Board of Trustees

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Brendan Sexton | Chair of the Board | Joined 2015

Mr. Sexton has more than 30 years of high-level government and corporate experience, having served five New York City mayors, moving from the Office of Management and Budget to become Director of Operations for Mayor Koch, and eventually becoming Commissioner of Sanitation from 1986 to 1990. He has since had several high-level pro bono positions with government, including the Environmental Advisory Committee for NYC’s 2012 Olympic proposal, the Sustainability Working Group for NYC, and for ten years was Chair of the City’s Procurement Policy Board. After leaving the government, he was Vice President for Corporate Community and Government Affairs for the Rockefeller Group, Inc. and then was appointed President and CEO of the Municipal Art Society, followed by President of the Times Square Business Improvement District (now the Times Square Alliance). He has since worked as a consultant focusing on government relations and sustainability. He co-founded The Sexton Company, a sustainability and corporate social responsibility and green branding company. Mr. Sexton is a graduate of New York University (summa cum laude), and was a Clinical Professor at its Wagner Graduate School of Public Service from 1990 to 1991.

 


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Christiana Huus | Secretary of the Board | Joined 2013

Ms. Huus is the Senior Vice President of Special Events and Business Partnerships at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. She received a Bachelor’s of Arts in English from the College of Staten Island. Prior to coming to the September 11 Memorial & Museum, Ms. Huus worked as the Director of Strategic Planning and Development, NYC Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management. She is a resident of lower Manhattan where she lives with her husband and two children.

 


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David Sheehan | Treasurer of the Board | Joined 2013

Mr. Sheehan is the Deputy Chief Operating Officer at 100 Resilient Cities, where he focuses on leading their internal Finance function and overseeing Global Operations and Systems and Grants Management. Prior to that, Mr. Sheehan served as Managing Director of Administrative Services and Director of Fiscal Operations at the NYC Mayor’s Office for several years. He completed his Masters of Public Administration, Public and Non-Profit Management at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, NYU. Mr. Sheehan also worked for the DCLA, NYC Office of Management and Budget and Metropolitan Transit Authority.

 


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Rich Cote | Board Member | Joined 2017

Richard Cote has over 30 years of experience in project management, facility operations, and construction including extensive expertise in project development, planning and execution. Mr. Cote started working as a Project Superintendant in 2004 and eventually served as Project Executive at Hudson Meridian. Mr. Cote was recruited by New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) in 2012 to fill the position of Director of Operations for the Asset Management Division. Currently, Mr. Cote serves as Executive Vice President and is responsible for effectively managing the opertations of the firm’s public sector division. Mr. Cote attended Valley Forge Military Academy in 1984, graduated from Manhattan College in 1990, and attended the US Army Command & General Staff College in 2002. Mr. Cote is a retired military officer where he served the in the United States Army in various capacities since 1982 and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Retired Reserve.

 


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Catherine McVay Hughes | Board Member | Joined 2017

Catherine McVay Hughes served 20 years on Manhattan Community Board One (CB1), half that time as Chair or Vice-Chair. She also chaired its World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee for seven years. She has been a leader in caring for the community by working with diverse community and labor groups, elected officials and governmental agencies at City, State and Federal levels. After Superstorm Sandy, she was appointed Co-Chair of New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program for Southern Manhattan and is a founding member of CB1’s “Manhattan Tip” Resiliency Task Force and a member of the NY/NJ Metropolitan Storm Surge Barrier Working Group. Ms. McVay Hughes also was appointed to the Earth Institute at Columbia University Advisory Board, CERES Presidents Council, Battery Park City Authority, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, The Trust for Governors Island and WTC Scientific Technical Advisory Committee. She also served on the Downtown Alliance Board of Directors, The Battery Conservancy Board of Trustees, Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board and US EPA WTC Expert Technical Panel. Ms. McVay Hughes has a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Princeton University.

 


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Ernest Tollerson | Board Member | Joined 2015

Mr. Tollerson serves on the board of the Hudson River Foundation, and is also serving a three-year term on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NPCC3 (NYC Panel on Climate Change). From 2004 through 2013, he served as a trustee of the Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF), including a three-year term as board chair; he also filled in as NCF’s Interim President and CEO from August 2014 until November 2015, helping to reinvigorate NCF’s focus on climate and inequality issues. Mr. Tollerson is the former Director of Environmental Sustainability and Compliance at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), where he led work on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Sustainability and the MTA. During his 7 1/12-year stint at the MTA, he co-chaired the Transportation & Land Use Technical Working Group of the New York State Climate Action Plan Interim Report. In his nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor, Mr. Tollerson worked for a number of newspapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer; New York Newsday, where he was the editor of the editorial and op-ed pages; and The New York Times, where he was first a national correspondent and later a member of the editorial board. Mr. Tollerson is also on the boards of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, Environmental Advocates of New York, Riverkeeper, and the New-York Historical Society.

 


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Thomas Finkelpearl | Ex-officio | Joined 2011

Commissioner Finkelpearl is the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA). In this role he oversees city funding for nonprofit arts organizations across the five boroughs and directs the cultural policy for the City of New York. He received a BA from Princeton University (1979) and an MFA from Hunter College (1983). Prior to his appointment by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Finkelpearl served as Executive Director of the Queens Museum for twelve years starting in 2002, overseeing an expansion that doubled the museum’s size and positioning the organization as a vibrant center for social engagement in nearby communities. He also held positions at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, working on the organization’s merger with the Museum of Modern Art, and served as Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art program.