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Staff

Connie Fishman

Executive Director

Connie Fishman serves as interim Executive Director of Friends of Hudson River Park. She previously held the positions of President & CEO and Executive Vice President of the Hudson River Park Trust, the Friends partner organization charged with the design, construction, operations and maintenance of our riverfront park on Manhattan’s West Side. Her previous experience also includes serving as interim Executive Director of the Governors Island Alliance, Senior Vice President of Real Estate for the YMCA of Greater New York, Director of Planning and Development for the NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Planning and Administration, Deputy Director for Housing, Economic and Infrastructure Planning at the NYC Department of City Planning, and as an independent land use planning and real estate consultant in New York City.

Connie holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Born and raised in California, she has lived in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn for the past thirty years.

Mark Cheever

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Mark joins Friends of Hudson River Park after a year and a half wearing multiple hats for Hudson River Park Trust. There he served as Environmental Educator and Volunteer Coordinator, dramatically increasing public participation by creating enriching programs and opportunities for engagement. He is a dynamic and friendly professional who understands the wide range of benefits the Park brings to New York City as a public resource for recreation, learning, and relaxation.

Since joining Friends, Mark has made a remarkable impact by improving existing corporate and community relationships while building new ones. Through his leadership, Friends has been able to engage numerous corporate groups via Volunteer Days, which create an entertaining, team-building experience for groups while aiding the Park’s staff in the upkeep of its amazing grounds. Additionally, Mark has spearheaded several large sponsorship deals, creating brand recognition for corporate groups at Friends events including the Gala, Hudson River Park Games, and Park programs. In the community, Mark has used his relationships built at the Trust for support at Friends, integrating local businesses and non-profits into the Community Partner Program and Friends events.

Mark graduated from the University of California-Berkeley in 2009 with a degree in Conservation and Resource Studies. He resides in Brooklyn and is an avid outdoorsman, gardener, cyclist, and foodie.

Ted Gorodetzky

Director of Communications and Marketing

Ted Gorodetzky joined Friends of Hudson River Park following a variety of creative communications positions across the nonprofit sector, including the Hudson River Park Trust. His articles, photography, and various publications for the Park and Friends consistently elevate awareness, heighten donor support, and encourage communal stewardship for this premier NYC destination.

Through his diverse career with cultural organizations and freelance clients, Ted has developed an expertise in the direction of compelling and effective creative collateral with an astute strategic eye. In past work with The JCC in Manhattan, at The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and with myriad entertainment companies, he has overseen numerous, multi-channel promotional campaigns and acted as primary copywriter, editor and designer. His bold messaging and innovative audience engagement led to expanded partnerships, substantial revenue increases, and record attendance for large scale promotional events.

Additionally, Ted brings with him an extensive background in production and entertainment with many years in the theatre and film industries, and a fine arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is especially happy to lend his instinctively collaborative nature and creative spirit to help grow Friends of Hudson River Park.

Toby Pearce

Director of Development

Toby is a tenacious fundraising, business development and cause-marketing strategist with a nearly 9-year record of achievement and demonstrated success providing fundraising leadership and driving revenue growth. Most notably, Toby has served as the National Development Director, Northeast, at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, where he increased philanthropic support, including contributions by individual donors, major foundations and corporations. He worked closely with the leadership team to build fundraising efforts off the launch of a successful national advertising campaign designed to place at least one college education in every Hispanic American household.

Most recently, Toby offered his consulting services at Hub Culture and Techonomy Media and was responsible for handling relationships with existing and new partners in an effort to grow the company’s business. Toby holds a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University. Toby is especially excited to now lend his non-profit management expertise to help grow funds to benefit the Hudson River Park.

James F. Rohrman

Director of Finance and Operations

James joined Friends of Hudson River Park in November 2012. He offers over 20 years of experience as a financial executive, business consultant, and accountant. He has experience working for Fortune 500 Corporations as well as small to mid-size organizations in diverse industries and not-for-profit businesses.

Prior to joining Friends, James had been the Lead Consultant at D&J Consulting, LLC, providing a wide range of business consulting services. Formerly at Warner Music Group, James was a Senior Director of Internal Audit and Compliance.  Prior to that, he worked at Vivendi, starting as a Controller then promoted to Senior Director of Global Finance.  At Sony/BMG he was Manager of Financial Reporting and Manager of Royalty Accounting.  He was also the Assistant Controller for Heraeus, Inc.  As Accounting Manager at New Community Corporation, James was responsible for the accounting close process.

James received his MBA from Seton Hall University and his BS from Drexel University.  He is a member of the New Jersey Networking Group and New Jersey Professionals as well as the Financial Executive Networking Group.  He is the Financial Officer and long standing member of a local not-for-profit organization assisting others through micro-credit loans, education and health care.

Tony Simone

Director of External Affairs

Tony joined Friends after a rewarding career in New York City government, advocacy and real estate. A native New Yorker, Tony brings a wealth of civic experience to this role. During his time in government, he served as Director of Community Outreach for former NYC Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. He also worked for numerous other politicians and on many high-profile political and advocacy campaigns, including Hillary Clinton’s race for U.S. Senate (NY).

As Director of Community Outreach for the NYC Council and Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, he oversaw external relations and built strong relationships with NYC Council Members, business, community leaders and government agencies. In his role with the Council Speaker, he also directed Super Storm Sandy volunteer relief efforts and led local initiatives to reduce hate crimes and participated in the NYS marriage equality victory. Tony also served as Deputy Director for People for the American Way.

Tony began his career at Goldman Sachs & Co. in private equity, and holds a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a BA in Economics and Political Science from Hofstra University. He has helped New Yorkers and international clients navigate one of the world’s most dynamic real estate markets with the prestigious firm Stribling & Associates, where he produced and co-hosted a weekly radio show about New York business, culture and people.

Tony lives with his fiancé, Jason Coughlin, and their dog, Radar (a rescue mini-Pinscher/Dachshund/Jack Russell mix) in Hell’s Kitchen/Hudson Yards. Tony hopes to engage, empower and work with the community and elected officials to ensure Hudson River Park continues to thrive and be a world class park for all New Yorkers.

Sheny Bhopti

Partnerships Manager

Sheny joined Friends of Hudson River Park to bring her love for the outdoors to the Park’s mission -- engaging New Yorkers with amazing recreational activities and getting city-dwellers outside.

Sheny has over ten years brand strategy and event management experience from tech start-ups and corporations such as Living Social, Madison Square Garden and Macy’s. As a consultant for three years, she helped produce sponsored activations for high profile brands such as Spotify, Twitter, Lyft, IFC, South Street Seaport and more. As a tour-guide for Sourced Adventures, Sheny has led day trips out of Manhattan to go kayaking, whitewater rafting, skiing and snowboarding.

Here at Hudson River Park, Sheny enjoys partnering with brands to engage them with events, corporate social responsibility and volunteer initiatives.

Sheny graduated from Northeastern University with a B.A. in International Business & Marketing and also attended the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education studying Psychology.

Shannon Guttridge

Database and Campaign Strategy Manager

Shannon Guttridge joined Friends of Hudson River Park in July 2015, with nearly a decade of experience within the nonprofit sector. She is excited to increase awareness of Hudson River Park’s many endeavors and progress, as well as expand the individual giving program, as part of the Friends team.

Prior to her time at Friends, Shannon launched the membership program and managed the direct mail campaign at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.  She has also worked on major event planning and project management with CBlaney Group, where she raised funds for various organizations including ONE Foundation, Council on Competitiveness, and Meridian International Center. Ironically, she now finds herself back at Hudson River Park, home of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum where she first began her New York journey assisting the external affairs team.

Shannon holds a B.A. in Global Affairs from George Mason University. 

Email HillelHillel Herzfeld

Institutional Giving Manager

Hillel Herzfeld joined Friends of Hudson River Park as Institutional Giving Manager in June 2016 after more than five years in theatre fundraising. Most recently, he served in the same capacity for Primary Stages. While managing the institutional giving portfolio at Primary Stages, Hillel increased contributed income from foundations, corporations and government entities, as well as grew income and attendance for their annual gala.

Prior to Primary Stages, Hillel worked with Signature Theatre Company on the $70M capital campaign to complete the Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center.

Hillel graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University. A resident of lower Manhattan, he enjoys running along Hudson River Park and playing ice hockey in the Park at Chelsea Piers.

Kathy Holding

Development and Special Events Manager

Kathy Holding joined Friends of Hudson River Park in January 2015 and is delighted to be a part of the team.  With years of experience in development and events, Kathy is looking forward to working toward the advancement of the Park’s mission by creating stellar events to engage new audiences and bring awareness to all that the Park has to offer.

Prior to her arrival at Friends, Kathy successfully managed a wide variety of fundraising events at Right To Play and worked for the Obama for America campaign throughout the 2008 presidential election process.  During her tenure at Right To Play, Kathy’s events generated over five million dollars for the organization in cities throughout the United States.

Kathy graduated from The University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and currently resides in lower Manhattan where she enjoys biking and running along Hudson River Park.

Patrick Yacco

Manager, Executive Office & Special Projects

Patrick Yacco arrives at Friends of Hudson River Park with over a decade of administrative and communications experience in the civil rights, entertainment, and non-profit worlds. Originally from Utica, New York, Patrick has lived in New York City for over fifteen years and has thoroughly enjoyed all of the green spaces that the five boroughs have to offer.

Patrick recently received his Masters of Public Administration from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service, with coursework focusing on management, quantitative analysis, and the LGBT non-profit sector.  His Capstone team received the school's Howard Newman Award for their work with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, helping the Chamber to create "Brooklyn Made," the first quantitative urban manufacturing certification program.

In addition to his passion for parks, Patrick is an ardent advocate of the LGBT community, having volunteered for such organizations at Marriage Equality USA and the Stonewall Democrats of New York. For two years he served as a board member of Geeks OUT, an organization dedicated to uniting queer geeks everywhere. He succeeded in gaining 501(c)3 recognition for the group, as well as spearheading its "Skip Ender's Game" campaign, for which he was named a "Leading Man of 2013" by Instinct Magazine. Finally, his articles regarding LGBT geek entertainment have appeared in Next Magazine, Out.com, and Advocate.com.

Katy Siegel

Volunteer Coordinator

Katy Siegel joined Friends of Hudson River Park after serving as an SCA/Americorps Intern at the Hudson River Park Trust. During her time at the Trust, Katy worked as the Park’s Volunteer Coordinator, organizing and executing school, corporate and public events. Katy is looking forward to strengthening the Park’s volunteer program by increasing the capacity for more exciting volunteer opportunities to advance the mission of Hudson River Park.

Prior to joining the Hudson River Park family, Katy began her career in the conservation world at a Wildlife Conservation Center in Connecticut. There, she helped with animal care and enrichment working with many exotic animals, and assisted to facilitate educational programs. She is very passionate about both wildlife and environmental conservation and is involved with sustainability and composting.

Katy graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Italian. She resides in Lower Manhattan, and enjoys biking, trying out new recipes, and exploring New York City.

Julie Goldberg

Marketing and Communications Assistant

Julie joined Friends of Hudson River Park with five years of administrative, communications and digital marketing experience. She loves bringing fun and informative updates to Hudson River Park fans and engaging with the Park community on social media.

Before arriving at Friends, Julie served as Chapbook Coordinator at the New School Writing Program, coordinating events, newsletters and blog content to keep her community connected and informed. Prior to this, she developed content and managed social media accounts for social work and counseling education websites, and helped build audience awareness and engagement.

She received her B.A. in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis and completed her MFA in Creative Writing at the New School. Words and parks are two of her main passions, and she loves bringing them together for Hudson River Park.

Brenda Palencia

Finance and Operations Assistant

Supporting the Director of Finance in her position, Brenda Palencia joined Friends of Hudson River Park in December 2014.  Previously, she was Co-owner and Vice President of a home furnishings company in Queens, New York.

While working at a CPA firm in New York City, Brenda managed the personal bookkeeping for Ronald Lauder during the time he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Austria.  She has worked at HSBC Bank (formerly Republic National Bank of New York) as an Executive Assistant and in the executive offices of Merrill Lynch International until September 2001.  Since, then she has dedicated her time working as an accounting technician for small companies organizing and managing the companies’ books and records.

Wendy Realmuto

Development Assistant

Wendy Realmuto is thrilled to be a part of the staff of Friends of Hudson River Park. A North Carolina native, Wendy graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she earned a degree in Music Education. She came to New York to study and pursue a career in opera. Highlights from her musical career include making her Carnegie Hall debut as Mezzo-soprano soloist in Bach’s Magnificat and returning to that stage to perform Handel’s Messiah and Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. For several years Wendy also sang in the extra-chorus of the Metropolitan Opera.

In 2012 she received her master’s degree in Fundraising Management from Columbia University and embarked on a new career in development. Wendy enjoys singing as a volunteer in her church choir and studying Argentine Tango with her husband.

Atticus Boroff-Sodano

Friends Mascot

Atticus, the newest member to our team (and the world), joins Friends just 10 short weeks after his arrival to New York City and only days after being adopted by our Executive Director and his partner. Although completely inexperienced in the ways of the workplace, Atticus brings with him a deeply instinctive love for parks and all things green.  Various responsibilities in his new role with the organization include welcoming guests at the Friends of Hudson River Park office in Chelsea, accompanying golf cart tours, and of course, advocating for our Park’s ever-popular offerings for the four-legged Friends community on behalf of all his canine companions.