PAN AFRICAN CHAMBER
CARLTON FIELDS JORDEN BURT
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Google, Senior Programmatic Account Manager
Sophie is a passionate digital marketer, with over 8 years experience in digital advertising working at eBay and Google. A born and bred Londoner, Sophie moved to New York in 2017 to manage Media & Entertainment advertisers. She launched the non-profit funding venture, 10×10, in the US market. 10×10 has the mission of funding and inspiring small non-profits trying to make incremental social change. Sophie earned her MA in Advertising and Marketing at Leeds University Business School after earning her BA there in Management and Marketing.
Amy is a managing partner at Lugh Studio, a design boutique studio in Brooklyn, NY. Amy’s career has focused on marketing, sales and product development at companies including Elsevier, where she served as Sr. Director of Integrated Marketing, as well as Donovan Data Systems, Seed Media Group and Gemstar.
Amy also serves as a marketing consultant and an adjunct professor at LaGuardia Community College. She brings to Geeks Rule her expertise in marketing and fundraising.
Pan African Chamber of Commerce
Camilla is the Chief Creative Officer of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce. A passionate advisor to organizations looking to improve the lives of underserved peoples, particularly of African descent, Camilla co-founded the Alliance 4 Development (A4D), a global advisory incubator that leverages innovation and cultural bridges to foster job creation and growth. She orchestrates stakeholder forums and tours all over the world to accelerate Africa’s innovation ecosystem.
She organized The Future of Work in NYC in September 2019 during the 74th UN General Assembly. Camilla also devotes her time and donates her strategic advisory services for philanthropies that drive diversity and inclusion for underserved communities.
SVP, Chief People Officer
Naveen is the SVP, Chief People Officer at Medidata leading all aspects of human resources including recruiting, workplace solutions, and diversity and inclusion teams globally. As a member of the senior leadership team, Naveen operates as a business strategist and trusted advisor, and believes that people strategies empower successful business outcomes.
Prior to joining Medidata, he was global vice president of HR for Juniper Networks for five years supporting 50 countries. In this role, Naveen led several companywide transformational initiatives including an overhaul to workforce planning process that saved over $200M in operational expenses to support reinvestment in strategic areas. Naveen’s career spans nearly 25 years at companies including GE, JP Morgan Chase, Experian and Amazon. Naveen also serves on a non-profit board for Geeks Rule and as a pro-bono account Director at Taproot Foundation.
Naveen earned an MBA from the University of Leeds, UK and trained in design thinking at Stanford University.
New Classroom, Senior Director of Instructional Support
Emily has spent her entire career in the education sector. She entered into the teaching force as a Teach for America corps member teaching first grade in the South Bronx. Over the years she has taught multiple grades within different school types. She spent three years as the founding Principal of KIPP AMP Elementary in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She joined New Classrooms in 2016, where she supports coaches in the field implementing their middle school math program. Emily received a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a M.Ed. from Pace University.
Global Head, Leadership and Management Practices; GS University
Kirsten is a Learning and Development Executive with a passion for driving organizational growth through people development. Drawing on her expertise in adult learning and leadership development, she has spent a large portion of her career working to improve organizational capacity in public school systems in both the United States and Latin America. She has held senior leadership roles with The College Board, the New York City Department of Education, Teach for America and Teachers College, Columbia University and worked as a management consultant for the World Bank Group and Mitchell Madison Group. Kirsten holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia, a Masters of Arts in International Education Development from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Masters in Business Administration from Yale University. She began her career as a special education teacher in Oakland, California and lives in NYC with her husband and two sons.
Samit is a 25+ year technology leader in the area of Data, Reporting & Analytics. He has a diverse experience in strategy & delivery of analytics and data initiatives aligned to business goals. He is currently Manager of Data Works at Google, where he is responsible for strategy and execution of data engineering practice covering data platforms, reporting, data science and advanced analytics.
Previously, Samit has had similar responsibilities at Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and IBM. He received his MBA in Management from Newport University, and a BE in Computer Science from the University of Mumbai.
Samit is a regular presenter at vendor and industry conferences, and has published a book, “DB2 Meets Windows NT”.
Managing Principal; IQM Search
Sam brings over twenty years of Human Resources experience as a Talent Acquisition industry expert. He has established partnerships in both industry and academia within the Financial Services sector. His track record of contributing growth and success for his clients, and creating best practices within recruiting, has brought him to the forefront of the industry where he is often sought out as a mentor within the STEM Talent Acquisition field.
His passion lies within STEM talent recruitment where he spent more than nine years working with quantitative leaders and led STEM recruitment for Bank of America, meeting the Bank’s constant demand within the Quant community of 1,800 associates. His academic partnerships have included such top tier institutions as MIT, University of Berkeley, London School of Economics, Oxford Mann Institute, Columbia and many others.
As a recent transplant from Charlotte, Sam and his family currently reside in Manhattan.
Vice Presidet, PGIM Investments; Prudential Financial
Stan is a versatile leader with a proven track record of success in leveraging technology and data to deliver business value. As Director of Corporate Functions Technology Stan provides leadership to drive innovation and the continued development of a robust and secure information technology environment throughout the middle and back office functions.
In addition to the technical leadership, Stan ensures the appropriately controlled environment thru governance, development of standards and policies, resource allocation, expense optimization, data and application management. Prior to CIT, Stan was in the Advisory Consulting practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) partnering with clients across industries on regulatory response, data management, and process transformation initiatives.
Stan earned a Master of Liberal Arts degree in Information Technology from Harvard University Extension School. He completed his undergraduate at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) graduating with honors with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Marketing. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Caitlin, their three sons – Andrew, Evan and Owen, and their two dogs, Molly and Hanna.
SVP, US Credit Trading; HSBC Global Banking and Markets
Tahsin Alam is currently US Head of Credit e-Trading at HSBC Securities, building and trading an automated electronic market-maker for corporate bonds. He was previously in a similar role at Deutsche Bank for three years. Prior to entering trading, Tahsin was a quant strategist for 10 years at Deutsche Bank, devising and publishing trading and investment strategies for credit across a variety of markets – IG+HY cash bonds, CDS, loans, and synthetic CDO tranches. Throughout his research and trading roles, he has blended fundamental and quantitative approaches to analysis that is particularly required in a less liquid and idiosyncratic asset class like credit. He has an MBA in financial engineering from MIT/Sloan and prior to MBA worked as a management consultant and a technical architect.
Mark joined Geeks Rule in 2016 as the Chief Executive Officer.
Mark has been an executive in education technology for over twenty years in both consumer and institutional markets. He created and built successful businesses at companies such as Scholastic, Kaplan, Dorling Kindersley and RM Education. For example, at Scholastic, he created the Scholastic Software Club, a revolutionary distribution business that he built into a $25 million enterprise, while at Kaplan he revived their consumer test prep software business, taking it from 10% market share to 70% within twelve months.
Mark has taken an active leadership role on a pro-bono basis for several nonprofit organizations involved in educational causes, serving as President of the Friends of Anderson, Vice Chair of the English Speaking Union and President of the Oliver Parents Council. Mark earned his BA in English and History and his MBA in Marketing at the State University of New York at Albany.
Mark lives in New York with his wife, Sandra, and two daughters, Brittany (who is pursuing her master’s in public health at Yale) and Cailin (who is attending Williams College to study neuroscience).
US Private Equity Lead; Thomson Reuters
While being involved with Geeks Rule, Don has over 5 years of research experience at Thomson Reuters. Moreover, he is Co-Founder of Seedlr Technologies and committed as an entrepreneur (for-profit and nonprofit sector). His charitable focus is youth empowerment and education access for students from underserved communities. Don grew up in Orange, New Jersey and came from an immigrant family. He attended high school at Seton Hall Prep and then graduated from Pace University (New York) with a BBA in Finance (Business Honors Program).
Dean of Student Affairs; NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Anita is an experienced Senior Student Affairs Administrator who has had a professional career at New York University spanning 35 years. In 2010 she assumed the role of Dean of Student Affairs at NYU-Poly where she played a key leadership role in overseeing the merger of NYU and Polytechnic School of Engineering, the second-oldest engineering school in the country. She is a winner of the 2015 NASPA Excellence Award (National Association for Student Personnel Administrators) for work on the merger that included expanding services in her 8 departments and launching new programming initiatives for 4500 engineering students.
Anita began her career at the NYU Stern School of Business, where she served as Director of MBA Academic Advisement and Director of Diversity Admissions. She served on the Board of Directors for the Consortium of Graduate Study in Management, an organization dedicated to providing fellowships and corporate career opportunities to Black and Hispanic MBA students. She is particularly proud of the large number of graduate students of color who she recruited through this organization who are now senior corporate executives, entrepreneurs and CEOs of their own companies. She then assumed the role of Dean for Freshmen at the NYU College of Arts and Science for many years, where she was responsible for freshmen retention, student affairs and all program development ensuring that new first year students (and parents) made a smooth transition into college life.
Her current professional passion is to address the low percentage of women in the engineering workforce which is 14%, as well as increasing the pipeline of African-American and Hispanic engineers who together represent under 8% of engineers in the United States. To that end in 2011 she launched an annual Women in STEM Summit – which exposed female STEM students as well as K-12 young women to some of the most accomplished and inspiring women in the field. Anita and the slate of speakers shared the triumphs and challenges in the tech and engineering workplace and also the rewards and strategies for sustaining, excelling and advancing in those fields. In Fall 2015 she launched the first Diversity in STEM conference with the theme “Bridging Engineering With Business, at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering which targets students, alumni, faculty, the corporate tech sector, and business executives of color. This was indeed a “full circle moment” uniting her early business school roots with her current engineering and technology passion and interests. This event has sustained and become an annual tradition at Tandon.
Anita has also forged special partnerships with professional organizations who support these same STEM missions such as the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) dedicated to uniting African-American energy professionals in the field and engaging the Black community in energy policy discussions as well as environmental issues. Last year she partnered with the AABE New York professional chapter to launch the first AABE student chapter in the northeast. In Spring 2016 she was presented with a Community and Education Award by the American Association of Blacks in Energy.
She has also dedicated a great deal of time to collaborating and sponsoring programs with organizations whose goal is to build STEM and STEAM awareness for K-12 students. Those organizations include Black Girls Code, the Brooklyn AKAs, and the Greater New York Girl Scouts organization to empower young men and women of color to learn about the tech marketplace, while teaching them hands on skills in computer programming and digital technology.
Shareholder; Carlton Fields Jorden Burt
Natalie A. Napierala is a shareholder in her firm’s New York office, which she opened in 2012. She is a member of the firm’s securities, business transactions, and white collar crime and government investigations practice groups. She serves on the Criminal Advocacy Committee of the New York City Bar Association and is a past member of the Securities Litigation Committee.
Natalie earned graduate degrees in both business and law, including a master of laws in securities and financial regulation.
Among her many legal activities and areas of expertise, Natalie has acted for many years as outside general counsel to a publicly-traded company, senior executive officers, boards of directors and committees, among others. She is conversant in D&O policy language and advises companies on how to better tailor their D&O coverage to meet their coverage needs. She advises employers on discharge decisions and earn out disputes, counsels executives in connection with employment and separation agreements, and drafts and negotiates employment, severance, non-competition and non-solicitation covenants.
Additionally, she acts as lead counsel in government civil and criminal investigations, and has represented senior executive officers in high profile securities fraud lawsuits.
Natalie has been selected for inclusion in New York Metro – Top Women Attorneys (2015) and New York Metro Super Lawyers (2014), as well as the National Association of Distinguished Counsel (2015).
Joey founded Geeks Rule in 2014 while still an undergraduate student in college with one simple mission: to make being a geek cool.
Growing up, Joey attended low-income public schools where his peers teased him for his interest in computers – he was frequently called a “nerd” and a “geek.” But Joey didn’t let the name-calling bother him – in fact, he embraced it, for he knew that computers and technology, and STEM in general, were the keys to unlock a better and brighter future. Unfortunately, he witnessed many of his fellow students avoiding STEM altogether, fearing they would be labeled geeks. This didn’t sit well with Joey, and so he promised himself that one day he would create an environment wherein students aren’t teased for their interests; rather, an environment wherein students are unshackled from the chains of peer pressure and free to pursue geeky interests without social judgment; wherein being a geek is, ultimately, cool. Fast forward several years later and Geeks Rule was born.
Joey is now a technology entrepreneur pursuing a stealth software startup in NYC. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Joey was an executive at KKR, a large private equity firm based in New York, focusing on both early and late stage technology investments.
Joey has a keen interest in technology, entrepreneurship, nonprofits, and ultimately making the world a better and more equal place for all. Over the years, he has developed various desktop and mobile software applications and works with several technology startups in NYC as an advisor. He also spent several years as an ad-hoc volunteer K-12 teacher for Junior Achievement of New York and was a recurring guest lecturer at Stuyvesant High School. Joey graduated salutatorian from The Highland School of Technology, a specialized high school, where he studied Computer Network Administration. He then went on to graduate with honors from Columbia University.
President; Yandell and Company
After a twenty year career as a Trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange, specializing in crude oil, natural gas, heating oil and gasoline futures contracts, Ben left the exchange after 9/11 to create his own company that manages a network of buyers and sellers of gold, fuels, and gold backed boxes and bonds. He manages a team of six brokers committed to using profits from closed deals to fund approved humanitarian projects.
Ben is married to Dr. Johanna Tiemann, a clinical psychoanalyst, and they live in Manhattan with their 15-year-old son, Christo. He lives by the saying: To whom much is given, much is expected.
Head of Global Operations; Groupon
Anita is a Strategic Operations Executive with 20+ years’ achievement driving bottom-line improvements in progressively responsible operational leadership roles. She is adept at developing innovative business structures and policies that enhance scalability and stability of startup organizations during periods of rapid growth. In her current position Anita has responsibilities for 4,000 employees in various operational areas including customer service, merchant support, marketing operations and merchandising, and editorial services.
Anita holds a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the New School. She is on her first year of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Fellows program. She is also a certified Six Sigma Black Belt. Anita lives in the greater New York area.
Founding Principal; MS358 NYC Department of Education
For over fourteen years Brendan has been an educator in the NYC Department of Education, where he has assumed various positions starting with his role as a Science teacher and progressing through the ranks as an Assistant Principal, Director of Implementation in the Office of Teacher Effectiveness, and a New School Project Director.
In 2015, Brendan became the founding Principal of Middle School 358 in Jamaica, Queens. He has set a vision and forged partnerships to bring Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) instruction to underserved youth. As Brendan moves forward in his journey in both education and life, he intends to take on challenges that will level the playing field for all students. Including those in all neighborhoods and communities, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Brendan truly believes that all students may achieve, despite their life circumstances.
Senior Managing Director; FTI Consulting
Mark is a trusted advisor for creditors of companies facing financial or operational distress. A creative and strategic thinker, he has engaged in 30 deals across several industries, helping clients manage risk, identifying investment opportunities and guiding complex negotiations. He is currently a senior managing director in the FTI Consulting Corporate Finance & Restructuring practice in New York. Prior to joining FTI Mark worked for PWC for over 5 years as a Senior Associate.
Mark holds a B.S. in Accountancy from Villanova University. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Erin.
Managing General Partner; Education Growth Partners
Andy is a Managing General Partner at Education Growth Partners, a private equity firm focused exclusively on proven, high potential education companies that offer compelling solutions to unmet needs in education. He has spent his entire 30-year career in the education industry, half as an operator of education businesses and half as an investor in quality education companies. Andy began his career developing educational software for Scholastic. Andy then became a senior executive at Kaplan, Inc., (no relation to him!) where he was responsible for leading several technology enabled services businesses, both newly acquired and organically developed. Andy has been investing in education companies since 2000 when he joined Quad Partners. Andy joined Education Growth Partners in 2014 where he leverages his deep industry experience and operating abilities to drive investment returns across a wide range of subsectors within the education industry.
Operating Partner; Columbus Nova Technology Partners
Edmundo is a partner at Columbus Nova Technology Partners, a multi-stage technology investment firm with offices in New York and Silicon Valley. He works on all aspects of the firm’s activities including structuring deals, due diligence and working with management teams to achieve their goals. He is especially involved with the firm’s activities in Israel, which include investments in Credorax, Fifth Dimension and Deep Instinct.
He is actively pursuing investment opportunities where IoT data can create new value when paired with artificial intelligence. He is Chairman of Fr8Hub, an exchange which brings shippers and long-haul carriers together. Other current and past board positions include: Kaazing, 340B Technologies, GenePeeks, DVTel (sold to FLIR Systems), and Chalkable (sold to PowerSchool). He earned an A.B. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
Talent Acquisition Manager; Elsevier
Rahsaan has been a talent recruiter and diversity developer throughout his career. He currently serves as a Talent Acquisition Manager at Elsevier, where he has worked since 2014. Prior to that Rahsaan was a Diversity Program Manager at CA Technologies. Rahsaan earned his B.S. in Industrial Labor Relations from Cornell University.
COO/Executive Director; Morgan Stanley
Josh is an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley and serves as the Chief Operating Officer for ISG Product Operations, which performs middle office activities to support the firm’s institutional Sales and Trading businesses globally. Previously he worked in a number of operational line, project, and regulatory roles at both Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital. He has an interest in both technology and education, and served as a board member and Treasurer at Morningside Montessori school.
Prior to joining the financial services industry, Josh worked as a developer and team manager at dot-com startups in New York and Boston. He earned a BS in Psychobiology from Yale University and an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. He and his wife Beth have two children and live in Manhattan.
Sr. Associate Director for Diversity Initiatives; New York University
Crystal serves as Senior Associate Director for Diversity Initiatives at New York University. In this role, she develops and implements community and campus initiatives aimed to increase student diversity at NYU.
Crystal has held roles in admissions and enrollment management at NYU for over a decade. During her time at NYU, she served on a number of admissions committees including those of the College of Arts and Science and the Tisch School of the Arts. She has served on panels and conducted workshops designed to demystify the college application process and has served as featured speaker for high school and community programs designed to increase college access.
Crystal earned a B.A. degree from Spelman College in English and completed coursework toward an M.A. degree in Africana Studies at New York University. Outside of work Crystal enjoys spending time with her husband and three-year-old son, LJ (Louren, Jr.).