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Rising Stars of Queens honored


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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The stars aligned last week when The Queens Courier honored 40 of the borough’s budding young professionals. “It’s awesome to be honored, and it’s humbling to be among these people,” said Eric Abrams, 26, digital media and membership associate for the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “I feel like I’m on my way up.”

Abrams — recognized for his work for the Chamber, including his part in securing a $100,000 grant to develop a mobile phone app for Queens tourism — shared the limelight with several other “Rising Stars” honored for exemplifying outstanding leadership skills in their chosen fields and communities.

SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT

Presented by Metropolitan Hospitality, the fifth annual “40 under 40” awards and networking event drew over 500 people and raised $2,500 in charity raffle funds collected to benefit the Hank Auffarth Family Center of The Child Center of NY and Morgan Center, a pre-school for kids with cancer.

“This makes me proud of my staff, the company and proud to work in Queens,” said Seth Taylor, 33, executive director at the 82nd Street Partnership. “It makes me think back to the work I’ve done and it reminds me of all the work to be done.”

On January 31, at the Caesars Club in Citi Field, event attendees networked with top professionals and mingled with representatives from leading businesses in the area, including this year’s event sponsors National Grid, TD Bank, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehabilitation, Delta Airlines, Queens Library, Con Edison, Flushing Bank, Council for Airport Opportunity, Queens County Savings Bank, Time Warner Business Class, Samuel Field Y, Sandwire, Crystal Window & Door Systems, Investors Bank and Ehren Joseph Studios.

Danielle Monaro, a co-host on Z100’s Elvis Duran & The Morning Show, received the “Star of Stars” award and was the night’s honorary emcee.

“I went to St. John’s University, so I feel like I grew up in Queens,” she said. “It’s just really nice to see how diverse the crowd is, how everybody comes together and supports each other. It really does mean a lot that I was chosen to be here. “

VIDEO: MEET THE 2013 “RISING STARS”

Monaro, a New Jersey resident, said she started her gig as a radio personality at St. John’s, where she did theater and WSJU Radio before graduating in 1995.

She helped honor fellow award recipients, including “Mentor of the Year” Bud Harrelson, a 1969 New York Mets World Series champion.

Also honored this year for their community work were Joseph Amodeo, development director for Quality Services for the Autism Community; Eric D. Abrams Digital Media & Membership Associate Queens Chamber of Commerce; Gerdie Rene Gordon, member, Cambria Heights Development Corporation; Seth Taylor, Executive Director, 82nd Street Partnership; Anahit Azatyan, manager of OKG Jewelry; Anokye Blissett, attorney at Law Firm of Russo & Blissett; Ricky Brava, senior partner at Apollo Financial Group; Ricardi Calixte, director of neighborhood economic development for the Queens Economic Development Corporation; Jennifer Colletti-Membreño, assistant director of development at Samuel Field Y; Elizabeth Culp, assistant vice president and branch manager at Roslyn Savings Bank; Paisley Demby, business services director at Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at LaGuardia Community College; Josh Fatoullah, president and founder of JR Wealth Advisors; Dr. Peter Feibish, orthodontist at Dynamic Dental; Christian Goode, CFO and SVP of Resorts World NY; Gerdie Rene Gordon, member of Cambria Heights Development Corporation; Tracie Hall, vice president of strategy and organizational development of library services at Queens Library; Matthew Jahrsdoerfer, audit principal at Grassi & Co; Isabella Leung, human resource manager at Crystal Window & Door Systems; Jennifer Matthews, NTC marketing and events for USTA National Tennis Center; Maria Messados, principal/insurance broker for Queens Medallion; Ann O’Connor, cultural collaborator at Zoescope Studio; Tony Rappaport, licensed sales associate at Greenthal Property Sales & Management; Michael Ratner, partner at Abrams, Fensterman; Jeffrey Reich-Hale, director of sales and marketing at Wyndham Garden LIC; June Reid, department manager at Delta Air Lines at JFK International Airport; Jeff Yanni, general manager at Delta Air Lines at LaGuardia Airport; Elias Roman, CEO and co-founder of Songza Media, Inc; Rick Rosa, executive vice president and managing director at Douglas Elliman; Frank T. Santoro, counsel at Farrell Fritz, P.C; Suzanne Shusteris, manager at TD Bank; Aravella Simotas, assemblymember of District 36; Kevin Skelly, assistant general manager at Clearview Golf Corp.; Silvia Tejeda, licensed real estate broker at Rapid Realty Astoria Inc.; Ebony Young, executive director of Long Island City YMCA; Jason Hilliard, executive director for Congressmember Gregory Meeks; Frank Russo III, manager of Russo’s on the Bay; Abbi Leman, communications director at CUNY School of Law; Andrew Barnes, manager at National Grid; Wafa Abboud, founder and CEO of Human First, Inc.; Chris Lynch, director of operations of Parker’s Medical Transportation Division for Lakeville Ambulette Transportation; and Jeffrey DeShields, mortgage development officer and team leader for Sovereign Bank. “I feel blessed. You can’t ask for anything better,” said DeShields, 39.

Creative Group, LLC and Delta Airlines provided the raffled-off Cancun trip, which included four nights and five days at the Ocean Spa Resort or the Laguna Suites and two round trip airfare tickets.
Broadway tickets, an HD TV, two Nets tickets to the TGI Suite at the Barclays Center and many gift certificates were also given away by exhibitors.

Guests also snapped pictures in a free photo booth sponsored by Investors Bank and snacked on free Nathan’s hotdogs and pretzels.

Danielle Monaro, co-host of the Z100 Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, talks about The Queens Courier Rising Stars event on her radio show. 

 

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Flushing Bank helps make kids ‘Money Smart’


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

The money masters at Flushing Bank recently visited Richmond Hill High School to enrich students about money management. The program, called “Money Smart,” spans several weeks and provides students with basic knowledge and skills necessary to financial independence.

According to Kelly Fenton, Flushing Bank’s Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of the bank’s Park Avenue South location, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Flushing Bank’s Money Smart Program for Young Adults curriculum teaches students about bank services, how to open and utilize a bank account, money management, the importance of saving, credit building and how to protect themselves against identity theft.

Fenton hopes the program pushes students to manage their finances responsibly and remain financially stable — tools she feels will lead to successful futures.

Flushing Bank has been conducting seminars at Richmond Hill High School since 2009 and this past year they taught 64 classes to 450 students in just over a three-week period at the south Queens learning institution.

They have since partnered with 11 schools and educated over 750 young people throughout Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

Fenton says the response from students has been positive. They enjoy learning the helpful tips and hearing about what it’s like to run a bank branch.

Flushing YMCA hosts Community Service Awards Dinner


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Mike DiBartolomeo

The Flushing YMCA hosted its 11th annual Community Service Awards Dinner to benefit the youth and teens of the local communities at the Kum Gang San Restaurant. The “Special Award for Distinguished Public Leadership” went to Borough President Helen Marshall, and the “YMCA Community Service Award” was presented to Paul Ho, senior VP, Flushing Bank.

Message from the President of Flushing Bank


| jburan@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Flushing Bank

John Buran

President and CEO of Flushing Bank

Over the past year, there has been a growing negative sentiment towards the banking industry. The latest headlines have been focused on the fees being charged for debit card usage. Community banks, like Flushing Bank, offer the consumer more economical choices.

Bank of America announced at the end of September that it would soon begin charging customers $5 a month if they use their debit cards for purchases, according to media reports. J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are also testing $3 monthly debit card fees in some states.

With these new fees adding to an already challenging economic climate, Flushing Bank President and CEO John Buran said there are alternatives for growingly frustrated card holders.

“To avoid these fees, consumers are being asked to carry larger balances which for some may not be an option,” he said. “Community banks like ours have a different way of looking at this. At Flushing Bank, we believe it’s important to connect with the needs of the community that we serve.”

Buran said that as a community bank, Flushing Bank is efficient in its operations and diligent in managing expenses, which enables it to deliver low-cost banking services to its customers.

Along with not charging fees for debit card purchases, Buran said the bank has a variety of products and services geared to support and motivate consumers to keep using their debit cards, instead of having to hand over more money to the bank.

“Debit cards provide value and convenience to consumers and offer an alternative to credit cards,” he said. “We encourage our customers to use their debit card wherever and whenever it is convenient for them.”

For both businesses and consumers, Flushing Bank offers “Totally Free Checking,” in which there is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fees. The bank also offers “BestRate Checking,” which allows customers who carry larger balances to earn competitive checking account interest rates. Customers can also use this as a savings account and a checking account, without the hassle of maintaining two accounts.

Additionally, according to Buran, as part of the bank’s marketing campaign, Flushing Bank will pay new checking customers up to $75 if they make five debit card transactions of $25 or more. For business checking customers, the offer is $50 for five debit card transactions of $25 or more.

“We think this is a tremendous value for our customers,” Buran said. “I think it’s important for people to know there are alternatives and that community banks are genuinely interested in establishing a relationship with their customers. At Flushing Bank, we believe that we are small enough to know you and large enough to help you.”

Flushing Bank has been helping families, business owners and communities grow and prosper for over 80 years. With 16 locations in the New York metropolitan area, including nine locations in Queens, the bank looks to continue in its tradition of following a community-based approach to banking relationships.