And the 2017 Synergy Awards Go To…

Congratulations to all of the 2017 NYSAE Award recipients honored April 19th during the Synergy Awards Luncheon at the Upper Story by Charlie Palmer, New York City.

Jeffrey L. Reynolds, PhD, CEAP, SAP

Outstanding Nonprofit Association Executive Award
Jeffrey L. Reynolds, PhD, CEAP, SAP
President & CEO
Family and Children’s Association

The Outstanding Nonprofit Association Executive Award recognizes an executive who has contributed significantly to the advancement of the association management profession as a key leader in a philanthropic, professional or trade organization and has demonstrated outstanding achievement in advancing the mission of that organization.

Jeff is president and CEO of the Family and Children’s Association (FCA) in Mineola, a position he has held for the past two and a half years. Since it began as an orphanage more than 130 years ago, FCA has been committed to caring for Long Island’s vulnerable children, youth, seniors, and families while helping them prepare for successful futures. Today, FCA is one of Long Island’s largest health and human services organizations with an annual budget of $20 million, 340 staff, 200 volunteers, and over 30 programs. More than 20,000 Long Islanders benefit from FCA’s services each year. New initiatives include an addiction recovery program, an Alzheimer’s caregiver program and a violence prevention program.

Jeffrey has been in the association management profession for 25 years. His long and stellar career has focused on leading organizations serving the most vulnerable in our society. From 2009-2014 he was executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, pioneering” Too Good for Drugs,” an evidence-based K-12 substance abuse prevention program. From 1989-2009, Jeff worked at the Long Island Association for AIDS Care, starting as a case manager and finishing his nineteen-year tenure as vice president for public affairs. He was a victim’s advocate at the Victims Bureau of Suffolk from 1985-1989.

Jeff currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Nassau County Heroin Prevention Task force and is chair of the Suffolk County Sober Home Oversight Board. He served as chair of the Nassau County Youth Board, and spent three years on the Suffolk County Welfare-to-Work Commission. He is vice president and the longest serving member of the New York State AIDS Advisory Council.

The Long Island Press named Jeff one of the “50 Most Influential Long Islanders” numerous times. He has authored more than 200 articles and Op Ed pieces and serves as an expert on substance abuse, addiction, AIDS, and human and civil rights. He has received leadership awards from Simple Hope Foundation, Caron Treatment Centers, Strong Youth Inc, the Long Island Recovery Association and the Long Island Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. He is a member of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, the Long Island Recovery Association, and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. Visit Jeff’s organization at .

Doug Brown

Outstanding Associate Member Award
Chairman & CEO
Paradigm Associates, LLC

The Outstanding Associate Member Award recognizes the contributions made to an associate member’s organization that have significantly improved, promoted, and benefited his/her company within the NYSAE community.

Doug Brown is chairman and CEO of Paradigm Associates in Cranford, New Jersey. The strategic and organizational development consulting firm he founded in 1985 has served the nonprofit sector for 25 years. Doug’s company has clients on five continents, and in states that include Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Nevada. He and his company have been honored on more than 30 occasions for helping organizations improve their ability to succeed.

Doug joined NYSAE in 2014, and jumped in immediately to support our organization. He and his barbershop chorus entertained us at that year’s holiday party. He participated in the board and committee retreat in 2015, and facilitated its strategic planning process in 2016. He has been on the Education Committee, helping to identify programs and arrange speakers, and at the behest of the board, stepped in to chair the Membership Development Committee. He’s also been a contributor to our digital magazine, InView.

Doug’s leadership extends to the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Professional Insurance Agents of New York and New Jersey. He’s also served on the Budget and Planning Advisory Committee for the Cranford Township, and been a member of both the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce. He has been a barbershop style singer since 1983. Visit Doug’s organization at .


Nicole Millman-Falk, CAE

Distinguished Service Award
Nicole Millman-Falk, CAE
Millman-Falk Communications, LLC

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes a member who has made extraordinary contributions to NYSAE by his/her skillful performance in aiding and assisting in areas such as special projects, new programs or with ad-hoc functions.

What could we possibly say about Nicole Millman-Falk that would adequately acknowledge her service of 35 years to NYSAE? Since becoming a member in 1982, Nicole has served on virtually every committee and chaired a number of them. Some of her more interesting involvements include the Board and Committee Retreat Thinkaway Committee in 1982, the 75th Anniversary Task Force in 1993, the ad hoc Committee on Distance Learning in 2000, and the ad hoc Committee on Social Media in 2014. She has chaired the Associate Member Advisory Committee, co-chaired the Office and Information Technology Committee, and chaired the Awards Committee.

Nicole’s efforts with the Associate Member Advisory Committee resulted in the growth of associate members and their inclusion on all committees as well as the board of directors. In 1987 she received the Volunteer of the Year Award, and in 1996, she was recognized with the Outstanding Associate Member Award. Her commitment to professional excellence was acknowledged with three continuing education grant awards in 1987, 1999, and 2003.

Nicole’s service to NYSAE provides an interesting parallel to the evolution of the association management profession. She as led a number of workshops related to association management including communications and publications and facilitated a number of CAE study group sessions. She has also mentored a number of aspiring CAEs. For more than 25 years, Nicole served as managing editor of our print magazine, Association Executive, and its digital successor, InView, which she helped to launch.

Nicole gave of her time and talent to the American Society of Association Executives as well. From 1982-1984, she served on the ASAE Membership Development Council, and from 1987-1991 on the ASAE Communications Section Council. During the 1987-1988 program year, she launched and chaired ASAE’s first New York Communications Roundtable. Beside membership in a number of New York and New Jersey business organizations, Nicole served on the board of directors as vice president and on a number of committees for Temple Emeth in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Donna J. Kelley, CMP, CASE

Volunteer of the Year Award
Donna J. Kelley, CMP, CASE
Global Account Executive
Marriott International

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes outstanding committee service and team leadership.

Donna J. Kelley began her career with Marriott in 1977 where she performed roles in sales, event management, catering, and restaurant management in hotels from Syracuse, New Orleans, New York City, Denver, and San Antonio. In 1997, she was director of sales for the Caribbean. For the past 17 years, she has served as a global account executive for the New York and greater Philadelphia area.

This year, Donna serves as the co-chair of the Meet New York Committee. She and the committee work hard to ensure a successful event that includes daytime educational sessions, an afternoon hosted buyers reception, and an evening Broadway show. She was instrumental in selecting relevant educational topics and securing professional speakers within budget and availability.

Having had experience hosting similar high profile events with Marriott International, she suggested a TED Talk format that would allow NYSAE to draw upon subject matter experts that worked within the region. Utilizing her suggestions, the committee was able to secure several subject matter experts whose topics were extremely valuable to the audience. As a committee member from the vendor side, she sees opportunities for making Meet New York a legacy event for NYSAE. Visit her organization at

Kimberly Unger

New Star Award
Kimberly Unger
CEO & Executive Director
Security Traders Association of NY

The New Star Award recognizes the contribution of a new NYSAE member (regular or associate) with less than three years of service made to NYSAE in the areas of committee work, special projects, or new programs.

Kimberly Unger has been a frequent participant in the NYSAE Executive Women in Nonprofits Special Interest Group. She also serves on the NYSAE Membership Development Committee and participated in the NYSAE strategic planning retreat last summer. We are glad to have her as one of our new stars.

Kim has served as the executive director of the Security Traders Association of New York (STANY) since 1996 and was named chief executive officer in 2011. She has been president of its foundation since 1999. Prior to joining STANY, Kim worked as a litigation attorney. She began her career in private practice and was a member of the legal departments of several Wall Street firms including Drexel Burnham Lambert, Prudential, and Gruntal & Co. Immediately prior to joining STANY she worked as a senior regional attorney and member of the management team in the National Association of Securities Dealers district 10 offices.

Kim became an ordained minister in 1966. Kim enjoys graphic design in her free time and graduated from the Shillington School of Graphic Design in 2014. She has served on the Wings Over Wall Street Committee of the Muscular Dystrophy Association since 2010 and received their Michael Beier Award in 2014. Kim has been involved with fund-raising for over 35 different charities and was honored by Traders Magazine with its Wall Street Women 2015 Charitable Works Award. Visit her organization at .


Mauyra Couvares

Outstanding Technology Leadership Award
Presented to:
Mauyra Couvares, Co-founder and Executive Director

The Outstanding Information Technology Leadership Award recognizes the contributions of prominent individuals or organizations from the NY/NJ/CT Tri-State region that have demonstrated excellence in the field of information technology. Recipients of the award have been responsible for spearheading, building, educating, promoting, or otherwise contributing to the benefits that information technology has to offer to humankind

This year’s Outstanding Technology Leadership Award goes to ScriptEd for their efforts to equip students in under-resourced schools with fundamental coding skills and professional experiences that together create access to careers in technology. ScriptEd plays a unique role in technology education by providing the highest quality instruction to students in under-served high schools. Visit their website at

ScriptEd is headed by Mauyra Couvares, co-founder and executive director. A new job led Maurya to learn to code, which led to founding ScriptEd. She wanted to build a pathway to the tech economy for students who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Prior to ScriptEd, Maurya was a middle school teacher in Philadelphia. She then became coordinator for volunteer based after-and out-of-school programs for New York City high schoolers. Maurya was named one of several millennial’s "too busy changing the world to take selfies." She spends her free time training for and competing in triathlons.

Website Excellence Awards

The Website Excellence Award recognizes the website of a convention & visitors bureau, philanthropic organization, professional society, or trade association of a regular member that demonstrates visionary innovation in use of digital technology and social media to advance its mission.

Convention and Visitors Bureau

Discover Long Island

Philanthropic Organization

Friends of Hudson River Park

Professional Society

New York State Funeral Directors Association

Trade Association

American Pet Products Association

Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients. The honors are well deserved. Members of the NYSAE Awards Committee include: Gina Ryan, CAE; chair; Terry Lawler, vice chair; Gerard Thiers, CAE, board liaison; Tim Baer; Ethan Draddy; Judy Sanford Guise; CAE, and Lee Hornstein.

Gina Ryan is President of CEO Pathways/Creative Executive Options, a firm offering Interim Executive Director services and transition management to newly formed or recently challenged associations. Ryan is a former NYSAE Board Member and is the current Chair of the Awards Committee. She can be reached at or 917-971-7524.