Wednesday, Dec. 12th at 3PM in Starr Foundation Hall UL102

*Please sign up for your roundtable discussion of choice by filling out the panelist’s associated Google Form. Spots will fill up fast so we encourage you to RSVP  as soon as possible. 

Roundtable Topic: How to Succeed in a Freelance/Gig Economy

Want the freedom to work on your passion? If the idea of a 9-5 sounds draining to you, find the flexibility to work on projects at your own pace. Learn how this workflow can encourage you to feel more invested and intentional in the work you’re doing. Hear from a New School alum about how she became a freelance writer and why she gravitates towards the subjects she works with.

Ashley Hefnawy 

Self-Employed Freelance Writer

Ashley Hefnawy is a multidisciplinary creative writer who has worked with clients like Google, Snapchat, Food52, Audible, Normal VR, and Shine. She has had fiction and poetry published in publications like Catapult, Susie Magazine, and All the Women We Have Loved. She resides in Brooklyn and spends her free time DJing locally.

Roundtable Topic: Starting a Business

Learn the in’s and out’s of starting a business in NYC. You will gain a practical overview of the fundamentals required to start a small business.

Jodi Fried

Self-Employed Designer and CEO of JODI FRIED

Jodi graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Fashion Design. JODI FRIED is a NY-based women’s bespoke clothing designer who blends a flair for creating modern, sophisticated pieces. To ensure each piece is unique, Jodi sources fabrics from across the world, such as Dubai, France, and Italy. Garments are then manufactured in the heart of the NYC fashion district.


Roundtable Topic: INTrepeneurship

Learn how to start a company in the US as an international, how to get your first product on the market, and how to build a culture that can stick with a team that is continuously growing.

Simon Rakosi

Co-Founder of Butterfly AI

Simon was a marketing leader at Coca-Cola, where he served for five years as a regional digital manager and later as Interactive Manager for North Western Europe and Nordics. His tenure at Coca-Cola ran parallel to seismic changes occurring in the marketing world due to the rise of digital platforms and mobile technology. During this period of uncertainty and opportunity, Simon played a significant role in leading what was formerly a traditional marketing organization into the digital era. Now Simon is one of the co-founders of, an AI coaching platform with offices based out of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Roundtable Topic: International Service Learning Experiences

Learn how to sharpen your skills in a field you’ve always loved, or challenge yourself with a new opportunity. Peace Corps volunteers go to work every day excited by the opportunity to make change in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation.

Teckla Persons

Recruiter for The PeaceCorps

Teckla Persons is the Regional Recruiter for Peace Corps in New York City. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia from 2015-2017 and worked as an English Education Teacher in a rural primary school. She is passionate about the Peace Corps programs and wants to help others understand the benefit of international service learning experiences.


Roundtable Topic: Getting Music Gigs in NYC

To successfully get booked in NYC you need to develop a strategic networking plan and build a valuable rolodex of musicians, booking agents, and influences. This includes understanding their goals and best practices to avoid common pitfalls and streamline booking efforts. Learn about the “Must-Have” items that help with increasing your performance bookings while establishing a digital presence to enhance marketability. Learn how to leverage services to incorporate within your booking process and how to negotiate your rate, counter-offer, and create strategies for venue types to get booked along an awareness of red-flags to keep in mind.

Johnny Li

Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer at Opus

Johnny manages the community of over 1000 artists at Opus and leads the booking operations to help connect these artists with new performance opportunities. He has helped book a hundred plus shows at all types of venues throughout NYC and New Jersey and across different genres. Before joining the founding team at Opus, Johnny was a management consultant at Deloitte and PwC and holds a B.S. in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

Roundtable Topic: International Student Career Challenges

Learn how a New School Alum was hired by various companies as an international student, and tips for success as an international student with dreams of staying to work in the US.

Shiri Karasikov

Vice President of Business Development for Xcel Brands

Shiri Karasikov is a Global Business Development and Licensing executive with 8 years’ experience developing fashion and lifestyle brands. She successfully expanded noted brands into additional categories, territories and distribution channels. She continuously demonstrates excellence in building compelling brand partnerships that create new revenue streams. Currently the VP of Business Development at Xcel Brands, Shiri creates and executes expansion and growth strategies for iconic fashion brands as Isaac Mizrahi and Halston; and works closely with the company’s executive team on new initiatives as brand acquisitions and new business models development (e.g. e-commerce, direct to consumer etc.). Prior, Shiri managed noted celebrity and fashion designer product programs, such as Drew Barrymore and Cynthia Rowley. Shiri holds an MBA from Fordham School of Business with a specialization in Marketing & Strategy and an AAS Diploma in Fashion Marketing from Parsons.

Roundtable Topic: Personal and Professional Branding

Being a creative is tough, especially in a city like New York, where your audience landscape is always changing and evolving. In our design industry, there are various elements that factor into what makes a successful project. This process begins with you!! Learn how to market yourself and/or product, learn how to present confidently and professionally, and always expect the unexpected.

Robin Gallo 

Showroom Manager at Bernhardt Design

Robin is a seasoned New York contract office furniture and design specialist with 6+ years showroom management experience, including Vitra and Bernhardt.


Roundtable Topic: Teamwork in the Startup Environment

In this session, you’ll learn more about what it means to work in a startup environment – from the glamour to the grit!!

Emma Leeds Guidarelli

Head of People at The Museum of Ice Cream

Emma is the Head of People at Museum of Ice Cream. She has 6 years of HR experience across several companies; most recently she was the Head of HR at Canvs, an analytics startup, and previously she led HR Business Partnership & Culture at Boxed. She received her undergraduate degree from Hamilton College in sociology/psychology, and her masters from NYU in HR Management and Development with a concentration in Organizational Effectiveness. She likes learning about what makes people tick, how to motivate teams, and how to build an engaging culture. Emma is a dancer at heart (she danced for about 20 years) loves hiking and Star Wars.


Roundtable Topic: Media/Broadcast Careers

Discuss career opportunities within the cinema/broadcast marketplace as well as industry specific networking ideas. Gain an understanding of the skillsets that can be helpful when embarking upon a career in media.

Dan Martinez

Service Manager at Panavision

After spending some time as a freelance editor and cinematographer, I accepted a position at VER New York (broadcast equipment rentals) in 2007 to work as a camera tech. During my time there, I progressed to work as a lead camera tech and also created the company’s first ever internship program. In 2016 I accepted an excellent opportunity at Panavision New York, where I currently hold the position of Camera Service Manager.