Wednesday, May 05, 2021
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM EST
The New York First Ones celebrate leaders who are first in their family to graduate college.
Their stories demonstrate the transformative power of higher education and underscore the need for college to be affordable for all.
If you were unable to join us but wish to make a gift, you may do so here. We’re grateful for your support! You can watch the celebration below.
Chief Executive Officer, Deutsch New York
“Being first-generation comes with a big responsibility and the hope that this credential has the power to pave the way for so many others.”
Val has been a key architect of the agency’s continual success and leadership in the advertising industry since joining in 1992. Her vast experience includes brand building work on industry leaders including Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, IKEA, Procter & Gamble, AB InBev, PNC Bank, and Reebok. Along with the Agency’s success, The Today Show, CNN, and other media outlets have all sought out her point of view, and she has been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Fortune. A trusted industry thought leader, Val is anything but shy when it comes to advocating for equality in the workplace. Passionate about supporting early career playwrights, creative storytellers and educating young students about the performing arts she holds board positions for The Playwrights Realm and On Broadway’s Performing Arts Training Program. She is chairman of the Hearts of Gold Foundation, which assists at-risk mothers, and holds board positions with the ANA Educational Foundation (AEF) and at her alma mater, Williams College.
Cynthia Rivera Weissblum
Chief Executive Officer, Edwin Gould Foundation
"I have stood on the shoulders of my parents, and my children on mine, and so it will continue."
Cynthia Rivera Weissblum is CEO of the Edwin Gould Foundation and is the architect of the EGF Accelerator, a residential and remote incubator for nonprofits focused on educational inequity. Previously, Cynthia was president of Results Collaborative, advising on donor strategy. She served as CEO of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and during her tenure earned the N.Y. Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Award. She was the director of New York State’s Mentoring Program. She honed her skills and developed perspective in student development and educational equity at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University at Albany, and Rutgers University. Cynthia recently was the commencement speaker at Mercy College and is a lecturer at New York University’s Steinhardt School.
Cynthia earned a BA, MS, and post-graduate certification in counseling psychology from the University at Albany. She serves on the board of Guttman Community College, Hispanics in Philanthropy and uAspire. She has informed legislation and strategies to address obstacles preventing low-income students from thriving. Cynthia is an advocate and entrepreneur building organizations that advance positive outcomes for underserved youth.
Analyst, American Express Strategy
“I have achieved my parents’ wildest dreams and their goal when they moved to a country they had never visited before."
Marvin is an analyst on the Corporate Strategy team at American Express. In his role, Marvin works on enterprise wide and business unit specific projects that shape the future strategy of American Express. Prior to joining American Express, Marvin completed several internships in consulting and finance.
Originally from Dominican Republic, Marvin spent most of his childhood in Boston and now currently lives in the Upper West Side. He is a die-hard Boston sports fan and a self-proclaimed amateur film-critic. Marvin spends his free time watching movies, bike riding through Central Park, and baking banana bread.
Marvin received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University.
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