Meet Our Speakers

Dr. Chris Rosa, President & CEO, The Viscardi Center  

Dr. Chris Rosa became President & CEO of The Viscardi Center, a network of non-profits that educate, employ and empower children and adults with disabilities, in January 2022. He is a staunch advocate for equity and economic justice for people with disabilities, being a wheelchair-user since age 12 who has Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy. A published disability studies scholar, he serves in national leadership roles for organizations that promote access and wellness for Americans with disabilities. He is also a sought-after orator on a variety of topics including disability as a key dimension of diversity, equity, & inclusion and American disability culture.

Before joining Viscardi, he served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Inclusion Initiatives at the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s largest urban public university system. In this role, Dr. Rosa designed and led programs that promote access, equity, and inclusion for over 35,000 students who have historically under-participated in higher education. Dr. Rosa’s higher education governance includes serving as Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the University’s Assistant Dean for Student Affairs for CUNY’s 25 campus system. 

Dr. Rosa’s major accomplishments at CUNY include creating a model career readiness program for college students with disabilities that empowers them to achieve competitive employment at more than twice the national rate; leading efforts to establish CUNY as a first-choice college destination for neurodiverse students; launching intercollegiate inclusive athletics program; and collaborating with New York City Department of Education’s District 75 to create its Inclusive Higher Education Program.

He has also Chaired the Executive Committee of the U.S. President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (now known as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy) and served in leadership roles at the New York State Independent Living Council, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the Society for Disability Studies.

Dr. Rosa earned his B.A. in Sociology & Philosophy from Queens College in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2001, with a dissertation entitled “Disability Rites: Constructing American Disability Culture.” He was elected to the Long Island Association’s Board of Directors in October 2022.

Paule T. Pachter, President & CEO, Long Island Cares Inc.- The Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank

Paule T. Pachter is President & Chief Executive Officer of Long Island Cares, Inc. - The Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank.  He is also co-chair of Feeding New York State, the association representing 10 Feeding America food-bank members in the Empire State.

Pachter is a graduate of the Adelphi University School of Social Work and has held several positions within Long Island’s human services community, including Deputy Commissioner of the Nassau County Department of Mental Health.  He is credited with influencing the passage of New York State’s social work parity legislation and in 1985 was selected “Nassau County Social Worker of the Year” by the NASW Nassau Division, in recognition of his work in the areas of social work and political action. 

Pachter is currently a member of the board of directors of the Long Island Association and the HIA-LI.  He is also a 2006 recipient of the New York State Liberty Medal, the state’s highest honor, for his work in relief efforts associated with Hurricane Katrina. Pachter also received the Town of Hempstead’s “Make a Difference Medal” in 2012 for his response to Super Storm Sandy, and again in 2020 for his leadership in addressing COVID-19.  In 2019, he was inducted into the “Long Island Business Hall of Fame” by Long Island Business News.

Long Island Business News has described Paule Pachter as a leader “who has transformed the work of a food bank to focus on the root causes of hunger and food insecurity by developing some of the most innovative approaches to helping people in need.” 

Renee Flagler,  Executive Director, Girls, Inc. of Long Island

Renee Daniel Flagler is an award-winning writer, coach, and the Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Long Island, whose mission is to empower girls to be strong, smart, and bold. 

Renee lives by the mantra, ‘service is our human duty,’ and spends much of her time serving her community and advocating for equity for women and girls. She started a self-named scholarship program for students pursuing writing and social justice degrees. She has received numerous awards for being an outstanding business leader, writer, and community servant. Renee was recognized as one of Long Island Business News Top 50 Women in Business. She also received a Professional Business Women Award from The Long Island Herald.

Renee serves on the national board of Girls Inc. and was the founding board Chair for LEAP (Literacy Empowerment Action Project) Global, an organization with a mission to provide innovative literacy, youth empowerment programming, and high school scholarships to students in Ghana, Africa. Renee is a former fellow of the National Nonprofit Executive Leadership Academy and also received a Certificate in Organizational and Community Leadership from the Center for Nonprofit Leadership with Adelphi University’s School of Social Work.

Ray Schwetz, AVP Business Banking for Jovia

As AVP of Business Banking, Ray applies a wealth of expertise gained over 30 years’ experience in financial services, commercial banking, and community outreach in managing all aspects of Jovia’s Business Banking area. 

Since joining Jovia, Ray has become a trusted resource and respected member of the Jovia family, the community, and the commercial banking industry.

Prior to being promoted to his current position, Ray was the community relations director, and was originally hired to promote business development for Jovia.  Throughout his tenure, his unique ability to connect people has made him a strong relationship builder for the credit union and its members.  He’s actively engaged as a business and community leader, as clients gravitate towards his creative approach to keeping their best interests in mind while providing solutions to banking and financial needs. 

Ray’s previous experience includes work with NYCB, TIAA-CREF, and WaMu/Chase. He’s a committee member for various non-profits including the LI Coalition for The Homeless, Developmental Disabilities Institute, and the Imagine Awards.

 Ray is a proud alumni of the Nassau Community College class of 1990.  He credits NCC with helping him decide upon his career. He stayed on LI, transferring credits to NYIT Old Westbury where he attended night school while working and graduated on the Dean's List in 1993. His advocacy for NCC and affordable, quality education continues as he serves on the board for the Nassau Community College Foundation. He was also awarded Outstanding Alumni from the NCC Alumni Association, where he now serves as Treasurer.

 As a well-known entity in the business banking and financial services industry on Long Island, Ray hosts a business talk radio show/podcast called Tower Talk.  The show features ‘all access’ interviews with top entrepreneurs, community leaders, and business owners, who discuss a wide range of topics. The show airs Thursdays at 3pm EST on 90.3 WHPC, LI’s Best Radio, as well as iHeart radio, Audacy, Tune In, and is available as a podcast on popular formats including Spotify, Adroid Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and Spreaker.

 Recently, Ray was honored by LI Business News as a top banker in their 2023 Who’s Who issue.

Ray has been married for 28 years and is the proud father of three daughters ages 12, 15, and 22. 



Nyrekia White, Director of Advancement & Strategic Partnerships, Girl Scouts of Suffolk County

As Director of Advancement & Strategic Partnerships of Girl Scouts of Suffolk County serving 12,000 girls, Nyrekia L. White has an enthusiastic commitment to contributing her expertise to community efforts supporting youth and family development.  Over the past 20 years, she has held various leadership and consulting roles including 15 years with nonprofit organizations in Long Island, Harlem, New York City, Queens, Washington DC, and Colorado.  Throughout her career Nyrekia has also held positions as Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships & Program Delivery and Director of Human Resources & Operations.

White is passionate about using her skills and talents for improving the lives of others and generously volunteers within her community to create any impact she can. Presently she serves on the Board of Directors for Westbury Arts and on the advisory committees for Bold Mynds Inc., a youth organization focusing youth on media and public speaking; and Adelphi University's Center for Nonprofit Leadership, where she also facilitates courses in Understanding Financial Management.

A lifelong learner, Nyrekia continues to participate in professional development opportunities as well as counseling colleagues, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit clients as a Certified Professional Life & Business Coach and a Nonprofit Strategic Consultant.

White has a Bachelor's Degree in Education in Non-School Settings from LIU Post and went on to earn dual Master's Degrees in Business Administration and Human Resources Management. Proud mother of 2 children and 2 fur babies, Nyrekia was also honored as a Power Woman of Long Island in 2021 and 2022.