IP Litigation Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP

Ira Levy is a senior partner in Goodwin Procter’s IP Litigation Group, whose practice focuses on the litigation of patent, trademark, copyright, false advertising and related matters for a wide array of industries and in a variety of technical disciplines. Mr. Levy has over 25 years’ experience with disputes involving biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and chemistry; electronics, computers and telecommunications; mechanical devices; industrial and consumer products; and the internet, new media, and e-commerce. ​

Ira has handled numerous bench and jury trials in federal and state courts nationwide. He also has significant experience practicing before the United States Supreme Court, and various U.S. Courts of Appeals. In addition to his litigation work, Ira works closely with the firm’s Business Law Practice counseling clients on general corporate matters involving intellectual property and the Internet, as well as transactional due diligence. ​

In addition to his legal work, Ira serves as lead director for Stomp Out Bullying, the leading non-profit focused on eliminating bullying and cyber-bullying. He is married and lives in Westchester County New York with two children and two dogs.

Ira Levy is a senior partner in Goodwin Procter’s IP...

Ira Levy

IP Litigation Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP

Kevin Beauparlant

Position: Senior Vice President, Bank OZK

Kevin Beauparlant

Senior Vice President, Bank OZK

Laura J. Patel

Position: Strategic Accounts, Density Inc.

Laura Patel is Director of Strategic Accounts at Density, an analytics platform that uses occupancy sensors to help businesses measure how their spaces are used; eliminating underutilized real estate, delivering exceptional workplace experiences, and strengthening physical security. In line with her work, Laura’s interests lie at the intersection of artificial intelligence and real estate. Prior to joining Density, she spent a decade with digital construction company DIRTT, which specializes in videogame based design, robotics, and manufacturing. She has spoken at dozens of exhibitions and conferences around the world, including the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions (Dalian, China), Thin Air Festival (Park City, UT), The Art, Science and Bottom Line of Innovative Designs & Technologies (NYC, NY), and The Office of the Future Summit (NYC, NY). ​

As an active member of the New York architecture, design and engineering community, Laura serves as Co-Chair for CoreNet New York’s Programs Committee, and on Urban Land Institute’s Technology and Innovation Council and their Women’s Leadership Council. ​

​Outside of work, Laura is a board member at BUILD: NYC, a student mentor with Student Sponsor Partners, and a post-secondary coach with Syrian Youth Empowerment. A travel enthusiast, she speaks three languages and has visited 40 countries— most recently exploring Taiwan, Bosnia, and Guatemala.

Laura Patel is Director of Strategic Accounts at Density, an...

Laura J. Patel

Strategic Accounts, Density Inc.

Matt Doherty

Position: FOUNDER, RESOLUTEAI 

Matt brings to BUILD NYC a wealth of experience in entrepreneurship and technology leadership. Matt is the founder of ResoluteAI, a venture-backed SaaS startup building
enterprise search solutions for R&D organizations. Prior to Resolute, Matt founded
ZergNet, an ad-tech startup currently serving over a billion ads daily. Earlier in his career, he
was the VP of Engineering for Fina Technologies, where he built trading systems using
machine learning. He has also lectured at NYU on machine learning and other computer
science topics. Matt is passionate about advocating for children and underserved
communities. He is a former board member of the Child Care Resource Center, a nonprofit
helping families find and afford quality child care. Matt has also often served as a volunteer
tutor for high school and middle school children in New York City through organizations
such as New York Cares. Matt received his S.B. and M.Eng. degrees in computer science
from MIT.

 

Matt brings to BUILD NYC a wealth of experience in...

Matt Doherty

FOUNDER, RESOLUTEAI 

Michael Springer

Position: FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL ATTORNEY, SPRINGER LAW PLLC 

Michael is the Founder and Principal Attorney of Springer Law PLLC, where he represents
entrepreneurs, startups, and creative professionals in a variety of legal areas, including
business law, venture finance, intellectual property, corporate governance, entertainment
law, and commercial litigation. Michael is also an active angel investor in early-stage
companies, focusing on a range of industries, including wearable technologies, software,
fashion, medical devices, and home delivery. Michael holds a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard
Law School and a B.B.A., magna cum laude, from the Mays Business School at Texas A&M
University. He and his wife split their time between New York City and Houston, Texas.

 

 

Michael is the Founder and Principal Attorney of Springer Law...

Michael Springer

FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL ATTORNEY, SPRINGER LAW PLLC 

Michael Wirth

Position: CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, CAPE ADVISORS, INC

Michael Wirth

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, CAPE ADVISORS, INC

Mike Portegello *Co-Chair*

Position: NYC Regional Board Chair, Partner, Northeast Region Growth Markets Leader, Ernst & Young LLP
Top: 1

Mike Portegello is an Assurance Partner at Ernst & Young LLP, where he brings more than 30 years of international and domestic experience in public accounting serving publicly traded companies with operations in both the US and abroad. Currently, he serves as the Northeast Region Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) Leader to provide services that help companies navigate the various aspects of a growth-oriented enterprise. SGM is a global network of EY professionals advising the full spectrum of dynamic, fast-moving and groundbreaking companies around the world, including VC-backed/private equity companies and their investors, large private and family enterprises, IPO-bound companies, and public companies in the Russell 3000 and 2000 indexes.​

Throughout his career, Mike has worked with clients in New York and California, as well as internationally. He has served US registrants and foreign private issuers on SEC matters including initial public offerings (IPOs), public and private debt offerings, quarterly and annual filings, acquisitions, divestitures, and stock registrations. ​

Previously, he provided overall management and led high performing teams to deliver audit services to New York State and Connecticut area clients. He continues to work closely with multinational organizations as well as high growth phase companies in the software/technology, media and entertainment, and leasing industries.​

Prior to this role, Mike served as Strategic Growth Markets Leader for New York, leading a multidisciplinary team of dedicated professionals in providing perspective to and advising our emerging, IPO-bound, entrepreneurial clients on accelerating their growth. In addition, he has served as a Co-Director of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year New York program. ​

Mike graduated Suma Cum Laude from St. John’s University and received his MBA from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at NYU.

Mike Portegello is an Assurance Partner at Ernst & Young...

Mike Portegello *Co-Chair*

NYC Regional Board Chair, Partner, Northeast Region Growth Markets Leader, Ernst & Young LLP

Mona Dessouki

Position: Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Chase

Mona Dessouki is an Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Chase where she leads Marketing and Digital Transformation for the U.S. Asset Management business.  She is a serial entrepreneur inside a big company – building teams and new products for customers. 

A marketing veteran, Mona has spent her career developing and implementing comprehensive marketing strategies across traditional and new media platforms for several large consumer brands.  She has a passion for improving the customer experience by leveraging data and technology to create compelling, personalized customer journeys.  

Mona has been recognized for her accomplishments by numerous organizations including the American Marketing Association as one of ‘4 under 40 Emerging Leaders’ making significant contributions to the future success of the industry.  She holds a B.B.A. from James Madison University and an M.B.A. from The University of Virginia.

Mona Dessouki is an Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Chase...

Mona Dessouki

Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Chase

Naveen Shahani

Position: Principal, Apollo Global Management

Naveen Shahani is a Principal at Apollo Global Management, where he focuses on the firm’s private equity investments. Prior to Apollo, Naveen worked in the Financial Sponsors Group in the Investment Banking Division of Credit Suisse. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Naveen currently serves on the Board of Directors of CEC Entertainment, parent company to Chuck E. Cheese.

Naveen Shahani is a Principal at Apollo Global Management, where...

Naveen Shahani

Principal, Apollo Global Management

Nicolas Lirette

Position: Advisor

NICOLAS LIRETTEVice President, American Express
Nic most recently served as President at American Express, serving as Chief of Staff for the head of the Consumer business. He was responsible for a range of business planning and strategic activities and partners with leaders across the organization, from country managers globally to c-suite partners. Prior to this role, Nic worked in the Merchant business where he played a central role in the launch of EMV chip cards and contactless payments and helped improve customer satisfaction globally. Prior to American Express, Nic worked in investment banking at UBS and investment management at Wellington Management. ​

Nic holds an MBA degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree from Tufts University. Originally from Canada, Nic speaks French fluently. Nic lives in New York with his wife, son, and daughter.​

NICOLAS LIRETTEVice President, American Express Nic most recently served as...

Nicolas Lirette

Advisor

Nicole Fourgoux

Position: SVP Business Development & Acquisitions, L'Oreal Luxe

Nicole Fourgoux is Senior Vice President of New Business Development and Acquisitions for L’Oreal. ​

As Senior Vice President of Business Development and Acquisitions, Ms. Fourgoux is responsible for the strategic portfolio planning for L’Oreal with focus on M&A and brand incubation. ​

Ms. Fourgoux is a beauty veteran with a 23 year international career at L’Oreal. Prior to her role as Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Development and Acquisitions, she served as General Manager of the Multi-Cultural Beauty Division and Vice President of Marketing for Garnier after joining L’Oreal USA in 2006. Before coming to the U.S., Fourgoux held senior marketing positions for the L’Oreal Paris and Maybelline New York and Vichy brands working out of L’Oreal’s Paris headquarter as well as Germany, UK and Spain. Ms. Fourgoux is a graduate of the prestigious Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf in Germany. ​

Ms. Fourgoux currently resides in Scarsdale, NY with her husband of fifteen years and her three sons.

Nicole Fourgoux is Senior Vice President of New Business Development...

Nicole Fourgoux

SVP Business Development & Acquisitions, L'Oreal Luxe

Ram Vijayanathan

Position: HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT, PINTEREST 

Ram Vijayanathan is the Head of Internal Audit at Pinterest, a visual discovery engine with
the mission to bring everyone the inspiration to create a life they love. His responsibilities
include helping the organization manage strategic, operational, and financial risk by
providing oversight to the internal audit team, developing and executing on the annual
audit plan, and supporting the company’s Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance efforts. Ram
and his team evaluate Pinterest’s systems of internal controls and operational efficiency
and effectiveness. Before joining Pinterest, Ram was an Internal Audit Director at Facebook,
Inc., where he was a part of the corporate audit function and led teams that supported the
company’s SOX efforts along with managing an operational audit plan. Prior to Facebook,
Ram held various positions of increasing scope and responsibility in audit for QVC and
American Standard. He has a background in public accounting from Deloitte. Ram has
previously served as the President and a board member of the Philadelphia Institute of
Internal Auditors and graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in
Business Logistics. In his free time, he enjoys watching all Philadelphia sports teams, riding
his Peloton, and traveling.

 

Ram Vijayanathan is the Head of Internal Audit at Pinterest,...

Ram Vijayanathan

HEAD OF INTERNAL AUDIT, PINTEREST 

Roger Barton

Position: Managing Partner, Barton LLP

Roger is the founder and Managing Partner of Barton LLP, a law firm of over 30 attorneys practicing across most areas of business law. Roger is widely published and speaks nationally and internationally on law firm innovation, the practice of law as a business, and forming partnering relationships with clients. Barton LLP was recently featured by Law360 in an article entitled Giving Big Law a Run for Its Money as one of “10 boutiques that have established brands on par with the biggest of firms” who are “capable of competing with – and beating – the best big firms at the highest level” and by Acquisition International as among “Ones to Watch: The Best Boutique Law Firms.” ​

Roger’s practice is mostly high-stakes commercial litigation, but he also enjoys his role as outside General Counsel and adviser to many of the entrepreneurial clients of his firm. He is rated by The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel Magazine and the National Law Journal as one of the Top Commercial Litigators in the United States. He is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, the invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society limited to less than one-half of one percent of lawyers in America and has been selected as a Super Lawyer in Thompson Reuters’ annual survey of the top 5% of lawyers in the New York Metro Area every year since 2013. He holds an “AV Preeminent” rating, the highest rating in the legal profession for professional excellence and ethical standards, as determined by the peer review of judges and lawyers conducted by Martindale.​

Prior to founding Barton LLP, Roger was with Sidley Austin in New York. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, AB Honors College, and has a JD from Fordham University School of Law.

Roger is the founder and Managing Partner of Barton LLP,...

Roger Barton

Managing Partner, Barton LLP

Ronald J Williams

Position: Founder & Managing Partner, ProofLabs; Entrepreneur in Residence at Citi Ventures

Ron J Williams is the Managing Partner of proofLabs, a strategy, and product development practice. ​

Ron helps companies connect to customer needs and design experiments in order to learn faster and innovate smarter. He has built, invested in and advised on Web 2.0 technologies for over 10 years. In varied roles as an entrepreneur, intrapreneur and consultant, he’s helped Fortune 1,000 companies re-engineer core business strategies and systems across industries. Named one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company, Ron loves puzzling out simple solutions to hard, real problems. He is an active mentor in NYC and believes his life’s mission is to “build more builders.”​

Ron graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in East Asian Studies and Economics.

Ron J Williams is the Managing Partner of proofLabs, a...

Ronald J Williams

Founder & Managing Partner, ProofLabs; Entrepreneur in Residence at Citi Ventures

Tom Doctoroff

Position: Senior Advisor, Prophet

Tom Doctoroff is a Senior Partner at Prophet, a global consultancy that fuses insights, strategy, creativity, and imagination to help companies find better ways to grow their brands and businesses. Between 2012 and 2016, Tom was the CEO of J. Walter Thompson (“JWT”) Asia Pacific, one of the region’s fast growing and most profitable marketing and communications companies. He is also one of Asia’s most respected advertising professionals. His unique combination of pan‐Asian work, plus almost two decades based in China, has made him an expert in the cross‐border management of brand architecture and brand building, as well as a leading expert in Chinese consumer psychology.

He appears regularly on CNBC, NBC’s The Today Show, Bloomberg and NPR, and is featured in publications ranging from the Financial Times to the Wall Street Journal. He is a sought after keynote speaker for events such as the International Advertising Association’s global symposium, University of Chicago’s Global Management Conference and the JPMorgan Asia Pacific Equities conference. Tom is the Senior Advisor to the President of Asia Society. He is also the recipient of the “Magnolia Government Award,” the highest honor given by the Shanghai municipal government to expatriates. He was an Official Torchbearer for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Tom is the author of the best‐selling books “Billion: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer” (2006) and “What Chinese Want” (2012). He published his third book, “Twitter Is Not a Strategy: Rediscovering the Art of Brand Marketing,” in November 2014. Tom was also a driving force behind Mainland China’s first Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Tom started his career at Leo Burnett in Chicago but jumped ship to JWT in 1992. In 1994, he moved to Hong Kong as Regional Business Director for clients such as Pepsi, Kraft, and Citibank. In 1998, he landed in China as the Managing Director of JWT Shanghai and in 2002, was appointed Northeast Asia Area Director and Greater China CEO. In 2012, he was appointed the CEO of Asia Pacific for J. Walter Thompson. Through diversification into digital platform design, digital content production, trade marketing, and field marketing, JWT Asia Pacific has emerged as one the most synergistically integrated, creatively dynamic communication networks. During his 22 years based in Asia, Tom managed the strategy and marketing communications for a uniquely broad base of corporations, both multinational and Asian.

Tom Doctoroff is a Senior Partner at Prophet, a global...

Tom Doctoroff

Senior Advisor, Prophet

Andrew Jasen

Position: American Securities

Andrew Jasen

American Securities

Ben Mangum

Position: LaunchDarkly

Ben Mangum is a sales and business development professional specializing in software startups. Ben has been a mentor and board member at BUILD since 2017.

Ben is a graduate of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ben Mangum is a sales and business development professional specializing...

Ben Mangum

LaunchDarkly

Brian McMahon *Co-Chair*

Position: NYC Regional Board Chair, Blackstone
Top: 1

Brian McMahon is a Business Analyst at Blackstone working in their financial technology group. Previously he spent 3 years working at Booz Allen Hamilton where he co-founded a data science strategy team. Brian has been an associate board member at BUILD since 2018.

Brian is a graduate of the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park where he was also a member of the Maryland football team.

Brian McMahon is a Business Analyst at Blackstone working in...

Brian McMahon *Co-Chair*

NYC Regional Board Chair, Blackstone

Brian Russell

Position: Gunderson Dettmer

Brian Russell

Gunderson Dettmer

Divya Talla

Position: Croissant

Divya Talla currently serves as Head of Partnerships at Croissant, a tech company that supports the growing remote and entrepreneurial workforce. Previously, she helped build real estate and tech brands in creative agencies. Her passion is working alongside entrepreneurs and teams building innovative products. She was born and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan and is a proud University of Michigan Alum. She’s traveled to 20+ countries, loves exploring the world’s oceans as a scuba diver, and is busy raising a feisty Husky/Retriever puppy named Rambo.

Divya Talla currently serves as Head of Partnerships at Croissant,...

Divya Talla

Croissant

Eric Donado

Position: Apax Partners

Eric Donado

Apax Partners

Greg Minetti

Position: Togetherwork LLC

Greg Minetti is an Associate on Togetherwork’s Corporate Development team where he works on the Company’s Mergers & Acquisitions strategy. Specifically, Greg is involved with deal sourcing, modeling and financial analysis, market research and deal diligence. Prior to joining Togetherwork, Greg worked in Advertising Sales at AMC Networks. Greg is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and History. In his spare time, Greg enjoys going to the movies, running, reading and watching sports.

Greg Minetti is an Associate on Togetherwork’s Corporate Development team...

Greg Minetti

Togetherwork LLC

Hannah Kim

Position: Kepler Group

Hannah Kim

Kepler Group

Ian Mabie

Position: Stella Connect

Ian Mabie

Stella Connect

Katie Ambrose

Position: Reddit

Katie Ambrose

Reddit

Martin Hui

Position: BMO Capital Markets

Martin Hui is an attorney at BMO Capital Markets covering mergers and acquisitions. He was previously a corporate associate at law firm Davis Polk and Wardwell LLP. Martin is also an entrepreneur and volunteer, co-founding Everyone’s Canada, a nonprofit advocacy organization that provides a counter-narrative to rising anti-immigrant sentiment in Canada, and Richmond Youth Foundation, a youth philanthropy organization. Martin grew up in Vancouver, Canada and completed his Bachelor of Science at the University of British Columbia. While living in Toronto, Canada, Martin obtained his Juris Doctor at Osgoode Hall Law School and Master of Business Administration at the Schulich School of Business. In his spare time, Martin enjoys boxing, scuba diving, and jogging with his Klee Kai pup, Kimmy.

Martin Hui is an attorney at BMO Capital Markets covering...

Martin Hui

BMO Capital Markets

Michael Cianciotta

Position: EY

Michael Cianciotta is a Senior Associate at EY where he consults financial institutions on growth, integration, and business planning through mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. He previously worked as a consultant at Capco focusing on the Capital Markets space. Michael is passionate about entrepreneurship and utilizing his experience to enhance the education of young entrepreneurs.

Michael studied Finance and Economics at the Boston University Questrom School of Business.

Michael Cianciotta is a Senior Associate at EY where he...

Michael Cleary

Position: Huemor

Michael Stern

Position: Brown Brothers Harriman

Michael Stern

Brown Brothers Harriman

Michael Stimmel

Position: Citi

Nicholas Felice

Position: Organic

Nick Felice is a marketer and digital product leader that has helped brands such as Samsung, PepsiCo, and AstraZeneca stand out in an ever-evolving and competitive landscape. His passion for entrepreneurship and education makes him a natural sponsor of BUILD’s mission to prepare students of today to become tomorrow’s leaders. Prior to BUILD, Nick consulted small businesses through a program at The University of Rhode Island, where he received his B.S. in Business Administration. Outside of his professional and volunteer life, Nick enjoys a challenging hike and a home-cooked meal.

Nick Felice is a marketer and digital product leader that...

Nicholas Felice

Organic

Pete Van Oot *Co-Chair*

Position: NYC Regional Board Chair, Caviar
Top: 2

Pete Van Oot *Co-Chair*

NYC Regional Board Chair, Caviar

Sami Soma

Position: Google

Sami Soma is a Partner Lead at Google, working on Advertising and Marketing strategies for large clients within the Consumer Packaged Goods industry. Prior to her role at Google, Sami worked at L’Oreal on digital media efforts across the Luxury product division. She has also held roles in Finance and Marketing across L’Oreal Paris, Active Cosmetics Division and Lancome.

Sami graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business with an emphasis in Finance and Marketing where her passion for supporting under-resourced schools began. Since graduating she has volunteered with various organizations such as The Posse Foundation, The Exodus Foundation and iMentor.

Sami Soma is a Partner Lead at Google, working on...

Sami Soma

Google

Sandra Fong

Position: Ennovae & Company

Sandra brings more than a decade of leadership in brand, integrated marketing, public relations, and retail strategy across B2B and B2C brands. Her experience spans across Fortune 100 companies, startups, and agency. Currently, Sandra is the Director of Marketing & Partnerships for Ennovae and Co, where she provides marketing and partnerships counsel for SAP, Verizon, and JP Morgan Chase. Most recently she was the Strategic Marketing Lead at Samsung Ads. In this role, Sandra was responsible for leading in-market engagement in North America inclusive of go-to-market strategy, branding, demand generation, and content development.

Prior to Samsung Ads, Sandra was the Integrated Marketing Lead for Dolby, where she led brand strategy and partner marketing for the consumer products division and Dolby Vision. Before that, Sandra spearheaded retail and channel programs at Jawbone introducing new categories in wireless speakers and wearables. She began her career at Ogilvy and Mather in Digital Strategy where she executed award-winning digital programs for Fortune 100 companies.

Sandra graduated with honors with a dual degree in International Relations and Political Science from the University of California, Davis.

Sandra brings more than a decade of leadership in brand,...

Sandra Fong

Ennovae & Company

Sean Merriweather

Position: Publicis Media

Sean Merriweather is a strategist focused on the intersection of media, data and technology who is currently the VP of Product Marketing at Publicis Media, a top global agency. Sean also teaches in NYU’s MS in Integrated Marketing program.

I came across BUILD during a time when I was searching for a consistent organization to volunteer with and support. I’ve stayed involved over the past 2 years because of the amazing staff and the work they support. It’s great to see the growth of the students even from freshman to sophomore year; from making eye contact, to speaking with confidence and advocating for their ideas it’s incredible to play even a small part in the journey.

Sean Merriweather is a strategist focused on the intersection of...

Sean Merriweather

Publicis Media

Tiffany Reaves

Position: The Madison Square Garden Company

Tiffany Reaves is the current director of social impact and fan engagement for the New York Knicks. In this role, she sets the strategy for all community activation, youth basketball programming, and fan engagement platforms. She directs the philanthropic contributions and fundraising efforts and oversees a team that works directly with nonprofits, youth basketball organizations, corporate partners, and players to develop programs and initiatives that address local community challenges and meets business objectives.

Tiffany received her bachelor’s degree in health, recreation, and tourism management from George Mason University in 2009 and went on to attend Columbia University where she obtained her master’s degree in Sports Business. Tiffany worked at the Madison Square Garden Company for five years in marketing and corporate partnership management before leaving the company in 2014. For two years, she worked for licensing company Haddad Brands, where she managed global marketing for Levi’s and Converse Kids. Tiffany returned to The Garden in her current role in February 2016.

A native Virginian, Tiffany has lived in New York for ten years and enjoys traveling, writing, and staying active through biking, running, and volleyball. She volunteers for youth development organizations, including Girls on the Run, and serves on the associate board of youth entrepreneurship organization, BUILD NYC. She is also a board member of Manhattan Community Board 10 in central Harlem, where she currently resides with her husband, Duncan (married in 2018).

Tiffany Reaves is the current director of social impact and...

Tiffany Reaves

The Madison Square Garden Company

Trace Cohen

Position: New York Venture Partners

Trace Cohen is a serial entrepreneur in NYC and now the Managing Director of NYVP making angel investments in the best startups/founders.

He was the President and Co-Founder of Launch.it, a new self-publishing platform for PR professionals, agencies and brands to launch and socialize everything new.

Prior to that Trace was an SVP at iFluencePR where he “created understanding for a complex world.” He specializes in strategic PR for tech companies looking to develop their communications, branding and outreach strategies to connect with their communities and customers with transparency.

Trace is a graduate of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. He is one of the original Co-Founders and former CMO of Brand-Yourself.com, which helped students and young professionals manage their reputation and personal brands online. The best class he has ever taken.

Trace Cohen is a serial entrepreneur in NYC and now...

Trace Cohen

New York Venture Partners

Zach Riedy

Position: Technology Crossover Ventures

Zach Riedy is a technology investor at TCV, a $15B+ growth equity fund based in Silicon Valley with additional offices in New York and London. Previously, Zach worked in the technology investment banking group at William Blair in Chicago. Zach joined BUILD’s Associate Board in early 2019. Zach received a B.S.B.A. in Finance and Economics with honors from Ohio State University and studied at the London School of Economics.

Zach Riedy is a technology investor at TCV, a $15B+...

Zach Riedy

Technology Crossover Ventures

School Partners


BUILD NYC

Headquarters

205 E 42nd St.
New York, NY 10017

MAILING ADDRESS

1460 Broadway
New York, NY 10036

CONTACT

 

Email [email protected]
Phone
(646) 542-1847

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