Whittaker Mack III, MBA
Vice President, Chase Investment Services Corp., JP Morgan Chase
Chair, Board of Trustees
Board Trustee since 2002
Whittaker Mack III is a Vice President at JP Morgan Chase, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, since 2010 and specializes in the management of high-net-worth clientele including both individuals and small business enterprises. Mr. Mack previously served at several top financial firms including Merrill Lynch, LPL, and Guardian.
Prior to his financial career, Mr. Mack held leadership positions for more than 19 years controlling operations and relationship management in the pharmaceutical industry at Barr Laboratories and Pfizer, Inc.
In addition to serving as Chair of the URI Board of Trustees, Mr. Mack’s community leadership is extensive and includes serving as Chair of the Next Level Educational Foundation Board of Trustees, President of the Westchester County Alumni Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Chair of the Duke University Alumni Advisory Committee, Orange and Rockland Counties. He is also a Lifetime member of the National Black MBA Association and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Mr. Mack holds a Bachelor of Science in Philosophy and Chemistry from Duke University.
Professional Licenses: Series 7, 66, New York; New Jersey Licensed Realtor
Professional Certificates: Pharmaceutical Business Management, Business Communication, International Business and Financial Planning
Horace Morancie, BCE, MSc
Retired, United States Consulate General
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
Board Trustee since 1969
As one of New York City’s most powerful activists of the 1960s, Mr. Morancie helped to lead the Great Society and War on Poverty program creating hundreds of jobs and bringing millions of dollars to devastated Central Brooklyn through the Model Cities Program. Appointed by Mayor John Lindsey, he charted the course developing and managing a comprehensive plan for housing sanitation, crime prevention, police protection, economic development, education, social services, union organization and transportation.
Mr. Morancie is from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and has worked tirelessly to assist Caribbean immigrants by helping them adjust to their new life and bridge the gap between Caribbean Americans and African Americans and other minority communities.
Mr. Morancie holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic University and attended the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Brooklyn Law School. In addition, Mr. Morancie holds a Master of Science in Sanitary Engineering and Microbiology from Cornell University.
Leonard Ferguson, MBA
Retired, Empire City Subway Co. LTD./Verizon Communications NY Inc.
Secretary, Board of Trustees
Board Trustee since 2011
Leonard Ferguson is a Project Management professional and a Communications Specialist, with more than 25 years of experience in both industries with a diverse background in Telephony and Construction Management. He has functioned as a change management agent, with a reputation for resurrecting and reviving failing organizations.
Mr. Ferguson worked as a project manager for Empire City Subway (ECS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Verizon Communications NY, Inc. Throughout his career in telecommunications, Mr. Ferguson held several leadership positions contributing to the evolution of NY Telephone to NYNEX to Bell Atlantic and through the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE which became Verizon, helping it to become the leader in the industry.
Known for his mentorship and community service, Mr. Ferguson is particularly committed to building a safe learning environment conducive to the education of young minds. He is a member of Consortium of Telecommunications Executives (CITE) and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Mr. Ferguson holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Economics and a Master of Business Administration from the State University New York Empire State College. He also holds a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from The George Washington University.
Vivian Y. Bright
Business Administrator, Berean Baptist Church
Treasurer, Board of Trustees
Board Trustee since 1969
In addition, Ms. Bright’s professional career includes Community Outreach Development, the development and maintenance of Industrial Parks in the East New York area, the development and implementation of the “World of Work Program” for the high school students in the ENY community and coordinator of the “New Horizon Village” development of 255 new homes in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Ms. Bright has extensive leadership experience and community involvement as a Lifetime member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority – The National Council of Negro Women, President of Congressman Ed Towns Women’s Caucus and Business Manager of Concerned Women of Brooklyn, Inc.
Recognized for her dedication to her communities, Ms. Bright has received numerous awards such as Who’s Who of American Women, Congressional Record, The Sojourner Truth Award of the National Business & Professional Women’s Club and New Horizon’s Village Homeowners Leadership Award.
Ms. Bright holds a Bachelor of Science from Brooklyn College and a Master of Science from the New School For Social Research.
John L. Burnett, MBA
Director, Risk and Compliance, Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies
Board Trustee since 2011
John Burnett is the Director of Risk and Compliance for Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. In this role, he oversees operational risk and efficacy of internal controls for pricing and analytics of physical commodity markets in petroleum, LPG, petrochemicals, and gas. Mr. Burnett is a financial professional with over 18 years of experience and has held senior roles at some of the world’s top financial services companies, such as Smith Barney-Citigroup, and Merrill Lynch.
Through a corporate partnership with Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning (P.E.N.C.I.L), Mr. Burnett has offered his corporate experience to improve the academic excellence at a high school in Brooklyn, New York.
Mr. Burnett is a Lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and proudly served as the treasurer of The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial Foundation.
Mr. Burnett holds a Bachelor of Science with honors in Leadership and Management Studies from New York University. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from Cornell University, The Johnson School of Management.
Professional Licenses: Series 7, 9, 10, 63 and 65
Professional Certificate: Business Communication, Financial Management Managerial and Organizational Studies
Corinna C. Grant
Associate Director, Volunteer Services, King’s County Hospital Center
Board Trustee since 2012
Corinna C. Grant has devoted her personal and professional career to public service experiencing a long, fruitful career at King’s County Hospital Center, first as the Principal Liaison Worker to the then East New York Neighborhood Family Care Center, and then as the Associate Director of the Department of Volunteer Services.
Ms. Grant’s accomplishments are many, under her leadership 598 units of housing were completed in the East New York community, including 182 units of housing for senior citizens (Vandalia Houses) and transportation for the frail and handicapped. She was instrumental in the opening of the East New York Industrial Park, now designated as an Economic Development Zone. Ms. Grant was involved in the development of the East New York Skills Training Center and in the rehabilitation of the New Lots Avenue Branch, in addition to many parks throughout the community, including Livonia Avenue Playground and Highland Park.
Ms. Grant graduated from the New York Institute of Technology.
Lisa A. Ross, MD
Director, Anesthesiology, Harlem Hospital
Associate Professor of Clinical Anesthesia, Columbia University
Board Trustee since 2011
Prior to her position at Harlem Hospital, Dr. Ross was the Program Director/Vice Chairperson of the Department of Anesthesiology at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center until its closure in 2010. She has presented at several anesthesia conferences around the country and continues to be involved in performance improvement and research at Harlem Hospital.
Since 1998, Dr. Ross has traveled on a yearly medical mission to Milot, Haiti as part of a team sponsored by the Order of Malta. She is a Lifetime member of the National Action Network and the Greater Metropolitan Chapter of Jack and Jill of America.
Dr. Ross holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Harvard University and received her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where she went on to complete anesthesia residency at Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Ross is in the first year at Fordham University’s accelerated Executive MBA program.
Vice President, Creative Development and Inclusive Strategies, Walt Disney Imagineering and Parks and Resorts
Board Trustee since 1985
Carmen Smith is the Vice President of Creative Development for Walt Disney Imagineering. Ms. Smith is responsible for developing a diverse pipeline of product and people to enhance Imagineering’s consultant talent and its creative processes. Prior to joining Disney Theme Parks and Resorts World-Wide, she served as the Vice President of the Talent Development Programs for the Disney/ABC Television Group.
Ms. Smith was selected as the ABC, Inc. Black Achiever in Industry for 2000 and received the 2005 Theresa’s Haven Award from the Family Support Systems Transitional Housing Services of New York for improving the quality of life for homeless families in New York. Ms. Smith was also listed in 2009 Diversity MBA Magazine’s Top 100 Executive Leaders and the 2011 Uptown Professional Magazines Top 100 Executives in America.
Ms. Smith graduated from Hunter College with a degree in communication arts. She also holds a Master of Public Administration, International Administration and Development from New York University and completed the Simmons Graduate School of Management Certificate Program for Developing Managers and the Harvard University Women and Power Executive Education Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2007, Ms. Smith received an Honorary Doctorate from the Metropolitan College of New York.
Senior Virology Sales Specialist, Janssen Therapeutics, Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson, Division of Janssen Biotech, Inc.
Board Trustee since 2011
Althea Vyfhuis is a Senior Virology Sales Specialist for Janssen Therapeutics, Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson, a Division of Janssen Biotech, Inc. Since 2006, she has been managing the sales and promotion of HIV treatments, facilitating physician and patient education, and providing other resources to support the HIV community. Ms. Vyfuis’ efforts are focused in the communities of the Bronx, Mount Vernon and Yonkers.
Prior to Janssen, Ms. Vyfhuis worked at Abbott Laboratories as an HIV Specialist in Brooklyn and the Bronx. She has worked with Novo Nordisk, specializing in diabetes with a focus in the Brooklyn community, and with Merck, specializing in asthma management, pain management, osteoporosis and GERD.
Ms. Vyfhuis is from Washington, D.C. and since moving to New York, in addition to her professional career, she has been training and working as an actress in theatrical productions, film, television, commercials and voice-overs.
Ms. Vyfhuis has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Howard University. She earned a three-year Merck Fellowship and worked in Merck’s Central Engineering and Environmental Engineering department.
Charles F. Gergel
Attorney and Partner, Cullen and Dykman, LLP
Board Counsel, Urban Resource Institute
Board Counsel since 2005
Charles F. Gergel, a partner in Cullen and Dykman’s Corporate department, regularly advises clients on corporate matters. In the area of mergers and acquisitions, he has represented clients, both for-profit and tax exempt, in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures of a broad range of businesses including electric generation, HVAC, printing, engineering, insurance brokerage, water utility, home health care, magazine and newspaper publishing and distribution, music recording, wholesale and retail apparel and many others.
Mr. Gergel has extensive experience advising both taxable and tax exempt clients on entity formation and governance matters including selection of proper entity type and all matters relating to the rights and obligations of board members, shareholders, members, partners, etc. In addition, he assists such clients in the negotiation and drafting of a wide variety of commercial contracts and regulatory matters related to business operations. He has provided counsel to clients (mainly energy clients) in matters of corporate and project financing and synthetic and leveraged leasing, as well as the purchase, sale and development of land and local permitting matters.
Mr. Gergel holds a Bachelor of Art from New York University and a Juris Doctor from St. John’s University School of Law.