The Minds Matter New York Team
Minds Matter of New York City is led by our Board of Directors, volunteer Executive Committee, and professional staff. Our leadership is comprised of individuals from various backgrounds, all of whom dedicate extensive effort into ensuring Minds Matter is one of the top-performing nonprofits in NYC and a transformative experience for our students.
Erika HalsteadExecutive Director
Erika Halstead is the Executive Director at Minds Matter NYC.readmore
is the Executive Director at Minds Matter NYC. She has been involved with the organization since 2009, first as a Writing & Critical Thinking adviser and then as a member of the Board of Directors, serving as Vice Chair from 2013 to 2015. Erika has spent her entire career in education, as a bilingual teacher, university lecturer, and most recently as the Senior Program Officer at the New York Council for the Humanities where she directed education and community engagement programs. She comes to Minds Matter with a wealth of experience in program development and evaluation and a deep knowledge of programming for underserved youth. She holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and a EdM from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Julia LooninDirector of Programs
Julia Loonin is the Director of Programs at Minds Matter NYC.readmore
is the Director of Programs at Minds Matter NYC. She joins Minds Matter with 10 years experience in student support and program management and is committed to equity and access for all students. Prior to joining Minds Matter, Julia
worked as the Director of Summer Programs for Girls Leadership, directing a residential summer program for middle and high school girls and leading parent/daughter workshops on healthy communication and assertive self-expression. She holds a BA from Bowdoin College and a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Colin DelaneyAssociate Director of Development
Colin Delaney is the Associate Director of Development at Minds Matter NYC.readmore
Colin P. Delaney
has over fifteen years of experience in fundraising, communications, and program design. He began his career in arts education, working at High 5 Tickets to the Arts, a small nonprofit that worked with under-served youth. As Director of Marketing & Communications, Colin shepherded the merger between High 5 and ArtsConnection, New York City's largest in-school arts education program. Most recently, Colin served as the development officer for the international peace and security think tank, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, where he secured more than 3 million dollars in funding. He has also acted as a development consultant for the New School, Gay Men's Health Crisis and Waterwell.
inquire about staff position Leotha HindsProgram Coordinator
Leotha Hinds is the Program Coordinator at Minds Matter NYC.readmore
is the Program Coordinator at Minds Matter NYC. Improving educational outcomes for NYC public school students has been her passion since she was a NYC public high school student herself. As a 2009 Minds Matter alumna, she is excited to return to Minds Matter as a staff member. Minds Matter was influential in guiding Leotha, a first-generation college graduate and a Brooklyn native, through high school and the college application process. After a summer at Georgetown (thanks to a scholarship provided by Minds Matter), Leotha decided it was the school of her dreams. She graduated from Georgetown with a BA in Women's and Gender Studies and a minor in Economics. Prior to joining the Minds Matter team, Leotha spent two years as a Case Manager for transitional aged youth (18-24) struggling with mental illness and/or substance abuse and as a Research Assistant with the NYU Research Alliance for New York City Public Schools on their evaluation of the Expanded Success Initiative in NYC Public High Schools. Leotha is an avid dancer. She was a member of Georgetown’s Black Movements Dance Theatre and she has returned to her church dance ministry since college.
Adam Davies is a partner in Deloitte’s Financial Services Audit and Enterprise Risk Services.readmore
is a partner in Deloitte’s Financial Services Audit and Enterprise Risk Services practice with more than fifteen years of experience in public accounting. He has served a number of Deloitte’s largest clients in New York and Connecticut within the financial services industry, including institutional securities, investment banking, and investment management firms. Adam earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Pennsylvania State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA), and a Certified Public Accountant in New York and Connecticut.
Adam Fitzner is currently a Managing Director at Hamilton Robinson Capitalreadmore
is currently a Managing Director at Hamilton Robinson Capital, a middle market private equity firm. He is currently a director on the Boards of Inspire Automation (Automatan/Systec) and Britnell Ventures (Healthwick and Books for Business). He has previously served as a director of M&R Group Holdings, LLC, Metaltec Group Holdings LLC, and Beta International, Inc. and was a board observer at Control Solutions LLC and GNS Healthcare. Prior to his current role, he was a Managing Director in Evercore’s Restructuring Group and a Director a Miller Buckfire where he assisted companies and investors with restructuring, financing and M&A transactions. Before that, he worked in several roles where he was instrumental in restructuring and turning around middle market businesses. Mr. Fitzner graduated from Lehigh University with a dual B.S. in Finance and Marketing, and received an MBA from Cornell’s Johnson School, where he was a Park Fellow.
Alex Taheri is a Product Manager at Palantir Technologies.readmore
Alex Taheri works at Palantir Technologies, a data analytic software company, as a Product Manager based out of London, where he helps build and deploy Palantir's software to large commercial organizations across Europe. Before working aboard, he spent 2 years in NYC focused on deploying Palantir's software to federal government agencies to help with criminal investigations and prosecutions. And prior to joining Palantir Technologies in 2013, Alex worked at Barclays Capital as a software developer on the credit derivative analytic desk. Alex received his BS in computer science from Cornell University while playing varsity football. Alex joined Minds Matter in 2012 as a math instructor teaching sophomores and then progressing to Co-Director of Test Prep. Amit Bhandari
Amit Bhandari is a Partner in the Financial Services practice of Oliver Wyman.readmore
is a Partner in the Financial Services practice of Oliver Wyman, an international management consultancy. Prior to joining the firm’s New York Office in 2006, Mr. Bhandari managed the Strategic Planning department of First Horizon, a top 30 U.S. Bank. While in Memphis, Mr. Bhandari was a fellow at the Leadership Academy and an inaugural member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the School of Business at Christian Brothers University. Mr. Bhandari holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BS from the Stern School of Business at NYU.
Andrew Jacobi is the Founder and Managing Partner of Untamed Sandwiches.readmore
Andrew Jacob is the Founder and Managing Partner of Untamed Sandwiches, a fast casual restaurant concept with locations around New York City. Previously, Andrew served as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Wild Idea Buffalo company. Andrew was also an Investment Analyst at private equity and mezzanine finance firm DLJ Investment Partners, and prior to that, he worked for JPMorgan as an Investment Banking Analyst. Andrew has been a volunteer with Minds Matter for six years, as a Mentor, Team Leader, Co-Director of the Sophomore Program, and now Board member. Andrew holds an MBA from Columbia University and a B.A. from Middlebury College. Christina Shim
Christina Shim is the Regional Director of Consulting at Palladium Group.readmore
Christina Shim is the Regional Director of Consulting at Palladium Group, leading its New York office and building its internationl private sector consulting business. focused on growing Booz Allen’s Civil and Commercial business particularly in the innovation and technology space (cyber, analytics, digital). Previous to this role, she was a Director at Booz Allen, focusing on Corporate and Growth Strategy, helped build out the firm's Southeast Asia presence in its Singapore hub, and managed a strategy consulting team in the Strategic Innovation Group. Other experience includes the Central Intelligence Agency, Bain & Co (London) and PwC (NYC), and various shorter stints in educational consulting, foster care social work, human rights, public policy, and entrepreneurship.
Christina has passion for impact in education and health. She grew up in a house of educators; worked at an educational consulting firm in Korea; and has interviewed students for her alma maters for over 12 years. She also worked with female entrepreneurs in emerging markets to educate them on business planning and strategy.
Christina has a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, Masters certificate from Yonsei University (Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship), and an MBA from Columbia University. She is a proud New York native, an avid traveler (38 countries and counting), and an adrenaline junkie (skydiving, shark cage diving).
Deborah Beckman is Global Head of Reward at Goldman Sachs.readmore
Deborah Beckman is Global Head of Reward at Goldman Sachs. She has oversight of Compensation, Benefits and Wellness, Global Mobility Services, Employee Special Investments and Global Ventures, as well as the Global Federation Business Partners. Deborah is a member of the Human Capital Management Executive Committee, Firmwide Acquisition and Disposition Review Committee and Compensation Policy Committee, and is the sponsor of the Human Capital Management Americas People Development Committee. She joined Goldman Sachs in 2006 as head of Executive Compensation and was named managing director in 2009 and partner in 2016.
Prior to joining the firm, Deborah worked at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company as a senior director in Global Executive and Healthcare Compensation. Deborah serves on the Policy Board of Directors for the American Benefits Council and the Deloitte Global Employer Executive Advisory Board.
Deborah earned a JD from the College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, and a BA in Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany. She lives in Tuxedo with her husband Brian and their two daughters. Jeff VogelVice-Chair
Jeff Vogel is a Partner at Court Square Capital.readmore
is a Partner at Court Square Capital, a middle market private equity investment firm. Prior to joining Court Square in 2004, Jeff was an analyst at Morgan Stanley in their Technology Investment Banking Group. Jeff has been involved with Minds Matter since 2004 and has served in a variety of roles including Co-Director of Mentees in the Senior Program, Team Leader and Mentor in the Junior and Senior Programs. Jeff received his B.S.E. in Operations Research and Financial Engineering, a Certificate in Finance, and a Certificate in Engineering Management Systems from Princeton University. Jeff also serves on the boards of AFS Technologies, ANCILE Solutions, Inc., Encompass Digital Media, , Rocket Software, and Strategic Products & Services. He previously served on the board of Auto Europe Group, CompuCom Systems, Newmarket International and as a board observer of NTELOS Holdings Corp.
Joshua Buckley is a Senior Manager in Ernst & Young LLP's Transaction Advisory Services practice.readmore
is a senior manager in Ernst & Young LLP’s Transaction Advisory Services practice and is based in New York. He has over thirteen years of experience and specializes in providing mergers and acquisitions advisory services to strategic and financial sponsors. Joshua has experience working for both strategic and financial sponsor clients on deals ranging from $20 million to $14 billion in manufacturing, media and entertainment, life sciences, technology, telecommunications, automotive, oil and gas, services, retail, restaurant and fast food and other industries. Joshua earned his bachelor of science degrees in finance and accounting from the University of Delaware. He is a certified public accountant in the state of New York.
Laura McCane has over ten years of experience in the field of recruiting and talent management.readmore
Laura McCane has over ten years of experience in the field of recruiting and talent management. She began her career in attorney recruiting at Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Most recently, Laura was the Head of Recruiting at Moelis & Company, a global independent investment bank, where she was responsible for lateral and campus recruiting, as well as other talent initiatives. Currently, Laura is supplementing her experience in the field of talent management by pursuing a Masters degree in Social-Organizational Psychology and Coaching at Columbia University Teachers College.
Laura earned a B.A. with Honors in Art History from Sewanee: The University of the South. Originally from South Carolina, she now lives in NYC with her husband. Laura has been a Minds Matter board member since 2016.
Mark Shpizner is a Director at BlackRock.readmore
Mark is a Director at BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager.
Mark is responsible for managing a subset of the firm's largest, most complex global client relationships. Prior to joining BlackRock in 2014, Mark spent five years at BNY Mellon, four of which as a global relationship manager responsible for coordinating all BNY Mellon's firm-wide activities and business development initiatives for a handful of the firm's premier Platinum Clients. Mark graduated with a degree in American Studies and English magna cum laude
from Northwestern University, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Mark lives in New York City, where he was born and raised. Mark has been volunteering with Minds Matter NYC since 2010 as a Writing & Critical Thinking (W&CT) adviser, and ran W&CT for the Senior Program from Fall 2013 - Spring 2016.
Martin Spit is the Managing Director at Accenture.readmore
Mick Moloney is a Partner at Oliver Wyman.readmore
Mick Moloney is a Partner at Oliver Wyman, based in New York, where he leads the Americas Insurance practice. Mick spends his time working with leading insurers, asset managers, and advisory firms on a range of strategic and execution topics with a particular focus on growth, innovation, and efficiency in retail and institutional life and retirement markets.
Mick has over 25 years of experience in financial services. Prior to joining Oliver Wyman, Mick spent 15 years at Mercer where he was a Senior Partner and global head of the firm’s Financial Strategy Group (FSG) – the team that leads on risk advisory work for large clients. In addition, he served as a member of Mercer Investment Consulting’s Global, US and European Operating Committees and the European Operating Committee for the firm’s Retirement, Risk and Finance business He is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in the United Kingdom, a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in Ireland, an Associate of the United States Society of Actuaries and has an MBA from the Smurfit Business School, University College Dublin.
Mick is married to Judith, a musician. They have four kids Emily (12), Harry (10), Charlie (8), and Grace (8). The Moloneys have lived in Rye, NY since 2009 and prior to that were based in Dublin, Ireland and for a short time in London. Mick enjoys tennis, running, and skiing and has an ambition to hike more this summer!
Minhaj Patel is a Senior Portfolio Manager for LFG.readmore
is Senior Portfolio Manager for LFG, the investment business of the Lowy Family Group, where he is focused on investing in publicly listed equities. Prior to LFG, Minhaj was a Director at Citi Principal Strategies, a hedge fund affiliate of Citigroup, and has also served in Senior Investment Analyst roles at Magnetar Capital and Highline Capital Management. He started his career at Wasserstein Perella Merchant Banking where he focused on private equity and venture capital investments. Minhaj graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College with a double major in Economics and Psychology and a minor in Applied Mathematics. He spent 3 years as a mentor with Minds Matter, prior to joining the Board. He is also actively involved with the Association for Development of Pakistan, a US-based non-profit focused on engaged philanthropy in Pakistan. Minhaj is originally from Karachi, Pakistan.
Namrita Puri is a management consultant.readmore
has over a decade of management consulting experience in which she has advised clients on growth initiatives, operational improvement and digital solution implementation. She began her consulting career in Silicon Valley with Trianz Inc. and subsequently held a global advisory role with PriceWaterhoouse Coopers (PwC). Most recently, Namrita
was a member of PwC's Management and Technology Consulting Leadership program, where she was responsible for driving the sustainable growth of PwC's Salesforce and Customer Impact practices - working to define strategy, execute on enabling priorities, and bring consistency and innovation to every day business functions. Namrita
earned a Bachelors degree in Business from the University of Delhi and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. Namrita
lives in NYC with her husband and two children.
Nick is a Director on Deutsche Bank's corporate bond trading desk.readmore
is a director on Deutsche Bank's corporate bond trading desk. He is responsible for trading the debt of high yield energy companies. Prior to his current role, he was with Credit Suisse for five years in a similar function. This will be Nick's seventh year with Minds Matter. His first four years were spent as a mentor and team leader, but more recently he has been a member for the Financial Development team at Minds Matter. He grew up in the NYC area and received a B.S. in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University.
Raphael Bejarano is an investment professional at Leucadia National Corporation.readmore
is an investment professional at Leucadia National Corporation, a diversified investment holding company, and Director of Strategic Planning at Jefferies Group, a global investment bank and Leucadia's largest subsidiary. Raphael read history at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University, where he graduated with First Class Honors. Prior to joining the Board, Raphael was a mentor with Minds Matter for three years. Raphael is also actively involved with The Center for Jewish History. He is originally from London and Tel Aviv.
Ravi Chopra is the CIO and Founder of Azora Capital.readmore
Ravi Chopra is the CIO and Founder of Azora Capital, a financial services focused hedge fund. Prior to founding Azora Capital, Ravi was Sector Head of U.S. Financial Services at Samlyn Capital from its inception in 2007 to 2016. Previous to that he was a Financial Services Analyst at Sigma Capital from 2003 to 2006 and an Investment Banking Analyst in the Financial Institutions Group at Goldman Sachs from 2001 to 2003. Ravi graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with an A.B. in Economics from Dartmouth College in 2001. Ravi is a CFA Charterholder and member of the New York Society of Security Analysts. Ravi spent three years as a mentor with Minds Matter, prior to joining the Board in 2016. Robert Dusel
Robert Dusel is a Principal at KKR.readmore
Robert Dusel joined KKR focusing on Real Estate in 2015. Prior to KKR, he spent three years at Hudson Advisors/Lone Star Funds arranging debt for the North American real estate fund. Rob also worked previously in a capital markets capacity for Pyramid Management Group and in real estate acquisitions for Vico Capital, an Irish family office. He earned a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and an M.Phil. in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge where he was a Cambridge Overseas Trust scholar.
Sagar RaviCo-Chair of the Board
Sagar Ravi is a federal criminal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.readmore
is a federal criminal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which encompasses the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx in New York City, along with Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, and Westchester counties. Prior to serving as a prosecutor, Sagar worked in the Litigation Department of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, where he focused on general commercial litigation and criminal and regulatory matters and investigations. He has also served as a law clerk for the Honorable Kiyo A. Matsumoto in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Originally from a small town in Central Illinois, Sagar earned his B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis and his J.D. from Columbia Law School. Sagar learned about Minds Matter five years ago through one of his close friends in college who had become involved with the Chicago chapter, and he hasn’t looked back since. Prior to serving on the Board of Directors, Sagar has been a volunteer with Minds Matter in a number of roles, including as a Mentor, Team Leader, Co-Director of the Sophomore Program and Co-Director of Volunteers.
Sanjeev Parlikar is a Managing Director at Accordion.readmore
Sanjeev Parlikar is a Managing Director with Accordion, a financial consulting firm focused on working with private equity-backed companies. Prior to joining Accordion, Sanjeev was an Executive Director in Investment Banking at UBS. He started his career at Wasserstein Perella, an M&A advisory boutique. Sanjeev graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College with a double major in Engineering Sciences and Economics. Sanjeev spent three years as a mentor with Minds Matter, prior to joining the Board in 2016. Sanjeev grew up in Nairobi, Kenya and is an avid traveler who enjoys exploring global cuisines. inquire about board position Steven SongChair of the Board
Steven Song is the Chief Financial Officer at Luke's Lobster.readmore
serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Minds Matter of NYC. Professionally, he is the Chief Financial Officer for Luke's Lobster, a growing fast-casual restaurant company focused on sourcing only sustainable and traceable seafood. Prior to Luke's Lobster, he spent 14 years as a private equity investment professional. He began his career as an investment banker at JPMorgan in 2001 and was selected as a Training Mentor for the first year JPMorgan IB analyst class of 2003. Steven has been a Board Member with Minds Matter of NYC since 2011. He currently serves or has served on the Board of Directors for Ford Models, AHN International and Sanchez Resources. Steven graduated with a joint Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Mathematics from Columbia University.
Alex Vander Linde
inquire about associate board position
inquire about advisory position
Andrew HedlundCo-Director of W&CT (Senior)
Anubhav BhatiaCo-Director of Student Recruitment
April DaleyCo-Director of College Advising
Bill MinerCo-Director of Student Recruitment
Caroline BatesCo-Director of Sophomore Program
Catherine JiangCo-Director of Test Prep (Sophomore)
Chiraag KapoorCo-Director of College Advising
Christine QuinlanCo-Director of Alumni Program
Cindy BryantCo-Director of Summer Programs
Colin ThibadeauCo-Director of College Advising
Dasha PryamitsynaCo-Director of Volunteer Recruitment
Gabriel MotolaCo-Director of Test Prep (Sophomore)
Hamza WasimCo-Director of Test Prep (Junior)
Harrison RodayCo-Director of W&CT (Sophomore)
Jane ZhangCo-Director of Summer Programs
Jeff BignerCo-Director of Junior Program
Jeremy CarrineCo-Director of Senior Program
Jordan HartCo-Director of Volunteer Engagement
Julianne LewisCo-Director of W&CT (Sophomore)
Katrina ButtCo-Director of College Advising
Kristina LogvinenkoCo-Director of Volunteer Recruitment
Marc SilbermanCo-Director of Summer Programs
Mary LiuCo-Director of Junior Program
Max RooseveltCo-Director of Sophomore Program
Meg HoldenCo-Director of W&CT (Junior)
Melissa SepeCo-Director of Alumni Program
Micheal NeissCo-Director of Test Prep (Junior)
Raffaella CerielloCo-Director of Alumni Program
Rebecca LindeCo-Director of W&CT (Senior)
Robert PistonCo-Director of Test Prep (Sophomore)
Saravanan PajendranCo-Director of Test Prep (Sophomore)
Scott MillerCo-Director of Summer Programs
Serena WongCo-Director of Sophomore Program
Sindhura ChitturiCo-Director of Summer Programs
Srinidhi RajputCo-Director of W&CT (Junior)
Stefanie KernCo-Director of W&CT (Sophomore)
inquire about executive committee position
Tom BettsCo-Director of Sophomore Program
Youna ChoCo-Director of Volunteer Engagement