A native of Rochester New York, Ms. Podsiadly has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from SUNY Geneseo and a Masters Degree in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. Karen has over twenty-seven years of experience in a variety of settings within American Higher Education.
Currently serving as the Director of Community Development at The College at Brockport (SUNY), Ms. Podsiadly enjoys a career that allows her to move seamlessly between her roles on campus and in the community. Karen serves the Greater Rochester community as a member of the Board of Directors for The Community Place of Greater Rochester and PUC Achieve Charter School. She is actively involved at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church as a Church Trustee and serves on the Board of Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc. Ms. Podsiadly has also served as a board member on the SUNY Geneseo Alumni Association and is past president of Rochester Genesee Region of American Baptist Churches, Inc.
Among Karen’s greatest passions is mentoring young people with a particular affinity for supporting young women as they make choices towards healthy and productive lives.
Julia Tedesco serves as executive director of Foodlink, the Finger Lakes regional food bank, where she oversees a staff of 88 and leads the organization’s transition to an innovative food hub focused on ending hunger, building community health, and fostering economic development. Foodlink distributes more than 19 million pounds of food each year to 500+ community partners, and its Community Kitchen prepares more than 1 million healthy, fresh meals each year for children in school, daycare and after-school settings across Rochester.
Tedesco is a Rochester native and also represents Foodlink in various capacities with regional anti-poverty and economic development initiatives. She has been with Foodlink since 2009, serving the organization as its Chief Development and Communications Officer for several years before being named executive director in 2014.Tedesco built and led a Development and Community Relations Department that now raises more than $4 million annually for the organization. She oversaw the growth of nutrition education and food literacy programming, as well as the implementation of innovative food access programs that have gained national recognition. In addition, Tedesco has been responsible for leading strategic organizational development initiatives and directing Foodlink’s anti-hunger advocacy and public policy efforts both locally and nationally. Tedesco is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, where she received her Master of Public Administration degree. She serves as the Secretary of PUC Achieve Charter School, Secretary of the Food Bank Association of NYS, Board Member of her local Community Development Corporation, and a Board Member of the Rochester Regional Health System.
Jeanette is a co-founder and partner at Batiste Leadership. She is passionate about helping individuals and organizations reach their full potential. She incorporates coaching with world class research and practical leadership principles to assist clients in making lasting change.
Jeanette completed her Master’s Degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science in Environment and Development. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.A. in Political Science. She proudly completed her Leadership Coaching Certification in 2017 and her 500-hour Yoga Teacher Trainer Certification in 2015.
Jeanette has over 15 years of leadership experience in diverse and dynamic workplaces. She began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi in 2003. After completing her Peace Corps service, she worked with African Parks Conservation and then ASAP Africa. She worked in Malawi for 6 years in varying capacities, focusing on food security for rural, subsistence farmers. Her program management included microfinancing and access to farm inputs for smallholder farmers. She moved to Rochester NY and joined Foodlink, the regional food bank, in 2009. She held varying management and leadership roles at Foodlink over 6 years, and ultimately served as the Co-Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. In this capacity, she oversaw the sourcing and distribution of over 18 million pounds of food per year to over 500 partner organization across 10 counties in upstate NY. She left her role at Foodlink in 2015 to join her dad in launching Batiste Leadership.
She was awarded the Rochester Business Journal 40 under 40 in 2014. She graduated from Leadership Rochester in 2013.
Dr. Jacqueline Elliot has been dedicated to public school reform since 1986 when she first became a teacher in Pacoima, California. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology, a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential, and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration earned at CA State University, Northridge. She also holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change earned at Fielding Graduate University. As a former LAUSD teacher, Jacqueline Elliot was driven by an intense desire to improve the state of public education. She first became acquainted with the charter school movement in 1994 while serving as a teacher leader at Montague Elementary when she co-authored the school’s petition that converted Montague to charter status. Dedicated to creating high quality charter schools for the students in Pacoima, she founded Community Charter Middle School (CCMS) in 1999. The school was the first charter middle school to serve students in Los Angeles and was so successful and well received by the community, that Dr. Elliot subsequently founded several more schools to serve the same geographic area. Dr. Elliot began collaborating with Dr. Ref Rodriguez in 1998. Together they have collaborated and supported each other’s efforts while co-founding Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC Schools), which resulted in the creation of 16 highly successful public charter schools located in NE Los Angeles and the NE San Fernando Valley. She is a fellow of the Pahara-Aspen Institute’s Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She also serves on the 501c4 board of the California Charter Schools Association, located in the NE San Fernando Valley. Dr. Elliot is also an adjunct professor in graduate studies for the Institute of School Leadership and Administration at Loyola Marymount University. Dr. Elliot has been a recipient of the Hart Vision Award from the California Charter Schools Association, as Leader of the Year. In 2013, she co-founded PUC National with Dr. Ref Rodriguez, at which she currently serves as President & CEO.
Biography coming soon.
Joe Klein is the CEO of Klein Steel Service. Klein Steel was rated the 2010 top Best Places to Work manufacturer in NY State and was Industry Week Magazine’s Best Plants of North America Award winner in 2012. Klein Steel won the large company Rochester Business Ethics Award in 2012. Klein Steel won the Platts Global Metal Service Center of the Year in 2015. Joe is a member of the Rochester Business Hall of Fame, and is the recipient of Rochester’s Businessperson of the Year Award (2006) and Significant Citizen of the Year Award (2009).
Joe was a founding board member of the six Rochester Prep charter schools managed by Uncommon Schools and served as chairman of Rochester’s Literacy Commission. He is currently the chairman of the board of PUC Achieve Charter School, serves as a Fellow for the Center for Governmental Research and is a board member of the Action for a Better Community Foundation. In 2011 Joe received a master’s degree in Education Policy from Harvard and has co-founded E3 Rochester, a charter incubator organization. E3 Rochester’s mission is to expand the number of high quality K-12 education seats for every child living in the city of Rochester.
Alex Zapesochny co-founded iCardiac Technologies in 2006, where he serves as President & CEO. iCardiac commercialized research from the University of Rochester for better determining whether new pharmaceutical products are safe for the heart, and the company now works with a majority of the largest global pharma and biotech companies. Before that, he was general counsel and director of business development for Lenel Systems, a developer and global supplier of enterprise software, hardware and services for the electronic security industry. In private practice, Alex has provided legal and business counsel to early-stage companies. He has been a trial attorney during his tenure as a New York City prosecutor, a policy division staff member in the Washington headquarters of a presidential campaign, and co-founder of an award-winning healthcare non-profit. Alex participates in numerous community activities, including as a member of the Entrepreneurship & Development Working Group of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, as a Trustee of the Center for Governmental Research and as a Board member for two charter school organizations. Alex received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and graduate degrees from American University and the University of Oxford.