NFTE volunteers introduce young people to a world beyond their current circumstances. Each year we honor individual volunteers―as well as a corporation whose employees coach and mentor NFTE students―for the integral role they play in NFTE classrooms.


Individual Volunteerism Award Winner

Investor and Entrepreneur
New England

Jim has been a NFTE volunteer for over three years―serving as a guest speaker, business plan coach, competition judge, and even an investor in some student businesses (including an anti-bullying organization). Students are motivated not only by the knowledge that Jim shares but also by his personal story of immigration and entrepreneurship. Jim’s story began in China, with eight siblings living in an 800 sq-ft high rise, and ended with multi-million dollar business deals.  

Jim has made multiple introductions to members of his personal network, building NFTE’s donor and volunteer base. He advocates that the perseverance and confidence instilled in NFTE students builds necessary character, and he is a wonderful partner in helping young people to realize their entrepreneurial potential and succeed.

Volunteers of the Year

Every year, NFTE recognizes a top volunteer from each NFTE location. This year we are humbled and grateful to acknowledge the heart and contributions of:

Linda Berdine
G&B Solutions

Stephen Regan
DealStat REI, Inc.

NFTE New York Metro

David L. Cahn
Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP
NFTE Baltimore

Miri Rodriguez
NFTE South Florida

Cheri Garcia
Cornbread Hustle and Luminous Envy
NFTE North Texas

Elliott Schwartz
NFTE Los Angeles Metro

Laura Gardner
St. Louis University

NFTE St. Louis

Dean Sivara
NFTE Bay Area 

Lisa O'Keefe
Pritzker Venture Capital
NFTE Chicago

Kevin M. Wolfgang
Evergreen Apartment Group 
NFTE Philadelphia

Corporate Volunteerism Award Winner


The NFTE community is deeply grateful to Mastercard and excited for this opportunity to recognizehundreds of Mastercard employees who have served as coaches, mentors, and guest speakers across the country. Mastercard has been an Equity Investor ($500,000+) in NFTE for many years and an invaluable resource for NFTE students. Mastercard supports NFTE’s daily work in the classroom as well as the build of the new The NFTE Alumni Network and other resources for alumni. Mastercard also supports impact research and presented an Innovation Challenge to students age 13–24 around the world, asking them to put on their creative caps to help solve problems for refugees.Thank you to Mastercard volunteers across the globe!

2017 volunteerism awards are presented by
The Alper Family Foundation.

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Individual Volunteerism Award Winner

CEO, Normandy Capital Group
North Texas
Logging nearly 100 hours of NFTE volunteer service this year in North Texas, Randy has coached students, judged at 2015 finals, participated as a guest speaker in several classes, provided opportunities for our students and teachers to tour TAC facilities, and offered NFTE Alumni Fellow Juan Ramos the opportunity to job-shadow several department heads for one week during his internship. Juan indicated that his time at TAC was one of the most valuable opportunities he could have dreamed of having.

Randy even arranged for students and teachers to participate in a TAC monthly meeting where they were paired with a department head and helped to calculate the week’s financial picture, bringing to life for students the real-world applications of ROI, ROS, COGs, and profit margins.

And Randy not only committed his time, but also his financial resources, to help NFTE. We have been honored to have Randy as a volunteer since 2014.

Volunteers of the Year

Delanda Bartens-Perez
NFTE DC Region
Ryan Douglas
NFTE Chicago Metro
Kristina Beilinson
Warby Parker
Steven Le Vine
Grapevine PR & Consulting
NFTE Los Angeles Metro
Michael Carter
Carter, Morse & Mathias
NFTE Fairchester
Andrea Mayorca
Klerigi Group
NFTE South Florida
Ann Daley
Pitney Bowes
NFTE New England
Sally Solis-Cohen
BI Worldwide
NFTE Philadelphia Metro
Elsie Davis
NFTE Baltimore
Nikki Zavradinos
NFTE St. Louis Metro


Corporate Volunteerism Award Winner


EY and EY employees impact NFTE students every day. 400+ EY employees collectively commit thousands of volunteer hours each year, working as coaches, judges, and mentors to help young people develop their entrepreneurial mindsets, refine their business plans, and present with confidence.  EY has been an Equity Investor in NFTE for many years and is signature supporter of the NFTE Entrepreneurial Mindset Index (EMI), the first tool to measure entrepreneurial skills and behavior in youth. Thanks to EY, NFTE also held its first-ever Entrepreneurial Mindset Summit. The NFTE community cherishes EY’s commitment to equipping youth for the innovation economy and creating a better working world.

2016 volunteerism awards are presented by
The Alper Family Foundation.

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Individual Volunteerism Award Winner

Dawn Gayapersad, MBA, PhD
Founder, Technology Link LLC

Dawn exemplifies the entrepreneurial mindset—skills such as comfort with risk, collaboration, and self-reliance. That is why she was recognized at the 2015 NFTE Global Showcase with the Lowell B. Mason Award for Exemplary Volunteer Service.

Dawn grew up in Trinidad, West Indies, with a grandmother who was an entrepreneur after being an indentured laborer. Though Dawn had been a prizewinning student at her university, she could not find a job in America. She began working as a temp and was finally offered a position by one of America’s first biotechnology start-ups, where she worked on the first low-dose birth control pill. Her next position was at a start-up that discovered the HER2/neu breast cancer marker.

Dawn then took a risky job with a start-up that had difficulty obtaining venture funding and then went on to bring the HPV test to market. This start-up became a Maryland Entrepreneur of the Year. Dawn started her own consulting business and became an angel investor. In 2010, she joined NFTE as a volunteer and supporter. She mentored the winner of the 2014 National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge and a 2011

NFTE Baltimore Challenge finalist. Dawn believes the entrepreneurial mindset is critical to success. It is a legacy she hopes to pass on to many.

Volunteers of the Year


John Boaz
Reliant Home Health
NFTE North Texas
Guy Fruda
NFTE New York Metro
Koran Bolden
Street Dreamz School of
Business & Performing Arts
NFTE St. Louis
Andrew Jordan
NFTE Philadelphia
Allen Carney
Phase 7 Marketing
NFTE New England
Adam Milakofsky
Pritzer Group Private Capital
NFTE Chicago
Merlin Clark
NFTE Greater Los Angeles
Alex Nucci &
Miami Style BBQ
NFTE South Florida
Dominic DeMain
Combe, Inc. (Retired)
NFTE Fairchester
Dustin Shafae
USF MBA Program
NFTE Bay Area
John Tomaselli
NFTE DC Region


Presented by Lowell B. Mason Award for Exemplary Volunteer Service                                                 back to page


For a full historical list of award-winning NFTE volunteers, please check back in July when NFTE's website will have a new design!