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Emerging Leaders &
Markets Conference 2024

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Challenges to DEI Legislation

3:00-4:15pm

Breakout Room- Jive/Bop

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Kim Hardy, Esq- Moderator

Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Compliance

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Kim Hardy is Vice President and oversees McKissack’s Diversity, Inclusion and Compliance Services group. She is an accomplished attorney with over 20 years of experience in regulatory compliance, external affairs and construction. Kim’s career has been characterized by senior positions in New York City and State government and associations with two international firms specializing in developing, managing and reviewing diversity and inclusion related compliance programs for public and private entities. She is experienced in leading investigations and conducting screenings to assist clients in ensuring compliance on projects. She has extensive experience working with governmental entities at federal, State and local levels, developers, contractors, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations and community stakeholders during all phases of the development of a construction project. Kim earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from North Carolina Central University and earned her JD from Yale Law School.

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Carrie Torres

Vice President of the Department Empowerment, Compliance, and Opportunity

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Carrie Torres is Vice President of the Department Empowerment, Compliance, and Opportunity for New York State Homes and Community Renewal, with a mission to build, preserve, and protect affordable housing and increase homeownership. Carrie's objective is to promote equitable access to economic opportunities for minority and women owned business enterprises plus service disabled and veteran owned business enterprises by eliminating barriers to their participation in NYS contracting. She is currently serving on the Governor’s Interagency Taskforce on Health Equity and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She previously served as a Senior Advisor and Strategic Projects Manager for the Fund for Public Housing and the New York City Housing Authority. A public/private partnership where she led fundraising initiatives to develop and support resident programs for over 500,000 residents in North America's largest public housing authority. Carrie is a professor of Data Analytics at St. Francis College located in downtown Brooklyn, an executive board member of Active Plus, a non-profit organization serving at risk youth with fitness, mindfulness, and leadership skills and an Advisory member of Sunday funds, a interest-free micro lender that supports entrepreneurs globally. She is currently the New York State Assembly Majority Whip, Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and serves on the following committees: Housing, Government Operations, Education, Governmental Operations, Health, Higher Education, Housing, and Ways and Means.She also sits on Governor Hochul's Domestic Violence Advisory Council and Mayor Adams’ MWBE Task Force. ​ Born and raised in Flatbush Brooklyn as a daughter of Haitian immigrants, heir to Haiti’s Slave abolitionist Jean Jacques Desssaline, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the first Haitian American woman elected in New York City; the first Engineer elected to the New York State Legislature; and the first woman to chair the Democratic County Party in Brooklyn. ​ Since Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn became a legislator in 2015, she has introduced over 200 pieces of Legislation, 34 of which became law, and has co-sponsored over 250 others. ​ As an Assemblymember and District Leader, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn has been an outspoken and ardent advocate on issues concerning her Assembly District and all New Yorkers, including (but not limited to) immigration, education, economic development, unemployment, education reform, healthcare access, senior citizen centers, affordable housing, school safety, women’s and LGBTQ rights, as well as other issues affecting the quality of life in the community. ​ And as the New York State Assembly Majority Whip, Bichotte Hermelyn also works to ensure that her fellow legislators are united on passing bills that aid their constituents and uplift all New Yorkers. ​ As the Chair of the MWBE Subcommittee, Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn has been instrumental in the passage of laws she sponsored to help MWBEs thrive and succeed. Just some of the Assemblymember's sponsored MWBE-related bills signed into law in 2022 include legislation to: prevent fraud and abuse within the MWBE Program (A9259); allow businesses to use MWBE Development and Lending Program funds to refinance existing debts (A6420); and doubling the discretionary spend threshold on state contracts to $1M without a need for competitive bidding (A10459).

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Jason Clark, Esq

Executive Vice President

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Jason Myles Clark serves as the Executive Vice President of the Division of Minority & Women’s Business Development. Prior to joining the Empire State Development Corp. most Jason served as Executive Director at Tech:NYC, where he successfully prioritized reducing the digital divide and building a tech ecosystem that works for all New Yorkers. Before Tech:NYC, he was a lawyer at Hamilton Clarke LLP and previously served as First Attorney for the Harlem Regional Office in the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Jason also founded DREAMChasers, an organization helping students from underrepresented backgrounds attend New York City’s specialized high schools; is legal director of Good Call NYC, an organization that connects arrested New Yorkers with a free attorney; and served as President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. In 2021, Jason ran for New York City Council in District 27, his home district. Jason is a Southeast Queens native who brings to ESD a wealth of experience expanding opportunity for New Yorkers. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Michigan Law School.

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Valerie White

Sr. Executive Director

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As Executive Director of LISC NY, Valerie is responsible for advancing a platform of racial and economic equity by building on $3.1 billion in LISC NYC investments to spur affordable housing, economic development, health equity, and workforce development in underserved neighborhoods. In this role, Valerie leads the team in developing a vision, and advancing strategic policies and programs that foster equity and inclusion in disinvested communities. Before joining LISC NYC in April 2020, Valerie was executive vice president at Empire State Development (ESD), as well as executive director of the New York State Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development. Previously, she was vice president at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. Valerie also spent 17 years at Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings (S&P); leading the public finance structured and affordable housing business as managing director. In addition to her extensive professional experience, she also serves on the advisory board for the Fordham Urban Law Center, and is a director on the Fordham Law Alumni Association. Valerie holds both a bachelor’s degree in communications and a law degree from Fordham University, as well as a master’s degree and certificate in organization development from The New School.

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Seth Bryant

Managing Partner

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Seth advises clients ranging from Fortune 100 Companies and financial institutions, to governmental entities and public benefit corporations, to investment funds and entrepreneurs on transactional and strategic legal matters. Seth brings approximately twenty-five years of corporate, securities law, and finance and governance experience in providing guidance to clients as they pursue their business objectives. Seth has practiced extensively on securities and finance transactions, including sales of fixed income instruments such as municipal bonds, institutional private placements of debt securities and on bank facilities, and equity securities such as preferred and common stock, convertible notes, limited liability company interests, and warrants among other investment products. Seth advises clients on compliance with Federal and State ‘Blue Sky’ securities laws matters, including guiding on the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, and the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012. Seth has deep experience representing parties in mergers & acquisitions transactions, joint ventures, license agreements and other strategic transactions. Seth also serves as “external” general counsel or commercial counsel to market leading ventures and not-for-profit entities and has managed matters ranging from anti-trust issues, intellectual property infringement and general business litigation. Seth is a specialist in matters related to Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (“MWBE”) programs. He has drafted MWBE focused laws, assisted clients on “Majority – MWBE” mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures, counseled on MWBE certification eligibility and MWBE compliance. In 2010, Seth represented a coalition that worked closely with the New York State legislature and New York State’s pension plans in enacting “The New York State Emerging Investment Manager and MWBE Financial Institution Strategy” (S6888, A9976), a law to encourage more diversity in investment advisors, financial institutions and other professional firms that provide services to New York State pensions, insurance and other funds. In September of 2016, Seth published a comprehensive paper, “The ‘State’ of New York MWBE Programs, An Inflection Point?”, which provided in depth analysis of the MWBE programs of New York State and New York City. Seth continues the important work on behalf of MWBEs, including serving as a member of the Mayor of The City of New York’s MWBE Advisory Board. Seth is a member of the New York City Bar Association where he was the Chairman of the Legal Education and Pipeline Task Force of the Committee to Enhance Diversity in the Profession, which published “Sealing The Leaks: Recommendations To Diversify and Strengthen The Pipeline To The Legal Profession”, May 17, 2019. Seth is a also a member of the American College of Investment Counsel, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, the National Association of Bond Lawyers and the National Bar Association. Seth is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Minority and Women-Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) and serves as Co-Chair of NAMWOLF’s Advocacy Committee. Seth is also a Trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC), a nonpartisan civic organization focused on constructive change in the finances and services of New York City and New York State. Seth is a Founder and former member of the Board of Directors of the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP). Seth is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo-Masten Alumni/Alumnae Association. Seth earned a J.D. in 1995 from New York University School of Law where he was a Root-Tilden Snow Scholar. He earned B.A. degrees in 1992 from New York University College of Arts and Sciences where he double majored in Philosophy and in Political Science. Seth is admitted to practice in New York State.

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Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Assembly Woman, District 42

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Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn encompassing Ditmas Park, Flatbush, East Flatbush and Midwood. She is currently the New York State Assembly Majority Whip, Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and serves on the following committees: Housing, Government Operations, Education, Governmental Operations, Health, Higher Education, Housing, and Ways and Means.She also sits on Governor Hochul's Domestic Violence Advisory Council and Mayor Adams’ MWBE Task Force. ​ Born and raised in Flatbush Brooklyn as a daughter of Haitian immigrants, heir to Haiti’s Slave abolitionist Jean Jacques Desssaline, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the first Haitian American woman elected in New York City; the first Engineer elected to the New York State Legislature; and the first woman to chair the Democratic County Party in Brooklyn. ​ Since Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn became a legislator in 2015, she has introduced over 200 pieces of Legislation, 34 of which became law, and has co-sponsored over 250 others. ​ As an Assemblymember and District Leader, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn has been an outspoken and ardent advocate on issues concerning her Assembly District and all New Yorkers, including (but not limited to) immigration, education, economic development, unemployment, education reform, healthcare access, senior citizen centers, affordable housing, school safety, women’s and LGBTQ rights, as well as other issues affecting the quality of life in the community. ​ And as the New York State Assembly Majority Whip, Bichotte Hermelyn also works to ensure that her fellow legislators are united on passing bills that aid their constituents and uplift all New Yorkers. ​ As the Chair of the MWBE Subcommittee, Assemblymember Bichotte Hermelyn has been instrumental in the passage of laws she sponsored to help MWBEs thrive and succeed. Just some of the Assemblymember's sponsored MWBE-related bills signed into law in 2022 include legislation to: prevent fraud and abuse within the MWBE Program (A9259); allow businesses to use MWBE Development and Lending Program funds to refinance existing debts (A6420); and doubling the discretionary spend threshold on state contracts to $1M without a need for competitive bidding (A10459).

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