Board of Directors

Nellie Black Brewer (CLAS ’08)Board pic

Nellie Black served as the Virginia Club President for the past two years. Previously, she sat on the Executive Committee as a Vice President. Since joining the board in 2009 She has served on a number of committees including the Events Committee for five years (she was the Chairman for 2 of those years), the Harriman Cup committee for 4 years, and she also sat on the Membership/Marketing Committee. Some of her favorite Club activities are the “New Easters” Spring Party, the summer rooftop series, and Mr. Jefferson’s Holiday Party. Nellie is soon starting her eighth year living in New York City. She graduated from UVA in 2008 with a double-major in Philosophy and German, as well as a minor in Urban & Environmental Planning, and was a summer member at the Virginia Club in 2007 when she lived in New York interning for the fashion line, tibi.  Upon graduating, Nellie worked at Davis Polk and Wardwell law firm for nearly three years and transitioned to a venture capital firm, Bessemer Venture Partners, in summer 2011. BVP is located in Westchester, which is not as close as the half block from the Yale Club that Davis Polk was, but she is still at the Yale Club (almost) daily!

Chris Casscells (COMM ’06)222f3aa[1]

Chris graduated from UVA from the Mcintire School of Commerce in 2006. He has been a very active member of the club since 2011, and in 2012 he became a clubhouse member. Chris currently serves on the Board’s Executive Committee as Vice President.

He’s a regular at Virginia Club events, including lectures, Cav’s Care, Wahoo Wednesdays, Gamewatchs and more. He enjoys spending time with fellow Hoos in any setting and is always encouraging participation in Club events.  He looks forward to getting more involved with the Club and to help continue its success, especially in recruiting and retaining memberships. His favorite Virginia Club events are Harriman Cup and Mr. Jefferson’s Holiday Party.

Chris serves as a trustee for the McIntire School and served on his 5 year Reunion Giving Committee in 2011. He also volunteers his time for the Beta-Iota Scholarship Foundation where he sits on the Selection Committee. The Foundation gives merit-based financial aid to students in need. In 2013, the Foundation awarded $45,000 in aid to prospective and current college students. Chris has worked in the Business Development group for Fox News Channel / Fox Business Network over the past 9 years.

Kristine Cheesman (SEAS ’09)kristine

Kristine Cheesman is a 2009 graduate with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. During her time at UVA she participated all four years in Engineering Student Council and finished her last year as President.  Her ultimate goal was to facilitate networking opportunities and to drive students to get involved.  Through her efforts, she tripled the size of the Student Council and developed programs that are still successful today.  She has continued her pursuits by hosting Wahoo Wednesdays, an informal networking happy hour, and spearheading a finance networking initiative for NYC-based alums working in the industry. She has also been involved in other event planning for the club and has been a member of the board over the last several years.  Kristine is currently the Regional Head of Strategic Transformation and Innovation at HSBC.

Justine Gozzi (SEAS’04)  Justine

Justine Gozzi is an active member of the Virginia Club and served on the Board last year.  She assists planning of events with the Studio Committee, and is coordinating an Innovation Panel for our members in the Fall.  Justine plays on the Alumni Softball team, participates with the Book Club, volunteers with Story Pirates, CavsCares, and KEEN, attends STUDIO events, lectures, and much more. Justine is very passionate about UVA and her various activities allows her to interact with a diverse group of UVA Alumni, which provides an avenue for your thoughts/ideas be conveyed to the Board.
Justine graduated from the School of Engineering and Applied Science (Civil Engineering) at UVA in 2004, and from Brooklyn Law School in 2007. She is a Senior Associate at Baker Botts LLP and registered patent attorney. She practices all aspects of intellectual property law and counsels clients on due diligence, freedom to operate, patentability, licensing and litigation concerns. Justine lives in the Upper West Side with her husband, Joshua Kinberg.

Grace Gummeson (CLAS ’14)  Grace G

Grace graduated from UVA in 2014 with a degree in Foreign Affairs. She is a born-and-raised ‘Hoo. Five of her immediate family members have either graduated from or are currently students at the University. Her childhood consisted of Halloweens as a UVA cheerleader and reciting “The Good Old Song” for visiting friends and family.

At UVA, Grace was an active member of the Appropriations Committee within the Student Council, a tutor at Hollymead Elementary School through Madison House, a teammate on the UVA Club Polo Team, and a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. She maintains ties with the University as a member of the Shadwell Society within the Jefferson Scholars Foundation.

Here in the city, she enjoys playing squash at the Yale Club’s facilities, volunteering through the New York Junior League, and exploring the City’s restaurant scene with friends and family. Grace hopes to continue to contribute to the Virginia Club of New York as a board member and Grants Committee member for 2016-2017. 

Wright Harvey (CLAS ’05)wright

Wright Harvey graduated from the University in 2005 with a double-major in Economics and Fine Arts.  He is the President and Co-founder of Sugarlift, New York’s Online Art Gallery.  Prior to starting Sugarlift, he worked at JPMorgan Asset Management, focusing on alternative investments and corporate strategy.  He has been an active member of the Virginia Club of New York, serving as the Membership/Marketing Committee Chair and then Club’s President from 2010 to 2012.  Wright is a founding member of STUDIO, a UVA affinity group aimed at promoting the arts community here in NY and raising awareness of arts needs at UVA.  Wright grew up in Naples, Florida, enjoys traveling, museums, cooking, and painting.  He is also married to a Hoo (Calvine Dunnan Harvey, CLAS ’08)! 

Jane Henningsen (CLAS ’11)Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 9.22.04 AM

Jane Henningsen graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2011 with a double major in Comparative Literature and Spanish.  During her time at UVA, Jane was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society.  For two years after graduation, she worked for the UVA Office of Undergraduate Admission as an Admission Counselor.  She recruited in New England, NYC, Virginia, Latin America, and Central America, and read applications from all over the US and the world.
Since moving to NYC to pursue a career in Human Capital Consulting, Jane has co-chaired the Admission Committee and served on the Hoos Hungry team.   She has been a social member since 2013 and a clubhouse member since 2015.  Her favorite VA club activities include the Harriman Cup, Mr. Jefferson’s Holiday Party, and Admission and Hoos Hungry events.  She also enjoys attending classes in the Yale Club gym and lectures in the Library. When not spending time at VA Club events, Jane volunteers with the New York Junior League and explores the NYC restaurant and museum worlds.

Joshua G. Holmes (CLAS ’01)josh

President Emeritus, Joshua G. Holmes, now holds the position of Treasurer of the Virginia Club’s Board of Directors. Upon completion of his term as President, he was reelected as the Board’s Treasurer, a position he held from 2008 – 2012.  Prior to joining the Board, he served on the Membership & Marketing and Social Committees, where he lent support and helped to plan multiple events. Joshua’s first introduction to the Club came through softball in Central Park; you will still find him in orange socks at shortstop most Sunday summer evenings.

Joshua spends his days as a Senior Associate on the Assessment Team for the NYC Department of Education. Previously, he served as a Policy Advisor for Senator Cory A. Booker while he was Mayor of the City of Newark, New Jersey. While in Newark, he received his Masters in Public Administration from the Rutgers-Newark. Prior to joining government, Joshua worked in the publishing industry; his final stop within the industry was at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where he primarily focused on the circulation of its stalwart publication, Foreign Affairs.

Alicia Jayo (CLAS ’09)alicia

In August 2015, Alicia Jayo will enroll as a MBA Candidate at Columbia Business School, where she will focus on entrepreneurship and social enterprise. Over the past six years, she has honed her leadership and management skills in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, most recently working at The Falconwood Corporation as a member of the Business Development Group. A native of Winston-Salem, NC, Alicia has been involved with the Virginia Club of New York since serving as its Executive Director from 2009-2011. She graduated from UVA with a bachelor’s degree in Art History and History.

Molly Joyce (CLAS ’13)  

Molly graduated from UVA in 2013 with an interdisciplinary major in Arts Administration, Studio Art, and Sociology. She was involved in the arts and her fourth year, participated as a head planner of the spring arts event, the Stan Winston Festival of the Moving Creature. She was also heavily involved in her sorority, Tridelta, as the Chair of Public Relations. Molly currently serves as Membership & Marketing Chair.

Following graduation, she worked as the Virginia Club’s Executive Director from 2013-2015. During her tenure, she enjoyed rejuvenating the Club’s Community Service Committee and launching STUDIO, our arts affinity group, as well as piloting a few new events including a Trivia Night, a Tech Panel, and coding lessons. Her favorite events are the New Easters Spring Party and park clean-ups! Molly now works at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center focused on their annual fundraising event, Cycle for Survival.

Jason Katz (CLAS ’06) jason 

Jason is a 2006 graduate of the College.  He is a native of New York City, growing up in Forest Hills, Queens, and Gramercy Park, Manhattan, and graduating from Stuyvesant High School.  At UVA, Jason majored in history and minored in philosophy and studied abroad one summer in St. Petersburg, Russia.  He was a brother in Sigma Pi fraternity and spent one year on the men’s crew team.  After graduating from UVA, he attended law school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.  Since graduating from law school in 2009, he has practiced corporate and securities law in New York and recently joined the firm of Kelley Drye & Warren as an associate attorney. Jason is an avid skier and fully took advantage of the very snowy 2014-2015 season, logging over 25 days on the slopes.

Jason is a frequent attendee at the Virginia Club Business Forum Breakfasts.

Andrew Kirwin (CLAS ’88)andrew kirwin

Andrew Kirwin graduated from the University of Virginia in 1988 with a BA in History and received his law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City in 1992.  Andrew has helped guide the Virginia Club as a Board Member since the mid 90s.  As one of the first Virginia alumni to join the clubhouse, Andrew has helped us sustain a healthy relationship with the Yale Club. Andrew currently serves as a Vice President of the Board and runs the Virginia Club’s monthly Networking Breakfasts.  For the last three years, he has helped pilot the Club’s partnership with College Bound Initiative, an organization that places college guidance counselors in underserved schools in the New York City region.  Andrew is also a committee member of the Glenn D. Kirwin 9/11 Scholarship which supports a scholarship at the University of Virginia that honors his brother Glenn D. Kirwin.  Glenn was a 1982 graduate of the University who lost his life in the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The scholarship is awarded annually to one or more  third or fourth year students whose character and involvement in University life most resemble Glenn’s, with first preference to applicants who are children of victims of the 9/11 tragedy.

Thomas McGovern (Darden ’10) Thom-McGovern_3542A-Web(4)

Thomas is a 2010 graduate of the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia.  He received his undergraduate degree in Economics at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY and currently lives in Manhattan.

Thomas McGovern has spent over 11 years on Wall Street.  He is currently a Vice President at Cypress Associates LLC, a privately held investment banking firm headquartered in New York City, where he covers the financial institutions sector.  Prior to Cypress, Thomas was part of the financial institutions investment banking group at Morgan Stanley and prior to that covered banks and thrifts as a research analyst at Lehman Brothers.  Prior to Lehman Brothers, he was a research associate at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods where he joined after an analyst tenure at Wachovia Securities.  He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and Series 79 securities license.

Thomas McGovern has been involved in a number of charitable and civic activities including serving on the board of trustees of a church in New York City.  He is currently the President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of St. Elmos of Hamilton, the alumni organization for the St. Elmos Fraternity chapter at Hamilton College.

Tom Nguyen (COMM ’09)tomn pic

Tom Nguyen graduated with Distinction from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia in 2009.  While at UVA, Tom was involved in volunteering for Madison House and participating in the McIntire Investment Institute.

After graduation, Tom moved to New York and started his career in investment banking at Jefferies & Company.  During his spare time, Tom enjoys exploring New York and its many ethnically and culturally diverse neighborhoods and restaurants.  He also enjoys the art scenes in the city; his favorite place is Lincoln Center.

Lauren Pickett, CPA (CLAS ’74)lauren p

Lauren Pickett is currently a Senior Vice President and Director of Global Anti-Money Laundering Training at Citigroup.  When Lauren first graduated from the University of Virginia, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the Virginia Club of New York, the second women to serve.  A love for the Virginia Club of New York runs in the family:  Lauren’s father was President of the Club in the late 1960s!  Lauren is co-chair of the Speakers and Networking Committee and a member of the New York City Regional Selection Committee for the Jefferson Scholarship.

Kevin Rankin (Comm ’13) Kevin_Rankin

Kevin Rankin graduated from UVa’s McIntire School of Commerce in 2013 with a concentration in Marketing and a track in Business Analytics.  Since coming to New York, Kevin has been extremely involved with the Virginia Club of New York. Kevin was a member of the Community Service and Membership and Marketing Committee and has remained a member of the Events Committee since he joined the Club. He currently serves as the Events Committee Chair. Kevin’s favorite events include volunteering with KEEN and the Soup Kitchen.

Kevin works as Researcher/Consultant in New York City. While Kevin is not at work or helping out the Virginia Club of New York you can find him running races that involved obstacles or food or cheering on all UVA Athletics teams. Go Hoos!

Jill Reid (CLAS ’11)

jill photo

Jill graduated from UVA in 2011 and has served on the Board of the Virginia Club of New York for the last two years. While at UVA, Jill was active in Class Council and Trustees, the History DMP, and Kappa Alpha Theta. After graduation, Jill moved to New York to work for UBS in their investment bank. Jill worked at UBS in the FIG group for two years and then moved to Loews Corporation, a diversified public investment company run by the Tisch family. At Loews she works in Corporate Development,  looking for new acquisitions at the corporate level and working on strategy for Loews’ current investments.

Over the last four years in New York, Jill has loved having the UVA club as a part of her life. From Mr. Jefferson’s Holiday Party and Barbecue & Bluegrass to school clean ups with Change for Kids and lectures at the Yale Club, the UVA alumni network has provided her with fun and interesting events and opportunities to take advantage of with old friends and it has been a great way for her to meet new ones. 

Courtney Schaefer (CLAS ’11)Courtney Sch headshot

Courtney graduated from UVa in 2011 with a BA in Art History and French and a minor in Leadership. She currently serves as the Virginia Club of New York’s President. As an undergrad, she co-founded and led an interdisciplinary art business course, “Living Art History”, which is still taught to this day. She was President of her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, and was also a docent at The Fralin Art Museum.

Carrying with her a passion for people and the arts, Courtney now works at The Museum of Modern Art in donor relations. Prior to MoMA, she served as the Virginia Club’s Executive Director from 2011-2013. She has been a member of the Board since 2013, previously serving as Vice President and as Co-Chair of the Club’s arts affinity group, STUDIO. She counts Mr. Jefferson’s Holiday Party among her favorite events and also enjoys the school clean-ups, lacrosse gamewatches, and prospective member receptions. She feels lucky to call the Yale Club a home-away-from-home; she’s frequently dropping by, even if only to squeeze in a weekly squash game.

Manu Singh (COMM ’06)manu pic

Manu Singh graduated from University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce in 2006 (Marketing, Management, and Psychology) and moved to NYC immediately after graduating, making New York her home for the past 9 years. She also completed a Master’s degree at Cornell’s School of Industrial Labor Relations, and currently works as a Leadership & Talent Consultant with Korn Ferry, where she helps companies identify and develop their future leaders.

Manu never misses a chance to attend Virginia Club events – and particularly loves Jefferson’s Holiday Party, the Harriman Cup, volunteering at the Meat Loaf Kitchen, as well as UVA sponsored lectures and game watches. During her time in New York, Manu has become a strong advocate of the club and frequently promotes events, spreads awareness of the club, and helps recruit members.

Manu joined the board in 2014 and is thrilled to be a member of the Board of Directors. As a Board member, she is passionate about increasing membership and engaging alumni young and old and actively participates on the Membership & Marketing Committee.

When she is not supporting the Virginia Club, Manu also serves as a Board Member for Right to Play’s Champions Network of Young Professionals, which aims to use sport and play to improve health and develop life skills for children in disadvantaged areas.

Colin Smith (COMM ’03)Photo

Colin Smith has enjoyed taking part in the Virginia Club’s activities since moving to New York after graduating with a B.S. in Finance in 2003.  He has been a part of numerous social events and has participated in Cavs Care, the University Soup Kitchen, and park cleanups. Colin has played an integral role in bringing together the Virginia Club and the non-profit Change for Kids – for which he works as Executive Director – to host school beautification projects at NYC public elementary schools. Colin has leveraged his nonprofit management and finance experience to Chair the Club’s new Grants Committee and provide perspective on the Club’s community outreach, events planning, events planning, and general organizational strategy.

Freyan Soonawalla (CLAS ’10) Freyan 

Freyan is currently a Research Associate at Tiger Eye Capital, an investment firm in New York seeded by Julian Robertson of Tiger Management. Prior to that, Freyan worked at an expert network firm that connected hedge funds and private equity firms with subject matter experts across various industries.

Freyan graduated from UVA with a degree in Economics. She was the Head Tutoring Program Director at Madison House and tutored elementary students. During this time, she also led the Mentoring and International Exchange (MIX) program that paired incoming international students with upperclassman students to help them acclimate to student life seamlessly.

Freyan combines her passion for UVA and experience from Madison House to serve on the UVA Club of New York’s service committee.

John Straton (CLAS ’54)john straton

John Straton is one of the “godfathers” of the Virginia Club of New York.  His dedication to the University and to the Club enabled us to have a home in the Yale Club.  Before the Yale Club residency, John would host the Board meetings at his office.  John is an active clubhouse member and swears by the Yale Club’s eggs benedict.  At the University, John was a brother of the Sigma Pi Epsilon fraternity and was influential in the running of the Cavalier Daily.  Currently a Vice President of the Club and active on the Finance Committee, John acts as part of the club’s sounding board.

Mark Weber (CLAS ’91)mark

Mark Weber has been an active part of the Virginia Club of New York’s Board of Directors for over a decade and tries to help in whatever way is needed.  Most of his efforts have been organizing community service events and summer softball in Central Park, but he is often caught lending a hand along with good spirit for various other Club events including the annual Mr. Jefferson’s Holiday Party, during which he organizes the Winter Coat Drive.  He has an MBA in Health Care Administration and in his day job manages development of medical software and databases for 3M Health Information Systems.  Wahoowa!

George Wu (Comm ’12)Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 2.02.09 PM

George is a 2012 graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. While at UVA, George was in the Virginia Glee Club for all 4 years, serving as Business Manager during the Club’s 2011-2012 Season. He was also a brother in Pi Lambda Phi fraternity and spent one year as elected secretary of the College Council. He also worked as a volunteer for UVaExpress, a welcoming program for international students arriving at the University.

George has been a member of the UVA Club of New York since moving to New York in 2012. His favorite Virginia Club events includes Mr. Jefferson’s Holiday Party, “New Easters” Party, Hoos Hungry and lectures/networking events. George currently serves on the Events Committee; he enjoys meeting new Hoos and getting to know the different cultures the UVa community represents.

George started his career in a global ad agency, then moved to an international bank. He currently works as Digital Marketing Manager at a start-up called “Try The World”. During his free time, George enjoys New York’s music and culinary scenes. He is also dedicated to boxing training and plans to explore other forms of martial arts.

Lorna Zhen (CLAS ’07)  

Lorna Zhen graduated from UVA in 2007 with a B.A. in History and Economics and a minor in Art History. Lorna is the Secretary of the Board. Following Charlottesville, she attended law school at Boston University School of Law, graduating in 2010. After spending a hippie year in Oregon, Lorna moved to New York City in 2011. She currently serves as an Staff Attorney for the New York Legal Assistance Group representing domestic violence victims in family litigation in New York City.As a Board Member for the Virginia Club of New York for the past three years, she helped found the new Hoos Hungry Affinity group which has organized restaurant and food tasting and cooking events and serves as the co-chair for the Admissions Committee. Her favorite Virginia Club events include Soup Kitchen, Hoos New to New York, New Easters, and Mr. Jefferson’s Holiday Party. Lorna spends her free time illustrating, experimenting with recipes, visiting museums, and endlessly redecorating her apartment.

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