Speaker Bios for Sessions on
Thursday, October 28, 2021

Plenary: The Changing Trends in Philanthropy

Abby Marquand

Abby Marquand is a Partner on the Economic Mobility team at New Profit, leading work that seeks to promote systems-change and investments to surface and support proximate Black, LatinX, and Indigenous leaders making an equitable future of work in the United States. Prior to joining New Profit, she held the role of Vice President and Program Officer at JPMorgan Chase & Co. leading the firm’s global philanthropy strategy focused on small business expansion, workforce development, financial health, and the revitalization of neighborhoods throughout the Northeast.  Abby’s career spans more than ten years in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Prior to JPMC, she helped to lead a public-private partnership leveraging New York City’s vast healthcare sector for the cultivation of New York City’s healthcare workforce. In the years prior, she led policy and research efforts to improve job quality for the direct-care workforce across the United States, as Director of Policy Research at the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI).

Amanda Cage

Amanda Cage is the president and CEO of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. Amanda joined the National Fund in March 2020, bringing more than 25 years of federal workforce system, grantmaking, and organized labor experience to the organization. Throughout her career, Amanda has focused on ensuring economic inclusion and stability for workers and their families. Most recently, she served as the chief program officer at the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. There she managed a $70 million portfolio of public and private funding and a network of over 50 agencies for the country’s second largest workforce system. Before that, Amanda served as director of human capital strategy for the Chicago Workforce Investment Council, where she led a citywide effort to increase Chicago’s competitiveness in a knowledge-based global economy. For five years, she led the workforce development portfolio at the McCormick Foundation, and she was the 2004 J. Ira & Nicki Harris Foundation Fellow at the Chicago Community Trust. Amanda started her career as a labor organizer working for Jobs with Justice and the Service Employees International Union and was a Trade Union Program Fellow at Harvard Law School.

Brandon Martin

Brandon Martin is a strong advocate for empowering individuals in underserved communities, with over 10 years of experience in the social services sector. He has been instrumental in initiatives targeting childhood obesity, education of at-risk youth, and workforce development. Brandon is an AmeriCorps alum, who started an after-school tutoring program for students in-need within two marginalized elementary schools in the Seattle metropolitan area during his year of service. Furthermore, he has expertise in providing individualized job counseling and assistance to clients faced with multiple barriers to employment, including criminal conviction record, substance abuse history, homelessness, as well as physical and cognitive deficiencies. More recently, Brandon managed three programs focused on providing internship and job opportunities for young people in the Bronx community, many of whom are out of school and out of work. Currently, Brandon serves as Program Officer for Robin Hood, overseeing grants to community partners in the areas of workforce development and food security.

Shelby Kohn

(moderator)

Shelby Kohn is the Director of Public-Private partnerships at Maycomb Capital. Shelby worked for the City of New York under the Bloomberg administration for ten years. She held a range of leadership roles in the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Finance, and the Department of Small Business Services. Prior to joining Maycomb, Shelby worked for Bennett Midland, a management consulting firm for the civic sector. As a consultant, she advised mayor’s offices across the country to make a measurable impact on major challenges in their communities. She also facilitated strategic planning efforts and operational improvements for major social service organizations.

Susan Dundon

Susan Dundon is a Director of the Young Adults and Working Families focus area at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, where she has worked since 2017.  As a Detroit Revitalization Fellow from 2015-2017, she ran a skilled trades on-the-job training program at the social enterprise Reclaim Detroit.  She also spent a decade in international development, working to improve access to water, sanitation, and hygiene in rural areas.  She started her career in the labor movement as a strategic researcher and analyst, first with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and then with the United Auto Workers (UAW).

The Road Ahead II Panel Discussion

Jessica Woodson

Jessica Woodson is currently the Human Resources Director at the Bonura Hospitality Group. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mount St. Mary College and her Professional in Human Resource certificate (PHR). She has been a long standing member in the Society of Human Resources (SHRM) and the local Mid-Hudson chapter for over 10 years. She brings with her over 20 years of knowledge and work experience in the Human Resources field from healthcare, to non-profit, and hospitality. Jessica is also on the executive board of the DCWIB and an active member in the communities of Dutchess and Orange counties.

Leola Edelin

Beginning her hotel career in Pittsburg as a server, she moved to the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, where she held the roles of Director of Outlets, Director of Banquets and Assistant Director of Food & Beverage. From Atlanta Leola went to Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando Florida as Assistant Director of Food and Beverage. Here Leola oversaw the 24 million dollar food and beverage division which consisted of 7 restaurant concepts along with banquet and kitchen facilities. It wasn’t long before Leola was recruited to return back to Pittsburgh as Director of Food and Beverage for the Wyndham Grand Hotel. In 2015 Leola achieved her goal and was appointed General Manager to open Albany’s first and only luxury, lifestyle hotel, The Renaissance Albany Hotel.

Patrick Kaler

(moderator)

Patrick Kaler has more than 25 years’ experience in the travel and tourism industry. He joined Visit Buffalo Niagara in January of 2014 as President and CEO overseeing the destination marketing organization, convention center and sports commission.  Before moving to Buffalo, he served for three years as President and CEO of Visit Loudoun and previously oversaw Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board’s international offices in Australia, China, Europe, Japan, South Korea and Latin America, managing major international and domestic travel trade and airline sales and marketing initiatives. Kaler has also served as Executive Director for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority/Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority/Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance, Great Lakes of North America and the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Prior to those positions, he was the General Manager with Keeshin Destination Chicago and Director of Sales and Marketing at the Champaign-Urbana Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Dr. Sekou Siby

Dr. Sekou Siby leads the national staff to support membership operations, training and education programs, community and public engagement, as well as policy advocacy and organizational development. Under his leadership, ROC United is building worker power, and promoting policies that improve the lives of restaurant workers and their communities. Dr. Siby’s inspiring story tells a remarkable rise from his native Ivory Coast to New York City, where he survived the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He first worked as a cab driver, a cook at the Windows on the World, and then co-founded ROC United, managing and organizing major campaigns and bringing hundreds of restaurant workers to victory against wage theft and wage inequality.

The Shifting Trends in Business Practices

Chris White

(moderator)

Chris has worked for New York State since 2012, previously leading the Department of Labor's Communications Office and later serving as Director of Communications for then-Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. He has been extensively involved in workforce development policy and has overseen several major statewide outreach and education campaigns including $15 minimum wage, closing the gender wage gap, subminimum wage and workplace sexual harassment prevention. In his current role, he focuses on updating workforce development systems and policy and monitoring trends in the workforce, working to modernize how we train workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Lois Johnson

​​Lois Johnson is the Director of Workforce Strategies for the Workforce Development Institute (WDI). In her current role, she leads exploration and development of scalable solutions to 21st century workforce challenges, including the current launch of the Future Skills Exchange (FSX) platform, an interactive marketplace that allows learners to search, compare and connect directly to the right courses, credentials and apprenticeships for their career pathway. Previously, Lois served as the Chief Strategy Officer for Innovate+Educate working on building skills-based economies in New Mexico and nationally.  As Director of Workforce for the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions,  she led statewide reorganization of the public workforce system, including consolidation of 41 workforce centers, development of a new demand-driven service model, and system-wide staff re-training.  Lois was also the founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Employment and Resource Center in New York’s Capital Region.

Miriam Dushane

Miriam Dushane is Managing Partner of Alaant Workforce Solutions, an Albany, NY-based professional workforce services firm recognized by Forbes for the past four consecutive years as one of America’s Best Recruiting Firms. The next generation of Linium Recruiting, which Ms. Dushane launched in 2006 and built into a regional powerhouse, Alaant has assisted over 400 companies in attracting, acquiring, engaging and retaining more than 4,000 top professionals in the past decade. A SHRM Certified Professional and PHR with more than 20 years of human resources experience, Ms. Dushane specializes in recruitment, employee relations, and training and development. A passionate community advocate and leader, she lends her time and talent to a host of educational and workforce development entities, from CanCodeCommunities to the Tech Valley High School Business Alliance, and has been recognized by the Capital Region Chamber as a Woman of Excellence and the Albany Business Review as one of its Women Who Mean Business.

Stacy Woodruff

Stacy Woodruff is a skilled relationship builder and policy champion who is fluent in the public, private, and non-profit sectors engaged in workforce development. She utilizes nearly two decades of industry experience, with verifiable success, to critically assess and identify best practices and build better systems, and possesses a natural ability to influence leaders and effectively initiate strategic plans that strengthen communications and encourage collaboration. Stacy excels in evaluating performance using qualitative and quantitative data and translating findings for specific audiences’ understanding. She is recognized as a true asset to organizations that are dedicated to effecting change and demonstrating impact. As a consultant, her portfolio is focused on building the capacity of the workforce development field through research, network and community building, and strategic advisement. Prior to consulting, Stacy served as the founding and Managing Director of the Workforce Field Building Hub at Workforce Professionals Training Institute, where she led efforts to bring together key leaders from across the interdisciplinary and diverse New York City and national workforce community to identify common issues and solutions to build and strengthen the workforce development field. In her role as a Policy Advisor in the NYC Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, Stacy led the Office’s citywide effort to implement a set of Common Metrics across more than 100 workforce programs administered by multiple City agencies.

Private-Public Partnerships

Lily Badimah

Lily Badimah has always had a passion for creating beautiful spaces for celebration and  believes that every event needs some dedication to make it worthwhile and memorable. Her experience in the hospitality industry managing luxury hotels fostered Lily’s skills and passion for events. She believes that a beautiful ambience is vital for every celebration, and her goal is to create unique décor for all events regardless of size. Every celebration should be elegant, lavish and memorable. Lily is enthusiastic about bringing this type of event experience to all of her clients.

Francisco Aguliar

Francisco Aguilar is a Small Business Recovery Specialist at the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. He began at the Chamber during the Covid-19 Pandemic in order to provide small businesses with recovery and reopening resources through the NYC Small Business Resource Network. He is a proud graduate of Manhattan College with bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Studies & Urban Affairs. He is also a distinguished member of Kappa Alpha Omicron Honor Society. Francisco’s diligence in assisting business owners and understanding business needs has been instrumental for the recovery of the economic wellbeing of the borough’s small businesses.

Samara Karasyk

Samara Karasyk has more than two decades of experience in private/public partnerships, diverse team management, communications, public affairs, intergovernmental relations, policy-making, and project management. In her current role as the 5-Borough Chamber of Commerce Lead for the NYC Small Business Resource Network, Samara oversees a $2.8 million private/public partnership funded by the Peter G Peterson Foundation in collaboration with all 5 borough chambers of commerce, the NYC Economic Development Corporation and the Partnership for New York City. In her prior role as Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Samara oversaw numerous staff and projects and was responsible for policy, intergovernmental and legislative affairs, marketing, and public relations. Before her work at the Chamber, Samara worked for the government of New York City for many years.

Building a Resilient Long-Term Care Workforce

Alene Hokenstad

Alene Hokenstad, MSSA is Associate Director of Ladders to Value Workforce Investment Organization at the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds (TEF).  She previously served as Senior Director at IPRO; Project Director at United Hospital Fund; and Deputy Assistant Director, Health and Human Services in New York City Mayor's Office of Operations.

Samir Fayyaz

Samir Fayyaz, MA in Government and Politics is Workforce Development Consultant in Research & Policy at the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds (TEF). Prior to working at TEF, he was Lecturer and Chief Academic Advisor in the Political Science and Legal Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Drawing Highly Skilled Talent to Fill Niche Roles

Alissa Levin

(moderator)

Alissa Levine, LCSW is the director of Workforce Development programs at Kingsborough Community College. KCC designs and delivers trainings for under- and unemployed adults and opportunity-youth to prepare for careers and college. Current programs include the CUNY Fatherhood Academy, Job Corps Scholars, Strengthening Community Colleges Comp TIA, UX Design Microcredentials and DesignWorks UX Training Program. Ms. Levine manages the Social Work/Mental Health Counseling CEU program for mental health and human services professionals seeking CE hours towards their NYS licenses. Ms. Levine works with community partners to develop customized training programs for staff and participants.

Karen Oaks

Karen Oaks is the Director of Marketing and Program Development and the Assistant Director for the Center for Corporate Education at the School of Professional Development, Stony Brook University, Karen Oaks has over 13 years of experience developing and implementing professional employee education programs to be delivered within companies and in an open enrollment format.  Karen works with all stakeholders to develop quality programs in project management, continuous improvement (lean and six sigma) leadership and management development and more.  She designed the Transitional Professional Project Management Certificate program that has helped over 1000 individuals to re-enter the workforce.  Prior to her career at Stony Brook University, Karen spent 10 years as a Marketing Manager in the banking industry. 

Kimberly Cohen

Kim oversees Upwardly Global's private sector engagement strategy and program. Kim joined UpGlo after a fellowship at the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, where she supported the work of the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief. Previously, Kim was the Director of Major Gifts at HIAS during the height of the Syrian refugee crisis, and has worked in various External Relations roles in human rights and refugee resettlement.

Building Trades Pre-Apprentice Program

Cricket Thomas-O'Dell

(moderator)

Crickett Thomas-O’Dell joined WDI in 2019 after spending 3 years commuting bi-weekly to Washington, DC as the VP of Operations for a transportation services company.  Prior to that Crickett has spent the bulk of her professional career working in education settings- enrollment management, print to digital learning environments, international educational travel and STEM curriculum implementation at the high school and middle school levels.  Her professional career began in telecommunications in the voice and data industry. Working within a wide range of industries through meetings with businesses, educational institutions, community-based organizations and unions Crickett has developed strong relationships and collaborates with a network of professionals who are dedicated to workforce development solutions with a focus on preparing youth, women and underserved communities for the workforce of today and tomorrow.  

Elizabeth Harris

M. Elizabeth Harris, M.S. Ed., Director of Enrollee Services, Youth & Workforce Services in Albany, NY (DYWS) has over 20 years of experience in program development, grant management, partnership collaboration and service delivery design for youth and adults in the Capital District combined in her current and prior positions. As Director of Enrollee Services, she is responsible for the program administration and development of the city’s Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds, which provide funding assistance for individuals to earn industry specific credentials and HSE /Post- Secondary degrees. The DYWS is charged to provide enhanced employment opportunities for job seekers and foster a quality workforce for businesses in the Capital Region.

Patrick LaFortune

Patrick has  10 Years of experience in the building trades, 6 years in the Union as well as a 4 years private contractor and is currently a Local 190 member. Patrick was recently appointed training coordinator to the Albany Multi- Craft Apprenticeship Preparation Program as a transformative opportunity to help expand access to the building and construction trades careers, by creating a career pathway for women and minorities,  located in Albany’s South End.  As training coordinator he is responsible for program/curriculum development, day to day operations, hiring, community outreach and more. After which he chose the path of entrepreneurship starting his very own construction company Lafortune And Family Construction LLC. He was in business for 3 years prior to taking his position with MAPP Inc. Patrick leads by example and pushes accountable to his peers. His hopes with his new partnership with MAPP is to inspire and influence the next generation for trades men and women in his community.

Michael Lyons

Mike started with International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 106 (now Local 158) in 2006 as a Labor Relations Specialist.  Local 158 is a “mixed” local, meaning it represents both Operating Engineers working as heavy equipment operators, mechanics, and surveyors in the construction industry, and stationary engineers working inside buildings performing all types of facility maintenance.  Mike was elected President of the Greater Capital Region Building and Construction Trades Council in January, 2020, representing 22,000 workers in nine local counties.  He sits on the Executive Board of Capital Region Area Labor Federation, IUOE Executive Board, and is the Business Manager of Local 158. He is currently working on launching a multi-trade pre-apprentice program aimed at increasing diversity in the building and construction trades, while also working to ensure the Capital Region has the opportunities and the workforce to thrive in the new Green economy.

Tor Loney

Tor Loney is the Branch Manager for Albany Public Library's Howe Branch Albany's historic South End.  He has many years of experience with youth programming, grant management, outreach, and collaboration.  He has a focus on social justice and partnership, and is committed to addressing issues of inequity through internal organizational change, collection development, programming, and work outside the library in the community.

Exploring Higher Education Career and College Pathways

Denise Zieske

Denise Zieske is the Director of Workforce Development for the State University of New York (SUNY) in the Office of Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline. She develops and implements workforce programs and related initiatives for SUNY’s colleges and supports SUNY’s workforce efforts at the state and national level. Specifically, Denise administers the $9.0 million SUNY Apprenticeship Program which, in partnership with the New York State Department of Labor, coordinates activities to expand Registered Apprenticeships in NYS with a focus on advanced manufacturing, healthcare, information technology/cybersecurity/artificial intelligence and other high demand areas. Denise oversees the SUNY programs included in the NYS Office of Workforce Development’s Workforce Development Initiative Consolidated Funding Application, including workforce development training grants, apprenticeship and job linkage.

Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller is Assistant Vice Chancellor of Community College Support, SUNY & the Executive Director, New York State Student Success Center. Her work centers on community college pathways for equitable student success. Twitter @JMM_13 & @NYSSSC

Career Exploration with the Expertise Project

Penny Hill

Penny Hill is Hudson Valley Community College’s Dean of Economic Development and Workforce Initiatives.  In that role she provides leadership for the College in developing industry partnerships, creating skills-based training initiatives and develops cutting edge programs industry needs for their current and future workforce.  Additionally, she coordinates the StartUP NY program at the College creating important community and business partnerships that link to degrees and training programs.   Recently, she developed and coordinated a training program known as the Manufacturing Technology Boot Camp to build a pipeline for entry-level workers qualified to start manufacturing careers. Penny served as Associate Dean of TEC-SMART (Training and Education Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Renewable Technologies) in the College’s Extension Campus at the NYSERDA STEP Park in Malta for seven years.

Michael Baron

Mike is a licensed engineer and an Instructor in the Engineering, Architecture, Construction and Mathematics department at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York. Mike is a co-founder of Expertise Project, a New York State Benefit Corporation that exposes student to local careers using video.  He previously worked as a member of a specialized Building Services Group for a 100+member, multidisciplinary Civil Engineering firm based in the Hudson Valley Region of Upstate New York.  While practicing, he held leadership roles and his teams earned two diamond-level recognition awards from the New York Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies for demonstrating excellence in engineering.  .

Excluded Workers Fund

Alana Cantillo

Alana Pilar Cantillo is the Vice President of Advocacy for the New York Immigration Coalition. In this role, She leads the planning, implementation, and execution of the NYIC’s top campaigns. She also provides strategic vision and oversight of the organizations federal, state, and local agendas as well as member and political engagement across the state. Ms. Cantillo previously served as the Director of the New York City Council Progressive Caucus where she coordinated 18 Council offices to advance an agenda that promotes a more just and equal New York. Through legislation, funding of social service programs and advocacy, Alana led multiple city-wide efforts that addressed inequalities in education, employment, housing and criminal justice.

Vanessa Agudelo

Raised in an all-Colombian household in Peekskill, Vanessa Agudelo remembers the enormous sacrifices her parents made so she could attend a local Catholic school. "My father worked 17 hour days, and my mom worked as a janitor at the catholic school just to afford the tuition,” she said. Now, as the Hudson Valley Manager of Member Engagement at the New York Immigration Coalition, she works directly with families not unlike hers.  Most recently, Agudelo spearheaded the NYIC's campaign for a first-of-its-kind $2.1 billion fund for excluded workers, which finally provided relief to tens of thousands of working New Yorkers cut off from any Federal assistance. Looking forward, Agudelo wants to focus on ensuring the immigrant communities in the Hudson Valley have a fair shot at recovering from the pandemic and economic recession. Serving the Hudson Valley comes naturally to Agudelo who has served as a Peekskill Common Council Member since 2017 when, at 25, she became the youngest person ever elected to the body.

Driving Community Impact

Andi Philips

Andi Philips has over 25 years of experience leading, designing, and implementing large-scale, public-private partnerships that leverage private investment to address pressing social challenges. At Goldman Sachs, she launched and managed the Goldman Sachs Social Impact Fund and led signature social impact bond investments for the firm including the investment in the Rikers Island Social Impact Bond, the first such transaction ever executed by a financial institution and in the U.S. market.  As of June 2016, Ms. Phillips had led 4 of the 12 outcomes-based financing transactions launched in the U.S. market, including transactions that financed recidivism reduction in Massachusetts and early childhood education in Utah and Chicago. Previously, Ms. Phillips was president of a Community Development Financing Institution (“CDFI”), Seedco Financial, which provided affordable capital to small businesses and nonprofits in disadvantaged communities. At Seedco, Andi also managed performance-based contracts in workforce development, totaling over $100 million.

Andrea Vaghy

Ms. Vaghy is a nonprofit leader and national workforce development expert with over 20 years of experience designing and managing workforce, education, college, and social service programs. From 2007-2020, Ms. Vaghy led The Door’s career and education service department, helping to shape nationally recognized workforce development, education and college access services for in-school and out-of-school youth, including This Way Ahead, a unique retail sector training and internship program with The Gap, Inc., and Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP), an Annie E. Casey Foundation and Social Innovation Fund initiative to improve college matriculation and persistence outcomes for homeless and system-involved youth. Prior to The Door, Ms. Vaghy was the Deputy Director of Client Services at Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, where she developed nationally recognized workforce, entrepreneurial, employment support, immigration, and early childhood education programs including one of the first US Department of Labor-funded welfare to work initiatives, a licensed family daycare network, and one of the largest IRS-sponsored free tax preparation clinics in the United States.

New York Needs Climate and Clean Energy Career Pathways

Adam Flint

For the last decade, Adam Flint has run regional Clean Energy Programs in New York’s Southern Tier, and currently is a Director at the Network for a Sustainable Tomorrow (NEST). The previous decade his work was in higher education, where he served as Assistant Professor of Sociology at Hartwick College and as lecturer in Environmental Studies and Latin American Studies at Binghamton University. Adam co-founded the Tier Energy Network of the Southern Tier, and also, the NY Energy Democracy Alliance, where he coordinates Community Owned Shared Renewables Working Group, and represents the Alliance on the Energy Democracy Project, a national initiative to create shared technical, best practice and expert resources to serve the needs of the movement. From supporting low income families to make their homes energy efficient, to working to make community shared solar accessible regardless of income, social and environmental justice has been a driving value throughout his career.  He co-created Binghamton Community Power, an alliance of housing, healthcare, community and clean energy organizations and individuals doing energy education and capacity building in the City’s environmental justice neighborhoods. On behalf of NY Renews, he leads the newly created New York State Climate and Clean Energy Careers Working Group, a collaborative of stakeholder from across the sector dedicated to creating a system that is inclusive, equitable and capable of producing the thousands of skilled workers needed for the State’s clean energy transition.

New York State Department Of Labor Partners with Coursera

Akilah Jones

Akilah Jones is currently a Project Coordinator for the Future of Work Team at NYS Department of Labor, preparing New York's workforce for changes as the landscape of our labor market is shaped by advances in innovation and technology. Her passion for workforce development is backed by over a decade of experience in community engagement and human services in the Capital Region, with a focus on empowering those facing unique barriers to employment. Akilah has served on the Schenectady County Domestic Violence Task Force, Housing and Homelessness Task Force, and currently serves on Equity Advisory Board for the Capital District Transportation Committee. 

PLENARY: Reflecting on the Future of Economic and Workforce Development

Melinda Mack

Melinda Mack is the Executive Director of the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP), a nationally recognized, leading non-profit membership association in the field of workforce development. In her previous role, Ms. Mack was the founding Director for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation program, Graduate NYC!, an ambitious initiative bringing together the City University of New York, New York City public schools, Mayor’s Office, and a range of external partners aimed at dramatically improving education outcomes across K-12 and community college completion rates. She previously served as the acting director of the NYC Workforce Board and in economic development and municipal finance in upstate NY.

Shelby Schneider 

Shelby Schneider is the Deputy Director of the New York State Economic Development Council. Schneider has over twenty-years of experience working in economic development in Saratoga County. In her most recent role, she served as the President and CEO of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership leading critical economic and workforce development initiatives across the public and private sectors, driving economic success for residents, businesses and government in Saratoga County, New York. 

Over her career she has had the opportunity to work on transformational economic development projects. She has also worked extensively with Saratoga County employers and start-ups to assist with business expansion strategies. Schneider has immense experience promoting Saratoga County and business assets to the global semiconductor and clean-tech industries. She traveled throughout the US and abroad to industry trade shows and developed an extensive knowledge of the industry and relationships with key industry decision makers and site selectors.