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Allison Du Val

Event Planner

At an early age, the owner and manager of The Foundry, Allison Du Val, fell in love with entertaining. She credits her passion to her Australian grandmother’s flair for cooking and throwing parties; her experience in theatre and set design; producing club events and dance parties; and her enthusiasm for fashion and music.

Since opening the doors of The Foundry in 2001, she has brought her considerable talents and energy to throwing a wide range of events in the space.

Du Val has hosted product launches, non-profit gala events, fashion shows, corporate events, birthday parties and countless weddings.

The Foundry has gained acclaim from clients and vendors alike, and is currently voted as number one of the “Top 10 NYC Wedding Locations” on High-end studio clients frequently tap The Foundry as a location for photo and film shoots. Du Val has collaborated with production crews in such recent shows as “Gossip Girl,” “Sesame Street,” “Billboard Live,” The Food Network, “White Collar,” “The Sopranos” and “Sex and The City.”

Admired for her diverse skill set and creativity, Du Val is well versed in a wide range of responsibilities. With an appetite for attention to detail, she credits her business success to her desire to make every event an unforgettable experience. More importantly, her sensitive collaborative style uniquely brings out and expresses each client’s individual needs.

When not renting the space out to clients, Du Val continues to host her own annual events, including summer Slip and Slide parties, Halloween Costume Balls, New Year’s Eve Celebrations and Monthly Movie nights. Du Val currently sits as co-director of the Long Island City Merchants Association and Hunters Point Community Partners.

Chris Coffey

Director of External Affairs,

Mayor’s Film Office and NYC Media

Chris Coffey has served as a member of the Bloomberg administration since 2002. He is currently the Director of External Affairs for the mayor’s Film Office and New York City media. Prior to his current role, he was a senior communications strategist for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2009 election effort.

Coffey has served on all three of Bloomberg’s campaigns, beginning as an advance and scheduling aide. After Bloomberg won the election, Coffey served as director of advance at City Hall, planning the mayor’s events across the five boroughs, as well as any travel on behalf of the city.

In 2004, Coffey moved to the mayor’s Community Assistance Unit (CAU), eventually rising to the position of First Deputy Commissioner in 2006. In his capacity as a Deputy Commissioner, Coffey oversaw a unit of 25 people within the mayor’s office. He was tasked with maintaining strong relationships with people in every community of the five boroughs.

Coffey has also served as a principle advisor to the mayor on print publications across the city.

Coffey attended New York University as well as the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He spent two years as a White House aide in the Clinton administration before accepting an internship with Bloomberg LP in 2000. Coffey was born and raised in New York City, where his mother served as Chief of Staff to Mayor Edward I. Koch. He currently lives in Manhattan.

Captain Hany Noureddine

U.S. Army

Captain Hany Noureddine was born in Brazil and raised in Puerto Rico and Queens. He decided to enlist in the U.S. Army as a light wheel mechanic in 1996. He attended basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina and was assigned to the maintenance platoon, 943rd AG Replacement Company until 1998.

Noureddine then applied and was accepted to the Army Green to Gold program in 1998 and received a full scholarship to attend Saint John’s University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army in the Air Defense Artillery Branch.

After attending the Air Defense Artillery Officer basic course, Noureddine was assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas in October 2001 and served as the headquarters platoon leader. In June 2002 Noureddine was assigned as the Launcher/Fire Control platoon leader, and a year later, he became Executive Officer and Reconnaissance Team leader in An Nasyriah, An Numaniayh and Salman Pak, Iraq.

In 2004, Noureddine attended the Air Defense Officer advance course. Immediately following, he was assigned to HQ Garrison FT Bliss Texas as the assistant Department of Planning Training and Security as the Operations Officer/Battle Captain. In between his career obligations to the military at Fort Bliss, he completed his masters degree in business management.

Noureddine then joined the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion in Beckley, West Virginia as the Operations Officer. In 2007, he returned to Queens to serve as the Company Commander of the Queens Recruiting Company, which covers 269 square miles in Queens and Nassau County.

His main goal returning to Queens was to improve the Army’s image in the community while giving back time and resources. Noureddine has been involved with numerous high school programs and continues to volunteer his time as a volleyball coach.

Noureddine’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal (4th Award), Army Achievement Medal (4nd Award), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Global War on Terrorism Service, Over-seas Service Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Navy Presidential Unit Citation, Air Assault Badge, Airborne Badge and Combat Action Badge.

Jeannie Doherty-Benckwit, RN, QDCP

Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation

A former Medical-Surgical Nurse for the Long Island Jewish-North Shore Health System, and former Home Care Nurse Coordinator for the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, Jeannie Doherty-Benckwit reaches out to senior citizens, their families and health care providers to help link them with vital health care programs.

These programs and services help to keep older adults in good health, and help them avoid hospitalizations and institutionalization.

Her work and her personal philosophy, reflecting the highest levels of expertise and compassion, are a perfect match for the mission-driven community health programs of Parker. Among Parker’s programs are medical model adult day health care, social model Alzheimer’s day care, long term home health care and a hospice that serves terminally ill patients and their families in their homes or in nursing facilities.

Benckwit’s nursing background and thorough approach to needs assessment also give her great insight as to when a senior might benefit from post acute care and restorative therapy after surgical procedures, stroke, amputation, illness and injury.

She will also be assisting individuals and families who might want to take advantage of the new Queens-Long Island Renal Institute, a state-of-the-art chronic dialysis facility soon to be completed at Parker.

When she is not helping seniors in need of health care, or helping her husband construct their new home, Benckwit is likely to be working as a volunteer for a charitable cause that first motivated her to enter nursing, “The Irish and American Physically Challenged Youth Team,” an exchange program whereby physically challenged youngsters from Ireland and America get to spend a fun-filled and exciting two weeks abroad.


Jenna V. Pollack

Founder, JVP Consultants LLC

Very few college graduates break into their chosen industry right away, let alone end up running their own company a mere four years after earning a degree.

Jenna V. Pollack, 27, broke that mold after she graduated from the University of Michigan in 2005. After returning home to Long Island, she landed a position at Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes & Estates, utilizing her skills to become realtor and then office manager.

From there, Pollack joined Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial and real estate firm with a global reach. She was working at their Long Island branch when, in 2009, she decided that she wanted to pursue a different avenue in real estate.

She started her own commercial real estate advisory firm, JVP Consultants LLC, specializing in managing and analyzing cost consolidation and space maximization. She wanted to transfer her knowledge and experience of the corporate real estate arena into her own business, she said.

With her new venture, Pollack is forming relationships and earning the respect and trust of her clients on her own terms. She gives them options by showing real estate opportunities as they present themselves, while also listening to their concerns.

She believes that making clients more aware of their options will lead to more conscious decisions and, eventually, to a more efficient business.

It is this type of personalized approach that has garnered Pollack high praise throughout her post-college career, as well as in her numerous philanthropic endeavors. Her passion for helping others has earned her respect among her peers, colleagues and acquaintances.

Pollack believes that you can’t subscribe to stereotypes or preconceived notions, and that it is important to open your own doors with hard work, reputation and self image.

Jimmy Brooks

LaGuardia Ramp Services Manager,

American Airlines

All the visible activity at airport terminals – the baggage checking, ticketing and security – is merely the tip of the iceberg.

There’s a long list of tasks before arriving airplanes can take off again: unloading and loading bags; fuel, food and beverages; electricity and conditioned air supplied; thorough cleaning and sewage removed, before someone makes sure all the hatches are secure and backs the flight away from the terminal.

It’s called “ramp services.”

California native Jimmy Brooks came up through the ranks at American Airlines to the Ramp Services Manager position at LaGuardia Airport.

“I started in Los Angeles in 1985 as a baggage handler,” he recalled.

After serving as a customer service manager in his hometown, he moved up to General Manager with American Airlines in Oakland. Brooks relocated to New York in August of 2007 and took up residence in Bayside.

“I really like it here,” he said. “My mother was from Virginia, and she moved back when my dad passed away three years ago. My three sisters all live in Arlington, so my whole family is close.”

When the 46-year-old bachelor isn’t dealing with one of the busiest operations in the country, he enjoys dining out from Manhattan to Manhasset and his passion – “it’s almost a sickness” – is golf.

“I’ve played sports all my life, but golf shows you who’s boss,” Brooks said. He’s serious about meeting a nice woman, and if she could play a round – of golf that is – “That would be great.”


Michael Hyman

Dermot Company

Michael Hyman oversees luxury operations for the Queens division of the Dermot Company, one of New York City’s top private real estate development corporations.

He previously opened The Opal, a luxury residential complex in Kew Gardens Hills, successfully integrating the building with the surrounding residential neighborhood.

Currently he is working on Moda, a development in the heart of Jamaica, combining 346 residential units and 60,000-square-feet of retail space. Moda will be Jamaica’s first luxury rental complex.

Like the Opal, Moda will incorporate affordable housing to benefit the surrounding community.

Hyman grew up in Roslyn Harbor, Long Island and graduated from Lehigh University.

He formerly led the sales department of a family business, manufacturing and distributing photo albums.

After the sale of the company, Hyman led a successful career as an equities trader.

Looking for a career path with more human interaction, he obtained his real estate sales license and began his career with the Dermot Company in 2004.

Hyman is an avid traveler, and his most recent sojourns took him to Southeast Asia. He is also an enthusiastic tennis player and competes in various tournaments throughout the year.

Michelangelo Pinto,

VP, Ferrari Driving School

Michelangelo Pinto’s energy and determination can be seen in a variety of projects and business interests.

These range from managing the family business, Ferrari Driving School, which his father founded in 1968 and is the largest in the metropolitan area; to real estate development and interior design; designing and marketing his own clothing line; as well as being requested around the world for his DJ and music production work.

Pinto has big vision and the ability to transform it into reality. He is at the forefront of implementing the latest technology to common procedures and business practices in order to simplify and streamline what his employees do, yet maintain the same quality and traditional values of “white glove” customer service. His motto is “A question well stated is half solved,” and he is always looking for ways to create added value in his professional and personal relationships through better communication.


Rebecca JeeUn Moran

Vice President,

Hi-Fashion Beauty Supplies

Rebecca Moran serves as Vice President at Hi-Fashion Beauty Supplies, managing multiple business functions including purchasing, human resources and trade event coordination.

Hi-Fashion, a privately-held wholesale company headquartered in Long Island City, has been owned and operated by Moran and her family since her father took ownership nearly 20 years ago.

After joining Hi-Fashion full-time in 1998, Moran leveraged her natural business acumen and helped the company grow and succeed. Under her leadership, Hi-Fashion, which began in a humble 1,000-square-foot space, has emerged one of the largest most reputable manicure, pedicure, and spa distributors in the northeast. In 2005, looking to expand into untapped markets, the family opened a satellite location in Ridgefield, NJ.

Prior to joining Hi-Fashion, Moran worked as a trainer for Good Cause Marketing in non-profit fundraising. While there, she was named “Trainer of the Year” in 2007 and personally raised $30,000 in five months for The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children ®.

She also spent several years as a mentor working closely with at-risk youth in Flushing, and as an auxiliary New York City police officer.

A graduate of Forest Hills High School, Moran began her undergraduate studies in liberal arts at Hofstra University in Long Island and continued at Queens College before joining Hi-Fashion.

As an entrepreneur and Korean-American businessperson, Moran has been involved in several local trade associations. She remains active within the professional beauty industry where she works to establish and foster B2B relationships.

Robert Young

TD Bank

Robert Young joined TD Bank in 2007, to lead the team in the downtown Flushing location as store manager.

Young has over 15 years of banking experience, ranging from asset management, private banking, international banking and financial services.

Prior to joining the team at TD Bank, Young worked in the international banking sector, responsible for expansion in the East Coast Division of Private Client Service for his former employers.

Young holds a B.S. in Finance from Long Island University at C.W. Post Campus, and an M.A. in Statistics from Columbia University. His passion and knowledge in banking and finance helped him to win major client relationships as well as meet his clients’ needs over the years.

He was named one of the top Financial Associates in the nation by Charles Schwab & Co. in 2005 and has provided commentary on banking for local TV networks and publications including Sino TV and World Journal.

Young has also received the community achievement award from several non- profit organizations including 109th Precinct Community Council, Flushing Lion’s Club, as well as the local chapter of the American Cancer Society in Flushing for his passion in serving the community. He serves on the advisory board for the Queens Chapter of the American Red Cross, Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery and the local Chapter of the American Cancer Society in Flushing.

He lives in Rego Park, New York with his wife and two children.

Shanie Persaud

Executive Director,

Guyanese & American Business & Professional Council

As the Executive Director of the Guyanese & American Business & Professional Council (GABPC), Shanie Persaud works tirelessly to develop stronger ties between Guyana and the United States in an effort to forge a closer relationship between the business and professional communities of both nations.

Persaud, 35, came to this country in 1999 with the expressed purpose of networking the Guyanese population with the greater community. She helps to connect advancing Guyanese entrepreneurs to all of the networks they need to succeed in the business world. This includes investments, marketing and technology.

Persaud began her public service career while still living in Guyana. At 18, she started working with the Guyanese media as a reporter for the national newspaper. She went into television as a weekend news anchor and augmented her work within the community by involving herself with economic development and health education. By the time she left Guyana at the age of 23, she was the marketing manager for the state television network.

Her first stop in America was Texas, where she gave birth to her son, C.J. Persaud. Before joining GABPC, Persaud was the CEO for El Dorado Media and Marketing, which focuses on reaching the Hispanic American community with direct-to-consumer massaging services.

Aside from her work with GABPC, a registered independent, non-profit organization, Persaud has also been on the York College President’s Advisory Board since 2006.

While she lives in the U.S., her heart is still in Guyana. She tries to visit her family as often as possible, but when she cannot, she relies on technology to connect her with loved ones.


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