Guest Speakers

2018-2019 Guest Speakers

Eva Haller

Eva Haller is a Hungarian-American philanthropist, activist, and executive. Her service includes Board Chair of Free the Children, Trustee of the University of California, Santa Barbara, co-founder and President of the Campaign Communications Institute of America, Visiting Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University, Board member of Counterpart International, Sing for Hope, and Creative Visions.

Richard Brodsky

Richard Brodsky has spent his entire professional life fighting for the people of New York. Having first been elected to public office in 1975 as a County Legislator from Westchester, he spent four terms leading the way on health care, transportation and tax fairness issues. In 1982, Richard was elected to the Assembly. His continued efforts to protect the people of New York have yielded numerous concrete victories and are widely known across the state.

Yolanda Wardowski

Yolanda is currently the Managing Director of Avalon Net Worth. With over 15 years of advisory, execution and investing experience, Yolanda has been directly involved in the origination and execution of several billion dollars worth of domestic and cross-border financing and strategic M&A transactions across the Consumer and Technology sectors. She is Lead Advisor with several NYC tech accelerators, CTA and DENYC, and is a Founding Member and Advisor to Fashinvest, Astia and Springboard's NYC Fashion Tech Lab.  Yolanda is an Advisory Board Member for the Fashion Institute of Technology's Graduate Global Fashion Management School.

Matt Scanlan

With a background in venture capital, Matt Scanlan co-founded Naadam with his business partner Diederik Rijsemus by traveling into Mongolia’s Gobi Desert and purchasing 40 tons of cashmere with $3M cash packed in plastic bags. They realized that by partnering directly with Mongolia’s herdering communities Naadam could secure the world's finest materials at a fair price, and pass that savings to their customers, avoiding the astronomical mark-ups that are commonplace in the cashmere industry. The end result was a supply chain that constantly reinvested in itself.

Jeffrey Hellman

Jeffrey Hellman is the Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at PVH Corp.  PVH Corp. is a global apparel company whose brand portfolio consists of nationally and internationally recognized brand names, including Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, IZOD, ARROW, Warner’s, Olga and Speedo. He works on mergers and acquisition transactions (including acquisitions of The Warnaco Group, Inc. and Tommy Hilfiger B.V.), joint ventures, financings and securities offerings and handles corporate governance, securities law, creditors’ rights and commercial litigation matters. 

Amy Hall

As Director of Social Consciousness and a member of the Leadership Forum for women’s clothing designer EILEEN FISHER, Amy supports the company’s efforts to practice “business as a movement.”  Amy collaborates internally and externally to guide the company toward ever-increasing human, environmental and economic sustainability, including co-leading the company’s Vision2020 work.  

Paola Antonelli

Paola Antonelli is an Italian author, editor, and curator. She is currently the Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design as well as the Director of R&D at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City. Most recently, she helped to curate the “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” exhibit at the MoMA, which featured GCNYC Fair Fashion Center research as its capping focal point. She has also contributed articles to several publications, among them Metropolis, the Harvard Design Review, I.D. magazine, Paper, Metropolitan Home, Harper's Bazaar, and Nest.

Eron Bloomgarden 

Eron Bloomgarden is a partner at EKO Asset Management Partners (Encourage Capital) based in the firm's New York City office. EKO is a specialized investment and advisory firm focused on discovering and monetizing unrealized or unrecognized environmental assets. As a pioneer in the development of carbon markets, Bloomgarden has advised governments, multilateral institutions, and international corporations on many aspects of the carbon and environmental markets.

Lynette Brubaker

Lynette is the President of Bobbi Brown's new company, Beauty Evolution. Prior to this position she was a partner and CMO at Lividini & Co, leading all strategy and business development for the company. Widely-regarded as a business strategist, brand maker and industry change agent in digital and social marketing, Lynette spent her earlier career leading the successful growth of brands such as In Style, W Magazine, Women’s Wear Daily and Stella & Dot.

Dan Bena

Dan Bena is currently the Senior Director of Sustainable Development for PepsiCo, serving as liaison between government affairs, public policy, and operations to "connect the dots" for impact and develop advocacy and messaging to key stakeholder groups. He also serves on the GCNYC Board of Trustees, and is an Honorary Professor of GCU. 



Pauline Brown

After graduating from Wharton, Pauline Brown started her career in corporate strategy for Estée Lauder and Avon, lead consumer-goods and retail investments for The Carlyle Group, and advised emerging luxury brands as an independent investor and board member. In 2013 years ago she assumed her role as the Chairman of North American operations for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. She has served on the boards of several nonprofits, including the board of overseers of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program at the Aspen Institute.

Michelle Cutter

Michelle Cutter is the Senior Vice President of Digital and E-Commerce at Theory. Prior to joining Theory, Michelle was the Vice President of eCommerce and Digital Marketing at Tory Burch, and the Vice President of Global Digital Communication at Tumi. She has her Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA in Marketing and Management from the NYU Stern School of Business. Since 2015 she has served on the 92Y as a Mentor for the Fashion Fellows Program.

Dante Disparte

Dante Disparte is the founder and CEO of Risk Cooperative an innovative strategy, risk advisory and insurance brokerage based in Washington, D.C. He is the co-author of the book “Global Risk Agility and Decision Making” and was recently selected as one of the 40 leaders under 40 by the Washington Business Journal and among the top 100 most influential leaders in D.C., in the inaugural Powermeter 100 list. Dante has a BA from GOucher College in International and Intercultural Studies, a PLDA (eMBA) from Harvard Business School in Advanced Management and Leadership, and an MSc in Risk Management from the NYU Stern School of Business.

Bob Dunn

Now a Consulting Associate for Synergos, Bob Dunn was President and CEO of Synergos from 2005 - 2015. Before joining Synergos, Bob served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), a nonprofit membership organization working with major global companies to promote more ethical, responsible and sustainable business policies and practices.

Sir Alex Ferguson, CBE

Sir Alex Ferguson is a Scottish former football and player who managed Manchester United from 1986 to 2013. He is regarded by many players, managers and analysts to be one of the greatest and most successful managers of all time. An honorary graduate Glasgow Caledonian University, Sir Alex is heavily involved in the philanthropic arm of the University and supports the students in many areas. 

Stacy Flynn

Stacy Flynn is the CEO and Founder of Evrnu, SPC. Stacy’s focus is on transforming textile waste into a resource. Evrnu has invented a regenerative fiber technology that turns post-consumer cotton waste into a pristine new fiber used in apparel, home goods and industrial textiles. Stacy is an accomplished global textile development specialist who has led multi-million dollar programs at DuPont, Target and Eddie Bauer. She holds an MBA degree in Sustainable Systems and a Bachelor of Science degree in Textile Development and Marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Stacy's personal mission is to ensure that the textile industry is healthy and able to grow in the future by elegantly managing resources.

Karen Giberson

Karen Giberson is President of the Accessories Council, a not-for-profit, international trade organization established in 1994. Over the past 20 years, Accessories Council membership has grown internationally to include over 280 companies and organizations, representing the world’s leading brand names, designers, publications, retailers and associated providers for the accessories, eyewear and footwear industries.

Jeff Hunter

Jeff hunter is the founder of Talentism LLC, creators of Talent Architecture. Talent Architecture is a new way of thinking about building businesses that win. It is based on the insight that people realities drive business success, and that failure to design organizations based on what people are truly like usually leads to business defeat. Prior to Talentism, he was the Head of Recruiting for Bridgewater Associates, and VP of HR Solutions at Dolby. 

Mara Hoffman

Mara Hoffman founded her label in 2000 after graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York City. Fifteen years later, the brand committed itself to implementing more sustainable and responsible practices. In an effort to foster mindful consumption habits, the brand maintains an open conversation about its approach and encourages consumers to reevaluate the relationship society has with clothing. The company continues to focus on sustainable materials, processes, and production in order to improve and extend each garment’s life. President and Creative Director, Mara Hoffman, presents collections with a devotion to color, each inspired by and in celebration of women. 

Erika Karp

Erika Karp is Founder and CEO of Cornerstone Capital Inc. Prior to launching Cornerstone, Erika was Managing Director and Head of Global Sector Research at UBS Investment Bank. Erika is a founding Board member of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council on Financing and Capital, and was an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Market-Based Approaches Track initiative.

Georg Kell

Georg Kell is Chairman of the Board at Arabesque Asset Management Ltd, the world's first ESG quant fund, combining sustainability priorities with quantitative analysis. He was the founding Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative. Mr. Kell has also overseen the conception and launch of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and on education, the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), together with the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative. 

Gin Kinney

Gin Kirkland Kinney is the Vice President of NRG Energy Business Solutions. NRG is the leading integrated power company in the U.S, built on the strength of the nation's largest and most diverse competitive electric generation portfolio and leading retail electricity platform. Prior to that, she was the executive Vice President of Business Development for Solar Blue, Director of Marketing for Heritage Green, and the President of 550 Marketing. 


Hildy Kuryk

As of 2014 Hildy Kuryk was the Director of Communications for Vogue Magazine. From 2009 to 2010 Kuryk served as deputy finance director at the Democratic National Committee, and was promoted to national finance director in April 2011 where she acted as a liaison between the organization and key donors and stakeholders. The same year, Kuryk was named one of Politico's "50 Politicos to Watch" for her work on the Obama campaign and at the Democratic National Committee.


James LaForce

James is the founder and president of LaFORCE - the New York Based PR agency. As a highly-regarded media and communications consultant, LaForce directs the range of campaigns across the agency’s diverse client roster. Prior to founding LaFORCE, he was the Vice President of Loving and Weintraub, the Group Creative Director for Patrice Tanaka and Company and an Account Director for Jessica Dee Communications. 

Laura Lendrum 

Laura Lendrum is the current CEO of DEAN & DELUCA, a multi-channel retailer of gourmet and specialty foods, premium wines and high-end kitchenware with operations throughout the United States and abroad. Prior to joining the company she held various positions in luxury retail including President of Ralph Lauren, President of Gucci - America and President & Managing Director of Yves Saint Laurent. 

Emmanuel Lulin

Emmanuel Lulin is the Senior Vice President and Chief Ethics Officer at L’Oreal. Before joining L’ORÉAL, he was admitted to the Paris Bar in 1988 and practiced as a corporate and tax attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton in Paris and New York. He holds a Master of Laws from Chicago University and a law degree from the French Universities of Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Paris II (Assas). He is a Fellow of the Ethics Resource Center (Washington), a member of the Global Council on Business Conduct (New York), of the Ethics Committee of the French Agency for Development (AFD) and of the Ethics Committee of the French Institute of Directors (IFA).

Geof Rochester

Geof is currently Managing Director at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), responsible for business development, and elevating the profile of the brand in the marketing community. Prior to this position he was the Chief Marketing Officer, also at TNC. He has held a career running marketing organizations in highly visible, aggressive-growth organizations across entertainment (Comcast, Showtime, WWE), hospitality (Radisson), consumer products (Procter and Gamble) and now, the non-profit sectors (The Nature Conservancy).

Elana Drell Szyfer

Elana Drell Szyfer is a Global Beauty expert with more than 25 years of experience managing brands and companies. She is currently the CEO of RéVive skincare. Previously, she worked for Estée Lauder Companies, Lancome USA, Avon, Kenneth Cole Productions and more. Her transformational leadership skills have been built at global multi-branded strategic market leaders and independent privately owned companies.  She is a strategic advisor to Private Equity on beauty acquisitions and executional and operational strategies.

Karen Schlesinger

Currently, Karen Schlesinger is the Product Director and Head of Tech for Good at FounderTherapy, which specializes in B2B marketplaces, bringing innovative products and companies from pre-funding to market adoption. In addition to her position at FounderTherapy, she is also the Product Director at Memria. Karen has had experience as a sustainability consultant for large retailers, an entrepreneur, college professor, award-winning local economic development catalyst, photographer and artist, and most recently a builder of “tech for good” software companies.

Gregory Schlegel

Greg is Founder of The Supply Chain Risk Management Consortium- (22) companies who bring skills, solutions and methodologies that Identify, Assess, Mitigate and Manage Supply Chain Risk. He has been a Supply Chain Executive for several Fortune 100’s, has been a Supply Chain Executive Consultant for IBM, is Executive-in-Residence at Lehigh University teaching Supply Chain Risk Management, Adjunct Professor teaching Enterprise Risk Management for Villanova University’s EMBA program and VP/Principal at SherTrack LLC.

Vic Drabicky

Vic Drabicky is the founder and CEO of January Digital, a full-funnel digital marketing agency and consultancy specializing in luxury, retail, and beauty. An expert and innovator in the field of digital marketing with more than 15 years of experience on both the client and agency side, Vic has worked with myriad brands including Tory Burch, Nike, Cole Haan, J.Crew, NARS Cosmetics, Oscar de la Renta, and Vineyard Vines.

Amisha Parekh

Amisha Parekh is the Senior Product Strategist for Sustainable Finance at Bloomberg LP. Bloomberg, the global business and financial information and news leader, gives influential decision makers a critical edge by connecting them to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas. Prior to this position, she was a Senior Manager of Corporate Strategy as well as a Sustainability Manager, at Deloitte. Before that she worked on Sustainability Strategy for both Walmart and Proctor and Gamble. 

Melanie Steiner

Melanie is currently an Officer and senior leader of PVH Corp., owner of various lifestyle brands including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. Her role as Chief Risk Officer empowers her to manage all the risk functions within PVH and its brands, as well as to act as a senior influencer and consultant to management on critical strategic issues impacting the business such as digital transformation, cyber- security, and global expansion.