Race, Social Justice and Culture

Meet with a Mentor

Want to speak to an experienced entrepreneur, investor, or corporate executive about how to get your business idea off the ground? Email stacey.sikes[at]hofstra.edu in advance to make an appointment or just stop by the ideaHUb (246 Axinn Library).

Kevin Hesselbirg

Kevin Hesselbirg

Robyn M. Herman is a corporate and securities attorney at the Manhattan-based firm of Hunter Taubman Fischer and Li and co-chair of the Israel Practice Group. She regularly represents startups and small businesses throughout the launch and growth phases through their exits. In addition to her role in leading HTFL’s Israel practice group, Robyn spearheaded the launch of the firm’s Long Island office, where she brings HTFL’s deep expertise in small-cap securities and cross-border corporate transactions to Long Island-based companies. Robyn is also an entrepreneur and currently serves as co-founder of a healthcare technology startup called ER Biometrics, where her role is both managing the company direction and operations as well as funding and corporate legal matters. Robyn’s extracurricular activities include serving as Treasurer of the Jewish Lawyer’s Association of Nassau County as well as mentorship of young entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship students through Hofstra University. Having a strong background in both law and entrepreneurship enables Robyn to bring a comprehensive, well-informed perspective from both a business and legal viewpoint both when representing clients and mentoring.

Kevin Hesselbirg

Kevin Hesselbirg

After more than 25 years leading growth oriented companies in a senior executive capacity, Kevin Hesselbirg currently serves as board member and advisor to multiple private entities ranging from start-ups to firms with more than $100M in annual revenues. Kevin, a three-time Chief Executive Officer (CEO), was first named CEO of OpenLink Financial after previously serving as OpenLink’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer. OpenLink Financial is a leading global software developer of financial and energy, trading and risk management solutions with more than $300M in revenue, 1200 employees, and offices in 9 countries. Thereafter, he became CEO of Primatics Financial, a leading SaaS provider of finance and risk solutions for the banking sector. Kevin was more recently the CEO of The Gemini Companies, a leading fund administrator serving more than 600 mutual, private, and hedge funds. As CEO, he led multiple transactions with various private equity firms eclipsing more than $2B in capital activity. Kevin began his career with the Private Owned and Emerging business group at Ernst & Young. Hesselbirg received a B.S. from Fordham University.

Matthew Greenbaum

Matthew Greenbaum

Matt Greenbaum is the Vice President of International Shoppes, an airport retailer that primarily operates duty free stores and high-end branded shops. International Shoppes is a family owned and operated enterprise and has been operating for over 65 years. Matt focuses primarily on business development, working with brand owners and airport operators to maximize revenue opportunities and the customer experience. As part of the ownership group, Matt is also inserted into all facets of the business, including operations, accounting, human resources, marketing and more. Matt is local to the area, having grown up in Westbury, NY and currently resides in Glen Head, NY. He graduated from Cornell University in 2001 with a degree in Applied Economics & Management and earned his MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business in 2011.

Noel Goddard

Noel Goddard

Noel is a Principal for the Accelerate NY Seed Fund where she built a portfolio of 20+ companies across deep technology and life science sectors.    Prior to her role with Accelerate NY, Noel was the CTO for Symbiotic Health, and Founder/CEO of a Food Safety Diagnostics company.  She served as an Assistant Professor of Physics at Hunter College, CUNY, before joining the NY entrepreneurial community.  Noel obtained her PhD from Rockefeller University in Physics & Biology, and performed her post-PhD research at Harvard Medical School.

Philip Rugile

Philip Rugile

Phil Rugile has a long history in both corporate and startup business environments. Phil’s current positions include co-Founder of non-profit RecruitLI, as a Corporate Innovation Consultant focusing on workforce and business development, and as the Director of Launchpad Huntington (LPH), a co-working and corporate event space. LPH has become the area’s most successful private startup space by providing connections for entrepreneurs to investment, partnership and mentorship. Through extensive networking and educational events, the space provides invaluable collaboration opportunities for its tenants and the entire LI region. In his consulting role, Phil is currently engaged with several technology and advanced manufacturing clients. Phil is also is a member of the New York State Regional Economic Development Council’s Education and Workforce Committee.

Prior experiences include Human Capital Strategist at eCommerce company eGifter, Entrepreneur in Residence for Accelerate Long Island; co-founder of 100 Urban Entrepreneurs, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to supporting minority entrepreneurship; co-founder of MYMAG, a celebrity driven marketing company that created unique personalized print and digital products; preceded by stints at numerous media and technology companies such as Reuters, Times Mirror and others.

More information at https://www.linkedin.com/in/prugile

Email: phil@launchpadhuntington.com

Philip Rugile

Robbin Finney-Granston

Robbin is the founder of RSFG Consulting Group LLC, a MWBE certified management consulting firm specializing in creating economic growth through entrepreneurship. Through partnerships established with regional and municipal government agencies and nonprofit organizations in the region, Robbin and her team offers technical assistance and training to support the launch and growth of startup and early-stage entrepreneurs.

Robbin is a passionate compelling facilitator and communicator with success at encouraging participation and developing team-delivered results. She is skilled at teaching/training and consulting on the connection of entrepreneurship to the larger community and the opportunities that exist for growth. She has trained/consulted more than 300 entrepreneurs to-date. Another competitive advantage is working with diverse populations from higher education students to returning citizens who are adults, often hard-to-employee, who found tremendous success in entrepreneurship training and launching micro enterprises. Robbin created and facilitated two entrepreneurial training curriculums – SCALE (South County Access to Learning Entrepreneurship) and ACES (A Chance for Entrepreneurial Success) that are currently being used in Westchester County.

Robbin is an adjunct professor in the School of Business & Accounting at Monroe College and serves as faculty adviser for the campus CEO club. Additionally, she serves as a coach and judge with Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). She has served on the Mount Vernon City School District Restructuring Committee, Cluster, Inc., IMANI Cultural Academy. Robbin is a former member of the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Club, Inc. (NANBPW). Robbin holds a Masters’ degree from City College and a Bachelors’ degree from Mercy College.

Email: rsfgconsulting@aol.com
Phone: 914.589.3597

Chris Lopinto

Chris Lopinto

Chris Lopinto is a serial entrepreneur, mentor and angel investor. Since founding ExpertFlyer in 2004, he has been a pioneer in providing airline data transparency to consumers. Prior to ExpertFlyer, Chris founded, built, and then sold an IT consulting company in Long Island New York. Prior, he served as the Director of IT at ProductivityNet, a network management software startup. Chris is a co-founder of Started on LI, a Long Island based entrepreneur mentorship group, and has mentored various Startup Weekend events. He is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Aaron Foss

Aaron Foss

Aaron Foss is an accomplished serial entrepreneur with 5 companies under his belt. In 2011, he was a part of Techstars (NYC) with SideTour, a marketplace for unique experiences, which was acquired by Groupon in 2013. His current startup, Nomorobo, has stopped over 1 billion unwanted and illegal robocalls from reaching consumers since launching in 2013. Nomorobo was chosen as the winner of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Robocall Challenge and named “Best New Product” by CableLabs. Aaron has been featured in the New York Times, Wired, CNN, CNBC, and Fox News. He lives in Port Jefferson, NY.

Peter Kestenbaum

Peter Kestenbaum

Since exiting the workforce in 2006, Peter has worked with dozens of startups in the New York area, held similar Entrepreneur-in-Residence positions or adjunct roles at several universities including Montclair, Rutgers, and NJIT. He is Managing Partner of 1099Partners, a firm that consists of ex-senior executives that service the emerging market space. He currently advises, coaches or is an investor in eight local firms. Kestenbaum was an early employee (1983-1998) of Sun Microsystems and over 15 years held a variety of positions culminating as Field Marketing Director for North America. His Silicon Valley pedigree includes working directly for or with people such as Eric Schmidt (currently Chairman at Google) and Scott McNealy, founder of Sun Microsystems. During the “.COM” era he served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Agency.COM in New York as it transitioned from a startup and early silicon alley pioneer through its IPO. He also has held an advisor role to senior staff at IBM.

Nicola Hawkinson

Nicola Hawkinson

Nicola Hawkinson is the founder of SpineSearch, a nationwide recruitment and continuing educational company. Nicola received her Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from the University of Delaware, Master's Degree (Nurse Practitioner Program) from New York University and Doctorate of Nursing Practice at Case Western Reserve University. Her career in nursing has spanned from the operating room, neurosurgical oncology, to orthopedic spine. Simultaneously, Nicola remains an adjunct clinical professor at NYU's College of Nursing. Nicola has presented and published extensively in the field of Spine, first as a clinician, and now she continues to utilize this academic platform to speak and write extensively regarding recruitment, retention, and staffing needs in pain management, spine, orthopedic, neurosurgical practices, ambulatory surgery centers and a variety of other companies that service the spine market.

Barbara Roberts

Barbara Roberts

Barbara B. Roberts is Entrepreneur in Residence at both Columbia Business School and Hofstra University. She is also former NY Chair of Tiger 21 and a speaker and writer about all stages of entrepreneurship, family businesses and the economic progress of women. An economist by training, previously Ms. Roberts held senior positions on Wall Street and was the first woman to serve on Dean Witter’s board of directors. Ms. Roberts also served as president and CEO at the stock photography company, FPG International, now part of Getty Images and at the museum audio tour company, Acoustiguide. Ms. Roberts has served as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Small Business and Agricultural Advisory Committee and as a member of the Suffolk County NY Planning Commission. As Entrepreneur in Residence she has helped to launch hundreds of start ups, is an active angel investor and serves on the boards of several private companies. Ms. Roberts is the author of three whitepapers about entrepreneurs: Life after an Exit, The Owner’s Journey and Women’s Entrepreneurial Journeys. She is certified as a master coach by the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara and trained in facilitation and mediation. Ms. Roberts has an Economics and Philosophy degree from Goucher College.

James Droskoski

James Droskoski

James is an experienced enterprise SaaS entrepreneur and sales executive with a history of bringing innovative technologies and services to market.  He has been involved with software start-ups for over 15 years.  Most recently, James was responsible for helping build and execute the sales and customer acquisition strategy at WorkMarket.  While there for 5+ years, he established sales best practices and procured some of the company’s largest and most notable customer accounts.  Earlier in his career, James was one of the early team members of AGENCY.COM in the late 90s which became one of the largest interactive marketing agencies in the world, went public and was then acquired by Omnicom.  James has had a consistent track record of sales leadership and product development while developing and positioning disruptive, high value technology solutions for customers.