Speakers – NYNB 19
Adrienne Scullion is the Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast. Previously she was the James Arnott Chair in Drama at the University of Glasgow, where she held a range of roles including Dean of Research for the Faculty of Arts and Senate Assessor. She began her career as British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow, then lecturer and senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow and as a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin. She has particular research interests in Scottish theatre and drama from the eighteenth century to the present; theatre and drama for children and young people; eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women playwrights; and, cultural policy, in particular in relation to Scotland and to cultural and national identity. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a previous recipient of the RSE’s Prize Lectureship in the Humanities. Adrienne was a member of the REF2014 subpanel for her discipline having previously served the equivalent role for RAE2008 Subpanel. She regularly serves on AHRC prioritisation panels. She has been a director of several arts-sector boards, including serving as chair of the Citizens’ Theatre Glasgow, and is currently a trustee of the National Library of Scotland and a lay member of the Court of Edinburgh Napier University.
Originally from Belfast, N. Ireland, Angela Kelly came to the US from the UK to serve as a full- time Visiting Artist at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago. Her art work is included in international collections worldwide, including: The Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; The Art Institute of Chicago; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; The Historical Society, Chicago; The Arts Council of London, UK, as well as several private collections. She has received grants and fellowships from The Arts Council of Great Britain and N. Ireland, the Arts Mid-West National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, the Focus Infinity Fund, as well as faculty development, FEAD grants from RIT and a Chancellor’s artist in residence fellowship from the University of New Orleans. Her curatorial work debuted at Hayward Gallery, London. She continued curating while the vice-chair of exhibitions at Randolph St. Gallery, Chicago. She has lectured widely on her work in Europe, Asia and the US. Currently a full professor at RIT Rochester, she has served on the executive committees of the National Board of Directors of the Society of Photographic Education, on the International Fulbright Photography committee in NYC, as well photography panels at NYFA, NY and the Arts Council of Gt. Britain.
In August 2011,while an artist in residence at the Burren College of Art,Ireland she developed research towards a new on- going body of work examining traces of the 19c. Irish famine in the contemporary Burren landscape. Titled, Lament,’ it juxtaposes the archeological remains of a famine eviction village, and a workhouse with images of the tides and the sea. Working in and around the Irish coastal and interior areas, each image in the “Lament” series re-presents a connection to a melancholic beauty and historical tragedy. When fully realized, this ongoing work will be the subject of future exhibits in Asia, the US and Europe.
Following this residency, in September 2011, Angela Kelly exhibited a new solo exhibition of her work, Catharsis: Images of Post-Conflict Belfast, at the Dali Museum of Photography, Dali, Yunnan Province, China where her work was nominated among 200 for the best exhibit. In October 2011, she chaired a panel presentation for the symposia,Photography and the Artists book in Manchester England, contributing an essay, Book, Exhibition, Website: Revisiting Catharsis, in Photography and the Artist’s Book, published by Museum ETC,August 2012, and re-published in 2016.
In 2012, she presented at the Family Ties conference at the Birkbeck Research Institute, University of London, and at the first bi-annual, photography research symposium, Alto University, Helsinki, Finland. Her artwork is included in Naomi Rosenblum, A History of Women Photographers, 2010. Her feminist essay, Self -Image: The Personal is Political, is published in the photography theory text book, The Photography Reader, Liz Wells, Routledge Press, Winter 2003. Her essay, Catharsis: images of post conflict Belfast is included in the international journal Photographies, Vol. 6. Issue I, Taylor Francis, 2013.
Solo exhibitions in 2014, include, pal-imp-sest, The Sunken Gallery, Wallace Center, RIT and Catharsis, the Mason Scharfenstein Museum of Art, Demorest, Ga. Group exhibitions in 2013, include, JanTichy, afterfront,” at the Chicago Cultural Center, and Jan Tichy works with the MoCP Collection, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago,House and Home, The Building Museum, Washington DC and Here and Elsewhere, at Cazenovia College, NY in 2012. In March 2013, she presented new work and research from Lament at the National Society for Photographic Education (SPE) in Chicago. Further, she presented elements of her Lament project at the American Conference on Irish Studies, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY in November, 2013 and again at the Irish Studies conference there, in 2018. Her scholarly/poetic paper on the topic, Sites of Memory Landscapes, was given at the 2nd bi annual Photo media conference at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland in March, 2014.
The first exhibit of Lament was created for the 1st Tianshui Biennale of Photography, Tianshui, China in 2016, and exhibited along with a new work, Mary Somerville, Lewis Hine and Me. In 2017, At the American Conference for Irish Studies. Ireland in Space, held in Georgetown University, 2017, she gave a paper on the topic of her Belfast work, Catharsis. In 2017, She was nominated for the Swiss Prix Picket International Prize in photography. Nominated by the Irish Voice as one of 100 US Irish educators,a selection of her work may be viewed at http://AngelaKellyPhoto.com.
Andrew is WIP’s Director of Communications, based in New York. Originally from Belfast, Andrew received an MA and MSc (in Psychology and International Politics) from the University of Edinburgh, with a focus on political activity within immigrant and diaspora populations. Prior to joining WIP, Andrew was a senior political advisor in the UK Parliament, managing the SDLP’s office in the House of Commons. He was awarded a Parliamentary Researcher of the Year award for his work on policy areas including international development and legacy issues related to the Northern Ireland peace process.
Ashleen Feeney, Director – Deal Advisory and Head of Business Development for KPMG in Northern Ireland. Ashleen has a background in infrastructure financing and has provided commercial and financial advice on over £1bn of economic and social infrastructure projects delivered in Northern Ireland over the last decade, including Belfast Rapid Transit (Phase 1), Belfast Metropolitan College Titanic Quarter Campus, Titanic Belfast and M1 Westlink. More recently, Ashleen led the KPMG team engaged by Belfast City Council to assist develop the Belfast Region City Deal proposal that secured £350m of investment from the UK Government in October 2018.
She is a Fellow Member of Chartered Accountants Ireland, a member of the Institute of Directors (former NI Committee Member) and was recently appointed Chair of CBI Northern Ireland Infrastructure Forum.
Becca Hume is Founder of TapSOS, a smartphone app that allows people to contact emergency services in a non-verbal manner. Becca graduated from the University of Ulster in 2015 with a Masters in Multidisciplinary Design and has completed British Sign Language Level 6. Becca is curious about users, behaviours and needs in order to design functional products for accessibility.
Becca is a ‘Global Shaper’ – initiative of the World Economic Forum – this network of under 30s working together to address regional and global challenges to play an active role in shaping policy, innovation, health, education and more.
Billie-Jo McDowell grew up in the Foster Care System in Northern Ireland. She graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a BSc (Hons) degree in Geography in 2016 and is currently studying for a degree in Social Work, due to graduate in June 2019.
Throughout her time at Queen’s University Belfast, Billie-Jo has engaged in a range of advocacy and policy development roles, as well as international opportunities,
including participation in the Washington Ireland Programme for Service and Leadership, Class of 2018. During her time in Washington DC, Billie-Jo interned with the Brady Campaign for Prevention of Gun Violence, completing service with a range of NGO’s and charities, and actively seeking widening her knowledge of the foster care system and child welfare in the United States.
I am a filmmaker producing documentaries about visual artists. And, as a painter this gives me in-depth insights into understanding the creative process, how artists work and the artists’ point of view. A primary interest behind these films has always been seeing artists speaking in their own words about their work, which gives invaluable insights into their work, and how they navigate the terrain of being as artist and who they have become.
The primary interests in my film subjects are those artists whose work has an affinity with ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM, a decisive period in the history of art, i.e. William de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Franz Cline. I film abstract artists who are working in aesthetic qualities related to this period.
The production list includes LARRY POONS, MICHAEL GOLDBERG, PAUL RESIKA, GEORGE MCNEIL, REUBEN KADISH, GERTRUDE BARRER, LARRY CALGANIO, RICHARDS RUBEN. And related are sculptors Peter Agostini, Michael Steiner, Clement Meadmore, William Tucker.
Screenings include the National Academy Museum, NYC; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Montclair Museum, NJ; the Portland Art Museum; Doc Labs-Hanoi. These films have shown on PBS and Public Television stations and in Europe. International distribution is through Chip Taylor Communications.
35 years’ experience in the Travel Industry serving both Tourism Ireland and Aer Lingus in a variety of management positions in several overseas markets.
Position: Vice President Marketing – USA / Tourism Ireland (New York) 2013 -Present
Position: Manager Southern Europe / Tourism Ireland (Paris) 2008 – 2013
Responsible for Tourism Ireland’s Marketing Operations for France, Spain and Italy.
Manager Northern Europe / Tourism Ireland: (Brussels) 2004-2008
Responsible for Tourism Ireland’s Marketing Operations in the Benelux and Nordic Countries.
Manager Australia & New Zealand: Tourism Ireland (Sydney) 1998-2004
I was charged with developing the commercial distribution of the Irish tourism product throughout Australia and New Zealand along with project work in South East Asia.
Marketing Manager North East USA: Irish Tourist Board (New York) 1997-1998
Ensuring all investment in Media, Business Tourism and distribution opportunities were optimal and in line with corporate objectives.
Passenger Sales Manager USA & Canada: Aer Lingus (New York) 1992-1997
I assumed responsibility for the marketing and sales budgets for North America whilst managing the sales force operations of our offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.
Passenger Sales Manager West Coast: Aer Lingus (Los Angeles) 1989-1992
I opened and managed the Aer Lingus office in Los Angeles in preparation for direct services from Ireland.
Booking Office Manager: Aer Lingus (London) 1987-1989
Aer Lingus Travel Shop, Regent Street, London.
Aer Lingus Dublin 1979-1987
Ground Operations, Passenger Services and Customer Relations,
Education: Graduateship in Marketing M.M.I.I. (Grad) (Marketing Institute of Ireland)
The new Chairman of the Executive Council of the Society is Brian E. McCabe. Brian is a member of a large and well-known Irish American family with a distinguished tradition of service in the political, legal, educational, building trades and cultural life of New York City. Brian enjoyed a long and accomplished career in the NYPD Detective Bureau as a detective and commander and was widely recognized for his service in the Irish Peace Process. He is currently a System Director with the Bon Secours Charity Health System and a consultant in investigative and security operations, creative and educational projects. Brian is now Chairman of the Executive Council of the Society, on which he has served for a number of years.
Christopher McCausland is Managing Director of McCausland Holdings, McCausland Airport Garage and Value Cabs. The family owed businesses have been trading in the city since 1920 and currently Christopher works closely with his brother, daughter and three sons. The companies operate Value Cabs, one of Belfast’s leading taxi companies and two car parks, one on the Grosvenor Road in Belfast and the other at Belfast International Airport. Christopher has 40 years’ experience in Business in Belfast and is passionate in promoting Northern Ireland and particularly Belfast as a tourism destination and a great city to trade.
Daniel Dromm has been a progressive leader in Queens for over 20 years. An award-winning public school teacher, Dromm was elected to the New York City Council in 2009 and represents District 25 (Jackson Heights & Elmhurst). He serves as the Chair of the Education Committee.
Prior to his election, Dromm was an award-winning New York City public school teacher at PS 199Q in Queens from 1984 to 2009. In 2006, Dromm was chosen as “Outstanding Teacher of the Year” by his school’s principal and in 2009, he was chosen as “Educator of the Year” by the Kiwanis Club of Sunnyside. He has also received the Marsho-Raimo Award from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).
Dromm is the founder of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee and has organized the first Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Festival, which he still puts on the first Sunday in June in Jackson Heights. Dromm co-founded the Queens Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG), as well as the Generation Q Youth Services Program in Astoria. He also helped found the Queens Pride House.
A fluent Spanish-speaker, Daniel has been honored by the Sociedad Puertorriqueña de Queens. He is a member of the NAACP – Corona/East Elmhurst branch and has also been honored by the Korean-American Association of Central Queens. In October of 2006, Dromm received a Community Leadership Award from the TimesLedger newspapers.
Daniel Dromm graduated from Marist College and earned his master’s degree at City College. He lives in Jackson Heights.
David is owner of DMC Contracts, a construction company specialising in wall and floor finishes within several sectors, such as rail and aviation, in the UK and Ireland. He started his career as an apprentice tiler, working with his brother in law throughout the UK and Ireland in 1990, starting his own company in 1999. Over the last twenty years, the company has grown to now employing forty-five office and 250 site staff, also including the purchase of the Tiling manufacturing plant where he got his first start in 1990.
Outside of work, David is heavily involved in a personal charity he helped set up in Belfast with one of his friends to help less fortunate youngsters to try to stop them sliding into antisocial behaviours like drinking on street corners and drug abuse. This football club started with a team of seven youngsters, they now have over 400 signed up ranging from four-year olds to an over 40s team, girls’ teams and a team for those with disabilities.
He is also involved with a homeless charity in Belfast city centre and is involved in a City Farm where the youth of West Belfast can attend and help the running of the farm. It allows all local schools to attend to let the kids get close to the animals. Due to its success they have now attained a government grant to develop the farm and charity further.
In life he is very open minded and will assist anyone who is in need if he can. He understands the importance of helping others, after being diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2015, it was the help of others that helped him get through it and today he is healthy and living life to the fullest, with many weekends back home in Belfast.
What, for you, is the importance of the global Irish and Scots Irish diaspora and how do you contribute to its success?
It is key in engaging with the youth in society and the next generation of our diaspora, which is necessary in continuing to build a safer and brighter Belfast. St James Swifts contributes to that by providing the youth in Belfast with a safe environment to prosper and to give them somewhere where they can feel part of a community. The homeless charity in Belfast, Compassion Outreach, and The City Farm for underprivileged youth also contribute to this vision.
Tell us how you connect to Belfast:
Born and bread in West Belfast, I still call it home. I return on a monthly basis to catch up with family and friends and enjoy a pint or two in my local haunt, The Rock Bar on the Falls Road, with all my old friends.
You know you’ve got Belfast heritage when…
you get a large tattoo on your back of some of Belfast’s finest land marks (It bloody hurt).
Born in 1971, Donovan Wylie is a photographer and filmmaker based in his native Belfast. Exploring alternative strategies for the representation of conflict, Wylie combines conceptual and typological approaches, and asks us to consider the role of photography within the contexts of preservation, memory and history. Wylie is Professor of Photography at Ulster University, and his work is held in numerous public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. Wylie’s books include Maze (2009), Outposts (2011), North Warning System (2014) and Housing Plans for the Future (2018).
Chairperson & Co-Founder, 21 in’ 21 Initiative
I am the project worker on the Community Transformation Initiative at the Market Development Association (MDA), leading on community engagement and organising, training, education and economic development, including the Market Tunnels Project and Market Travel Centre. I hold a degree in Politics (BSc) from Ulster University and an MA in Violence, Terrorism and Security from Queens’ University, Belfast (QUB). As well as my work at the MDA, I am vice-chair of the Pangur Bán Literary & Cultural Society and the community co-investigator on the Creatively Connecting Civil Rights project at QUB.
For over 20 years, Gerald Hanweck, CEO and founder of Hanweck, has been at the forefront of derivatives research, strategy and technology innovation. Prior to founding Hanweck, he spent ten years with JPMorgan, where he served as Chief Equity Derivatives Strategist and led the bank’s U.S. Fixed-Income Derivatives Strategy team. Earlier in his career, he worked as a derivatives researcher at Discount Corporation of New York Futures, and as a software developer at Microsoft.
A frequent industry speaker, Mr. Hanweck has also taught master’s-level business courses at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago, in addition to dozens of seminars on financial derivatives. Mr. Hanweck holds a PhD in managerial economics and decision science from the Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University, and an AB in mathematics from Princeton University.
Geraldine Hughes received the Los Angeles Ovation, Garland and Drama Critics Circle Awards and a Drama League Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance for her solo play Belfast Blues, which she also wrote. Stage credits include Jerusalem opposite Mark Rylance after (Broadway & West End productions.) Other theatre credits include: Particle Of Dread (opposite Stephen Rea), Cyrano De Bergerac (Broadway), Translations (Broadway), Molly Sweeney (Irish Repertory Theatre), Pumpgirl (MTC), ), Orson’s Shadow, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Weir, The Architect. Television credits include: Kevin Can Wait,The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, Nurse Jackie, Mercy, The Good Wife, Law and Order CI, Law & Order SVU, Law & Order, Murder, She Wrote: The Celtic Riddle, ER. She has starred in several features including The Book Of Henry, Gran Torino, Rocky Balboa, Time Out Of Mind and Killing Lincoln. Geraldine received an honorary doctorate from Queens University, Belfast for her contribution to the arts. She is currently appearing in Harry Potter and The Cursed Child on Broadway.
Gordon McElroy is a Director at MKB Law and oversees the Commercial and Corporate business of the firm. As one of the founding partners of MKB Law in 2003, Gordon is delighted to have been it grow and flourish alongside the Belfast business community.
Over the years Gordon has undertaken some of the most extensive commercial site assembly and development schemes in Northern Ireland and advised on all legal aspects, including planning, of those schemes. As such Gordon has become a trusted advisor to many local businesses throughout Belfast and Northern Ireland.
In 2016 Gordon was elected as President of the Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce. During his term the Chamber launched the “Belfast Manifesto” setting out plans for the immediate future of Belfast and serving as a blueprint for the city for the next 10 years.
As chief financial officer, Jack is responsible for providing strategic leadership to the Finance Department while also working closely with MRP’s parent company, First Derivatives, on corporate-level priorities. As MRP’s senior representative in Belfast, Jack works closely with the office of over 200 sales and marketing professionals focused on creating value for EMEA-R clients, developing future MRP leaders, and growing the overall operation. He is also a valued contributor to efforts aimed at bringing in new investors to Belfast and at strengthening Belfast’s profile as a great international business city.
Jack earned his MBA from the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business. Prior to this he spent seven years at Johnson & Johnson where he held roles in finance, marketing, and business development. Jack was recognized as a Visionary Leader by J&J Senior Management for his contributions to the company and his success in forging strategic alliances to support high potential products. Jack graduated from La Salle University with a bachelor of science in finance and accounting. Outside of the office, he remains active with his alma mater, along with a number of organizations committed to the betterment of Ireland.
Jayne joined Kernel Capital 2013 having held a Senior Executive role in Kernel Capital portfolio company since 2007. Jayne’s investment focus is ICT, Telecoms and Engineering. Jayne is currently Chairman of the Institute of Engineering and Technology in Northern Ireland (2013/2014), and holds and has held a number of advisory and board roles with organisations focused on economic and social development.Jayne’s career has involved leadership positions with both multinationals and start-ups, across a variety of operational and executive roles. Jayne has lived and worked in culturally and politically complex environments in a variety of global locations including Europe, China, India and North America. Roles have included international sales, business development, corporate due diligence and ownership of a range of cross functional technical projects of scale.
Jennifer M. Frankola
Jennifer Frankola is an associate in the litigation department and part of the Special Education Group. Jennifer’s practice is dedicated to representing the educational needs of all children and in particular children with special needs and their families at CSE meetings and throughout the administrative hearing process, appeals, and related proceedings.
A former full time public school teacher in the Bronx, Jennifer cares about her clients and families and understands the complexities of the education system. With a hands on approach, she takes the time to understand her clients’ goals and will create a strategy to best achieve their objectives.
Jennifer is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law and was a member of the New York City Law Review and teaching assistant for Constitutional Law. While in law school, Jennifer interned for the Honorable Ronald L. Ellis in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. At graduation, she was honored by the National Association of Women Lawyers.
Jennifer is a 2002-2004 alumna of the New York City Teacher Fellowship. In 2005, she was awarded the Joseph Doherty Civil Rights Fellowship for her human rights work in Durban, South Africa. In 2006, she was selected as a Project Equity Fellow for her work at Advocates for Children of New York, Inc. In 2012, she was honored as Ambassador of the Irish Echo’s Top 40 Under 40 for her work and commitment to civil rights. She is active in the New York and Long Island chapters of the Brehon Law Society and sits on the Junior Board of Nazareth Housing–a New York City non-profit dedicted to homeless prevention. She is a member of the Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA) and the Summit School Business Advisory Board.
Prior to joining Lewis Johs, Jennifer worked at a small law firm in New York City advocating for parents of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. She was involved in working on matters for the Autism Speaks Federal Legal Appeals Project where she assisted in drafting briefs for various cases including the case Student X v. New York City Department of Education(E.D.N.Y. 2008) and the Forest Grove v. T.A. (2009) case to the United States Supreme Court.
Jennifer holds a Masters degree in Education from New York University and a Bachelors degree from Manhattan College. Jennifer is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and in the federal courts of the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. An avid hockey enthusiast, she is a die hard New York Islanders fan.
Lord Mayor, Councillor John Finucane
Councillor John Finucane was elected to office on 21 May 2019.
Councillor Finucane was a newly elected member of Belfast City Council in the May 2019 Local Government Elections representing Castle DEA.
Duties and responsibilities
As Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane has a number of duties and responsibilities:
- presiding over council meetings and, in the case of equality of votes, he has a second or casting vote
- promoting and raising awareness of the council’s main objectives and priority issues
- encouraging and supporting all aspects of life in Belfast by attending civic and public events
- receiving distinguished visitors to the city
- acting as host on behalf of the council and the citizens of Belfast at civic functions
- providing an appropriate response on behalf of Belfast at times of local, national and international catastrophe
- supporting and encouraging charitable and other appeals as appropriate
- promoting Belfast’s business, commercial, cultural and social life
- promoting Belfast as a place of excellence in which to do business and as a tourist destination.
Addressing the Lord Mayor
If you are speaking in public and would like to welcome or introduce the Lord Mayor, the usual form of address is simply ‘Lord Mayor’. For example, “and so, I’d like to welcome Councillor John Finucane, Lord Mayor of Belfast.”
If you are speaking to the Lord Mayor in conversation, the correct title remains ‘Lord Mayor’.
John Lee is the Executive Director of Goodman Media International, providing public relations counsel for professional services, digital media and technology clients. Previously he was with TallGrass Public Relations, where he represented emerging technology companies and produced the CBS podcast “All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett.” Before that he ran his own PR consultancy, John Lee MEDIA, which included several Irish companies in its client mix. He also enjoyed a long run at the New York Racing Association, where he served as Director of Communications & Media Relations for America’s premier thoroughbred racing circuit.
John has served on the Irish Business Organization of New York Executive Board as Communications Officer, Second Vice President and First Vice President and as Chair of the IBO Board of Advisors. He was a long-time board member of the Irish American Writers & Artists and has been active in the New York New Belfast Conference and Ireland Day at the New York Stock Exchange.
John’s grandparents were from County Offaly, County Clare and County Cork.
John O’Donoghue is Senior Vice President and Director of Equities at OTR Global, a very highly regarded global primary research firm servicing the largest mutual funds and hedge funds. In a 30+ year career on Wall Street, John has run the Equities division at Cowen & Co (a mid tier Investment Bank), where he was a member of the Operating and Executive committee. He was head of Equity trading at Credit-Suisse and a member of the firm’s Global Equity Operating committee and prior to CS he was a partner at Schroders PLC. Whilst at Cowen & Co. John was instrumental in opening an office in Belfast in 2012, with particular assistance from Invest NI, the office still currently employs 50 people.
John still maintains extremely strong ties with Northern Ireland, working closely with both the Queen’s University and Catalyst-Inc.He has served and continues to serve on private companies and charities both in the US and Ireland. John is graduate of Queen’s University and is a trustee on The Foundation Board.
John Reilly is a trial lawyer who has served as lead counsel in federal trial and appellate litigation throughout the US involving antitrust, price-fixing conspiracies, monopoly, commercial and real estate disputes, RICO actions and class actions, as well as arbitrations in both US and global forums. In addition, John has been an arbitrator (including panel chairman) and counsel in numerous arbitrations involving commercial disputes, international disputes, maritime disputes and New York Stock Exchange proceedings relating to securities and other investments. He has also advised and counseled clients regarding joint venture arrangements in several industries, including airline and shipping, and with respect to re-sale price maintenance programs, as well as in grand jury antitrust investigations into the shipping industry. He has served as a monitor in the New York City Integrity Monitoring Program and in the NY/NJ Port Authority Monitoring Program.
Johnny Hanna is a Partner in KPMG and Head of Tax in Northern Ireland. He has over 20 years’ experience advising on Irish, UK and international tax issues for leading indigenous and multinational businesses across a range of Industry sectors. Johnny, originally from Newry, is a law graduate of Queen’s University, a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, a Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA) and former Council member of the Irish Tax Institute.
Fr. Joseph P. Parkes, SJ
Fr. Joseph P. Parkes, SJ, was appointed provincial assistant for pre-secondary and secondary education for the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces, effective summer of 2018. As one of the founders of Cristo Rey New York High School (CRNYHS), he served as president of the school in East Harlem since its opening in 2004. He has taught and held administrative roles at Ateneo de Manila High School in the Philippines, St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, N.J., and Fordham Prep in the Bronx. He also served as provincial of the New York Province, helping to build Loyola Jesuit College in Nigeria.
Dr Karen Winter
Karen Winter is a senior lecturer in social work at Queen’s University Belfast. She has over 16 years of professional social work experience having previously worked as a social worker and a team manager in child protection and family support and as a Guardian ad Litem.
Her research interests focus primarily on young children in care and their rights, relationships, experiences/views, their families and their outcomes. She has published widely in her area. Karen is currently involved in a national research project that is assessing the effectiveness of a book gifting scheme delivered to children in foster care and where there is an enhanced role for the foster carer. Her other research projects include collaborations with European partners, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Norway, Romania, Canada, Egypt and Vietnam.
Karen is engaged in community outreach. She is currently involved in a University widening participation unit (WPU) initiative focused on young children in care and involving students reading weekly to them. This project has been shortlisted for the finals of two competitions – one held at the University and one held by the Higher Education sector. She has been commissioned by several leading charitable organisations to undertake pieces of work.
Karen is a qualified practice teacher. She teaches criminal justice and court work to undergraduate students. The innovations in her teaching have led to Karen securing two Teaching Awards. At postgraduate level, Karen is the programme director of the professional doctorate in childhood studies and has been involved in developing a framework for the professional accreditation of doctoral level qualifications in social work. The new awarding framework is due to be launched in September 2019
Further details can be found here
Kristen began her marketing career with IBM in 2007 and shifted gears into the travel industry following the economic recession of 2009. Previously, she extended her education with a Master’s Degree in International Relations & Public Policy at Monmouth University where she honed her craft of public speaking. She has cultivated valuable relationships among top tier industry partners and travel advisors and focuses on driving revenue through all valuable channels of the marketplace. She was awarded first place with Travel Agent Magazine as Top Supplier Sales Rep of 2015 and won the gold Travvy Award in 2016 for Rising Star in Hotels/Resorts. Kristen leads the team with strategic maneuvers both on the ground and online which ensures all our clients receive top level bespoke services around the clock. What she’s known for? Top level training sessions that catapult our clients to household names.
Larry Kirwan was the leader of the Irish political rock band Black 47 for 25 years. A playwright and novelist, an Irish Echo columnist and host/producer of Celtic Crush on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, he has written 16 plays and musicals, three novels, a memoir, and A History of Irish Music. He is president of Irish American Writers and Artists. His play, Rebel in the Soul, finished a successful run at The Irish Repertory Theater, NYC, on May 21st and he is currently recording songs for his latest musical, IRAQ.
Mary Ann Pierce
Last year “Meetings & Conventions Magazine” named Mary Ann Pierce, founder and CEO of MAP Digital as one of “The Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry:” noting: “Pierce is ahead of the curve, as the rest of the industry now embraces data capture and analytics as the next frontier.” For 20 years, Pierce has brought the digital space to financial industry conferences and co-created with her clients, MetaMeetings, a secure and scalable event platform. She is forming Smart Venues, LLC which will embedded MetaMeetings and other best of service event tech within the conference centers worldwide.
Mary Ann Pierce sits on the boards of Digital Irish, Irish International Business Network-NY, the Cuala Foundation, and she is an advisor for Inspirefest. She has worked with J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, The Wall Street Journal, Novartis, Pfizer, and Havas. She taught at New York University and has been a speaker at “Masters & Robots,” “Evolve or Die,” PCMA Educon, and MPI Conferences. MAP Digital is certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
Maura Kelly is an Emmy award-winning producer and experienced media and marketing executive. Her career spans leadership positions in broadcast television at PBS/ WNET where she built successful media franchises and helped raise over $15 million for programs and EdTech initiatives — to working with top-tier media companies, such as The Jim Henson Co, PBS Kids, and the Tribeca Film Institute. Through her consultancy practice, Purple Mountain Media, Maura helps organizations and creators develop and launch projects and cultural initiatives that leverage creativity, content and technology. Her non-profit work has placed her in Ethiopia and Peru. Maura is on the Board of IIBN-NY and is an Advisory Board member of EdSnaps, a STEM based initiative for girls in the Bronx. In 2017, she was a senior advisor to LEAP (Leadership & Executive Acceleration Program) for women, and for three years served on the Board of NY Women in Film & TV, a leading association that promotes gender equality in the entertainment sector. Maura holds a Masters from NY Institute of Technology where she was also an adjunct lecturer. (@MauraKellyMedia)
A lifelong resident of Staten Island, Michael J. Cusick came to the New York State Assembly with valuable experience at all levels of government. Prior to his election, Cusick served as Director of Constituent Services for U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. His duties included serving as Senator Schumer’s liaison to New York State elected officials, as well as various federal agencies. In addition, he managed the day-to-day operation of the senator’s New York City office.
Previously, Cusick served as the Chief of Staff to former Staten Island Assemblyman Eric N. Vitaliano, managing staff and overseeing the assemblyman’s Albany and Staten Island offices.
Shortly after graduating Villanova University in 1991, Cusick began his career in public service as a Special Assistant to the President of the City Council. He served as the office representative for the Borough of Staten Island.
An active member of many civic organizations, Assemblyman Cusick has served on the Staten Island Board of Directors of the Catholic Youth Organization and the Boy Scouts of America. He was the Staten Island Chapter President of the Villanova Alumni Association, and is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, John D. Kearney Division 3, as well as the Staten Island Athletic Club. He also chairs the Handicapped Parking Task Force on Staten Island, working with community groups to address the parking concerns faced by disabled individuals.
Cusick’s outstanding work in the community has brought him honors from the Seaview Hospital and Rehabilitation Center and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of Staten Island. He is an honorary member of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 120, Richmond Engine #1, the Oceanic Hook and Ladder Co. #1 and was inducted into the Monsignor Farrell High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2007.
In Albany, Assemblyman Cusick has been a member of the American Irish Legislators Society of New York State since 2003, and was elected President of the organization in 2009, a position he continues to hold.
Since his election to the New York State Assembly in the fall of 2002, Cusick has worked to improve the quality of life for all Staten Islanders. In 2003, he authored a law creating a moratorium on building that made the Mid-Island Blue Belt a reality (Chapter 84 of 2003). In an effort to curb runaway development, Cusick authored legislation requiring notice to neighborhood landowners of an application to build on wetland areas. He also sponsored legislation assuring that Staten Island will never again be responsible for the rest of New York City’s waste.
A tireless advocate for his hometown, Cusick labored on behalf of Pouch Camp, a New York City Boy Scout sanctuary. He continues his efforts for this venerable Staten Island institution.
In 2008, Assemblyman Cusick created a program called the “Total Fitness Challenge” which encourages Staten Island students from grades pre-kindergarten through 8th grade to read and exercise during their summer break. A tireless advocate against childhood obesity, he challenges children to keep track of their activities and turn their score cards in upon returning to school.
On the legislative front, Cusick has sponsored numerous bills, including a law he authored in 2006 (Ch.566) that counters protestors at funeral services through the creation of a 100-foot “buffer-zone.” This law was enacted in response to funeral protests that were taking place at military funerals across our country. As these protests continue, Assemblyman Cusick passed two pieces of legislation in 2011 to further strengthen this law. The first bill increases the buffer zone to 300 feet around a religious service, funeral, burial or memorial service (Ch.528). The second requires the implementation of a permit process for such demonstrations (Ch.527). Assemblyman Cusick also introduced legislation in the 2011 Session to establish a real time drug prescription monitoring program that requires medical professionals and pharmacists to report and track prescriptions of controlled substances. These bills aim to link the medical profession with the pharmacies to combat the abuse of controlled substance prescriptions.
Another important piece of legislation Cusick sponsors is a bill that requires age appropriate dating violence education in the annual school curriculum for students in grades seven through twelve and age appropriate respect education and self-esteem education for students in grades kindergarten through six.
Assemblyman Cusick has served in the State Assembly since January 2003. In 2011, he was elected Chair of the Assembly Election Law Committee. He also sits on the Transportation, Higher Education, Veterans’ Affairs, Mental Health, Steering, and Ways and Means Committees. In addition, Cusick chairs the Legislative Task Force on People with Disabilities.
Michael J. Fitzpatrick
Michael J. Fitzpatrick was elected to the New York State Assembly, on November 5, 2002, representing the 8th Assembly District. Prior to his election to the Assembly, Mr. Fitzpatrick served as a member of the Smithtown Town Council for 15 years, from 1988 through 2002.
The 8th AD, within Suffolk County, is composed of the Town of Smithtown in its entirety and northern portions of the Town of Islip, notably the Islip portion of Hauppauge, and a portion of the village of Islandia. Assemblyman Fitzpatrick serves as the Ranking Minority Member on the Assembly Housing Committee and is a member of the Ways and Means, Higher Education, Agriculture and Labor committees. Mr. Fitzpatrick is an active member of the New York State Chapter of the American-Irish Legislators Society and is currently serving as secretary. Maintaining a presence in the private sector, whose vitality he strives to bolster as a legislator, Mr. Fitzpatrick spent 16 years in the financial services industry.
Active in the community, Assemblyman Fitzpatrick is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and past president of the board of trustees of the Cleary School for the Deaf in Nesconset, New York, where he remains an honorary trustee. He was a member of the Suffolk County Charter Revision Commission and the Human Services Committee of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.Assemblyman Fitzpatrick is a 1975 graduate of Hauppauge High School and a 1979 graduate of St. Michael’s College in Vermont, from where he received his B.A. in Business Administration.
Mr. Fitzpatrick was born in Jamaica, Queens on April 15, 1957 and raised in Hauppauge, Long Island. He is married to the former Lorena Herrera of Chihuahua, Mexico, with whom he has raised two children, Corina and Michael. The couple resides in the hamlet of St. James in Smithtown.
Standing committee assignments for 2017-18: Housing, Ways and Means, Higher Education, Agriculture and Labor. Member of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources.
Michael George is a partner with The Versant Group (“Versant”), a real estate focused asset management company. Prior to joining Versant in 2017, Mr. George served as a Managing Director of Fortress Investment Group LLC. Prior to joining Fortress in 2009, Mr. George spent ten years with Deutsche Bank where he was most recently a Managing Director in the Institutional Client Group with responsibility for the Bank’s largest North American clients. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank in 1999, Mr. George served as Co-Head of Mortgage Backed Securities Trading at Lehman Brothers where he started his career in 1986.
Mr. George graduated from St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge University with an undergraduate degree in Engineering Science and a postgraduate diploma in Computer Science. Whilst at Cambridge University Mr. George played Rugby for the University 1st XV for three years, ‘walking-on’ to the team.
Michael Sorkin is the principal and founder of Michael Sorkin Studio. His practice and work spans design, criticism and pedagogy.
Since 2000, Sorkin has been Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at City College of New York. His previous academic engagements include Professor of Urbanism and Director of the Institute of Urbanism at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Gensler Chair at Cornell University, Hyde Chair in Nebraska University, Saarinen Chair in the University of Michigan, Gilbert Chair in the University of Michigan, both the Davenport and Bishop Chair at Yale University, and professorships at the Architectural Association, Cooper Union, Harvard University, and Columbia University.
Sorkin is architecture critic for The Nation, contributing editor at Architectural Record, and author or editor of twenty books. His books include Variations on a Theme Park, Exquisite Corpse, Local Code, Giving Ground (edited with Joan Copjec), Michael Sorkin Studio: Wiggle (Works in Progress), Some Assembly Required, Other Plans, The Next Jerusalem, After The Trade Center (edited with Sharon Zukin), Starting From Zero, Analyzing Ambasz, Against the Wall, Indefensible Space, New Orleans Under Reconstruction (edited with Carol Reese and Anthony Fontenot), All Over the Map, and Twenty Minutes in Manhattan.
In 2005, Sorkin founded Terreform, and is currently its president. He is editor-in-chief of its imprint, UR (Urban Research), which was launched in 2015. He is on the board of several civic and professional organizations such as Urban Design Forum (Vice President) and the Architectural League of New York (Director). He is also a member of the International Committee of Architectural Critics.
Sorkin has been the recipient of several fellowships and awards. His recent awards include “Design Mind” from the National Design Award in 2013; and Fellow in the field of architecture planning and design from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in 2015.
Director at House Belfast. 32 years in the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland. Board member of Hospitality Ulster. Committee member of Institute of Hospitality. Senior Vice President BCTC.
Nick is an associate at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP where his practice focuses on commercial leasing, bankruptcy, litigation, and advising emergent companies.He represents national and regional clients in commercial leasing and retail property development, from the inception of lease negotiation to retail store launch. Nick’s broad civil litigation experience includes prosecuting and defending appeals, business torts, intellectual property disputes, real estate disputes, construction claims, bankruptcy avoidance actions, claims for disability and employment discrimination, and mass tort claims. Nick also advises emergent companies across all stages of development.
Prof. Paul Moore
Professor Moore joined the University of Ulster in 1999 and has since been active in the development of the creative arts/industries policy in the university. He was head of the School of Creative Arts and Technologies from 2008 to 2017 and has now been appointed as head of a new School of Communication and Media. He is a Director of Ulster’s Creative Industries Institute (CII). He was awarded a personal chair in 2009 becoming Professor of Creative Technologies at the Magee campus, and was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2014.
His research is focused on both the creative industries and the ways in which theory and practice can be brought together in research, training and education. Most recently he has been involved in various arts data research projects with national bodies such as NESTA in the UK. He has published widely in a range of journals/books and his practice has been exhibited in a number of commissioned gallery exhibitions in London, Coventry, Belfast, Derry, Lough Neagh, and the National Gallery of Namibia.
He was the Ofcom Content Board member for Northern Ireland from 2007 to 2013. From 1995 to 2004 he was also a board member of the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission and chaired the education committee which developed the seminal Wider Literacy policy document. In his spare time he is a freelance broadcaster with BBC Radio Ulster and has written and presented a range of documentaries for BBC national radio.
Pauline is the Vice Chair of the Irish Arts Center, New York.Born in Co. Down, Northern Ireland Pauline graduated with a B.A. Honors degree in Drama and Theater Studies from Trinity College, Dublin. Pauline was appointed Executive Director of the Irish Arts Center in New York in 1998, a position she held until April 2006 when she was appointed Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.Founded in 1972, the Irish Arts Center is a multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to promoting a dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America of the 21st Century. Irish Arts Center, under the direction of Executive Director Aidan Connolly since 2007, has been working with the City and State of New York, the Irish Government, and private donors towards the development of a new state-of-the-art Irish Arts Center, and to-date $60.5 million has been raised towards this historic project.In 2008 Pauline was selected as one of the Irish American Magazine’s Top 100 Irish Americans, the Irish Echo Newspaper’s Top 40 Under 40, and one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Irish America by the Irish Voice Newspaper. In 2009 Pauline received the Michael Smurfit Leadership Award, presented by the Irish Chamber of Commerce USA (ICCUSA), and was one of the 2009 recipients of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for her work in preserving and promoting Irish culture in the U.S. In 2016 Pauline was recognised as one of the Top 50 Power women in Irish America by Irish America Magazine.
Rajesh Rana is Director of Andras House ltd, which is Belfast largest hotel group and an established property development company.
Rajesh trained as an architect at Oxford School of Architecture, and specialised in urban design. He worked in this field across the UK and Ireland, and produced the original Development Framework for Titanic Quarter while working at Turley Associates.
At Andras House, Rajesh is responsible for hotel operations and property development. The company, which was established by his father, Lord Rana, owns and operates six hotels and serviced apartments sites in the city. The group is about to open its seventh hotel, Hampton by Hilton Belfast City Centre, which will be the first Hampton on the island of Ireland. Andras is also extending and refurbishing two of its existing hotels, bring the total room count of the group to 1000.
Rajesh is working on plans for a new hotels in Portrush and Derry, major grade A offices in Belfast and further projects in Belfast.
Rajesh is currently Senior Vice President of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce. He is actively involved in the development community has been responsible for bringing together a group of stakeholders and community groups in the south west of the city centre, with the purpose of coordinating major capital projects that are planned for the area.
Rajesh is married to Olivia, a writer, and has two children.
Richard Cushnie is First Secretary and Deputy Director at the Northern Ireland Bureau. His role is to promote Northern Irish interests in the US and Canada, including building relationships of mutual benefit, monitoring policy developments, and supporting inward visits as well as visits to Northern Ireland by American and Canadian contacts. Richard also supports InvestNI and Tourism Ireland in highlighting the significant business and tourism opportunities in Northern Ireland.
Richard brings extensive political, policy and leadership experience to the role. Previous posts within the civil service have included political and policing transformation in the Northern Ireland Office, leading major reform projects in Northern Ireland’s Departments of Education and Justice, and a secondment to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (where he was First Secretary in Dublin for four years and Director of Communications for the historic State Visit to Ireland by the Queen). Richard has also worked in the Irish Department of Justice, providing policy advice to Ministers on equality issues. Before joining the civil service he was a journalist in the North West of England.
A native of Killyleagh in Northern Ireland’s beautiful Strangford Lough area, Richard has a degree in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. He is married with two children.
Robert W. Walsh
Rob Walsh serves as the Executive Director of the HELP USA Fund, an organization that has grown to become one of the nation’s largest homeless service providers and low income housing developers. HELP serves at-risk populations, including families, veterans, and victims of domestic violence. From January 2002 to December 2013, he served in the Bloomberg Administration as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). During his twelve year tenure, he reshaped SBS to become one of the city’s most innovative agencies in serving the needs of its 200,000 small businesses. Walsh re-energized the City’s 73 business improvement districts and created an award-winning commercial revitalization and neighborhood leadership program. Under his leadership, NYC Business Solutions Centers were established throughout the City and he introduced NYC Business Express an online tool for the license, permit, tax, and incentive information businesses need to operate. He created a wide array of entrepreneurial courses and built a new business-focused approach to the workforce system that placed nearly 200,000 people during his tenure.
Prior to his service with the city, Walsh served as President of Charlotte Center City Partners in North Carolina, an organization dedicated to improving and growing Charlotte’s central business district. He led the Charlotte Center City 2010 Master Plan that laid the groundwork for significant private and public investments in the city. He initiated the recruitment efforts that attracted Johnson & Wales University to the City.
From 1989 to April 1997, he led the Union Square Partnership, where he played an instrumental role in the neighborhood’s revitalization. During the 1980’s, he worked in the administration of Mayor Ed Koch. He began his career in public service as a New York City Urban Fellow, a program he later directed. Walsh holds a Bachelors in Political Science and Masters in Public Affairs from Fordham University. He participated in the Senior Executive Program in State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. He currently teaches in the Baruch School of Public Affairs where he directed the Executive Masters in Public Administration Program for two years. In addition, he is an on-air personality for 1010 WINS Radio and does a segment called “The Bottom Line for Small Business” which airs every Monday and Friday. He is also the host of the 1010 WINS Small Business Challenge.
Sophie Colgan is the Events & Marketing Coordinator at the American Irish Historical Society. The AIHS, located in a beautiful and historic landmark townhouse on Fifth Avenue, is a national center of Scholarship & Public education. Considered by many as the home of the transatlantic Irish experience, celebrated in lectures, concerts, exhibitions, plays and networking events. The wide variety of cultural and scholarly events celebrate the renaissance of the Irish in American, what they have contributed and what they continue to achieve in the U.S.
Sophie hails from Lisnacree, County Down and moved to New York in 2014 after graduating from Ulster University Jordanstown with a BA (Hons) in Public Relations and Communication. Sophie was the New York Rose of Tralee in 2015 and travelled to Ireland for the festival representing Irish Charity Pieta House. In 2017 Sophie was honoured by the Irish Echo “Top 40 Under 40” young professionals in their respective fields of work, and was picked as one of the top 3. Sophie is a gael playing both Gaelic and Camogie, she represented New York in the Etihad World Games in Dublin and is the Captain of Manhattan Gaels Ladies football team. Sophie created the Society’s first official Young Leaders Program called “Success In the City” which connects professionals to develop both personally and professionally through a series of events at AIHS.
Suzanne Aquino global Category Manager specializing in Outsourcing and Offshoring with Chain IQ, an independent, global service company providing strategic, tactical and operational procurement for its clients.
As a Global Category Manager Suzanne advises her clients on new ways to create value for their customers in an environment of rapidly changing technology, advancing automation and an increasingly customer experience driven economy.
Prior to joining Chain IQ, Suzanne spent 15 years at UBS where she led strategic sourcing teams responsible for establishing and executing on the bank’s sourcing strategy, identifying opportunities for spend reduction, cost optimization, process improvement and ensuring the effective transition, execution and sustainable performance of the bank’s outsourced portfolios.
Suzanne was born in Belfast and currently resides with her husband in Manhattan. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Marketing and is an active member of the Irish Business Organization.
Thomas P. DiNapoli
Thomas P. DiNapoli is the 54th Comptroller of the State of New York. A life-long Long Islander, Tom was raised in a middle-class, union household and saw the value of hard work and stretching every dollar in the example set by his parents.
In 1972, Tom won his first election and served as a trustee on the Mineola Board of Education, becoming the first 18-year-old in New York State to hold public office. He attended Hofstra University, earning a bachelor’s degree in history and graduated magna cum laude in 1976. He worked in the telecommunications industry for 10 years, and went to night classes and earned a master’s degree from The New School University’s Graduate School of Management and Urban Professions.
In 1986, he ran for the New York State Assembly and was elected to represent the 16th District in northwestern Nassau County for the next 20 years. Tom was elected State Comptroller on Feb. 7, 2007 by a bipartisan majority of the State Legislature. He was elected Comptroller by New York’s voters in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Tom is known for his integrity, independence and even-keeled leadership.
His record of accomplishments include identifying billions in waste, fraud and cost savings in government, uncovering corruption in State and local governments, leading to dozens of arrests and tens of millions in restitution, providing robust oversight of school district operations and education spending, successfully advocating for State law changes to increase oversight of special education contractors after widespread abuse was found, developing an early warning system to identify municipalities and school districts showing signs of fiscal stress, managing the third largest public pension fund in the nation through difficult losses during the Great Recession, reformed how it operates and received high praise for industry leading standards, investing nearly $2 billion in private equity and loan programs to benefit New York-based businesses and provide a return to the State pension fund, earning a reputation as one of the leading shareholder voices on many corporate concerns including environmental issues and corporate political spending, opening up government spending on his transparency website Open Book New York, leading the fight for prudent fiscal and procurement reforms to help New York change how it does business and put it on better fiscal footing, and streamlining claims process for individuals to recover lost money. Returned $424 million in unclaimed funds to owners in State Fiscal Year 2016-2017.