New York City Forum honors industry leaders and awards scholarship at annual dinner

The New York City Forum honored three industry leaders and awarded a scholarship to one Urban Leadership Fellow at its annual dinner on Thursday.

Homer Schaaf, lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright, received Forum Lifetime Achievement Award; Elizabeth Fine, attorney to the Governor of New York, received the Public Service Award; and Kym Arnone, CEO of Jefferies, received the Austin Koenen Career Achievement Award.

The three “are dedicated to public finance and public service, people who really make a difference,” said Mary Francoeur, president of the Forum and managing director of PFM Financial Advisors.

The three were honored at the awards dinner at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan, the first held in person since 2019.

Prescott Ulrey, general counsel for the New York Office of Management and Budget, presented Schaaf with the Forum’s Lifetime Achievement Award and recognized his lifelong dedication to the city.

“I hope you realize how much he has contributed to the city he loves. I can’t even calculate the amount of money Homer raised for city roads, bridges, schools, cultural institutions,” Ulrey said. “I can’t imagine any public space in this city that did not benefit from his work.”

Homer Schaaf, Of Counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright, received the Forum Lifetime Achievement Award.

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After thanking his family, Schaaf shared his love for New York, the center of finance and public services.

“Most people come to New York for opportunities. That’s not going to change,” Schaaf said. “People in this room and many others, we have all the means. The rest of you will continue to offer the opportunity, people will come here from everywhere.”

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, who presented Fine with the award, said that despite some political differences, he never hesitated to contact her and ask for her help throughout. throughout their overlapping careers in New York politics. Well still delivered, Lander said.

“Your wisdom, your advice, your fairness, the way you see public service is an extraordinary credit, and that’s why I was so thrilled that you got this public service award,” Lander said.

Fine said she couldn’t help but be humbled by her distinction and often shuns the spotlight.

“It’s a bit of a challenge for me tonight, but a welcome challenge,” she said. “It’s truly an honor, and I congratulate all of my co-winners and [I have] much appreciation to the Municipal Forum for this honour.”

Nathaniel Singer, senior managing director of Swap Financial Group, presented the award to Arnone and told the younger audience to look for leaders in their companies.

“It is critical to our industry that we have a strong community of dealers who can serve our customers. He’s the rare banker who understands how to thread that needle to meet both customer needs and internal business needs,” Singer said. “Try to find the Kym Arnone in your company who understands this dynamic and works every day to strengthen our industry.”

Arnone compared his last 30 years in the industry to football. “Hard work counts. Preparation really matters. But at the end of the day, it’s all about blocking and tackling and a team effort. So thank you to my team. You always make me look good,” she said.

Arnone won the 2014 Freda Johnson Award from Northeast Women in Public Finance, for women who are pioneers, leaders, innovators and mentors in the industry.

The Koenen Award is in honor of Austin Koenen, a former industry leader and strong supporter of municipal market redesign. He died in 1998 at the age of 56. He worked in the municipal market for 24 years, the last eight of which he served as head – or managing director – of public finance at Morgan Stanley.

Koenen, former president of the Public Securities Association, has pushed to limit gambling payment practices and for increased disclosure.

The dinner also honored former Deputy Director of Funding Policy and Coordination in the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, Alan Anders, who won the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. Anders passed away in May 2020.

The Forum also paid tribute to Richard Froelich, former chief operating officer and first executive vice president of the New York City Housing Development Corp., who died in 2021. Both were former members of the Forum’s Board of Governors.

Additionally, the Forum also announced the 2022 recipient of the Carey Gabay Fellowship, established in honor of Gabay, who served as Deputy Counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2011 and served as First Deputy Counsel for the Empire State Development Corp. He was killed in 2015 at age 43.

The Carey Gabay Achievement Award is a $2,500 scholarship awarded annually to a former Urban Leadership Fellows intern.

The 2022 winner is Sahara Majumder. She is a rising senior at Baruch College majoring in finance. She participated in the 2019 Urban Leadership Fellows program, working within the Public Resources Advisory Group. She is now on track to join BlackRock’s 2022 summer analyst class as part of the retirement group.

“When I started the Urban Leadership Fellows program, I knew nothing about the financial services industry and only had a slight interest in pursuing a career in this field,” she said. “But because of the ULF, I declared myself a major in finance in college, and I took advantage of all the opportunities that relate to it.

Established in 1992, the Urban Leadership Fellows program aims to introduce high school students to municipal finance and encourage them to pursue jobs in the sector.

It offers paid summer internships to city high school graduates interested in finance, government, public policy or law. Through the ULF program, 808 students completed internships, with $1.175 million in college scholarships.

Melvin B. Baillie