Media, Marketing, & Venture Capital Forum
Carmela Cugini is the Vice President of Merchandising and Private Brands for Jet.com. Prior to this role, she was the GM for of Grocery for Walmart US eCommerce and Jet.com. She joined the Jet.com startup after spending 18 years with PepsiCo and 5 years at Merrill Lynch, and was part of the Walmart acquisition in late 2016. Throughout her career, she has held many positions ranging from general management, sales, operations, business development, revenue management, finance strategy, marketing and brand development. One of the roles she has most enjoyed is being the executive sponsor for the LGBTQ ARG in Hoboken. She has a strong passion for supporting Leadership Development and is a true believer that Diversity & Inclusion is at the core of high performance in all organizations.
On a personal note, Carmela was born and raised in Columbus Ohio, completed her Bachelors in Pittsburgh PA and furthered her education at Carnegie Mellon & Harvard University where she spent time studying Organizational Dynamics. She was recently married to her long-time partner of 23 years and loves spending time traveling, going to the spa, taking a long bicycle ride and believes family, friends, faith and maintaining a great sense of humor are the keys to her success and happiness.
A veteran of the action sports industry with more than 25 years of leadership across marketing, sales and product, Doug Palladini was appointed to lead Vans as its Global Brand President in July 2016. In his role, Palladini oversees the strategic direction of Vans’ $3 billion global business, while enabling the regional teams to develop and deliver local strategies to drive continued worldwide growth.
A long-time leader within the Vans brand, Palladini has held various roles within the company. From 2004 through 2014, he served as Vans' global marketing leader. Palladini played an integral role in Vans’ transformation into a global icon of creative expression in youth culture, becoming the largest action sports footwear and apparel brand on the planet, available in more than 84 countries.
In May 2013, Palladini was appointed as the Vice President General Manager of North America for Vans. There, Palladini was responsible for building Vans’ US, Mexico and Canada strategy leading wholesale sales, owned retail, product merchandising, and marketing for the brand’s largest region, representing more than $1.4 billion in annual business.
Palladini’s long history and deep connection in Vans’ brand pillars of music, art, street culture and action sports have led to an industry-leading marketing program at Vans. A sampling of this success includes the development and launch of House of Vans, Vans’ global hub for creative expression with permanent locations and pop-up locations around the world, Vans’ social media community, which engenders more engagement through its fans that any other brand in the sector, and the creation of Vans’ digital video platforms that provide original web series content to a global audience of millions of viewers.
Palladini has also led production of hundreds of hours of award-winning television for Fox and its networks, as well as feature films such as Pipeline Masters. He is also the executive producer of the Vans Warped Tour documentary, No Room for Rock Stars and the newly released, Los Punks: We Are All We Have. Palladini is the author of the Vans tell-all coffee table book, “Off the Wall: Stories of Sole from Vans Originals,” and wrote two new chapters to commemorate Vans’ 50th Anniversary in 2016.
Palladini, a resident of Orange County, California, enjoys traveling the world with his wife Hallie, son Max and daughter Devon.
Jeffrey Litvack is Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board at Adweek. He is
a digital media native who leverages his 25 years of operational, strategic and financial
expertise to help media companies and private equity firms in sourcing, evaluating, and
transforming acquisitions. Prior to Adweek he was COO at Robb Report and Managing
Director of Xcel Advisors. Before joining Robb Report he was Group President and Chief
Digital Officer at ALM. Mr. Litvack led the turnaround for ALM, transforming them into a
Digital First company, and then successfully co-leading the sale of the Apax Partners
back company to Wasserstein & Co. Prior to ALM, he held a variety of executive
positions at the Associated Press, The Museum of Television & Radio, and Mitchell
Madison Group. Mr. Litvack is a highly regarded executive credited with winning more
than 30 coveted honors and awards for product breakthroughs and industry leadership
from Apple, IAB, The Webbys, and others. He was selected by Folio Magazine as a top
digital executive twice and was inducted into min’s Digital Hall of Fame. He is a
recognized speaker at industry events providing insights into a wide array of topics
challenging the media industry. Mr. Litvack holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and
a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School of Business.
John Frankel is the founding partner of ff Venture Capital. He founded the firm in 2008 and has been a seed- and early-stage investor since late 1999. John focuses on advising and growing technology and technology-enabled companies across emerging industries, including artificial intelligence, cyber security, drones, enterprise software, crowdfunding, and data analytics, among others. He has served on the boards of more than 35 companies and has led investments in more than 80 companies, including Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD), Indiegogo, Ionic Security, Unikey, Skycatch, Plated, 500px, Distil Networks, Pebblepost, and Owlet. John also sits on The NYU Tandon School of Engineering's Board of Overseers.
Prior to founding ffVC, John worked at Goldman Sachs for 21 years in a variety of roles that involved technology development, reengineering and capital markets. At Goldman Sachs, he worked closely with some of the world’s leading hedge fund managers and developed a keen understanding of emerging technologies and portfolio risk/return management.
John started his business career in London with Arthur Andersen having earned a Master of Arts from New College, Oxford, where he studied Mathematics, Philosophy and Logic. He is a Fellow Chartered Accountant of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
Jon Bond is one of the advertising and marketing industry's most recognized thought leaders and entrepreneurs. He has developed several significant companies and marketing concepts over his 30-year career.
Jon was Co-founder and CEO of Kirshenbaum Bond and Partners (KBP). KBP was arguably the original “word of mouth” agency, well before social media appeared on the scene. KBP was the first to develop the modern multi-disciplinary, integrated agency. KBP created the first pop-up store, and built one in only 18 hours for television show The Apprentice. KBP launched one of the industry's first trading desks, Varick Media Management, and was voted agency of the year (under $1B range) in 2008. KBP was featured in an episode of the “The Simple Life” and in the 2007 film “A Perfect Stranger.” In 2010, KBP sold to MDC. Billings were approximately $1B at the time and clients included BMW, Citi, Victoria's Secret, Target, Wendy's, and the Coca Cola Company.
From 2010 to 2012, Jon was CEO of Big Fuel (now part of Publicis), one of the world’s largest social media agencies. Big Fuel’s clients included General Motors, Gatorade, Chase, and T-Mobile. In addition, Jon co-founded and sold one of the first online media agencies (iballs) to Microsoft in 2000.
Currently, Jon is Founder and Chief Tomorroist at TOMORRO\\\. Established in 2012, TOMORRO\\\ is a value accelerator using marketing, innovation, and strategic business development to help visionary companies achieve their ambitions. TOMORRO\\\ works in partnerships with clients, taking equity stakes in lieu of fees and effectively outsourcing their marketing departments. TOMORRO\\\’s sweet spot is startup to IPO or exit. TOMORRO\\\’s clients include: BlackBook, High50, Dstillery, Crosspixel, Sonobi, White Ops, Virgin, Lumos Networks, and Mozilla.
Jon is also the Co-founder of Evolve, the only non-partisan gun safety and responsibility group. He is a board member of Gods Love We Deliver and a former board member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Ad Council. Jon has investments and board roles at: White Ops, Metamorphic VC fund, TZP Private Equity Fund, Victors and Spoils (now part of Havas), Appinions, and Klout.
Jon co-authored “Under the Radar,” a book about talking to today’s cynical consumer. He has also written a column called “Truth In Advertising” for Mediapost, and was a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. He is a keynote speaker represented by The Guild Group and has lectured at Harvard Business School, Columbia, NYU, The University of Texas (Austin), and Washington University.
In 2011, Jon appeared in Morgan Spurlock’s documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Jon has also appeared on CNN, 20/20, CNBC, 20/20, Barbara Walters, Deborah Norville, and Piers Morgan. In 2010, Jon was voted number 4 in Adweek’s “Executive of the Decade” poll.
Randi is the Vice President of Marketing & Growth at Talkspace. In this capacity, she leads the Marketing, Consumer Product and CX teams. Founded with the mission to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health and make therapy accessible to all, Talkspace is an online therapy platform that connects individual users and a network of 4,000+ licensed therapists through an easy-to-use and HIPAA-compliant web and mobile app. With Talkspace, users can send their dedicated therapists unlimited text, video, picture and audio messages from anywhere, at any time. Therapists respond at least daily, 5 days per week. To date, Talkspace has already been used by over 1 million people.
Prior to joining Talkspace, Randi was Director of Customer Acquisition at Blue Apron and held roles in International Product Development at American Express, eCommerce at Hilton, and a variety of digital SME capacities at boutique agencies. She is most passionate about talent development and blending product and marketing philosophies to find unique solutions for growth challenges. She earned her BA in Political Science from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. Outside of work, Randi is a mentor to NYC high school students, the mom to an adorable rescue pup, a (very) amateur musician, an aspiring Jeopardy contestant and the self-proclaimed World's Biggest Bruce Springsteen fan.
Ron Sohn is the Vice President of Marketing and Digital Strategy at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York – an Affiliate of Northwell Health. Ron started in the ad agency world with various roles in graphic design, copy writing and account services and then moved onto the client side -- working in advertising, traditional & digital marketing and brand strategy roles at Simon & Schuster Publishing, Viacom, AstraZeneca, Aptium Oncology, Mount Sinai Health System, and currently at Maimonides. Ron is an inspirational team leader has worked for both small community hospitals and large market-dominant health systems. He’s had leading roles on both sides of major hospital system mergers, responsible for internal and external communications, cultural integration, patient experience, digital strategy, advertising campaign development, and patient experience. One of Ron’s most rewarding roles is being a mentor to help new and middle marketing managers grow to their full potential, while always remembering to focus on integrity, responsibility, and giving back.
Steven Tristan Young is the Chief Marketing Officer at Poshmark, responsible for Growth, Product Marketing, Customer Lifecycle, Brand Marketing, Public Relations and Social Media Marketing. Prior to Poshmark, Steven was formerly the VP of Growth at Grubhub, the nation’s leading online and mobile food ordering company. During his 7-year tenure, he managed the company’s customer and market level growth programs, driving double digit growth year over year. Steven has also held leadership positions at DIRECTV, American Express, Endurance International Group and Puma Sports. At American Express, Steven spearheaded the marketing efforts for the company’s flagship “Centurion Card” and “Platinum Card” portfolios, both the market leader in premium card marketing. Steven received his undergraduate degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is also an alumnus of Harvard Business School.
Asael (“Az”) Meir, CPA, is a partner at CohnReznick and leads the Firm’s National Technology Industry Practice from our New York offices. With more than 15 years of experience in providing assurance and financial reporting services, Az developed expertise in serving technology and digital media companies. With
deep industry specialization in SaaS, AI, data analytics and Cybersecurity he can provide solutions to his clients’ complex needs. He works closely with business owners and management teams of both privately held and publicly listed companies who are seeking guidance regarding acquisitions, divestitures, and capital formation transactions.
Prior to joining the Firm, Az worked in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the United States, enabling him to provide unique and global business insight to his clients. His private industry experience included multiple international consulting assignments and a management position for a start-up telecommunications company, where he re-engineered finance operations to establish companywide internal controls over financial reporting.
Hofstra University, Frank G. Zarb School of Business: MBA, Accounting
- Beta Gamma Sigma, International Honor Society
University of London, King’s College London: Bachelor of Science, Business Management
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants
Dani is a fast-moving dynamic leader with an entrepreneurial spirit and a real passion for building strong strategic relationships. She blends business thought leadership with an ability to make the creative and strategic process seamless and more human. In her role as President, she is responsible for developing and overseeing the creation of custom-tailored turnkey marketing solutions that deliver real growth for each Pure Growth client.
Prior to founding Pure Growth Consulting, Dani spent over 18 years working for highly-awarded agencies such as TMP Worldwide and Saatchi & Saatchi Australasia. Most recently, she was Managing Partner at WPP’s Berlin Cameron United.
She has led clients such as Stoli Vodka Global, Comcast, Xfinity, Wholefoods, Gilt.com, Capital One 360 and Match.com.
Dani has also worked on the client side and was responsible for leading the rebranding of SBS, Australia’s multicultural TV and digital network.
In her free time, Dani feeds her passion for travel. She has visited over 40 countries and every continent except Antarctica. But she has seen Emperor Penguins in the Shanghai Zoo.
BA, University of New South Wales.
Dr. Ilyayev Received his training from NY Methodist Hospital and Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in Manhattan. He is in the forefront of continuing education, always looking for new medical breakthroughs to help his patients.
Dr. Ilyayev started his HouseCall MD practice right after completing his residency. He realized that there were elderly homebound patients who have not seen a doctor in years. He also realized that by seeing these patients in their home, this would decrease the rate of hospitalizations thereby doing his role in decreasing our national healthcare related costs.
Dr. Erik Ilyayev’s positive attitude and self-motivation is the reason he is booked one month in advance.
Shachar Orren is Chief Storyteller at Disney-backed interactive content platform, Playbuzz. In this role, she oversees the company's global marketing and communications, as well as creative strategy for publisher and brand partners. Prior to joining Playbuzz as the sixth employee, Shachar spent nine years as a journalist at Israel’s largest daily newspapers. This enabled her to transition well to a digital disruptor focused on creating technologies to solve the media’s pain points – such as how to capture fleeting attention spans and boost audience engagement. Shachar has been covered and published in Forbes, Fox News and Adweek, and enjoys lecturing at top-tier journalism universities in her free time on the future of the newsroom and the importance of content that impacts humanity.
After graduating Albany State with a degree in Communications, Stacy began her professional career at Bloomingdale’s with short stint in Retail. Afterward, two decades were spent in the Wholesale Fashion marketplace, largely posing as Willy Loman selling luxury schmattas on the road, in showrooms, at tradeshows and trunk shows for brands including Burberry. In 2004, Stacy joined 24 Seven, and it was a relatively seamless transition into the Creative Staffing and Recruitment space, supporting the Industry where her career began, as well as other creative spaces including advertising agencies, branding/ id and design firms. 24 Seven is an award-winning creative staffing and recruiting firm that connects high caliber talent for freelance, temp-to-hire, direct hire and executive search solutions for Digital Marketing, Creative Services, Content & Copywriting, Development & Technology, e-Commerce, Beauty, Fashion, Retail and Events.
Dan Tordjman is the Manager of Partnerships and Sponsorships for America’s Best Racing (ABR). Dan’s career began in television, where he spent nearly a decade as a news reporter and correspondent. In the years following, he turned years of content development, video experience and social media into a leading role with ABR, which is the largest multimedia marketing platform in the sport of horse racing. In addition to developing strategic partnerships with brands inside and outside of racing, Dan has organized and overseen dozens of influencer marketing campaigns and branded pop-up events. In 2016, along with two partners, Dan launched Equestricon — horse racing’s first and only international fan festival, trade show and industry convention. Originally from Brooklyn, Dan now lives in Queens with his wife Marti. He’s an avid consumer of every type of podcast and documentary.
Sara Smoler currently manages Business Development at Ogilvy. She has worked on brands such as Coca-Cola, Unilever and IBM, driving revenue within digital, PR, advertising and other services across the entire USA portfolio. Her most notable piece of business that she helped to secure was the Coca-Cola global agency of record business to help launch the "Taste the Feeling" global campaign at the 2016 Olympic Games. At 25, Sara was chosen to lead the new-business department for the Ogilvy Chicago office, in 2018 securing roughly $13 Million in revenue for the agency. Sara is President of the Business & Networking arm within Ogilvy's Young Professionals Network and forged a partnership with Columbia University's Start-Up Lab affording young talent greater autonomy in their client relationships.
Most recently, Sara was awarded a spot on Forbes 30 Under 30 Marketing & Advertising List for 2019. A Detroit native, Sara is a frequent guest lecturer at the Ross School of Business, and a proud University of Michigan Alum. In her spare time, Sara is an advocate for raising food allergy awareness, having spoken to Michigan State Legislature on Food Allergy labeling in public school cafeterias, and at the National Food Allergy and Bloggers conference.
This event starts on February 26th at 6:00 PM.
YJP is an exclusive community dedicated to connecting young professionals with current industry leaders to help them become the leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Our signature roundtable format was specifically designed to foster organic discussions about the future of marketing and venture capital, develop new long-term professional relationships, and allow attendees to explore professional opportunities and potential partnerships.
The evening kicks off with dinner, drinks, and networking, where you’ll find fresh faces and reconnect with some familiar ones. Afterward, you will take a seat at a roundtable discussion where you will join in on a meaningful conversation regarding current market trends and various venture capital philosophies. This your opportunity to personally connect with and get to know some of the most talented and successful professionals within the industry.
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