BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Michael Kurtz, President
Retired General Counsel, Oracle Corp.
Born in rural Kentucky, Michael began his career as a US Justice Department antitrust prosecutor. Later moving to Silicon Valley, he served as Oracle Corp’s general counsel and vice president in its rise from a small start-up to a mega tech company. He is an avid traveler and has meandered through over 50 countries and all 7 continents. Having started sailing later in life, he is enjoying HRCS’s member program immensely. Michael is proud to support HRCS’s mission to employ instruction in sailing and boat-building in furtherance of the middle and high school science and math curricula for underserved NYC teens.
Andrea Minkow, Vice President
Owner, Andrea Minkow Consulting & Seeing Eye Pony Productions
Andrea Minkow is a passionate sailor and experiential educator, who has skippered for Sail Caribbean, and Sunsail and taught at the Bitter End Yacht Club and Outward Bound. When she is not on the water she helps companies see though the chaos to find the unique lines that fully express a brands story. Andrea is an accomplished executive, builder, and explorer. Her career has been built on the belief that anything is possible. Andrea's passion for entrepreneurship is matched only by her love of people and collaborating with diverse networks to make connections, clarify thoughts, and incubate ideas. She is the CEO of Andrea Minkow Consulting (AMC) and Seeing Eye Pony Productions (SEPP). AMC helps to focus the vision of second career entrepreneurs to propel their business through a first round of capital raising. And Seeing Eye Pony Productions (SEPP) creates innovative live brand experiences and events that create meaningful impact and convey compelling value propositions for technology driven companies. Andrea cut her teeth in politics and public policy – the bedrock of entrepreneurship and meaningful impact. She has served as the Deputy Director of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, in the United States Senate for Senators Harry Reid and Hillary Rodham Clinton and as a Senior Advisor to the Speaker of the New York City Council. She has a Masters Degree in Social Work and Public Policy from Columbia University.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Senior Vice President, Vertical Brands
Craig is a lifelong sailor and Connecticut resident where he grew up in the Indian Harbor Yacht Club junior sailing program. He is an accomplished blue water and inshore racing sailor and a graduate of Tabor Academy and the College of Charleston where he competed in sailing at the varsity level. A sailing instructor of the Edgartown Yacht Club in Massachusetts during his college summers, Craig’s enduring passion for sailing education and the outdoors drew him to the HRCS mission. His son, 13, and daughter, 11, are active junior sailors on Martha’s Vineyard and Long Island Sound, and have made terrific crew for Team Comfort and Sons in recent Sailing for Scholars regattas. Craig and family are members of Edgartown Yacht Club and enjoy racing in many big boat and dinghy classes.
Managing Director, PJT Partners
Chris spent his formative years in, on and around the water including sailing dinghies in the chilly seas off Cape Cod. Now a 15+ year resident of NYC, he was drawn to HRCS because of its compelling mission to provide academic support and mentoring to public school teens through unique and creative methods. Chris has worked in finance his entire professional career, currently with PJT Partners as a member of its Secondary Advisory practice focusing on providing liquidity solutions within the private equity space.
Interim President and Global Head of Community at Charge
Quemuel Arroyo is the Interim President and Global Head of Community at Charge. Arroyo joined Charge from the New York City Department of Transportation where he served as the Chief Accessibility Specialist. He obtained a degree in Urban Design and History of Architecture from New York University. Arroyo lives in Harlem and serves on the boards of New York City Outward Bound Schools and the Heidi Latsky Dance Company. He is an avid scuba diver and enjoys exploring the "sixth borough", NYC's waterways.
Management Consultant, 44 Sail LLC
Caleb Boise is passionate about increasing diversity in the sport of sailing, and has taught sailing to adults and youth for 15 years at community sailing organizations in DC, San Francisco, and, most recently, with HRCS. While volunteering with Treasure Island Sailing Center, Caleb taught visually impaired participants how to sail. He is excited to work with HRCS to increase access to the waterfront and offer experiential sailing for persons with disabilities. An experienced entrepreneur and management consultant, Caleb runs his own consultancy helping medium-sized businesses scale, both strategically and operationally. Caleb joined the Board to align his passions for increasing diversity in the sport of sailing and helping scale HRCS's business operations as the organization continues to grow.
Retired, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Interpol Inc.
Arthur L. Burns’ background includes over 30 years of international business, administrative and legal experience, including 5 years of legal practice with a major Wall Street law firm and 20 years as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Interpool, Inc., a NYSE Company engaged in international transportation equipment leasing and finance. He has been an avid sailor and sailboat owner for over 25 years. His non-profit background includes the founding of the Chartres Institute, a private operating foundation in 1998. As a community based social activist center in Marblehead, the Institute worked with and provided organizational, founding and fundraising support for other independent 501(c)3 non-profit groups, including HealthLink, Inc,. a Massachusetts Northshore environmental advocacy group and Sail Marblehead, a sailing school providing lessons and sponsoring youth programs for surrounding communities.
Adobe Sign Implementation Manager, Adobe
Erin learned to sail with HRCS in 2018 and is a regular at the boathouse. She deeply values and is a beneficiary of the organization’s facilitation of continuous learning through not only sailing, but also meaningful connections with others of diverse backgrounds in our community. A graduate of Princeton and the Darden School of Business, Erin has worked in web design at Amazon as well as product marketing, digital strategy consulting, and product implementation at Adobe. She is committed to designing and delivering exceptional user experiences, and is constantly working to evaluate and improve them. On the Board of Directors, Erin hopes to leverage her background to help design solutions that ensure that HRCS continues to provide the vibrant, inclusive, and diverse space for learning from which so many in our community have benefited.
Executive Vice President, George Comfort & Sons, Inc.
Born and raised in Greenwich, Ct and now a 33 year resident of New York City, Matt has been messing around in boats for over 50 years. He has raced every type of boat from small one-designs to 70-foot Maxis all over the globe but his current boating activity is sharing his love of the water with his family by racing and cruising his 46 footer. Matt’s two children attended NYC Public Schools and he believes the HRCS mission of bringing sailing instruction to NYC youths is a win/win for the students and the sport. Matt is a member of The New York Yacht Club, Fishers Island Yacht Club and The Storm Trysail Club.
Founder, Grind LLC
Throughout his career, Benjamin has founded, funded, operated and advised successful start-ups. He has deep experience in real estate and corporate law, has represented financial institutions and prominent businesspeople, run his own consulting firm, and has always been at the epicenter of where business and imagination meet.
Chief Development Officer, Randall's Island Park Alliance
Alex brings over 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and fundraising, previously serving as the Associate VP of Operations Management at the Central Park Conservancy and President/COO of Sail To Prevail. He is a graduate from Skidmore College, Columbia University (Masters in Public Administration), University of Rhode Island (Masters in Political Science), and from the Executive Education Program for Leadership Development at Harvard Business School. Alex joined the Board to combine his sailing and professional experience to help others experience and find joy in sailing.
Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP
Managing Partner of Washington Square Dental Group
Mark was born in NYC and has practiced dentistry for 40 years. He is the managing partner of Washington Square Dental Group. Mark learned to sail as a teen on lakes in northern Connecticut and upstate New York. Over the years he has owned a number of dinghies and daysailers, and continued sailing on the New Jersey shore. He says that his greatest satisfaction has been volunteering with Sail Academy and interacting with the students, teaching sailing and boat-building and assisting with many field trip sails. He is also a member of the Brant Beach Yacht Club and race with a team on an A-cat in Barnegat Bay. He holds a US Sailing Basic Keelboat Instructor Certification and a USCG Captain’s License.
Founding Partner, Israel, Israel & Purdy, LLP
Stuart graduated Tulane University with a BA in 1986 and Brooklyn Law School with a JD in 1990. He clerked for the United States Justice Department before becoming a founding partner of the Law Offices of Israel Purdy, LLP, one of New York’s largest firms specializing in medical collection. He often lectures to the New York State Bar Association and is a member of their Health Law section as well as the New York State Trial Lawyers Association’s Auto Reform Committee. Stuart is also past president of New Yorkers for Fair Automobile Insurance Reform (NYFAIR) and the New York Coalition of No-Fault Lawyers. Stuart was most recently a Board Member of Reach The World, which serves to use technology to bring underserved youth together with world travelers. Stuart is a life long sailor and currently sails in Manhasset Bay as a member of the North Shore Yacht Club. He can be found racing weeknight club and one-design in Long Island Sound and cruising the Caribbean.
Upper School Science Teacher, The Packer Collegiate Institute
Alice Lurain is a high school chemistry teacher and lifelong sailor who has been a committed member of HRCS since its first season in 2007. HRCS brings together her passion for developing the academic and leadership potential of young people with her love of sailing, and she believes strongly in its mission to create an inclusive, welcoming community for anyone who wants to get out on the water. In joining the board of directors, she hopes to apply her deep experience in STEM education and her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion work to ensuring that HRCS remains a strong, vibrant, and responsive organization.
Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
A native St. Louisan, Randy was drawn to sailing when he arrived in NYC and began club racing with a friend at Indian Harbor over 32 years ago. As an HRCS racer, he enjoys the camaraderie and activities of the club which contribute to the youth leadership and sailing programs. He has sailed in Australia, the Caribbean, and throughout the US, making any and all time on the water an ideal vacation or racing adventure. Since his involvement with HRCS in its earliest days, Randy has utilized his corporate banking and relationship management experience to support HRCS and its Board. His belief in our goals and overall mission remains unwavering.
Founder, Red Circle Studios
After Graduating from Williams College in 1973, Joe Standart began his career as a photographer photographing the wildlife and rugged terrain of Alaska for the National Park Service. After producing work that was widely exhibited and published, he moved to New York City and opened Red Circle Studios and began creating stories and campaign for many of the country’s most renowned companies and magazines including Architectural Digest, Glamor, Sony and GE. He has received many awards for his work, created some of the most recognized images in advertising, and through his images has helped build several leading brands including Viking Range Corporation. Joe has always had a strong social conscience. When the AIDS epidemic struck in the late 1980’s, he joined with several friends to found Photographers and Friends United Against AIDS which raised over $2 million for AIDS research. In 2002, Joe initiated “Portrait of America” a series of public art initiatives designed to engage individuals and groups toward building stronger more compassionate communities. With some of the images from the initiatives measuring over 60 feet in height, they were enthusiastically received, seen by over 15 million viewers and were reviewed and praised by much of the national media outlets including The New York Times. Joe began his life-long passion for sailing at the age of 7 and has enjoyed an active cruising and racing career. Joe lives with his wife and two children in New York City and Lyme, Connecticut.
Chief Operating Officer, HipSilver
As a Croatian-American from the Dalmatian Coast, Alex appreciates anything nautical: his family has been “on the water” for over 300 years. Alex is a graduate of Columbia University and has been working in business services for over 30 years. He specializes in human resources, talent acquisition, management, and sales. Not ready to retire, Alex started working as a consultant helping established companies reinvent themselves. He has worked with companies across the United States, Europe, and India such as Bic, Bitly, Children’s Place, Citigroup, and more. He has volunteered with the Oratorio Society of NY, the NY Gilbert and Sullivan Players, and the Blue Hill Troupe. He is proud of his involvement with HRCS. Currently COO of HipSilver, he loves a challenge and enjoys helping to create business discipline to support great ideas. These days, Alex enjoys boating and can be found racing with HRCS in New York, as well as up in MA for Nantucket RaceWeek.
After a successful career in the fashion industry, Brook now devotes his time to helping HRCS teach the "art” of sailing. He grew up racing on Narragansett Bay. After College he served five years as an Officer in the U.S. Army Special Forces. Since then he has owned and sailed a multitude of boats, including a wooden schooner. He spent sixteen years as an Officer, Commodore, and Trustee of the Shelter Island Yacht Club, which has an accomplished Junior Sailing Program. Since his retirement in 2015, he has logged over ten thousand offshore Nautical miles, including transatlantic and Bermuda races. He holds a Master’s license. He served as chairman of the HRCS Board. He also serves as an instructor in our veterans programs.
Bill worked tirelessly to establish HRCS on good footing during the economic collapse of 2008 and its immediate aftermath. The commitment of our skeleton crew, stakeholders and our BOD helped to realize this work and laid the groundwork for today's success. Bill is incredibly proud of the work the HRCS Crew is doing to further a mission that inspired him. He relishes opportunities to help HRCS in meaningful ways and continue to pursue other opportunities to further engage young people in innovation ways. Bill is living in West Los Angeles raising his little family.
North East Regional Manager, North Sails
Serves as the Chairman of the Yale Sailing Associates, the alumni funding and supervisory board for the Yale Sailing Teams and Yale Corinthian Yacht Club. Experienced in every aspect of making sailing boats go fast including hull preparation, rig tuning, sail design, sail setting, crew training, and steering. Member of Larchmont YC, New York YC, Seawanhaka Corinthian YC, Yale Corinthian YC, Storm Trysail Club, and the Imperial Poona Yacht Club. Certified Marine Surveyor. Instructor for North University Racing Seminars and frequent lecturer to yacht clubs, sailing organizations, and corporations. Olympic silver medalist, three time world champion, collegiate sailor of the year, and multiple class national champion.
Owner-Operator, Gale Force Sailing
Kristen is a full-time sailing educator who is a US Sailing certified instructor and coach and has worked as a sailing coach and corporate team building event coordinator for more than 15 years. Kristen owns and operates Gale Force Sailing and specializes in personalized training and support programs for sailors of all kinds. Before dedicating himself to helping individual and teams achieve their sailing goals, Kristen was the director of J World - The Performance Sailing School in Annapolis and led the Downtown Sailing Center as its executive director.
Before sailing, Kristen was the Executive Director of Our Nation’s Capital, a DC based advocacy organization, that advocated for voting rights for DC residents as well as the federal financial support necessary to make Washington, DC a World-class capital. Always committed to environmental protection and conservation, Kristen was the president and founder of BirdPAC, a political action committee dedicated to bird conservation and prior to flying to BirdPAC, he was the Director of Communications and Grassroots Manager of The National Audubon Society.
Executive Director, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.
A 30-year resident of New York City, Bob is a also a lifelong competitive sailor and enthusiast for all things nautical. He has had extensive involvement with numerous non-profit, including serving as a trustee of the East Side House, a community service center in the South Bronx, and co-founding Nantucket Race Week, one of New England’s premier racing events, which benfits Nantucket Community Sailing. Bob is the former Commodore of the Nantucket Yacht Club, and is Executive Director at Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., a global leader in commercial real estate.
Jessica De Vivo
Maritime Attorney, XL Catlin
Jessica is a Senior Marine Claims Specialist at XL Specialty Insurance Company. Prior to joining the insurance industry, Jessica was a litigation attorney at an admiralty and maritime firm in lower Manhattan. She has conducted hearings involving The Racing Rules of Sailing before International Juries, the US Sailing Review Board and the International Sailing Federation. Prior to law practice, Jessica was an instructor at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School and a schooner captain at the South Street Seaport Museum. She advocates for alternative dispute resolution, expeditionary learning, sustainable living and preservation of natural environments. Jessica is passionate about off shore sailing and point to point racing and is currently a Commodore of the Corinthian Yacht Club of Cape May.
Peter Y. Gevalt
Founder/Managing Partner, Wells Hill Partners, Ltd.
As a principal, Mr. Gevalt has acted as general partner and limited partner in the development and acquisition of over one billion dollars of real estate projects during the last 45 years. Mr. Gevalt was Senior Warden of Trinity Church in New York City. Peter is also a past Board member of the Hotchkiss School, Sheltering Arms Family & Children Services, and Episcopal Charities. Mr. Gevalt has sailed since he was a child, when his family summered on the Connecticut shore of the Long Island Sound. He is a former Commodore of the Nantucket Yacht Club, and races actively in several one-design classes. His sailing credentials include winning the North American Championship in the International One Design Class, and having completed in a number of major offshore events, including the Bermuda Race. Mr. Gevalt received a BA degree from the University of North Carolina. He resides in New York City with his wife Lori.
Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP
Ad Sales Account Executive, AMC Networks
Emory has been involved with HRCS since 2011, specifically helping to coordinate the annual Dark ’N’ Stormy fundraiser. She was an Event Chair in 2013, 2014 & 2015, as well as a benefit and host committee member in prior years. Emory has worked in media for 10+ years, and is currently an Advertising Sales Account Executive at AMC Networks, responsible for selling advertising on AMC, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV, and We TV. She holds a degree from Boston College (BA), is a member of Mantoloking Yacht Club in New Jersey, and grew up sailing duckboats and optimists on the Barnegat Bay.
Principal, Manhattan Business Academy HS
Karen Polsonetti studied at Stonehill College in Massachusetts and graduated with a degree in communications. After graduating, she realized that she wanted to work in the education field. For four years, Karen worked in a residential treatment program for young adolescents girls. It is here where she developed her passion for working with high school age students. Karen then traveled to Arizona State University to obtain her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Karen then returned to Acton, Massachusetts to teach in a middle school but shortly moved to NYC to work with inner-city youth. She found this work to be her passion. Karen started as a U.S. History and Global History teacher in a large comprehensive high school. She became a dean of discipline and then a Director of one of the small learning communities. Karen was asked to start her own school when the large school was broken down into small schools. This is when Karen founded the Manhattan Business Academy with a small group of very dedicated and amazing teachers. In the last 8 years, MBA has won awards in their Virtual Enterprise Program and has maintained a graduation rate of at least 85%. It is hard work but we love doing it. Personally, Karen enjoys camping and the Red Sox. Karen and her husband have one five year old daughter, Alexandra, who also loves camping but we are still working on her love of the Red Sox and Patriots.
Senior Vice President, Gowrie Group
Steve has severed on more than 20 corporate boards from a diverse universe of companies and nonprofits, including serving on the board of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and the advisory board of Boston Private Bank. He is a trustee and former Commodore of Shelter Island Yacht Club. Steve graduated from University of Wyoming and has an MBA and MAAP from Duke University.
Jon Stamell is the founder of Oomiji (oomiji.com), a customer engagement software platform. He formerly was CEO of the largest advertising and PR firm in Northern New England. He received his B.A. from the University of Michigan, did graduate work at Harvard University’s Yenching Institute and received an M.B.A. from the University of Maine. He grew up racing all types of small and large boats on the Great Lakes, has raced in several North American class championships and taught for Steve Colgate’s Offshore Sailing School after college. Upon moving to NY, he taught at the Manhattan Sailing School. He currently sails a Laser in the balmy waters on the Maine coast. On the side, Jon is a published cartoonist and his cartoons, taking a satirical look at business and technology, can be found at GigundoIndustries.com.
Senior Vice President, iStar Inc.
Arie is a long-time HRCS supporter and can be found many weekends skippering one of its boats in New York Harbor as a member of its adult sailing program. Having learned to sail on the Hudson as an adult, Arie is an enthusiastic advocate of HRCS’s core mission of community sailing and youth development. Professionally, Arie invests in real estate opportunities with an emphasis on the ground lease space. Arie has degrees from the University of Chicago (BA) and Columbia University (MS, MBA), and enjoys working with HRCS to build awareness and achieve its goals.
Retired, President: Global Specialties, Marsh, Inc.
Sandy Vietor retired in 2015 after 40 years in the insurance brokerage business. He spent his last decade as president, Global Specialties of Marsh Inc., the world’s leading insurance broker and risk advisor. He continues to be involved with numerous organizations to consult on risk management issues. In addition, Sandy is a life long sailor owning numerous sail boats. Over the last 15 years Sandy has built a number of small wooden boats with a friend in his spare time. Mr. Vietor is a graduate of Tufts University and earned an M.B.A. degree from New York University.