The sky was the limit at the 2012 Rising Stars Awards

As the sun set on Thursday, March 22, people had a spectacular view of downtown Brooklyn from the rooftop of Stage 6 at Steiner Studios at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. However, it was inside the third floor loft where the stars were rising.

The 2012 Rising Stars Award and Networking Event sponsored by The Home Reporter and The Brooklyn Spectator honored young professionals who exemplify outstanding leadership skills, not only in their chosen fields but also in their community.

“Brooklyn is the coolest city on the planet because of the Rising Stars in this room,” noted Carlo Scissura, senior advisor to Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Also recognized were Public Advocate Bill de Blasio as Star of Stars, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa as Mentor of the Year, and Christina Moore, Miss Brooklyn 2011, as Rookie of the Year.

Approximately 400 Brooklyn leaders, businesspeople and friends came out to mingle, network, attend the concurrent business expo, celebrate and start a new year of success working together.

There was a sense of satisfaction on the part of many in a job well done.

“I am honored to accept this recognition on behalf of Waste Management,” said Rachel Amar, the company’s government and community relations manager. “This award recognizes our company’s efforts to promote sustainability in the communities we serve. I am proud to represent an innovative company that leads the industry in recovering more value from the material stream, protecting the environment and preserving resources for the future.”

“Joe [La Spina] is a natural force,” said Jim Santora, director of community affairs at Maple Lanes, of the 32-year-old Rising Star who is the third generation to manage the community favorite, and who was manning an expo table. “He’s a very hard worker.”

Real estate agent Denny Chen shared the same sentiment about honoree Warren Chan, president of Asian Community United Society. “He always does a lot of work for our [Asian] community, so about 10 people are here coming to support him [as he does us],” said Chen. “With outreach [and networking at events like this], we’ll meet more people.”

Events such as the Rising Stars are perfect for networking and building community by shining a spotlight on those who are part of it, noted attorney Simon Shamoun, who runs a law firm with partner Basil Kampessis on Third Avenue.

“Steiner Studios’ venue is beautiful [and so are] the views [of the city skyline],” said Michael Fraulo of Ben Bay Realty, who came to support colleague Charles Fabbella. Shamoun also praised Fabbella, stating, “He’s done so much for the community, so it’s nice that he’s honored and recognized for his efforts.”

Jamie Johnson, regional director of fundraising and golf events at American Golf Corporation, was not only honored as a Rising Star, but helped at the expo table. “It was really a wonderful event and having the expo table among other Brooklyn businesses not only created a great camaraderie but it was great exposure within the community,” she said.

As for her award, Johnson commented, “It was an amazing night. I feel honored to be recognized among Brooklyn’s best.”

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce also had an expo table. The organization’s Acting President Rick Russo said, “The individuals honored at the Rising Star event are precisely why Brooklyn is booming right now. These forward-thinking, motivated and dedicated individuals are committed to the future of our beloved borough. Brooklyn’s Rising Stars are truly the next generation of leaders in New York, and the Brooklyn Chamber is proud to have sponsored this event. We would also like to congratulate our own Jeanette Nigro, vice president of economic development, on being a Rising Star!”

Among the highlights of the evening was a raffle, with the money raised donated to two not-for-profit organizationsBrooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and the Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation. A total of $2,500 was raised, $1,250 for each group.

The Brooklyn Rising Stars for 2012 were Renee Altomonte, Rachel Amar, Justin Brannan, Warren Chan, Christian Charvet, Ryan Condren, Julia Dawson, Carey Balogh, Tina Roth Eisenberg, Michael Esposito, Charles Fabbella, Gabriela Falquez, Cynthia J. Felix, Father Michael Louis Gelfant, Aisha Browne Glover, Pamela Golkin, Dr. Jared Hoffman, Jamie Johnson, Mehmet Kilic, Renata Landskind, Joe LaSpina, Erin Leigh, Jonathan Levin, Kevin Mahoney, Dr. Jennifer Kulp Makarov, Dr. George Malayil, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, Robert Manse, Kevin “Kato” McKessey, David Meade, Daryl Meyers, Eileen Mora, Frank Morizio, Jr., Jeanette Nigro, Leonard Petlakh, Phil Penta, Jr., John Quaglione, Amanda Quiñones, Linda Sarsour, Arthur M. Shtaynberg, Esq., City Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams and Daniel Woods.

The gallery of photos of the 2012 Rising Stars Award and Networking Event can be found at

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