Speaker Bios in Order of Appearance
JOHN BRONSON is an expert in the field of strategic corporate and operational development. Having spent the better part of his 28-year career helping high-growth companies build big brands through careful attention to the people who run them.
Mr. Bronson is a strong advocate for the principles behind strategic planning and hiring. He is experienced in identifying market trends and developing the strategic vision for corporations to capitalize upon emerging business opportunities.
Mr. Bronson spent 20 years with PepsiCo where his last position as Executive Vice President for Human Resources at Pepsi-Cola Worldwide helped the Company grow at a record pace during a frenzied period of global expansion for the industry. While at PepsiCo, Mr. Bronson developed their global manpower planning/development system, consolidated Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC into one International operating unit, and managed Worldwide Compensation and Benefits for over 350,000 employees.
Most recently, Mr. Bronson was a Senior Vice President and head of Human Resources for Williams-Sonoma, Inc., where he was responsible for managing the company’s rapidly growing human resource needs, including staffing, recruitment, compensation and benefits, and management development and training. During John’s four years at Williams-Sonoma, revenues increased from $1.1 billion in 1998 to $2.3 billion in 2002.
He is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Len Schutzman Center for Entrepreneurship at Queens College.
JOHN LUSK is the author of the best-selling book, The MouseDriver Chronicles, and a small business advocate for over 15 years. Most recently, he was the VP, Marketing at WhitePages, one of the largest websites in the US. Prior to WhitePages, he served in a number of marketing operational roles at Microsoft and co-founded Platinum Concepts, Inc., the manufacturer of MouseDriver, a specialty computer mouse shaped as the head of a driver golf club.
He once served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council and continues to share his insights and experiences with entrepreneurs. He’s a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of entrepreneurship and the emotional experiences associated with starting a company. His own experiences are captured in The MouseDriver Chronicles and in his newsletter, The MouseDriver Insider. John has appeared in numerous print, television and radio publications including Inc. Magazine, NPR’s Morning Marketplace, CNET Radio, Sky Radio Network, Bloomberg News Radio, TechNow TV, Silicon Valley Business News, Business Week, USA Today and PRWeek.
John graduated from SMU with a degree in Management Information Sciences and an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Strategy from The Wharton School of Business. Once a semi-professional soccer player, he’s now an avid runner, cyclist and adventurer…and continues to wreck his body by playing soccer.
ALI WING founded giggle in 2002 as a parenting resource destination by offering smart solutions in products and customized services to help make it easier for new parents. giggle personal shoppers and baby registry offer parents a set of tools such as gear guides, starter checklists and a baby gear dictionary. With its robust e-business complementing its retail operations in New York City, Ali continues to expand its operations with the recent opening of its 13th retail store in Boston, MA.
She serves as a parenting resource through both her published works and her speeches, helping new parents navigate the glut of choices out there and find only what they need, when they need it. Because of her extensive product knowledge, Ali is a regular speaker on lifestyle topics for parents and has written a book on the topic, the giggle guide to baby gear (Chronicle Books, 2008). Ali is also a columnist for The Bump and Modern Mom and co-author of the lilaguide baby gear buyer's guide, the Zagat's of baby gear.
Before giggle, Ali worked for companies ranging from Fortune 500 NIKE to multi-channel Bay Area start-up Gazoontite, the first-ever retailer of branded environmental control products for allergies and asthma.
Her education includes an MBA from Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a JD from the Northwestern School of Law.
She serves as executive director of the Tecumseh Foundation and is on several boards, including Baby Buggy, The New York Center for Children, Kids Today, and Northwestern University. Ali also serves on the Directors' Council at the Children's Museum of the Arts.
DR. BARRY LIBIN (BA, DDS, MSD, MS (management) is a serial entrepreneur who throughout his career has carried projects successfully from inception to final exit strategy. His interests have spanned the clinical practice of periodontics to building businesses and public service. As a scientist and researcher, Dr. Libin holds over 15 patents in drug development, has numerous scientific publications, and has lectured throughout the world.
Dr. Libin was founder of BML Pharmaceuticals, a medical R&D company; MedRecords Alert LLC, an internet-based electronic medical records company; and is presently President and CEO of Sustained Nano Systems, a privately-held particle drug delivery company which allows for a sustained and constant delivery of a drug from weeks to years, as needed.
He was on staff at the New York Hospital—Cornell Medical School. He has his MS degree in management and policy from Harriman School at the University of Stony Brook and a DDS degree from New York University.
He wrote the book, music and lyrics to GREED!
JEFF WILSON With over 30 years of advertising experience, Jeff is an expert in brand marketing . Jeff started his own firm, 1974, where he serviced both regional and national retailers. After selling his agency to DDB, Jeff served as the Executive Vice President of DDB’s national retail division, servicing Weight Watchers, Tandy Corporation, and VW.
Most recently, Jeff was CEO of WPA Communications, a specialty retail agency servicing such diverse clients as PacifiCare to the Outdoor Life network. Jeff has been instrumental in the entrepreneurial development of Jamba Juice (even owning several of their stores) and Airborne 1, a mapping data provider to Google.
Jeff is also an associate with Leonard Schutzman Associates.
OSCAR FIGUEROA is the president and founder of The JoMax Group, Inc. (an investment management and financial consulting firm he founded in 2004), after he retired from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He spent over 27 employed by the Rutgers Business School, where he served as the President and Investment Manager of University Ventures, Inc. (UV), a Specialized Small Business Investment Company (SSBIC) started by Rutgers in 1970 and housed at the Rutgers Business School until 2004, when the company was sold.
He has also served as Investment Manager of Triad Capital Corporation, another SSBIC in New York City. In addition to his investment management activities, he has been personally involved in building businesses from concepts to mergers, and in the sale and acquisition of businesses of all sizes.
He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Schutzman Center for Entrepreneurship at Queens College and has been a member of various boards of directors, including University Ventures, Inc., the National Association of Investment Companies and United Healthcare System.
Mr. Figueroa received his Masters Degree in Economics from the Pennsylvania State University and his BS Degree from Queens College. He also played in the Queens College soccer team, under Coach Wettan.
ALEX YAKUBOV, a spring '09 Culinary Arts graduate of Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA), has opened Pizza Palace Cafe, a dairy and pareve restaurant in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens, NY. He began at CKCA as an experienced businessman with little to no cooking skills or advanced knowledge, but had dreams of opening a pizza parlor in his own Forest Hills neighborhood. The training he received at CKCA provided him with a solid understanding of how to run and manage a successful professional kosher kitchen.
The Pizza Palace Café offers a wide range of dairy and pareve treats, from delicious omelets, waffles and pancake breakfasts to salads, pizza, fish, pasta and sushi lunches and dinners, with a full line of desserts such as cheesecake and ice cream. All of the sauces are homemade and the restaurant uses only the freshest of ingredients. The Cafe has already gained the reputation as the best place in the neighborhood to get penne a la vodka, although Alex’s favorite is Penne alfredo.
ARON SHOENFELD, Aron has had the opportunity to work in various business ventures that provided him general business principles and sales practices. By the age of 15, Aron had already managed a successful office supply store and video rental business during the summers in a bungalow colony in Monticello, NY. He also sold consumer products to commercial office supplies with various family members. While pursuing an MBA from Baruch College, his work at Ernst &Young led him to becoming a co-founder of DreamArtists Studios, a boutique music production company composing original music for television, film, and commercials. After success in the music industry while head of business operations at DreamArtists Studios, he decided to keep the music industry as his main focus. He is also co-founder of PipeDream Entertainment, a startup that focuses on experimental music for video and advertising.
Aron’s newest project is Do It In Person, LLC (www.doitinperson.com), a resource site to teach people in person communication skills and facilitate opportunities for these skills to be used and practiced. This site serves to be an aggregator of in person communication skills so that the next generation, which will grow up on social media, will have access to these resources to teach them real world skills.
JEREMY ECKER Ecker '98 is the owner of The Bed Bug Inspectors. He has worked in the pest control industry for the past 17 years with the last 8 years as Vice President of one of the most respected regional pest control companies in New York. He is part of a NESDCA Certified Dog Team that includes two dogs, Cruiser and Freedom. A graduate of Queens College, Jeremy was a sociology major.