President Karen Karpowich

Karen Karpowich has been a leader in both the corporate and not for profit communities. She is a Founding Trustee of The Way of The Rain, an arts, education, and environmental initiative, created by the painter and performance artist, Sibylle Szaggars Redford. Karen helped to create its operating structure and board development plan. The group performed in Abu Dhabi honoring former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, at The Salk Institute and at Carnegie Hall with appearances by Robert Redford, former Vice President Al Gore and the Pulitzer Prize winning author N Scott Momaday. As Chief Executive Office for the St. George’s Society she instituted a new branding and marketing campaign while overseeing their most successful annual fundraiser, the English Ball, honoring Sir Martin Sorrell. At the Financial Women’s Association, she restructured the operating team and advanced their social media profile. As President of the New York Women’s Agenda (NYWA), she collaborated with a coalition of over one hundred women’s groups representing over 100,000 individuals advocating for the economic empowerment of women and families. She chaired NYWA’s Star Breakfast attracting 1,000 attendees annually with honorees that include; Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Barbara Walters, Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, Ken Chenault, Ron Perlman and Billie Jean King. While on the board of the New York Women in Communications she chaired the Strategic Planning and Scholarship Committees. Karen was the founding Chairperson of the Board of Directors for She’s the First, a girl’s education and empowerment organization. In her commercial career she served as the Senior Vice President for two New York ad agencies, Scali, McCabe Solves and Ketchum Advertising and as the Vice President for iVillage, the first women’s internet company. As a poet, Karen’s work appeared in the Red River Review, Mudfish, In the Orange Room and in the anthologies, An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind and If the World Was Your Classroom What Would You Teach a Girl. Her poem, In Central Park was featured at The Symphony Space event commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Her other works include, A Poem Against the War that inspired the creation of a new symphony by the Dutch composer, Harrie Janssen. Karen and her husband Ian Calderon are native New Yorkers and they reside in Manhattan.

Debra Baxter

Debra began her career in the healthcare/pharmaceutical industry over 20 years ago after earning her Bachelor’sdegree in Biology from the University of Scranton. Throughout her career she has held several leadership positions in sales, marketing and training, and she has continually sought to combine her love of science and teaching in order to bring to life the learning experience for those new to the industry or individuals looking to master new information and skills.  She is a passionate leader and her ability to challenge both teams and individuals to constantly improve their performance is driven by excitement and motivation that inspires and brings out the best in them, whether it is for the benefit of an individual or for many thousands of people. She is a certified and dedicated life coach who enjoys working closely with her clients to create goals and identify creative, empowering ways by which to achieve them.  Throughout her career, she has sought out opportunities to mentor and coach young people both as students who are setting out on their career journey, as well as those who are looking to develop skills and move into more challenging roles.

Having previously served on the Board for a theatre company, she appreciates the value theatre and the arts bring to young people and the community and looks forward to contributing to the future growth of The Piano School of New York.

Walter K. Brown

Walter K. Brown is a Certified Public Accountant, CPA, with a specialty in corporate governance and financial audits. This included  financial system design and implementation, financial controls review, issue identification and Board of Directors reporting. Walter possesses and MBA and BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School of Finance. Walter’s latest corporate role was as the Chief Audit Executive for an international telecommunications company, for which he conducted the risk assessment, prepared the audit plan and reported to the Board of Directors. In this capacity he managed the testing of  controls, documented testing results and elevated to management and the board issue remediation status.Walter has a background in public accounting serving both in an audit and financial system consulting capacity.He has served a corporate controller for the not for profit transportation company in New Jersey, which serves the rail and bus transportation needs. Walter is active in his local community having served on Essex County, of New Jersey’s county committee.

Timothy Cowan

Timothy Cowan has been a serial entrepreneur in the Technology sector and is currently heading a product development and technology consultancy in New York City. His philanthropic interests have spanned supporting Central Park (through the Central Park Conservancy), veterans, cancer research and improving education. Tim believes that inclusion of Arts education, particularly music education, helps students to be more well-rounded, better in certain disciplines like mathmatics and more confident.

Tim holds a bachelor’s in finance from Colorado Technical University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He also holds numerous certifications in various technologies and Organization Change Management functions.

Valerie Drew

Valerie Drew is an Executive Cyber Security, infrastructure and financial application development professional. She is a thought leader with an incomparable history in catapulting teams to exceed expectations in complex environments and earning trust and respect at all organizational levels.

Most recently, Valerie is designing the proactive CyberSecurity Strategy for a Major consultancy. She is creating the security and risk linkage strategy by creating algorithms to calculate the probability of cyber risk. Identify emerging threat tactics, techniques and procedures used by cyber fraud actors and identify those actors for investigation referral. Develops and use predictive analytics to counter threats by tracking attack campaigns and pursuing strategic and tactical efforts to mitigate threats.

She assists with setting direction and execution of a cyber security roadmap that meets requirements including, but not limited to, security for hybrid cloud deployment, B2B web services, mobile computing, fine grained access control, policy driven security, Identity Governance, Access Management, and Privileged access management, user provisioning/de-provisioning, and federation focusing on multiple protocols, such as Java and BeanShell coding.

At MetLife, Valerie led many global teams including IT Risk Governance, Infrastructure, Change Management, Data Center Environments, Trading, and Risk and Analytics. Valerie is best known for her ability to design and implement global business initiatives that span data center transformations, targeting application continuity, security risk mitigation and complexity reduction.

Valerie has expertise in cybersecurity, leading organizations through all regulatory audits including SOX, SSAE16, internal and external audits, and mitigating cyber risks. She has a strong infrastructure background specializing in full life cycle development of financial systems in the areas of Fixed Income, Capital Markets, Equities and Mergers and Acquisitions.

Valerie’s strong management capabilities and have created centralized Program Management Offices for organizations and trained staff on the processes and procedures which have improved the project life cycle. She has strong financial acumen and has managed more than $20 million budgets.

Valerie’s professional skills and talents have moved beyond the corporation and borders. Her polished presentation and pleasant demeanor is used to further promote corporate sustainability by assisting business owners in developing communities.

Valerie sat on the Board for Women in Investments in 2016 where she helped create the leadership training program for women in middle management. She is the recent team winner of the 2017 United Nations BlockChain Hackathon, held at the United Nations in New York, NY for “Clearest Ideation”. She and her team met for the first time and 3.5 hours later presented their solution to assist the business women of Brazil with their design solution named “Brazilian BlockChain Co-Op”, which leverages Blockchain technology to create Smart contracts.

Valerie is an active member of OWASP, ISACA and holds certifications in ITIL and Cyber Security. She has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Sciences from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Masters of Cyber Security and a MBA from the University of Maryland.

Justin Frazer

Justin Frazer worked and trained as a musician, Chef and Healthcare executive.  During college,  Mr. Frazer performed as both a pianist and flutist in jazz bands and worked as a house musician for local dance/theater companies.  Immediately, after college, Mr. Frazer moved to Heidelberg and Berlin, Germany where he spent five years as a professional musician playing in various bands and accompanying professional theater and dance performances.

When Mr. Frazer returned to the United States, he started his training to become a chef. For the next three years, he worked and trained as the Chef Tournant at Sandrine’s Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts under the tutelage of French Master Chef, Raymond Ost.  He was also fortunate to be selected to complete a three month apprenticeship at a Michelin Starred restaurant in Strasbourg, France under French Master Chef, Jean Christophe Langs.

Eventually Mr. Frazer enrolled in the University of Connecticut for his Law Degree and MBA. However, after passing the NYS Bar Exam, Mr. Frazer selected to not practice law and once again return to cooking by taking a position  at Patois, one of the pioneer French bistros on Smith Street in Brooklyn.   While cooking at Patois, Mr. Frazer sought ways to use his  law degree and MBA to serve the community as a whole.  He eventually was hired as a Policy Associate at a small trade association that represents NYC community Mental Health clinics. During his tenure at the trade association, Mr. Frazer  published an article on fiscal challenges to Mental Health Clinics in New York State, spoke before the NYS Assembly about issues facing community mental health clinics and served as the youngest member on the on Mental Hygiene Task Force to the NYS Assembly.   As his career in public health developed, he transferred from community mental health to working in Government Sponsored Managed Care (Medicaid and Medicare).  After fourteen (14) years in the industry, he most recently served as the Vice President of Business Solutions for Empire BlueCross BlueShield where his responsibilities include overseeing the entire Medicaid operations for the corporation and assuring that current systems are functioning, compliant and cost effective.

In addition to music, cooking, and public health,  Mr. Frazer currently serves on the Managed Care Committee to the Leake & Watts Board of Directors where he advises the Board of the various changes to NYS Public Health Laws. Mr. Frazer is fluent in German and a fervent ice hockey player who is fortunate to play every week. He has been on skates since he was six years old and played on his college team at Skidmore College.

Conor Grimes

Conor Grimes

Conor currently works as an analyst for an investment fund in midtown New York. He began studying piano when he was five and minored in music during college, whereafter his career went down a very different path into finance. Conor came across Piano Outreach of New York in 2004 and has been involved since, helping primarily with the financial and strategic aspects of the organization. Growing up on Long Island and living in NYC now, he still plays piano casually and is thrilled to be a part of such a worthy cause so close to his home. Prior to his current position, Conor worked in both investment banking and private equity. He received his AB in Economics with a minor in Music from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Douglas Wood

Douglas Wood

Douglas Wood is part of the Youth Opportunity and Learning team. His grant making has focused on helping students transition from high school to college and also on improving the college completion rates of underserved students. He brings to his role at Ford broad experience in prekindergarten to 12th grade, as well as higher education policy and administration.

Prior to joining the foundation in 2011, Douglas was associate dean of administration and planning at the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at the New School. During the 10 years before coming to Ford, he also worked as executive director and chief executive officer of the Tennessee State Board of Education; served as a member of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission; and was executive director and principal investigator of the National Academy for Excellent Teaching, an institute of Teachers College, Columbia University.

Douglas began his career as a public school teacher. After five years of teaching, he worked as a research assistant at Harvard University, the Center for Collaborative Education Metro Boston, and the Annenberg Rural Challenge, among others. He then served as a course assistant at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a teaching fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Douglas holds master of education and doctor of education degrees in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University; a master’s degree in English from Middlebury College; and a bachelor’s degree in history from Wofford College, where he is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.