Zach Aarons is an expert in entrepreneurship, seed stage technology investing, consulting, and finance. He currently serves as the Director of Digital Media for Millennium Hollywood, a proposed real estate development project in Los Angeles, California. He has been an active angel investor in mobile technology, investing in the seed rounds of 40 companies. In 2007, he founded the company Travelgoat, which he grew into one of the most well known online/offline walking tour companies in New York City. In 2008, Aarons founded the strategic consulting firm Apostate Partners. Zach began his career at boutique investment bank Peter J. Solomon Company where he worked on M&A and restructuring transactions in the retail and apparel industry. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA from Brown University.
Serena Altschul is an Emmy Award-winning television journalist with two decades of experience in investigative journalism. She has produced for and appeared on Channel One News, MTV News, and CNN and is currently a correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning. Serena has also appeared on Conan O'Brien, Charlie Rose, and Bill O'Reilly, and has collaborated with Jay Z on the song, "Dopeman." She is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award.
Dan Barasch is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Lowline. He formerly led strategic partnerships at PopTech; held several strategy, operations, and marketing roles at Google; and worked in small business development within New York City government. Dan has also consulted for UNICEF in Nairobi and the 9/11 Survivors’ Fund in Washington DC. He began his career producing international affairs programming at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco, where he co-produced the weekly NPR show “It’s Your World.” He received a BA from Cornell University and a Master degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School.
David Barry is President of Ironstate Development Company, which owns and manages thousands of residential, commercial, and mixed-use units throughout the New York/New Jersey region. His firm currently oversees approximately $1 billion in development, including the first major development of Staten Island's North Shore. He led the transformation of the Cooper Square Hotel into the Standard East Village and is launching a brand of sustainable, sleek and space efficient buildings called URL (Urban Ready Living). Barry is deeply committed to reinforcing the cultural fabric of the urban landscape with compelling public spaces like the Lowline and Staten Island waterfront. He serves on the boards of Fortress Investment Group, the Liberty Science Center, and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and a former All-Ivy wrestler at Columbia University, Barry served as the Greco-Roman Team Leader for USA Wrestling for the 2012 Olympics.
Jennifer Blumin is president of Skylight Group, New York’s largest event venue company, whose repeat client roster extends from Ralph Lauren to BAM, the Whitney to Samsung and Google to Facebook. With a specialty in adaptive re-use, Skylight Group’s venues include the High Line; Skylight One Hanson, home of the beloved Brooklyn Flea; and Skylight at Moynihan Station in the famous James A. Farley Post Office across from Penn Station. Blumin is a graduate of Cornell University and co-author of the NYT business best-seller “Power Sleep: Preparing the Mind for Peak Performance.”
Vin Cipolla is the current President of the Municipal Art Society. He is a six-time corporate CEO, a three-time company founder, and has served on more than 25 nonprofit boards and 9 corporate boards. He is former CEO of the National Park Foundation, and served as Executive Vice President at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Past trustee appointments have included Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Clark University, the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University, the Orton Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Fidelity Charitable Services. He currently serves on the boards of the National Park Foundation, the Municipal Art Society, National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, Ballet Hispanico, the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial, and The Christie’s Charity, the charitable foundation of Christie’s.
Boykin Curry is a Partner at Eagle Capital, an investment firm based in New York. Previously, he invested in Asia for hedge fund Kingdon Capital and for Morgan Stanley Asset Management. Curry is also a co-founder of Public Prep, a group of charter schools in New York City. He is a board member of the American Federation for Children and a co-founder of Democrats for Education Reform, both of which fight for better primary education. He received a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard University.
Paul Hoffman is the President and CEO of the Liberty Science Center, one of the nation's largest and most preeminent interactive science museums. He is a noted expert on the public understanding of science, and has advised NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is the former President and Editor-in-Chief of Discover magazine, the former Editorial Chairman of Big Think, and President and Publisher of Encyclopaedia Britannica. He is also an award-winning author of 11 books. Chicago magazine called Hoffman “the smartest man in the world” and The New York Times called him “Mayor of Strange Places.” Hoffman is co-owner of two Brooklyn restaurants, Rucola and BrisketTown, and an early investor in Kitchensurfing.
Jolie Hunt-Potter is the Principal of Hunt & Gather, a high-touch marketing and communications firm she founded in 2013, where she works with leading media, entertainment and technology companies. Hunt-Potter was previously the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at AOL. From 2008 to 2012, she was Senior Vice President, Global Head of Brand and Public Relations at Thomson Reuters, managing brand, advertising, PR and social media for the news and financial services businesses. Prior to this, Hunt-Potter was the Global Director of Corporate & Business Affairs at IBM and the Director of Public Relations at the Financial Times. Hunt also holds committee and board positions for PopTech, The Wisemen, Arthur W. Page Society, The Seminar, the Civilian Public Affairs Council for West Point Military Academy and The Episcopal School of Los Angeles. She was named ‘In-House Professional of the Year’ by the European Public Relations Consultants Association in 2012 and received an honorable mention for the PRWeek award ‘PR Professional of the Year.’ She is a graduate of Boston University and completed the Global Executive Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and Spain’s IE Business School in 2010.
Signe Nielsen is Principal of Mathews Nielsen, an internationally recognized landscape architecture design firm based in New York City. She has led more than 400 projects, nationally and globally, and these projects have won almost every possible design award. But her sense of design’s public mission extends far beyond these interventions. In addition to her hands-on project leadership, she is the co-author of several books on sustainable and green design for the NYC Department of Design and Construction. Signe has taught at Pratt Institute for more than two decades and has also lectured and juried competitions at institutions around the world, including Harvard University and the Ecole Normale Superiure in Paris. As president of the Public Design Commission of the City of New York, Signe is a strong and effective advocate for a beautiful, inspiring and diverse urban fabric.
James Ramsey is Creator and Co-Founder of the Lowline, and is the principal of RAAD, a high-end design firm based in New York City. Ramsey’s experience in design began as an undergraduate at Yale University, where he won a Bates Fellowship to study cathedral design in Europe. He then went to work as a satellite engineer for NASA, where he was a part of the team that created the Pluto Fast Flyby and the Cassini satellites. After his time at NASA, Ramsey worked as an architect at DMSAS in Washington, DC and at Penny Yates Architects in New York. He has taught design at the Parsons School of Design, and is engaged in active research on the Lowline’s “remote skylight” technology.
Peter Shapiro is an independent music and film entrepreneur. He has founded or reinvigorated major venues like Wetlands, The Slipper Room, Brooklyn Bowl, and The Capitol Theater. He is also the publisher of Relix magazine. Shapiro has produced many ground-breaking projects, including the IMAX concert films U23D and All Access; the annual Jammys awards show; the Green Apple Festival; the Great GoogaMooga, and Central Park Jazz & Colors Festival. He is a member of the Arts Committee of the City Parks Foundation’s Board of Directors, is a co-founder of the environmental consulting firm, GreenOrder, and is a board member of Headcount, Central Park SummerStage, The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and New York Public Radio.
Josh Sirefman is currently the President of Sirefman Ventures, and is leading the development of the Cornell Technion Campus on Roosevelt Island. Sirefman was previously Senior Vice President for US Properties at Brookfield Properties. He is the former President of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, and previously served as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, as well as serving as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and Rebuilding. He holds a BA from Wesleyan and Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan.
Marquise Stillwell is a partner at social impact investment and design consultancy Openbox. As an entrepreneur, Stillwell started Concept Management Group, a design shop that managed and invested in innovative projects, and Blue Macaroni ventures, which focused primarily on real estate development. Corporate experience includes BMW North America, Wells Fargo, Fiserv, and Qwest. He also serves on the board of the Andrew Goodman Foundation. Stillwell holds an MA in Economics from the University of Denver, an MBA from Grand Canyon University and a BA from The Ohio State University.