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2016 Forty Under 40 honorees

Eric Allen
Vice president, relationship manager
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Age: 36
Education: B.A., economics, SUNY College at Geneseo
Family: Wife, Nicole; son, 5; daughter, 3
Residence: Fairport
Professional responsibilities: I manage a portfolio of commercial clients in the Rochester region. I lead a team of experienced bankers and product partners committed to delivering local service with global capabilities to the businesses we serve.

Professional and community leadership: Vice chairman, Development Committee, Seneca Park Zoo; chairman, Relay for Life Charity Golf Committee, American Cancer Society

Bringing about change in Rochester: Professionally, I will continue to work with bank leadership to direct support to our local charities. On a personal level, I hope to remain active in the community and show my children how important it is to give back.

Surprising fact: I was the assistant coach for the SUNY Geneseo men’s soccer team that made it all the way to the Final Four in 2014. Also, I am not the first Allen to receive this honor: My brother Mark was inducted into the 2012 RBJ Forty Under 40 class.

Heather Ayers
Senior vice president, Food and Beverage Division
First American Equipment Finance
Age: 34
Education: B.A., psychology, and B.S., business administration and marketing, University at Buffalo; MBA, finance and accounting, Simon Business School, University of Rochester
Family: Spouse, Jake
Residence: Avon
Professional responsibilities: I oversee and lead the food and beverage business unit, where I mentor, motivate and coach a group of sales professionals. I also develop sales team capabilities, vision and growth strategies and drive revenue production while managing client service expectations.

Professional and community leadership: Member, Fundraiser Committee and senior board director, Avon Rotary Club; member, Women Build Program Steering Committee and co-chairwoman, Fundraising Subcommittee, Flower City Habitat for Humanity; mentor, First American Equipment Finance Mentors Program

Bringing about change in Rochester: My lifelong desire of wanting to make a difference in people’s lives has made and will continue to make the biggest impact. I have directed this energy toward the causes I am most passionate about to be an agent of change for my community, and I look to instill that same energy in those I interact with.

Surprising fact: The initial impression people get of me is that I am a somewhat reserved professional with a feminine touch. So, they are generally very surprised to find out that I very much enjoy the outdoors and hunt, fish and camp.

Vijay Bansal M.D.
Medical director and chief, Department of Emergency Medicine
F.F. Thompson Hospital Inc., UR Medicine/Thompson Health
Age: 36
Education: B.A., biomedical sciences with minor in biology, and Doctor of Medicine, SUNY College at Buffalo
Family: Single
Residence: Greece
Professional responsibilities: I wear many hats at the hospital. I am a physician who cares for patients in the emergency department. As medical director, I oversee hiring, budgeting, scheduling and much more for the department. As vice president of the medical staff, I ensure the highest quality care throughout the entire hospital.

Professional and community leadership: Fellow, American College of Emergency Physicians; adjunct clinical instructor, Rochester Institute of Technology; medical director, Finger Lakes Ambulance; medical director, Ontario County 9-1-1 Center; medical director, Canandaigua Fire Department

Bringing about change in Rochester: I plan to change Rochester by raising the bar for emergency medicine care throughout the region. I take care of people when they need me the most, but I also educate them on prevention and living a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately, this leads to people being happier and avoiding chronic illnesses.

Surprising fact: I am a first-generation Indian American. My parents came to America with $40 in their pockets. My father passed away when I was 16 years old, and my mother passed away when I was 34. In their short lives, they taught me the value of hard work and giving.

Mary Barker Steblein
Project manager/civil engineer
LaBella Associates DPC
Age: 39
Education: B.S., civil engineering, Lafayette College, Easton, Pa.
Family: Husband, Michael
Residence: Charlotte
Professional responsibilities: I’m a professional engineer and project manager. I work on municipal and utility projects for a variety of clients. I complete engineering reviews of projects for local municipalities, assist with MS4 programs and provide construction phase administrative services. I’m also a subject matter expert in stormwater regulations and permitting.

Professional and community leadership: Member, Advisory Committee and Grants Committee, NextGen Rochester; variety of positions, Society of Women Engineers; former president, Rochester Engineering Society; panelist, Cool Women/Hot Jobs, Young Women’s College Prep; member, Women Build Team, Flower City Habitat for Humanity

Bringing about change in Rochester: Being a member of NextGen Rochester allows contributions to the community both financially and as a volunteer, with opportunities in education, poverty, downtown revitalization and community engagement. I believe in leading by example; NextGen will provide this opportunity for all young philanthropists to make an impact on our community.

Surprising fact: I’m a devoted fan of professional bull riding. I was thrilled when the PBR BlueDef tour stopped in Rochester in September—it was my first live event! My husband and I plan to attend the Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas in the future.

Duwaine Bascoe
Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP
Age: 36
Education: B.A., Morehouse College, Atlanta; J.D., University at Buffalo School of Law
Family: Wife, Sonnette; sons, 11, 2 and 2; daughter, 7
Residence: Penfield
Professional responsibilities: I’m an associate in the Litigation Department, where I concentrate my practice in the areas of business litigation, debt collection and asset recovery, workers compensation, personal injury, and labor and employment litigation.

Professional and community leadership: President-elect, Rochester Black Bar Association; chairman, Diversity Clerkship Program, Monroe County Bar Association; board member, Action for a Better Community Inc.; board member, Alumni Committee, Say Yes To Education Inc.; member, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Woods Oviatt Gilman

Bringing about change in Rochester: I love being a mentor to the children of our community. I want to encourage, guide and assist children—whether it be as a coach in the Boy Scout’s Mock Trial Explorer program, coaching Pop Warner football, or speaking with the children in Rochester city schools, because it’s important to lift as we climb.

Surprising fact: I was born on a farm in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and spent the first few years of my life in a home that my grandfather built from the ground up. The home is still in our family, and I hope to bring my kids there next summer.

Alyssa Belasco
Development and program manager
Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley
Age: 34
Education: B.S., communications and media arts/English minor, SUNY College at Brockport
Family: Husband, William Kalish
Residence: North Winton Village
Professional responsibilities: I help build relationships with donors, other local nonprofits and community groups in support of our mission, which is to empower and inspire women and girls in our community to be economically self-sufficient. I facilitate our special events, develop and implement our annual giving campaign and coordinate our Girls’ Initiative Program.

Professional and community leadership: Columnist, Rochester Magazine; member, Leadership Rochester Class of 2017; associate board member, Gilda’s Club Rochester; board member, Farley’s Friends; co-chairwoman, Communications Committee, Women’s Council, a Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce affiliate

Bringing about change in Rochester: I have a passion for helping women and girls in our community and want to give a voice to those who are living here in poverty. I want to help the women of today and those of tomorrow to see and reach their full potential.

Surprising fact: I’m someone who likes to keep busy, taking advantage of much that our city has to offer on a given day. That doesn’t leave much time for watching television, and I’m OK with that, but nothing comes between me and watching “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver. He’s the man!

Bernard Birnbaum
Jay Birnbaum Co.
Age: 32
Education: American University, Washington, D.C.
Family: Wife, Lisa; son, 5; daughter, 4
Residence: Pittsford
Professional responsibilities: I run the daily operation of a commercial real estate company. This includes leasing, property management, negotiations and development. Recently, we have been focused on redevelopment of existing buildings and new acquisitions.

Professional and community leadership: Trustee and head of the Play Makers Leadership Council, the Strong museum; member, board of directors, Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester; member, board of directors, Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester; observer, Splyce Inc.

Bringing about change in Rochester: There are so many great new things happening in the world. You have to make the effort to bring these things to Rochester. When I hear about something that would be an addition to Rochester, I try to help spearhead it: new events for adults at the museum, opening up a gym, looking for new opportunities to invest within Rochester startups. All of these help to make Rochester into a better city that will lead to growth.

Surprising fact: I am an active gamer, both digital and tabletop. Typically I am ranked above average in games and in the top 2 percent for a game called Hearthstone. Besides gaming, I am extremely active and exercise daily. I am in the process of opening an American Ninja Warrior gym and compete in local competitions—hoping to get selected for the show next season.

Joseph Carello
Labor and employment counsel
Wegmans Food Markets Inc.
Age: 34
Education: B.S., industrial and labor relations, Cornell University; J.D., Cornell Law School
Family: Wife, Juliet; daughter, 2
Residence: Rochester
Professional responsibilities: I provide legal advice and counsel to the business on labor, employment and other personnel issues. I was previously a labor & employment associate at Nixon Peabody LLP.

Professional and community leadership: Member, board of directors and Executive Committee, chairman, Advocacy and Parish and Social Ministry Committee, co-chairman, Mental Health Subcommittee, Catholic Family Center; volunteer, Blessed Sacrament Supper Program; former member, board of directors and Executive Committee, Friendship Children’s Center Inc.; Leadership Rochester 2016

Bringing about change in Rochester: At a community level, I want to continue to work with and for organizations that promote compassion and equality in the Rochester area. At a family level, I want to be the best father and husband I can be.

Surprising fact: Not a surprise, but I would not be here without the support of my wife and family.

Stacey Casella
Program manager
Harris Corp.
Age: 32
Education: B.A., mathematics, Ithaca College; M.S., color science, Rochester Institute of Technology
Family: Husband, Michael; daughters, 4 and 2
Residence: Canandaigua
Professional responsibilities: I am responsible for the execution of an enterprise-wide contract providing modeling, simulation and analysis support to the U.S. government for predictive performance of sensor capabilities. I lead a group of diverse engineers, facilitate customer engagement, manage financial and resource obligations and lead pursuit and proposal activities in support of contract growth.

Professional and community leadership: Team lead, Stroll for Strong; member, Development Program for Next Generation Leaders, Harris Corp.; member and volunteer, Sandy’s Friends; volunteer, Canandaigua Area Soccer League

Bringing about change in Rochester: I want to challenge the norm, bring motivation and drive toward making improvements and actively advocate for positive change and acceptance.

Surprising fact: I learned how to drive on an (International Harvester) B414 tractor, I’m an in-home electrician and have two incredible daughters who together had a combined birthweight of 3.5 pounds.

Christopher Cebula
Partner and CFO
Armbruster Capital Management Inc.
Age: 35
Education: B.S., accounting, SUNY College at Geneseo
Family: Spouse, DeAnna; daughter, 2; son, 7 months
Residence: Rochester
Professional responsibilities: I manage our firm, which includes overseeing operations, finances, HR and IT. I also serve on the firm’s investment committee and provide client service.

Professional and community leadership: Treasurer and board member, Epilepsy-Pralid Inc.; board member, Causewave Community Partners; treasurer and board member, BOA Editions Ltd.

Bringing about change in Rochester: Rochester is in need of economic development, and that is where I plan to focus my efforts. Starting and growing businesses creates jobs and opportunities that our community badly needs.

Surprising fact: My life’s secret ambition is to drive an 18-wheeler across the country.

Clement Chung
Project manager
LaBella Associates DPC
Age: 39
Education: Master of Engineering, civil and environmental engineering, Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine, University of London, London; Associateship of the City and Guilds of London Institute, civil and environmental engineering
Family: Wife, Katina Zoe Antoniades; son, 5
Residence: Brighton
Professional responsibilities: I am a licensed professional engineer who provides civil engineering and management services for water and wastewater projects in multiple states. Projects I work on include evaluation, design and construction of treatment facilities, distribution and collection systems and evaluation of public health issues including lead contamination of drinking water supplies.

Professional and community leadership: President, Rochester Section, American Society of Civil Engineers; member, Steering Committee, Finger Lakes Hub, Empire State STEM Learning Network; member, Policy Board, Brighton Teacher Center, Brighton Central School District; former member, board of directors, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce; former chairman, Advisory Committee, RocCity Coalition 

Bringing about change in Rochester: I hope to continue to work to attract, retain and empower young professionals in Rochester that I started with RocCity Coalition’s Vision 2025 project. I will also continue to employ my background in engineering to support equitable access to quality STEM education opportunities across the region.

Surprising fact: I was an avid rugby player in high school. I’ve played every single position on the field, which is interesting given how small I am! My specialty is tackling, because without my glasses, I can’t tell how big the guy coming towards me is and I have no fear!

Kyle Edkin
Age: 36
Education: B.A., accounting, SUNY College at Geneseo
Family: Wife, Agathie; daughter, 4
Residence: Farmington
Professional responsibilities: I am a director in the Attest Department at EFPR Group. I provide audit, accounting and consulting service to numerous clients with a specialization in health care and nonprofit organizations.

Professional and community leadership: Chairman, Audit Committee, and secretary for Mercy Flight Central; former member of the finance committee for Episcopal Senior Life Communities

Bringing about change in Rochester: One thing apparent to me is that our community is lacking the participation of younger professionals on nonprofit boards. I am constantly encouraging my peers to get involved and be the next generation whose input and expertise can continue to elevate and contribute to these organizations that support our community.

Surprising fact: Most people don’t know that I have experienced three natural disasters in my life. I was born in California, where I lived through an earthquake. Subsequent to that, I lived in Florida and survived Hurricane Andrew. Finally, I was visiting family in Buffalo when a large tornado touched ground.

Brett Farrow
Law Offices of Pullano & Farrow PLLC
Age: 38
Education: B.S., biology/
psychology, and MBA, health care administration, Union College, Schenectady, N.Y.; J.D., Albany Law School of Union University
Family: Wife, Kelly 
Residence: Irondequoit
Professional responsibilities: My legal practice is in corporate law with a specific industry knowledge in healthcare. As a founding member/owner of the firm, I focus on the strategic growth of our business and training new attorneys as well as daily business operations within the office.

Professional and community leadership: Member, board of directors, Mercy Flight Central; member, board of directors, Healthy Baby Network; 12-year presenter, SCORE Association

Bringing about change in Rochester: From George Eastman to Susan B. Anthony to Frederick Douglass—there is historic inspiration throughout Rochester demonstrating how “agents of change” have created movements here that made our entire country better and stronger. While I don’t have a claim to fame as big as these individuals, they do remind me that we all start somewhere and we can all be an agent of change on some level. It is my personal goal to be an agent of change by using my business and service to the Rochester community as a means to foster entrepreneurship and economic opportunities on a local and regional level.

Surprising fact: Before I decided to pursue a career in the legal field, I studied pre-med at Union College. It was a term abroad in 1999 studying health care systems of the United States, England and the Netherlands, and an internship in the New York State Police Violent Crimes Unit that piqued my interest in pursuing my current path.

Casey Fitzgerald
Commercial banker
JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A.
Age: 31
Education: B.S., business administration, finance and marketing, University at Buffalo; MBA, finance, Saunders College of Business, Rochester Institute of Technology
Family: Wife, Lindsay; sons, 2 and 8 months
Residence: Rochester
Professional responsibilities: I help middle market companies by providing financing and treasury solutions. I am responsible for a portfolio of relationships with companies based here in Western New York and provide advice regarding complex business situations.

Professional and community leadership: Board member, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester; member, Executive Committee, Saunders College of Business Alumni Advisory Board, Rochester Institute of Technology; committee member, Casting for Caring, American Red Cross, Greater Rochester Chapter

Bringing about change in Rochester: In a way, I’m naturally helping Rochester through my work at Chase: When I help Rochester businesses grow, that translates into new jobs and a stronger local economy. I also volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and RIT, who are both doing amazing work in the Rochester community.

Surprising fact: A proponent of fitness and work-life balance, I stay active in the local athletic community. I recently completed the Marine Corps Marathon, the Tour De Cure, the Finger Lakes Triathlon and a few other events. I also continue to participate in numerous sports, including hockey, soccer, softball and crossfit.

Carrie Fuller Spencer
Director of financial services
Strong Memorial Hospital
Age: 39
Education: B.S., accounting with double major in Spanish, SUNY College at Oswego
Family: Husband, Michael; daughters, 7 and 5
Residence: Webster
Professional responsibilities: I am responsible for the overall management and supervision of financial operations of the hospital. I serve as policy adviser to the CFO on all matters related to the financial management of Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital and related affiliates, including financial reporting and analysis, budgeting, capital financing, internal controls and patient accounting.

Professional and community leadership: Member, board of directors, Healthcare Financial Management Association, Rochester Regional Chapter; member, Audit Committee, Finance Committee, and board of directors, Villa of Hope; member, Audit Committee, Finance Committee, and board of directors, Starbridge; member, Finance Committee, Rochester Regional Health Information Organization

Bringing about change in Rochester: I want to continue to be an example for my children by teaching them that hard work, community involvement and making time for family contribute to the betterment of our community. I will also teach them that volunteering, participating in community events and helping those in need can effect positive change in the community.

Surprising fact: I was extremely shy as a child and even received the “Most Shy” award at kindergarten graduation.

Lauren Gallina
Marketing director
Gallina Development Corp.
Age: 33
Education: B.A., communications, Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore; MBA, Simon Business School, University of Rochester
Family: Single
Residence: Rochester
Professional responsibilities: I oversee marketing and PR for the entire Gallina Development portfolio, Total Sports Experience and most recently the Metropolitan (the former Chase Tower). My responsibilities include tracking available properties, managing media and involvement in the design process.

Professional and community leadership: Treasurer, associate board, Gilda’s Club Rochester; advisory board, the Center for Teen Empowerment Inc.; member, Fund Development Committee, Center for Youth; member, Al Sigl Council , Al Sigl Community of Agencies; volunteer, Leadership Rochester, Rochester Downtown Development Corp.

Bringing about change in Rochester: I’m in a unique position to have the opportunity to help change the face of Rochester. As a family and as developers, we are deeply committed to adding value and bringing positive change to downtown Rochester so it can be a place where we all love to live and work.

Surprising fact: I’ve been doing ceramics since high school and really enjoy the creative outlet it brings, although it’s harder to find the time to throw since I started back at school.

Melissa Gardner
Vice president, Health Care Network Operations
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Age: 35
Education: B.S., health administration, Ithaca College; master’s in public health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Family: Husband, Brett; daughter, 8; sons, 4 and 4
Residence: Penfield
Professional responsibilities: I manage a provider network of more than 60,000 providers and $4 billion in provider payments. This includes provider credentialing, enrollment, reimbursement modeling and configuration. I am also accountable for health care analytics for the health plan’s 1.5 million members supporting population health strategy development.

Professional and community leadership: Board member, Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency; member, Community Investments Cabinet, United Way of Greater Rochester; fundraiser and event participant, American Heart Association

Bringing about change in Rochester: I am fortunate to be a leader of a community organization with the mission to improve our community’s health. I am excited to pair the responsibility to engage in efforts around regional health planning and community health investments with my ability to identify feasible and sustainable solutions.

Surprising fact: I grew up as a “carnie.”  My family owned concession stands that sold everything from fried dough to fruit salads. There I learned to make a full meal with a deep fryer and the power of duct tape, as well as a work ethic rooted in people, resourcefulness and delivery.

Lindsay Gozzi-Theobald
Vice president, Operational Excellence
Catholic Family Center
Age: 39
Education: B.S., criminal justice, Rochester Institute of Technology; M.S., economic crime management, Utica College
Family: Husband, Ronald Theobald Jr.; son, 6
Residence: Chili
Professional responsibilities: My team and I are responsible for operational improvement and measurement, compliance with regulatory expectations relative to funding and human services practices, privacy and information security.

Professional and community leadership: Board member, Coordinated Care Services Inc., member, Advisory Council, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners; pro bono professional support/volunteer compliance consultant, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester

Bringing about change in Rochester: Compliance and quality are critical components of any human services agency. With the sweeping changes underway in health and human services, my pursuit of excellence coupled with a passion to collaborate and share knowledge with other organizations can lay a foundation for superior service and positive outcomes in our community.

Surprising fact: In high school, I won a national competition in art. These days, I color with my son and enjoy creating a safe, warm, colorful environment with my family.

Anthony Green
Deputy to the provost
University of Rochester
Age: 35
Education: B.S., management information systems, Rochester Institute of Technology; MBA, operations management, Syracuse University
Family: Wife, Elizabeth; son, 5; daughter, 4
Residence: North Greece
Professional responsibilities: I lead projects related to strategic planning and execution of broad university initiatives. I also undertake research to prepare analytical assessments, evaluative reports, policy statements, publications, talks and official correspondence. I act as a liaison with internal committees across the university and to external organizations on behalf of the university as well.

Professional and community leadership: Board member, the Fathers House church; treasurer, Rochester Education Foundation; co-chairman, Young Leaders @ University of Rochester

Bringing about change in Rochester: By serving! I act as a change agent by serving my family, my community, my church and my colleagues at the Rochester Education Foundation, the Father’s House and the University of Rochester. These individuals and organizations are working to provide encouragement, housing, faith, education and healthcare to members of our Rochester community.

Surprising fact: My wife and I have traveled around Europe—with our toddler son and infant daughter strapped to our backs, while leading a dozen high school students, voluntarily—not once, but twice. We loved it!

Jessie Gregorio
Underberg & Kessler LLP
Age: 35
Education: B.A., psychology, Canisius College; J.D., University at Buffalo Law School
Family: Husband, Michael Stout
Residence: Victor
Professional responsibilities: As a member of the litigation and health care practice groups, I counsel clients in general litigation matters and health care matters such as medical malpractice, medical negligence, professional medical discipline, audit reviews and credentialing.

Professional and community leadership: Board member, Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Veterans Outreach Center; board member, Audit Committee, Stepping Stones Learning Center; member, Health Committee, Judicial Evaluation Committee, Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys; member, Events Committee, CDS Monarch Inc.

Bringing about change in Rochester: I want to bring about change by encouraging those around me to be more actively involved with social issues facing Rochester. Community involvement is an integral part of my life and through my passion to learn from and connect with my community, I hope to inspire others to do the same.

Surprising fact: I am an avid adventure traveler. My passion to learn about different cultures has taken me to South America, Europe and the Middle East. I once slept in a Bedouin tent in the Jordanian desert, and I climbed Mount Sinai in Egypt to watch the sunrise.

Jennifer Johnson
News anchor and reporter
13WHAM ABC Rochester
Age: 38
Education: B.A., broadcast journalism, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University
Family: Husband, Vinnie Esposito; daughters, 6, 2 and Grace (2011-2013)
Residence: Irondequoit
Professional responsibilities: I am part of a team that anchors and reports a four-hour morning newscast. I research, write and deliver news stories from the anchor desk and out in the field on a variety of topics. I also conduct live interviews and have a recent focus on fundraising telethons.

Professional and community leadership: Member, board of directors, Golisano Children’s Hospital; member, Rochester Rotary; former board member, the Dream Factory of Rochester Inc.; former board member, the Center for Disability Rights; former board member, the Verona Street Animal Society Inc.

Bringing about change in Rochester: As a journalist, I believe that information can lead to understanding, tolerance and sometimes compassion for one another. I enjoy getting to know others, their passions and their concerns and then using my trusted voice to help explain them to the greater community.

Surprising fact: My first job out of college was in Hastings, Nebraska. I did a story there about volunteer firefighters. Soon afterwards, I joined the department. I loved it! Every time I pass a fire truck responding to a scene, I vow to join a department when my kids get older.

Kimberly Jones
Butler/Till and Brand Cool
Age: 39
Education: B.S., advertising, University of Texas, Austin, Texas; MBA, Simon Business School, University of Rochester
Family: Husband, Matt; daughters, 10 and 8
Residence: Brighton
Professional responsibilities: As president of Butler/Till and Brand Cool, I oversee our account management and media departments, business development and agency growth.

Professional and community leadership: Co-chairwoman, Marketing Committee, and board member, Bivona Child Advocacy; member, Young Presidents Organization

Bringing about change in Rochester: As a leader of a company that’s 100 percent employee owned, a women business enterprise and a certified benefit corporation, I believe businesses have an obligation greater than simply shareholder gain. I want to create and support businesses that share that sense of obligation to its employees, business partners and suppliers, the environment and the community at large.

Surprising fact: After living in 10 different cities, I love calling Rochester home. But I still love to travel, especially to places off the beaten path. In my down time I enjoy running (I ran the New York City marathon plus dozens of half-marathons), reading and cooking with my family.

Nicole Kingsley Brunner
Director, marketing strategy
Manning & Napier
Age: 36
Education: B.A., public relations and marketing communication/management minor, Simmons College, Boston
Family: Husband, Adam; daughters, 7 and 4
Residence: Pittsford
Professional responsibilities: I develop the firm’s marketing strategy and oversee a team responsible for integrated marketing tactics such as public relations, design, advertising, events, digital marketing, lead generation, and the development of engaging content to identify new business opportunities and service existing relationships.

Professional and community leadership: Member, New Leadership Council and Gala Committee, and wish granter, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York and Western New York; member, Marketing Committee, Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley; member, Sponsorship Committee, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Women’s Council ATHENA Awards; co-founder, Community Engagement Group, Manning & Napier

Bringing about change in Rochester: To be an agent of change, I believe you need to be courageous and passionate. My goal is to lead by example and encourage others to pursue their professional and charitable passions in order to make a difference in our community.

Surprising fact: As a child, my family owned a hog farm, and I spent many hours at the barn doing chores, chasing pigs, and learning the importance of hard work and a good shower!

Jennifer Lake
Vice president of people resources
ABVI and Goodwill of the Finger Lakes
Age: 36
Education: B.A., political science, M.S., organizational learning and human resource development, St. John Fisher College
Family: Husband, Matt; daughter, 7
Residence: Pittsford
Professional responsibilities: I am a human resources leader for a 700-plus employee nonprofit organization with manufacturing, contact center, retail, food service and human service operations. I oversee talent management functions, organizational development and change management initiatives, leading a team of seven. I also serve on the Senior Leadership Team and am liaison to the board of directors for strategic planning, succession planning and executive compensation.

Professional and community leadership: President-elect and mentor, Rochester Mentoring Program, National Human Resources Association; member, HR Advisory Committee, Bivona Child Advocacy Center; elder, First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford; member, Women’s Leadership Council, United Way of Greater Rochester Inc.

Bringing about change in Rochester: As a lifelong learner, I believe in the power of education to inform, inspire and challenge thinking. I strive to be an authentic leader who cares, celebrates mistakes and leads by example. Many people let others define them, and my personal mission is to coach individuals to see their strengths and achieve their dreams.

Surprising fact: I started my career as a makeup artist and was promoted to an account coordinator for Clinique, where I worked with Hollywood A-listers to clear DVD features at Warner Bros. before getting my big break in HR.

Robert Lamb lll
Attorney, Trusts and Estates
Bond Schoeneck and King PLLC
Age: 39
Education: B.S., business management and marketing, St. John Fisher College; J.D., Appalachian School of Law
Family: Wife, Meredith; son, 7
Residence: Pittsford
Professional responsibilities: I am a member of Bond’s Trusts and Estates and Long-Term Care practice groups. I serve clients in the areas of estate planning, estate administration and litigation, elder law and long-term care planning.

Professional and community leadership: Secretary and board member, Eagle Star Housing; board member, Pittsford Little League; member, Trusts and Estates Law Section, Elder Law Section, and Special Needs Committee of Elder Law Section, New York State Bar Association; member, Estate Planning Council of Rochester

Bringing about change in Rochester: I can be an agent of change in Rochester by serving to protect the rights of our elderly, disabled and other members of the community who cannot advocate on their own behalf—by making sure that they all have a voice, that their best interests are always taken into account and that no one is forgotten as Rochester continues to evolve.

Surprising fact: I love growing vegetables in my backyard and then cooking different meals for my family with homegrown produce.

Vince Lecce
Senior relationship manager
Cobblestone Capital Advisors LLC
Age: 39
Education: B.A., biology, Cornell University
Family: Wife, Sheila; son, 8; daughter, 6
Residence: Pittsford
Professional responsibilities: My biggest responsibility is to listen carefully to my clients. I help them create a personalized financial plan that enables them to preserve and grow their wealth and efficiently pass it on to future generations and favorite charities. Only by understanding everything about them can I develop a successful strategy.

Professional and community leadership: Chairman, Annual Campaign, member, Capital Campaign Committee, and board member, Southeast Family YMCA; coordinator, Commemorative Brick Program, the KEEP Foundation; NFLPA registered player financial adviser, NFL Players Association; goodwill ambassador, Stand Up For Financial Literacy Campaign

Bringing about change in Rochester: In addition to my personal charitable involvement, I enjoy helping others to give. Through my work with some of the leading community-minded families in Rochester, I can be an agent of change by helping them design philanthropic gifting strategies that benefit our local community.

Surprising fact: I am addicted to crossword puzzles. The more difficult, the better. My favorites are those in the New York Times, and I always have a book of them nearby. I find them to be a great way for me to settle my mind at the end of a busy day.

Jackie Lee
Mengel, Metzger, Barr & Co. LLP
Age: 36
Education: B.S., accounting, SUNY College at Geneseo
Family: Husband, Chris
Residence: Bushnell’s Basin

Professional responsibilities: I supervise multiple teams in performance of audits, tax returns and other engagements for clients in various industries. I support the development of staff through regular leadership skills trainings. I also lead the firm’s Assurance Technology Committee, which monitors the efficiency of our engagements and evaluates the need for improved procedures.

Professional and community leadership: Secretary, board member, member of Executive Committee, and chairwoman of Audit Committee, Volunteers of America Upstate New York; chairwoman, Catalyst Circle; and member, Development Committee, Rochester Museum & Science Center

Bringing about change in Rochester: I enjoy encouraging others to get involved in causes they find meaningful, to stretch themselves through professional growth opportunities and to join forces with individuals having similar interests. Devoting time and energy to Rochester’s important issues is critical to seeing positive change.

Surprising fact: I got hooked on curling and have been an active member of the Rochester Curling Club for the past seven years.

Abby Mastrella
HR compensation manager
Paychex Inc.
Age: 35
Education: B.A., communication and human development, SUNY College at Geneseo; MBA, Saunders College of Business, Rochester Institute of Technology
Family: Husband, Anthony; son, 3
Residence: West Henrietta
Professional responsibilities: I lead the compensation staff in planning analysis, implementation, communication and administration of the company’s compensation policies and programs. I also counsel Paychex leaders on pay decisions, policy and guideline interpretation and job evaluations while ensuring that compensation-related decisions are in line with internal equity and the external market.

Professional and community leadership: Executive president, Sigma Kappa Alumnae Chapter of Rochester; founding member, Lollypop Farm Professionals; and advocate, Lollypop Farm Humane Society of Greater Rochester

Bringing about change in Rochester: I regularly encourage and influence others to go above and beyond their expected duties by getting involved in the community. The passion and commitment that one shows outside their day-to-day experience is what builds and shows true character.

Surprising fact: I am a big fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championship! My husband and I have attended eight live fights and have collected over 500 signatures and photos.

Ebony Miller-Wesley
Interim director
Rochester Institute of Technology, Center for Urban Entrepreneurship
Age: 39
Education: B.A., communication, and M.A., informatics, University at Buffalo
Family: Spouse, Alan; daughter, 12
Residence: Greece
Professional responsibilities: I solicit various funders for support of incubator activities. Assisting promising ventures to grow effectively by providing capacity building services is also part of my role. Additionally, I am responsible for the youth program development to promote self-efficacy, financial literacy and knowledge of entrepreneurship as a viable career.

Professional and community leadership: Member, Loan Committee, PathStone Enterprise Center; board of management, Monroe Family YMCA; regional network leader, University at Buffalo; member, Entrepreneurship and Development Workgroup, Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council 

Bringing about change in Rochester: Helping to create a more collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem is how I would like to be considered a change agent in Rochester.

Surprising fact: If I were to win the Mega Millions, I would return to school to pursue a degree in law. I have always aspired to be an attorney; however, life happened and I put things on hold.

Jonathan Miller
The Bonadio Group
Age: 37
Education: AAS, accounting, Alfred State College; B.S., accounting, SUNY College at Geneseo
Family: Wife, Erin; daughters, 7, 4 and 4 months
Residence: Webster
Professional responsibilities: I am a principal in our firm’s healthcare/tax-exempt department, responsible for overseeing audits and consulting engagements for health care and human service organizations and institutions of higher education.

Professional and community leadership: Board member, member, Finance Committee, and member, Audit Committee,  Flower City Habitat for Humanity; officer, secretary and member, Education Committee, Rochester Regional Chapter of Healthcare Financial Managers Association

Bringing about change in Rochester: The future is going to require collaboration to effectively manage the disruption facing nonprofit organizations in our community. Through my positive attitude, I plan to be a major participant in making those relationships work to ensure these vital services continue to support our community.

Surprising fact: My high school class superlative was class optimist; 19 years later I still take the most favorable view of each situation posed to me.

Luis Ormaechea
Harris Beach PLLC
Age: 39
Education: B.S., biological sciences, Cornell University; M.A., science education, New York University; J.D., Syracuse University College of Law
Family: Spouse, Darcy; daughter, 10; son, 6
Residence: Penfield
Professional responsibilities: My legal practice is mainly focused on intellectual property matters, including patent and trademark prosecution, litigation, licensing and related matters where I can use my background in science and technology. I also have experience in corporate law and have recently grown my practice in other areas, including diversity compliance.

Professional and community leadership: Secretary, board of directors, Rochester Intellectual Property Law Association; member, board of directors, Rochester Hispanic Business Association; member, board of directors, Foundation of the Monroe County Bar; vice chairman, Advisory Council, SUNY Brockport SummerLEAP Enrichment Program

Bringing about change in Rochester: I would be an agent of change by helping my clients address legal issues in order to achieve their business and personal goals. I would also continue to volunteer my time and talents to help community organizations develop and accomplish objectives that bring positive change to the Rochester area.

Surprising fact: Prior to becoming an attorney, I taught science in public schools. Before that (while I was still an undergraduate student), I worked in educational settings, including a museum and an early childhood center, and was once awarded a grant to develop and teach science programs.

Christopher Piedici
Senior manager
Freed Maxick CPAs P.C.
Age: 32
Education: B.S., accounting and accounting information systems, Canisius College
Family: Wife, Katherine; son, 3
Residence: Honeoye Falls
Professional responsibilities: I oversee client relationships and all phases of client engagements while providing a wide range of accounting, assurance and consulting services to a broad range of private companies, nonprofit agencies and schools (public/private/charter) that range from startups to $1 billion in assets. Additionally, I am a performance adviser for staff in the firm’s Rochester office, providing career guidance and training.

Professional and community leadership: Treasurer, AMA|Rochester; director and former finance chairman, Flower City Down Syndrome Network; member, NextGen Rochester (giving circle of Rochester Area Community Foundation); member and former Advisory Committee member, RocCity Coalition; committee member, Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession and NextGen, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants

Bringing about change in Rochester: I am intrigued by the entrepreneur who is willing to start something from nothing. I have and plan to continue supporting new startup businesses in Rochester by providing my expertise to help them succeed. Rochester is a community with fallow potential of passionate people and concepts looking for an opportunity to thrive.

Surprising fact: I’m an avid outdoorsman and fairly handy. While these days I haven’t spent much time outdoors with a growing family, I plan to teach my kids these skills as they grow older. Also, I spent the summer between high school and college rebuilding a 1967 Mercury ParkLane 410 V8 with my uncle.

Jamal Redding
Director–governance, risk and compliance
JC Jones & Associates LLC
Age: 31
Education: BBA, finance, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio; M.S., accounting, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind.
Family: Single
Residence: Pittsford
Professional responsibilities: My current professional responsibilities include planning, directing and executing financial compliance related projects and engagements for publicly traded and privately held companies. For each client served, the primary focus is to bring clarity, creativity and results to each engagement and the related tasks.

Professional and community leadership: Member, board of governors and co-chairman, webinar series, Institute of Internal Auditors (Rochester Chapter); treasurer, Black Young Professionals of the Urban League of Rochester; treasurer, Young Adult Outreach Ministry, First Genesis Baptist Church; outreach ministry, Straight from the Heart; tenor, First Genesis Baptist Church Ensemble

Bringing about change in Rochester: Lasting change within our community begins with our youth. I will continue to educate, encourage and provide resources (educational, financial, etc.) to our Rochester youth. Additionally, organizing forums, training sessions and other means to provide an outlet for increased training and awareness, to address the pertinent issues and struggles currently limiting our city’s potential.

Surprising fact: I have a deep passion for music, most specifically singing. Singing in choirs, talent shows and concerts has been an integral part of my life for approximately 20 years. Outside of work, this is my absolute favorite hobby.

Abby Reinhard
GP Flooring Solutions
Age: 38
Education: B.A., University of Michigan, School of Literature, Science and the Arts, Ann Arbor, Mich.,
M.Ed., Harvard University; Harvard Graduate School of Education
Family: Husband, Josh; daughters, 5 and 8 months, son, 3
Residence: Pittsford
Professional responsibilities: I develop and implement business strategy and process improvement, manage and train staff, pursue strategic opportunities, address challenges, oversee fiscal management and human resources and drive marketing and sales.

Professional and community leadership: Board member, Hochstein School of Music and Dance; board member, Blackfriars Theatre; member, Board of Management, Camp Cory, YMCA of Greater Rochester

Bringing about change in Rochester: I want to bring about change by leading and growing a company that’s a great place to work and by helping community organizations develop strategy and raise funds to better achieve their mission to either improve the lives of children or enrich arts and culture in Rochester.

Surprising fact: Following my interest in the mind-body connection, I did one year of a Ph.D. program in clinical health psychology before revising my career goals.

Sarah Stage
Marketing specialist
Insero & Co. CPAs LLP
Age: 30
Education: B.M., vocal performance, Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, Berea, Ohio
Family: Husband, Ryan
Residence: Penfield
Professional responsibilities: I plan and execute Insero & Co.’s marketing and business development initiatives as well as manage the budget. I work collaboratively with partners and management to implement strategic marketing efforts for the firm.

Professional and community leadership: Member, board of directors and co-chairwoman, Development Committee, Rochester Oratorio Society; chairwoman, Women Build Steering Committee, Flower City Habitat for Humanity; member, Website Committee, Association for Accounting Marketing; member, Marketing Advisory Board, RSM US Alliance

Bringing about change in Rochester: I believe that change can be achieved through thoughtful listening and strategic action. I apply this philosophy to helping improve the lives of others in the Rochester community, whether working to provide affordable, quality housing or world-class artistic experiences and outreach.

Surprising fact: I am a classically trained musician specializing in vocal performance. I teach voice to local high school and college students and have performed with the Rochester Oratorio Society and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Daniel Strom
Senior business banking relationship manager–vice president
Five Star Bank
Age: 38
Education: B.S., organizational management, Roberts Wesleyan College; MBA pending, Simon Business School, University of Rochester
Family: Wife, Betsy; daughters, 10 and 7
Residence: Livonia
Professional responsibilities: I provide commercial lending and deposit services to area small businesses.

Professional and community leadership: Treasurer and board member, Child Care Council of Rochester

Bringing about change in Rochester: I would like to help all small businesses gain access to the necessary funding to grow. I would do this by being a business partner as well as an adviser to help connect them to available services within the community.

Surprising fact: I love to cook.

Kelly Thompson
The Bonadio Group
Age: 38
Education: B.S., accounting from SUNY College at Geneseo
Family: Husband, Jeremy; daughter, 10; son, 8
Residence: Greece
Professional responsibilities: I provide technical guidance to the firm’s professionals in the complex world of not-for-profit accounting, including health care, higher education and service organizations. I am also responsible for the firm’s continuing professional education function, which includes compliance monitoring and developing and delivering training sessions to employees and outside audiences.

Professional and community leadership: Board member and treasurer, Bivona Child Advocacy Center; past council member and treasurer, Transfiguration Lutheran Church; member, Women’s Leadership Council, United Way of Greater Rochester Inc.

Bringing about change in Rochester: I believe I am an agent of change by volunteering my time and resources where I think they can be most effective and can bring about great results. A big part of it is that the people I work with are all focused on the same goal and put in extraordinary effort.

Surprising fact: People may be surprised to know that I love old-school rap. I pretty much know all of the lyrics to any hip-hop song that came out between 1990 and 2004, and I love making up alternative lyrics to sing with my kids!

Erica Tickle
Senior marketing manager
Wegmans Food Markets Inc.
Age: 37
Education: B.S., policy analysis and management, Cornell University; MBA, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Family: Husband, Scott; son, 6
Residence: Irondequoit
Professional responsibilities: I lead the team responsible for developing and executing marketing plans, including message and media development, for Wegmans grand openings and recruitment, digital strategies, value, and the beer, wine, health and beauty care and general merchandise businesses.

Professional and community leadership: Chairwoman, Strategic Planning Steering Committee, Willow Domestic Violence Center; former president, vice chairwoman and nominations chairwoman, board of directors, Alternatives for Battered Women

Bringing about change in Rochester: Rochester is a vibrant and interconnected community, and I’m happy to be a part of two organizations focused on having true impact on youth and healthy families.

Surprising fact: I’m known for my love of different foods, but I can’t stand Jell-O!

Truman Tolefree
Director of acquisitions
Morgan Management LLC
Age: 37
Education: B.A., finance, Morehouse College, Atlanta; MBA, corporate finance, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University; graduate minor, real estate finance, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University
Family: Wife, Erin; sons, 4 and 2
Residence: Victor
Professional responsibilities: I source, underwrite, develop business strategy, coordinate diligence and procure financing for new acquisitions. I also work closely with firm principals to negotiate and structure business terms of purchases and operating agreements with our joint venture partners. Post-acquisition, I work with our asset management team to maximize asset values via the effective implementation of our business plans.

Professional and community leadership: Director, board of directors, Venture Jobs Foundation; member, Finance Committee, Action for a Better Community Inc.

Bringing about change in Rochester: I would be an agent of change by using my knowledge and donating my resources (both economic and time) to support organizations like Venture Jobs Foundation and Action for a Better Community—organizations that foster economic development and self-sufficiency and seek to eradicate poverty within our community.

Surprising fact: I was vegan for eight years. It started off as a test of discipline; I just wanted to see how long I could maintain the diet. I only started back eating meat while honeymooning in Spain. Now, I’ve traded tofu for BBQ pork ribs smoked on my Primo Oval XL!

Alexis Vogt
Endowed chair and associate professor of optics
Monroe Community College
Age: 38
Education: B.S., optics with a minor in mechanical engineering; Ph.D., optics, Institute of Optics, University of Rochester
Family: Husband, Darren; daughter, 4, son, 2
Residence: Brighton
Professional responsibilities: In addition to full-time teaching responsibilities, I was appointed to strengthen and grow the MCC optics and photonics program—the nation’s only two-year degree program training technicians for work in the optics industry. I cultivate community, business and industry partnerships to anticipate workforce needs and promote regional, and national, economic vitality.

Professional and community leadership: Member, AIM Photonics Academy; member, Education Committee Board, Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster; member, Optics, Photonics & Imaging Workgroup of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council; STEM board member, Monroe 2-Orleans Boards of Cooperative Educational Services; optics community outreach presentations in the Rochester area and internationally

Bringing about change in Rochester: Education is fundamental to fighting poverty and unemployment. Rochester has a shortage of optics technicians, yet an abundance of people who need jobs. My goal is to educate and empower. I am committed to developing pre-collegiate partnerships and programs that create access and readiness to underrepresented populations in Rochester for STEM optics pathways.

Surprising fact: I defined two words—“light” and “polarization”—for the World Book Encyclopedia.

11/11/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.


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