- Jen GrooverSerial Entrepreneur
Jen Groover has been tagged by SUCCESS Magazine as a “One-Woman Brand”, a “Creativity and Innovation Guru”, a leading “Serial Entrepreneur” by Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked #8 by SAP in the Top 51 Influencers of Human Potential and has recently been selected as a delegate for the United Nation's first ever Global Accelerator for the Global Entrepreneurs Council.
Jen made history at the New York Stock Exchange, as member of the first all-female group to ring the opening bell. Jen’s multi-faceted, diverse wisdom and leadership has aligned her with amazing brands, such as USANA Health Sciences, Avon, Verizon and SkyMall, for which Jen has held various roles as a spokeswoman.
Jen is a top business and lifestyle contributor and content creator for major networks such as ABC, CBS, CNBC, NBC, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business News and The CW. Jen also contributes editorial pieces to prominent business magazines and online resources including The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Positively Positive and The Daily Love. Her products/brand have been featured in hundreds of media outlets including O! The Oprah Magazine, Redbook, People, US Weekly, Success & Entrepreneur to name a few.
Her success skyrocketed with the creation of the Butler Bag, the world’s first compartmentalized handbag, which led to the creation of subsequent lifestyle brands, Leader Girlz, and “Empowered by Jen Groover" with her PBS special, complimented with a variety of books and consumer products. Her latest business, JumpStart Connect, accelerates growth of small businesses.
Jen motivates and inspires through her keynote speaking engagements all over the world. She has shared stages with the likes of Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, Dr. Oz, Barbara Corcoran, Darren Hardy, Dennis Waitley, Jesse Jackson, Robert Kiyosaki, Larry King & many more
As a TV personality, highly-sought after speaker, author, designer, inventor and more, Jen is more than a triple threat and a force to be reckoned with.
- Josh LafazanLegislator
Legislator Josh Lafazan, at 23 years of age, became Nassau County’s youngest-ever legislator upon his election to the Nassau County Legislature in November of 2017. He is currently serving his second term, where he represents Nassau’s 18th Legislative District.
Josh graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a Master’s Degree in Education Policy and Management in May 2017, and from the Cornell University ILR School with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations in May 2016.
Previously, in May 2012, at the age of 18, Josh became one of the youngest elected officials in the history of New York State when he was elected to the Syosset School Board of Education. Josh was elected with 82% of the vote one month before he graduated from Syosset High School, and was re-elected by his constituents in 2015. During his time on the school board, Josh successfully fought for an unprecedented increase in transparency and openness of all school district functions.
Josh’s dedication to community service began before he ran for the school board. In 2011, Josh became the Founder & CEO of Safe Ride Syosset, a community outreach program dedicated to ensuring that no Syosset teenager gets behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, or is the passenger in a car with a drunk driver. Josh and his volunteers safely drove home over 350 students in 2012, and there was not a single teenage drinking and driving accident in Syosset on the nights Safe Ride was operating.
Josh has made fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic his top legislative priority. Since 2013, Josh has served on both the Board of Directors of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD), in addition to the Nassau County Heroin Prevention Task Force, where he was appointed by the office of Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
In 2012, Josh was named to the Long Island Press’ Power List of the 50 Most Influential People on Long Island. In 2014, he received the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences Educators’ Voice Award for School Board Member of the Year. In 2016, Josh was named a recipient of the New York State School Boards Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Josh is also the author of “Political Gladiators: How Millennials Can Navigate the 21st Century Political Minefield and WIN!”
- Ghazala Hashmi, PhDSenator, Educator & Advocate
Dr. Ghazala Hashmi is an experienced educator and advocate who has spent nearly 30 years working within Virginia’s college and university system. In November 2019, Ghazala was elected to the Virginia Senate, unseating a Republican incumbent and helping to bring an historic Democratic majority to the state senate and to the General Assembly. She most recently served as the Founding
Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL) at Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Virginia. Ghazala immigrated to the U.S. from India 50 years ago. As an immigrant living in a small town in the South, she saw first-hand how community building and fostering dialogue can bridge the cultural and socioeconomic divisions that we face. She earned her PhD in English from Emory University, and she and her husband Azhar moved to the Richmond area in 1991 as newly-weds. Their two daughters were born and raised in Midlothian, Virginia, and educated in Chesterfield County Public Schools. Ghazala is guided by the principles of integrity, social justice, and ethics in government in her approach to public service. Ghazala Hashmi is the first Muslim American to serve in the Virginia Senate, and the Muslim American woman to serve in Virginia’s General Assembly.
- Debbie DeMontreuxDevelopment Consultant and Executive Producer
Debbie DeMontreux is a development consultant and Executive Producer for Topic, a new entertainment streaming platform which provides unique stories and from around the world. Her most recent endeavor, What's Your Ailment?! is a talk series hosted by comedian Maria Bamford who talks candidly with other fellow comedians about their experiences in struggling with mental health. Guests include Tig Notaro, Baron Vaughn, Rachel Bloom and Tom Arnold.
Prior, DeMontreux served as Executive Producer at Embassy Row developing programs for TV networks and digital platforms. On-air productions include UNLOCKING THE TRUTH for MTV, a true crime series featuring exoneree Ryan Ferguson who re-investigates criminal cases of potentially wrongful convictions; and MY BROTHER, MY BROTHER AND ME, a comedic advice series based on the popular podcast for Seeso, NBC Universal's former digital comedy platform. Prior to Embassy Row, DeMontreux served as Senior Vice President of Original Programming at IFCtv. Series includes PORTLANDIA starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein and executive produced by Lorne Michaels, COMEDY BANG! BANG! based on Scott Aukerman's popular podcast, MARON, a scripted comedy series based on the life of comedian Marc Maron, THE SPOILS OF BABYLON executive produced by Will Ferrell and starring Kristen Wiig and Tobey Maguire and THE BIRTHDAY BOYS, a sketch comedy series executive produced by Ben Stiller and Bob Odenkirk.
DeMontreux is a WICT Betsy Magness Leadership Institute fellow, Class XVI. She was named to Multichannel News’ 2009 ‘Forty Under 40’ list as well as Elle Magazine's Power List: Women in TV in the Feb, 2013 issue and co-hosts a comedy podcast entitled SLAPPED which can be found on iTunes, Stitcher and at www.slappedpodcast.com.
- Michelle SchmittAttorney
Prior to forming Schmitt Law Group, P.C. in December, 2016, Michelle Schmitt was a Partner in the Real Estate Group at Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP in East Meadow, New York. Michelle focuses her practice on residential and commercial real estate transactions, representing developers and investors in the purchase, sale, construction, development and financing of commercial buildings, industrial facilities, shopping centers, hotels, tax-deferred exchange transactions and multi-family housing throughout the United States. She also represents developers of new construction condominiums, cooperatives and homeowner’s associations located all over the State of New York. In addition, Michelle has experience in leasing, representing both landlords and tenants in negotiating leases, net leases and ground leases for retail, commercial and industrial space.
Active in her community, Ms. Schmitt was formerly a mentor in the Lawyers Involved in Kids’ Education (LIKE) Program, which is affiliated with the Long Island Mentoring Partnership, and was chosen to speak at their 14th Annual Benefit. She has served as Captain of the Action Long Island/American Heart Association Long Island Corporate Wellness Challenge for the firm, as well as a member of the Marcum Corporate Workplace Challenge Committee. In 2016 she served as the Event Chair of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women annual luncheon. Ms. Schmitt has also been active in LIREG, the Huntington Chamber of Commerce’s Women-in-Business Committee and Long Island University’s Rising Professionals Group.
Michelle resides in Brookville with her husband, Kevin, and sons Carter and Hudson. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, going to the gym and traveling.
- George Washington University (B.A., 2004)
- Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center (J.D., cum laude 2007)
AWARDS and HONORS
- Long Island Business News’ 40 Under 40 Award, Jan. 2016
- Athena Young Professional Leadership Award, Jan. 2016
- American Heart Association’s Development Achievement Award, Sept. 2015
- American Heart Association’s Outstanding Service Award, Sept. 2014
- Touro Law Center’s Emerging Leader Award, Jan. 2013
- Huntington Chamber of Commerce’s 30 Young Professionals Under 30, May 2012
- Touro Law Center Public Interest Attorney of the Year, April 2012
- CALI Award for Academic Excellence National Association Women Lawyers Award
- ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in Labor and Employment Law
- Jay MaxSenior Creative Strategist
Jay Max is a senior creative strategist working across a variety of industry verticals, including entertainment, financial services, and life sciences. He specializes in copywriting, cross-platform digital and social media campaign development, and brand identity. Before joining RooneyPartners, Jay was a copywriter at Newsday Media Group, where he developed and managed numerous, highly successful 360 marketing initiatives, along with contributing articles and cover stories to the company’s various editorial products. His gift guide, “In the Spirit,” can currently be found in every issue of Long Island Living magazine. He is also a Billboard-charting songwriter signed to Universal Music Publishing who has composed a robust catalog of children’s music for Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop, and Universal Kids. Jay has produced and creative directed music videos which have aired on MTV, Logo TV, and his songs have been featured in commercials and programming on networks such as Lifetime, TLC, and Bravo.
- Bill Brennan, Ed.D
Bill Brennan, Ed.D is the Assistant Superintendent for Innovation & Organizational Development in Farmingdale School District. Working with the leadership team in Farmingdale, Bill instituted an overhaul of professional practices related to organizational learning and successfully established Farmingdale Schools and the leadership team as an incubator for innovation in learning.
He has published articles on leadership, innovation and professional learning for several publications. Over the past decade he has delivered numerous keynotes and consulted in school districts across the United States on school transformation, professional learning, personalized learning, and leadership.
Bill holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Fordham University and currently teaches in the Doctoral program. Bill founded and led several leadership incubators and facilitates administrative retreats for several organizations.
- Nicole QueenPodcast Host- Social Media Influencer, Photographer
Nicole is a certified speaker and founding member of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of DFW where she speaks at mosques, churches, and universities spreading a message of religious tolerance and understanding. Nicole was featured as the first female host on "Guide US TV" along with Sheikh Yusuf Estes, a long time mentor. Currently, Nicole produces the number one podcast for Muslim women, Salam Girl Podcast, in an effort to empower Muslim women in the west to be confident in their identity and pursue their goals and passions.
- Renee BalducciHR leader & strategic business partnerRenee BalducciHR leader & strategic business partner
A NYC based Human Resources leader and thought partner who spent over 16 years working with Fortune 500 companies, Renee has deep experience building talent strategies and programs that allow people to grow and thrive. Most recently she led the HR function for cable tv networks Bravo, E!, Oxygen & Universal Kids. Prior to that role, Renee held a Human Resources leadership position supporting Comedy Central, Spike TV, MTV, VH1 & Logo. Additionally, Renee served as Head of HR for EPIX, a premium, subscription-based tv network for its first 2 years from launch in 2010 and did a 3 year stint starting in 2007 at Epstein, Becker & Green, a national law firm focused on healthcare and employment law .
- Imran AfzalSystems Manager / InstructorHow to Ace the InterviewImran AfzalSystems Manager / Instructor
Imran Afzal has over 18 years of experience in Systems Management, engineering, entrepreneurship, teaching and public speaking.
Currently Imran manages a team of 48 systems engineers and administrators. He started his career with Time Warner (New York City) in 2000 as a systems administrator. That is where he began his career in IT. He was involved in deploying technologies like DTV, VOD, Cable Cards, PPV, IPTV etc.
He has utilized IT skills in many fortune 500 companies such as financial firm, fashion industry, tech media industry etc. He spearheaded projects like datacenter migration, introduction and deployment of VMWare, monitoring tools implementation, Amazon cloud migration and many more. His professional expertise is Linux, VMWare, Windows, technical documentation, training, project management, change management etc.
Imran earned his bachelor’s in computer information systems from Baruch College, City University of New York as an honor student. He earned his MBA from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) in operation management and IT.
Some of his certifications are in Linux Systems Management, UNIX Operating Systems, Linux System Administration, System Internals, VMWare Certified Professional, RHCSA and Windows Server Certified
Imran has been teaching since 2010 and provides onsite and online training on many IT subjects. He has the highest rated online courses at Udemy.com with 22,000+ students. He has helped almost 100+ students to land a job in IT. He believes in education and giving back. He owns a non-profit school for children from pre-k till 10th grade in Lahore, Pakistan.
- Amita Kundra MDBoard-Certified Cardiothoracic Anesthesiologist, researcher, consultant, and writerAmita Kundra MDBoard-Certified Cardiothoracic Anesthesiologist, researcher, consultant, and writer
Amita Kundra MD is a Board-Certified Cardiothoracic Anesthesiologist, researcher, consultant, and writer. She is published in the field of Anesthesiology and is a peer reviewer for several medical journals. Her interests include perioperative guidelines for the consumption of cannabis and CBD. She has been featured in several publications including Glamour magazine and Popsugar.
Through her Instagram and tiktok account, she shares her journey as a women in medicine. She is an strong advocate for women in medicine. She also mentors medical students who are interested in the field of Anesthesiology.
- Salvatore M. Zavarella, DO, FACOSBoard-certified Neurological Surgeon
Board-certified Neurological Surgeon Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Director of Spine Surgery at SpineCare Long Island
Dr. Salvatore M. Zavarella is a board certified neurosurgeon, and is an integral part of the neurosurgical team at SPINECARE. Dr. Zavarella obtained his medical degree from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his general surgery internship and residency in Neurological Surgery at Hofstra North Shore-Long Island Jewish School of Medicine. Dr. Zavarella recently completed a prestigious fellowship at The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he obtained advanced clinical specialization in neurosurgical oncology, with a focus on the surgical treatment of primary and metastatic spine tumors and performing awake brain tumor surgery. During this time he published peer-reviewed papers on the treatment of metastatic spine tumors and was invited to write a chapter in a prominent spine textbook.
Dr. Zavarella received his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biomedical Sciences from the State University of New York at Buffalo where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He received the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute scholarship for international research, and from this work he was able to secure a position as Laboratory Manager at Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.
The recipient of multiple foundation grants for research, Dr. Zavarella started a clinical trial entitled “The brain and spinal cord tissue donation program” whereby spinal cord and brain tumor patients could donate a portion of their tumor specimen, at the time of surgery, to study cell signaling mechanisms in central nervous system tumors. From this work, Dr. Zavarella has published cell signaling mechanisms involved in the invasion of medulloblastoma and glioma cells.
Dr. Zavarella’s clinical expertise is in the treatment of complex spine tumors, adult degenerative deformity and scoliosis, herniated disc, spinal fractures, spinal stenosis, disc arthroplasty, minimally invasive spine surgery including lateral spine surgery, peripheral nerve tumor surgery, brain tumor surgery including awake surgery for metastatic and primary brain tumors.
Dr. Zavarella’s focus is to treat neurosurgical disorders with a non-operative conservative or minimally invasive approach when possible, and when surgery is indicated he is able to offer a wide range of open and minimally invasive options tailored to each patient.
- Adarsh V. Mudgil, MDBoard Certified in Dermatology and DermatopathologyAdarsh V. Mudgil, MDBoard Certified in Dermatology and Dermatopathology
Dr. Mudgil is one of few dermatologists to be board certified in both dermatology and dermatopathology; this gives him a unique understanding of skin disease and allows him to approach patient care from both a clinical and cellular perspective. He treats patients of all ages, from newborns to geriatrics, and is versed in all aspects of medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. Dr. Mudgil received his bachelor’s degree with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Emory University and his medical degree with Alpha Omega Alpha honors from the Stony Brook University School of Medicine. He was among a handful of medical students nationwide to have been awarded a coveted Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship and Scholarship. Through this funding, he conducted nationally recognized research focused on the pathogenesis of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. He completed his residency in dermatology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, where he served as chief resident. He went on to complete a fellowship at the prestigious Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology.
Dr. Mudgil is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and the American Society of Dermatopathology. He has published extensively in the medical literature as well as lectured at numerous national meetings.
Dr. Mudgil is a member of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine teaching faculty, where he is actively involved in the education of medical students and resident physicians. He participates in most major health insurance plans including Medicare.
Dr. Mudgil is honored to have been selected as one of New York’s Super Doctors, a distinction awarded to approximately 5% of the physicians within a respective state or region. He is also listed in the Castle Connolly guide of top doctors.
- Daniel Botchway, PE, PMP, MBADaniel Botchway, PE, PMP, MBA
Mr. Daniel Botchway is a Program Manager providing oversight, day-to-day management and strategic planning for the JFK International Airport Redevelopment Program. This is a historic $18 billion plan to transform the gateway to America and one of most active airports in the world into a modern 21st century airport. It is an initiative that will deliver a unified and interconnected airport system with world-class passenger amenities, centralized ground transportation options and vastly improved roadways that collectively will increase the airport's capacity by 15 million passengers a year by 2025 and enable it to compete with renowned airports around the world.
Mr. Botchway is a seasoned engineer with over 26 years and a combined $38 billion of extensive private and public sector experience in all aspects of Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Program Management, Asset Management, Operations and Maintenance. He is a licensed New York State Professional Engineer and a certified Project Management Professional. Mr. Botchway has held responsible positions at the New York City Transit, Long Island Railroad and Port Authority, respectively, with an established record of demonstrated accomplishments on project management and delivery. He has provided supervision, guidance and leadership to teams of professionals in the conception, planning, implementation, management and delivery of Capital and Operating projects involving megaprojects – the Rebuilding of the World Trade Center Complex, Construction of Brooklyn Nets Barclays Sports Arena, Rehabilitation of Amityville-Copiague-Lindenhurst railway tracks, Rehabilitation of Jamaica Station/JFK Airport AirTrain, Rehabilitation of Port Authority Bus Terminal, Rehabilitation of Lincoln and Holland Tunnels.
Mr. Botchway is a Ghanaian-American born in Accra, Ghana. As a kid, his primary school allowed him to skip 2nd grade, when his 1st grade teacher recommended and advocated for it. He completed High School at Accra Academy in 1985, where he was awarded Grade 1 (with distinction), the highest grade possible. He also completed Senior High School (Sixth Form) at the Presbyterian Boys Secondary School (Presec) – Legon in Accra in 1987. He obtained his Bachelor of Engineering degree from the City College of the City University of New York and a Master of Business Administration degree from Dowling College in Oakdale, New York. Mr. Botchway is a professor and a member of the faculty at Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Public and Global Affairs in Teaneck, New Jersey. He is proficient in Russian, having lived and studied for over three years in the former Soviet Union/Russia at the Tashkent Roads and Highways Institute.
Mr. Botchway believes in giving back to his community and the world at large. He is the executive secretary of the Gadangme Council of New York and the former president of Abladei, both non-profit voluntary organizations that generally educate, inspire the youth and assist the poor and needy. He lives in Queens, New York, with his lovely wife, Mabel, and children, William, Andrew, and Benjamin.
- Neil FosterCEO Founder BroadReach Communications
Neil is the founder of BroadReach Communications which is a Recruiting and Consulting firm founded in 2005 specializing in Healthcare and Technology. We operate on three core principles Trust, Reliability and Service. Whether you’re an individual seeking employment or an Employer seeking talented professionals, we will deliver the highest level of service and produce the best candidates and jobs in the industry. Neil has also founded several enterprises such as tri state restaurant club as well as the foodie card.
- AJMAL SHEIKHVice PresidentAJMAL SHEIKHVice President
Ajmal has over 15 years of transaction and operating experience successfully advising, transacting and helping scale companies across a number of industries.
Prior to joining ACP, Ajmal was Vice President at Education Growth Partners, a learning and human capital management-focused growth equity and buyout fund. During his time there, Ajmal gained extensive operating and investment experience with portfolio companies including Apex Learning, Human Capital Institute(HCI), and Modo Labs. Prior to Education Growth, Ajmal was also co-founder and CEO of Nortec Software, a multi-national technology company which provided healthcare software solutions to physicians, academic institutions and government agencies across the US.
Ajmal began his career at UBS Investment Bank where he specialized in advising large financial clients on mergers and acquisitions and equity financings as part of the Financial Institutions Group. After, he transitioned to the Financial Sponsors, Leverage Finance and Restructuring Group where he provided debt financing and restructuring advisory for private equity and Fortune 500 corporate clients.
Ajmal is passionate about teaching and creating opportunities. He is actively involved with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), which provides educational and career programs to young students from underserved and underrepresented communities to maximize their opportunities for college and career success. Ajmal holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelors from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business
- Sophia Mirza, MDAssoc Medical Inform Officer/Director Telemedicine NYEE at Mount Sinai Health SystemSophia Mirza, MDAssoc Medical Inform Officer/Director Telemedicine NYEE at Mount Sinai Health SystemExperienced Medical Information Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Board certified in Ophthalmology and in Health Informatics, my areas of focus have been EMR implementation, optimization, tele-medicine implementation, and now validation and implementation of artificial intelligence in clinical settings. Working for a large health care system which has a strong IT and Informatics department has allowed me ample opportunities to excel in fields of Quality (MIPS/MACRA), Data usage in Clinical Research, Data compliance, Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Management, IT governance and process improvement, Interoperability, and vendor management. I am a strong information technology healthcare professional and I continue to practice ophthalmology, ophthalmic surgery, and ocular immunology. My skills in collaboration and informatics have allowed me to successfully set up complex programs in a complicated health care system. This experience serves me well as I look forward to implementing newer health care technologies that will create opportunities for improved patient care coordination and involve specialist in the movement towards value based care. My involvement in the business aspects of medicine grows as informatics works to empower primary care physicians the tools they need to care for patients in an increasingly metric-driven environment.