Meet the judges

The success of the program relies on the efforts of our independent panel of judges. These past Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award recipients and civic and community leaders devote significant effort to review and deliberate the merits of each nominee. We deeply appreciate their dedication to the program.

martin-babinec

Martin Babinec
Founder & Managing Director
UpVentures Capital

mac-cummings

Mac Cummings
CEO & Co-Founder
Terakeet
2022 Regional Award Winner

Saeju-Jeong

Saeju Jeong
Founder & Executive Chairman
Noom
2020 National Award Winner 

Diana-Lee

Diana Lee
CEO
Constellation
2021 Regional Award Winner

Michael-Loeb

Michael Loeb
Founder & CEO
Loeb Enterprises

ben-mckean

Ben McKean
CEO
Hungryroot
2023 Regional Award Winner

adam-nelson

Adam Nelson
Managing Director
FirstMark

Jeremy-Rassen

Jeremy Rassen
Co-Founder & President
Aetion
2022 Regional Award Winner

Mirella-Santome

Mirella Santome
Regional Head of Capital Markets
New York Stock Exchange

james-simmons

James Simmons
CEO & Founding Partner
Asland Capital Partners

Aleksandr-Yampolskiy

Aleksandr Yampolskiy
CEO
SecurityScorecard
2021 Regional Award Winner

Wen-Zhou

Wen Zhou
CEO
3.1 Phillip Lim
2015 Regional Award Winner

 

 

Martin Babinec
Founder & Managing Director
UpVentures Capital

Martin founded Silicon Valley-based TriNet in 1988, serving as CEO for the company’s first 20 years, Chairman through 2010 and retiring from the Board of Directors in June 2022. TriNet’s cloud-based HR services help 16,000 small to mid-sized companies and have grown to annual sales of $5+ billion, listing on NYSE under ticker TNET. He remains the company’s largest non-institutional shareholder. Martin also founded and helps lead UpVentures Capital, Rock City Centre, Rock City Development and non-profits Upstate Venture Connect, Entrepreneurs Across Borders, Unite NY and UpMobility Foundation. He is the author of the Amazon bestseller More Good Jobs: An Entrepreneur’s Action Plan to Create Change in Your Community. Back to top

 


 

Mac Cummings
CEO & Co-Founder
Tarakeet
2022 Regional Award Winner

MacLaren “Mac” Thompson Cummings is an American entrepreneur and co-founder of Terakeet, a search engine optimization firm. In 1998, Cummings launched Mindshark Software and Consulting from his Cornell University dorm room and served as CEO. Cummings led Mindshark to several software agreements with clients such as Forbes and General Electric. In 2001, Cummings co-founded Terakeet Corporation with business partner, Patrick Danial. Terakeet was founded as a voice-recognition software for call centers. As CEO of Terakeet, Cummings has led the company through its growth into an enterprise SEO company that impacts multiple aspects of the client’s websites, including backlinks and content strategies. In 2013, Cummings and Danial created Earned Visibility, Inc. and established Terakeet LLC as a subsidiary. The company has over 350 employees and estimated revenue of $100M as of 2022. Cummings has been active in local and national politics and has been consulted for fundraising strategies on the technology and web side of campaigns. Cummings served as Director of Internet Finance for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid from February to June 2008.   Back to top

 

 


 

Saeju Jeong
Founder & Executive Chairman
Noom
2020 National Award Winner

Saeju Jeong, a native of South Korea, showcased his entrepreneurial spirit early on by establishing the country's first heavy metal e-commerce business. The passing of his father, a distinguished doctor, profoundly impacted Saeju, redirecting his focus towards transforming sick care into preventative care. In 2005, he moved to the United States, where he met Artem Petakov, then a Google employee. Together, they founded Noom in 2008, driven by a shared vision of promoting healthier living. As CEO of Noom for 17 years, Saeju played a pivotal role in its growth, securing $657MM in investment from notable firms like Sequoia Capital and Silver Lake. He guided Noom to become a leading behavior change platform in consumer healthcare, impacting millions globally. The company, under his leadership, became a holistic health hub with programs addressing weight management, obesity care, diabetes, and stress management. Noom's success also spanned publishing, with "The Noom Mindset" becoming a national bestseller and "The Noom Kitchen" cookbook set to release in January 2024. Saeju's leadership earned him multiple awards, including EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year (2020), Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurial Company of the Year (2022), Goldman Sachs' Builders and Innovators Award (2022), and a place in Inc.'s 500 Great Entrepreneurs (2019). He is a regular at the World Economic Forum in Davos and has been featured in high-profile media outlets. In July 2023, Saeju transitioned to Executive Chairman of Noom, continuing to influence its vision and strategy.   Back to top

 

 

 

Diana Lee
CEO
Constellation
2021 Regional Award Winner

Diana Lee is the CEO and Co-founder of Constellation. After starting her career in automotive, she leveraged her experience in sales, marketing, and consulting to pioneer an innovative, tech-driven approach to the marketing industry. Utilizing our end-toend enterprise marketing technology, she helps brands mass-automate stunning compliant creative and streamline the regulatory approval process. Since its inception in 2016, she’s transformed Constellation into a thriving global SaaS company with offices in New York, Dubai, Toronto, and Seoul. Diana’s investment in people, practice, and culture is evidenced by Constellation being named the 65th Fastest-Growing Private Company in America and Diana being named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 New York. An immigrant of color, she creates seats at the table for other talented immigrants, minorities, and women (60% of C-Suite execs are people of color). As a mother of three, she treats her team like family—firmly dedicated to making Constellation an inclusive environment.  Back to top

 

 

 

Michael Loeb
Founder & CEO
Loeb Enterprises

Michael Loeb, a serial entrepreneur, is currently the President and CEO of Loeb.nyc, a private venture investor, and start-up incubator and operator of consumer marketing businesses. Prior to Loeb.nyc, Michael was the President of the Synapse Group, Inc., now a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner. Michael co-founded the company in 1992 with Priceline founder, Jay Walker. Under Michael’s direction, Synapse grew to become the largest seller of consumer magazine subscriptions worldwide, leveraging its revolutionary and patented “continuous service” model to fundamentally change the industry. Michael also assisted Jay Walker in the creation and early funding of Priceline. Loeb.nyc was founded in 2006 after the sale of Synapse Group to Time Warner was completed. There are two parts of Loeb.nyc: early-stage venture investing which is funded internally and an incubator for start-ups for our own ideas. He currently resides in New York City with his wife and children.

 

 

 

Ben McKean
CEO
Hungryroot
2023 Regional Award Winner

Ben McKean is the Founder and CEO of Hungryroot, the AI-driven grocery and recipe service that is redefining food-at-home, making it more personal, sustainable and economical. Prior to Hungryroot, Ben was a Vice President and General Manager at Groupon, overseeing their food and beverage business. Ben came to Groupon through the acquisition of Savored, which he founded in 2009. Savored was the nation’s leading provider of yield management technology to the restaurant industry. Prior to Savored, Ben worked in Merrill Lynch’s technology investment banking group. Ben is a graduate of Georgetown University and currently lives in North Carolina with his wife and kids.   Back to top

 


 

Adam Nelson
Managing Director
FirstMark

Adam Nelson is a Managing Director at FirstMark Capital focusing on investments in Fintech and Vertical Software. Prior to joining the firm, Adam spent nearly a decade in Silicon Valley, investing in early stage companies as a Venture Partner at South Park Commons and a Partner at Social Capital. Before Venture Capital, Adam was an early employee at Dropbox where he built and scaled Dropbox's Partner Network and Revenue Partnerships teams. Adam started his career in investment banking and private equity at Merrill Lynch and Lindsay Goldberg. He holds both a B.A. from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Stanford's Graduate School of Business.   Back to top

 


 

Jeremy Rassen
Co-Founder & President
Aetion
2022 Regional Award Winner

Jeremy A. Rassen, MS, ScD is a pharmacoepidemiologist with 25 years of academic and industry experience. He is co-founder and president at Aetion, a healthcare technology company that delivers real-world evidence for life sciences companies, payers, and regulatory agencies. Prior to founding Aetion, Dr. Rassen was Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where he focused on methods to improve the quality and validity of real-world data studies. He also worked in Silicon Valley in a variety of tech companies. Dr. Rassen received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Harvard College and his master’s and doctorate degrees in Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.   Back to top

 

 

 

Mirella Santome
Regional Head of Capital Markets
New York Stock Exchange

Mirella Santome is a Regional Head of Capital Markets at the New York Stock Exchange. In her current role, Mirella advises private companies on their path to become a public company through an IPO, Direct Listing or SPAC business combination. Prior to joining the NYSE, Mirella was a Vice President of Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs for six years covering Technology, Media and Telecom Sectors as well as high growth Consumer companies. Prior to Goldman Sachs, she was a Capital Markets Investment banker at Credit Suisse. Mirella has extensive experience raising capital, advising companies on optimal capital structure, analyzing operational performance and market positioning. Mirella graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. Mirella resides in New York City with her husband and two sons.   Back to top

 

 

James Simmons
CEO & Founding Partner
Asland Capital Partners

James H. Simmons III is a veteran investment professional with 20 years of experience managing innovative private real estate funds for two of the industry’s most prominent asset managers, Ares Management and AREA Property Partners/Apollo Real Estate Advisors, in addition to previous public sector experience leading the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation. Mr. Simmons now serves as CEO and Managing Partner of Asland Capital Partners, an institutional investment management platform he founded in January 2019, serving as head of the investment committee with responsibility for the strategic direction and investment strategy of the firm.  Back to top

 

 

Aleksandr Yampolskiy
CEO
SecurityScorecard
2021 Regional Award Winner

Dr. Aleksandr Yampolskiy is a globally recognized cybersecurity innovator, leader, and expert. As co-founder and chief executive officer of SecurityScorecard, Yampolskiy has led the company since its beginnings in 2014 to become one of the world’s most trusted cybersecurity brands like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, AIG, AXAXL and thousands of other customers, and over 500 employees. His vision is to create a new language for measuring and communicating cybersecurity. Prior to founding the company, Yampolskiy was a hands-on CTO at Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio, the largest online talk radio and podcast hosting platform. Prior to that, he was a CISO at Gilt Groupe, where he managed all aspects of IT infrastructure security, secure application development, and PCI compliance. Before that he led teams at Goldman Sachs, Oracle, and other companies. Yampolskiy has a B.A. in mathematics and computer science from New York University and a Ph.D. in Cryptography from Yale University.  Back to top

 

 

Wen Zhou
CEO
3.1 Phillip Lim
2015 Regional Award Winner

Wen Zhou serves as President and CEO of 3.1 Phillip Lim, the company she co-founded together with Phillip Lim in 2005. Zhou spent her childhood in Ningbo, China, and arrived in New York City at the age of 12, settling with her family in Chinatown. She spoke no English but possessed a challenger spirit, a love of fashion, and an entrepreneurial drive to succeed, all of which informed her future success as a business leader and entrepreneur. By the age of 26, she had founded a fabric-selling company and an offshore clothing production company. Later, through a fateful meeting in Paris, Zhou met Phillip Lim, who was himself prepared for his next design endeavor. The two went on to form a partnership and in the Fall of 2005 launched 3.1 Phillip Lim. They were both 31 years old at the time. After 17 years, their partnership remains one of the most fruitful and successful ones in American fashion. The company’s vision to create an elevated, curated, essential wardrobe for today’s global citizen has become synonymous with understated modern luxury. The brand’s and founders’ core values are reflected in all aspects of the business, including a commitment to social causes, community, and sustainability. As President and CEO, Zhou has grown 3.1 Phillip Lim into a global fashion brand offering womenswear, menswear, footwear, and accessories. She has been recognized for her leadership and business acumen in such publications as The Business of Fashion, WWD, Forbes, and Vogue. She was recently awarded as one of the Top 60 Most Influential Chinese Americans by Forbes China, recognizing her as an iconic leader and business owner globally. Zhou is proud to serve on the executive board of APEX for Youth, as well as Taste of Asia.  Back to top