New York Area Advisory Board
The Little Kids Rock New York Area Advisory Board is a body of dedicated volunteers who are passionate about bringing the lifelong gift of music education to public school children in low-income communities. Their purpose is to build a supportive community of donors and volunteers who attract the financial and human capital needed to ensure the stability and growth of the Little Kids Rock NYC Metro Area chapter. The Board achieves this purpose through their own personal financial donations as well as their fundraising, relationship-building, and advisory efforts. The New York Area Advisory Board does not bear the burden of governance, but is rather an organizing entity. Please direct membership inquiries to Board Secretary, Keith Hejna: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunil is a portfolio manager for BlackRock Credit Alpha, an event-driven credit hedge fund. Prior to joining BlackRock, Sunil spent 10 years in the distressed credit group at Morgan Stanley. With his MS colleagues, Sunil helped found Custer’s Last Stand, a 90’s grunge cover band that performed at multiple venues in Manhattan.
Scott has served as technology executive in the financial sector since 1990. He currently is CTO of Investment Management at JP Morgan. Scott began his career as a software developer at AT&tT Bell Labs after graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1984. He is also an adjunct professor at both NYU and WPI where he teaches technology project based courses in finance and music. He is passionate music fan and has been playing as a guitarist, bassist and drummer as long as he can remember. FULL BIO
Nick started teaching music in 1999, after 17 years in marketing and communications for financial services firms. He began at Pear Tree Point School, Darien, CT, where, until 2003, he developed its Pre-K-5 general music program. At The Stanwich School, Greenwich, CT, from 2001-2014, he developed its upper-elementary general music, band and orchestra programs. He also created and taught a popular music history course in its middle and high schools.
Nick holds an A.B. degree in History from Lafayette College and is a graduate of the State of Connecticut’s Alternate Route to Education certification program. Nick and Sue live in Riverside, Connecticut. They have two adult children. FULL BIO
Kevin provides healthcare consulting services for Zia Physics, Inc. Before that he was a Major Accounts Manager at Varian Oncology Systems in Dallas, where he provided sales support and customer interface for manufacturer of linear accelerators and other radiotherapy equipment. He also was President and Owner of Alpha Imaging, Inc. where he directed physician/hospital joint venture syndication, demand analysis studies, equipment purchasing/leasing evaluation, management/marketing, planning and consulting for existing projects. FULL BIO
Peter is a native New Yorker who works in the finance industry. He attributes music, music education, the arts, and his mother for his creative approach to problems. His dedication to Little Kids Rock’s mission is founded on the belief that children will need imagination and dedication to thrive in a changing world. FULL BIO
Jenna was formerly a Vice President at the Blackstone group. She is also a vocalist.
Jim Dattoli is a Sales Consultant at RE/MAX and operates in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ.
Bob Flaum (co-chair)
Bob retired as a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers after a 37 year career, where he specialized in Financial Services. At the time of his retirement in 2014, he led the Banking and Capital Markets practice in the Metro New York region. In 2016, Bob joined the board of UBS Americas Holdings – the holding company for UBS’ operations in the US. An avid guitar player since the early 70’s, he was hooked on the LKR mission from his first introduction in 2015, joining LKR’s NY Area Advisory in December 2017.
Mr. Hall is a Managing Director, Head of Private Strategies in Product Management. Prior to joining PIMCO, he spent 12 years at The Blackstone Group, most recently as a Senior Managing Director within Blackstone Alternative Asset Management. While at Blackstone, Mr. Hall’s responsibilities included sourcing and executing seed investments in startup fund managers, as well as acquiring minority interests and developing strategic partnerships with established asset management firms. Mr. Hall began his career as a Financial Analyst at Goldman Sachs and has 18 years of investment experience. He is involved in a number of charitable, civic, and educational organizations, including Little Kids Rock, Nationswell, the Cambodian Children’s Fund, and Princeton University. Mr. Hall graduated from Princeton in 1998 with a degree in Public and International Affairs. FULL BIO
Ravi Jani is an Investment Associate at Anchor Bolt Capital, an investment firm focused on global industrial and energy markets. Ravi moved to Chicago from New York, where he attended NYU’s Stern School of Business and worked in investment banking at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Moelis & Company. Ravi grew up playing guitar in bands in Philadelphia and NYC, and is excited to help bring popular music into Chicago’s classrooms. When he is not investing or listening to music, Ravi enjoys spending time with his wife and exploring Chicago’s art and culinary scenes.
Frank Kotsen is the global head of credit and special situations for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Kotsen, who joined the bank in 1996, was most recently head of US special situations and loan trading and has previously served as co-head of global credit.
Steve is the co-founder of an enterprise and real estate virtual reality software company called Outer Realm, which he co-founded following a ten year career in finance. Prior to Outer Realm, Steve was a Principal and Head of Business Development at River Birch Capital, LLC. Prior to joining River Birch, Steve was a Vice President at Fortress Investment Group, where he held capital raising, product specialist, and strategy roles. Steve started his financial services career at Lehman Brothers as a Capital Markets Analyst in the Fixed Income Division. Steve serves on the New York Advisory Board of a music charity called Little Kids Rock, is a Board Observer for a life sciences company called MicroCures, Inc., and is an active member of NextGen Venture Partners. In his free time, he loves investing in start-ups of all flavors, playing and watching soccer, attempting to play the mandolin, and traveling around the world. Steve holds a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University.
Susan Mazo is the Senior Vice President of Global Communications for Universal Music Group (UMG) where she oversees the company’s major internal and external events, special projects and global philanthropic efforts. She also plays a key role in the company’s communication strategy. Prior to UMG, Mazo served as Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing at Warner Music Group (WMG). During her tenure at WMG, Mazo led WMG’s philanthropic efforts such as developing community outreach programs and helping to raise millions of dollars in disaster relief aid. Mazo also produced numerous world-wide conferences as well as high-profile events for the company surrounding award shows, music and technology conferences, the company’s IPO, among many others. In addition, Mazo was a key member of the executive team responsible for global branding and corporate identity initiatives. Prior to joining WMG in 2000 as a manager in the communications department, Mazo served in a variety of positions at Billboard magazine, Westwood One and KSA Public Relations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delaware.
Betty is President and Managing Member of ReGenesis LLC, a new products development company in Montclair, NJ. Betty and business partner, Jim Smith co-founded their first company Creative Products Resource in 1979 and spun off ReGenesis when CPR was bought by Dial Corporation and Henkel, Germany in 1999. They have over 50 patents in Household, Personal Care and Topical Drug Delivery categories and share responsibility for developing well-known products including Wet Ones®, StickUps®, Carpet Fresh® and more. Their company was honored with a Top 25 NJ Businesses Award. Betty is included in a chapter on sales presentations in Barry Farber’s 12 Cliches of Selling (& Why They Work) and is also one of the subjects in The Happy 100, a book by journalist, Joanne Burke, about women who love their careers. FULL BIO
For the past decade she has devoted her career to fashion footwear and accessories company, Steve Madden. As the company’s Marketing & Events Manager, the St. Louis native helps run the Steve Madden Music program as well as coordinating the brand’s presence at national trade shows and events on behalf Steve Madden’s top fashion brands. Music has always been a passion of Elani’s, having played clarinet since childhood and continuing to dabble in the ukulele with her vast network of friends in the music community. Other creative outlets include: painting, puppetry, and even helping to organize and write grants for the largest national legal graffiti art event, “Paint Louis,” in 1999 and 2000. Her background is as colorful and spirited as her ever-evolving lifestyle and aptly supplements her passion to lead efforts toward bringing music to youth — a cause nurtured by Elani’s family who instilled in her the importance of creativity and its impact on making the world a better place.
Lance Neuhauser is CEO of 4C, a global leader in data science and media technology company with solutions for cross-screen convergence. The Chicago native is a big believer in the potential for social media data to drive drastic change in many industries, especially marketing. Early in his career, he recognized that traditional advertising is broken as it focuses on demographics, not real people. 4C formed to address this gap and help marketers achieve their goals through mining social data for insights and connecting it across channels and screens. Lance believes that even in a tech driven world it is more important than ever to get kids started early on music and to provide them means for creative expression.
Nathan Riggs (co-chair)
Nathan is a Senior Vice President with Aergo Capital, a commercial aircraft investment firm, where he focuses on aviation related investments in emerging markets. Nathan is also a founder and Principal with Bala Real Estate Group, a New York City based real estate brokerage and development firm. Nathan has traveled extensively throughout Africa, where he has supported and continues to support a number of charitable causes related to youth education and health services. Nathan holds an MBA from Babson College and a BSBA in Finance from the University of Pittsburgh.
After coming to New York from his native Istanbul and attending Columbia (where he studied engineering), Soylemez found his way to Morgan Stanley, where he learned the ins and outs of the energy markets under Beau Taylor. At first, Soylemez focused on trading ERCOT (Texas Power), which moves nearly in lockstep with natural gas.
Narrowing his focus to gas when he followed Taylor to JPMorgan in 2005, Soylemez is now the firm’s head fixed-price natural-gas trader. He made his mark holding swing positions during Hurricane Katrina. He has the most raw trading talent I’ve ever seen, says one fellow energy trader. Some industry insiders, in fact, tout Soylemez as the next John Arnold.
Graham in an associate at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, specializing in corporate law and structured finance. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Graham moved to New York City to study music at NYU’s Steinhardt School and eventually earned a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. From a young age Graham has studied and played music, primarily drums and percussion, and looks forward to bringing such opportunities to NYC schools. Aside from playing music, Graham enjoys exploring concert venues and restaurants all around New York.
Josh Warrum is the Co-Founder and COO/CLO of Project X, a technology-driven Out-of-Home media specialist. Project X was named one of the fastest growing companies in America by Inc. magazine (2018), Crain’s New York Business (2018) and Adweek (2019). In 2019, Project X announced an investment partnership with private equity firm Tritium Partners. Josh also founded Warrum Law, PLLC, an entertainment transactional law firm that represented record labels, artists, producers, agents and venues in a wide range of transactions. Prior to law school, Josh was a professional drummer in Nashville, TN.
Alex White co-founded Next Big Sound in 2008, while in his last semester at Northwestern University. The analytics service measures daily music consumption and purchase decisions around the globe. In 2015, Pandora Media, Inc. acquired Next Big Sound in their first ever acquisition. Alex is now the Head of Next Big Sound and Curation Programming at Pandora. He also teaches a data analytics class at NYU as an adjunct professor. White and his co-founders have been featured in Fast Company (#1 most innovative company in the music industry, 2015), Forbes (30 under 30) in the music category three times, Billboard (10 best music companies), Bloomberg BusinessWeek (25 under 25), Entrepreneur Magazine’s 30 under 30 list in the New York Times, CNN, Fox Business, Washington Post, Techcrunch and more.