White Plains, New York – (November 10, 2023)….Over 450 members of Westchester’s professional community packed the Westchester Marriott ballroom on November 9th for the Westchester County Association’s 73rd annual leadership event. The evening honored the County’s most strategic thinkers and influential leaders and celebrated another year of impactful work by the WCA, the region’s premiere business advocacy and economic development organization.
The gathering of Westchester’s movers and shakers honored four distinguished and talented visionaries in real estate, healthcare, law and municipal government: Mayor Noam Bramson and the City of New Rochelle; Christopher D. Hillyer, MD, President and CEO, New York Blood Center Enterprises; Kristen Motel, Partner, Cuddy & Feder LLP, and Jane Solnick, Director of Regional and Community Affairs, Con Edison.
In welcoming remarks, Susan Fox, WCA Board Chair and President & CEO, White Plains Hospital, reflected on the WCA’s achievements and the work of an engaged, vibrant membership.
Said Fox, “The WCA team, along with our board and our membership, has been a powerful combination this year. We have worked hard to continue to fortify the effectiveness of the Association. We could not do so without the time and talent contributed by our committee leaders and members, who embrace the urgency of making a difference. We thank you all for your exceptional leadership and collaborative efforts to advance our strategic priorities and create a lasting impact in Westchester.”
Westchester County Executive George Latimer underscored the collaborative spirit in Westchester County, highlighting the synergistic efforts between the public and private sector. “Tonight is a statement about what Westchester is: not Westchester’s government, but Westchester as a county. This is a cooperative effort between the business community, between individuals who are philanthropic and committed to the betterment of a community, the not-for-profit sector and government, in a cooperative fashion. Economic development will not come unless we can follow the path of what tonight is — cooperation between all of those different players finding common ground, and mutual respect. We’re happy to be a partner with all of you.”
New WCA Initiatives
Michael N. Romita, WCA President & CEO, announced two new WCA-led initiatives designed to extend the impact of the organization. “So much of what we do is spotting trends, building alliances, growing support, and consistent advocacy for the issues everyone is most concerned about—including our vital workforce. Recognizing the critical need to bolster our regional talent pipeline and stimulate economic growth, the WCA is launching a new workforce initiative, The 1,000 Jobs Challenge. This ambitious endeavor aims to fill one thousand high-demand jobs in five years, translating to over $60 million in annual economic impact, underscoring the WCA’s commitment to proactively foster job creation and fortify Westchester’s position as a hub for talent and innovation.”
Led by Jason Chapin, WCA’s Director of Workforce Development, and guided by the work of WCA’s talent committee, “1000 Jobs” program elements will include WCA’s working groups, committees, job fairs, conferences, career days, and grant initiatives, all aligned to address Westchester’s talent needs and attract young working professionals to Westchester.
Romita introduced Andrew Weisz, President, RPW Group, and Brad Schwartz, Partner, Zarin & Steinmetz, LLP, as co-chairs of the WCA New Leader Roundtable, a new initiative to cultivate Westchester’s next generation of professional leaders. The powerhouse of young executives aims to engage emerging leaders to be a force for change through strategic activities and has already collaborated with Yonkers Partners in Education to provide high school students exposure to diverse career paths.
About the Honorees
Mayor Noam Bramson and the City of New Rochelle received the WCA Leadership Award for serving as a model for smart growth development and community revitalization. The award was presented by Chris Fisher, Partner, Cuddy & Feder LLP and Vice Chair, WCA. Under Mayor Bramson’s leadership, the city has seen significant investment via major development projects which have boosted job creation, enhanced property values, and strengthened sustainability through energy-efficient design. Mayor Bramson is also a lead advocate for pro-housing and climate-friendly policies to ensure strong and inclusive economic growth in New Rochelle.
Christopher D. Hillyer, MD, President and CEO, New York Blood Center Enterprises (NYBCe), received the WCA Leadership Award for his role in growing the healthcare and life sciences sectors in Westchester and the region while repurposing obsolete corporate real estate. Amy Allen, Vice President, WCA, presented the honors. Under Dr. Hillyer’s leadership, NYBCe, one of the world’s largest, community-based blood centers, is transforming the former Avon facility in Rye into the NYBCe’s new tri-state operations center, its first-ever single campus. The 187,000 square-foot facility will also house NYBCe’s life sciences research, blood collections, processing and cell therapy manufacturing and close to 1,000 employees.
Kristen Motel, Partner, Cuddy & Feder LLP, received the WCA’s inaugural New Leader Trailblazer Award in recognition of her ability to drive meaningful change at an early stage in her career. The award was presented by Andrew Weisz, President, RPW Group, and Brad Schwartz, Partner, Zarin & Steinmetz, LLP, members of WCA’s New Leader Roundtable. Motel specializes in zoning, land use, environmental, telecommunications, and cannabis law and serves as Co-Chair of WCA’s Real Estate Sustainability Committee. She is spearheading efforts to write new chapters of the WCA Policy Playbook that will serve as a critical guide for businesses and communities on Clean Energy Technology Siting and Climate Resiliency.
Jane Solnick, Director of Regional and Community Affairs, Con Edison, received the Al DelBello Visionary Award for her career-spanning service to the regional professional community. Dee DelBello, CEO and Publisher, Westfair Communications, presented the award. An industry leader dedicated to providing sustainable energy to Westchester’s communities, Solnick has a deep understanding of the impacts of climate change. She helped to launch the WCA’s annual Profit & Purpose Sustainable Business Conference and plays a leading role in helping the County transition to a clean energy future.
About the Westchester County Association
The Westchester County Association is the most influential professional membership organization in Westchester and the surrounding region. We unite professional leaders to advance issues and lead initiatives that strengthen our regional economy. Our mission is to drive Westchester’s economic vitality, stimulate new business development and job creation, and provide our members with the resources and talent they need to grow. For more information about the Westchester County Association, visit www.westchester.org