CEO Innovation, Growth & Diversity Symposium
Alastair Borthwick is head of Global Commercial Banking for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The Commercial Bank delivers integrated banking solutions to clients across Middle Market Banking, Real Estate,
Specialized Industries, Dealer Financial Services and Business Capital.
Prior to being named to his current role in December 2012, Borthwick was a managing director and co-head of
Global Capital Markets. In that role, he had responsibility for Equity Capital Markets, Investment Grade Debt
Capital Markets, Leveraged Finance, and Global Origination for Rates & Currencies.
Previously, Borthwick was head of Global Investment Grade Debt Capital Markets, a position he held since joining
the company in October 2005. Borthwick spent the prior 12 years at Goldman Sachs.
Borthwick is a member of the board of directors of the Posse Foundation, one of the most comprehensive and
renowned college access and youth development programs in the United States.
Borthwick holds a Masters in Business Administration degree from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College,
and he graduated from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland where he majored in economics and statistics.
He is a member of the Board of Advisors for Tuck.
Benjamin Fink is President and CEO of Western Gas Partners, LP (NYSE: WES) and Western
Gas Equity Partners, LP (NYSE: WGP). From May 2009 - February 2017 Benjamin was Senior
Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of WES and WGP, during which time he
was named as one of “America’s Best CFOs” by Institutional Investor Magazine in five of the
past six years, and in 2016 was named to its “All America Executive Team” as a result of being
voted top CFO in his sector. Prior to coming to Houston, Benjamin worked for Anadarko
Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC) in its Beijing, Rio de Janeiro and London offices.
Benjamin served as President and CEO of Prosoft Learning Corporation, an educational content
company, from November 2004 until its sale in June 2006, during which period he was noted
as one of the youngest CEOs of a NASDAQ-listed company. Prior to joining Prosoft, Benjamin
spent the majority of his career in Asia, co-founding and serving as COO and CFO of Meta4
Group Limited, an online direct marketer based in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. From
1993-2000, Mr. Fink held positions of increasing responsibility at Prudential Asset
Management Asia and Prudential Capital Group, where he focused on the negotiation,
structuring and execution of private equity and debt investments.
Benjamin holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania, is a Chartered Financial Analyst, and serves on the Board of Directors of the
World Affairs Council of Greater Houston and the Houston Grand Opera. Benjamin married his
wife Jennifer in 2008 and together they have two children: Noa (age 5) and Max (age 4). He
was born and raised in New York, and enjoys playing basketball, solving and constructing
crossword puzzles, participating in the culinary arts, and spending time with his family.
Farooq Kathwari is the chairman, president and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. He has been president of the company since 1985, and chairman and CEO since 1988.
Mr. Kathwari serves in numerous capacities at several nonprofit organizations. He is a member of the Board of Overseers of the International Rescue Committee; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a director and former chairman of the National Retail Federation; Director Emeritus and former chairman and president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance; a member of the International Advisory Council of the United States Institute of Peace; a member of the advisory board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Chairman Emeritus of Refugees International; an advisory member of the New York Stock Exchange; a director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University; and co-chairman of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council. He also serves on the boards of the Western Connecticut State University Foundation, The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, and ArtsWestchester. He is the founder of the Kashmir Study Group, and he served as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from 2010 to 2014.
Among his recognitions, Mr. Kathwari has been inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame. He has been recognized as an Outstanding American by Choice by the U.S. government. He has received the New American Dream Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award; the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal; the National Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee; the National Retail Federation Gold Medal; the International First Freedom Award from the Council for America’s First Freedom; Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award; the Anti-Defamation League’s Humanitarian Award; City of Hope’s International Home Furnishings Industry Spirit of Life® Award; and the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award from the National Association of Asian MBAs. He has also been recognized by Worth magazine as one of the 50 Best CEOs in the United States.
Mr. Kathwari holds a BA in English Literature and Political Science from Kashmir University, Srinagar, and an MBA in International Marketing from New York University, New York. He is also the recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees. For more information, please visit
Federico A. Tripodi was appointed CEO of Calyxt in May 2016. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Washington University’s Olin Business School, as well as an agronomic engineering degree from Buenos Aires University. Federico has gathered extensive experience in agricultural R&D and product development during his nearly two-decade career in the ag biotech and seed industry. Prior to joining Calyxt, he worked as General Manager for Monsanto Company’s Sugarcane Division in Brazil for three years. He held other roles for Monsanto in Saint Louis, Missouri, spanning Corporate Strategy (2011-2013), Omega-3 Program Lead (2009-2011), Oilseeds Global Quality Management Lead (2008-2009) and multiple other roles that involved managing multidisciplinary research teams in the technology organization between 2001 and 2008. During his tenure at Monsanto, Mr. Tripodi led or participated with early discovery and late commercialization phase product launches across the Americas, which included biotech consumer traits (improved composition soybean oils) and farmer traits (high yield, drought tolerance, insect protection and herbicide tolerance). Mr. Tripodi started his career in Argentina in 1998 in field research of biotechnology traits and chemistry formulations until he moved to Saint Louis in 2001. Mr. Tripodi also has experience as a director of a startup and serves on the board of directors for a not-for profit.
Jim Scapa brings more than 35 years of business growth, innovation and cultural stewardship to
his role as Chairman and CEO of Altair Engineering, Inc., the technology company he founded in
Jim and two partners identified a need and formed Altair with a focus on the then-new field of
simulation using high performance computing. Today, through Jim’s leadership, the company
employs more than 2,000 employees with 68 offices across 24 countries. Altair is a leading
global provider of simulation and optimization software, high performance computing
technology, product development software and consulting, and engineering services to a broad
range of industry sectors including automotive, aerospace, government and defense, heavy
equipment, ship building, energy, electronics, life sciences, architecture, and construction.
Growth has been achieved both through long-term nurturing of internal technology
development, and by strategic acquisitions of complementary technologies which have been
successfully integrated into Altair’s offerings.
Altair employees worldwide share a tremendous pride in the entrepreneurial spirit and
corporate culture based on transparency, honesty, innovation, and integrity. These core values
are distilled as follows:
- Envision the future
- Communicate honestly and broadly
- Seek technology and business “firsts”
- Embrace diversity and take risks
Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University and a
Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan.
Joel Silver is President & CEO of DAVIDsTEA, a specialty tea retailer offering a differentiated selection of proprietary loose-leaf tea and accessories, primarily through over 236 company-operated DAVIDsTEA stores throughout Canada and the United States, and davidstea.com. With over 20 years of consumer brand experience, Joel most recently served as General Partner Director of TrilogyGrowth, a venture capital fund he co-founded, which focuses on consumer-centric brands including Poppin, iStore and Indeed Laboratories. Prior to TrilogyGrowth, from 2003 to 2011, he held several positions of increasing responsibility at Indigo Books & Music Inc. (TSX:IDG), Canada's largest book, gift and specialty toy retailer, most recently as President. Joel has sat on Indigo Books & Music’s Board of Directors since 2011. He was also a co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer of SalesDriver.com Inc., an on-line e-commerce platform based out of Boston & Toronto that was sold to Carlson Marketing Group Inc. He began his career in brand management at Procter & Gamble.
Joel earned his Bachelor’s degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and his Master’s degree of Business Administration from Harvard University.
Currently holds the position of CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER at AGROFRESH SOLUTIONS, INC. (NASDAQ AGFS) a global leader in Food Waste Prevention and Fruit Quality preservation. Member of the Board of Directors, he is responsible for the strategic direction of the company and executing it accordingly.
Prior to holding the position of Chief Executive Officer at AgroFresh Solutions, he held the role of CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER at PURECIRCLE LIMITED (LON PURE), from 2008 until 2016. PureCircle Limited is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high purity Stevia, where he applied his long experience in sweetener and consumer products to natural zero calorie sweetener, Stevia. During his tenure at PureCircle, he established sales, marketing, product application, agriculture development and operational disciplines, as well as built a first class management team to support the company’s growth and lead the expansion of the Stevia market worldwide.
Previous to PureCircle, from 2005-2008 he held the position of VICE PRESIDENT - SALES & MARKETING for Tate & Lyle (LON TATE) SPLENDA® Sucralose Division, promoting adoption of U.S. leading sweetener at the time, across leading food and beverage Brands around the world.
From 2004-2005, Jordi held the position of VICE PRESIDENT - SALES & MARKETING for WISE FOODS INC., a leading East Coast manufacturer and distributor of salty snacks which strategic approach helped build a value-added strategy based on ethnic marketing, core Brand focus and distributor integrated programs.
From 2000-2003, he held the position of VICE PRESIDENT - “MARKETING/BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AMERICAS” for the Chupa Chups Group based in Atlanta, Georgia. His responsibilities included North American Marketing strategy in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and managed new strategic alliance with M&M Mars. He originally joined Chupa Chups in October, 1996 as AREA MARKETING DIRECTOR.
From 1991-1996, he held the position of MARKETING MANAGER for Trident Sugar Free for Warner Lambert Co., and his earlier experiences include IBM Singapore, Henkel and the Indo International Group in Miami, Florida.
Native of Barcelona, Jordi speaks five languages and has an MBA by ESADE Business School and PMD by IESE business schools. Chosen “2001 Marketer of the Next Generation” by Brandweek Magazine.
Mark A. Turner, 54, has been the President, Chief Executive Officer and a
Director of both WSFS Financial Corporation and WSFS Bank since 2007. In
July, 2017 Mark was also elected Chairman of the Board of WSFS. Mr. Turner
was previously both the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Financial Officer of
WSFS. Prior to joining WSFS in 1996, he worked at CoreStates Bank, Meridian
Bancorp and at the international professional services firm of KPMG, LLP.
WSFS is a multi-billion dollar, publicly-traded financial organization
(NASDAQ:WSFS), the largest bank and trust company headquartered in
Delaware and the Delaware Valley, and the 7th oldest bank in the U.S. Mr.
Turner is privileged to be leading a Company that has been named by an
independent survey as a “Top Workplace” in its home market for the last 12
years in a row (with special recognitions for the Company’s leadership, ethics,
and career development), and has also been voted as the “#1 Bank” in its home
market for seven years in a row.
Mr. Turner received his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania, his Master’s Degree in Executive Leadership from the University
of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Management
from LaSalle University. Among other executive leadership programs, Mr. Turner
has studied at National Training Labs, Aspen Institute, Gallup University, Toyota
University, Center for Creative Leadership, Harvard University, UC Berkeley,
Stanford University and Buckley School for Public Speaking. Mr. Turner is also
a frequent guest speaker at Wharton’s Executive Education programs.
Mr. Turner is an active leader in his communities. Among other activities, he has
served as: Chairman of the Board of Delaware Business Roundtable (DBRT); a
member of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s Advisory Council (FAC); Chairman
of the Board of Delaware Bankers Association (DBA); a member of the Executive
Committee of the Board of Delaware State Chamber of Commerce (DSCC); a
member of the board of First State Innovation (FSI); a member of the local Board
of Teach For America (TFA), Delaware; and a founding member of both
Delaware Talent Live (DTL) and Wilmington Leaders Alliance (WLA).
Mark is a lifelong native of the Delaware Valley area. He is married to Regina,
VMD, PhD, and they have two daughters.
Richard A. “Dick” Ehst is president and chief operating officer and a founder, along with Chairman and
CEO, Jay S. Sidhu, of the $10 billion-asset Customers Bank headquartered in Wyomissing, PA with offices
in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Dick previously served as executive vice president, Commercial Middle Market, Mid-Atlantic Division of
Sovereign Bank, a $90 billion-asset financial institution serving eight states in Northeast U.S. He served
as Sovereign’s regional president for Berks County from 2004-2009 and as managing director of
corporate communications from 2000-2004.
Prior to joining Sovereign Bank, Dick was an independent consultant to more than 70 financial
institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Sovereign, where he provided guidance on regulatory
matters, mergers and acquisitions and risk management.
As a consultant to Sovereign, Dick worked with the Commercial Development Group to identify and
develop corporate and municipal relationships for the bank.
Dick began his banking career in 1968 following his service as a United States Marine during the Vietnam
War. He attended Albright College, is a member of the Albright Board of Trustees and chairs the
Enrollment Management Committee. Dick is a graduate of the Commercial Bank Management Program
at Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
He is often asked to speak to national and international audiences on the financial landscape. He was
the keynote speaker at the 21st International Seminar on Finance in Tokyo, Japan. The seminar was
sponsored by the Japanese Financial News Network. He has also been the featured speaker at financial
conferences in the United Kingdom.
Dick currently serves as an elected board member of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and
Industry, and is Chairman of the Chamber’s Education Foundation. He has been a guest at the White
House regarding education-related issues.
He also serves as a Director of the Reading Hospital Health System Foundation and has served over 40
years on several professional and not-for-profit boards in eastern Pennsylvania.
Dick and his wife, Angela, reside in Reading, PA. They have five daughters and 11 grandchildren.
Proud father and husband, curious world traveler, (retired) long distance runner, Keynote speaker and Chief Motivator. Chairman and CEO of Wayside Technology Group, (NASDAQ: “WSTG”). Joined the company in January 1998. Worked my way up, started as European Controller, promoted to Chairman and CEO in 2006. Started career at Ernst & Young in Amsterdam, Holland.
A graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School, I also serve on the board for the New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC) (Chairman of the board 2007- 2015). Received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® 2011 Award in the Technology Services Category and I'm a member of the President’s Leadership Council of Stevens Institute of Technology. Black belt in Taekwondo, I ran a lot of marathons and some ultra-marathons; longest running race completed was a 100KM race.
As Vice President, Corporate Development for Software Technologies at Altair, Stephanie helps
the company grow its Altair Partner Alliance (APA) program. In this role, she spearheads the
implementation of strategic changes to the Altair business model to allow for third-party
software companies to offer their technology to more users via Altair’s on-demand software
In just five years, Stephanie surpassed aggressive new partner enrollment goals and worked
tirelessly to scout, sell, onboard and manage relationships with third-party B2B software
providers, resulting in nearly 400% growth for the APA. Over the course of her time leading
these efforts for APA, Stephanie had the foresight to realize an even greater potential for the
Altair business model, which already had significantly disrupted the traditional B2B licensing
models. As a result, she is leading an initiative to deploy this model to consumers.
Stephanie is at the helm of the launch of WEYV, a platform that allows users to listen to music,
read magazines and (soon) watch visual content all in one app experience. Not only is she
leading efforts surrounding the development of the app, but she is at the forefront of
establishing deals with major record labels and publishing companies to offer their content to
consumers via WEYV – just as she had in the B2B environment with the APA.
Additionally, Stephanie recently created Tech Treehouse, a Metro Detroit-based non-profit
organization focused on providing afterschool STEAM activities to children in need.
Stephanie holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial and operations engineering from the
University of Michigan.
USA CEO Jerry Elliott, brings broad operating and financial experience from working in private-equity owned and Fortune 500 companies, within the areas of wireless/wireline data, communications services, data security, broadband & wireless infrastructure.
Prior to BAI Communications, Jerry held several C-level roles at Cricket Wireless, Virgin Media, Global Signal, and Frontier Communications. In these roles, he built and realised significant shareholder value, particularly at delivering rapid growth, and helped companies navigate through substantial transformation.
Jerry joined BAI Communications in January 2017 and is based in New York City.
To Be Announced
This event starts on January 30th at 4:00 PM.
In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, the job of CEO can be daunting. Any CEO knows that running a company -- regardless of size and industry -- requires incredibly long hours under stressful conditions with ever-increasing pressure from all sides to succeed and grow. To address these challenges, YJP is convening business thought-leaders and experts for the CEO Innovation, Growth & Diversity Symposium.
The Symposium will bring together CEOs from across the country and representing a variety of professional sectors to provide a leadership platform in order to cultivate the forging of new relationships and encourage discussion and debate on topics and challenges that are of universal concern to all CEOs.
This is more than just a typical leadership conference -- it is a dynamic event designed to foster a productive and innovative environment in which candid, in-depth conversations can take place. The intimate and confidential setting will provide participants the opportunity to ask industry leaders difficult questions, identify new avenues for collaboration, brainstorm on best practices and explore potential solutions to challenges.
In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, a company’s success is contingent on high levels of innovation and the establishment of strong relationships and networks. YJP’s CEO Innovation, Growth & Diversity Symposium will serve as a powerful catalyst to develop new strategies and ideas, solutions to challenges and fuel collaborations so that participants can return to the companies they lead better equipped to ensure success. The Young Jewish Presidents is an exclusive network dedicated to connecting the world's top Jewish business leaders with each other. Our forum opens its doors for CEOs to forge long-lasting, sincere relationships in upscale, comfortable, small group settings with top talent, andexecutive peers.
*In order to be considered a member, applicants must be a CEO, president or a recognized authority in their given industry*