Inaugural Milli Awards rock Chelsea Piers

By Danielle Brody

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Some 250 people celebrated Westchester and Fairfield counties’ young professionals who are making an impact in their jobs and in their communities at Westfair Communications’ first Milli Awards recently. The 22 winners dispelled stereotypes and inspired the audience with their passion at the event at Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford.

Winners represented the spectrum of industries, from law to medicine, from banking to education and from nonprofits to technology.

From left, back: Ken Jacobi, treasury associate manager, PepsiCo; Christina Dufour, founder and president, Carnelian Connection; Jason Fiore, structural engineer, Thornton Tomasetti; Wesley Carpenter, founder and president, Stormfield Capital LLC; Faraz Kayani, executive director, The Bristal Assisted Living at White Plains; Nathaniel Mundy, executive vice president, sales and marketing, Diamond Hospitality Group; Christopher Sugar, attorney, Berchem, Moses & Devlin PC; Jessica Rice, legal support associate, Bridgewater Associates LP; Anthony Pili, vice president, director of strategic planning, Greater Hudson Bank; and RJ Mercede, center for nonprofit excellence associate, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. From left, front: Samuel Ambroise, Family Self-Sufficiency program coordinator, Family Centers; Kristina Benza, CEO, County Fabricators LLC; Tom “Sarge” Barzelatto, account executive, Atlantic Westchester Inc.; Jason Fisch, president and founder, Fisch Solutions Inc.; Max Fanwick, founder and CEO, Explorator Media; Caitlin Krueger, senior director, advancement and constituency relations, Iona College; Angela Moore, office assistant, Yale University – Human Research Protection program; Joyce Ramirez, marketing director, AFC Urgent Care of Bridgeport and Fairfield; Lexie Leyman, communications and community affairs manager, The Dannon Co.; and Alyssa Kranzamann, senior scientist, research and development, Unilever. Not pictured: Kate Dischino associate director, Emergency Response Programs, AmeriCares; and Maria Pampafikos, co-owner and vice president, Royal Regency Hotel.
From left, back: Ken Jacobi, Christina Dufour, Jason Fiore, Wesley Carpenter, Faraz Kayani,  Nathaniel Mundy, Christopher Sugar, Anthony Pili and RJ Mercede. From left, front: Samuel Ambroise, Kristina Benza, Tom “Sarge” Barzelatto, Jason Fisch, Max Fanwick, Caitlin Krueger, Angela Moore, Joyce Ramirez, Lexie Leyman and Alyssa Kranzamann. Not pictured: Kate Dischino and Maria Pampafikos.

Guests networked with food, drinks and take-home items from sponsors and supporters and a photo booth. The award ceremony included a keynote speech from Britta Mulderrig, marketing manager at Uber.

The event benefited Community Plates, a nonprofit whose mobile application, GoRescue, enables volunteer “food runners” to connect with places that have leftover food and then distribute it to those in need.

Melissa Spiesman, national site director of Community Plates, said in Fairfield County alone, 6.8 million meals and 10.4 million pounds of food have been rescued and delivered. She announced that the organization is in the process of launching a new app for next year.

“There’s a great potential for us to stay ahead of the technology and continue to innovate and change the game,” Spiesman said. “We need to keep it simple for our food runners and our food donors to stay engaged.”

Winners received 3D-printed awards from Mini 3D Me in Yorktown Heights. Upon accepting their awards, winners answered one of the following questions: If you could have lunch with anyone (living or deceased), who would it be and why? What do you think is the biggest stereotype about millennials and how do you prove it wrong or right? Love, passion or money: what do you work for and why?

The winners from Westchester County:

Tom “Sarge” Barzelatto, account executive, Atlantic Westchester Inc.;

Kristina Benza, president and CEO, County Fabricators LLC;

Jason Fiore, structural engineer, Thornton Tomasetti;

Jason Fisch, president and founder, Fisch Solutions Inc.;

Ken Jacobi, treasury associate manager, PepsiCo;

Faraz Kayani, executive director, The Bristal Assisted Living at White Plains;

Caitlin Krueger, senior director, advancement and constituency relations, Iona College;

Lexie Leyman, communications and community affairs manager, The Dannon Co.;

Nathaniel Mundy, executive vice president sales and marketing, Diamond Hospitality Group;

Maria Pampafikos, co-owner and vice president, Royal Regency Hotel; and

Anthony Pili, vice president, director of strategic planning, Greater Hudson Bank.

Fairfield County winners:

Samuel Ambroise, Family Self-Sufficiency program coordinator, Family Centers;

Wesley Carpenter, founder and partner, Stormfield Capital LLC;

Kate Dischino, associate director, Emergency Response Programs, AmeriCares;

Christina Dufour, founder and president, Carnelian Connection;

Max Fanwick, founder and CEO, Explorator Media;

Alyssa Kranzmann, senior scientist, research and development, Unilever;

RJ Mercede, Center for Nonprofit Excellence associate, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation;

Angela Moore, office assistant, Yale University — Human Research Protection program;

Joyce Ramirez, marketing director, AFC Doctors Express Bridgeport and Fairfield;

Jessica Rice, legal support associate, Bridgewater Associates LP; and

Christopher Sugar, attorney, Berchem, Moses & Devlin P.C.

Winners were chosen by a panel of five judges that included Julia Emrick, managing director, operations and events at Westchester County Association; Pamela Pillo, director of graduate admissions at Sacred Heart University; Melissa Mongillo, director of corporate services at McIntyre Group; Allison Madison, president of Madison Approach Staffing and Adam Samples, regional president of Robert Half.

The Milli Awards was presented by Fairfield County Business Journal, Westchester County Business Journal and WAG magazine. Sponsors included Berchem Moses & Devlin P.C.; Bigelow; Mercedes-Benz of Greenwich; and Sacred Heart University. Other event supporters included Buzz Creators; The Dannon Co.; Heineken USA; Lovesac; Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th; Spiked Seltzer; Stamford Innovation Center; The McIntyre Group; Uber; Val’s Putnam Wines & Liquors; Waters Edge at Giovanni’s; Westchester County Association’s Young Professionals Group; Whole Foods Port Chester; Young Professionals of Greenwich and Young Professionals Network — The Business Council Fairfield County.

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About the author

Danielle Brody
Danielle is the events manager for Westfair Communications. Previously, she was a reporter for the Fairfield and Westchester County Business Journals. She has written for the Journal News, the Scarsdale Inquirer and the Newark Post. Danielle is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

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