Home Events Second Milli Awards honor 22

Second Milli Awards honor 22


Employers need to coach millennials, not manage them, said Brandon Dufour, the keynote at Westfair Communications’ second annual Milli Awards held Nov. 15 at the Surf Club on the Sound in New Rochelle.

“If you are having an annual review with a millennial and you’re giving them a 4 percent salary increase and giving them a list of things that they can do better in the next 12 months so next year they get a 5 percent annual increase, they’re leaving the meeting and going on LinkedIn and sending out their resumes,” said Dufour, a millennial himself who is the CEO of The Next Street, a driving school based in Connecticut.

Addressing the audience of more than 200, Dufour said he invests in and coaches millennials to help them grow and achieve whatever is next, even if it is not working at his company. He said employers must realize how much value millennials bring to their organization.

Westfair Communications, parent company of the Westchester and Fairfield County Business Journals, created the Milli Awards in 2015 to recognize professionals ages 21 to 34 working in both counties.

“I used to think that as an employer I was inspiring and motivating new young employees. Not any longer, they are inspiring me,” said Dee DelBello, publisher of the Business Journals. “They cause me to ‘get with it,’ to adapt and be more eager to embrace all the exciting changes happening in the world and particularly our industry. We are all energized by the millenial spirit.”

Sponsors were Frankie & Fanucci’s, which held an after-party at its Mamaroneck location, Val’s Putnam Wines and Liquors, Neiman Marcus, which held an in-store event for winners, New York University Stern School of Business and Sacred Heart University. The event benefited Community Plates, a nonprofit whose mobile application, GoRescue, enables volunteers to connect with places that have leftover food and distribute it to those in need. Community Plates has delivered 10.5 million meals to people in Fairfield County since 2011.

The event honorees represented all industries, from nonprofits to real estate companies and wealth management firms, and have shown dedication and vision at work and in their communities. Nominations were open to the public. A panel of three judges scored nominations and the top 11 millennials from each county were chosen.

Two of the judges, Nicole Bryan, associate dean and director of business programs in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies on the Westchester Campus of Fordham University, and Lexie Leyman, communications and community affairs manager at The Dannon Co. and a winner of a 2015 Milli Award, presented the awards. The third judge was Melissa Mongillo, director of corporate services at McIntyre Group.

Upon receiving their awards, winners answered one of three questions: where do you see yourself in 10 years; what has been your biggest inspiration or love, passion or money: what do you work for and why? They spoke of growing their companies, meaningful volunteer work and impressionable experiences and mentors that shaped where they are today.

Dufour said while millennials show their colleagues how the world works, older generations offer a valuable learning opportunity from their life and work experience, know-how on execution and strategy building and capital.

“You can either help us lead that charge and get on board or watch us sprint by you,” Dufour said in his keynote.

The winners are:


Ike Anyanwu, Heineken USA

Jamie Bogert, Annese & Associates Inc.

Daniel Bonnet, The Guidance Center of Westchester

Daniella DiMartino, Buzz Creators Inc.

Jenet Ferris, Greater Hudson Bank

Katherine McGinn, Pell Wealth Partners

Danielle Renda, Westfair Communications

Alexander Roithmayr, Office of Assemblyman David Buchwald

Adam Simon, IBM

Joanna Simone, Simone Development

Nilshika Weerasinghe, Tompkins Financial Advisors



Kate Blake, Pentegra Retirement Services

Lauren Chacho, Synapse Group Inc.

Chris Ching, Electric Enjin

Rebecca Goldberg, Berchem, Moses & Devlin P.C.

Nalini Gupta Anand, GE Capital

Katie Kilroy Smiley, Kids in Crisis

John Puskar, Frontier Communications

Charles Rocco, Rocco & Associates Wealth Management

Christopher Sacchinelli, HelpGrowUSA

Romy Solomon, Leap4Change

Natalia Sudyka, Eversource

The sponsors and additional supporters contributed to a holiday bazaar during the cocktail reception. These included Alfa Romeo Fiat of Larchmont, Audi Danbury, Blue Buffalo, Buzz Creators, Eklectico Café, Greenwich Psychic, Heineken, Oasis Day Spa, SaachiStyle, Westchester Talk Radio and the young professional organizations, Emerging Leaders Alliance, Greenwich Young Professionals Group and the Young Professionals Network of Fairfield County.




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