Cigdem Altay Binal is the Director of Business Development at L-SPARK, the only Canadian Accelerator that focuses exclusively on Enterprise SaaS and cloud start-ups. With the target of building Series A investable companies that will become global players in the enterprise industry, she acts as the New York lead for investor relations and business development. She also actively engages in the mentorship and targeted support of both the current and alumni companies. Starting her career in Nortel Netas in software design, Cigdem later advanced to electronics procurement and project management in Arcelik. She has worked in Turkcell initiating IoT SaaS business models. Cigdem holds a B.S. in Electronics Engineering from Sabanci University, EMBA from Bogazici University and M.S. in Integrated Marketing at NYU. She has also attended executive education for Private Equity and Venture Capital in Harvard Business School.
Komal Bajaj, Reproductive Geneticist & Chief Quality Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and Clinical Director of the Simulation Center
Komal Bajaj is an OB/GYN-geneticist who serves as Chief Quality Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and Clinical Director of the Simulation Center. Komal is an innovator in the fields of performance improvement and healthcare simulation. She is passionate about enhancing healthcare culture and delivery for both patients and staff across NYC.
Pamay Bassey, Global Head of Learning Platform and Professional Development, BlackRock
Pamay Bassey is the Global Head of Learning Platform and Professional Development at BlackRock. Prior to joining BlackRock, Pamay spent 13 years as the president of The Pamay Group, LLC, specializing in creating innovative educational environments. Pamay began her career at Accenture, where she designed and developed technology-enabled learning applications for Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies. Pamay also serves as Chief Experience Officer of the “My 52 Weeks of Worship Project,” through which she facilitates courageous conversations about religious, cultural, and interfaith diversity and understanding. She has written a book about her experiences: “My 52 Weeks of Worship: Lessons from a Global, Spiritual, Interfaith Journey.” Pamay holds a B.S. degree in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University and a M.S. degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University. She is also a graduate of the Second City Conservatory program in Chicago, which is an advanced study of improvisational comedy and theatre.
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Tribeca Shortlist
Monica Bloom is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Tribeca Shortlist, a a joint venture between Lionsgate and Tribeca Enterprises. She previously worked at Getty Images as Global Vice President of Integrated Marketing, a leading creator and distributor of award-winning still imagery, video, music and multimedia products. She has built brands that impact culture, as demonstrated in her leadership roles at SundanceTV and (RED). Monica led rebranding efforts at SundanceTV, ushering the network into a new era of scripted programming while shifting to an ad-supported and Nielsen-rated model. At (RED), Monica’s efforts helped generate over $185 million to fight AIDS in Africa, while simultaneously changing the landscape of conscious consumerism. Monica prides herself in giving back and is the Vice President of the New York chapter of Women In Cable Telecommunications, on the development committee of The New York Foundling and mentors mid-level professional women in her spare time. Monica received a Bachelor of Arts degree in design from Clemson University and is also a graduate of the esteemed Betsy Magness Leadership Institute.
Samra Brouk, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Umbrella
Samra Brouk is the Head of Strategic Partnerships at Umbrella. In her previous role, Samra was Director of Business Development, where she lead corporate partnerships at DoSomething.org, the global not-for-profit that empowers Gen Z and Millennials to take action around social causes. With 5MM active members worldwide, DoSomething.org is the largest member organization for young people and social change. She played a key role in securing funds from top brands, including ESPN, 3M, ABC-Disney Television Group, and Johnson & Johnson. Samra previously worked at the mission-based cleantech company, Recyclebank. While there, she managed strategic municipal accounts for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Before moving to the private sector, Samra joined the Peace Corps, where she led health education initiatives in rural Guatemala. Samra led district-wide trainings on classroom management and health education, and advised the Ministries of Health and Education on best practices of implementing health education curriculum. Samra holds a B.A. in Psychology from Williams College.
Marisa Buchanan is an Executive Director in JPMorgan Chase’s Sustainable Finance group, which provides internal and client-facing subject-matter expertise on the intersection of finance with sustainability issues, such as climate change, biodiversity and human rights. She helps to lead the group’s efforts to establish guidelines on environmental and social due diligence for financial transactions, advise on financing strategies that create environmental and social impact, coordinate the Firm’s public reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and engage with investors, clients, policymakers and NGOs on these efforts. Prior to joining JPMorgan Chase in 2012, Marisa spent 10 years working on environmental policy and energy development in various capacities in the private and nonprofit sectors. A California native, she a received a B.A. from Wellesley College and a M.P.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, Features/Lifestyle Editor, The Forward
Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt is the Features/Lifestyle Editor at the The Forward, and a widely-published journalist. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Salon, and Tablet, and she is a frequent contributor to Haaretz. She was previously the Director of Media Strategy at the Orthodox Union, the umbrella organization for the Orthodox Jewish community in North America. Avital is also an adjunct professor of journalism at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, and in her spare time, does pastoral work alongside her husband Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt.
La Neice Collins, News Program Partnership Manager, Facebook
La Neice Collins is News Program Partnership Manager at Facebook. She was previously a communications & advocacy adviser for the United Nations in New York where she worked on issues related to youth engagement and activism, sustainable development, the rule of law, protection of civilians, women’s rights and conflict and humanitarian crises. She has also worked for the United Nations in Geneva and Bangkok, focusing on multilingual and cross cultural communication on issues of international human rights law, climate change, economic development and social inclusion. Prior to joining the UN, she was an award winning television producer in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Berlin, Turkey and Iraq. La Neice is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and received her Master of Science degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Ilaria Conti, Exhibitions and Programs Director, Center for Italian Modern Art
Ilaria Conti is Exhibitions and Programs Director at the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York. Following her training at the Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi Project, MoMA, and Creative Time, she served as 2013-14 Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and as Graduate Advisor, MENA Contemporary Art History at the University of Rome La Sapienza. More recently, she was the Assistant Curator of the 2016 Marrakech Biennale. Her professional practice focuses on cultivating public engagement, cultural inclusivity, and decolonial awareness at the institutional level through the integration of curatorship, education, and strategic management. She holds an M.A. in Contemporary Art History and Curatorial Studies from the University of Rome La Sapienza, an M.A. in Visual Arts Administration from New York University, and sits on the Program Committee of ArtTable. *Ilaria is also a Catherine Hannah Behrend Fellow.
Maria Dautruche, Vice President for Foundation Partnerships, National Urban League
As the Vice President for Foundation Partnerships at the National Urban League (NUL), Maria Dautruche is responsible for foundation giving to NUL – the nation’s oldest civil rights organization dedicated to securing economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights for African-Americans. Prior to this, Maria was the Assistant Director for Foundation Relations at the Smithsonian Institution. Maria has raised more than $30 million for several causes including visual arts, youth development, and environmental and racial justice. Maria is a co-founder of New Voices for Reproductive Justice – a human rights organization building a social change movement dedicated to the health and well-being of Black women and girls through leadership development using a reproductive justice framework. She is also a past National Board member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Pratt Institute, Maria lives in New Rochelle, NY with her husband and daughter.
Alison Go is the Head of Growth at Chalkbeat, one of the country’s largest nonprofit news organizations. Previously, she built bleeding-edge technology across multiple industries. At Facebook, Alison was a product manager on local search, connecting millions of Facebook users with local businesses around the world. At Rent the Runway, she ran product development for the Unlimited subscription business, a disruptive force in the $621B women’s fashion industry. At Amazon, she built a pioneering integration between Audible and Kindle that the Wall Street Journal heralded as the new killer app for books. Alison received her MBA from the Wharton School and went to the University of Michigan for undergrad. In a former life, she was a journalist at U.S. News & World Report, the Boston Globe, and the San Jose Mercury News.
Aida Gureghian, Assistant Dean for Students, Graduate School of Arts and Science, NYU
Aida Gureghian is the Assistant Dean for Students at NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science where she works to create an inclusive, supportive, and engaging environment for graduate students. She is especially passionate about diversity, access, and inclusion in higher education. To that end, she develops and oversees a series of initiatives aimed at addressing the challenges faced by underrepresented groups at the Graduate School. Prior to coming to NYU, Aida taught History at Brooklyn College. She received her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA, her M.Phil from Oxford, and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She is an adjunct Assistant Professor at Brooklyn College where she continues to teach History.
Aliya Haider, Director, Head of Fixed Income Regulatory, Guggenheim Partners
Aliya Haider is the Head of Fixed income Regulatory at Guggenheim Securities. Prior to Guggenheim, she worked at major investment banks, including 7 years at JPMorgan Chase, as Senior Counsel for the Global Corporate Bank. In that role, Aliya helped build the legal infrastructure for the bank’s expansion into emerging economies. Prior to JPMorgan, she defended women’s health at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR). Prior to CRR, she was an associate at Heller Ehrman, LLP. Aliya has a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she was a Truman Scholar, an M.Sc., with distinction, from the London School of Economics, and a B.A., summa, Phi Beta Kappa, in International Relations & Fine Art from Columbia University. She lives in Manhattan with her young son.
Laura Heck is Director, Web Strategy at Accenture where she’s focused on the strategy and roadmap for Accenture’s web presence. Previously Laura was VP, Strategy & Business Development for NBCUniversal News Group Digital focusing on digital growth and distribution and prior to that, Laura led digital business strategy & operations for MSNBC Digital. And at Time Inc., Laura led Digital Audience Development & Analytics for the News & Sports Group and Business Development for TIME.com where she pursued new partnerships and played a key role TIME’s social media strategy and success. Laura received her B.S. in Finance & Marketing from the University of Delaware and her M.B.A. from the Fordham Gabelli School of Business.
Melanie Heller, Vice President and General Manager, Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg BNA
Melanie Heller is Vice President and General Manager of Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg BNA’s flagship legal and business intelligence product. In this role, she is responsible for the commercial strategy, growth and development of Bloomberg Law. Previously, she was Head of Market Strategy, a team focused on sales enablement, product development and brand awareness. Prior to Bloomberg, Melanie was a Legal Director at Proskauer LLP, where she assisted the corporate department leadership in managing the business operations of the department and a corporate lawyer at the law firms Clifford Chance LLP and Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP. Melanie holds a B.A. in English & Psychology from Washington University, an MPhil in Oriental Studies from Oxford University and a J.D. from Fordham Law School. She frequently speaks at conferences and events on topics ranging from the advancement of women in the legal profession to the changing role of legal technology. She lives in NYC with her husband and two children.
Ilana Jaffey, Director of Knowledge Management, Customer Care, The New York Times
Ilana Jaffey is the Director of Knowledge Management on the Customer Care team at The New York Times. Her team ensures that hundreds of agents have the information, resources, approach, and voice needed to effectively address customer needs. Previously, Ilana was the Director of Values & Impact Systems at Etsy, where she worked across the company to ensure that its mission and values were deeply ingrained into its culture, products, and business. She has also served as the Head of Global Education and Workforce Development at the Clinton Global Initiative and as a Manager in Accenture’s Talent and Organization practice. Ilana graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Marketing.
Adjoa Jones de Almeida, Director of Education, Brooklyn Museum
Adjoa Jones de Almeida is the Director of Education at the Brooklyn Museum. After graduating from Brown University in 1995, she received a Fulbright scholarship to research community schools and cultural identity in Bahia, Brazil. In 1996 she moved to Brooklyn, NY where she helped to create Sista II Sista (SIIS), a women’s collective dedicated to supporting young women of color in developing personal and collective power. In 2005, she earned her Master’s from Columbia University/Teacher’s College in International Education Development where she focused on popular education movements. From 2006-2013 she lived in Arembepe, Bahia where she co-founded a community based organization, Diáspora Solidária, committed to social & environmental justice, artistic expression and youth development. She began her work at the Brooklyn Museum in 2013 as Museum Educator. She was the School Partnerships Coordinator from 2014-2015, became the Museum Education Fellowship Coordinator from 2015-2016, and was promoted to Director of Education in November 2016. *Adjoa is also a Catherine Hannah Behrend Fellow.
Shijuade Kadree, Chief Advocacy Officer, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center
Shijuade Kadree is the Chief Advocacy Officer of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York. In this role, Shijuade is responsible for creating, implementing and managing the annual lobbying strategy on city and state levels to support the powerful programs of The Center, as well as manages The Center’s statewide advocacy and capacity-building initiatives for the LGBTQ community. Prior to joining The Center, Shijuade represented indigent clients, zealously advocating on behalf of parents entrapped in New York City’s child welfare system. This work lead her to creative legislative and policy advocacy at the New York City Council as a legislative counsel. In that role, she served as a liaison between Council members and the Council’s central staff, drafting and negotiating legislation in a variety of subject areas with a particular focus on governmental operations, housing, buildings and construction. Shijuade has also served as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow, working on access to financial education, products and services for low-income families, federal and state anti-hunger programs, as well as publishing a manual for state legislators, “Bringing Legislators to the Table: Addressing Hunger and Nutrition in America.” During graduate school, she received the ABA Fellowship for Minorities in Environmental Law and was named a Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys scholar. Shijuade is an alumna of Emory University, with a joint Law and Public Health degree.
Melissa Kivett is Senior Vice President and Strategy Officer at Prudential Annuities. As a member of Annuities’ Senior Leadership Team, Melissa leads strategy, business intelligence, communications, program management and space management teams. Leveraging over 20 years of experience in financial services, she has led teams in strategy, consumer research, communications, innovation, foresight and business development to help companies realize profitable growth opportunities. Previously, Melissa was the Senior Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at Assurant. She created a strategic investor relations role at Assurant, which was profiled by the Corporate Executive Board as a best practice. Melissa’s work was recognized by Institutional Investor magazine during the financial crisis in 2008 as the second most shareholder friendly company in the non-life insurance sector. Her approach to innovation and strategy has also been recognized by Innovation Leader magazine, as a powerful tool in enabling a new strategy and changing employee behaviors.
Edlynne Laryea, Global Director, Social Media, Johnson and Johnson
Edlynne Laryea is the Global Director, Social Media at Johnson and Johnson where she is the resident new media expert, helping the Consumer Brands understand how to adopt and leverage new platforms to better connect with consumers. A former strategy consultant and a member of the marketing team responsible for the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, she draws on her classical marketing training to help marketers make sense of the changing technology landscape. At J&J she designed and launched their award-winning social listening capability and launched the biggest digital consumer campaign in the company’s history for the 2014 World Cup. She has helped several Fortune 50 brands build out digital ecosystems. Edlynne speaks regularly on topics such as how to build the case for change and how using data can drive better creativity. In her spare time, she likes to try out recipes from Modernist Cuisine at Home.
Melissa Lavin is the Chief Reporting Officer at Belfer Management, a family investment firm focused on energy, real estate, financial services and certain consumer-facing businesses. In this role Melissa is largely responsible for financial reporting and treasury. Prior to joining Belfer Management, Melissa held an AVP/Controller role within the distressed debt group at Cerberus Capital Management and began her career within the Assurance team at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Following a climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro last year, Melissa has become passionate about improving African education and has recently become involved with Kilimanjaro Education Foundation, looking to expand her role over time. Melissa graduated with a degree in Accounting from Binghamton University, where she was also a member of the Division 1 softball team. She is a CPA in New York State and holds memberships with the NYS Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Melissa lives in Manhattan with her daughter, Jane.
Lindsay Moroney is the COO at Artory. In her prior role, she was the Vice President of Strategy and Operations at The Muse, the only online career resource that offers a behind-the-scenes look at job opportunities with hundreds of companies, plus original career advice from experts and career coaches. Over her time at Muse, she scaled the operations from 20 to 150 and beyond. Lindsay has her masters in Art History and prior to The Muse built the operations at the leading art website, Artnet. Lindsay is obsessed with creating great working environments and with her new daughter.
Sehreen Noor Ali, Head of Business Development, New Ventures; Kaplan Test Prep
Sehreen Noor Ali is a leader within Kaplan’s New Economy Skills Training practice area, where she heads Business Development and Corporate Sales for both Metis and Dev Bootcamp. Previously, Sehreen was with Noodle.com, a technology startup building an education search engine, where she collaborated with publishers to help parents make data-driven decisions about education. She also started EdTechWomen, a worldwide professional network that increases the visibility of women across the education ecosystem; for this effort, she was named Change Maker of the Year in 2015 by SXSWedu. In a former life, she worked at the U.S. Department of State and led the team that created first set of digital diplomacy tools to engage Iranian citizens. She received her Ed.M from Harvard Graduate School of Education and her B.A. from Brown University. She’s passionate about global workforce development and lives in New York with her husband and daughter.
Minh-Thu Pham, Executive Director of Policy, United Nations Foundation
Minh-Thu Pham is the Executive Director for Policy at the United Nations Foundation, where she leads initiatives to help the UN solve global problems and brings together diplomats and thought leaders to find solutions. She recently led UNF’s effort to help create the Sustainable Development Goals and taught international policymaking at Princeton. She was a strategic policy planning adviser to Secretaries-General Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon, working to reform the UN and improve U.S.-UN relations. Minh-Thu’s experience includes helping to rebuild countries after conflict, advocate for refugees, and combat global poverty. She is a Truman National Security Fellow, was selected a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the Advisory Council for the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, where she also received her MPA; she has a BA from Duke. Minh-Thu was born in Vietnam and lives in New York City.
Alexsandra Sanford, CEO at GZERO Media, A Eurasia Group Company
Alexsandra Sanford is the CEO at GZERO Media, A Eurasia Group Company. Previously she was the Director of Communications for Eurasia Group, the global political risk consulting firm. Since 2004, she has played a central role in building Eurasia Group’s external profile. In her role she oversaw the brand and communications strategy for the firm’s global offices, including media relations, digital communications and content marketing. Prior to Eurasia Group, she worked as a broadcast journalist for ABC News.
Amy Spitalnick, Executive Director, Integrity First for America
Amy Spitalnick is the Executive Director of Integrity First for America, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to holding those accountable who violate longstanding principles of our democracy. Most notably, IFA is supporting the landmark federal lawsuit against the two dozen neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and hate groups responsible for the Charlottesville violence.
Amy joins IFA with well over a decade of experience in government, politics, and advocacy. She most recently served as Communications Director and Senior Policy Advisor to the New York Attorney General. Amy previously served as an advisor and spokesperson for the New York City Mayor, and as Communications Director in the New York State Senate. She has also worked for a number of federal, state, and local campaigns and advocacy organizations, including as J Street’s first press secretary. Amy is a Truman National Security Project Partner, a New Leaders Council faculty member and former fellow, and the 2008 Dutko Fellow for Policy and Public Service; she was also named a City & State 40 Under 40 Rising Star in 2013. She graduated from Tufts University.
Elizabeth Gwinn, Communications Director, The Studio Museum in Harlem
Elizabeth Gwinn is the Communications Director at The Studio Museum in Harlem. In this role, she leads a broad range of strategies encompassing content production and distribution. Working with a communications team of four and a broad range of Museum departments, she oversees media relations, marketing, and branding; manages print and digital initiatives including the award-winning, biannual Studio magazine, studiomuseum.org and social media; and leads a cross-departmental editorial process to facilitate effective and engaging institutional messaging.
Liz received a MA in Museum Studies from NYU and a BA in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic. In addition to her ever-evolving work at the Studio Museum, where she started as Executive Assistant to Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden in 2006, Liz has worked as a Development Associate at the ICA Boston, Biennial Intern at the Whitney Museum of American Art and held numerous part-time, volunteer, temporary, and intern positions for artists and organizations including Exit Art, Performance Space 122, the Boston Lyric Opera, the Brooklyn Museum, Mierle Laderman Ukeles (artist in residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation), NYU’s Program in Museum Studies, Creative Time, and the City Reliquary Museum and Civic Organization. She received the American Association of Museum’s Public Relations and Marketing Committee Fellowship in 2010. Liz enjoys knitting, yoga, travel, and imbibing cleverly-named cocktails at museum restaurants.