Advisory BoardMembers of the Center for the Study of Brooklyn Advisory Board provide guidance regarding the Center's mandate and research agenda, while serving as ambassadors for the Center's work. The Advisory Board represents a diverse and influential cross-section of Brooklyn leaders from academic, government, business, and community groups, as well as eminent Brooklyn College faculty, staff, and alumni.
Joan Bartolomeo, President, Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation (BEDC)
As President of BEDC, a twenty-nine year old not-for-profit corporation dedicated to business development and job creation and retention in Brooklyn, Ms. Bartolomeo directs a staff which provides services in the areas of small business lending, commercial and retail development, entrepreneurship, commercial revitalization and numerous other activities. BEDC also directs the Initiative for a Competitive Brooklyn (ICB), a project that seeks to create sustainable jobs for Brooklyn’s residents by facilitating the growth and expansion of the borough’s private sector employers.
From 1991 to 2006, Ms. Bartolomeo served as the Business Manager of the REDAC Mini-Loan Program, which she helped create as the first micro-lending program in New York City. A non-profit corporation managed by BEDC, REDAC disbursed 120 loans totaling $2.5 million to small businesses in New York City.
Ms. Bartolomeo is also involved with a number of nonprofit organizations in Brooklyn. She was a founding board member of both the New York Industrial Retention Network and New Partners for Community Revitalization. She also serves on the Brooklyn Public Library Success Council, on the board of the Kingsborough Community College Foundation, and on the advisory boards of the Brooklyn Educational Opportunity Center and the Center for the Study of Brooklyn. She was a member of Brooklyn's Community Board 10 from 1984 through 1989, and was past Vice President and Secretary of BROOKLYNWORKS, Brooklyn's business to business trade exposition.
Marilyn Gelber is the President of the Brooklyn Community Foundation and a life-long New Yorker who grew up in Far Rockaway. During her 28 years in public service, she has served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff to the Borough President of Brooklyn, and Director of Neighborhood Strategy Planning for the New York City Department of City Planning. She currently serves as Chair of the Committee on Foundations of the Community Bankers Association and was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers.
Kimberly S. George is the Executive Director of the Greater Brooklyn Health Coalition (GBHC), a not-for-profit that provides grassroots community organizing to meet the challenges faced by Brooklyn’s public health system. Ms. George serves on various health-related task forces and community advisory boards, and has developed numerous forums and programs on emerging public health trends. Most recently, she was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Public Health Association of New York City. She has also been published in the Journal of Community Health and completed a nine-month Leadership Caucus for Executive Directors by Community Resource Exchange.
Ms. George joined GBHC after receiving a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Her graduate studies focused on Human Rights, encompassing the cross-cutting categories of political, civil, economic, social, and cultural rights. She has expertise in conflict resolution, strategic conflict assessment, gender issues, and field research and data analysis.
Ms. George has a background in intergroup relations and diversity, with a focus on program development. Prior to her work at Columbia University, she served as Program Director at the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding and developed programming aimed at promoting cultural competency in workplaces, law enforcement, and healthcare. Ms. George has wide-ranging experience including designing and implementing training curricula for executives of Fortune 500 corporations and large non-profits, healthcare facilities, and the NYPD. She coauthored the book Religion in the Workplace, and coordinated and wrote for Routledge’s Encyclopedia of Globalization.
During her undergraduate studies at the University of Rochester, Ms. George majored in religion and assisted the Dean in teaching on theories of religion and religious diversity. She also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and participated in an archeological dig with the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
Christobal Jacques joined the staff of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in 1986 where he has held a variety of supervisory and management positions, including coordination of outreach and prevention education to IVDUs, oversight of the HIV Anonymous Counseling and Testing Program, Director of Community Relations for the Bureau of HIV/AIDS, Governmental Co-Chair of the NYC PPG and most recently Special Assistant to the Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/AIDS. In that capacity he has broad responsibilities for special initiatives and community relations.
Mr. Jacques received his Masters in Social Work from the Hunter College School of Social Work where he specialized in community organization and group work. In 1982 while working for the Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation (ARTC) he became aware of HIV/AIDS when a client died who was rumored to be suffering from wasting syndrome and junkies disease. Locally, the client's death caused a bit of a stir because in addition to being an IVDU, the client also ran a shooting gallery that very probably brought him in contact with many other IVDUs.
Mr. Jacques states that his involvement with HIV prevention has been the stimulus for an on-going examination of his professional and personal vision and the role he plays in the lives of his communities. The synthesis of this interaction has given rise to the professionalization of his work by improving his knowledge base, sharpening his skills and refining his vision.
As Special Assistant to the Assistant Commissioner for HIV/AIDS Chris has played an important role in efforts to expand syringe exchange activities to areas of the city in highest need. Those efforts have led to the establishment of the first syringe exchange in Queens and the first new exchange in the city in nine years.
Melissa S. Lee is the Managing Director of the Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant (CIBS). CIBS is a member association comprised of two-dozen local nonprofit organizations dedicated to enhancing an equitable, healthy, and sustainable community. Prior to CIBS, Melissa worked at the Mayor’s Office of Comprehensive Neighborhood Economic Development (CNED) where she lead an interagency initiative building capacity and assets for the resident and business communities of Bedford-Stuyvesant. She has also worked at the Lower East Side Business Improvement District (LES BID) managing the Lower Manhattan Small Business and Workforce Retention Program aiding area small businesses in the September 11th recovery, and then as Director of Economic Development for Pratt Area Community Council overseeing local commercial revitalization strategies in Central Brooklyn. Melissa has a Master in Public Policy from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.back to top
Stuart P. Leffler, Economic Development Manager, Con Edison
Stuart Leffler is Manager of Economic Development for Con Edison/Brooklyn, which he joined in 1981 as Supervisor of Customer Communications. As Economic Development Manager, he is responsible for marketing and administering the Company's energy incentive rate programs and assisting commercial and industrial customers in accessing other energy-related and economic development benefits. During his tenure at Con Edison, he also served as Executive Administrator and District Manager. Prior to joining Con Edison, Mr. Leffler was associated with the GAF Corporation; Air Time, a media marketing services organization; and Helen Keller Services for the Blind.
Mr. Leffler graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor's Degree in Russian Studies and received a Master's Degree in Media Studies from the New School University. From 2002 through 2004, he served as an On-Loan Executive for Brooklyn Borough Hall where he helped Borough President Marty Markowitz launch the new Brooklyn Tourism & Visitors Center. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor in the Hospitality Management Department of NYC College of Technology in Downtown Brooklyn.
Mr. Leffler is Secretary for the Board of Directors of Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation and serves on the Boards of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce's Brooklyn Alliance; the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation; Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project; the NY Transit Museum; the Greenpoint YMCA; and the DUMBO Improvement District. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Brooklyn Chamber's Real Estate Development Council, Advisory Boards for NYC College of Technology and is a mentor for the Arts & Business Council Multicultural Summer Internship Program.
A native of Boston, he is now a thirty-five year resident of Brooklyn Heights.
Jerry Mirotznik received a BA from Brooklyn College, an MA and PhD in Sociology from Rutgers University, and an MPH. in Epidemiology from Columbia University School of Public Health. He has received two National Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Fellowships, grants from the AARP Andrus Foundation, the Alzheimer's Association, the Arthritis Foundation, and PSC-CUNY. He has published in The Gerontologist, The Journal of Community Health, and The Journal of Health and Social Behavior. He joined the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences at Brooklyn College in 1980. For several years he served as Graduate Deputy Chair, helping to develop an MPH. Program. From 1997 to 2003 he was Director of the BA.-MD Program, an early assurance premedical program. Since 1996 he has helped organize Faculty Day, an annual, all day conference at which faculty share their scholarly work and academic concerns. He has served as Assistant Provost from 2003 to 2006, and Associate Provost since 2007, and is serving as the representative from Academic Affairs at Brooklyn College on the Center's Advisory Board.
Mohammad Razvi was born in Pakistan and came with his family to the United States in the 1980s. Within 5 months after 9/11, the 32-year-old aspiring real estate mogul with a wife and children formed Council of Pakistan Organization (COPO). COPO is an advocacy team whose influence reaches beyond its Pakistani base to the wider South Asian community. The fledgling non-profit started in a store front which quickly attracted South Asian immigrants with low incomes and limited access to city services like healthcare and affordable housing. The Council became a liaison between the U.S. government and Muslim-Americans negotiating with law enforcement agents who cased Little Pakistan for suspects just based on their name. Today his organization offers help in securing English lessons, citizenship, food stamps, medical, mental health, and other services. Later to address the needs of other communities, he changed the name to Council of Peoples Organization.
For his relentless services to the immigrant community, Razvi was elected as a Board member of the New York Immigration Coalition. He has received many awards from Congressmen, State Senators and Assemblymembers, and Borough Presidents, recognizing his efforts to unite the immigrant communities of New York in these trying times. Razvi is a co-founder of We Are All Brooklyn (WAAB) coalition, and Muslims Consultant Network (MCN). He also is on the board of CAUSE NY, Youth Bridge, Midwood Development Corp, FBI Citizens Academy New York Division, Center for the Study of Brooklyn at Brooklyn College, Brooklyn Borough President’s Task Force For New Diversity and Greater Brooklyn Heath Coalition. Most importantly he is a graduate of NYPD Citizens Academy and FBI Citizens Academy. He is on the Muslim Advisory Board to the FBI and the Civil Rights Division of FBI. He has utilized his knowledge and the trust of the community to build bridges between the Law enforcement and the community.
Ms. Shannon brings nearly two decades of experience in non-profit management and fundraising to Heart of Brooklyn (HOB). Prior to becoming Acting Director, she held the title of Deputy Director, responsible for the submission of all grants and proposals to fund HOB’s programs and initiatives. Sarah also spearheads HOB's Pedestrian Wayfinding project and sits on the GAPCo Steering Committee. As a fundraising and management consultant, her clients have included Lutheran Medical Center, the National Child Labor Committee and Art2Facts, Inc. From 1993 to 2001, Ms. Shannon was the National Program Director for Careers Through Culinary Arts Program, a national school-to-career program for at-risk youth. Ms. Shannon received her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University. back to top