FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MARCH 28, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 25
STARS UNDER 40
‘STARS UNDER 40’ SHONE BRIGHT
The March 21 Stars Under 40 Awards
and Networking Event celebrated the
accomplishments of some of the best
and brightest individuals under the
age of 40.
Schneps Media celebrated the honorees
at LaGuardia Plaza Hotel for
their achievements across several
industries including law, medicine,
athletics, and government.
“Feel the power of what you’ve accomplished.
Feel the power of being
a star,” said Schneps Media President
Victoria Schneps. “Each one of you
is being honored because you’re in
business or the nonprofit world.”
Schneps highlighted organizations
who received money from event
donations via raffle ticket sales, as
has been the tradition for the past 18
years. One of the honorees was Hands
Across Long Island, a “grassroots,
multi-service organization” founded
in 1988, which is managed and operated
by psychiatric survivors. The
organization this year feted Victoria
Serpa, Board President.
The other honoree was Human First,
a Long Island-based nonprofit organization
founded in 2001. Human First
also nominated Elizabeth Stehle, the
director of administration and communication,
for her exceptional work
within the organization.
Stehle joined Human First in 2015
after realizing her desire to do more
“mission-driven” work. She worked
in the government sector and moved
to the private sector before an old
colleague approached her about an
opportunity at Human First.
“I started working there in June 2015
and it’s been a joy ever since,” Stehle
The organization serves individuals
with intellectual and developmental
disabilities with offices in Queens,
Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long
Island. Stehle shared that the honor
came as a surprise to her.
“I’m thrilled, I’m still in shock about it.
For me, what I do, I’m part of a team.
I don’t feel like I’m going above and
beyond anything. So to be recognized
for what I do on an everyday basis is
really a great honor.”
Other Stars Under 40 honorees included
Carlos Gonzalez of the Veterinary
Care Group, who along with Dr.
Mario Costa, won the “Dynamic Duo”
hono r. The four-year-old organization
is a group of veterinary hospitals
with locations in Astoria, Glen Oaks,
Bayside, Little Neck, Forest Hills and
Gonzalez started as a kennel assistant
at 17 and trained to be a veterinary assistant
before eventually becoming the
manager of the company’s Bayside location.
He shared that “helping the pets” is
the most rewarding part of his job.
“It’s making sure that the pet is well
taken care of and that we’re doing
right by the pet at all times,” said
He added that the honor felt “amazing”
but recognized the importance of
working as a team to achieve goals.
“I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t
for my team. To us, teamwork is very
important, so I’m not only appreciative
of my team, but I also had great
mentors that gave me the necessary
tools to be here,” Gonzalez said.
One hundred percent of the evening's
raffle proceeds will be donated to
Human First and Hands Across Long
The 2019 Stars Under 40 were:
Danny Pisani with daughter Adrianna and
Honoree Criag Ratigan with Marge
McGowan and TD Bank
Photos by Allen Ngai and Matthew Kropp
For more pix, go to
Kieron Ludde and Mazars
The "STAR" awards
NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst: Israel Rocha, honoree Dr. Samuel Trosman, Dr. Jasmin
Moshirpur, EMCEE Antoinette Biordi and Vicki Schneps