These Wunderkinds Lead Westchester’s Business Scene in 2024

Our 20 winners are impacting the business, government, and nonprofit landscape of Westchester—all before their 35th birthday.

Hair/ Makeup: Joanna Muollo and Samantha McDonough, Ashely Lauren Beauty Lounge, Tuckahoe

Location: S.I.C. Film School and Great Point Studios’ campus, Yonkers

Rishi Jaggernauth

Rishi Jaggernauth, 30

Chief of Staff for the Cardiometabolic & Rare Disease Commercial Business Unit
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.

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Using the power of science, the biotechnology company Regeneron works to bring new medicines to patients in need. For those afflicted with ultra-rare diseases, these efforts are crucial and lifesaving.

Rishi Jaggernauth uses his business acumen (having earned an MBA from NYU Stern) to oversee strategy and operations across the commercial unit for these innovative medicines, while drawing on his biotech background—the area of science that he began studying back in high school and also as an undergraduate. Merging the two knowledge fields allows him to successfully bring such treatments to market.

“I really found a niche within rare diseases; the individualization of medicine and being able to approach it from different lenses—by working at the intersection of life sciences and business makes it really interesting and appealing,” Jaggernauth says.

“To be able to commercialize a drug for a disease where the amount of people afflicted could fit into a conference room, is a really special thing,” he adds. “To echo the words of the company’s founder, ‘I do well by doing good.’”—JJ

David Lulgjuraj

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David Lulgjuraj, 30

Vice President of Management
Houlihan-Parnes Properties

David Lulgjuraj’s firm, Houlihan-Parnes Properties, is an asset manager, handling property management, construction management, and brokerage for residential, cooperative, condo, retail, and mixed-use buildings. The company oversees more than 2,000 residential units and more than 250,000 square feet of commercial retail space.

“I love real estate. You’re dealing with different kinds of people every day, people who own multimillion dollar apartment buildings and someone who rents a one-bedroom apartment. We’re helping people save money, make money, and stay safe,” Lulgjuraj says.

The firm’s buildings must be inspected every five years for major façade renovations due to Local Law 11 to protect the public from harm, such as debris falling from a deteriorating building. These projects can take years, millions of dollars, and seemingly endless scaffolding.

“We’re trying to figure out ways to save the building’s money, but sometimes the best way isn’t always the cheapest,” he says.

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Born to Albanian parents who immigrated to the US from Montenegro, Lulgjuraj is the first of his family to earn a college degree. Now, as vice president of management, Lulgjuraj trains other property managers. He’s expanded his focus from growing a project to growing the entire firm. —AS

George Alissandratos

George Alissandratos, 28

Associate Attorney & Adjunct Law Professor
Keane & Beane, PC

George Alissandratos doesn’t know how to stop moving. A lifelong soccer player, those same principles apply in his day-to-day life—be light on your feet and keep pushing forward.

Alissandratos began his career as an Associate at Keane & Beane P.C., primed with tenacity and an unyielding determination. He has taken the lead representing various applicants before land use and zoning boards on both commercial and residential projects, and has assisted in litigating a variety of cases, including principally drafting a successful motion for summary judgment in a case involving a $1.5 billion electric generation facility capable of powering one million homes. “The work can be complicated,” says Alissandratos. “It’s fulfilling to navigate the intricacies of each application and case and to come up with creative solutions for the client.”

A few days after his 27th birthday, Alissandratos started his position as an Adjunct Professor at St. John’s University School of Law, where he teaches Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing II for international students and inspires his classes with lively, practical, and well-thought-out lesson plans. He starts every semester with the same motto, and encourages his students to keep reminding themselves of it: We keep pushing; we keep on dreaming; still we rise. “English is not my students’ first language, and legal English is even more complex and foreign—it can all feel isolating at times,” he says. “I want my students to know that it’s okay to be themselves, as that’s what has gotten them to this stage of their careers. If they walk away only remembering one thing from my class, or even just feeling more confident in themselves and their abilities, I know I’ve made an impact in an important part of their lives.” —CC

Alexandra Kelsey Wunderkinds

Alexandra Kelsey, 22

Tax Associate
CohnReznick LLP

At just 22 years old, Alexandra Kelsey’s career is already firmly on track. The hardworking Long Island University graduate and aspiring CPA first worked at CohnReznick, the advisory, assurance, and tax firm in White Plains as an undergraduate intern and was later hired as a full-time tax associate.

Not only is she becoming versed in the world of tax strategies and compliance, with a specialty in the commercial real estate and construction industries, but she also speaks at new hire trainings and has remained actively involved in community service. Recently, Kelsey received CohnReznick’s Making a Difference PYRAMID Award in recognition of her commitment to strengthening communities both inside and outside of the workplace.

“Alexandra’s abilities to effectively manage different responsibilities simultaneously is evident,” says Mary Amato, a partner at the firm. “She has organized community charity events including a backpack drive, Heart Association Walk, and events for Ronald McDonald House, plus taking on training and mentoring for peers, interns, and new hires.”

Kelsey credits her great-grandfather, who worked in accounting, for piquing her interest in the field. “When I was a little girl, we would spend the day together and he would talk about all the things he was involved in,” she remembers. “What I really like about accounting is that there are so many different avenues, like consulting, which I love, and tax auditing, or you can go internationally with it.” —JJ

Ben Seo

Ben Seo, 30

Marketing Manager
Harrison Edwards

Great marketing has always run in Ben Seo’s blood. A marketing manager at the Armonk-based public relations firm Harrison Edwards, Seo began his career producing marketing for his local church, creating YouTube videos, social-media posts, and live streams, which he still does today. Today, Seo is also an increasingly high-powered expert in his field, producing marketing material for clients in sectors including film and entertainment, broadband, healthcare, professional services, and nonprofits.

“Marketing is really about coordinating with the team, not only about how to get deliverables done but to do it in a way that best serves the business goals and strategies of our clients,” says Seo. “We don’t want to build a Facebook ad that is just pretty, but we want it to have an emotional impact on our clients and their customers.”

Seo chalks much of his success in creating impactful pieces to his evolution as a good coworker and perennial team player. “Earlier in my career, I was just trying to prove myself, demonstrate my strategic thinking, and make sure I was hitting deadlines,” reflects Seo. “But as I’ve grown, it’s become more about celebrating the wins of my coworkers and other people on my team so that they can grow in their careers.” —PA

Frank Didomizio

Frank Didomizio, 32

Detective Sergeant, Public Information Officer, and Executive Officer to the Police Commissioner
City of Yonkers Police Department

Frank DiDomizio is more than a police detective sergeant in the largest city in Westchester and third-largest city in New York State. As the public information officer, he’s regularly facing media in high-profile cases, representing the almost 700-member City of Yonkers Police Department.

DiDomizio is also the executive officer to the police commissioner, serving as his right-hand man to administer departmentwide policies; liaison with Department of Labor to ensure practices are aligned with state and public employee rules; assist in managing special projects; and overhaul technology, such as a new computer-aided dispatch, record-management system, real-time crime center using AI, and a drone first responder.

“These days we’re doing things we’ve never done before to stay relevant and serve the public better,” DiDomizio says.

Yonkers is the fourth-safest city in the US for its home and community safety, according to WalletHub’s 2023 study including 182 cities nationwide.

“Our crime rate now is pretty incredible compared to when I was growing up in the ’90s, and I’m proud to be a part of it, of everything Yonkers has become,” he says. “We’re always trying to do better. You can never be totally satisfied.” —AS

Lucia Luppino

Lucia Luppino, 34

Medical Aesthetician
Northwell Health Plastic Surgery

Whether she is serving as a bereavement counselor, founding exercise programs for children, teaching spinning, or working as a state-of-the-art medical aesthetician, Lucia Luppino is always assisting others. “I really like helping people,” says Luppino. ”It’s not all about big lips and big butts. It’s really about helping people feel good about themselves and improving their self esteem.”

For the last 12 years, the selfless mom of two has worked as a medical aesthetician for Dr. David A. Palaia and Dr. Michael H. Rosenberg at Northwell Health in Chappaqua Crossing. “I assist the doctors with procedures, lasers, do all pre- and post-operative skincare, and post-operative lymphatic drainage,” says Luppino, who also performs hydro-facials, chemical peels, and is an acne specialist. “I help a lot of people, both men and women, who struggle with acne.”

Yet behind each achievement lies Luppino’s fervent wish to serve as a model for her two young daughters. “I want my children to look up to me as a woman, as a mother, and see that they can do anything,” says Luppino. “So many people told me ‘no’ when I was younger that I can’t do this and can’t do that, and I want to show them I can. I want my children to see that.” —PA

Francis Volpe, 30 Michael Capozzi & Tony Pec, 29

Francis Volpe, 30 Michael Capozzi & Tony Pec, 29

Owners
Y Not You Media

Finding success and joy with your work at a young age can feel like a diamond in the rough, but for Francis Volpe, Michael Capozzi, and Tony Pec, who have been in the same circles since high school, it was something they knew they were destined for. At Y Not You Media, their triumph is driven by the expertise and unique talents that each of them brings to shape the company’s trajectory. As head of Content Creation, Volpe leads the content team, and is responsible for ideating, developing, and executing compelling and innovative content that resonates with the target audience. “We need to lead by example,” Volpe says. “Our goal is to foster a culture of creativity and continuous improvement for ourselves so that our clients recognize the impact we can make for their businesses.” Pec serves as the head of Customer Acquisition and Relations, the driving force behind the team’s customer-centric approach. By analyzing market dynamics and staying attuned to customer needs, Pec keeps Y Not You’s finger on the pulse of what’s cutting edge. “The most important factor of our work is the connections we make with our clients,” says Pec. “We want the people we work with to feel like they are a part of an important network, not just a one-and-done scenario.”

Rounding out the team is Capozzi, head of Operations, the man behind the seamless execution of day-to-day activities, ensuring efficiency and excellence across all operational facets.

Their collaborative efforts and determination to be at the top of their field have made a lasting difference for the trio. Over the past 4.5 years, the business saw significant growth, transforming from a six-figure venture in 2019 to an impressive $4 million in total revenue currently. This meteoric rise stands as a testament to their unwavering dedication to delivering unparalleled services, but also their dedication to each other. “We know we can rely on each other for help with a client or a question when we need it,” says Capozzi. “It’s become a well-oiled machine.” —CC

Nicholas Sioufas Wunderkinds

Nicholas Sioufas, 30

Grants Specialist
City of New Rochelle

Nicholas Sioufas has a dedication far beyond creating better opportunities for the people of New Rochelle: He wants to impart lasting change on the city for generations to come. With his work coordinating with all departments of the city’s government to pursue grant initiatives for programing funding, Sioufas’ reach is into every corner of government, from climate and environmental initiatives, to transportation, to stormwater infrastructure and safety projects. “As a New Rochelle native, there is something very special about working to support the community you were raised in,” says Sioufas. “It doesn’t feel like work. It feels like making the place I live better every single day.”

A lawyer by trade, Sioufas recently returned to school for his advanced degree in Environmental Law-Specialization in Land Use and Sustainable Development Law, to better serve the New Rochelle community. Previously, as an Excelsior Service Fellow, he worked at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Counsel’s Office in Albany. An outspoken advocate for biodiversity, equitable development, and universally lifting up the quality of life of the community, Sioufas’ work has already echoed impacts throughout New Rochelle. Recently, the city was recognized by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for its efforts to meet the challenges posed by climate change and earned bronze-level status in New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program. “It’s an uphill battle any time you’re trying to elicit positive change,” says Sioufas. “But I know what the city is capable of, and that’s what makes me excited each day at the office.” —CC

Giovanni Ozias-Lopes

Giovanni Ozias-Lopes, 27

Marketing & Communications Associate
Feeding Westchester

When your mission is so dire, every moment of the day counts — this is something Giovanni Ozias-Lopes knows well. Fueled by the determination to combat food insecurity across the county, Ozias-Lopes has become the Swiss Army knife of Feeding Westchester. He has singlehandedly served as the nonprofit’s graphics department, and when it ran its largest-ever brand campaign this past fall, he personally designed all the train platform posters, magazine ads, and social posts, all of which contributed to an unprecedented rise in local brand awareness. With his zest for life and contagious attitude, Ozias-Lopes has brought a fun, new tone to Feeding Westchester’s social media presence and greatly expanded its donor base.

This work never stops for Ozias-Lopes, who donned a turkey costume at this year’s Turkey Express, one of the largest philanthropy events for Feeding Westchester partner, Stop & Shop. When a somewhat frustrated Stop & Shop administrator was halfheartedly calling out for someone to wear a turkey suit for a photo ops, Ozias-Lopes enthusiastically volunteered and became a legend. News12 only wanted to interview the impossibly enthusiastic turkey to the chagrin of some high-ranking executives, and the Gio-turkey was featured prominently on several news updates and social media platforms, bringing an incredible amount of joy to all people involved. For Ozias-Lopes, that’s all in a day’s work of living the mission with everything he does. —CC

Christopher Boyer

Christopher Boyer, 33

Managing Partner, Enrolled Agent Tax Accountant
Boyer 2 Accountants Inc.

Chris Boyer was a whiz at sports statistics from the time he was 5 years old, showing a talent for numbers. And at 15, he created his first business, a virtual store called CBAuthentix, to sell baseball cards.

About a decade later, Boyer turned that small eBay store into an all-inclusive bookkeeping, tax preparation, and consulting business, after earning his master’s degree in accounting.

In 2021, Boyer consolidated his business with the firm run by his father, Keith Boyer, creating Boyer 2 Accountants in White Plains. It’s a boutique firm with a legacy of more than 50 years, serving clients year-round.

“It’s a very stressful subject for a lot of clients, and they don’t want to talk about it, but I can save them money,” he says. “I’m helping people with their financial goals, figuring out ways with the current tax law, and it’s a lot of planning, brainstorming, and implementing. I can save clients time and stress.” —AS

Malcom Clark Wunderkinds

Malcom Clark, 33

Chief of Staff
City of Mount Vernon

Helping to manage day-to-day operations for the city of Mount Vernon, Malcolm Clark says he feels a bit like a Swiss Army knife as he adapts to various tasks and challenges.

Clark’s roles in government affairs include being a principal advisor to Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard and representing her when she is not available. In addition, he crafts policy for the city, assists with speechwriting and communications, and collaborates with those overseeing the city budget.

From a very young age, the Mount Vernon native felt a calling and responsibility to civic service. “I find that it is one of the greatest connectors, because everything we do in life is connected to government or politics—from the lights being on to potholes in the road—and being a public servant is something I pride myself on,” Clark says.

This dynamic leader has been civically engaged since the age of 16, when he began working at Mount Vernon City Hall and has since worked “on every floor.” Later he was elected the youngest trustee at Mount Vernon Public Library and became its youngest vice president. In addition, he has worked on campaigns for several prominent political races in the county and served on the Westchester County Board of Legislators. —JJ

Ashley Ricciardi

Ashley Ricciardi, 28

Human Resources Generalist
DeCicco & Sons

Believe it or not, Ashley Ricciardi hasn’t thought about another job since beginning work at DeCicco & Sons at the age of 16. “I found a family amongst the people I work with and it’s that same way today. I just love the environment and the culture at DeCicco’s,” says Ricciardi, who began as a cashier back in 2012. “I always felt like a person, not just a number. It is a family environment, and you work with people who generally care about you.”

Now 28, Ricciardi is the company’s human resource generalist, constantly at work fulfilling payroll and paid-time-off requests, interviewing candidates at various DeCicco’s locations, and answering a host of requests and needs from employees. “HR for me is more about helping people reach their highest potential,” says Ricciardi. “I am where I am because people believed in me throughout the years, and now I want to do that for somebody else.”

At heart, Ricciardi simply hopes to do for others what DeCicco’s did for her. “They believed in me before I even believed in myself,” Ricciardi says of DeCicco & Sons. “I was so young when I started, but they saw potential in me and they gave me an opportunity at that age. I had a very mature role so early on, and it really ended up helping me grow as an adult.” —PA

Kyle Byrne

Kyle Byrne, 30

Assistant Director of Student and Alumni Engagement
Iona University

Serving as the assistant director of Student and Alumni Engagement for Iona University’s LaPenta School of Business, Kyle Byrne is heralded as “Iona’s unsung hero.” Byrne teaches entrepreneurship and communications classes as an adjunct professor, acts as a mentor to students, coordinates career development programs, and co-owns a software development company. Notably, Byrne—in his new role at LaPenta’s Dean’s Office—fostered an initiative named “A View from the C-Suite”, in which he inter views renowned members of the business arena, such as the CEOs of Heineken USA, Visa, Le Creuset, chief operating officer of HR at Bloomberg, and the chief financial officer of Steve Madden. The initiative has drawn so much attention among the student body that when it takes place, the auditorium is packed wall-to-wall, leaving no seat unwarmed.

Byrne, recognizing the value of outside-the-classroom education, regularly organizes field visits. In 2023, some of these outings included: The New York Stock Exchange, Bloomberg, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Paramount, and Dow Jones.

The bridges Byrne has helped build, connecting LaPenta business students to the real world, have guided many students to opportunities in prestigious organizations, such as Morgan Stanely, NBC Universal, Citi, and more. —WX

Kimberly Pennington

Kimberly Pennington, 31

Banker & National President of the Key Young Professionals
KeyBank

From the minuscule to the grand, Kimberly Pennington puts her passion and energy into everything she does. Starting her career as KeyBank’s market coordinator for the Hudson Valley and New York Metro area, Pennington was not only responsible for all internal event executions and lines of business, but also fostering a relationship within the community. Her seamless work soon saw her climbing the ranks within KeyBank, earning her the status of one of the state’s top performing bankers. “Meeting people where they are, mom-and-pop shops to big corporations, is my favorite part of my job,” says Pennington. “I get to be a part of the building process of something really special.”

Heralded throughout the company as a natural leader, Pennington was appointed president of the Hudson Valley Chapter of the Key Young Professionals KBING (Key Business Impact Networking Group) in 2019. Three years and hundreds of programs later, she became the national president of the organization, leading 28 regional teams and working closely with the company’s CEO and executive leadership team to further drive the KBING’s impact. This past year alone, Pennington has been instrumental in securing and planning Key4Women events, ensuring that everything was on track throughout the planning process, negotiating the details with the speaker, and displaying confidence as the moderator for the event. While she’s seen as a mentor and a trailblazer, at her core, Pennington is a people person. “I love everything that goes into forming a community. It makes us a stronger company, and I’m proud to be a piece in that puzzle.” —CC

Annie Willis Wunderkinds

Annie Willis, 27

District Director
New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Annie Willis, at the young age of 27, has already achieved an impressive curriculum vitae. Willis currently serves as the district director in the office of New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Her role plays a crucial part in Westchester, as she is in charge of organizing funding requests within the majority leader’s district, engaging with constituents on legislative and community matters, and ensuring that Stewart-Cousins meets with the proper advocacy groups, leaders, and nonprofits in the county with the power to foster change.

Willis played an instrumental role in mobilizing a first line of defense during the COVID-19 pandemic by securing testing kits, personal protective equipment, vaccination appointments, and unemployment benefits for Stewart-Cousins’ constituents.

In her already demanding role, Willis miraculously finds time to lead the Majority Leader’s Youth Advisory Council, in which she mentors young adults between 20-30 years old, organizes workshops on community cleanup, pressing social and policy issues, and more.

Willis is also an involved member of the NAACP-Yonkers Chapter, the Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, the Yonkers African American Heritage Committee, and the Westchester Young Democrats, further demonstrating her deep-rooted passion for community progression. —WX

Joshua Dooz

Joshua Dooz, 29

Founder and Owner
Stockroom Records LLC

According to founder and owner Joshua Dooz, Stockroom Records is not just a recording studio and record label, but also a local hub for artists to unite, collaborate, and unleash their best work.

The Dobbs Ferry native said his vision to create such a business was formed in the actual stockroom of the dance studio that Dooz’s parents own in Scarsdale. When the idea took root, he eventually needed to move to a dedicated space, and in November 2021, the “recording studio and creative collective” officially opened in Mamaroneck.

Beyond services that include music production—mixing consoles, computers, and microphones — the studio also offers lessons and rehearsal space, in addition to providing artist management, promotion, and distribution. “It is special to see these artists find their confidence and just have a platform to express what they always knew they had inside of them,” Dooz says.

“I am a recording artist, producer, and engineer,” he explains. “We also do live shows, open mics, and a clothing brand — and we are going to open a community café and wellness center above the studio; I call it the orchestra of wellness and creativity.” —JJ

Tiago Felizardo

Tiago Felizardo, 32

Associate, Project Manager
Lothrop Associates Architects

With an educational background in engineering, Tiago Felizardo found his home at Lothrop Associates Architects as a design professional, specializing in aquatic facility design, filtration equipment, and hydraulic systems designs for pools, spas, water features, steam rooms, and saunas of differing sizes and intricacies. Felizardo has experience working both in residential and commercial development. “One notable project in our community that I personally worked on would be the Playland Park Pool renovation. This was a complete removal and redesign of their very large pool, which included a newly designed state-of-the-art filtration and water treatment systems and integral spray pad/spray features, which provide interactive user experience for kids,” says Felizardo. “I recall visiting Playland Park as a young child, and with the park being a long-standing icon in our community, it was special to me to be able to work and run a project of this magnitude for our firm and deliver for our community for years to come.”

After four rigorous years at Lothrop Associates Architects’ Aquatectonic team as project manager, Felizardo earned an esteemed position as associate. Felizardo’s determination, positive attitude, innovation, and quality work are reflected through his rapid ascent up the corporate ladder. Respected and lauded by his peers, colleagues, and clients, Felizardo is certainly making waves at Lothrop Associates Architects. —WX

Christopher Cordero Wunderkinds

Christopher Cordero, 31

Director of Operations
Westchester Medical Center

Keeping systems running smoothly at Westchester Medical Center, the flagship institution of the WMC Health Network, is of vital importance. As director of operations, Chris Cordero oversees key service lines for the hospital to ensure its mission of “providing the highest quality of care for Hudson Valley residents.”

The 31-year-old Bronxville native’s interest in the healthcare industry developed in childhood, having been raised by parents who were both clinicians-turned-healthcare administrators. “It really instilled my love for the field and my commitment to it,” he says.

Cordero’s qualifications make him uniquely prepared for the job: He holds a bachelor’s degree in health science, along with a master’s and a doctorate degree in health administration. He says his goals are to increase access, reduce costs, and to keep his focus on delivering exceptional care, where administrators “not only manage systems, but sculpt environments where every individual’s journey toward wellness is guided with compassion, integrity, and dedication; I make sure that we are moving forward to meet the needs of our patient population.” —JJ

Shatika Parker

Shatika Parker, 32

Committee Coordinator
Westchester County Board of Legislators

Shatika Parker is a force of nature. Although for the last six years, Parker has been the committee coordinator for the Westchester County Board of Legislators, she has also co-founded her own nonprofit and recently ran for a seat on the Yonkers City Council, losing by just 25 votes. “I don’t even really count that as a loss because we did so much good work during that campaign,” says Parker. “We registered so many new voters, and I really immersed myself in my community.”

Parker’s nonprofit, Project Inspire Yonkers, was aimed at lifting up this very community. “We wanted to create something that inspired both kids and adults to live their lives more fully,” says Parker, who is also the recipient of the 2022 YWCA Spirit of a Woman Award for “opening up doors for the younger generation to immerse themselves in the political world,” she says. Looking toward her own family, Parker is in fact squarely focused on just that.

“I have a 3-year-old daughter in the same town I grew up, so I still see myself being impactful as long as I am here, because I want this place to be better every day for her,” Parker says. “So, I see myself continuing to be involved in grassroots organizations here in Yonkers and in Westchester as a whole and, professionally, I would really love to become more involved in the policy side of work and really shaping what legislation looks like.” —PA

Related: What Does the Future of Business Look Like in Westchester?

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