Upcoming Board of Trustees Meetings
The WBGO Development Committee will meet on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 9 a.m. Due to the proprietary topics being discussed, this meeting is not open to the public. Call 973-624-8880 for more information.
The WBGO Strategic Planning Committee will meet on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 5 p.m. Due to the proprietary topics being discussed, this meeting is not open to the public. Call 973-624-8880 for more information.
Board of Trustees
Christopher Allegaert is a founding partner of Allegaert Berger &Vogel LLP, a 21-lawyer firm with offices in New York and New Jersey. His practice focuses on litigation of commercial disputes and he has extensive experience in trial, arbitration and mediation settings. Mr. Allegaert regularly advises foreign businesses, financial institutions, lawyers and law firms with respect to international and domestic litigations. He has taught, written and lectured on a range of legal subjects. He is active in, and previously served as the Chairman of, IAG International, an organization of over 70 independent law, tax advisory and accounting firms throughout the world.
Milvia Burns is an attorney, business woman and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in managing businesses, with an emphasis on law firm administration. As Director of Human Capital and Firm Relations for the law firm of Sills Cummis & Gross P.C. she oversees Human Resources, Professional Recruiting and all aspects of Firm relations.
Milvia is also a Member of Crawford Street Partners LLC, a high-growth real estate company revitalizing Newark neighborhoods through the conversion of abandoned properties to quality residential and commercial space. She holds an equity interest in various businesses including PointProspect LLC, Mama Mancini’s and Jazz Legacy Productions. Milvia has also worked extensively with numerous not for profit organizations in the areas of strategic planning, development, board relations, crises management, human resources and administration.
Albert De Leon
Mr. De Leon is a Legal/Compliance consultant in the financial services industry, currently doing volunteer work for the Financial Services Volunteer Corp; teaching part-time at Pace University, and serving on the Board of Directors of the NYC Industrial Development Agency & Build NYC where he chairs the Audit Committees. He was previously Head of Compliance Advisory & Monitoring with the Zurich Insurance Group-Americas; General Counsel & Senior Vice President at Dexia Bank's New York Branch, and at Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken's NY Branch (he was responsible for US legal, regulatory and compliance matters at each bank). Mr. De Leon holds a BA degree from The City College of New York, where he majored in Political Science and Philosophy, and a JD from the University of San Diego School of Law.
Bob DeFillippo is a strategic communications consultant at Zito Partners and an adjunct professor at New York University’s School of Professional Studies. He also serves on the Roxbury, N.J., Township Council.
Bob recently retired after 21 years as Chief Communications Officer for Prudential Financial, Inc., where he led the Global Communications Department and oversaw Prudential’s public relations and internal communications.
Before joining Prudential, DeFillippo served as Director of Public Affairs for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Prior to that, he was press secretary to Congressman Hamilton Fish, Jr., following a career as an award-winning reporter and editor.
He serves on the boards of the National Press Foundation in Washington, D.C., the Arthur W. Page Society, where is also treasurer and a member of the executive committee, the PRSA Foundation, and WBGO public radio in Newark, N.J. He is also a member of the National Press Club.
Steve Edwards is a partner at the global legal practice of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation including antitrust, securities, contract disputes and insurance coverage. Mr. Edwards has been lead national counsel for Bristol-Myers Squibb and has represented companies such as IBM, Ford and United HealthGroup He is a past President of the Federal Bar Council and past Chair of the Antitrust Section of the New York State Bar Association.
Mr. Edwards is a founder and editor emeritus of the Federal Bar Council News and has written and lectured extensively on a variety of subjects including antitrust laws, class actions and ethics. He is also a former President of Nazareth Housing, an organization providing housing for the homeless, Treasurer of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and a Director of the Jazz Foundation of America.
Mr. Edwards has written a rock opera, There’s Something Afoot, and a play, The Trial of Harry S. Truman. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is also a member of the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of law, where he finished in the top 3% of his class.
Brenda Feliciano has an extensive background as an actress, opera singer and arts administrator. She has performed as a vocal soloist with many orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin. In addition to her active performing career, she represented Arturo “Chico” O’Farrill for several years and has managed the artistic endeavors of Paquito D’Rivera for more than 20 years.
Jose W. Fernandez
Jose W. Fernandez is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and CoChair Of Gibson Dunn's Latin America Practice Group. His practice focuses on mergers, acquisitions and finance in emerging markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Mr. Fernandez has substantial experience in the telecommunications, energy, water, banking and consumer industries. His clients have included major multinational companies, financial institutions and private equity groups, as well as nearly a dozen foreign governments looking to attract foreign investors. He has also successfully advised U.S. and European companies involved in disputes in developing countries.
Mr. Fernandez was named one of the "World's Leading Lawyers" by Chambers Global for his M&A and corporate work, an "Expert" in International Financial Law Review's "Guide to the World's Leading Project Finance Lawyers," and one of the "World's Leading Privatization Lawyers" by Euromoney Publications. He was recognized as a leading Corporate Finance attorney in the Latin America market in Chambers Global and a leading Latin America attorney in Chambers U.S. He was featured by Hispanic Business Magazine in its "100 Influentials List" for several years.
Nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Fernandez served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs from 2009 to 2013. During his tenure, he led the Bureau that is responsible for overseeing work on international trade and investment policy; international finance, development and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international energy security policy; international telecommunications and transportation policies; and support for U.S. businesses and the private sector overseas. His work focused on development as a business opportunity for U.S. companies and a strategic imperative for the United States, mostly in the areas of infrastructure, trade and investment, entrepreneurship, and agriculture. He spearheaded the State Department's "Economic Statecraft" initiative to promote foreign investment into the United States and support U.S. companies overseas.,
Mr. Fernandez has served on the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College and on the Board of Directors of Accion International and the Council of the Americas. He has been chair both of the American Bar Association's InterAmerican Law Committee and the Committee on InterAmerican Affairs of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and CoChair of the Cross Border M&A and Joint Venture Committee of the New York State Bar Association. He also headed the Latin American and Caribbean division of the ABA's Rule of Law Initiative. He has served on the boards of NPRstation, WBGOFM,Ballet Hispanico of New York and the Middle East Institute. He was a founder of TeatroStageFest, a 2week Latino theatre festival in New York City, and was appointed a Commissioner of New York's Latin Media and Entertainment Commission.
Mr. Fernandez is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, and serves on the Board of Directors of Iberdrola S.A.Mr. Fernandez's articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald, The Huffington Post, Americas Quarterly and many other legal and policy publications. He has been featured by various TV, radio and print media organizations in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Fernandez graduated magna cum laude with high honors from Dartmouth College earning a bachelor's degree in history, and also received an honorary degree from the college. He earned a Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law, where he received the Charles Evans Hughes Prize and a Parker School Certificate of International Law with Honors. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and proficient in French.
Since joining Teamsters Local 237 over 20 years ago, Gregory Floyd rose through the ranks on the strength of his leadership abilities. Starting as a hospital police officer he was promoted to captain at age 27, and soon after became director of the union’s Citywide Division, trustee, secretary-treasurer, chief negotiator, and was elected Local 237’s fifth president in 2007. As president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters largest local, Floyd represents a diverse group of 24,000 public employees in New York City and on Long Island. He also serves as a trustee to the Board of New York City Employee Retirement System (NYCERS); commissioner on the board of the IBT Human Rights Commission; member of the board of Group Health Insurance (GHI) and Health Insurance Plan of New York (HIP), and vice president of the New York State AFL-CIO and the New York City Central Labor Council.
Zenola Harper is Deputy General Counsel at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield NJ, the leading health insurance company in the state. Ms. Harper, who also serves as an assistant secretary of the company, leads and provides strategic direction to the team of lawyers responsible for all litigation, labor and employment matters. She is valued for her sound judgment, problem solving, collaboration and leadership.
Ms. Harper’s experience spans several industries. As Senior Counsel at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, she managed complex litigation and government investigations, including the high stakes defense of the company’s pricing, sales and promotional practices investigations and related multi-district litigation and state attorneys general actions throughout the country. At United Technologies Corporation’s Otis Elevator, Ms. Harper handled corporate and mergers and acquisitions in addition to product liability and commercial litigation. Similarly, at Unisys Corporation, Ms. Harper defended the company in significant disputes including the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Litigation. Complementing her in-house experience, Ms. Harper has also worked at the law firms of Blank, Rome, Comisky & McCauley and Schoeman, Updike & Kaufman.
A graduate of Smith College, (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude and High Honors), and New York University School of Law, she began her career as a Pro Se Law Clerk in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and thereafter was a Fulbright Fellow to Tanzania, East Africa.
Ms. Harper has received several awards and has been recognized as the Working Mother Magazine’s Mother of the Year, Professional Lawyer of the Year from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law and is the recipient of the Multicultural Leadership Award from the Tri-State Diversity Council. A strong proponent of giving back, she has a history of service to non-profit organizations and has served on numerous boards. Currently, she serves on the board of NJ LEEP, Inc. an intensive college preparatory and access program in Newark, NJ.
Bill Hofstetter started his first agency before the age of 30 and has helmed them ever since.
His early career focused on entertainment, working with headliners like Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Joan Jett. He helped revolutionize the marketing of Broadway with the international hit Beatlemania, followed by many Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring companies, like The Moscow Circus, Pro-Skate and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as Second Stage Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, The Actors’ Company Theatre, Womens Project Theatre, Madison Square Garden and Westbury Music Fair.
Recent campaigns include Cagney, Tennessee Williams The Two Character Play, iLuminate, Lady Day – The Billie Holiday Musical, Silence! The Musical, The Judy Show, Sistas, The Royal Danish Ballet, Colin Quinn Long Story Short (OFF BW and Broadway), Jim Henson’s Stuffed and Unstrung, John Tartaglia’s Imaginocean, Evil Dead The Musical, Frankenstein, the Tony Award nominated Say Goodnight Gracie, the immensely successful Christmas Tours of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Gotham Comedy Club, The Gazillion Bubble Show, and the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players.
In the world of fashion, Bill helped launch Perry Ellis, John Henry, and Crossings and he represented fashion icons Oscar de la Renta, Geoffrey Beene and John Weitz, apparel giants Philips Van Heusen, Nautica, Oxford Industries and Manhattan Shirts.
European luxury brands Leica Cameras; Zeiss frames, lenses and sport optics; and Krups small appliances were represented by Bill, both in the US, and in many other English speaking countries worldwide.
Yellowtail wine was launched by Bill’s agency and Cavit wine is presently represented.
Bill's work for Pentel Pens received a Clio, and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Broadcast. Television commercials for Gotham Comedy, NY Gilbert & Sullivan Players, Stuffed and Unstrung and Silence! The Musical have received 7 Telly Awards in the last 5 years.
Alan Holtz is a Managing Director and the New York Local Market Leader at AlixPartners, a global consulting firm that specializes, in improving corporate financial and operational performance, executing corporate turnarounds and providing other services in urgent, high-impact situations. He provides restructuring advice to companies and their management, boards of directors, financial institutions and creditors' groups, across a wide variety of industries. Alan began his career as a CPA with a "Big 4" accounting firm and is a frequent author and speaker on the topic of corporate restructuring.
Stephen Ifshin *
Stephen Ifshin has more than 40 years of experience in the real estate industry and, currently, is Chairman of DLC, which he co-founded in 1991. Mr. Ifshin oversees the operations-side of DLC’s business, including tenant leasing, property, asset, and construction management activities, and the firm’s regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, and Baltimore. DLC is a leasing-driven operator of shopping centers, developing and maintaining strong relationships across national, regional and local tenants. Mr. Ifshin also the Co-Chair on the Board of Advisors for the Business School of the University of Vermont.
Steven R. Kamen, is a partner at the law firm Sills Cummis & Gross and practices from their Newark and New York City offices. He is the co-Chair of the Firm's Corporate Practice Group and provides corporate counseling to public and private companies, including the structuring and negotiating of complex acquisitions, joint ventures/collaborations and other commercial transactions.
Henry A. Mauermeyer
Henry A. Mauermeyer was with New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) for 41 years until his retirement. He was the Senior Vice President for Administration and Treasurer, serving as Chief Financial Officer of the University. During his tenure, the operating budget grew to over $380 million with a physical plant of nearly 3 million square feet. Economic Development and coordination of Science Park and NJIT's Business Incubator Program were also in his portfolio. Outside the University, he served two terms on the Middle Atlantic Commission on Higher Education and continues to serve on the Boards of Trustees of WBGO and the Newark YMCA.
D. Nicholas Miceli
As Central Market President of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, Nick Miceli is responsible for the management of four commercial lending teams throughout Hunterdon, Somerset, Essex, Morris, Union and Middlesex Counties. He also partners in the leadership of a 78 store retail network, consumer lending, government banking, corporate foundation grants and sponsorship activities. Miceli has been with TD Bank since March 1998 where he started as a Middle Market Lender Officer. Over the years, he has served in various capacities including Essex County Regional Vice President where he was responsible for the opening and management of 16 retail stores and the commercial, government and small business lending within that footprint.
Miceli is a graduate of Rutgers, The State University with a degree in Marketing and Business Management. He’s extremely active in the community and currently serves as Board Chairman of Family Intervention Services, Vice Chairman of WBGO, Newark Public Radio, a Trustee of The Newark Museum, Vice Chairman of Rutgers Business School Advisory Board, 2nd Vice Chair of Special Olympics NJ, Board Member of Boys and Girls Club in New Jersey, Board Member of NJ Performing Arts Center, Jazz House Kids, Caucus Education Corporation and The NJ Bankers Association. He is a former board member of The NJ Bankers Association, the NJ Ballet, the St, Joseph's School for the Blind, Garden State Cancer Foundation and the Autism Foundation of the Morris Union Jointure Commission.
Michael Ostroff is the founder and president of The Ostroff Group (TOG), a national consulting firm with offices in Florida and New York that works exclusively with domestic and global non-profit organizations to help them achieve their organizational and philanthropic goals. The firm has an extensive track record of success working with a broad range of clients in the cultural, educational, health care, human service and Jewish communal fields. Services include board/leadership development, strategic planning, marketing and comprehensive financial resource development programs (planning and implementation of annual, capital, endowment, grant/foundation and planned giving).
Michael has played leadership roles in campaigns that have collectively raised in excess of $1 billion.
With a keen understanding of volunteer and donor motivation, Michael specializes in major gift solicitation, campaign and strategic planning and volunteer/board training and is a frequent presenter on those topics in North America, Europe and Israel. He holds a BA in Social Welfare from Pennsylvania State University, an MSc in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University, a certificate and honorary doctorate from the Hebrew Union College and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).
As Chairman of MetroCapital, Jonathan Otto oversees all aspects of property development including site selection, financing, construction, and leasing. His background includes executive level positions in the retail, e-commerce, technology and real estate industries. He served as president of Rockbottom Stores, Priceline Warehouse Club, RetailDNA and, Metro Centers, the predecessor company of MetroCapital Holdings. Mr. Otto received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from New York University. Mr. Otto also serves or has served on the Board of Trustees for the Addison Gallery Art, The Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, and the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts.
Karl Piirimae is a partner at the law firm Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP from which he conducts a multi-disciplinary practice focused on complex real estate transactions and urban redevelopment from offices in New York and New Jersey. He has over thirty years of legal and business experience counseling clients in a broad range of matters. In recent years, he has focused on representing clients in repositioning single-user pharmaceutical industry campuses into multi-user mixed use facilities. Outside of law, Karl is an occasional actor, sometime movie producer and aspiring blues guitarist. He earned his BA from Columbia College and his JD from the University of Miami School of Law.
Timothy L. Porter
Tim is a trustee of New School University. He was formerly Senior Counsel and later Chief Client Relationship Counsel at Proskauer Rose, a global law firm. Prior to joining Proskauer, Tim worked at AT&T, where for ten years he was Vice President - Law, Chief Counsel for Labor, Employment and Environmental Matters. He served as a Director of the AT&T Investment Management Company, the company's pension and retirement benefits asset investment arm, and is currently a Director of The Life Insurance Company of Boston and New York, a subsidiary of Boston Mutual Life Insurance Company. Tim is a trustee of Newark Public Radio (WBGO), and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. He is a former board director of the YMCA of Greater New York, and a former trustee of Holy Cross College, his alma mater. He received his JD degree from New York University, School of Law. In addition to his many civic involvements, Tim is an accomplished mandolinist, jazz recording producer, and author.
Melissa Reynolds is the Manager of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at PSEG. As the D&I manager she helps to ensure that PSEG’s enterprise culture supports a diverse environment where everyone can contribute to PSEG’s business objectives. Melissa develops and provides employees of PSEG with trainings that give them the skills and techniques necessary to effectively contribute to a workplace where people perform at their highest level, are treated respectfully and fairly, and are comfortable speaking up.
Melissa holds a Bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and a M.S. degree in Counseling and Student Development in Higher Education from Central Connecticut State University. In her previous professional life, Melissa worked in higher education administration most recently as the Director of Student Services/Campus Dean at UCONN Stamford and as a diversity trainer and consultant for the CT and NJ offices of The Anti-Defamation League (The ADL).
Melissa still actively mentors college age students through lectures, programs and trainings. Consulting highlights include presentations on self-worth, self-esteem and identity development through positive self-affirming relationships.
Bob Sommer is CEO of Awsom Associates, LLC a public relations and public affairs firm.
In addition, Sommer is an Adjunct Lecturer teaching graduate level public affairs and media relations courses at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University. He also directed the Institute of Planning and Public Policy Communications at the Bloustein School.
Previously, Sommer was Senior Advisor to Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City, NJ where he advised the Mayor on communications and policy issues. Prior, he was President of Rock Entertainment Management, a holding company for the organization that owns the New Jersey Devils National Hockey League franchise and the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. He was responsible for the marketing, communications and public affairs operations for the team and the arena.
Earlier, he was President of Observer Media Group where he was responsible for managing all business and sales operations for OMG’s media properties, which include The New York Observer and Politicker.com. He also served on OMG’s Board of Directors.
Prior to heading Observer Media Group, he was Partner and Executive Vice President of MWW Group, one of the nation’s largest public relations firms. He headed the firm’s public affairs practice.
Before MWW, Sommer developed environmental and transportation policies as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Commerce Subcommittee staff. In addition, he was speechwriter for Subcommittee Chairman (and later Governor) Jim Florio (D-NJ). He also served as a Presidential Management Appointee at the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Toxic Substances. An elected delegate for Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, he has been appointed to the transition teams of several New Jersey governors.
He served as a Trustee of the Public Affairs Council and the New Jersey Public Policy Institute, chaired the Eagleton Institute of Politics Foundation and was First Vice Chairman of New Jersey Network. Recognized as one of New Jersey's 50 Most Interesting People by NJ Monthly magazine and Bloustein School Alum of Year, he is also ranked as one of the most powerful New Jerseyans by NJBIZ and PolitickerNJ. Sommer has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers and journals.
Sommer sits on the board of Children’s Aid and Family Services. He was a Founder and Advisory Board Member for North Jersey Community Bank (now ConnectOne Bank). He also was a Director of Allvision, Inc. and was a Director of Ridgewood Savings Bank (now Boiling Springs Saving Bank).
Obi Taiwan Ozochiawaeze
Former Deputy Advisor on Technology to Presidents Bush and Reagan, and current Senior Special Adviser for Technology and Healthcare at the United Nations, Dr. Obi Taiwan Ozochiawaeze has held pivotal C-Level Executive Leadership roles at organizations such as the United Nations, DaVincian Healthcare, Aetna, WellPoint/Empire BCBS, and Siemens GmbH. Dr. Ozochiawaeze is the President of Global Technology Services at MEDSiS Healthcare. An avid aviator, Obi Taiwan is a retired Air Force Pilot.
James Weakley currently serves as the President of Europe and Latin America Regions for Prudential's International Insurance (PII) organization. Jim has overall responsibility for the strategic direction and financial results of PII's insurance operations in seven countries. Prior to this role Jim served as SVP and Head of Marketing and Strategy for PII's worldwide insurance operations. Jim has been at Prudential for seven years and prior to that served in a variety of senior positions at AIG for nine years and General Electric & GE Capital for 15 years.