Beyond Rochester: Career Conversations, Past Hosts


Doug Abeles ’81 (Psychology)
Writer and Producer, Saturday Night Live
After a series of unrelated jobs, a comedy writing course led to Mr. Abeles being hired by SNL in 2001. He now works as producer of the Weekend Update segment and is the recipient of numerous awards.

Carla Ash ’59
Ms. Ash is a curatorial consultant for Vivendi Universal. Her experience includes caring for and utilizing the 2500+ piece, multi-million dollar Seagram art collection.


Leigh Braunstein ’93 (Biology), ’99 MBA
Senior Manager, Deloitte & Touche Consulting
Leigh has over 16 years of health care expereince and focuses on health plan service operations, specifically in the areas of core operations and the service expereince.  His clients include a number of large national health plans, regional health plans, and Blues plans.

Doug Pratt ’91 (History), MBA ’98
Engagement Manager, Opera Solutions Founding Partner and Advisor, Century Park Consulting
Mr. Pratt has 10 years of experience in expense and compensation analytics. He specializes in building baselines for new consulting teams/projects, opportunity assessments/diagnostics, and developing and implementing economic models and reporting tools. Opera Solutions is a management consulting firm specializing in working with clients with “big data”. With its mix of scientists and mathematicians, the firm is very strong at the analytics to transform large amounts of data, through technology and human intelligence, into actionable opportunities for clients to change their firms.


Prof. Robert Stavins and Dr. Joanna Stavins, Parents of ‘13
Prof. Robert Stavins is the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School ; he also serves as Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program , among many other roles at Harvard University. Prof. Stavins’ research has focused on diverse areas of environmental economics and policy. Dr. Joanna Stavins is a Senior Economist and Policy Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston , where she focuses on payments issues; her research focuses on understanding consumer payment behavior.


Oscar Pedroso ’96 (Economics, French Literature)
Owner of Osnik andFounder of MBA Writer’s Block
After being bored in the healthcare industry for five years, Oscar tossed in the towel and decided to pursue his own small technology venture with his best friend Nick. And that’s exactly what he has done with the creation of Osnik – an evolving tech start-up company that will change the way people are connecting to their surroundings via smart phone technology.

Oscar also is the Founder of MBA Writer’s Block – a free online essay resource for MBA applicants looking to write admission essays effectively. Resources range from an active blog, links to study guides, to an eBook written by me on how to approach the application writing process.  His specialities include grant writing, fundraising, general management. program evaluation, brand building, blogging, PR and marketin


Rick Passmore, ’89 (Chemical Engineering)
Senior Director of Operations, Glenn Springs Holdings
Glenn Springs Holdings, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, manages historical environmental and operational sites with a focus on the protection of health and the environment. Its scientists, engineers and project managers employ advanced, environmentally sound methods and innovative technologies to restore land previously used for mining and industrial activities as long ago as the 1800s.


Neil Augustine ’88 (Economics), ’89 MBA

Managing Director, Rothschild
Head of Rothschild North America Restructuring
Mr. August’s merger and acquisition experience includes both plain vanilla and troubled company buyside and sellside assignments, as well as special committee representations. On the financing front, Mr. Augustine’s expertise includes debtor-in-possession financings, secured bank debt, exit financing, second lien loans, convertible notes, rights offerings and preferred stock investments

Charlie Cardona, Parent of ‘13
President, Dreyfus Corporation
Dreyfus is one of the nation’s leading managers of investment products and strategies. Mr. Cardona is responsible for oversight of a variety of Short-Duration Fixed-Income activities including investment management, distribution and client service.

Barry Cohen, Parent of ‘11
Senior Managing Director, Apollo Capital Markets
Known as one of the pre-eminent private equity firms in the world, Apollo manages over $50 billion in client assets in private equity and hedge funds. Mr. Cohen’s experience ranges from asset management to risk arbitrage to working as a mergers and acquisitions attorney.

Mark Danchak ’94 (Economics), ’99 MBA
Managing Director, Harbinger Capital Partners
Harbinger Capital Partners is a private investment firm specializing in event/distressed strategies. As Managing Director and Portfolio Strategist for Harbinger Capital Partners, Mr. Danchak focuses on portfolio strategy and strategic transactions.

Kurt Feuerman, Parent of ‘11
Senior Managing Director, Caxton Associates
Mr. Feuerman joined Caxton Associates, a New York-based trading and investment firm, in 1998. His primary emphasis is in equity securities traded on U.S. exchanges.

Jody Frank (’74)
Chief Financial Officer, CODA OCTOPUS
Mr. Frank is CFO at a UK-based company that leads the world in underwater terrorism prevention. Previously he served as Senior Vice President of Investments for UBS Wealth Management, and also worked at Salomon Smith Barney and CIBC Oppenheimer. His BA was in English, and he holds an MBA in Finance from Rutgers.

Chuck MacDonald, Parent of ‘12
Senior Portfolio Manager & Member of the Management Committee, Elliott Management
Elliott is a private investment partnership with a diversified trading program.

Dennis Pidherny (’86, MBA ’87)
Managing Director, Global Utilitie, AMBAC ASSURANCE CORPORATION
Mr. Pidherny is responsible for managing the underwriting activity for Ambac’s current portfolio of US and international utility clients, which exceeds $34 billion. Before joining Ambac in 1997, Mr. Pidherny was a Vice President with The Bank of New York’s Energy Industries Division; he also worked in The
Bank of New York’s Capital Markets Division, focusing on private placements and loan syndications. His BA degree was in Economics and Organizational Psychology.

Murray Rudin ’83 (Electrical Engineering)
Managing Director, Riordan Lewis & Haden
RLH is a leading private equity firm based in Southern California. Prior to joining RLH in 1998, Mr. Rudin was Chief Financial Officer and Director of Business Development of Voxel, a medical imaging company. Previously, he served as a principal of Valley National Investors, Inc., a private equity fund based in Phoenix. He has also practiced law, specializing in advising private equity funds and their portfolio companies with respect to corporate securities transactions such as private placements, leveraged recapitalizations and public offerings. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Lisa Walsh ’89 (Economics)
Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney/The Walsh Group
As Vice President-Wealth Management/Financial Planning Specialist, Lisa Walsh has been business partners with her husband Peter since 1994. The Walsh Group’s wealth management practice advises successful individuals and families along with charitable foundations.


John Schultz MBA’97
Mr. Schultz is Human Resources Director at Sirius Satellite Radio.


Thomas Baxter, Jr. ’76 (Sociology)
General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Mr. Baxter’s principal responsibility is to supervise the day-to-day operation of the New York Fed’s Legal Group, which includes the protection function; he also serves on the Bank’s Management Committee. This event will include an optional tour of the Bank’s gold vault 

Luke Bellocchi ’91
Mr. Bellocchi serves as Of Counsel at Baker McKenzie, focusing on immigration, homeland security, and Congressional affairs. Prior experience includes the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs & Border Protection, the U.S. Department of State, and serving as counsel to two sitting U.S. Senators.

Chris Boehning ’87
Mr. Boehning has a diversified practice that includes complex commercial and civil litigation matters, insurance counseling and litigation, regulatory inquiries, internal investigations and international arbitrations.

Robert Bourque (MS ’77, PhD ‘80)
Partner – Litigation & Intellectual Property, SIMPSON THACHER & BARTLETT
Dr. Bourque advises clients on intellectual property, product liability, environmental law, and other areas. He concentrates his practice in matters involving scientific, medical, and technical expertise, utilizing his unique background (a doctorate in Organic Chemistry before attending law school at Columbia).

Jon Getz ‘89
Trial and appellate lawyer with extensive experience in both civil and criminal cases in the Federal and State Courts.

Richard Gordon, ’78 (Political Science & History)
Gordon Law Firm, P.C.
Mr. Gordon will discuss life as a lawyer, life in government, life as a consultant, life in political campaigns, and what it is like running a non-profit.

Jamie Houton ’88
Mr. Houton is Assistant Vice President for External Relations at Union Pacific, where he works on key railroad industry issues including safety, economic regulation and freight legislation. He has more than 15 years of Senate leadership and Capitol Hill lobbying experience.

Steven Modica Parent of ’12
Modica & Associates
After completing his undergraduate education at the State University of New York at Albany, Mr. Modica went on to Syracuse University, where he earned a law degree and a masters degree in public administration. He then worked as a Judicial Law Clerk with the New York Supreme Court, Apellate Division, and as an attorney for the United States Federal Trade Commission in Washington, DC. Since 1990, Steve has been in private practice. He concentrates his practice in labor and employment, disability benefit, work place accident, personal injury and workers’ compensation matters. He also serves as a mediator in employment disputes. Steve has represented clients in state and federal court proceedings (trial and appeal), labor arbitration hearings and in proceedings before governmental agencies.

Jeanette Moy ’02 (Political Science)
Senior Policy Advisor, NYC Mayor’s Office of Operations
Ms. Moy develops and executes NYC’s customer service strategy. This work includes managing a citywide effort to develop operational performance measures for customer service, the development of the City’s social media policies and engagement strategy both internally and with the public, spearheading the City’s customer service strategy for businesses and leading various enterprise technology efforts.

Rob Novick ’90
Mr. Novick practices in the areas of complex bankruptcy reorganizations, creditors rights, and bankruptcy litigation. He has additional experience in the area of commercial litigation.

Len Opanashuk ‘94
Special Agent Opanashuk entered on-duty with the FBI in February 2001. He has worked in many diverse areas of the Bureau including, Organized Crime, Violent Crime and Counterterrorism. He was the Senior Team Leader for the Evidence Response Team, responded to the World Trade Center during 9/11, and worked one of the most significant child abduction cases in recent history.

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Parent of ’12
New York State Assembly
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin is now serving her fifth term as representative of the 88th New York State Assembly District. A full time legislator, she is Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and also serves on the Committees on Children and Families, Education, Health and Higher Education

Jimmie Reyna ’75
Mr. Reyna directs Williams Mullen’s International Trade and Customs practice group and the Latin America Task Force. His experience includes: trade regulation; trade policy; trade negotiations and agreements; international treaties and accords; investment; business and corporate law; export controls; and litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution.

Hon. Robert Sack (’60)
Circuit Court Judge, U.S. COURT OF APPEALS
Judge Sack was appointed by President Clinton in 1998 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Previously he was in private law practice as a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He is the author of several books and articles on the first amendment. His undergraduate major at UR was History, and he attended Columbia Law School.

Caren Shein, Parent of ‘13
Managing Director, KPMG
Ms. Shein is Managing Director in the International Corporate Services group of the Washington National Tax Practice at KPMG. She advises clients on outbound and inbound international tax planning and compliance issues.

Lori Smith (’81)
Partner – Business Law, GOODWIN PROCTER
Ms. Smith specializes in representing foreign and domestic companies with regard to mergers and acquisitions, financings and general corporate matters, with an emphasis on software, internet, wireless and other emerging technologies. As an undergraduate, she studied Economics. She received her JD from Duke.

Charles Weissman, Parent of ‘11 & ‘13
Mr. Weissman is a partner at Dechert LLP in New York, focusing on Business Restructuring and Reorganization, Corporate and Securities, Leveraged Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Private Equity cases.

Blair Wimbush ’77 (Political Science)
VP Real Estate and Corporate Sustainability Officer, Norfolk Southern Corp.
Mr. Wimbush leads the corporation’s efforts to enhance relationships with environmental stakeholders and to measure and minimize the environmental footprint of one of the nations’s premier transportation companies.  As an attorney, he has held key positions in the company’s ;aw department, including senior general counsel.  His law degree is from the University of Virginia.

Mark S. Zaid, Esq. ’89 (Political Science & History)
Mark S. Zaid specializes in innovatively handling simple and complex administrative and litigation matters relating to national security, international law, foreign sovereign and diplomatic immunity, defamation (plaintiff) and the Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts (FOI/PA).

Through his practice Mr. Zaid often represents former/current federal employees, intelligence and military officers, Whistleblowers and others who have grievances or have been wronged by agencies of the United States Government or foreign governments, as well as members of the media. Mr. Zaid teaches the D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education classes on “Defending Security Clearances” and “The Basics of Filing and Litigating Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Requests”. He was named as a Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer in 2009, 2010 and 2011, as well as a “Best Lawyer” by Washingtonian Magazine in 2009 and 2011, for his national security work. As the National Law Journal once wrote, “if Agent Mulder ever needed a lawyer, Zaid would be his man.”

Mr. Zaid is also the Executive Director and founder of the James Madison Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization, with the primary purpose of educating the public on issues relating to intelligence gathering and operations, secrecy policies, national security and government wrongdoing.

In connection with his legal practice on international and national security matters, Mr. Zaid has testified before, or provided testimony to, a variety of governmental bodies including the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, the House Government Operations Committee, the Department of Energy, the Public Interest Declassification Board and the Assassination Records Review Board. “Curiously for this town,” wrote the American Bar Association Journal, “Zaid is an equal opportunity thorn out to pierce the sides of suit jackets bearing both elephants and donkeys on the lapels.”

A 1992 graduate of Albany Law School of Union University in New York, where he served as an Associate Editor of the Albany Law Review, he completed his undergraduate education (cum laude) in 1989 at the University of Rochester, New York with honors in Political Science and high honors in History. Mr. Zaid is a member of the Bars of New York State, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland and several federal courts.

Stuart Bogaty ’89 (Political Science)
Senior Vice President-Marketing Services, TrueAction Network
TrueAction is a full-service digital agency focused on creating experiences that drive consumer actions through design, marketing, technology, user research, analytics and measurement. With over 18 years of experience in digital and emerging media, Mr. Bogaty executes innovative marketing strategies for a number of the TrueAction’s largest clients.

Gail Meyer, Parent of ’10 & ‘14
President, MarketView Research
Ms. Meyer founded MarketView Research in 1999. MarketView Research has long-standing client relationships, and has been involved in the growth of many successful brands, including L’Oreal, Neutrogena, Band-Aid, and Johnson & Johnson.

Gary Stockman, ’83 (English)
CEO, Porter Novelli
Porter Novelli is a global public relations leader, focusing on health care, consumer marketing, corporate affairs, technology, public affairs, digital media and social media. Charged with Porter Novelli’s overall global growth, Mr. Stockman draws from more than 20 years of communications to guide and counsel the agency’s clients, especially those focused on establishing new markets and growing product categories.

Steve Ulrich ‘78
Former Director of Talent and Promotion at NBC Sports. Award-Winning Marketing Professional with extensive experience promoting a wide variety of sports-entertainment television programming including seven Olympic Games, six Super Bowls and 12 NBA Finals.

Dr. Jeffrey Charen, ’78 MD
Orthopedic Associates of Central Jersey, P.A.
As a board certified orthopedic surgeon and board certified sports medicine specialist, Dr. Charen provides a thorough approach to patients with hip and knee problems.  Total joint replacement, arthroscopic surgery including ACL reconstruction, meniscus and cartilage repair and sports medicine are his areas of subspecialty expertise.

Dr. Patricia Chess Parent of ’10 & ’12
University of Rochester Medical Center; Golisano Children’s Hosiptal at Strong
Dr. Chess is Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Neonatalogy) and Biomedical Engineering. She received her BA in Mathematics and Chemistry from Colgate University in 1983 and her MD from Columbia University in 1988. She completed her Pediatric residency, as well as a neonatal-perinatal fellowship, at the University of Rochester. Her research focuses on lung growth and response to injury.

Dr. Steven Friedman, ’80 MD
Chief of Surgery, New York Downtown Hospital
Professor of Clinical Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College
Dr. Friedman is a recognized expert in the fields of minimally invasive repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms and leg artery blockages, carotid endaterectomy, laster treatment of varicaose veins, and wound care.

Dr. Elliott Hershman ’75 MD’79, Gail Schupak ’78 & Fern Drillings ’78
Dr. Hershman is an orthopedic surgeon who also serves as the team orthopedist for the NY Jets and NY Islanders. Dr. Schupak is an orthodontist, and Ms. Drillings is a nurse and certified childbirth educator and CPR instructor. They will discuss careers in medicine and dentistry.

Dr. Frank Logerfo MD’66
Dr. Logerfo is a distinguished professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. He practices vascular surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Dr. Larry Ossias ’61
Dr. Ossias runs his own medical practice and is an attending physician in hematology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. He serves on the admissions committee for Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Dr. Gerin R. Stevens, MD, PhD ’91 (Political Science)
Montefiore Medical Center, Center for Advanced Cardiac Care
Dr. Gerin Stevens is currently an Attending Physician at Montefiore Medical Center in the Division of Cardiology. She also holds an appointment as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the affiliated Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In addition to various clinical responsibilities, her current research projects include the study of heart failure, cardiac transplant and pulmonary hypertension using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. She is particularly interested in right ventricular function and its impact on patient exercise capacity.

Zobair Younossi ’89 MD
Vice President of Research, Inova Health System
Executive Director, Center for Liver Diseases, Inova Fairfax Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Inova Campus
Affiliate Professor of Biomedical Sciences, George Mason University
Dr. Younossi specializes in hepatology and gastroenterology and has authored over 150 articles and book chapters in his field.


Peter Persell ’69 (Political Science)
Director, Southern Africa Regional Office, Africare


Marty Rabinowtiz, ’77 (English)
Executive Director of Content and Media Production, Cengage Learning Publishing Company
Mr. Rabinowitz manages production teams for Cengage Learning, a publisher serving the higher education, retail, corporate, and library markets. He and his staff produce print and media products, managing the process from development through publication of over 700 core titles annually.


Leslie Lopez ’77
Ms. Lopez is President and CEO of Kew Management Corporation, a real estate firm located in Manhattan.


Bruce Pratt (Parent of ’11)
Dr. Pratt is Vice President, Science Development, for Genzyme Corporation. This event will include a tour of the Genzyme facility and a discussion of “nontraditional careers” for science majors, such as regulatory and medical affairs.

Mitchell Shein, Parent of ‘13
Branch Chief for the Pacing, Defibrillation and Leads Branch, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, US Food and Drug Administration
This branch of the FDA is responsible for the premarket evaluation of cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators, as well as the leads used to “connect the heart” to the implantable versions of these devices. This discussion will focus on engineering in medicine at a regulatory agency.

Mattew Vessa ’99 (Biomedical Engineering)
CR Bard
Mr. Vessa has spent over 12 years in the medical sciences with 10 years in industry. With a background in biomedical engineering, and most recently completing an MBA at Fordham University, he has leveraged his technical expertise to build solid foundations in medical device design, development, and strategy converging in his current role in business development and strategic planning.