Photo by Allen Ngai

The March 21 Stars Under 40 Awards and Networking Event celebrated the accomplishments of some of the best and brightest individuals under the age of 40.

Schneps Media celebrated the honorees at LaGuardia Plaza Hotel for their achievements across several industries including law, medicine, athletics and government.

“Feel the power of what you’ve accomplished. Feel the power of being a star,” said Schneps Media President Victoria Schneps. “Each one of you is being honored because you’re in business or the nonprofit world.”

Schneps highlighted organizations who received money from event donations via raffle ticket sales, as has been the tradition for the past 18 years. One of the honorees was Hands Across Long Island, a “grassroots, multi-service organization” founded in 1988, which is managed and operated by psychiatric survivors. The organization this year feted Victoria Serpa, board president.

The other honoree was Human First, a Long Island-based nonprofit organization founded in 2001. Human First also nominated Elizabeth Stehle, the director of administration and communication, for her exceptional work within the organization.

Stehle joined Human First in 2015 after realizing her desire to do more “mission-driven” work. She worked in the government sector and moved to the private sector before an old colleague approached her about an opportunity at Human First.

“I started working there in June 2015 and it’s been a joy ever since,” Stehle said.

The organization serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with offices in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island. Stehle shared that the honor came as a surprise to her.

“I’m thrilled. I’m still in shock about it. For me, what I do, I’m part of a team. I don’t feel like I’m going above and beyond anything. So to be recognized for what I do on an everyday basis is really a great honor.”

Other Stars Under 40 honorees included Carlos Gonzalez of the Veterinary Care Group, who along with Dr. Mario Costa, won the “Dynamic Duo” honor. The four-year-old organization is a group of veterinary hospitals with locations in Astoria, Glen Oaks, Bayside, Little Neck, Forest Hills and Middle Village.

Gonzalez started as a kennel assistant at 17 and trained to be a veterinary assistant before eventually becoming the manager of the company’s Bayside location. He shared that “helping the pets” is the most rewarding part of his job.

“It’s making sure that the pet is well taken care of and that we’re doing right by the pet at all times,” said Gonzalez.

He added that the honor felt “amazing” but recognized the importance of working as a team to achieve goals.

“I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my team. To us, teamwork is very important, so I’m not only appreciative of my team, but I also had great mentors that gave me the necessary tools to be here,” Gonzalez said.

The 2019 Stars Under 40 were as follows:

HALL OF FAME/DYNAMIC DUO

Andrew Meditz
Elite Pool & Fitness Management, Inc.

 

Michael Zuchelli
Elite Pool & Fitness Management, Inc.

 

DYNAMIC DUO

Dr. Mario Costa
Veterinary Care Group

 

Carlos Gonzalez
Veterinary Care Group

 

DYNAMIC DUO

Wesley S. Melchiorre
Scotto & Melchiorre Group LLC

 

Gregory Scotto, CPA
Scotto & Melchiorre Group, LLC

 

Lisa Aamodt
Congregation Tiferith Israel

 

Christopher Alexander
EIHAB Human Services

 

Cordelia A. Banny
Wall Street Journal

 

Camryn Bruno

NYC Youth Poet Laureate

Adam Butler
Jiffy Junk Inc.

 

Dr. Marigold Castillo
MD1CARE – Gold Pediatrics

 

Ida Como, Esq.
Silvagni & Como

 

Chris Croken
Bethpage Federal Credit Union

 

Kelly Fisher
Justice Air

 

Erika Hill
Office of the Nassau County Comptroller

 

Scott Kestenbaum
Kestenbaum & Mark LLP

 

Kieron Ludde
Mazars USA LLP

 

 

Joseph Martins
Revolution Financial Management

 

Jacquelyn Mascetti
Herman Katz Cangemi & Clyne

 

Jay Min
Haworth Barber & Gerstman

 

Rafael Moreno
Tropical Revival Restaurant

 

Marlo Paventi Dilts
Long Island Board of REALTORS®

 

Danny Pisani
Contour Mortgage

 

Craig Ratigan
TD Bank

 

Paul Reisner
Scope Realty

 

Donovan Richards
Councilman

 

Michael Ro
Ultimate Champions Tae Kwon Do

 

Alison Scotto-Kupillas
Chateau Briand

 

Christina Seid
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

 

Luciane Serifovic
Luxian International

 

Victoria Serpa   
Hands Across LI

 

Jay Sheryll
Sheryll Law, P.C.

 

Elizabeth Stehle
Human First, Inc.

 

Jeanine Taylor
Charter School Business Management

 

Michael Tepper
Exit Kingdom Realty

 

Dr. Samuel Trosman
NYC HHC Elmhurst

 

Diana Valencia
NNR Globalistics USA

 

The sponsors of the 2019 Stars Under 40 Awards & Networking Event included the following:

Flushing Bank

Bethpage Federal Credit Union

Contour Mortgage

EIHAB Human Services

Mazars

TD Bank

Broadway Stages

Photos by Allen Ngai and Matthew Kropp

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