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Save the dateDecember 1, 20216 PM - 11 PM (GMT-5) Add to Calendar
Venue Location
Venue Location

Terrace On the Park

52-11 111th Street
Flushing New York

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Contact Person: Joanne Persad

Join us as we celebrate the heroes of 2020 & 2021 who went above and beyond for their community to ensure that the needs of others were met.

To enter into our raffle drawing, please bring a new, unwrapped toy to the event.

Sponsors and Partners
Sponsors and Partners


Donation to Queens Chamber Business Heroes of the Year Gala


Diamond Hero Sponsor

16 tickets, Award Presenter, inside front cover of Awards Journal, pre/post-event publicity


Platinum Hero Sponsor

12 tickets, Award Presenter, premium full-page ad placement, pre/post-event publicity.


Gold Hero Sponsor

8 tickets, , full-page ad, pre/post-event publicity


Silver Hero Sponsor

4 tickets, 1/2 page ad, pre/post-event publicity.


Photo booth Sponsor

2 tickets, 1/4 page ad.


Bronze Hero Sponsor

2 tickets, 1/4 page ad, pre/post-event publicity.


Audio Sponsor

2 tickets, pre/post event publicity, 1/2 page journal ad


Table of 8 - Member Price

Member Price $1,100

Table of 8 - Non Member


Individual Ticket - Member Price

Member Price $150

Individual Ticket - Non Member Price


Full Page Ad

Full-page color ad
Dimensions - 5.5" w x 8.5" h


Half Page Ad

Half-page color ad
Vertical - 2.75"w x 8.5" h
Horizontal - 5.5"w x 4.25" h

Journal Ad Rates
Journal Ad Rates
Vaccination Policy
Vaccination Policy
Melva Miller

Melva M. Miller, the Association for a Better New York's first Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for the overall success of the organization through economic development, long-term planning, stakeholder engagement, strategic partnerships, and the expansion and evolution of ABNY's membership. Prior to this role, Ms. Miller led the organization's Census initiative for an accurate count of New York where she supported and supplemented the 2020 census efforts by the US Census Bureau, State and City of New York, and in coordination with community-based organizations in an effort to help New York City and State achieve the most accurate census count possible.


A resident of South East Queens, Ms. Miller has dedicated her life to community development through equitable economic growth, creative organizing and inclusive stakeholder participation. Ms. Miller started her community work in 1993 when she began working with children using the arts as a tool to promote civic responsibility while fostering positive imagery of youth in her community. Through this work, Ms. Miller used dance, music and artistic expression as a conduit for community empowerment, collective consciousness and individual pride. She then sought to supplement her tacit community development knowledge with evidenced-based practice and attended the Hunter College School of Social Work where she earned a Master's degree in Community Organization and Planning, and received the school's Dorothy North McNeal Award for achievement in Community Organization.  

Aigner Chocolates

Rachel Kellner received her undergraduate and masters degree from New York University's School of Social Work. After graduating in 2008, she spent several years working as a staff therapist at the longstanding outpatient substance abuse clinic, Bridge Back to Life. She left Bridge Back to Life after earning the title Licensed Clinical Social Worker. At that point Rachel began working at Counseling Service of Eastern District New York with their alternative to incarceration program. She founded and implemented an intensive outpatient program at CSEDNY and within a short period of time Rachel became the Director of Intensive Outpatient Services. During her time at CSEDNY,

Rachel completed several post graduate training programs at NYU including Advanced Clinical Practices in Addiction and became licensed as a SIFI (seminar in field instructor).

 In 2013 Rachel enrolled in a three year postgraduate training program at the Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training. While Rachel held the title of Assistant Clinical Director, she and her husband, Mark Libertini, took over Aigner Chocolates. Juggling her time between being assistant director, managing the chocolate shop and working toward her post graduate degree, Rachel decided to leave CSEDNY and transition to the shop full time.

Rachel finds it easier to make people happy with a piece of chocolate than months and years of therapy. Rachel is currently a proud member of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, co-founder of Metro Village of Forest Hills and alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10k Small Business Program. When she isn't working she enjoys spending time with her husband and three sons, Jacob, Nicholas & Antonio. 

Mark Libertini graduated culinary school in 1992 from Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. After working at various restaurants and hotels in the Boston area, including The Ritz Carlton, Davios and The Hasty Pudding Theatre, Mr. Libertini moved from Watertown, Massachusetts to Brooklyn, New York in October 1997.

He was the assistant pastry chef at Gotham Bar & Grill for 3 years, and left the food business to return with the intent of starting his own business.

He was a manager at Buttercup Bakeshop for 2.5 years before opening his own bakery, Little Cupcake Bakeshop in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He opened Little Cupcake in 2005, and enjoyed success until he sold the bakery in 2010. Mark was central to New York "Cupcake Wars" as documented by New York magazine.

After Little Cupcake Bakeshop, he opened Vela Tapas Restaurant where he met his future wife, Rachel Kellner. Mark sold Vela Tapas in 2012 and moved to Bayside, Queens.

He and his fiancée took over Aigner Chocolates in September 2015. Aigner Chocolates is one of the oldest chocolate shops in NYC, manufacturing and retailing handcrafted chocolate and confections for 90 years. Aigner Chocolates was named "best chocolate shop" in New York by Mental Floss in 2019.

Michael Peterson

Michael A. Peterson is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a non-partisan organization dedicated to addressing America's fiscal challenges and building a stronger economic future. The Foundation engages in grant-making, partnerships and research to educate citizens and foster solutions to put America on a sustainable fiscal path. Michael sets the Foundation's policy direction and strategy, shaping its major programs and initiatives.

In the wake of Covid-19, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation joined forces with the Partnership for NYC, NYC Borough Chambers of Commerce, and others to create the NYC Small Business Resource Network. The Network serves as a one-stop shop to accelerate the recovery and resiliency of small businesses, and in turn strengthen the city's economy. Since its launch in September 2020, more than 6,500 small businesses have participated in the program, nearly 80% of which are minority- or women-owned.

Michael combines his dedication to public service with extensive private sector experience as an entrepreneur, operator and investor. In 2007, he co-founded Evolve IP, an award-winning telecommunications company named as one of America's 50 best places to work (Inc. Magazine), best entrepreneurial companies (Entrepreneur Magazine) and fastest growing technology companies (Deloitte Fast 500). Michael also co-founded GPX Enterprises, L.P., which makes direct investments in operating businesses and real estate. Previously, he held a number of corporate finance positions, leading and executing transactions totaling several billion dollars. Michael also currently serves as the CEO of Peterson Management, LLC, which manages the Peterson family investments.

Michael is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and serves on the boards of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Partnership for New York City. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of New York, and Business Executives for National Security. He has received the Corporate Community Achievement Award from the Northside Center for Child Development and the Visionary Award from the Committee for Economic Education. Additionally, he has established his own foundation, which focuses on a variety of philanthropic areas. 

Michael graduated Magna Cum Laude and with Honors from Brown University, where he was awarded the Taubman Prize for his thesis. He received his Master's degree from the London School of Economics. Michael lives in New York with his wife, Tara Peters, and their two children.

Bolivian Llama Party

Bolivian Llama Party was started by the Oropeza brothers in 2010. Born in Bolivia and raised in Queens, the Oropeza brothers came from humble beginnings selling at local street fairs and food markets. Although the brothers pursued very different professional fields, finance, philosophy and journalism, they shared the same dream of bringing their underrepresented culture to the forefront of the NYC foodie scene. Their style of creative Bolivian food made waves in the culinary scene, and they rode that wave to opening their flagship brick and mortar in Columbus Circle, Manhattan in 2016. Two years later they opened a 2nd brick and mortar in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. In March of 2020, BLP's blistering success was halted by the COVID pandemic. Sadly, thereafter, BLP permanently closed all of their storefronts in Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

The Oropeza brothers were left with their commissary kitchen in Queens that was primarily used as a production facility to make their famous salteñas. They briefly contemplated closing the business, but the entrepreneurial legacy of their immigrant parents inspired them to keep chasing their dream. The following month in April of 2020, the Oropeza brothers constructed their very own outdoor dining from scratch and installed a take-out window at their commissary kitchen in Sunnyside, Queens. Phenomenally, the Sunnyside community and BLP fans from far and wide flooded BLP with love & support. Bolivian Llama Party continues to thrive today because of the generous support of our customers and outstanding organizations that support local businesses.

Jonnel Doris

As Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Jonnel Doris is charged with running a dynamic City agency focused on equity of opportunity, that leads to economic self-sufficiency and mobility for New York City's diverse communities. SBS actively connects New Yorkers to good jobs, creates stronger businesses, and builds a thriving economy in neighborhoods across the five boroughs.


Doris previously held the role as the City's first Senior Advisor and Director of the Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE). Under Doris' leadership, the City more than doubled its certifications to 9,620, tripled its utilization, and awarded more than $14.6 billion to M/WBEs. His engagement in business communities, City agencies, and both state and city legislatures has also influenced city efforts to pass critical state legislation that expands opportunities for M/WBEs.


Doris previously served as the first Chief Diversity Officer for the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR), where he developed and implemented strategic initiatives resulting in increased utilization of state and federal M/WBEs and Section 3 businesses. He created the Office of Diversity and Civil Rights, and developed GOSR's award-winning Local Workforce Opportunities Program.


His professional career includes extensive experience in the energy, utility, government, and business sectors working at Public Service Enterprise Group-Long Island, 

Long Island Power Authority, KeySpan, and in both State and City Government. He is also a former small business owner who understands firsthand the challenges that M/WBEs face. 


Doris holds several degrees and certificates including a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Analysis, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology from Stony Brook University, a Master of Divinity from Oral Roberts University, and a Turner School of Construction Management Certificate. He currently resides in Queens with his wife Aisha Doris and two children.


Charles Boyce

Charles Boyce is the founder and President of Boyce Technologies. Charles is a graduate of New York University where he received first in 1990 a Bachelors with concentrations in Bioelectronics, Computer Science, Network Television Broadcasting. In 1994, also from New York University, he received his Master's Degree in Telecommunications Engineering.

Charles has over 25 years of experience in electronic design and communications construction. Charles stated Boyce Technologies (BTI) about 10 years ago. BTI is known for the MTA systems such as the Help Points kiosks and Access Nodes as well as the recent the pivot to the first available FDA approved bridge ventilator in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charles leads BTI with a team of over 150 people along with an advanced technology innovation and manufacturing center in Long Island City. His dedication to life safety and emergency systems along with urban tech systems is leading to the eventual expansion into medical innovations and life sciences manufacturing enablement.

Charles is very dedicated to personally and professionally uplifting his fellow New Yorkers by not only creating meaningful jobs at BTI but also guiding his employees to create lifelong skills. His vision of a new medical and life science innovation center will be the next expansion with over creating hundreds new jobs.

Larry Zogby

Larry Zogby brings more than 35 years of logistics experience to his role as the leader of one of the New York City area's premier delivery services—RDS Same Day Delivery. He serves as a valued member of numerous logistics-related groups and associations and is passionate about providing people with disabilities the opportunities they deserve for meaningful employment.


On the Business Side…

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Zogby organized an effort called One Random Act of Kindness in association with several local restaurants. This initiative has delivered more than 350,000 meals to front-line health workers, senior citizen shut-ins and the needy and is still going strong.


Zogby is passionate about his company, his customers, his employees and his community. He wants to do everything he can—inside and outside of the logistics industry—to make his corner of the world a better place.


Born in 1964, he majored in finance and management at the City University of New York-College of Staten Island. Larry acquired the company RDS in 1986 at its offices in Brooklyn. In the 1990s, he moved his company to NYC Midtown East so that it was strategically located near area hospitals, which now rely heavily on RDS' specialty medical services

In 1996, RDS moved to a new corporate headquarters in the East Village. Finally, in 2019, Zogby, a master of logistics and strategy, selected a prime location in Long Island City for RDS' current state-of-the-art, 10,000-square-foot HQ and full-service facility.

Mark Boccia

Mark Boccia is a longtime Bayside businessman who stands at the forefront of this ever-trending, fast-paced restaurant industry & who continues to make strides in the community. While he has been a fixture in Bayside for over 30 years, Mark first got his feet wet at B.B. Jr's, Bayside then Wellingtons in Centerport, then to his current & constant presence at Austin's Ale House, Kew Gardens, Bourbon Street, Bayside & his newest location One Station Plaza, Bayside.


Born and raised in Flushing, Queens Mark attended St. Andrew Avellino & Archbishop Molloy School. Mark then went on to graduate from St. John's University and accepted a job working on the trading desk at EF Hutton, were he gained the foundation to set a pace for his future.

In addition to restaurants, Mark is currently involved in multiple Commercial & Residential Real Estate developments and holdings. Currently, he is involved in two development projects. The first being residential construction of four- Three Family Homes. The second project involves the development of a commercial space, a community facility & 18 residential units all within his own local neighborhood.

Mark has continued to show his support for the local community by being an active member of many local organizations, including the Flushing Rotary Club and the Queens Chamber of Commerce. Furthermore, Mark is on the Board of the Bayside BID and the Bayside Business Association; where he awarded "Business Man of the Year" in 2019.

Mark's generosity has also helped local organizations like the St Mary's Hospital for Children and the Samuel Field Y; where he was honored as their "Man of Year" in 2016.

Moreover, in 2020 Mark along with his son Mark Jr. founded "Food for the Fearless;" a non- profit, 501C3 organization that helped to provide restaurant quality meals to all the front- line healthcare professionals and first-responders during the COVID-19 Pandemic. As a symbol of community recognition, support and gratitude "Food for the Fearless" has raised over $150,000 and counting and served over 12,000 meals to date, to all those affected.

Over the past 30 years, Mark has continued to demonstrate his dedication to his community and is excited to continue to lend a helping hand whenever his community calls.

Nupur Arora

 Nupur Arora, or Chef Nupur, as she's popularly known, didn't come to New York to pursue a degree in culinary arts, in fact she came here 25 years ago to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology and was a fashion entrepreneur for many years creating custom clothing for her clients.


 Back in 2016 she stepped away from her custom clothing brand and started diving into food sharing live cooking demos on social media making home style Indian food. Making curry in a kitchen in Queens was really how this brand started.


 Some students from Columbia University reached out to her and wanted her Indian Home-style meals as there weren't too many vegetarian options for them here. She catered those as a hobby from her small kitchen in Queens and really enjoyed it. That's when she started thinking seriously about doing this full-time.


 Several Tiffin box requests later she decided to get some back of the house culinary training that led to the incorporation of Namaste food and Bev Corp in January 2020 to make Indian spice blends for easy Indian cooking.


 The pandemic struck in March and she found herself at a loss as to how to produce the spices from the shared kitchen without any means to travel there anymore. Around the same time a Long Island resident requested her to make food for his aging parents who happen to live in her neighborhood of Rego Park. She agreed immediately as she understood his helplessness of wanting to care for his parents but not being able to do so due to the lockdown.


 One thing led to another and gradually many local families started ordering Home-style meals from the Queens Curry kitchen. In the due course of time she started finding out about affected families and started bringing free food to them till they requested the end of the service. 


 Since April 2020 Queens Curry kitchen has served not only COVID patients and their families but have also been fortunate to serve mothers who have undergone surgeries, families with patients under treatment from cancer, or other family members who have been physically challenged and unable to find access to a meal cooked with love. Chef Nupur's meals have helped those with financial hardship, emotional isolation, and medical challenges to restore their faith in hope, humanity and love from their neighbors.


 Queens Curry kitchen has also made Revenue contributions to India (with the HUNGER HEROES Project) where the second wave of COVID brought loss of human life and medical system collapse all at once earlier this year. 


 In May 2021, the New York Post featured the Queens Curry kitchen as one of the best businesses to emerge in the pandemic, but Chef Nupur says "I'm only doing what feels right"!  

"I continue to serve paying customers from my weekly meal plans, but I make it a point to share with them, with deep gratitude, the power of their dollars and the impact of their choices on local businesses like mine. 

I firmly believe as a community we can give each other so much support no one should feel left out. And "When God raises your standard of living raise your standard of giving!""

Frank Russo

Frank Russo, Jr. began his career at a young age, working with his father and uncle at the restaurant, Villa Russo, and Il Palazzo Catering Hall; learning each position from the ground up and gaining the shared knowledge of both successful men. This is where his love for the catering business began. Frank's drive, work ethic and incredible passion for the business led him to turning his dreams into reality.


In 1987, he expanded the business – opening the doors of Russo's On The Bay in Howard Beach, New York. For nearly 25 years, Russo's On The Bay has been a tradition for family and friends celebrating life´s most important moments, from weddings to social gatherings to corporate meetings. Rarely; however, will Russo admit his own role in the success of his business. For an icon, he remains relatively humble, often crediting his staff well before he will consider himself. The truth remains that his strong commitment to his own business and ability to fearlessly lead his team in new directions has catapulted the brand into what it is today. Russo's drive and desire to excel in the hospitality industry still has not changed. It's rare to see business owners with such commitment to their company that they participate in everything, but Russo is hands-on in everything from food and service to business development. He still meets with guests personally and stops into all parties to thank his clients for their patronage. In fact, he's the type of owner that continues to drive into work on the weekends just as inspired and motivated as the very first day. This is exactly why clients continue to entrust their most precious moments to Russo's year after year.


Over the years, he has successfully opened two other restaurants: Giardino Ristorante and Vetro Restaurant and Lounge. In addition to his business success, he has been rewarded time and time again for community involvement from receiving awards for the beautification of Cross Bay Boulevard to accolades and appreciation from several local non-profit and religious organizations.


Frank Russo, Jr.'s proudest accomplishment is the children's charity which he, his family and friends founded, Angels On The Bay. In 1995, the daughter of one of his closest friends was diagnosed with cancer. He, along with family and friends, began their mission to raise funds for pediatric care. Since its inception, Angels On The Bay has raised and donated over $3 million dollars for children in need of a little miracle.


Declan Morrison

Declan Morrison was born and raised in Fermoy Co Cork Ireland, he moved to NY September 1st 2001 with his now wife Natasha Curtin. Declan grew up in the hospitality business with his Dad who owned several bars in their home town in Ireland. 

After to moving NY in 2001 they fell in love with NYC and decided this was the place for them. He worked in construction and bartended for 6yrs. After saving enough money they were able to open their own place in 2007. Their first bar/restaurant in Forest Hills Metropolitan Ave was named Blackwater Inn (Irish Bar]). In 2009 they opened their second place Tap House (sports bar) on Austin St. in Forest Hills. In 2013 they opened the Flying Pig on Austin St. in Forest Hills later changing the name to Austin Public which he still owns.  When the pandemic hit in 2020, Austin Public was closed for a period of time with the uncertainty of reopening. With Natasha being a teacher in Forest hills High School they decided to feed her students/families that she knew were in need. In addition, they also fed the Frontline workers in Forest Hills hospital and surrounding areas including fire houses and police stations. They got such great feedback from

people that they decided to open Stacked Sandwich Shop.

To this day, Declan tries his best to help out in the neighborhood whenever needed. He is a big supporter of Backpacks for Streets who help feed and cloth the homeless.