Erika Irish Brown
Erika Irish Brown joined Bloomberg LP in early 2015 as global head of diversity and inclusion. Previously serving as head of diversity recruiting and program management at Bank of America, Brown has over 15 years of investment banking and capital markets experience. In her current role at Bloomberg, she is responsible for collaborating with senior management to drive the company’s global strategy. In addition, she plays a leadership role in developing and implementing a comprehensive plan that focuses on diversity and inclusion as it relates to recruitment, retention, talent review, succession planning, career development and training.
Holding a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University at Albany, State University of New York and an MBA from Columbia Business School, Brown has worked for numerous companies including Morgan Stanley, the U.S. Treasury and Lehman Brothers. In addition, she served on President Obama’s Treasury Transition Team during his first term.
Erika was honored by the Toigo Foundation in 2011, recognized as one of the Network Journal’s 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business in 2013 and selected as a Trailblazer by the National Council on Research for Women in 2014.
Currently serving as the Vice-Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Erika lives in Teaneck, NJ with her husband Frank and their three sons Frank III, Evan and Bradford.
Marisha L. Clinton, CPA
Marisha Clinton joined Avison Young in 2016 as Senior Director of Research, Tri-State, based in the firm’s New York City office. A well respected professional in her field, Clinton will lead the research efforts in the region to help elevate the platform for the firm and clients.
As Senior Director of Research, Tri-State, Clinton works with and develops the research teams in New York, New Jersey and Fairfield-Westchester counties, as well as collaborates with the other regional and national departments. Clinton produces cutting-edge research reports, white papers and other deliverables useful in pitches, presentations and other business development efforts.
Prior to joining Avison Young, Clinton was the Director of Capital Markets Research at JLL (formerly Jones Lang LaSalle) for over three years. While there she was the point person within the Americas research team to establish the baseline capital markets research platform, as well as develop a process for capturing and cultivating granular local investment insights, creating best practices and publishing valuable market analysis. Prior to that, she spent over 10 years on Wall Street as an equity research analyst at various prestigious firms.
Clinton is a Certified Public Accountant, a graduate of Howard University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she respectively earned her B.B.A. in Accounting and an MBA with a dual major in Finance and Strategic Management. Her overall experience has given rise to speaking engagements at real estate and accounting industry conference sessions. Clinton also serves on the Board of Directors of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the nation’s first community development corporation.
Kevin G. Chavers, Managing Director, is a member of BlackRock’s Government Relations and Public Policy Group. From 2011 to 2013 he was a member of the Financial Markets Advisory Group within BlackRock Solutions. Mr. Chavers has extensive experience in the mortgage capital markets and housing finance policy in both the public and private sectors. He is a member of BlackRock’s Government Relations Steering Committee. Prior to joining BlackRock in 2011, Mr. Chavers was a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, where he served as a Senior Relationship Manager with coverage responsibilities for the mortgage Government Sponsored Enterprises and related clients. He previously headed the global mortgage operating businesses of Morgan Stanley and led their strategic repositioning. He also led strategy, execution and banking for the mortgage principal finance team within the Securitized Products Group. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, he was a vice president in the Mortgage Securities Department at Goldman Sachs & Co. Mr. Chavers served as the President of Ginnie Mae in the Clinton Administration. He also formerly served as Majority Staff Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. He began his career with the law firm of Milbank, Tweed Hadley and McCloy in New York. Mr. Chavers is a graduate of Harvard Law School and earned a Bachelor’s in City Planning from the University Of Virginia School Of Architecture. He currently serves on the boards of directors of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the Friends of Education of the Museum of Modern Art and the University Of Virginia School Of Architecture Foundation. He is also a member of The Regional Plan Association New York Committee. He has also served on the boards of the Architectural League of New York, the Ridley Scholarship Fund at the University of Virginia, the Municipal Arts Society and the Appleseed Foundation. Mr. Chavers is a Founding Member of the Potomac Coalition. Mr. Chavers is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He resides in New York City metropolitan area.
Vice Chairperson & Secretary
Ben Esner is the Director of the Center for K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly). The Center designs and builds model programs dedicated to making meaningful educational opportunity available to a broad range of students by engaging NYU-Poly faculty and graduate students and bringing their STEM expertise and research interests into classrooms. Mr. Esner is a co-Principal Investigator on the University’s National Science Foundation GK-12 grant, and leads several other STEM education initiatives, including the recently developed Science of Smart Cities and Creativity in Engineering, Science and Technology (CrEST) programs. Prior to joining Poly, Mr. Esner held the post of Senior Vice President for Programs at Brooklyn Community Foundation, where he oversaw and ran competitive grant programs disbursing $5 million a year, seeking to address educational and social issues. With experience that includes roles in the public, private and not-for-profit arenas, Mr. Esner is also a founding and current Trustee of four public charter schools serving the Brooklyncommunities of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Ocean Hill and Canarsie.
Benjamin A. Glascoe
Benjamin Glascoe has extensive experience in public and community affairs as well as in economic development. He worked for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BSRC), the nation’s first Community Development Corporation, established in 1967. During its early formative years, from 1968-1981, Mr. Glascoe held several leadership posts including Assistant to the first president, Franklin Thomas, Director of Community Programs, and Manager of the RDC Commercial Center. In 1981 he joined the Con Edison team as manager of Public Affairs, where he coordinated media relations, advertising, events and political action for the company in Brooklyn. From March of 1985 to June of 1988, Mr. Glascoe was the manager of Economic Development at Con Edison and worked to coordinate the company’s business development efforts. He retired as Director of Manhattan Public Affairs at Con Edison, a position which he held since July of 1988. During his retirement, Mr. Glascoe remains active on several boards: the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation; the East Harlem Council for Community Improvement; the Transfiguration Education Association; the Trey Whitfield Foundation and the Trey Whitfield School Board.
Colvin W. Grannum, Esq.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Colvin W. Grannum has served as president of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (“Restoration”) since March 2001. Restoration, the nation’s first community development corporation, was founded by community leaders and U.S. Senators Robert Kennedy and Jacob Javits in 1967. Restoration owns operates a 300,000 square foot commercial and cultural center, and provides programs and services in the areas of affordable housing, arts and education, commercial revitalization, youth and workforce development, and weatherization. Before embarking on his career in community development, Colvin practiced law for over 17 years in the public and private sectors. Colvin earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He serves on numerous boards, advisory committees and commissions dedicated to improving the quality of life for the residents of Central Brooklyn, in particular, and the borough of Brooklyn at large.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Esq.
Mr. Kennedy has worked on environmental issues across the Americas. He has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands. Mr. Kennedy has published several books, including The Riverkeepers (1997) with John Cronin. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Pace Environmental Law Review, and other publications.
Mr. Kennedy is a graduate of Harvard University. He studied at the London School of Economics and received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. He also received a Masters Degree in Environmental Law from Pace University. He is a licensed master falconer, and as often as possible he pursues a life-long enthusiasm for white-water paddling. He has organized and led several expeditions to Latin America, including first descents on three little known rivers in Peru, Columbia, and Venezuela.
Depelsha Thomas McGruder
Senior Vice President, Business Operations, Centric, BET Networks
Depelsha McGruder is Senior Vice President of Business Operations for CENTRIC at BET Networks/Viacom. In her role at CENTRIC, McGruder spearheads the operating plan that supports the network’s strategic and financial goals as well as the business model. She also serves as the primary point person on all day-to-day CENTRIC operational issues, including Legal, Human Resources, Finance and Accounting. In addition, McGruder is responsible for developing, negotiating and structuring new business partnerships that grow CENTRIC’s brand and business as well as managing CENTRIC’s digital efforts (centrictv.com). Before joining MTV in 2000, McGruder was a Senior Consultant in Accenture's Media & Entertainment Strategy practice. There, she advised top tier media & entertainment, telecommunications and high-tech companies on their strategies and business processes. Prior to her consulting work, McGruder was a local TV news anchor, reporter and producer at WMAZ-TV in Macon, GA and WFXL-TV in Albany, GA. McGruder graduated first in her class with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Howard University and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is a member of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications, Women in Cable Telecommunications, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and The Links, Inc. McGruder resides in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn with her husband and son.
Lenue (Lenny) H. Singletary, III
Lenny currently serves as the Chief of Staff to the Firm’s Corporate Treasury Division, after achieving a long and successful track record within various departments across the franchise. In his new role, Lenny is responsible for overseeing the strategic management and development of BNY Mellon’s relationships with the Federal Reserve Bank and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), as well as managing compliance and corporate policy adherence, human resources, and technology needs for Treasury. In these roles, Lenny directs the IT and capital resource plan for the group, interprets and enforces corporate procedures, and ensures staff planning, recruiting and retention.
Prior to being selected as Chief of Staff, Lenny was responsible for leading the successful integration of new business for the Firm’s Enterprise Foreign Exchange business. In this role, he developed the plans for integration, and ensured successful execution of those plans, across multiple business segments, and to the satisfaction of key and senior level stakeholders. With over 15 years in financial services, Lenny has served in progressively more complex roles, as both a Senior Technology Product Specialist for business development within BNY Mellon’s Asset Servicing Division, as well as a Business Analyst in overseeing the development of critical client facing technology applications.
Prior to his tenure at BNY Mellon, Lenny also served as a Project Manager at Lehman Brothers, in the Global Operations Division.
Lenny is currently the Chairperson of Professional Affiliations & Recruiting for BNY Mellon’s Employee Resource Group, IMPACT. He also is a contributing member of the Steering Committee. As a longtime strong supporter of local civic involvement, Lenny serves tirelessly as a Trustee of The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Director of The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and 2nd Vice Chairman of New York City Community Board 2 (Brooklyn).
Glenn Edward Sharpe
Glenn Edward Sharpe retired in 2007 as a senior managing investment officer of Citigroup, Inc. private equity business and joined IQ Venture Advisors. As a senior member of Citigroup, Inc., Mr. Sharpe managed domestic and international corporate finance businesses. For the last ten years, he led the Citigroup Community Development private equity-investing unit. In the role of senior investment officer, he oversaw the investment in both non-real estate and real estate private equity funds. Mr. Sharpe is a recognized authority on investing in Small Business Investment Companies and in investing in private equity to meet goals of SMW’s. He was also an investment officer for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Portfolio. In this capacity, he managed two of the largest relationships of Citigroup. For seven years he was involved the Structured Trade Finance Business Globally for Citigroup. For 5 years, he managed the Latin American business. Mr. Sharpe continues to have contacts across the region and maintains a residence in Lima Peru. During his tenure, he developed extensive Board experience by maintaining memberships on 23 Limited Partnerships Boards representing the interests of Citigroup. Mr. Sharpe is a graduate of Howard University in Washington D.C. with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. He then graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business with a Master of Business Administration degree, majoring in Finance.
Timothy L. Simons
Tim Simons is the Vice President and Senior Compliance Officer of the Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Unit of Federal Home Loan Bank of SF. Mr. Simons works with Congress, state and local housing constituents throughout the United States, and the financial service industry to ensure the continued viability of mortgage lending for all communities. In addition to his legislative and regulatory network, Mr. Simons has an extensive background in financial and operational compliance developed while working in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America for KPMG and Cable & Wireless. Mr. Simons has an MBA from University of Maryland College Park and an undergraduate degree in Accounting from Hampton University. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York and serves as Chair of the board of trustees for the Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn. He also serves on the boards of the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.
Joseph J. Sitt
Joseph J. Sitt is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Thor Equities—a forward-thinking national real estate development and redevelopment company that specializes in value-added investments in shopping centers, malls and mixed-use urban developments in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. He serves as Chairman and Managing Principal of the Thor Urban Property Funds whose investors include pension funds, investment banks, college endowments, and foundations. Formerly, Mr. Sitt founded the women’s clothing retailer Ashley Stewart and quickly grew the company to over 380 stores in more than 100 cities, prompting many national retailers to pay attention to the inner city market. He is also frequent guest lecturer at colleges around New York City including Columbia, NYU, and Baruch College and is an active board member in various non-profits including The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and King’s Highway BID and has been honored by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) for his commitment to fostering healthy competitive business conditions and new opportunities in inner city neighborhoods.
Joseph G. Sponholz
Joseph G. Sponholz has had over three decades of experience in banking and financial services. He retired from Chase Manhattan Bank at mid-year 2000 where he was a Vice Chairman and a member of the Executive Committee. In 2001, he joined a Venture Capital firm as a General Partner; he is currently a private investor. In addition to Restoration, Mr. Sponholz serves as the Lead Independent Director of Hudson City Bancorp of Paramus NJ. He also sits on the President's Council of his alma mater. Other career assignments: Citigroup 1970-74; Partner, Booz Allen and Hamilton, 1974-81; Chemical Bank 1981-91: Strategic Planning executive, Chief Technology Officer, and, Chief Financial Officer. He led the Merger Office for the landmark combinations with Manufacturer’s Hanover and Chase Manhattan Banks as Chief Administrative Officer. His MBA (Finance) is from New York University; his BA is from Fordham University. He served his country as a US Army Intelligence Officer. He and his wife Nancy live in Manhattan.
Kevin Stein is the Senior Managing Director for the private equity team at KCK Group, focusing on control investments in specialty finance companies. Prior to joining the KCK group, Mr. Stein was Managing Director in the Financial Institutions Group of Barclays Capital. Based in Washington, D.C., Mr. Stein joined Barclays Capital in June 2011. Leading up to his role at Barclays Capital, Mr. Stein was Head of Depository Investment Banking at FBR Capital Markets. From 1994 to 2004, Mr. Stein was an executive of GreenPoint Financial Corporation, a $25 billion bank holding company based in New York City which sold to North Fork Bank in 2004. During his tenure at GreenPoint, Mr. Stein’s roles included Director of Strategy and Corporate Development, Executive Vice President of Mortgage Banking, Chief Information Officer and Director of Retail Banking. Prior to joining GreenPoint in 1994, Mr. Stein was Associate Director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation where he was responsible for failed bank resolutions and the FSLIC Resolution Fund. Mr. Stein received his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and his Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University.
Hon. William C. Thompson, Sr.
Honorable William Thompson is a graduate of Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Law School. He was elected to the New York State Senate in 1965, and served until 1968. He was chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Child Care Needs, and over twenty-five bills were signed into law sponsored by him. Justice Thompson served on the New York City Council from 1969 to 1973. He was elected a Justice of the Supreme Court in 1974. In November 1974 he was designated an associate Justice of the Appellate Term, 2nd and 11th Districts (Kings, Richmond and Queens Counties). On January 18, 1978, he was appointed Assistant Administrative Judge in charge of the Supreme Court for Brooklyn and Staten Island. On December 8th, 1980, he was designated by Governor Carey an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department. As an Appellate Division Judge for over twenty years he has analyzed over 24,000 cases, encompassing all types of litigation. He retired January 1, 2001, serves as council to the firm of Ross and Hill and as a mediator.
Peter M. Williams
Peter M. Williams is the Executive Vice President of Programs at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Mr. Williams has solid experience in leading organizations, managing staff, developing and implementing programs, creating strategic alliances, and conducting policy research projects. Before coming to the NAACP, Mr. Williams was the principal of PW Consulting Group, a policy research and management consulting firm that focuses on enhancing the capacity of nonprofit organizations. He also has served as President and CEO of the Mid-Bronx Desperadoes (MBD) Community Housing Corporation (Bronx, NY); Vice President, School of Continuing Education and Community Programs for Medgar Evers College (City University of New York); Deputy Advocate for Policy and Research, Office of the Public Advocate for the City of New York; Director of Housing and Community Development at the National Urban League; and Legislative Assistant to Congressman Edolphus Towns, 10th Congressional District in Brooklyn. He has developed and taught courses in government and policy at Pratt Institute Graduate School of City and Regional Planning and Medgar Evers College.
Mr. Williams has served as the First Vice President of NAACP’s Brooklyn chapter, and has been a member of a number of corporate and community boards and commissions.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University and a Masters of Public Administration degree from American University. He was also a Sloan Fellow at the School of Urban and Public Affairs, Carnegie-Mellon University.
Wayne C. Winborne
Wayne C. Winborne recently became the executive director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, Newark, home to the country’s most extensive jazz archive and library. In this newly created position, Mr. Winborne is expected to catalyze the growing interest in jazz and promote audience development for this uniquely American art form.
He is the past Principal of The Winborne Group, a consulting group focusing on non-profit fund development, strategic planning, and management, corporate diversity, marketing, and program design and facilitation. Prior to this, he was Vice-President, Business Diversity Outreach at Prudential Financial. He has also been Director of Program and Policy Research at The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, Senior Research Coordinator at the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, and an adjunct lecturer in psychology and research methods at New York University and the City University of New York’s Baruch and Medgar Evers Colleges.
His many honors include: Feminist Press -- Crossing Borders award (2006), National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs – Man of Distinction award (2207); Asian American Federation of New York – Spirit of Asian America award (2008); FraserNet – Corporate Professional of the Year award (2009); and National Council for Research on Women – Diversity Champion Award (2010).
Mr. Winborne holds degrees from Stanford and New York University.
First Vice Chairperson
Antonia Yuille Williams is the director of Public Affairs, Brooklyn/Queens Customer Service of Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. In this capacity she develops the strategic direction for the Brooklyn Public Affairs department, of one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies. Her responsibilities include community outreach, corporate community relations, media relations, employee communications, volunteerism, special events and the Renaissance Housing Program.
Mrs. Williams graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and completed a graduate degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She also completed certificate programs in Corporate Community Relations and Social Responsibility at Boston College, and Community Negotiations at Harvard University. Mrs. Williams has also served in an academic staff position at the University of California at Berkeley. She is an Adjunct Professor at St. Francis College. Mrs. Yuille Williams is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Art. Mrs. Williams lives in Brooklyn, is married to Kelvin Williams and has a son, Alexander and a daughter, Adrienne.