The best and brightest young talent in Queens came together to mingle and meet at the Star Network’s 40 Stars Under Forty event on Wednesday.
More than 500 people were in attendance for the elegant affair in the iconic Terrace on the Park. The event honored young professionals in Queens with outstanding leadership skills both in their respective communities and professional fields. The evening ended with a charity raffle which also collected proceeds to be donated to Queens Theatre for Children’s Programming and the When In Need Foundation.
Schneps Communications and QNS Co-Publisher Joshua Schneps said the event was sure to forge new and lasting business relationships between its guests.
“It’s great bringing together young professionals to meet each other and share everything that they’re doing in Queens,” Schneps said.
Councilman Barry Grodenchick said he was glad to see so many young people from Queens getting the recognition they deserve.
“Everybody knows that Queens is where it’s at,” Grodenchik said, “and this annual event by Schneps Communications once again proves that.”
Honorees got acquainted with each other in a VIP cocktail lounge, noshing on a spread of finger foods from shrimp to tastefully arranged fruit. The party later expanded to a massive expo for all of the guests, where drinks flowed freely and people from across the borough exchanged business cards and innovative ideas. During dinner that night, honorees walked a red-carpeted runway to proudly accept their award in front of the entire audience of guests.
Honoree Barjes Angulo — CEO and owner of Angulo Strategies, a financial advisory service — said that although he was young he had already worked very hard to obtain his success.
“I worked a lot of hours for a lot of years, but I started really early in my life,” Angulo said.
Honoree Dana Lee — a commercial real estate and banking attorney at Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana who came to the U.S. from South Korea at age 15 — said she felt that she was making her community proud by being a part of the event.
“As a second generation immigrant it’s a great accomplishment and an honor,” Lee said.
Local businesses who served as sponsors of the event were also present to enjoy the evening and applaud the accomplishments of those honored.
“We’re big in the community and we find this very exciting,” said Toni Badolato, regional manager of the commercial lending department at People’s United Bank, “and actually one of our employees is an honoree.”
A special “Star of the Stars” award was given to Fox 5 meteorologist and feature reporter Audrey Puente for her outstanding achievements in broadcast media. She, too, was looking to make strong connections with the influential people of the party.
“I’m honored to be among such great movers and shakers for the borough of Queens as well as the tri-state area,” Puente said.
The total list of honorees are as follows:
Michael Albarella, vice president and market manager for People’s United Bank
Andrea Brodie, associate with Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara & Wolf LLP
Sierra Brown, Queens Marketing, Yelp and Tourism Development with the Queens Economic Development Corporation
Eamonn G. Carr of Keller Williams Realty Landmark
Luca DiCiero, founder and CEO of NYSpace Finders
Aliza Fisse, DVM, founder of Turnpike Veterinary Clinic
Vito Giannola, chief retail officer and executive vice president for Sussex Bank
Michael Gillen, Director of Technology & Communications – Queens Economic Development Corporation
Alan Hayon, president of Credit Advisory Group
Danielle Henderson, an agent with New York Life Insurance Company
Jason Hu, M.D., director of physical medicine and rehabilitation at New York-Presbyterian Queens
Jordan M. Ivler, sales division of Mount Lebanon Cemetery
Regina Khanna, radiologist at Queens Hospital Center
Cynthia Kotowski, office manager and real estate associate with Charles H. Greenthal Property Sales
Ari Kramer, Vice President/Relationship Manager, Investors Bank
Christie Lauren, founder and head designer of Christie Lauren Bridal Accessories
Dana Y. Lee, associate with Forchelli, Curto Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana LLP
Anthony Lemma, district director for the House of Representatives
Douglas Liang, senior vice president at Flushing Bank
Davon Lomax, labor management representative of District Council 9
Latreash McCurdy, Sr. Graphic Designer, Dale Carnegie Training
Andrew Meditz, president of Elite Pool and Fitness Management
Benjamin Pocock, director of breast services at Elmhurst Hospital Center
Audrey Puente, Meteorologist/Feature Reporter for WNYW/ Fox 5
Pasquale Rafanelli, valuation manager with Grassi & Co.
Andrew-Paul Salvatore Ragusa, business development director of Politan Real Estate
Sergey Rautkin, founding partner with Leap EDU
William Romero, vice president of AXA Advisors
Joselyn M. Salazar, marketing director of Guild Net
Stephen Schumann, assistant vice president of business development for the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation
Patrick W. Smith, executive vice president of Nancy Packes Inc.
Sam Wanigasinghe, account manager for Eastern American Data/Voice Inc.
Steven Yu, marketing and regional sales manager of Crystal Window & Door Systems
Lillian Zepeda, director of communications for City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland
Michael J. Zuchelli, vice president of Elite Pool and Fitness Management
The event was generously co-sponsored by the Queens Courier, QNS.com, Flushing Bank, Investors Bank, New York Presbyterian-Queens, National Grid, Elmhurst Hospital Center; People’s United Bank; New York Community Bank; NYSpace Finders; Crystal Window and Door Systems; Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation; Sussex Bank; Dale Carnegie Training; Charles H. Greenthal Property Sales; Yelp; the Queens Chamber of Commerce; and the New York Daily News.