Passport to Possibilities Gala, New York

Passport to Possibilities Gala, New York
NYC Gala Digital Invitation

2017 Passport to Possibilities Gala


November 1, 2017
6:00-10:00 p.m.


409 East 59th Street
New York


Outstanding Leadership Award

Dr. Hamed Faridi
Chief Science Officer
McCormick & Company, Inc.


A renowned food industry leader, Dr. Faridi heads a global team of more than 450 scientists and flavorists responsible for research, product development and innovation, and is the voice of food science for McCormick & Company.  Under his leadership, McCormick’s R&D program has been transformed and is rated by investors and global customers as one of the most innovative in the industry.

Dr. Faridi’s science-based approach to “Flavorful Healthy Eating” is recognized as a groundbreaking platform for improving public health. His vision led to the formation of the McCormick Science Institute in 2006.

He has published six books and over 60 articles, has been a featured lecturer at conferences and research institutions in more than two dozen countries, and has served on several boards of professional and trade associations in the U.S. and Europe.  Dr. Faridi has served as President of the American Association of Cereal Chemists and the Flavor & Extract Manufacturers Association.  He currently serves on the boards of the Maryland University of Integrative Health and the Sabri Ulker Nutrition Foundation in Istanbul, Turkey.

Dr. Faridi was honored as a Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists in 2010 and of AACC International in 2011.  He is also the recipient of Kansas State University’s 2013 Outstanding Alumni Award.  In 2015, he received the coveted Dr. Richard L. Hall Distinguished Service Award from FEMA, and in 2016 Dr. Faridi received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Prior to joining McCormick in 1997, Dr. Faridi served on the faculty of Washington State University (1979-1983) and held R&D executive positions at Nabisco from 1983 to 1997.

Dr. Faridi received his B.S.c. from Pahlavi University in Shiraz, Iran (1969), his M.S. (1973) and Ph.D. in Food Science from Kansas State University (1975), and his M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University (1987).

View full press release

Women’s Vanguard Award

Tonia O’Connor
Chief Revenue Officer
Univision Communications Inc. 


Tonia O’Connor serves as chief revenue officer for Univision Communications Inc. (UCI). In this role, O’Connor drives an integrated content monetization strategy and oversees all of UCI’s revenue streams – linear and digital advertising, content distribution as well as new revenue development.

O’Connor is spearheading UCI’s development of new opportunities that advance consumer engagement and create a more effective overall experience for marketers and distributors.  She has led UCI’s efforts to expand the reach of its portfolio of brands and content availability by creating new consumer products and securing valuable shelf space with both traditional and emerging distributors, and social media platforms.

Given her understanding of consumer behavior, she is also involved in UCI’s programming and content development for its new networks and platforms, including the acquisition of originals for the OTT services and partnering with third parties to finance and develop new series. Additionally, O’Connor has worked with other leaders across UCI to coordinate investments in new digital businesses. She was also a founder of and continues to sponsor UCI’s Women’s Leadership Council, an employee resource group designed to prepare the next generation of women leaders.

O’Connor is a Director on the Board of Directors of El Rey Network, a cable network started by filmmaker, Robert Rodriguez and fuboTV, a streaming TV service. She has received multiple awards and recognitions, and is active in industry organizations and currently serves as the Chairman on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Immigrant and Refugee Service Award

Jennifer Geissel-Zervigon
Independent Strategy Consultant



Jennifer Geissel-Zervigon is an independent strategy consultant with over 15 years of experience in strategy and corporate finance, predominantly serving technology companies. She has served on the national Board of Directors for Upwardly Global for the last 8 years, where she served as Board Chair (2013-2015), and also held intermittent roles as Finance and Development Chairs during her tenure.

Most recently, Jennifer was a Senior Managing Director at the Nasdaq Stock Market, where she managed sales for Nasdaq’s stock trading business. Prior to Nasdaq, Jennifer ran sales and strategy at the BRUT ECN, and electronic trading system of US equities.  There she led the sale of Brut to SunGard Data Systems and later, the sale of Brut to the Nasdaq Stock Market.Prior to working at Nasdaq, she was a strategy consultant for many years; first as a Manager at Deloitte Consulting, and then at Treacy & Company, a strategic consulting boutique, where she was a Senior Principal. Prior to business school, Jennifer was an Associate in Investment Banking at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, focusing on M&A and Bridge finance. Jennifer received her BA in English from New York University and her Masters in Business Administration at the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth. She and her husband have two young children and a dog. She has traveled extensively throughout New Jersey.


Event Registration

Please select the quantity below, fill in payment details and click Place order once. All information is required.

Item Description Price Quantity Total

Global Visionary Sponsor

Includes: TEN (10) tickets, PRESIDENT’S LEVEL seating, Recognition in CEO speech, full page in program, listing on event invite (if pledged by print date). Color logo on Upwardly Global website event page, logo on Step & Repeat, and VIP concierge service throughout evening


American Dream Sponsor:

Includes: TEN (10) tickets, VIP seating, listing on event invite (if pledged by print date).1/2 page in Program, Color Logo Upwardly Global website event page, logo on Step & Repeat, and VIP concierge service throughout evening


Bridging the Gap

Includes: TEN (10) tickets, PREMIERE seating, 1/4 page in Program and on Upwardly Global website event page, and VIP concierge service throughout evening from Upwardly Global staff ambassador who will assist in making introductions with corporate leaders and influencers


Fulfilling the Promise

Includes: EIGHT (8) tickets, PREMIERE seating, 1/4 page in Program and on Upwardly Global website event page


Making the Difference

Includes: EIGHT (8) tickets, PRIME seating, Logo and Company Name in Program and on Upwardly Global website event page


Half Table

Includes: FOUR (4) tickets, PRIME seating, and Name or Logo in Program


Two Tickets Package

Includes: TWO (2) ticket, PRIORITY seating, Name or Logo in Program


Single Ticket

Includes: One (1) ticket with PRIORITY Seating



Your contribution less $150 per ticket is tax-deductible (Federal Tax ID: 94-3346127).
All proceeds benefit Upwardly Global, a not-for-profit, 501 (c)3 organization.

Click here to make a fully tax-deductible contribution if you are unable to attend.

Additional Information
Billing Information
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Please make checks payable to:Upwardly Global
Mail checks to:Upwardly Global
Passport to Possibilities Gala Committee
505 8th Avenue, Suite 1601
New York, New York 10018
Note:Please indicate number and type of tickets purchased in memo section of check. Include email address for receipt confirmation.

Need assistance?
Please contact Karrie Miner (312)-431-1923, or