2023 Mayor's Mentor Up Gala

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5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023 at The Penthouse at One East Avenue, 1 East Ave., Rochester NY, 14604

We've all been influenced by significant role models, whether they're famous figures we admire or those closer to us who've made a personal impact. It's those individuals who took the time to share their journey, offer insights, and broaden our horizons who have shaped our paths. The City of Rochester is dedicated to nurturing the growth of young Rochesterians through opportunities like The Mayor's Mentor UP! Gala. 

What is the Mayor's Mentor UP! Gala?

The Mayor's Mentor UP! Gala is an exceptional free event supported by local chapters of international fraternities, community agencies, residents, area colleges, and business leaders. This red-carpet gathering serves as a pivotal platform for forging connections, where youth ages 14-18 can interact with peers and local leaders in a formal, enjoyable, and relaxed atmosphere. The event strives to facilitate natural mentor-mentee pairings that can lead to internships and job prospects for local high school students.

Program Requirements:

  1. Attend The Mayor's Mentor UP! Gala on November 11th, 2023.
  2. Maintain quarterly check-ins with your mentee/mentor throughout the school year.
  3. Mentors will host office shadow days for mentees to attend.

For Potential Mentors:

If you've ever thought about giving back to the community, embracing mentorship could be a transformative journey for both you and your mentees. To make a difference in a young person's life, apply by submitting:

  1. Your professional biography/resume
  2. Your headshot portrait
  3. 100-words about how you currently contribute to Rochester's improvement and sustainability. 

For Potential Mentees:

If you're seeking guidance and career insights from successful professionals in your field of interest, this opportunity is for you. To apply, submit a creative work (e.g., poetry, photography, video, writing sample, TikTok, etc.) that answers the question: How can you contribute to improving and sustaining your community?

Embrace the chance to make a difference and grow.  


2023 Mentors

Jasmine Barksdale
Director of Customer Service,
Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority
Jasmine_Barksdale Jasmine Barksdale has years of experience in public service, and her passion lies in creating solutions that address the needs of all. Beyond her professional role,she is committed to giving back to our local community and is actively involved in local charities and nonprofits that address poverty and DEI work. She is driven by a deep-seated belief in the power of compassion, empathy, and service to others.
Anne Marie Barnes Harris
Hillside Family Agency
 Annie Marie_Barnes-Harris Ms. Barnes-Harris currently works at Hillside Family Agency as a Supervisor of Residential DBT co-ed unit while serving as co-chair of DEI Monroe Region Committee. She has also worked in the RCSD as a Parent Coordinator and served on the board of directors for several community organizations as board members.

Shalini Beath
Energy and Sustainability Manager,
City of Rochester
 Shalini _Beath Shalini Beath is the Energy and Sustainability Manager at the City of Rochester’s Department of Environmental Services’ (DES)/Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  Shalini joined the City in 2016 and began her career at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation where she worked for 14 years. Shalini holds a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Binghamton University. 
Jake Bishop
Executive Director,
Dezio and Gingello Foundation
 Jake_Bishop Jake Bishop is the executive director of The Dezio and Gingello Foundation. He is also the host of The Bishop Recovery Podcast, the podcast was created to educate inspire and inform the community about addiction and recovery. Jake's journey into social services began at Baden Street Settlement working as a peer engagement worker and care manager for human trafficking survivors.
Isaac Bliss
Manager of Youth Services,
City of Rochester
Isaac_Bliss (1) Isaac is a youth development professional with over  18 years of experience in the field. He currently serves in the role of Manager of Youth services for the City of Rochester’s Department of Recreation and Human Services.
Shelby Boyd
Police Dispatcher,
City of Rochester
Shelby_Boyd Shelby Boyd is a 911 Police Dispatcher. Shelby is also a preventative service consultant.  
Alfred Burgos

Founder & CEO,
BURGOS Income Tax, Inc.
Alfred_Burgos Al Burgos graduated from Franklin High School in 1974 and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Brockport College in 1984. Al founded BURGOS Income Tax, Inc. in 1991 and currently serves over 1500 clients with two commercial locations in the City of Rochester. He received the Hispanic Business Person of the Year award in 2005, the Rochester Business Journal "ICON" award in 2022, and the IBERO "Alicia Torres Award in 2012. 
Michael Burns

Budget Director,
City of Rochester
Michael Burns Portrait-00749-L Michael Burns has been  a certified public accountant since 2000  and currently serve as budget director for the City of Rochester. Michael is also an adjunct instructor of accounting at St. John Fisher University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in accounting  in 1999.
David Cay Johnston

Distinguished, Visting Lecturer,
Syracuse University College of Law
David Cay_Johnston Bestselling author; Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter now retired from The New York Times; Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, Syracuse University College of Law since 2009; frequent guest on national and overseas television.
Mike Evans

Executive Director,
South East Area Coaltiion (SEAC)
Mike_Evans Mike Evans has been working in the non-profit sector for over a decade, currently serving as the Executive Director of the South East Area Coalition in October 2020.  Recently Mike created a new tool lending library program, SEAC’s Tool Shed, which serves the Greater Rochester Area. Mike enjoys grunge and punk rock music, kayaking, biking, hiking, Star Wars, drumming, video games and writing. He currently runs his own publication company and has written seven books.
Koketso Ferreira

Gazelle Tales International
 Koketso _Ferreira Koketso is a Retired Educator, Journalist, and Founder/CEO Gazelle Tales International since 1978.  Gazelle Tales International's  mission is to preserve and promote the ancient oral Artform of Storytelling and to use storytelling tea parties to improve the quality of life for maidens; mothers, and belldams women ( 70's,-100's). 
Catherine Flannery
Full-time Practicing Psychiatrist in private practice
Catherine_Flannery Catherine has practice psychiatry in the Rochester Are for over 30 years. In addition to her private practice in Brighton, Catherine holds a part-time Clincial Faculty position at the University of Rochester School of Medicine where she supervises psychiatry trainees. 
Natalie Efua France

Youth Advocate and Creative Director,
Urban League of Rochester
 Natalie Efua_France Natalie Efua France is an American-Ghanaian Actress & DJ from Rochester, New York. Her motto is 'EFUA' an acronym for "Embracing Flaws Uplifting All". Natalie is a firm believer in the value of continuous learning - actively seeking opportunities to develop her passion for acting. She is grateful for the individuals that genuinely support her and keep her encouraged as she strives to bring change and tell stories through her he(art).
Jessica Friedman
MBA Student,
University of Rochester
 Jessica_Friedman Jessica is currently an MBA student at Simon Business School, concentrating in strategy & leadership. Born and raised in central Illinois, she spent the last few years in Chicago and graduated in 2021 with a Health Communications and Psychology degree. She is passionate about health, wellness, and continuous learning.
Salih Garrett
 Salih _Garrett Salih is currently in college pursuing a degree in Social Work and is passionate  about mentorship for those who need a little guidance in life. 
Tia Graddic

Dance Program Head Instructor,
Saving AJ
 Tia_Graddic Tia Graddic is graduate of School of The Arts and currently attends Monroe Community College where she is studying business and aspires to be a lawyer. She likes to spend time helping others and even helps people with their travel experiences as well Digital and Social Media Marketing. 
Donesha Gyles
Youth Service Associate,
City of Rochester
Donesha_Gyles Donesha is currently studying Health & Society at SUNY Brockport. She also works in the Department of Recreation and Youth Services and at the University of Rochester. In her free time, she volunteers for Southwest Colts Pop Warner Cheer. 
Katisha Holmes

GJHW Center
 Katisha _Holmes_1 Katisha has helped many youth and young adults in the community over the past 20 years. Born and raised in Emmanuel Temple church, Katisha has a vision of showing young people different pathways to life and that passion is still burning today as she has obtained her masters degree in social work and is continuing her doctoral degree studies.
Brian Lewis
Executive Director,
ROC the Future Alliance
 Brian_Lewis(1) Brian Lewis is currently Executive Director of ROC the Future Alliance. He's taught courses at NYU, The New School, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Baruch College and Monroe Community College. He has spent fifteen years working to eliminate systematic disparities in education, supporting individuals navigating the criminal justice system, and bringing more equitable employment outcomes to historically disempowered communities.
Evan Lowenstein

Independent Counsultant, Sole Proprietor,
 Evan _Lowenstein Evan is a 24-year city resident and has worked for several community non-profit organizations, including Rochester Area Community Foundation and Monroe County 4-H (Cornell Cooperative Extension). He has also worked with youth through several professional and civic endeavors.
Yasmin Mattox
University of Rochester
 Yasmin_Mattox An entrepreneur and professional, Yasmin Mattox serves as Director at University of Rochester's Barbara J. Burger iZone, helping students creatively problem solve to positively impact the world. She is an active member of her community and organizations such as Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Rochester Chapter, TechRochester, and others.
Kareem Ba McCullough
Area U
Kareem-Ba_McCullough (1) Kareem-Ba McCullough, an American-born global academic leader with over 20 years across major education systems, is known for revitalizing school cultures through planning, innovation & collaboration.  The proud Rochester native holds 3 advanced degrees. Beyond professional roles he mentors scholars & initiated successful business ventures. An avid traveler, he's an educator, leader, mentor & visionary advancing education & inspiring youth.
Vincent McIntyre
City of Rochester
Vincent_McIntyre Vincent B. McIntyre Sr. is currently the Superintendent of Security for the City of Rochester. A native of St. Petersburg Florida. He graduated from Edison Technical and Vocational School here in Rochester New York and went on to serve in the United States Army as a Combat Engineer. After, he served as a Youth Division Aide for the Industry State School for juvenile delinquents, Director of Security for the Crowne Plaza Hotel Corporation, and as the Director of security for the Youth Lifeline Foundation based out of St Louis Mo. 
Miguel Melendez
City Council President, Chief Community Engagement Officer, Rochester City Council, Ibero
 Miguel_Melendez Miguel A. Meléndez Jr. is a Rochester native and graduate of East High School. He is the Chief Community Engagement officer at Ibero-American Action League and an elected official, serving as a City Councilmember, At-Large. Miguel is also the sitting City Council President. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in philosophy at St. John Fisher College. He is a husband, father of three, and a proud Northeast Rochester resident.
Aisha Mills-Courtwright

Quality Assurance Training Specialist,
Aisha_Mills-Courtwright Aisha currently provides training for newly hired Clinical Quality Assurance Dept staff for the New York Independent Assessor program; creating and developing training curriculums and materials. She also has exprience as a professor at Alfred State University School of Nursing.
Shanterra Mitchum

Program Director,
Teen Empowerment
Shanterra_Mitchum Shanterra  Mitchum is the Director of Programs at Teen Empowerment. She travels presenting on youth voice, power, and engagement. She is a member of the Board of Directors for The Children's Agenda and Connected Communities. Lastly, as a certified anti-racism facilitator, Shan leads workshops and teach-ins on anti-racism and has facilitated dialogues with youth and community members on reimagining a better, more equitable Rochester. Shan continues to work to break down stereotypes and barriers that limit access and equity in a city rich with resources.
Roslyn Mosley

Assistant Director of Community Engagement and Career Services,
Nazareth University
 Roslyn_Mosley Roslyn currently serves as the Assistant Director of Community Engagement and Career Services at Nazareth University where she is also teaches several classes. She received her Bachelors in Sociology at the University at Buffalo (2006) and a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Medaille University (2016).  Since 2015, she has also been affiliated with the Community Youth Development Advisory Council. 
Dr. Chastity Murray
Owner and Lead Practioner,
Murray's Consultation Services, LLC
Dr. Chastity_Murray Dr. Murray graduated from St. John Fisher with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology in 2006, then a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling in 2008. She subsequently secured a master’s degree in School Psychology from Roberts Wesleyan College in 2013 and a Doctorate in Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher in 2017. She is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Murray is the owner and lead practitioner with Murray's Consultation Services, LLC in Rochester and an Adjunct Professor at SUNY Geneseo.
Stefano Napolitano

Fire Chief,
Rochester Fire Department
Stafano_Napolitano_11623 Stefano Napolitano currently serves as the Chief of the Rochester Fire Department. With an extensive background in executive fire service leadership, Stafano brings a wealth of experience to his role and is passionate about safety. 
Michelle Nemati

Executive Director,
University of Rochester Medical Center
& National Relief Fund Initiative
 Michelle_Nemati Michelle is the Founder and Executive Director of the National Relief Fund Initiative at the University of Rochester. Early on, Michelle's passion for patient advocacy and medicine was undeniable. As a young adult, she worked in the ER while pursuing her degree in Molecular Biology and Neuroscience. Practical experience and academic rigor has provided her with invaluable insights into the complex interplay of factors of our healthcare system.
 Jasmine Noble

585Bobcats Youth Basketball Organization 
and Elbow Grease Gives You Peace Cleaning Services
 Jasmine_Noble A 2023 Monroe Community College graduate and owner of Elbow Grease Gives You Peace Cleaning Services. Jasmine is also a youth baskeball coach for the 585bobcats, modified girls volleyball coach and Junior Varsity Head coach at Young Women's College Prep.
Luz Padilla

Future Development Manager,
General Motors
Luz_Padilla Luz Padilla has over 25 years of extensive business development expertise. Currently serving as a Future Retail Development manager, Luz oversees the enhancement of Ecommerce for General Motors. Luz actively engages in community volunteer work, particularly focusing on STEM education programs, mentoring, and leadership within Employee Resource Groups.
Gotti Perry
Restaurant Owner,
Taste of the Bahamas
Gotti_Perry Gotti has been a restaurant owner for over 14 years providing high quality bohemian cuisine in the city of Rochester.
Ellis Randall

Youth Advovate,
Hillside Work Scholarship Connection
 Ellis _Randall Ellis Randall has been a Youth Advocate Mentor for Hillside Work Scholarship Connection for 19 years. Starting his career in the military, serving active duty in the US Army; Ellis has earned two degrees in Business Administration and Computer Programming. He is a 2009 Graduate of the African American Leadership Development Program (AALDP). Ellis enjoys musical arts, is infatuated with the water (Ex. Whale watching in Boston, MA), and has a love for culinary arts.
Corinda Reaves
Chief Community and Customer Experience Officer,
Rochester Genesee Regional Transit Authority
 Corinda_Reaves As Chief Community and Customer Experience Officer, Corinda Reaves is committed to leading efforts that create opportunities for those most dependent on transportation services.  She has dedicated her career to connecting people to what’s most important in their lives; at RTS she does this by setting the tone and expectations around transportation services in partnership with the community.  Corinda has oversight of Customer Service, Planning, Business Development and Marketing and Communications. 
Tyrone Reaves
Truform Manufacturing Corportation
 Tyrone_Reaves Mr. Reaves is a graduate of Charlotte High School and St. John Fisher College. He has owned a local manufacturing business for over 30 years and started a workforce development program to support the Greater Rochester community.
Christine Richards
Assistant Professor,
St. John Fisher University
Christine _Richards, EdD Dr. Richards is a life long learner with a MS.Ed in Counseling and Human Development from the University of Rochester; Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration at the SUNY Brockport; and Education Doctorate in Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher University. Dr. Richards has worked within K-12 education for over 20 years and brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and passion for youth. She is a member of various professional organizations including: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Black Women’s Leadership Forum, and others. She is the co-founder Beautiful Shades of Brown a mentoring and social skills development organization.
Jaimie Smith
Senior Communications Assistant,
Rochester City School District, Office of Communications
 Jaime_Smith Jaime Smith is a marketing and operations professional with many years of experience in the education, non-profit, and music industry sectors. Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Jaime is currently a Senior Communications Assistant with the Rochester City School District tasked with the storytelling and marketing of the great things happening in District schools.
Jeremy Smith

Executive Director,
Freedom Scholars Learning Center Inc.
 Jeremy _Smith Jeremy Smith was born and raised in Rochester, NY, and has served as the Executive Director of Freedom Scholars Learning Center since 2020 and has been involved with Freedom Schools since 2007. For Jeremy, teaching and mentoring youth is centered on his belief that teaching is a humanizing relationship where educators and students learn from one another. 
Rashad Smith

Consulting Director, Strategy and Engagement
The Beat 105.5FM
 Rashad _Smith Rashad J. Smith is a media arts consultant. Currently, Rashad serves as the consulting director of strategy and engagement for The Beat 105.5 FM, a prominent Hip Hop and R&B radio station. Rashad is also publicist and director of entrepreneurship programming for Operation Go, inspiring and guiding young minds in their pursuit of success. Rashad graduated from East High School and later earned his B.A. in Communication Arts from Johnson C. Smith University and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Mary Steblein
Senior Civil Engineer and Project Manager,
LaBella Associates
 Mary_Steblein Mary has 24 years of experience in technical design and permitting, providing professional services to clientele including municipalities, and private utility companies.  She also assists a local municipality with their MS4 Program. 
Amy Stein

Executive Director,
Rochester Education Foundation
Amy_Stein Amy Stein is the Executive Director of the Rochester Education Foundation. In this role, she is responsible for all aspects of carrying out the organization’s mission to provide programs and resources to improve learning and success for all Rochester city students through partnerships with educators, businesses and the community.
Keith Stith

Deputy Chief of Police,
Rochester Police Department
Keith_Stith Keith Stith is a highly accomplished law enforcement executive with over three decades of accomplishments and successful experience in the arena of urban policing.  Currently, Keith is a Deputy Chief of Police with the Rochester Police Department responsible for the Special Operations Bureau. Prior to his appointment at Rochester Police Department, Keith was the first African American appointed as Chief of Detectives to lead the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office  in Hudson County, NJ
Jaiquanne Stock
TC Communities
Jaiquanne_Stock Jaiquanne Stock is an entrepreneur born in raised in Rochester, NY. Born into a large family, as the oldest of 17 siblings, Jaiquanne helped mentor and teach his siblings to become very well rounded adults. Her skills range in business development, branding, and key character building skills and communications.
Dash Taylor
ROC the Peace, RCSD, Center for Youth
 Dash_Taylor Dash Taylor is a home school assistant assigned to Dr Alice Holloway Young School Of Excellence. By Night Coach Dash is a residential counselor for the Center for Youth. Coach Dash is also the author of the Roc City Obituary and Roc City obituary 2. A song where he mentions Hundreds of Homicide victims in hopes to keep their name Alive through music.
Catherine Thomas
Chief Executive Officer,
Baden Street Settlement
Catherine_Thomas Catherine is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Baden Street Settlement. She holds a Master of Social Work Degree from Syracuse University and a master’s in health Professions Education, from the University of Rochester with a concentration on health literacy. Catherine has over thirty years of Human Services experience and started her Human Service career at Hillside Non-Secure as caseworker. Catherine is a Community Advocate who has served on a number of committees, boards, community wide initiatives and organizations--an alumni of the African American Leadership program and participant of Pillars of Hope, Rochester City School District.  
Kathleen Trepanier

 Kathleen_Trepanier Kathleen has been a teacher, assistant principal, community school site coordinator and principal in the Rochester City School District. She is currently looking for next position of impact while caring for her daughter and continuing her education at the U of R to earn her EdD in Educational Leadership.
Miguel Velazquez


 Miguel_Velazquez Since joining RGRTA in 1999, Miguel Velázquez has overseen the transformation of the Authority’s information systems, worked as the Authority's COO and currently serves as its CEO. Miguel has raised funds for youth programs in the Rochester community for over a decade.  He serves on the Board of several community based organizations.  He is a member of the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative steering committee and Together Now initiative.  He is class representative of the 2011 Latino Leadership Development Program. Miguel is a 2012 recipient of the Rochester Business Journal Forty under 40 Award, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Rochester and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business.
Lindsay Ward

Regional Director,
SUNY Brockport SBDC
 Lindsay _Ward Lindsay is a dedicated leader who assists individuals, nonprofits and enterprising ventures achieve desired outcomes by leveraging local, state and federal resources. Throughout her career she has been engaged in change-based, sustainable opportunities in the community.
Delise Whitfield

Regional Vice President,
Whitfield Wealth Group
 Delise_Whitfield (1) Delise Whitfield is the Regional Vice President and Broker of the Whitfield Wealth Group. As a mom of three amazing daughters, she has 50 licensed Financial Professionals in her financial firm and continues to expand. Whitfield Wealth Group specializes in Life Insurance, Investments, wills and living trust and Wealth Planning and they've also offered dozens of Free Financial Literacy classes to the community hoping to impact families by creating Generational Wealth.