Upcoming Board of Trustees Meetings
The next WBGO Board of Trustees will meet Monday, June 17th at 6:00pm. It is open to the public and will take place at 54 Park Place, Newark, NJ.
The WBGO Strategic Planning Committee will meet on Tuesday, June 25th, at 5:00pm. Due to the proprietary nature of this meeting, it will not be open to the public.
Board of Trustees
Wendy Barasch has spent most of her 30+ year career at AllianceBernstein in the investment management business, working with high-net-worth families, individuals, endowments and foundations. She provides advice with respect to asset allocation, risk management, charitable giving and tax, retirement and multigenerational wealth planning. While at AB, Wendy has held management roles overseeing part of the private client business. Wendy is a member of the Fieldston Choral Society, active at the JCC of Manhattan and is on the Steering Committee of Williams Women in Finance, NY. Wendy earned a BA from Williams College and an MBA in finance from NYU Stern School of Business.
Albert De Leon
Mr. De Leon is a Legal/Compliance consultant in the financial services industry, currently doing volunteer work for the Financial Services Volunteer Corp; teaching part-time at Pace University, and serving on the Board of Directors of the NYC Industrial Development Agency & Build NYC where he chairs the Audit Committees. He was previously Head of Compliance Advisory & Monitoring with the Zurich Insurance Group-Americas; General Counsel & Senior Vice President at Dexia Bank's New York Branch, and at Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken's NY Branch (he was responsible for US legal, regulatory and compliance matters at each bank). Mr. De Leon holds a BA degree from The City College of New York, where he majored in Political Science and Philosophy, and a JD from the University of San Diego School of Law.
Steve Edwards is a partner at the global legal practice of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation including antitrust, securities, contract disputes and insurance coverage. Mr. Edwards has been lead national counsel for Bristol-Myers Squibb and has represented companies such as IBM, Ford and United HealthGroup He is a past President of the Federal Bar Council and past Chair of the Antitrust Section of the New York State Bar Association.
Mr. Edwards is a founder and editor emeritus of the Federal Bar Council News and has written and lectured extensively on a variety of subjects including antitrust laws, class actions and ethics. He is also a former President of Nazareth Housing, an organization providing housing for the homeless, Treasurer of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and a Director of the Jazz Foundation of America.
Mr. Edwards has written a rock opera, There’s Something Afoot, and a play, The Trial of Harry S. Truman. As an undergraduate, he was a member of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is also a member of the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of law, where he finished in the top 3% of his class.
Brenda Feliciano has an extensive background as an actress, opera singer and arts administrator. She has performed as a vocal soloist with many orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin. In addition to her active performing career, she represented Arturo “Chico” O’Farrill for several years and has managed the artistic endeavors of Paquito D’Rivera for more than 20 years.
Jose W. Fernandez
Jose W. Fernandez is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and CoChair Of Gibson Dunn's Latin America Practice Group. His practice focuses on mergers, acquisitions and finance in emerging markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Mr. Fernandez has substantial experience in the telecommunications, energy, water, banking and consumer industries. His clients have included major multinational companies, financial institutions and private equity groups, as well as nearly a dozen foreign governments looking to attract foreign investors. He has also successfully advised U.S. and European companies involved in disputes in developing countries.
Mr. Fernandez was named one of the "World's Leading Lawyers" by Chambers Global for his M&A and corporate work, an "Expert" in International Financial Law Review's "Guide to the World's Leading Project Finance Lawyers," and one of the "World's Leading Privatization Lawyers" by Euromoney Publications. He was recognized as a leading Corporate Finance attorney in the Latin America market in Chambers Global and a leading Latin America attorney in Chambers U.S. He was featured by Hispanic Business Magazine in its "100 Influentials List" for several years.
Nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Fernandez served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs from 2009 to 2013. During his tenure, he led the Bureau that is responsible for overseeing work on international trade and investment policy; international finance, development and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international energy security policy; international telecommunications and transportation policies; and support for U.S. businesses and the private sector overseas. His work focused on development as a business opportunity for U.S. companies and a strategic imperative for the United States, mostly in the areas of infrastructure, trade and investment, entrepreneurship, and agriculture. He spearheaded the State Department's "Economic Statecraft" initiative to promote foreign investment into the United States and support U.S. companies overseas.,
Mr. Fernandez has served on the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College and on the Board of Directors of Accion International and the Council of the Americas. He has been chair both of the American Bar Association's InterAmerican Law Committee and the Committee on InterAmerican Affairs of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and CoChair of the Cross Border M&A and Joint Venture Committee of the New York State Bar Association. He also headed the Latin American and Caribbean division of the ABA's Rule of Law Initiative. He has served on the boards of NPRstation, WBGOFM,Ballet Hispanico of New York and the Middle East Institute. He was a founder of TeatroStageFest, a 2week Latino theatre festival in New York City, and was appointed a Commissioner of New York's Latin Media and Entertainment Commission.
Mr. Fernandez is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, and serves on the Board of Directors of Iberdrola S.A.Mr. Fernandez's articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald, The Huffington Post, Americas Quarterly and many other legal and policy publications. He has been featured by various TV, radio and print media organizations in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Fernandez graduated magna cum laude with high honors from Dartmouth College earning a bachelor's degree in history, and also received an honorary degree from the college. He earned a Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law, where he received the Charles Evans Hughes Prize and a Parker School Certificate of International Law with Honors. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and proficient in French.
Zenola Harper is Deputy General Counsel at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield NJ, the leading health insurance company in the state. Ms. Harper, who also serves as an assistant secretary of the company, leads and provides strategic direction to the team of lawyers responsible for all litigation, labor and employment matters. She is valued for her sound judgment, problem solving, collaboration and leadership.
Ms. Harper’s experience spans several industries. As Senior Counsel at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, she managed complex litigation and government investigations, including the high stakes defense of the company’s pricing, sales and promotional practices investigations and related multi-district litigation and state attorneys general actions throughout the country. At United Technologies Corporation’s Otis Elevator, Ms. Harper handled corporate and mergers and acquisitions in addition to product liability and commercial litigation. Similarly, at Unisys Corporation, Ms. Harper defended the company in significant disputes including the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Litigation. Complementing her in-house experience, Ms. Harper has also worked at the law firms of Blank, Rome, Comisky & McCauley and Schoeman, Updike & Kaufman.
A graduate of Smith College, (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude and High Honors), and New York University School of Law, she began her career as a Pro Se Law Clerk in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and thereafter was a Fulbright Fellow to Tanzania, East Africa.
Ms. Harper has received several awards and has been recognized as the Working Mother Magazine’s Mother of the Year, Professional Lawyer of the Year from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law and is the recipient of the Multicultural Leadership Award from the Tri-State Diversity Council. A strong proponent of giving back, she has a history of service to non-profit organizations and has served on numerous boards. Currently, she serves on the board of NJ LEEP, Inc. an intensive college preparatory and access program in Newark, NJ.
Bill Hofstetter started his first agency before the age of 30 and has helmed them ever since.
His early career focused on entertainment, working with headliners like Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Joan Jett. He helped revolutionize the marketing of Broadway with the international hit Beatlemania, followed by many Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring companies, like The Moscow Circus, Pro-Skate and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as Second Stage Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, The Actors’ Company Theatre, Womens Project Theatre, Madison Square Garden and Westbury Music Fair.
Recent campaigns include Cagney, Tennessee Williams The Two Character Play, iLuminate, Lady Day – The Billie Holiday Musical, Silence! The Musical, The Judy Show, Sistas, The Royal Danish Ballet, Colin Quinn Long Story Short (OFF BW and Broadway), Jim Henson’s Stuffed and Unstrung, John Tartaglia’s Imaginocean, Evil Dead The Musical, Frankenstein, the Tony Award nominated Say Goodnight Gracie, the immensely successful Christmas Tours of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Gotham Comedy Club, The Gazillion Bubble Show, and the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players.
In the world of fashion, Bill helped launch Perry Ellis, John Henry, and Crossings and he represented fashion icons Oscar de la Renta, Geoffrey Beene and John Weitz, apparel giants Philips Van Heusen, Nautica, Oxford Industries and Manhattan Shirts.
European luxury brands Leica Cameras; Zeiss frames, lenses and sport optics; and Krups small appliances were represented by Bill, both in the US, and in many other English speaking countries worldwide.
Yellowtail wine was launched by Bill’s agency and Cavit wine is presently represented.
Bill's work for Pentel Pens received a Clio, and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Broadcast. Television commercials for Gotham Comedy, NY Gilbert & Sullivan Players, Stuffed and Unstrung and Silence! The Musical have received 7 Telly Awards in the last 5 years.
Stephen Ifshin *
Stephen Ifshin has more than 40 years of experience in the real estate industry and, currently, is Chairman of DLC, which he co-founded in 1991. Mr. Ifshin oversees the operations-side of DLC’s business, including tenant leasing, property, asset, and construction management activities, and the firm’s regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, and Baltimore. DLC is a leasing-driven operator of shopping centers, developing and maintaining strong relationships across national, regional and local tenants. Mr. Ifshin also the Co-Chair on the Board of Advisors for the Business School of the University of Vermont.
Steven R. Kamen, is a partner at the law firm Sills Cummis & Gross and practices from their Newark and New York City offices. He is the co-Chair of the Firm's Corporate Practice Group and provides corporate counseling to public and private companies, including the structuring and negotiating of complex acquisitions, joint ventures/collaborations and other commercial transactions.
D. Nicholas Miceli
As Central Market President of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, Nick Miceli is responsible for the management of four commercial lending teams throughout Hunterdon, Somerset, Essex, Morris, Union and Middlesex Counties. He also partners in the leadership of a 78 store retail network, consumer lending, government banking, corporate foundation grants and sponsorship activities. Miceli has been with TD Bank since March 1998 where he started as a Middle Market Lender Officer. Over the years, he has served in various capacities including Essex County Regional Vice President where he was responsible for the opening and management of 16 retail stores and the commercial, government and small business lending within that footprint.
Miceli is a graduate of Rutgers, The State University with a degree in Marketing and Business Management. He’s extremely active in the community and currently serves as Board Chairman of Family Intervention Services, Vice Chairman of WBGO, Newark Public Radio, a Trustee of The Newark Museum, Vice Chairman of Rutgers Business School Advisory Board, 2nd Vice Chair of Special Olympics NJ, Board Member of Boys and Girls Club in New Jersey, Board Member of NJ Performing Arts Center, Jazz House Kids, Caucus Education Corporation and The NJ Bankers Association. He is a former board member of The NJ Bankers Association, the NJ Ballet, the St, Joseph's School for the Blind, Garden State Cancer Foundation and the Autism Foundation of the Morris Union Jointure Commission.
Michael Ostroff is the founder and president of The Ostroff Group (TOG), a national consulting firm with offices in Florida and New York that works exclusively with domestic and global non-profit organizations to help them achieve their organizational and philanthropic goals. The firm has an extensive track record of success working with a broad range of clients in the cultural, educational, health care, human service and Jewish communal fields. Services include board/leadership development, strategic planning, marketing and comprehensive financial resource development programs (planning and implementation of annual, capital, endowment, grant/foundation and planned giving).
Michael has played leadership roles in campaigns that have collectively raised in excess of $1 billion.
With a keen understanding of volunteer and donor motivation, Michael specializes in major gift solicitation, campaign and strategic planning and volunteer/board training and is a frequent presenter on those topics in North America, Europe and Israel. He holds a BA in Social Welfare from Pennsylvania State University, an MSc in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University, a certificate and honorary doctorate from the Hebrew Union College and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).
Karl Paul Frederic
Karl Paul Frederic is a partner at the law firm Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP from which he conducts a multi-disciplinary practice focused on complex real estate transactions, construction and urban redevelopment from offices in New York and New Jersey. He has over thirty years of legal and business experience counseling clients in a broad range of matters and has been involved in some of the most significant projects in the metropolitan region, including MetLife Stadium and the renovation of Saint Patricks Cathedral. In recent years, he has focused on representing clients in repositioning single-user pharmaceutical industry campuses into multi-user mixed use facilities.
Prior to joining Windels Marx in 2003, Karl was counsel at Drinker Biddle, LLP in his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia, Karl was President of the Columbia University Club of Philadelphia where he arranged speaking programs and fostered opportunities for alumni engagement in the city’s civic life. Karl also served as one of the leading volunteer lawyers for the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, representing artists on a pro bono basis in various legal matters and educating the artistic community on legal and business topics.
Outside of law, Karl has a number of interests. He has competed in road races and triathlons, and remains an avid skier, golfer and martial artist. He is also an occasional actor, sometime movie producer and aspiring blues guitarist. He helped create the New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival, now entering its third year, giving horror fans the opportunity to meet and interact with actors, screenwriters and musicians and small filmmakers a forum at which to screen their films and compete for awards.
Karl earned his BA from Columbia College and his JD from the University of Miami School of Law. Karl has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees since October 1, 2018.
Bob Sommer is CEO of Awsom Associates, LLC a public relations and public affairs firm.
In addition, Sommer is an Adjunct Lecturer teaching graduate level public affairs and media relations courses at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University. He also directed the Institute of Planning and Public Policy Communications at the Bloustein School.
Previously, Sommer was Senior Advisor to Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City, NJ where he advised the Mayor on communications and policy issues. Prior, he was President of Rock Entertainment Management, a holding company for the organization that owns the New Jersey Devils National Hockey League franchise and the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. He was responsible for the marketing, communications and public affairs operations for the team and the arena.
Earlier, he was President of Observer Media Group where he was responsible for managing all business and sales operations for OMG’s media properties, which include The New York Observer and Politicker.com. He also served on OMG’s Board of Directors.
Prior to heading Observer Media Group, he was Partner and Executive Vice President of MWW Group, one of the nation’s largest public relations firms. He headed the firm’s public affairs practice.
Before MWW, Sommer developed environmental and transportation policies as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Commerce Subcommittee staff. In addition, he was speechwriter for Subcommittee Chairman (and later Governor) Jim Florio (D-NJ). He also served as a Presidential Management Appointee at the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Toxic Substances. An elected delegate for Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, he has been appointed to the transition teams of several New Jersey governors.
He served as a Trustee of the Public Affairs Council and the New Jersey Public Policy Institute, chaired the Eagleton Institute of Politics Foundation and was First Vice Chairman of New Jersey Network. Recognized as one of New Jersey's 50 Most Interesting People by NJ Monthly magazine and Bloustein School Alum of Year, he is also ranked as one of the most powerful New Jerseyans by NJBIZ and PolitickerNJ. Sommer has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers and journals.
Sommer sits on the board of Children’s Aid and Family Services. He was a Founder and Advisory Board Member for North Jersey Community Bank (now ConnectOne Bank). He also was a Director of Allvision, Inc. and was a Director of Ridgewood Savings Bank (now Boiling Springs Saving Bank).
Obi Taiwan Ozochiawaeze
Former Deputy Advisor on Technology to Presidents Bush and Reagan, and current Senior Special Adviser for Technology and Healthcare at the United Nations, Dr. Obi Taiwan Ozochiawaeze has held pivotal C-Level Executive Leadership roles at organizations such as the United Nations, DaVincian Healthcare, Aetna, WellPoint/Empire BCBS, and Siemens GmbH. Dr. Ozochiawaeze is the President of Global Technology Services at MEDSiS Healthcare. An avid aviator, Obi Taiwan is a retired Air Force Pilot.
James Weakley currently serves as the President of Europe and Latin America Regions for Prudential's International Insurance (PII) organization. Jim has overall responsibility for the strategic direction and financial results of PII's insurance operations in seven countries. Prior to this role Jim served as SVP and Head of Marketing and Strategy for PII's worldwide insurance operations. Jim has been at Prudential for seven years and prior to that served in a variety of senior positions at AIG for nine years and General Electric & GE Capital for 15 years.