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Emerging Leaders &
Markets Conference 2023

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The 'Green' Building Economy


Presidents Room

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Gordon Bell - Moderator

Chief Operating Officer


Gordon Bell has worked in investment banking and portfolio management over three decades, overseeing both fixed income and equity investments at firms such as JPMorgan, Prudential, Citigroup and Legacy Growth Partners. Gordon’s institutional clients have included Pepsico, American Express and Time Warner. Mr. Bell currently leads Shinda Management, a 300 person real estate company aimed at leveraging proprietary technology to deliver superior tenant and owner services. He is also serves as President of Legacy Suite, a fast-growing digital platform with patented technology that enhances user safety in the Web 3 environment. Mr. Bell is also Exec Vice Chair of TPC, an apparel company with brands in seven of the top ten US retailers. Gordon previously committed ten years to serving Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, established as the nation’s first Community Development Corporation by Bobby Kennedy in 1967. He helped to close the acquisition of over 2,600 units of housing, making it the largest deal in Restoration's 50-yr history. As founding chairman, continuing officer and Director of the New York Real Estate Chamber, and a founding and current member of the Black Business Collaborative, Mr. Bell has helped convene the most successful minority and women led real estate firms, other businesses and faith-based organizations to engage and develop solutions with both the business and government communities. Gordon follows in the footsteps of Sydney Poitier and Cab Calloway and is a proud member of the Westchester Clubmen and the African American Men of Westchester and is a Managing Partner of the 1619 Development Group. With expertise in several industries, including healthcare and real estate, and a desire to promote social welfare, Gordon served as a C-Level leader and Director at North General Hospital, the Ralph Lauren Cancer Center, Literacy Partners and others. As an officer and Director of the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency, Gordon helped vet and approve a multi-billion dollar development plan that is currently underway. Gordon has served as a Board Director of the Joint Ownership Entity of NYC and New York City’s EDC New Market Tax Credit Advisory Board. Mr. Bell earned his BA and MBA degrees from Harvard, attended the University of Mexico as a Rotary International Fellow, and earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Gordon is a longstanding member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an outspoken advocate for the Steve Fund, a national, philanthropic initiative aimed at achieving equity in mental wellness. Gordon and his wife, Professor Sherrie Bell, have been married for over twenty five years and have three children.


Donnel Baird


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Donnel Baird is the founder of BlocPower, a clean tech startup based in New York City. BlocPower develops portfolios of clean energy retrofit opportunities in underserved communities, and connects those opportunities to investors seeking social, environmental, and financial returns. BlocPower creates jobs for qualified local lowincome workers, energy savings for community institutions, reduces carbon emissions, and provides returns to investors. BlocPower is backed by Kapor Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the American Family Institute for social and environmental impact, and Salesforce. Baird is a graduate of Duke University and Columbia Business School, where he was a recipient of the Board of Overseers Fellowship and a recipient of investment from the Lang Fund for Entrepreneurial Initiatives. He spent four years as a political and community organizer, and more than two years managing a national initiative to leverage American Reinvestment and Recovery Act energy efficiency investments in underserved communities. Baird lives in his native borough of Brooklyn with his wife and son.


David Davenport

Managing Director

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Mr. Davenport previously served as a Vice President and Investment Officer at Citi Community Capital where he led nationwide programs investing in mixed-use real estate and affordable housing with debt and equity instruments utilizing new markets tax credits, low-income housing tax credits, historic tax credits, and other leveraged financing structures.

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Virgil Francis


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Virgil Francis is a vanguard in the renewable green energy space. Virgil brings a wealth of expertise from 20 years in financial services. Capitalizing on his background in commercial real estate valuation, sale & acquisition, financial analysis, and portfolio investment has allowed him to transition into the energy industry with a keen understanding of the needs and expectations of his clients. Virgil also possesses the ability to identify and evaluate venture opportunities in several industries, but most specifically, the energy sector. In today's climate, he believes one's life pursuit must be a trek fashioned in passion and commitment. Virgil is making a positive impact on the community through the implementation of just and equitable clean energy projects. Equipped with his established foundation in financial ventures, he is well equipped to support his community towards a sustainable future, identifying viable energy projects with economic and environmental feasibility. ​ Virgil is a director for several companies and organizations at the forefront of the transition to clean energy. He is forming a coalition of leaders that will facilitate the development of sustainable energy alternatives, while also providing sound financial solutions to various clients. His pathway is fortified with expertise and a commitment to excellence, making him confident in his ability to help create a brighter future for our community and beyond.

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Marvin Church

Vice President


Marvin Church has had an illustrious career in government, banking, transportation, real estate, community development, housing, and energy. He started as a banker managing more than $25B in real estate transactions for multiple financial institutions. Marvin had leadership positions in transportation. He was the Associate Commissioner of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts during the construction of the Central Artery Tunnel. Marvin was also Commissioner of Transportation for Westchester County in New York State. Marvin made his foray into the energy sector during his term as Regional Director of the New York State Division and Community Renewal (DHCR). He managed over $66M of primarily residential development and Weatherization Programs in New York City, Westchester, Suffolk, Nassau, and Rockland Counties. Marvin continued his energy career as a co-founder of Comrie Enterprises, LLC. At this consulting firm, he works as a senior energy advisor performing marketing, project financing, and construction management for his clients. He has worked with NYSERDA and utility programs, including the Con Edison Low Income Energy Program. Marvin is a staunch advocate for energy resources for low to middle-income communities and communities of color. Marvin currently serves on several energy boards working to devise solutions considering Con Edison’s Gas Moratorium in Southern Westchester. He works to introduce clean heating and cooling to new construction and existing buildings and assists property owners throughout the process. His work includes heat pumps, solar, NYSERDA's community district system, and Con Edison's Utility Thermal Exchange. He is a member of the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) and a board member of the Westchester Chapter; a board member of the Westchester Business Council; an advisory board member of the New York Ground Source Exchange Organization (NY GEO); a member of the United Nations Association – Westchester Chapter, and co-founder and advisory board member of Environmental Leaders of Color (ELOC). Marvin has a BS in finance and management from SUNY Albany and an MBA from Clark Atlanta University.

Paul Presendieu is the Director of Community Engagement for Soulful Synergy, a millennial minority-owned company supporting equitable sustainable development amongst priority populations. In his role, Paul assists the company in establishing equitable private-public partnerships to build the needed workforce for our nation's renewable energy transition. Paul is the son of Colombian and Haitian immigrants, and is the National Climate Justice and Clean Air Working Group Co-Chair for GreenLatinos, where he convenes quarterly meetings amongst Latino environmental professionals to discuss racial equity in climate mitigation. Paul is also the Chair of the City of New Rochelle's Ecology and Natural Resources Advisory Committee, where he is helping the city coordinate its first observance of Latino Conservation Week in July, and the first observance held in Westchester County. A graduate of the State University of New York System in Environmental Studies, Paul will be transitioning to become the 2nd President and CEO of the Hispanic Coalition of NY, Inc., a nonprofit established in 2010 to empower members of the Hispanic Community through education, and serving as a forum for the cultural exchange of ideas and views on social, civic, educational topics.


Paul Presendieu

Director of Community Engagement

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