Board of Directors
Aaron Blumenthal, Chair
Paul Firstenberg, Special Advisor
and Chief Strategic Officer
Sharon Manewitz, Chair
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Aaron Blumenthal is a Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch. A 15-year Wall Street veteran, Aaron serves the financial management needs of affluent clients and institutions through wealth planning, portfolio advice, brokerage and execution services, and alternative investments. Aaron received a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Yeshiva University and holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Barry Gillman has over 35 years experience in the financial services industry. He is Principal at Longevity Financial Consulting LLC, a New Jersey consulting firm. Before founding Longevity Financial Consulting, Barry was a Director at Brandes Investment Partners LP, an independent investment manager. At Brandes, he served as the firm’s Director of Portfolio Strategies, and developed and led the Brandes Institute, where he is currently Research Director of the Advisory Board. Previously, Barry was CEO of Prudential Capital Management International, a global investment management unit of Prudential Financial, and before that had marketing and international portfolio management roles at Citibank. Barry is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in the UK, and an Associate of the Society of Actuaries. He holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Cambridge.
Laura McGrath has over 33 years of experience in public accounting, primarily providing tax services. She is currently retired, but prior to her retirement, she was a Tax Partner at Ernst & Young, LLP. Her work experiences were varied, including leading and managing various tax practices and four years leading a global expatriate tax practice in Bangalore, India. She has always had a strong commitment to mentoring, counseling and educating others. Laura was a Certified Public Accountant in New York and North Carolina and currently has her licenses in inactive status. She currently serves as Parent Association Treasurer and as a committee chair for a NYC public high school. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts from Hope College, Holland, MI.
Michael Piazza is a Senior Business Banker currently working at Capital One Bank where he helps his clients grow and manage their business by providing valuable service. His extensive knowledge of the banking and investment business stems from his nineteen years experience servicing business owners in the financial, medical, technology and professional industries. Michael has become a trusted advisor and top performer at every institution he has worked for, including Amalgamated Bank where he served as Vice President of the Business Development Team. Michael attended Saint John’s University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Finance.
Andrew Propper has served in the New York City Police Department’s Medical Division for over 20 years, supervising psychologists and assisting the Director administer the Psychological Evaluation Section. Andrew also maintains a private practice in Manhattan, where he performs child custody evaluations for the Court and provides psychotherapy services. He is a long-time member of the American and New York State Psychological Associations. Andrew graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Syracuse University.
Vivian Rivera-Drohan is a partner and head of the litigation area of Drohan Lee. Her practice encompasses commercial and intellectual property litigation. Her legal experience includes Federal and State trial and appellate litigation, as well as arbitration and mediation before the American Arbitration Association, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, National Futures Association, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Throughout her career, Vivian has represented hedge funds, commodities, securities brokers, and other financial services organizations. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association, Federal and Commercial Litigation Committee; Women’s Bar Association, Co-Chair of the Federal Practice Committee. Vivian was listed in the New York Super Lawyers 2013, 2014 and 2015 Editions. She graduated from Fordham University, and earned her Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School.
John Robinson has served as President and CEO of the National Minority Business Council since 1979, and was one of the Council’s founders in 1972. He also serves as president of the Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc., based in Dallas, TX. John is an elder of the First Presbyterian Church, of Jamaica, New York, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Community Urban Development Corp. of Jamaica, Queens. He was recently elected President of the Board of Directors of Gatewave, Inc. A graduate of Dartmouth College Executive Management Program at Tuck Business School, John is a recipient of the President’s Private Sector Initiative Award, and is included in Who’s Who in Business & Finance.
Jennifer Rockwood has worked in nonprofit arts management for more than 20 years. She served as Managing Director of The Drama League from 1994 to 1996. In 1996 she joined The Actors Center where she served as Managing Director for many years before taking the position of Administrative Director in 2008. Jennifer also assists the British American Drama Academy with admissions for their summer programs; provides bookkeeping, management, and audit preparation services to nonprofit organizations; and presents seminars on personal budgeting. Jennifer graduated from Wittenberg University with a degree in theater and history.
Adam Schaffer is a human resources professional at Bloomberg LP where he oversees global category relationships and leads external sourcing opportunities inclusive of RFPs, negotiations, and contracting. He is also founder and sole proprietor of ASK Human Capital, a consultancy focused personalized change management, leadership development, and professional coaching. Previously, Adam worked as a HR and Employee Benefits consultant for various companies, such as DailyAccess, Accenture, Mercer, Aon Hewitt, and Maritz.
Adam holds a Master of Business Administration in Management and International Business from Saint Louis University, Master of Science (MS) in Strategic Global Human Resources Management from Pace University, and a Post-Masters Certificate in Leadership and Change from The New School. He received his bachelors degree in Finance, Economics, and Biology from Washington University in St. Louis.
Gail Stewart-Evans has over 30 years of human resources experience in employee relations, policy management and recruitment. In 2011 she retired from her position as Human Resources Manager at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, an international law firm. Prior to Simpson she was HR manager at Mudge Rose. Gail has also held HR management positions in public and private hospitals and financial services. She currently has a human resources consulting practice and is an adjunct professor in the School of Business and Accounting at Monroe College. Gail is pursuing a second career in mediation and conflict resolution. Gail recently completed course requirements for New York University’s certification program for Conflict & Dispute Resolution. She is an apprentice mediator at the Institute for Mediation & Conflict Resolution, a community mediation center. Gail is a graduate of The New School, where she earned bachelors and masters degrees in Human Resources Administration. She also attended Boston University where she majored in French and Spanish.
Elliot Wiener is the Chair of Phillips Nizer’s Matrimonial & Family Law Department and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers with over 38 years experience practicing family law. He concentrates his practice in the areas of matrimonial and family law including divorce, custody/visitation, support, and related matters. Elliot was a partner with the law firm of Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood LLP in White Plains and New York City. Prior to that, he was a partner with the firm of Abbott, Duncan & Wiener in New York City, as well as a staff attorney with the Juvenile Rights Division of the New York City Legal Aid Society. He was a clinical instructor of law at New York University School of Law in the early 1980s. In addition to his extensive trial skills, Elliot is also a trained divorce mediator. He earned his law degree from the Buffalo Law School and his bachelor’s degree from Boston University.
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Paul Firstenberg — Special Advisor to the Board and Chief Strategic Officer of FamilyKind. Paul has a wide range of strategy and organizational leadership experience in the education sector, among others. He served as chancellor of Tulane University, financial vice president of Princeton University, and executive vice president of children’s television workshop, producer of Sesame Street and other television series. He also served as an officer of the Ford Foundation and in the US Foreign Aid Program. Paul taught management of nonprofit organizations at Baruch College and Yale School of Management and is the author of a series of books on that subject. He was previously executive vice president of Prudential Real Estate. Paul earned an undergraduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, followed by a law degree from Harvard.