Consider the Possibilities: Career Switching at Any Stage


PANELISTS

Erica Baird, Co-Founder, Lustre

Liana Buonanno, President and Co-Founder, Wickford Wines, Gooseneck Vineyards

Cathy Choi, President, Bulbrite

Jalaine Johnson, Director of eCommerce Strategy & Analytics, Consumer Engagement, Universal Music Group

Karen Wagner, Co-Founder, Lustre

MODERATOR

Sarah Rizkalla, Founder and Editor-in-chief, New York Minute Magazine (NYMM)


BIOS

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Erica Baird, Co-Founder, Lustre

Erica Baird is a securities lawyer and litigator and one of the co-founders of Lustre, a website focused on retired career women. Lustre is a platform for challenging stereotypes, creating a new image of modern retired women and cutting edge thinking about age and post-career opportunities.

Before retiring in 2013, Erica was a partner and the Deputy General Counsel of PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she worked for 30 years. At wC, she was involved in some of the most high profile financial reporting issues and internal corporate investigations of the day, both in the United States and globally. The legal group she led was primarily responsible for providing legal advice to PwC partners and staff erving clients around the world. Erica's expertise also involves public relations, communications strategies, risk management, and the development of global policies and procedures. Erica is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University and New York University School of Law.

Together, after they retired, Karen and Erica launched the website Lustre to create a platform for changing attitudes about age and retiremennd creating a new image of modern retired women and what modern etirement looks like for them. Karen and Erica were part of the Boomer generation that changed the image and expectations of women who wanted to have careers and work. Having changed what the workforce looks like, they now want to use the power of Boomer women to change what retirement looks like and show the world that they continue to be the same vibrant, engaged, contributing people they always were.  

 

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Liana Buonanno, President and Co-Founder, Wickford Wines, Gooseneck Vineyards

Liana Buonanno is the president and co-founder of Wickford Wine Company, focused on building the Gooseneck Vineyards wine brand by producing high quality every day wines. Prior to founding her company, Liana spent 10 years in investment banking with J.P. Morgan & Co. and Evercore Partners in various groups, including leverage finance, capital markets, and the restructuring group.

Liana is a mom to 2 young boys, a licensed pilot, and when she is not on the road for work, splits her time between New York City and Rhode Island.

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Cathy Choi, President, Bulbrite

Cathy Choi is President of BULBRITE, a leading manufacturer and supplier of energy-efficient lighting solutions.  Founded over 45 years ago by her parents, BULBRITE is a family owned business renowned for its commitment to innovation, education and exceptional service.  Choi oversees all aspects of the company’s operations including sales, marketing, operations, manufacturing and product development.

Choi has expanded sales and services to a broader community and distributor base throughout North America.  She has helped expand the breadth of the company's product line, which includes innovative energy efficient light sources and other types of light bulbs. 

Recipient of the Residential Lighting 2010 Industry Leadership Award, Choi is an active leader in the lighting industry, serving as a former Chair of the American Lighting Association (ALA) Education Foundation Board.  She is an ALA Certified Lighting Specialist and requires that her company's Customer Service, Sales, Marketing and Operations Teams receive ALA certifications to provide the highest level of industry expertise and customer service.

A sought-after industry expert and leadership speaker, Choi was recognized as a Woman of Influence in 2013 by the NJ Commerce and Industry Association.  Under her leadership, Bulbrite also won the NJ Family Business of the Year Award in 2015, NJ Corporate Culture Award in 2016 and Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Award in 2017.

Choi has an MBA from New York University and a BA from Cornell University. 

Prior to joining Bulbrite, she was a Director of Finance and Operations for Independent Pictures, a division of New Line Cinema and an Auditor for Price Waterhouse.  She is member of Vistage, the world’s leading Chief Executive Officer organization, an Advisory Council Member for the Seton Hall Business School Leadership Development Program and a Board of Director for a privately held company in NJ.

Jalaine Johnson, Director of eCommerce Strategy & Analytics, Consumer Engagement, Universal Music Group

Jalaine Johnson is a Director at Universal Music Group (UMG). In addition to entertainment, the Chicago native's career has also included the consulting, energy, fashion, and technology industries.

Upon earning dual-degrees in both Mathematics and Industrial Engineering from Spelman College and the Georgia Institute of Technology, Jalaine began her professional career as an economic consultant, focusing on the natural gas industry. Three years later, Jalaine began pursuing her passion for fashion, full-time, earning her MBA at New York University’s Stern School of Business. While at Stern, she focused on Luxury Marketing and Strategy within the retail and media industries.

After Stern, Jalaine held diverse roles in Merchandise Planning at both J. Crew and COACH. She then discovered a unique intersection of both fashion and entertainment with UMG’s Consumer Engagement team, which drives revenue and charting results via artist-branded eCommerce music merchandise and VIP program websites. During her time at UMG, Jalaine has conducted in-depth trend analyses, with a focus on targeting high-value customer segments. She has also introduced new product offerings, developed new production processes and established strategic partner relationships.

Karen Wagner, Co-Founder, Lustre

Karen Wagner is one of the co-founders of Lustre, a website focused on retired career women. Lustre is a platform for challenging stereotypes, creating a new image of modern retired women and cutting edge thinking about age and post-career opportunities.

Before Lustre, Karen was a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, a global law firm based in New York City. She was its first woman litigation partner. Her practice revolved around international financial institutions and corporations. She obtained a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from New York University School of Law. Besides Lustre, Karen is on the board of Youth Represent, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives and futures of young people affected by the criminal justice system. She has also become a pilot.

Together, Karen and Erica Baird launched the website Lustre to create a platform to change attitudes about age and retirement and creating a new image of modern retired women and what retirement looks like for them. Karen and Erica were part of the Boomer generation that changed the image and expectations of women who wanted to work and build successful careers. Having changed what the workforce looks like, they now want to use the power of Boomer women to change what retirement looks like and show the world that retired women continue to be the same vibrant, engaged, contributing people they always were. 

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Sarah Rizkalla, Founder and Editor-in-chief, New York Minute Magazine (NYMM)

Sarah Rizkalla is the founder and editor-in-chief of New York Minute Magazine (NYMM), an online publication working to empower, equip, and encourage women, while also shedding light on the effects of inequality around the world. NYMM began in May of 2012 as a one-woman show after Sarah left a promising Wall Street career. She now shares her story and promotes women empowerment by speaking at universities, conferences, and churches, and working with feminist groups. Sarah and the New York Minute team believe that being a woman is a strength, never a deficiency, and constantly work to promote the inherent badassness of women.