Hobart alums Jeremy Cooney ’04 and Ben Sio ’07 were recently featured in the Democrat and Chronicle. Cooney is the chair of the We Live New York summit, recently held at Cornell. The event was sponsored by young professionals’ groups, 40 Below of Central New York, for which Sio is programming coordinator, and the Southern Tier’s Pipeline 4 Progress.
Additionally, Lou Guard ’07 and Garry Mendez ’96 are also involved in organizing the event, which was also the focus of a recent article in The Ithaca Journal.
According to the Democrat and Chroncile, Cooney noted the summit “will also help identify young leaders throughout the state and help communities begin their own young professional organizations while trying to focus on a small number of initiatives to benefit existing groups.”
It quotes him, “We are really trying to get more people, a more diverse crowd.”
A third-generation Hobart graduate, Cooney graduated in 2004 with honors in public policy. He was a member of the Druid Society, Chi Phi fraternity and was president of Hobart Student Government.
Sio is quoted, “The summit is designed so people come away with tangible skills, rather than just great connections.”
After graduation, Cooney worked at Alumni House and was named manager of campaign leadership of The Campaign for the Colleges. He then graduated from The University of Albany Law School. Cooney was recently appointed as a member of the New York Young Leaders Congress because of his passion for and interest in promoting his home state. He was also selected early in 2009 to serve on the editorial board for the Albany Law Review as its executive editor for symposia.
Sio earned a B.A. in political science and public policy studies from Hobart College. He was one of the creators of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Public Affairs Journal, along with Philip Anderson ’09, David Grome ’07, Guard and Katharine Goodrich ’08. He was the recipient of the Maynard Smith Prize in Political Science and was named to the Dean’s List. Sio was also active in the HWS Ultimate Frisbee club.
Guard earned bachelor’s degrees in both history and public policy studies from Hobart College, and is now a graduate student at Cornell Law School. While at HWS, he was co-creator of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Public Affairs Journal, a member of College Democrats and Orange Key. He also studied in Washington, D.C. for a semester. Guard was also the recipient of Dean’s Citizenship Award as well as the Alumni Association Award. From 2007-09, Guard served as a Presidential Fellow for President Mark D. Gearan.
Mendez earned a BA in English from Hobart College. Now a communications consultant at Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials in New York City, Mendez also holds a master’s degree in publications design from the University of Baltimore. He was a member of the Hobart football team and the Hobart lacrosse team, received the Martin Luther King Grad Scholarship and worked at WEOS. Mendez currently serves his alma mater as a member of the Alumni Council’s Executive Committee.
The full article from the Democrat and Chronicle follows.
Democrat and Chronicle
Local young professionals behind summit
March 15, 2011
A one-of-a-kind summit developed with the help of some Rochester residents is expected to draw a crowd of about 500 young professionals to central New York next week.
We Live New York, chaired by Rochester resident Jeremy Cooney, will host the summit at Cornell University’s Statler Hotel, March 24 to 26. Two young professionals’ groups, 40 Below of Central New York and the Southern Tier’s Pipeline 4 Progress, are sponsoring the event.
“We didn’t want this to be another stuffy conference,” said Cooney, who is joined on the 50-member We Live New York steering committee by Steve Vogt, Herb Escher and Brandon Beardsley, all local young professionals.
Over the three days, there will be more than 30 sessions with 50 speakers. The sessions are broken down into five specific tracks: business and entrepreneurship, political and civic engagement, cuisine and culture, health and wellness and community and regional revitalization.
“I am very, very excited for the event,” said Ben Sio, programming coordinator of 40 Below of Central New York. “There is a lot of stuff planned that excites me. I think it is a really great opportunity for students and professionals to come meet a variety of people.”
Some examples of events include a business idea pitch competition, professional development sessions, a training to run for public office, and panels on volunteerism, revitalization and entrepreneurship.
There also will be roundtable discussions with leaders from across the state and a planning session on what summit participants can do to ensure the success of the state.
“The summit is designed so people come away with tangible skills, rather than just great connections,” Sio said.
Cooney added that the summit will also help identify young leaders throughout the state and help communities begin their own young professional organizations while trying to focus on a small number of initiatives to benefit existing groups.
“We are really trying to get more people, a more diverse crowd,” Cooney added.
We Live New York is a statewide organization of young leaders that seeks to attract and retain young talent across the state, according to the group’s website.
The sponsors wanted to host the event at a central location, in hopes of attracting a diverse group, Sio said. That, along with Cornell’s reputation, made the decision an easy one, he said.
“Cornell is obviously very committed to the issues we face as young professionals in New York,” he said. “Cornell is such a hotbed and indicative of what makes upstate great.”
Includes reporting by Rachel Stern of the Ithaca Journal.