Guest Speakers & Panelists

Tokunbo Anifalalaje, Director of Business Engagement, Brooklyn Navy Yard

Tokunbo Anifalalaje is the Director of Business Engagement at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Corporation, where she focuses on developing and launching business support services available to the Brooklyn Navy Yard business tenants. She is also responsible for; building and sustaining relationships with all Yard businesses, assessing the availability, viability, quality and success of business support program models, conducting outreach to businesses within the Yard to determine areas of greatest need and interest and helps assess their business needs and oversees all tenant engagement initiatives which include; annual tenant briefings, MeetUps and mixers, marketing and programmatic partnerships.

Prior to joining the Brooklyn Navy Yard Corporation, Tokunbo worked as a consultant at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation where she provided direct business support and resources to New York City businesses. Tokunbo holds a Master of City and Regional Planning, Economic Development which she earned from the Pratt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University.


Anastasia Cole Plakias, Vice President & Founding Partner, Brooklyn Grange

Anastasia Cole Plakias is co-founder and Vice President of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm. A published writer and photographer, Anastasia is a passionate and outspoken crusader for fresh, healthy foods and greener, more sustainable cities. Her love of food began early, cooking up elaborate meals in the tiny, galley kitchen of her family’s West Village, NYC apartment. After some years spent freelance writing for magazines, Anastasia landed in the offices of Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, where she took on projects ranging from event production, content creation, marketing and public relations, and of course, eating her way through the menus at New York City’s best restaurants. As a managing partner of Brooklyn Grange, she has run the business’ sales department, created its events program, and manages the farm’s communications and external affairs. Anastasia channels her love of food into weekly CSA newsletters, chock full of fun vegetable trivia and cooking tips, which were spun off to the Heritage Radio Network series, Anastasia’s Fridge.

A co-founder of the non-profit, City Growers, she presented alongside the organization’s Executive Director at TedX Long Island City. In 2014 and 2015, she was an instructor of Natural Gourmet Institute’s Sustainable Farming Certificate Course, and regularly teaches a workshop aimed at entrepreneurs interested in launching their own urban farming business. She has spoken to audiences at the Slow Food NYC/Northeast Organic Farmer’s Alliance NY Producer’s Conference; the 2014 Energivie Summit in Strasbourg, France; the NYU School of Engineering; and the Museum of Natural History, and has recently completed a book about the business, The Farm on the Roof: What Brooklyn Grange Taught us About Entrepreneurship, Community, and Growing a Sustainable Business (Avery Press, April, 2016).

When Anastasia isn’t zipping from farm to farm on her bicycle or leading a tour for a visiting delegation of city planners, she can be found at her Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment conducting a cider tasting for dinner guests, or hiking through the Hudson Valley in search of migrating hawks.


Richard Cosgrove, Co-Founder & CEO, Oval Digital, Inc

Richard has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years in the healthcare sector. He developed numerous patient education tools for more than 20 pharmaceutical companies.

Earlier in his career, Richard became the exclusive importer and marketer of premium advertising pens from a small German manufacturer. He rebranded them as “Medical Advertising Pens” and created a catalog to focus solely on the healthcare niche with an understanding of those customers’ marketing objectives, tactics, stringent timelines, and approval processes. Millions of these uniquely styled writing instruments were purchased annually by pharma companies.

He also has developed custom hand-painted anatomical models to help patients understand their medical condition when there may be no outward symptoms. A few examples include a model depicting the damaging effects of hypertension on end organs and the consequences of an enlarged heart (left ventricular hypertrophy). He also developed custom injecting training arm models so that healthcare providers could practice. Sales volume of these customized models achieved multi-million dollar levels.

Richard also collaborated with the German patent holder of proprietary reflex hammers. They went to Taipei to arrange for high volume, high quality production. Thousands of these rotation reflex hammers were provided to physicians in the USA. www.reflexhammer.com

Today, Richard successfully imports and markets Take-n-Slide to major healthcare companies. This patented adherence tool helps patients stay on their medication schedule and has been provided to hundreds of thousands of patients. http://www.take-n-slide.com/

A few years ago, Richard’s teenage son expressed concern over the increasing use of prescription drugs and alcohol among his peers. Given the growing epidemic of abuse and potential to lead to more deadly drug use and addiction, Richard began to think of an unobtrusive way for parents to remotely monitor medicine and liquor cabinets from their smart phone.

And the idea for OVAL was born. This Internet of Things (IoT) technology product evolved to a “smart sensor” that monitors motion, temperature, humidity, light, proximity, and flood. To generate funds and test market viability, OVAL launched a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/oval-smart-sensor-instant-alerts-technology#/

After more than 2 years of product development, OVAL has been successfully manufactured. The company is negotiating alliances with distribution partners worldwide.


Anselm Doering, CEO, EcoLogic Solutions

Anselm Doering founded EcoLogic Solutions in 2005 with a decade’s worth of environmental entrepreneurship under his belt and a lifelong passion for the environment.In the 90’s, Anselm owned a green retail general store called Earth General. Growing up, he and his family frequently camped and visited national and state parks. During their trips, they would pick up recyclables they saw littered on the ground. At EcoLogic Solutions, he prefers to be called the “chief tree hugging officer” rather than the CEO.

Anselm had his “a-ha moment” after he walked into the bathroom of a rest stop that displayed a sign declaring its pride for using Lysol. As a veteran of the green world, he knew of the toxic ingredients carried in Lysol disinfectants as well as the significant health risks associated with the chemicals in their products.At that point, Anselm decided to start a company devoted to manufacturing, distributing, and selling only the most environmentally friendly cleaning products and technologies.

EcoLogic Solutions Inc. is a Brooklyn-based manufacturer and distributor of environmentally preferable cleaning products and technologies for restaurants, offices, hospitals, hotels, schools, and other institutional users. Their full range of products and technologies help customers enhance cleaning, “green” their operations, and improve employee health. This includes game-changing technology called Electro Chemical Activation (ECA), which allows users to make their own cleaners and sanitizers, on site, using only tap water, salt, and small doses of electricity.


Andrew Gustafson, Vice President, Turnstile Tours​

Originally from New Haven, Connecticut, Andrew studied early American history as an undergraduate at Middlebury College and political geography and criminology at the University of Colorado-Boulder graduate school. He is trained as an historical researcher, geographer, and cartographer, and in additional to his duties as a tour guide, he oversees knowledge management for Turnstile Tours, maintaining our archive, library, and blog, and designing our tour maps and brochures. Prior to working at Turnstile, Andrew lived in Moscow and Irkutsk, Russia, where he studied geography and worked as a reporter, editor, and translator for a number of media outlets.

After moving to New York in 2009, he worked at the International Coalition of Historic Sites of Conscience, a worldwide network of museums and historic sites that use difficult histories to promote positive social change, coordinating their programming in the former Soviet Union. Andrew is fascinated by military and maritime history and the contemporary workings of New York Harbor, both manmade and natural, and he is an avid shipspotter, birdwatcher, and paddler. He has led the research and development of the World War II tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which launched on Veterans Day 2012, and our tour programs at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Andrew and Cindy were married in April 2014 at Williamsburg’s Most Holy Trinity-St. Mary Church, with food provided by street vendor Veronica’s Kitchen, and they are the proud parents of Salty. Andrew is a member of the US Naval Institute.


John Harrison, Founder, Mug Clubs

John Harrison is a Pace University MBA graduate in Strategic Management, May 2017. Whilst completing his MBA, John also worked as a Graduate Assistant at the Entrepreneurship Lab. Beyond his studies, Mr. Harrison has completed consulting work as head of operations for a technology start-up in the food service industry, Sabor Inc., and as the Finance lead for a Biopharma start-up that is specializing in stem cell research, BioGenCell Limited. Furthermore, Mr. Harrison was the acting Controller for Some Spider LLC, a digital media start-up with annualized sales of over $1.5 million. Lastly, John has been a small business owner since 2014 when he purchased, remodeled, and rebranded a bar & restaurant in San Angelo, TX. Having graduated Lehigh University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting and Finance in 2005 John chose to pursue his professional interests at Johnson & Johnson. Over the next eight years John took on increasing levels of responsibility, rising to the position of Senior Manager before leaving J&J in 2013. Mr. Harrison left corporate life to pursue his MBA in the hopes of eventually entering a faster paced and more agile business environment. The opportunity to make decisions that directly impact business outcomes has led John to make the leap into entrepreneurship, and has inspired his efforts to found MugClubs.com. MugClubs.com was founded in 2015 as a result of the founder’s desire to develop a platform that would leverage SaaS principles to the bar and nightclub industry. Specifically, the first product platform will target Mug Clubs, which are a popular marketing and sales tool employed by drinking establishments. To date nobody has brought forward a digital solution to facilitate their administration and execution, thus putting the investment of time, resources, and money solely on the establishment’s management.


Andrew Kimball, CEO, Industry City

Andrew Kimball is the Chief Executive Officer of Industry City, a 30-acre complex in Sunset Park. It is the largest adaptive reuse of an industrial campus in the US and a unique ecosystem of uses, including innovation economy tenants, retailers, academic collaboration and two hotels. The mega-project will be a community of makers, including physical, digital and engineered products, and it will ultimately create 20,000 jobs.

Mr. Kimball is now trying to perform a similar feat as he did at the Brooklyn Navy Yard where he spent nearly a decade, transforming the former shipyard into a hub of artisanal and tech industry. As CEO, he is leading the development by coordinating Industry City’s leasing, development, marketing, government, community engagement, operational, construction and accounting departments for the "visionary ownership group" of Belvedere Capital, Jamestown and Angelo Gordon. When he arrived at the project four years ago, Industry City had a skeleton staff but now has robust teams for each department.

Mr. Kimball has had an eclectic career that has been entirely focused on urban transformation. “I grew up in Manhattan in the ‘70s and ‘80s, wondering why there was such decay and poverty in some areas and enormous wealth in others.” He spent eight years at the New York Public Library, managing restoration and redevelopment of many of its 90-odd library facilities, followed by three years trying to bring the Olympic Games to New York City. For another eight years, he was responsible for the transformation of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and he joined Industry City four years ago. Andrew attended Manhattan’s Collegiate School, then Hamilton College upstate. He is now Chairman of the Board for the The Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs.


Josh Knight, COO, EcoLogic Solutions

Josh joined EcoLogic in 2006 after 16 successful years in production management in television (MTV, FOX, NBC). After founding his own management company, Josh ran operations & managed budgets for worldwide tours, productions & artists, including J Lo, Jessica Simpson, Chris Cornell & 98 Degrees. With EcoLogic, responsibilities include overseeing R&D, production, inventory, delivery, tech support, service, financials, IT, & day-to-day operations.







Matt Lovett, Founder & CEO, Oz Content

Matt is a serial entrepreneur in the advertising and marketing tech industry. Currently, he is the founder and CEO of Oz Content, a venture-backed software company which licenses Content Ideation software to B2B Content Marketers. Oz uses a combination of predictive analytics and AI to help its customers predict performance, validate demand, and create content ideas prior running content marketing campaigns. Prior to founding Oz Content, he founded a digital advertising agency in Shanghai, Pop Sigma, which he grew to several million in revenue with brands including Johnny Walker (Diageo), McDonald’s, and Goodyear Tires. Prior to that, he worked in several other venture-backed startups in the marketing and ad tech spaces in China. Matt lives and works in lower Manhattan, New York City, generally commutes to work on a skateboard, and is an active runner and surfer. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago.


Shiv Madan, Founder and CEO, Ability Wearables

Shiv Madan is the Founder and CEO of Ability Wearables, a wearable data company that helps the world’s largest companies and insurers to solve for health, safety and productivity using data analytics and artificial intelligence from smartwatch data. Ability currently serves leading companies from British Petroleum to Transdev to solve workplace challenges such as fatigue, and also works closely with hardware partners including Samsung to transform their smartwatches into enterprise-grade productivity tools. Prior to Ability, Shiv was CEO of Mozambi, an energy startup that he led to a public listing on the Australian Securities Exchange. Earlier he worked in business development, investment banking and strategy roles at eBay, Lehman Brothers, Accenture and Dresdner Kleinwort. He received an MBA from Australian Graduate School of Management and resides in New York.

 


Rumit Mehta, Founder, Immersion Journeys

Born in Kenya of Indian descent & raised in Tanzania, Rumit Mehta has a love for Africa that is unmatched. Despite living in the urban jungle of New York City, he still manages to return to Africa and India both for family visits and by request from many of his clients. Rumit grew up leading safaris for friends and colleagues where he refined his keen wildlife spotting skills in the bush.

Trained as an architect with a degree from the Savannah College of Art & Design, Rumit worked in the design and construction industry for 13 years. After moving to New York, he obtained his MBA in International Business (Lubin '03) and re-entered the architectural design and construction industry. This included several years administering a multi-million dollar capital improvement program at the Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx Zoo, NY Aquarium etc). By then he was dabbling in travel planning for select luxury clients to Africa and India. Very soon, the travel bug caught on and after much deliberation he decided to do it on a full time basis as it was more exciting than visiting muddy construction sites.

An avid thrill seeker, Rumit plays a pivotal role in developing custom itineraries for luxury and academic clients including Pace University, Harvard Business School, Babson College, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern Law School, George Washington and Columbia Business School. Immersion Journeys leverages a wealth of knowledge and professional networks in both Africa and South Asia to design complex itineraries. With his deep knowledge of the hospitality industry, he is frequently invited as a guest speaker at trade trade and academic forums. Rumit is a founder member and board member of Safari Professionals of the Americas and past Vice President of the Association of the Promotion of Tourism in Africa (APTA) - Northeast Chapter. Immersion Journeys has received several awards and accolades over the years: * 2012, 2013 & 2015 National Geographic Traveler- '50 Tours of a Lifetime' * 2010 & 2011- Tanzania Tourist Board- Tour Operator of the Year * 2013 South Africa Tourism Ubuntu Award Recipient.

Rumit is also co-founder of Coddiwomple Journeys- a new start up, luxury tour operator that focuses on South America. Rumit also represents a consortium of investors in Zaina Lodge- a 25 villa eco-lodge located in Northern Ghana (West Africa).

 


Ian E Scott, Managing Director, Scott Legal, P.C.

Ian E. Scott is a Harvard Law School Graduate, lawyer and author of Law School Lowdown: Secrets of Success from the Application Process to Landing Your First Job. (Barron's Publishing)  Mr. Scott is also a Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A.) and obtained his M.B.A from the University of Toronto.  Prior to law school, Mr. Scott worked at an international investment bank (Credit Suisse) in New York structuring business transactions and providing consultation on deal structures.  As an attorney, Mr. Scott worked as a corporate transactional lawyer in the law firm Cleary Gottlieb (a top Wall Street Firm) and is currently the Managing Director of Scott Legal Services, P.C., a law firm specializing in Investor Immigration Visas and New Business set-up.  Mr. Scott has been featured and seen in many publications including; Forbes, Bloomberg, The New York Times, Super Lawyers, The Huffington Post, The American Bar Association, Business Insider, The New York Bar Association, Harvard University, Above the Law, Lexis/Nexis, The Student Appeal Journal,  Lawyerist, & other Journals. Mr. Scott lives in Manhattan, New York, with his spouse and two lovely daughters.

 


David Sederholt, Senior Advisor, Strategic Funding Source

As a serial Entrepreneur, David Sederholt has launched and built numerous companies in a variety of industries over 40 years. His most recent endeavor is Strategic Funding Source, Inc., an innovative alternative finance company that has provided working capital to over 35,000 un-bankable small businesses in the U.S. and Australia.

After graduating from Pace University, he did Biomedical research in the areas of enzyme kinetics and reproductive physiology at the Rockefeller University and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. While working in the laboratories he launched his first entrepreneurial venture, a restaurant in New York City. He ultimately he owned and operated over a dozen restaurants including the Rattlesnake Southwestern Grills, which he founded and took public on the NASDAQ markets.

Later entrepreneurial ventures included Dovetail Partners, LLC., a boutique investment bank; Tricom Commercial Real Estate, LLC., a specialty real estate firm; and currently he has recently launched Ragnar Partners, LLC an opportunistic finance and advisory group. He is a regular contributor to business and industry publications as well as serving as an advisor to numerous non-profit organizations.

 


Robert Steiner, Co-Founder, Roboto.NYC

Roboto.NYC is New York City's premier light fabrication service specializing in 3D printing, 3D scanning, laser engraving and cutting, CAD, and model making. Located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the company was founded by former MakerBot executives, engineers, and designers.

A US Navy Veteran, Rob was a member of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) participating in operations in the Pacific Rim. His experience in manufacturing and executive management stems from his time at Honda for new model development, Chief Product Officer at MakerBot Industries, and procurement/ERP implementation for a variety of industry sectors. He holds a MBA from Franklin University, is a 5X Ironman Triathlon finisher, avid designer and startup mentor.

 

 


Cindy VandenBosch, Founder, Turnstile Tours​

Cindy VandenBosch founded Turnstile Tours to create interactive and content-based experiences that foster engagement and interaction within and across communities in partnership with non-profit organizations in the neighborhoods of New York City. Cindy is passionate about offering experiences that are welcoming and accessible to people of all ages and abilities, and she has long been interested in socially-responsible business, which led her to found Turnstile as a Benefit Corporation in 2012. Originally from Flushing, Michigan (a suburb of Flint), Cindy studied anthropology at the University of Michigan and conducted her thesis research in Siberia and the Russian Far East, studying traditional culture of local ethnic groups.

Since moving to New York more than a decade ago, Cindy has gained extensive experience in the museum field; for several years she managed tour implementation, quality, and accessibility at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum for over 100,000 visitors annually. She has also worked in a variety of capacities with the Brooklyn Historical Society, New-York Historical Society, the Museum at Eldridge Street, the New York Transit Museum, and many other cultural organizations. From 2012 to 2015, she served as co-chair of the Museum Access Consortium, an association dedicated to increasing accessibility at cultural institutions for people of all ages and abilities, and formerly taught K-8th graders who are blind or have low vision about the geography and history of New York City with City Access New York.

In 2008, Cindy also co-founded Urban Oyster with David Naczycz and co-managed that tour company for three years before starting Turnstile.


Robert Walsh, Executive Director, HELP USA Fund

Mr. Walsh joined HELP USA in 2016. He leads the HELP USA Fund, and is responsible for all private fundraising, special events, social media, and public relations for the organization. Before joining HELP, Walsh served for 12 years as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services during the Bloomberg administration. He also served as a Distinguished Lecturer and Faculty Director of Baruch College’s Executive Master of Public Administration Program. Prior to returning to the City, Walsh served as President of Charlotte Center City Partners in North Carolina. Before that, he led the Union Square Partnership in NYC for eight years, where he played an instrumental role in the neighborhood’s revitalization. He began his career in public service as a New York City Urban Fellow, a program he later directed. Mr. Walsh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Master’s degree in Public Affairs from Fordham University. He also participated in the Senior Executive Program in State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School.