ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Meet the group of workforce leaders guiding the priorities and goals of The Hub.

David Bolotsky

Founder & CEO, Uncommon Goods

Dave Bolotsky founded Uncommongoods L.L.C. in 1999 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Bolotsky spent twelve years as a retail research analyst for Goldman, Sachs & Co. He is a Member of the Board of Advisors of Comprehensive Development, Inc. (CDI), a non-profit organization that works with an innovative NYC public high school to provide tutoring, legal and medical advice, job placement, and homelessness prevention to its student body, which consists of 17-22 year-old students who are either previous drop-outs or recent immigrants to the U.S. Mr. Bolotsky graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he managed the school’s record store.

Dave Bolotsky founded Uncommongoods L.L.C. in 1999 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Bolotsky spent twelve years as a retail research analyst for Goldman, Sachs & Co. He is a Member of the Board of Advisors of Comprehensive Development, Inc. (CDI), a non-profit organization that works with an innovative NYC public high school to provide tutoring, legal and medical advice, job placement, and homelessness prevention to its student body, which consists of 17-22 year-old students who are either previous drop-outs or recent immigrants to the U.S. Mr. Bolotsky graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he managed the school’s record store.

Sean Cullen

Sustainability and Community Partner, UncommonGoods

Sean Cullen is the Sustainability and Community Partner at Brooklyn-based e-retailer, UncommonGoods; a company devoted to showing by example how business can be used as a force for good. In this role, Sean works on initiatives and oversees projects dedicated to making a positive impact in both internal and external communities as well as the environment.  He has a background in leadership theory and community development that he is looking forward to putting to use as a member of the Advisory Committee for The Hub.

Sean Cullen is the Sustainability and Community Partner at Brooklyn-based e-retailer, UncommonGoods; a company devoted to showing by example how business can be used as a force for good. In this role, Sean works on initiatives and oversees projects dedicated to making a positive impact in both internal and external communities as well as the environment.  He has a background in leadership theory and community development that he is looking forward to putting to use as a member of the Advisory Committee for The Hub.

Diane Edelson

Executive Vice President, Grant Associates

Diane Edelson has more than 20 years of experience in recruiting, job placement and personnel services. She is responsible for managing the company’s business relationships and business services in all Grant Associates offices. Ms. Edelson also manages all of the company’s administrative and operational activities. Prior to Grant Associates, Ms. Edelson held leadership positions at America Works, Forum Personnel and the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Queens College and a master’s in education from New York University.

Diane Edelson has more than 20 years of experience in recruiting, job placement and personnel services. She is responsible for managing the company’s business relationships and business services in all Grant Associates offices. Ms. Edelson also manages all of the company’s administrative and operational activities. Prior to Grant Associates, Ms. Edelson held leadership positions at America Works, Forum Personnel and the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Queens College and a master’s in education from New York University.

Blake Foote

Independent Workforce Development Consultant

Blake has been in the workforce development field since 1995 at the local and national level.  She is Vice Chair of the Foundation Board for CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and a Trustee of the Brooklyn Public Library. She recently served in leadership roles on the Boards of Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI) and Center for an Urban Future. She has worked at the systems-level in NYC since 2005 in partnership with local government, nonprofits, businesses, and foundations. She was Executive Director of the NYC Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and an Executive Director at the Department of Small Business Services where she managed the City’s large-scale recruitment initiatives in target industries and provided management support for Workforce1 Career Centers. Blake researched federal workforce programs at the US Government Accountability Office. She also launched and oversaw sector-based employment programs in several states with the National Economic Development and Law Center. She started her workforce development career as a trainer and counselor for homeless jobseekers and at-risk youth. Blake has a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School and a B.S. in International Relations from Georgetown University.

Blake has been in the workforce development field since 1995 at the local and national level.  She is Vice Chair of the Foundation Board for CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and a Trustee of the Brooklyn Public Library. She recently served in leadership roles on the Boards of Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI) and Center for an Urban Future. She has worked at the systems-level in NYC since 2005 in partnership with local government, nonprofits, businesses, and foundations. She was Executive Director of the NYC Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and an Executive Director at the Department of Small Business Services where she managed the City’s large-scale recruitment initiatives in target industries and provided management support for Workforce1 Career Centers. Blake researched federal workforce programs at the US Government Accountability Office. She also launched and oversaw sector-based employment programs in several states with the National Economic Development and Law Center. She started her workforce development career as a trainer and counselor for homeless jobseekers and at-risk youth. Blake has a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School and a B.S. in International Relations from Georgetown University.

Suzanne Foran

Vice President of Operations, Eckerd Youth Alternatives

Suzanne Foran joined Eckerd Youth Alternative as Chief of Program Services, Northern Division in 2016. She was recently appointed as the organization’s Vice President of Operations. She has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in workforce development. Suzanne has extensive knowledge of workforce legislation and was instrumental in the development and administration of the first Youth Opportunity grant administered through the United States Department of Labor.

Most recently, Suzanne served for 11 years as Northeast Regional Manager for Henkels & McCoy Training Services. Prior to this, Suzanne was retained by the U.S. Department of State as an expert service provider to conduct workshops in Vienna, Austria focused on the assimilation of 2nd generation immigrant youth. Suzanne has participated in various workgroups charged with analyzing and deciphering workforce development policy nationally most notably the Workforce Innovations and Opportunities Act (WIOA).

Suzanne currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI) in New York City where she is the chairperson of the Organizational Development Committee. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the City University of New York, Queens College.

Suzanne Foran joined Eckerd Youth Alternative as Chief of Program Services, Northern Division in 2016. She was recently appointed as the organization’s Vice President of Operations. She has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in workforce development. Suzanne has extensive knowledge of workforce legislation and was instrumental in the development and administration of the first Youth Opportunity grant administered through the United States Department of Labor.

Most recently, Suzanne served for 11 years as Northeast Regional Manager for Henkels & McCoy Training Services. Prior to this, Suzanne was retained by the U.S. Department of State as an expert service provider to conduct workshops in Vienna, Austria focused on the assimilation of 2nd generation immigrant youth. Suzanne has participated in various workgroups charged with analyzing and deciphering workforce development policy nationally most notably the Workforce Innovations and Opportunities Act (WIOA).

Suzanne currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI) in New York City where she is the chairperson of the Organizational Development Committee. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the City University of New York, Queens College.

Greg Hambric

Talent Acquisition Manager, Modell’s Sporting Goods

Since joining Modell’s, Greg has held various positions that have included Store Manager, Regional Training Manager and Field Human Resources Supervisor. In his role as Talent Acquisition Manager/Field Human Resources his responsibilities includes but is not limited to the hiring of store management and corporate positions, overseeing various company sponsored training and development initiatives, as well as supporting retail store locations with entry level and supervisory recruitment initiatives for the entire northern region. In addition he assists with various human resources and training related responsibilities for the company’s Distribution Center. Greg is passionate about community development and is involved with many initiatives aimed at the economic growth of youth in NYC and New Jersey. He has aligned Modell’s with a number of NYC initiatives such as DYCD’s Summer Youth Employment Program and Work Learn and Grow program just to name a few.

Greg Hambric is chair of the citywide Community Action Board (CAB) which is an advisory group to the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) in New York City, a member of the Barack Obama Green Charter High School Board of Trustees in Plainfield, NJ, board member for JobsFirstNYC and the NYC Youth Board/Youth Council. In addition he is a mentor, classroom presenter and judge for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization that teaches students in inner city neighborhood schools, the concept of owning and running their own business and was appointed to be a member of Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising from Iona College.

Since joining Modell’s, Greg has held various positions that have included Store Manager, Regional Training Manager and Field Human Resources Supervisor. In his role as Talent Acquisition Manager/Field Human Resources his responsibilities includes but is not limited to the hiring of store management and corporate positions, overseeing various company sponsored training and development initiatives, as well as supporting retail store locations with entry level and supervisory recruitment initiatives for the entire northern region. In addition he assists with various human resources and training related responsibilities for the company’s Distribution Center. Greg is passionate about community development and is involved with many initiatives aimed at the economic growth of youth in NYC and New Jersey. He has aligned Modell’s with a number of NYC initiatives such as DYCD’s Summer Youth Employment Program and Work Learn and Grow program just to name a few.

Greg Hambric is chair of the citywide Community Action Board (CAB) which is an advisory group to the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) in New York City, a member of the Barack Obama Green Charter High School Board of Trustees in Plainfield, NJ, board member for JobsFirstNYC and the NYC Youth Board/Youth Council. In addition he is a mentor, classroom presenter and judge for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization that teaches students in inner city neighborhood schools, the concept of owning and running their own business and was appointed to be a member of Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising from Iona College.

Lowell Herschberger

Director of Career & Educational Development Programs, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation

Lowell J. Herschberger has 20 years’ experience in youth and workforce development. As the Director of Career and Education Programs at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, he leads several innovative models to promote economic opportunity in the low/moderate income neighborhood of Cypress Hills / East New York in Brooklyn. He specializes in supporting young adults as they transition into successful careers. The programs include the COACH Young Adult Internship Program, the Youth LEAD program to help young people obtain their High School Equivalency Diploma, Building Works (a partnership with the Carpenter’s Union), Summer Youth Employment Program, Work Learn Grow Youth Employment Program, the CHAMPION Network Sectoral Initiatives in Transportation, Food Service, and Office Services, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and Cypress Hills Business Partners. Cypress Hills is home to over 300 small businesses many of whom are immigrant-owned. He first came to Cypress Hills from Columbus, Ohio, where he designed and implemented Teen Options, a program to prevent teen pregnancy. Prior to that role, he served in vocational rehabilitation at Columbus Area Community Mental Health Center where he first developed the passion for meaningful workforce development. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Social Work from Ohio State University and Cedarville University.

Lowell J. Herschberger has 20 years’ experience in youth and workforce development. As the Director of Career and Education Programs at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, he leads several innovative models to promote economic opportunity in the low/moderate income neighborhood of Cypress Hills / East New York in Brooklyn. He specializes in supporting young adults as they transition into successful careers. The programs include the COACH Young Adult Internship Program, the Youth LEAD program to help young people obtain their High School Equivalency Diploma, Building Works (a partnership with the Carpenter’s Union), Summer Youth Employment Program, Work Learn Grow Youth Employment Program, the CHAMPION Network Sectoral Initiatives in Transportation, Food Service, and Office Services, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and Cypress Hills Business Partners. Cypress Hills is home to over 300 small businesses many of whom are immigrant-owned. He first came to Cypress Hills from Columbus, Ohio, where he designed and implemented Teen Options, a program to prevent teen pregnancy. Prior to that role, he served in vocational rehabilitation at Columbus Area Community Mental Health Center where he first developed the passion for meaningful workforce development. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Social Work from Ohio State University and Cedarville University.

Lesley Hirsch

Director, NYC Labor Market Information Service

Lesley Hirsch joined the staff of the Center for Urban Research as the director of the NYC Labor Market Information Service (NYCLMIS), formed in 2008 as a joint endeavor of the New York City Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and the Center for Urban Research. The purpose of the service is to provide timely, accurate, and relevant research responding to the needs of the City’s workforce and economic development policy makers and practitioners. The NYCLMIS works closely with the WIB, the city’s Department of Small Business Services, and other WIB-served agencies.

Lesley has held senior research and evaluation positions developing policy-relevant research for over fifteen years, working with stakeholders to improve urban policies, programs, and practices. Most recently, she was the research director at the Education Law Center, a public interest law and advocacy firm representing more than 300,000 children who live in New Jersey’s poorest cities. As a CUNY doctoral student in political science, she taught theories of the policy process and New York City politics at City College.

Lesley Hirsch joined the staff of the Center for Urban Research as the director of the NYC Labor Market Information Service (NYCLMIS), formed in 2008 as a joint endeavor of the New York City Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and the Center for Urban Research. The purpose of the service is to provide timely, accurate, and relevant research responding to the needs of the City’s workforce and economic development policy makers and practitioners. The NYCLMIS works closely with the WIB, the city’s Department of Small Business Services, and other WIB-served agencies.

Lesley has held senior research and evaluation positions developing policy-relevant research for over fifteen years, working with stakeholders to improve urban policies, programs, and practices. Most recently, she was the research director at the Education Law Center, a public interest law and advocacy firm representing more than 300,000 children who live in New Jersey’s poorest cities. As a CUNY doctoral student in political science, she taught theories of the policy process and New York City politics at City College.

Faiza Issa

Director, Markle Foundation

Faiza S. Issa is Director at the Markle Foundation where she oversees strategy and operations for Skillful, the Foundation’s leading programmatic initiative. Previously, she worked for NYC government as Assistant Commissioner at the Department of Small Business Services where she led the agency’s Innovation & Strategy team. She also served as Director of Entrepreneurship Initiatives at the New York City Economic Development Corporation; in this role, she oversaw the expansion of the city’s incubator initiative and spearheaded other real estate and talent programs to support NYC’s entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. Prior to joining NYCEDC, Faiza worked at the Council on Foreign Relations and Goldman Sachs. She holds a BA from Yale University, a JD from NYU Law, and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Faiza S. Issa is Director at the Markle Foundation where she oversees strategy and operations for Skillful, the Foundation’s leading programmatic initiative. Previously, she worked for NYC government as Assistant Commissioner at the Department of Small Business Services where she led the agency’s Innovation & Strategy team. She also served as Director of Entrepreneurship Initiatives at the New York City Economic Development Corporation; in this role, she oversaw the expansion of the city’s incubator initiative and spearheaded other real estate and talent programs to support NYC’s entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. Prior to joining NYCEDC, Faiza worked at the Council on Foreign Relations and Goldman Sachs. She holds a BA from Yale University, a JD from NYU Law, and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Melinda Mack

Executive Director, New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP)

Melinda Mack is the Executive Director of the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP), a nationally recognized, leading non-profit membership association in the field of workforce development.  NYATEP convenes, educates, and develops workforce boards, business organizations, education and training providers, economic development entities, organized labor, elected officials, and government agencies to sustain and enhance education, training, and employment for all New Yorkers.

In her previous role, Ms. Mack was selected to serve as the founding Director of Graduate NYC!, an ambitious initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bring together the largest systems in the country; the City University of New York (CUNY), New York City public schools, New York City Mayor’s Office, and a range of external partners to dramatically improve education outcomes across K-12 and higher education. Ms. Mack has also served as the Senior Vice President for the New York City Workforce Investment Board (WIB), which oversees federally funded workforce development programing in the largest workforce area in the country.  Previous to working in New York City, Ms. Mack worked in Upstate New York at the local government level working in both municipal finance and economic development in Buffalo and Albany.

Ms. Mack earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY Buffalo, a Master of Regional Planning degree and a Master of Public Administration degree from SUNY Albany.  She is a graduate of the NYC Workforce Leaders Academy, Leadership Buffalo and the 2015 Senior Non-Profit Leadership Program at Columbia University.

Melinda Mack is the Executive Director of the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP), a nationally recognized, leading non-profit membership association in the field of workforce development.  NYATEP convenes, educates, and develops workforce boards, business organizations, education and training providers, economic development entities, organized labor, elected officials, and government agencies to sustain and enhance education, training, and employment for all New Yorkers.

In her previous role, Ms. Mack was selected to serve as the founding Director of Graduate NYC!, an ambitious initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bring together the largest systems in the country; the City University of New York (CUNY), New York City public schools, New York City Mayor’s Office, and a range of external partners to dramatically improve education outcomes across K-12 and higher education. Ms. Mack has also served as the Senior Vice President for the New York City Workforce Investment Board (WIB), which oversees federally funded workforce development programing in the largest workforce area in the country.  Previous to working in New York City, Ms. Mack worked in Upstate New York at the local government level working in both municipal finance and economic development in Buffalo and Albany.

Ms. Mack earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY Buffalo, a Master of Regional Planning degree and a Master of Public Administration degree from SUNY Albany.  She is a graduate of the NYC Workforce Leaders Academy, Leadership Buffalo and the 2015 Senior Non-Profit Leadership Program at Columbia University.

Paul Ortega

National Director of Training & Organizational Development, Swiss Post Solutions

Paul Ortega has more than 20 years of consulting, training and organizational development experience and has worked with Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries.  Paul’s professional expertise includes talent strategy and development, performance management, competencies, selection systems, learning and development, coaching, and leadership and management consulting.  He partners with clients to create organization change strategies to achieve sustainable solutions for critical business challenges.

As the National Director of Training and Organizational Development, Paul created and developed a training program that reaches 1600 employees throughout North America. Paul created training and development courses based off of a needs assessment process that helps determine the priority of changes in knowledge, skill, attitude and behavior that will provide the greatest impact on achieving our goals.  The goal of the Swiss Post Training program is to develop Leaders and Build Teams in order to provide optimal support to our clients. His approach is to teach our employees how our core value can be applied to both their personal and professional lives.

Paul holds a degree in education from the University of California Los Angles, an MBA from the Anderson School of Management (Organizational Behavior and Leadership).

Paul Ortega has more than 20 years of consulting, training and organizational development experience and has worked with Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries.  Paul’s professional expertise includes talent strategy and development, performance management, competencies, selection systems, learning and development, coaching, and leadership and management consulting.  He partners with clients to create organization change strategies to achieve sustainable solutions for critical business challenges.

As the National Director of Training and Organizational Development, Paul created and developed a training program that reaches 1600 employees throughout North America. Paul created training and development courses based off of a needs assessment process that helps determine the priority of changes in knowledge, skill, attitude and behavior that will provide the greatest impact on achieving our goals.  The goal of the Swiss Post Training program is to develop Leaders and Build Teams in order to provide optimal support to our clients. His approach is to teach our employees how our core value can be applied to both their personal and professional lives.

Paul holds a degree in education from the University of California Los Angles, an MBA from the Anderson School of Management (Organizational Behavior and Leadership).

Marjorie Parker

President and CEO, JobsFirstNYC

Marjorie Parker joined JobsFirstNYC as deputy executive director in May 2014. She was appointed as the organization’s President and CEO in 2017. She has over 20 years professional experience providing oversight of adult and youth services initiatives, and as an organizational consultant. She most recently served as the deputy executive director of programs at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT) in Brooklyn with broad responsibilities for program operations, organization infrastructure management, and strategic planning. Marjorie also held positions at the Research Foundation CUNY, New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), and The Valley, Inc. She serves on the boards of Unique People Services, Inc. and Reconnect Brooklyn​.

Marjorie Parker joined JobsFirstNYC as deputy executive director in May 2014. She was appointed as the organization’s President and CEO in 2017. She has over 20 years professional experience providing oversight of adult and youth services initiatives, and as an organizational consultant. She most recently served as the deputy executive director of programs at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT) in Brooklyn with broad responsibilities for program operations, organization infrastructure management, and strategic planning. Marjorie also held positions at the Research Foundation CUNY, New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), and The Valley, Inc. She serves on the boards of Unique People Services, Inc. and Reconnect Brooklyn​.

Syrine Reese

Head of Talent Acquisition, Healthfirst

With over 15 years progressive and diverse human resources experience Syrine A. Reese is recognized as a successful organizational change agent, “a builder,” mentor, community leader, entrepreneur, and mother of two. Currently the Head of Talent Acquisition at Healthfirst, which is a New York based, regional health insurance plan that is dedicated to serving 1.2 million members located in the downstate communities of New York; she joined Healthfirst in order to evolve the Talent Acquisition function and shift the organizational mindset of what it means to deliver high quality talent. Committed to developing leaders and creating a diverse and inclusive workforce, her philanthropic and humanitarian efforts expand beyond the corporation and into the communities of New York- which she considers home. Some of her most recent accomplishments include new and exciting partnerships with New York Urban League, The Network Journal, Workforce One, the National Association for Hispanic Nurses, Pierre Lee Group, and volunteering with organizations such as the Taproot Foundation, Williamsburg Community Center, and Harlem Hospital- to name a few, all while consistently providing mentorship and guidance to a multitude of aspiring leaders.

Ms. Reese recognizes that true success is not just measuring your personal accolades but dedicating and committing yourself to inspire and help others reach their highest level of potential.

With over 15 years progressive and diverse human resources experience Syrine A. Reese is recognized as a successful organizational change agent, “a builder,” mentor, community leader, entrepreneur, and mother of two. Currently the Head of Talent Acquisition at Healthfirst, which is a New York based, regional health insurance plan that is dedicated to serving 1.2 million members located in the downstate communities of New York; she joined Healthfirst in order to evolve the Talent Acquisition function and shift the organizational mindset of what it means to deliver high quality talent. Committed to developing leaders and creating a diverse and inclusive workforce, her philanthropic and humanitarian efforts expand beyond the corporation and into the communities of New York- which she considers home. Some of her most recent accomplishments include new and exciting partnerships with New York Urban League, The Network Journal, Workforce One, the National Association for Hispanic Nurses, Pierre Lee Group, and volunteering with organizations such as the Taproot Foundation, Williamsburg Community Center, and Harlem Hospital- to name a few, all while consistently providing mentorship and guidance to a multitude of aspiring leaders.

Ms. Reese recognizes that true success is not just measuring your personal accolades but dedicating and committing yourself to inspire and help others reach their highest level of potential.

Kelly Richardson

Managing Director, New York, Per Scholas

Kelly Richardson is the Managing Director, NY of Per Scholas.  In this role she sets the vision and strategy for Per Scholas NY, represents the organization externally, and leads the NY team to meet ambitious programmatic and fundraising goals.  She also ensures Per Scholas NY is an engaging and rewarding place to be for both students and staff.

Kelly previously held a program management role at Per Scholas, and several roles in workforce development policy and planning at NYC Department of Small Business Services. Prior to starting her career in workforce development, Kelly worked as a credit trader for Deutsche Bank. She holds a B.S. in Physics and Economics from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University.

Kelly Richardson is the Managing Director, NY of Per Scholas.  In this role she sets the vision and strategy for Per Scholas NY, represents the organization externally, and leads the NY team to meet ambitious programmatic and fundraising goals.  She also ensures Per Scholas NY is an engaging and rewarding place to be for both students and staff.

Kelly previously held a program management role at Per Scholas, and several roles in workforce development policy and planning at NYC Department of Small Business Services. Prior to starting her career in workforce development, Kelly worked as a credit trader for Deutsche Bank. She holds a B.S. in Physics and Economics from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University.

Linda Rodriguez

Head of The Fellowship Initiative (TFI), Global Philanthropy, JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Linda Rodriguez heads The Fellowship Initiative (TFI) and works on youth employment strategy for global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Prior to joining the firm, Linda served as an assistant commissioner for Capacity Building at the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), New York City’s youth development funding agency. For close to twenty years, Linda has worked in nationally recognized youth and workforce development organizations where she has designed and led programs, created resources, and produced papers, including an article in the Afterschool Matters journal.

Linda Rodriguez heads The Fellowship Initiative (TFI) and works on youth employment strategy for global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Prior to joining the firm, Linda served as an assistant commissioner for Capacity Building at the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), New York City’s youth development funding agency. For close to twenty years, Linda has worked in nationally recognized youth and workforce development organizations where she has designed and led programs, created resources, and produced papers, including an article in the Afterschool Matters journal.

Jennie Sparandara

Vice President of Global Philanthropy, JP Morgan Chase & Co.

As a Vice President of Global Philanthropy, Jennie works to implement the firm’s commitment to expanding economic inclusion in the Northeast US through innovative programs, research and by leveraging the firm’s vast resources and talented employees. Jennie’s investment portfolio focuses on workforce development, career connected education and career pathways. Jennie joined the firm in 2016; she was most recently the Director of the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN), a partnership between philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers in Greater Philadelphia that creates a collaborative space for developing and testing industry-led job training models. Prior to leading JOIN, Jennie served as the first Director of Human Capital Investments in the City of Philadelphia where she was responsible for the coordination of Philadelphia’s anti-poverty programs and workforce development initiatives, including the strategic realignment of the city’s workforce agencies. Previously, Jennie worked in the federal government and local and national policy organizations.

Jennie holds a Bachelors degree from Barnard College, Columbia University and a Masters degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University. She has served on numerous local and national boards including as a trustee of Community College of Philadelphia, and on the partner’s council of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

As a Vice President of Global Philanthropy, Jennie works to implement the firm’s commitment to expanding economic inclusion in the Northeast US through innovative programs, research and by leveraging the firm’s vast resources and talented employees. Jennie’s investment portfolio focuses on workforce development, career connected education and career pathways. Jennie joined the firm in 2016; she was most recently the Director of the Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN), a partnership between philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers in Greater Philadelphia that creates a collaborative space for developing and testing industry-led job training models. Prior to leading JOIN, Jennie served as the first Director of Human Capital Investments in the City of Philadelphia where she was responsible for the coordination of Philadelphia’s anti-poverty programs and workforce development initiatives, including the strategic realignment of the city’s workforce agencies. Previously, Jennie worked in the federal government and local and national policy organizations.

Jennie holds a Bachelors degree from Barnard College, Columbia University and a Masters degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University. She has served on numerous local and national boards including as a trustee of Community College of Philadelphia, and on the partner’s council of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

Valerie Westphal

University Director of the Continuing Education and Workforce Programs (CEWP), City University of New York (CUNY)

Valerie Westphal is the University Director of the Continuing Education and Workforce Programs (CEWP) unit at the City University of New York (CUNY).  CEWP plans, supports, and helps implement policy and programs focused on improving students’ knowledge, sector-specific skills, and workplace readiness.  The CEWP unit manages over $18 million in grants and contracts and includes the Office of Workforce Partnerships with several tech initiatives including the recently launched CUNY TechWorks – a collaboration of three community and the CUNY Tech Consortium with 15 colleges. CEWP also manages a large tech internship program for 500 students annually and provides technical assistance and support to Continuing Education programs at the 24 CUNY campuses. Valerie also has extensive experience developing and managing workforce development programs serving low-income and unemployed adults in the non-profit sector.  Prior to joining CUNY she worked with The Doe Fund, a transitional employment and housing program for the homeless and formerly-incarcerated, where she oversaw the establishment of educational services and occupational training in variety of sectors, as well as increased the involvement of employer partners.  She is a member of the Executive Committees of the Board of Directors of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition and the Career and Technical Education High School Advisory Council.   Valerie has a MS in Urban Planning and Management from The New School and a BA in Government from Skidmore College.

Valerie Westphal is the University Director of the Continuing Education and Workforce Programs (CEWP) unit at the City University of New York (CUNY).  CEWP plans, supports, and helps implement policy and programs focused on improving students’ knowledge, sector-specific skills, and workplace readiness.  The CEWP unit manages over $18 million in grants and contracts and includes the Office of Workforce Partnerships with several tech initiatives including the recently launched CUNY TechWorks – a collaboration of three community and the CUNY Tech Consortium with 15 colleges. CEWP also manages a large tech internship program for 500 students annually and provides technical assistance and support to Continuing Education programs at the 24 CUNY campuses. Valerie also has extensive experience developing and managing workforce development programs serving low-income and unemployed adults in the non-profit sector.  Prior to joining CUNY she worked with The Doe Fund, a transitional employment and housing program for the homeless and formerly-incarcerated, where she oversaw the establishment of educational services and occupational training in variety of sectors, as well as increased the involvement of employer partners.  She is a member of the Executive Committees of the Board of Directors of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition and the Career and Technical Education High School Advisory Council.   Valerie has a MS in Urban Planning and Management from The New School and a BA in Government from Skidmore College.

Faith Wiggins

Director, Homecare Education Fund at 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds

Faith Wiggins oversees the Homecare Education Fund’s grant and collective bargaining training programs, the Basil Paterson Scholarship Program, the Citizenship Program and the English as a Second Language Program. Faith has over 25 years of leadership experience in community development, finance, healthcare, and workforce development. Prior to joining TEF, she served as Director of Workforce Development at Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), a worker-owned home care agency, and was a founding board member and staff member of the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI). She is devoted to serving the home care sector, and to issues of social and economic justice.

Faith earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Affairs with a concentration in Psychology from Barnard College, Columbia University, and received a HUD Fellowship to complete a Master of Science in City and Regional Planning with a concentration in Community Economic Development from Pratt Institute. Faith is on the Board of Directors of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition and serves as an advisor to the National Skills Coalition’s Skills Equity Committee. Faith has been honored to serve as a presenter in many venues for a number of distinguished organizations, including the American Society on Aging; the Aspen Institute Domestic Strategy Group; the Center for Cooperatives at the University of California – Davis; and the Center for Aging and Translational Research at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Faith Wiggins oversees the Homecare Education Fund’s grant and collective bargaining training programs, the Basil Paterson Scholarship Program, the Citizenship Program and the English as a Second Language Program. Faith has over 25 years of leadership experience in community development, finance, healthcare, and workforce development. Prior to joining TEF, she served as Director of Workforce Development at Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), a worker-owned home care agency, and was a founding board member and staff member of the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI). She is devoted to serving the home care sector, and to issues of social and economic justice.

Faith earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Affairs with a concentration in Psychology from Barnard College, Columbia University, and received a HUD Fellowship to complete a Master of Science in City and Regional Planning with a concentration in Community Economic Development from Pratt Institute. Faith is on the Board of Directors of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition and serves as an advisor to the National Skills Coalition’s Skills Equity Committee. Faith has been honored to serve as a presenter in many venues for a number of distinguished organizations, including the American Society on Aging; the Aspen Institute Domestic Strategy Group; the Center for Cooperatives at the University of California – Davis; and the Center for Aging and Translational Research at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Ira Yankwitt

Executive Director, Literacy Assistance Center

Ira Yankwitt is the Executive Director of the Literacy Assistance Center (LAC), a non-profit professional development and technical assistance organization dedicated to building the capacity and improving the quality of adult literacy and out-of-school youth education programs. Ira has worked in the field of adult literacy education since 1993. Prior to becoming the ED of the LAC in December 2012, Ira was the Executive Director of Program Initiatives for the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Adult and Continuing Education, where he oversaw curriculum, instruction, and professional development for a program that served over 30,000 adult students annually. Ira is a longtime adult literacy advocate. He plays a lead role within the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy (NYCCAL), and was the chair of NYCCAL’s predecessor, the NYC Grassroots Literacy Coalition. Ira has taught high school equivalency, managed a community-based adult literacy program, and trained teachers and administrators. He served as the Director of the NYC Regional Adult Education Network from 2004 through 2007. Ira holds a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA from Oberlin College.

 

 

 

Ira Yankwitt is the Executive Director of the Literacy Assistance Center (LAC), a non-profit professional development and technical assistance organization dedicated to building the capacity and improving the quality of adult literacy and out-of-school youth education programs. Ira has worked in the field of adult literacy education since 1993. Prior to becoming the ED of the LAC in December 2012, Ira was the Executive Director of Program Initiatives for the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Adult and Continuing Education, where he oversaw curriculum, instruction, and professional development for a program that served over 30,000 adult students annually. Ira is a longtime adult literacy advocate. He plays a lead role within the New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy (NYCCAL), and was the chair of NYCCAL’s predecessor, the NYC Grassroots Literacy Coalition. Ira has taught high school equivalency, managed a community-based adult literacy program, and trained teachers and administrators. He served as the Director of the NYC Regional Adult Education Network from 2004 through 2007. Ira holds a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA from Oberlin College.