Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Recommend us on Google+ Watch us on YouTube Join us on LinkedIn NLC on Reddit
New Leaders Council

2015 Fellows

Lesley Adewunmi, Consultant, Public Consulting Group

	Lesley	Adewunmi	Lesley currently works for Public Consulting Group as a consultant within the company's health management practice. On her most recent project, she works on implementing an $8 billion health care reform initiative for the New York State Department of Health Medicaid Redesign Team. Before joining PCG, Lesley worked for the New York State Legislature as a communications researcher for the Department of Communication & Information Services and the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee. During her time with the department, she was selected to work on a special project assisting the NYS Legislative Taskforce on Demographic Research and Reapportionment; the redistricting of Congressional, State Senate and State Assembly district lines. Lesley later transitioned to the Department of Program & Counsel as a policy analyst for the Higher Education Committee. She has also worked as a graduate student assistant for the State University of New York (SUNY) Office of Communications & New Media, contributing to the development of new digital and social media strategies. Over the past year, Lesley has helped launch a civic technology startup company, Civic Eagle, which aims to increase civic engagement and decrease political apathy with its multiplatform suite of tech tools. In her role as the Director of Product Development, Lesley designs the company's website, the user interface and user experience for its mobile application, and the marketing collateral for its brand.

In her spare time, Lesley also works on independent projects that draw in her interests in digital marketing and social media, user experience design, and photography. She utilizes her skills in these areas to work with clients to improve their branding, messaging, product design, and marketing techniques. Her street, wedding and portrait photography has been featured in local art galleries and published on online blogs. Lesley enjoys exploring the intersection between public sector management and technology particularly, user experience design. She aspires to merge her various interests into a career where she can improve the effectiveness of government and nonprofit organizations through better communication and design elements. A native of the Capital Region, Lesley holds a Masters in Public Administration and a Certificate of Graduate Study in Public Sector Management from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University at Albany, with concentrations in Nonprofit Management and Information Strategy Management. She received her Bachelors of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh with studies in Political Science, Philosophy, and African Studies.


Tom Briggs, Advisory Associate, KPMG

	Tom	Briggs	Tom is lifelong resident of New York State, born and raised in the Southern Tier. Tom moved to the Capital Region to attend undergrad at SUNY Albany where he graduated summa sum laude, earning a B.A. in political science. During his senior year he was accepted to the New York State Senate Session Assistant Program where he served the role as legislative session assistant for Senator Bill Perkins. At the end of the internship, Tom was hired as the Senator's Legislative Assistant, eventually rising to the position of Legislative Director. While working for Senator Perkins, Tom earned his MPA from Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, concentrating in local government and finance Tom's experience in the New York State Senate involves developing statewide legislation and budget initiatives focusing on the policy areas of public authorities, public housing, labor, civil service, education, environmental conservation, and transportation. His has worked closely with state agencies, state authorities, local governments, advocacy organizations, and constituent groups. His time with the Senate served as an invaluable learning experience; presenting Tom with a unique opportunity to learn about state government, work closely with highly respected and knowledgeable individuals, and to experience firsthand the legislative process.

In September of 2013, Tom joined KPMG as an Associate in their State and Local Government Advisory Practice providing advisory service for state and local government clients. He currently maintains a strong background in the Health and Human Services domain with regard to the establishment of Health Insurance Exchanges, integration into the Federally Facilitated Marketplace and modernization of State integrated eligibility systems (IES). As a individuals passionate about volunteer work, Tom also serves as a dedicated member on KPMG's Diversity Council, where he works to enhance his working environment, and that his colleagues. Tom also partakes in the annual cleanup effort of the Albany Center Square neighborhood, and annually volunteers with Junior Achievement, a volunteer-delivered, kindergarten-12th grade programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential. Tom is an enthusiastic team player who thoroughly enjoys finding solutions to complex problems. He is truly passionate about his work and is always eager to build long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with his clients and colleagues. While he enjoys all aspects of his job, his favorite aspect is working with people to understand and help them achieve their objectives.


Carmen Duncan, CEO & Founder, Mission Accomplished Transition Services

Carmen Duncan is the CEO and Founder of Mission Accomplished Transition Services, a nonprofit missioned to prepare aspiring young professionals for the global economy, by providing access to coaching, job training and professional development. Aspiring young professionals ages 13-24 train for success by defining their purpose, taking ownership of their life, gaining a better understanding of their worth and power, and incorporating their skill sets into the "folds" of their local communities and societal decisions.

Ms. Duncan founded and established Mission Accomplished because she experienced the impact of coaching and mentorship during a challenging time of adolescent transition into adulthood. Her life experience of living in the suburbs and inner city as an adolescent affords her and Mission Accomplished the ability to relate to both socioeconomic groups. Circumstances introduced her to a short life of teenage homelessness. Ms. Duncan was forced to grow up fast when faced with the many challenges presented by the adult world. With some guidance she enrolled herself in the Equinox Independent Living Program for youth in the runaway/homeless system. The program offered her an apartment to maintain with an equally unprepared teenage roommate; and a committed case worker, Kay Weir, who invested in her personal growth and professional advancement. With this valuable support, Ms. Duncan was empowered to rise above her circumstances and become a success story. Ms. Duncan obtained an Associates in Liberal Arts at Maria College, Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from Sage Colleges of Albany, Masters in Social Welfare (MSW) and the Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership in 2012. Ms Duncan pursued these diplomas to support her vision of operating Mission Accomplished Transition Services, Inc. Ms. Duncan is most proud of her appointment by the former Commissioner of the New York State Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) Gladys Carrion to the state-wide Runaway and Homeless Youth Advisory Board. She is also an Adjunct Lecturer in the SUNY Albany School of Social Welfare and an active participant on the Albany County Department of Probation Juvenile Community Accountability Board (JCAB), and former Chair of the Sponsorship and Scholarship Committee for the of the Capital District YMCA Black and Latino Achievers Program Advisory Board.

Heidi Iyok, Project Administrator, AIDS Institute

	Heidi	Iyok	Heidi Iyok is a doctoral student in the school of Public Health, University at Albany with a concentration in Health Policy, Management & Behavior. She is an avid supporter for the rights of women and children. As an intern at Planned Parenthood, she worked on an NIH-supported research study aimed at bridging racial and ethnic health disparity gaps. She engaged African American women in low-income communities and raised awareness on basic knowledge of health topics. She also worked at NYS Department of Health on the newborn screening program. As a fellow for the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, Heidi was placed at the NYS Office for Children & Families, Division of Juvenile Justice. She worked on developing standards and policies for Juvenile and youth who have been placed in state run detention facilities.

Heidi is completing her doctoral fellowship at the AIDS Institute where she is working on Governor Cuomo's end of AIDS Initiative. Heidi coordinates and provides support for the planning team who will advise the NYSDOH AIDS Institute on a plan to identify persons living with HIV, yet undiagnosed; linking and retaining persons living with HIV to health care and treatment; and facilitating access to Pre-exposure Prophylaxis. The team has been charged with developing a strategic blue print in collaboration with the AIDS institute to create a national model for ending the epidemic. Heidi has an intimate knowledge and understanding of both western and African cultures to build partnerships and collaborations for sustainable healthy communities As a member of the board of directors of In Our own Voices, which serves the LBGTQ people of color communities she sees the impact of HIV and how the Governors plan to decrease new HIV infections and at the same time help improve the lives of all New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.


Giovanna Joseph, Excelsior Fellow, New York State, Governor's Office

	Giovanna	Joseph	Giovanna Joseph is currently serving as an Excelsior Fellow for the CORe Initiative, working in New York State's Executive Chamber. In her role she is responsible for ongoing coordination and administration of Albany local partner participation. She assists in facilitation of monthly local meetings to develop and strengthen community and stakeholder engagement. In her capacity as Albany Liaison, is also a member of the Equity Advisory Agenda for the City of Albany. Part of a nation wide agenda to challenge rising inequality, Equity Advisory members are comprised of residents working in and for the community committed to embracing critical issues, such as affordable housing, public safety and transportation, with a multifaceted approach to create a more equitable Albany. Prior to being placed with CORe she also was an Excelsior Fellow to the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, working in the Public Finance and Portfolio Monitoring department.

She received her BA in Political Science from Russell Sage College. There she was a catalyst for increasing diversity and cultural education. Additionally, during her time with at The Sage Colleges she studied Human Rights Law, International Relations and Tropical Medicine at Universidad Veritas in Costa Rica. Her professional interests include community development, anti-poverty programs, social responsibility, government operations, international relations and diplomacy.

Thomas Kaczmarek, Excelsior Fellow, New York State Department of Public Service

	Thomas	Kaczmarek	Tom Kaczmarek is a self-proclaimed progressive who dedicates his life to making tomorrow's world better than how he found it. He is excited to join similarly driven and capable progressives in NLC, and believes the training and networking NLC provides will help him do just that. Mr. Kaczmarek's progressive acumen has been fortified through six years of diversified experiences in the public, private, nonprofit and political sectors. In the 2008 and 2010 election cycles, he served on campaigns for progressive candidates in races for the Indiana State Senate, the Indiana Governorship, and the U.S. Congress. As a staffer with the Indiana Senate, he assisted the minority caucus of the Energy and Environmental Affairs Committee. Through private and nonprofit sector experiences, he worked as an analyst, developer and advocate for health care, labor, professional licensure, and public safety policy policies, to name but a few. Mr. Kaczmarek recently returned to the public sector, where his agency is at the forefront of developing tomorrow's energy infrastructure. He is a proven leader as well. As the Manager of Government Affairs for a national professional association, Mr. Kaczmarek led several successful legislative and regulatory initiatives to protect the public, enhance accessibility measures for persons with disabilities, and expand professional opportunities for members. In his personal life, he is spearheading an initiative for the Appalachian Mountain Club to strengthen under-40 membership. Additionally, Mr. Kaczmarek earned the Rick Gudal Award from the Indiana State Senate for exemplary dedication to public service, served as Vice President of his graduate program, delivered the student address at his 2014 Convocation, and is an Eagle Scout.

Tom Kaczmarek currently serves as an Excelsior Fellow for the New York State Department of Public Service, working in a number of capacities including agency performance management, budget preparation and policy development. Following his fellowship, he aspires to serve in an executive-level position influencing environmental and energy policy at the state or national level. Mr. Kaczmarek holds a B.A. in Political Science from DePauw University and a M.P.A. from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. He is a native of Morristown, New Jersey, and is an avid New York Mets fan. He asks that you hold neither of these latter points against him.


Madeline Kennedy, Supervising Community Health Worker, Albany County Department of Health

	Madeline	Kennedy	As the supervisor of Community Health Workers in the Maternal Infant Community Health Collaborative at Albany County Department of Health, Madeline manages her teams day-to-day operations and spearheads new program development all while collaborating with partners across Albany County to build policy initiatives that aim to improve birth outcomes. Through her work with ACDOH she also conducts innovative group health education for agencies and organizations. As an Adjunct Lecturer in the Masters Program of the School of Social Welfare at University at Albany, Madeline teaches Social Gerontology; or policies, programs and services for older adults. Madeline began her career working with people experiencing homelessness, and later with individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. She received her Masters of Social Work degree from the University at Albany with specializations in Administration and Aging.

In her private life she has traveled broadly across five continents, is an artisan of the craft arts, and is a community organizer who has worked with organizations such as Trinity Alliance and the YMCA to enhance opportunities for wellness and education for the people of Albany. She both independently and together with other groups raises resources for a number of international, national and local organizations. Madeline is currently Secretary of the Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations, sits on the Professional Advisory Board for the Epilepsy Foundation, is on the Board of Directors for Underground Railroad History Project, and Co-Chairs the IAP Alumni Endowed Scholarship Committee at University at Albany.


Lilian Pascone, Empire State Fellow, NYS Department of State

	Lilian	Pascone	Lilian V. Pascone, Empire State Fellow, New York State Department of State Lilian V. Pascone is currently serving in the Empire State Fellows Program, a Governor's initiative designed to train the next generation of State leaders. Lilian works at the New York Department of State on economic development and land use programs. Before serving as a Fellow, Lilian worked as Legislative and Budget Director to New York City Council Member Mark S. Weprin, Chair of the Zoning and Franchises Committee. In that capacity, she advised the Council Member on land use items, managed the budget of the Queens Delegation, enacted legislation strengthening pedestrian safety, and spearheaded an initiative for services to children and families affected by autism. Prior to working at the Council, Lilian worked at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund as a Voting Rights Fellow in the Democracy Project. To further her interest in voter access, Lilian also volunteered with the New York Democratic Lawyers Council to recruit attorneys for poll monitoring efforts.

Lilian studied Chinese Language and Literature at Swarthmore College and has her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she focused on the legal systems of Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China. Lilian was raised in Brooklyn and speaks Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese.


Bronce Perez Matos, Community Relations Specialist and Outreach Educator, NYS Department of State

	Bronce	Perez Matos	As Community Relations Specialist and Outreach Educator for the Consumer Protection Division, Bronce collaborates with the Deputy Secretary of State for Licensing and Corporations to ensure that all New Yorkers are protected and well informed from unscrupulous business activities. Before moving to the Capital District area, Bronce was Special Assistant to the Secretary of State at the NYS Department of State and Program Coordinator for the Chairwoman of the NYS Athletic Commission. In this capacity he worked closely with senior government officials providing policy research, data management, intergovernmental & external community relations, civic engagement, staff coordination, outreach, and planning & development for several government initiatives. Bronce was Co-Creator of Fight for Your Future, which is a new educational initiative program that provides professional and amateur boxers throughout New York State scholarship opportunities so they can pursue a higher education.

Bronce graduated with his Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Psychology from CUNY Hunter College in New York, NY and his Masters in Public Administration from CUNY Baruch College. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Bronce enjoys spending time outdoors, skydiving, hiking, reading, and playing the electric bass.


Adam Prizio, Manager of Government Affairs, Center for Disability Rights

Variously and in no particular order a writer, cheesemonger, disability advocate, entrepreneur, storyteller, and lawyer, Adam Prizio is very excited to be part of the New Leaders Council in the Capital District. He is the Manger of Government Affairs at the Center for Disability Rights, where he advocates on the broad cross-section of laws and policies which affect people with disabilities.

In his spare time, such as it is, he builds furniture, rides a bicycle, and is working on a book. Adam has his B.A., magna cum laude, in Classical Languages from Hillsdale College, and his J.D. from Notre Dame Law School.


James Shultis, Youth Program Coordinator, Pride Center of the Capital Region

	James	Shultis	James Shultis currently serves as the Youth Program Coordinator at the Pride Center of the Capital Region. In this capacity, he works in to provide education, support, resources and connection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, questioning and allied (LGBTQA) youth and those individuals who work with them. Through his position, James also facilitates trainings and workshops for K-12 school administrators, teachers, support staff, and students covering cultural competency, compliance with local and federal legislation, and much more.

James is also a Community Organizer, LGBTQA Activist, and accomplished poet. He holds a BA in English Literature and Gender Studies from Hunter College (CUNY) and an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens College (CUNY). 


Richard Smith, Director, SUNY Research Foundation

	Richard	Smith	Mr. Smith is a scholar/change agent with over ten years of experience developing and implementing community-based programs for disadvantaged populations. He is a certified Offender Workforce Development Specialist by the New York State's Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives. He has spearheaded the development of re-entry programs at both the Center for Law and Justice and Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities. He has worked with high risk youth as both a case manager and program director in the Capital District and the city of Boston.

Mr. Smith has taught Criminal Justice courses as an Adjunct professor at SUNY Empire State College and has lectured at numerous colleges and universities on issues such as racism, mass incarceration, and urban education. Previously, he served as a Commissioner on the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission and was the chair of the Schenectady County Jail Oversight Committee. Richard is presently a doctoral candidate at SUNY Albany's School of Social Welfare. He is currently the Director of Liberty Partnerships Program, a New York State Education Department funded drop-out prevention and college prep program that serves over 250 students in the Albany City School District. As a motivational speaker and founder of Richardsmithspeaks LLC, he has delivered numerous talks and facilitated workshops at universities, colleges, schools, and social service agencies throughout the East Coast.

Mr. Smith holds a Masters Degree from the University at Albany in Africana Studies and a Bachelors Degree from Boston University in Sociology.


Robert Vanderbles, Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern NY

	Robert	Vanderbles

Robert Vanderbles is an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern NY. His p

ractice areas include foreclosure, eviction, and public benefits. His work has been presented before Chief Judge Lippman's Taskforce to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services. He has conducted trainings on tenant rights for community organizations and state attorneys.

He is a Board Member for the Homeless Action Committee, which provides street outreach and permanent housing for the chronically homeless. Robert enjoys backpacking, kayaking, and woodcarving. 



Angela Wu, Empire State Fellow, Executive Chamber, Office of the Governor, State of NY

Angela Wu is currently an Empire State Fellow in Governor Cuomo's Executive Chamber after a first career during which she rose to become a Senior Project Manager at the landscape architecture firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. In that role, Angela developed and managed a $12M budget and coordinated the initial stages of a 300-acre waterfront revitalization project in Toronto, which was recognized by the Clinton Climate Initiative as one of sixteen founding climate positive Cities for the Future. Angela has also worked for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where she analyzed various development proposals' potential impact on and economic contribution to New York City. In her current role, she has expanded her economic development experience working on statewide initiatives to foster a portfolio of industries and sectors across New York, including tourism and energy.

Angela graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History of Art & Architecture from Harvard University and earned both her Master in Business Administration and Master of Environmental Management from Yale University.


Atlanta - Augusta - Austin - Boston - Broward - Capital District NY - Chicago - Cincinnati - Cleveland - Connecticut - Dallas - Denver - Des Moines
Detroit - Houston - Kentucky - Los Angeles - Louisiana - Madison - Maine - Maryland - Miami - Montana - Nashville - New Hampshre - New Jersey - New York City
North Carolina - Oakland - Omaha - Orlando - Palm Beach - Philadelphia - Pittsburgh - Rhode Island - Sacramento - San Antonio - San Francisco - Silicon Valley