Who We Are
Strategic Advisory Board
Public Computer Classes
Solutions for Businesses
Download our Brochure
Strategic Advisory BoardCOLONEL BERNARD BANKS
Colonel Bernard Banks has over twenty years of leadership and management experience in small, medium and large size organizations. Most recently, he led a 500-person multi-national aviation organization based in South Korea. He has presented on the topic of leadership at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Colonel Banks has earned a BS from West Point, a MBA from the Kellogg School of Management,
Northwestern University and the Schulich School of Business, York University, and a MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is also a graduate of Harvard Business School’s General Manager Program. Currently, Colonel Banks is a PhD student in Social-Organizational Psychology at Columbia University in NYC. Afterwards, he will assume responsibility for the Leadership & Management Studies programs at West Point.
Stacey Cohen founded Co-Communications, Inc. in 1997, an award-winning full service marketing and public relations firm. Stacey began her career at Marsteller Inc. (a division of Young & Rubicam), where she was responsible for expanding the corporate communications program for advertising executives. She then held senior positions in both public relations and marketing over a six-year period at CBS/FOX Video, then the world’s largest home video company.
Under Stacey’s leadership, Co-Communications has been awarded the Journal News "Best of Show" by the Advertising Club of Westchester, Forbes Enterprise Award (2006), and was recently inducted into the Westchester County Business Hall of Fame.
Cohen chairs the Business Council of Westchester’s Marketing and Communications Council and serves on the advisory board for Westchester County Business Journal. She previously served on the board of Westchester Association of Women Business Owners and Association for Women in Communications. She has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Crain’s, Sales & Marketing and other leading national publications. Cohen holds a B.S. from Syracuse University and an MBA from Fordham University.
John Foligno has a client-side record for developing strong, differentiated brands. His experience spans over 17 years working in brand management and licensing on worldwide brands. John’s founding belief is that brands are built on a strategic foundation that provides stronger alignment between brand owners, customers and consumers.
John founded Cubism Branding after leaving Movado Group where he spent seven years as Vice President of Marketing for Coach Watches and ESQ Swiss. One of his top accomplishments was successfully engineering the rebranding of ESQ after it had suffered several years of lost market share and profitability. Prior to Movado Group, John held various brand management positions with global licensed brands such as Calvin Klein, Greg Norman, Guess, and Tommy Hilfiger.
T. Forcina is a Managing Director of The Westchester County Association
(www.westchester.org). She is
responsible for membership and program development at the WCA.
The Association is committed to business advocacy, economic
vitality and to providing a strong and clear voice for the interests of
businesses on the regional, national and international levels. Its key
objectives are: promoting positive economic development in the region; fostering
business development; and providing its members with access and interaction with
key public and private sector individuals, agencies and organizations.
Ms. Forcina was also the Executive Director of the
Westchester Information Technology Cluster, a community of innovative Westchester technology leaders where she assisted the
Board of Directors to create programs for its members and directed its internal
and external communications program.
Prior to joining the Westchester Information Technology
Cluster, Ms. Forcina was Vice President and Chief Technology Office of
Information Technology Services for Fleet Securities, Inc., a division of Fleet
Boston Financial. She held several
senior management positions during her 20 years of service for this financial
services company that involved; effective strategic planning, efficient
standardization practices, proficient support services and reconstruction of
complex data centers.
Ms. Forcina has completed the Security Industry Institute
program at the Wharton School of Business at the
of Pennsylvania and earned her B.S. in
Computer Science from St. John’s University in
Furey is the CEO of Imaginamics (www.imaginamics.com),
a professional consulting services firm focused on maximizing efficiency and
minimizing operational risk wherever IT touches business.
In a career spanning 28 years, Chris developed IT
strategies for international firms, national brands and thousands of small and
mid-sized companies. Prior to Imaginamics, Chris founded Savvy Networks and
Another 9. His vision grew those businesses to serve hundreds of clients in the
NY Metropolitan area and host millions of medical records for several of the
largest health plans in the US.
Chris is a
high-availability guru and the creator of the Operational Assurance IT
management process. He's a founding board member and past president of the
Westchester Information Technology Cluster and the Association of IT
ANNE M. JANIAK
M. Janiak is a founder and Executive Director of the Women's Enterprise
Development Center Inc., a nonprofit microenterprise development organization in
White Plains, NY that helps women achieve economic self-sufficiency through
entrepreneurship in Westchester County and the Lower Hudson Valley. Ms. Janiak
has been involved with the organization since its formation in 1997 and has been
instrumental in its growth and development, including its designation as a
Women's Business Center by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2003.
She has been active in women's issues, local government & public policy matters
in Westchester County for more than 25 years and serves as part-time Executive
Director of the Westchester Municipal Officials Association. She is a former
Mayor of the Village of Scarsdale, a former chair of the Westchester County
Women's Advisory Board and a former president of the Scarsdale chapter of the
League of Women Voters. Ms. Janiak has many community and professional
affiliations and is actively involved with both the state and national
microenterprise development program associations. She has a BA in Secondary
Education from the Pennsylvania State University and a MA in Women's History
from Sarah Lawrence College.
CHRISTOPHER K. JONES
Christopher K. Jones is a 16-year
veteran of entrepreneurial ventures. Chris started his Advisory Firm,
Financial Solutions, Inc. shortly after graduation from Trenton State College.
In 2006, Chris was a recipient of the Westchester Business
Council's prestigious Rising Stars 40 Under 40 Award.
Chris has over 16 years of accounting, finance , management consulting,
and project management experience and has served as a CFO of start-ups and small
businesses. He has raised over $3.5
million in financing, worked with over 100 companies in over 25 industries.
Chris has led start-ups, turnarounds, and restructuring efforts for small and
medium sized businesses as well as Not-for-Profits. Chris has over ten years of
experience working with Not-for-Profits and an extensive knowledge of fund
accounting. He serves on several Non-profit boards and committees.
Chris believes in taking an individualized approach with
each of his clients. He believes that although the industries may be the
same or similar, the people running the companies are individuals and his
strategies and advice are customized to the needs, objectives, and personalities
of his clients. Chris is an accomplished
athlete and martial artist. Chris is the current Westchester County and Southern Connecticut Judo
champion and winner of of several Judo tournaments in NY, NJ, CT and RI. Chris
was a collegiate wrestler at
DAVID G. LEFTWICH
David joined Dolce International in 1985 as Food & Beverage Controller at
Lakeway Inn & Resort in Austin, Texas. He spent the next nine and a half years
working at Lakeway while being promoted to Director of Food & Beverage and
Assistant General Manager.
In December of 1994, David was promoted and moved to Dolce Heritage located in
Southbury, Connecticut as General Manager. He transferred to become the General
Manager of GE Crotonville, General Electric’s private conference center in
August of 1998 and again in November of 2002 to assume the helm of The IBM
Learning Center, located in Armonk, New York owned by International Business
Machines. In June of 2007 he added IBM’s Palisades Executive Conference Center
to his responsibilities. Palisades offers 206 guestrooms, 44 conference rooms
and 2 computer labs totaling 38,382 square feet of meeting space, while the IBM
Learning Center offers 182 guestrooms, 36 conference rooms totaling 15,000
square feet of meeting space. Both are open market conference centers and have
extensive health and fitness centers, multiple dining options and the latest in
Prior to working for Dolce International, David worked in Jacksonville, Florida
and Dallas, Texas for Flannigan Enterprises and Victoria Station Restaurants for
eight years in the positions of Bartender, General Manager and Restaurant
David received his A.A. from Florida Junior College and attended the University
of North Florida as a psychology major in Jacksonville, Florida. He is a member
of the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) and a presenter
annually at their annual conference for Corporate Learning Centers.
Kathleen O’Connor has been a Recreation and Parks professional, since starting her career in Scarsdale, in January, 1976. While she worked for the Village of Scarsdale Recreation Department for 5 years, she was also on the Executive Board of W.R.A.P.S., as secretary, vice-president, and eventually president of the organization during the years of ‘76-’87. During this time, Kathleen was also the Vice –President of the New York State
Recreation and Parks Society.
Following her years at Scarsdale, Kathleen moved to Westchester County Department of Parks Recreation and Conservation, in 1980. She has worked as a Recreation Supervisor, the Assistant Manager of the County Center, and then the Director of Programs and Services. Presently, Kathleen is a Deputy Commissioner for the County Parks Department, and the Executive Director of the Friends of Westchester County Parks, inc., the “not-for-profit” organization that has been established to enhance the County Parks Department.
The Friends started in 1978 as a simple financial agency that received some sponsorship money that was used to help send underprivileged children to the county sleep-away camp at Mt. Lakes Camp in North Salem, NY. Until 2003, the Friends had a small bank account, and was virtually inactive. Year to date, the Friends of Parks is now responsible for a bank account of 2 million dollars, and is involved in numerous fundraisers and community awareness events.
Throughout her professional career, Kathleen has remained an active member of W.R.A.P.S., NYSPRS, and the NRPA for almost 30 years.
Adam J. Stark is an entrepreneur at heart, with an eye for business innovation. He is president of Stark Business Solutions, which operates the SBS
Suites in White Plains,
Kisco, and Harrison, NY.
SBS offers premium turn-key, flexible office solutions for professionals and small businesses on a full-time and part-time basis.
Adam started his career in 1995 at Wasserstein Perella & Company, an elite mergers and acquisitions firm. Within a few years, he became one of the youngest officers in the company’s history. After the company’s merger with Dresdner Bank, Adam served as U.S.
head of the Business Services and Logistics Practice for the investment banking division of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DrKW),
During his tenure there, he executed a variety of multi-billion dollar transactions for some of the world’s largest companies, including Ricoh;
Corporation; BASF; and Mail Boxes, Etc. In 2004, Adam branched out on his own and founded Stark Business Solutions in
White Plains. He quickly emerged as a major player in Westchester County’s small business community.
Mr. Stark’s own business model supports his recipe for success: within the first six months of business, he signed 60 clients and leased an additional 5,400-square-feet of space. Within another year, he more than doubled his office space to 12,600-square-feet and then further expanded to 17,000-square-feet to accommodate his clients’ growing needs. He then opened up a new 15,000-square-foot site in Mount
to serve the growing Northern Westchester
business community. The newest SBS
Suites, in Harrison, measures 11,575-square-feet and is Stark’s third facility in less than three years.
In November 2004, Adam hosted a business roundtable entitled "Westchester's Present and Future Economic Engine: Small Business Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in 2005 and Beyond," moderated by the editor-in-chief of the
Westchester County Business Journal. Attendees included Jose R. Sifontes, District Director of the United States Small Business Administration and Gil Mercurio, CEO
of the Westchester County Board of Realtors.
He has been featured in The New York Times, The Journal News, The Westchester County
Business Journal, Patent Trader and other prominent media outlets, including forbes.com. Various publications have written about
SBS, including the Bedford
Record Review, Scarsdale Inquirer,
New York Real Estate Journal, Inside Chappaqua, and
Real Estate Weekly, among others.
Adam is the 2007 winner of the Westchester County Association’s APEX Award for Young Professionals.
Adam is a member of the Board of Directors of UJA’s Westchester Professional and Business Leaders. Most recently, he chaired the UJA’s Annual Luncheon, which raised a record amount of funds.
JANE T. STERLING
Jane T. Sterling is the Associate Director of Human Resources for Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company in Tarrytown, New York focusing on the development and commercialization of innovative therapeutic products to treat the unmet medical needs of patients with debilitating conditions and life-threatening diseases. Principal programs are directed toward gastroenterology, virology - including human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections - and oncology.
Jane has been leading the development of employees at Progenics for more than two years now. Her multi-faceted role includes developing and often delivering, core and elective curriculum for individual contributors, managers and leadership staff. Other aspects of development work include performance management and employee relations coaching.
Prior to joining Progenics, Jane spent more than fifteen years developing talent at Shire Pharmaceuticals, Glaxo Smith Kline, QVC Inc. and Astra Merck and other companies. She held many leadership roles in the areas of organizational development and training in those companies.
Jane holds a M.S. in Corporate Education and Communication from Ithaca College and a B.A. in English from Hartwick College. She has been a member of the American Society of Training and Development for many years. Jane is also a lifetime horsewoman and spent eight years helping individuals with disabilities overcome challenges as a certified therapeutic riding instructor.
Vice President, Government and Community Relations, The
Business Council of Westchester
Paul Vitale has managed and expanded the Business Council's
public policy advocacy efforts at the federal, state and local levels since
joining the organization in 2004. He works closely with the Governmental Action
Council and political action committee, Golden Apple Business Action Council
(GABAC) to advance our legislative agenda and provide guidance on government
spending and budgets. He also oversees our Business Council Benefits Group and
is involved with the area and economic development councils, collaborating with
community officials on projects that enhance economic opportunities in
Vitale's career spans more than 25 years of management
experience in the media, entertainment and sports industries, having served as
VP and CFO of the SFX Sports Group; VP, Business Development, Sony Music
Entertainment Inc.; and VP, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, Sony Music
Entertainment Inc. and its predecessor, CBS Records Group. He was an integral
part of the management team that grew SFX Sports from its inception into a
leading sports management and marketing firm. SFX's client roster included such
superstars as Michael Jordan, Roger Clemens, Mariano Rivera, Andre Agassi, Andy
Roddick, Greg Norman and Jerry Rice. At CBS Records Group and Sony Music
Entertainment Inc. he played a key role in expanding the company's interests in
music publishing and direct marketing and entering the live entertainment
Prior to joining The Business Council of Westchester, Paul
served as the executive director of the Service Station Dealers of Greater New
York, a trade association representing 1,000 independent service stations, auto
repair shops and related businesses in New York City and its northern suburbs. Among
his accomplishments were developing and executing a turnaround strategy that
successfully repositioned and rebranded the organization while significantly
increasing non-dues income.
Paul was awarded his BA degree, cum laude, from Fordham University
and earned his M.B.A. from Columbia
University. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Housing Action
Council and the Community Capital Resources Loan Review Committee.