BNI Group — which stands for Business Network International — is the largest business networking organization in the world. It allows one person in each profession to share business referrals, as well as contacts, by building upon the idea of Givers Gain.”

The organization’s mission is “to help members increase their business through a structured, positive, and professional word-of-mouth program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals.”

It usually meets at 7 a.m., but a recent meeting was held from 3 to 4:30 p.m., marking the organization’s first afternoon meeting.


Dana Elizabeth Sessa, daughter of Joseph V. and Paula Sessa, owners of the McLaughlin & Sons Funeral Home, got married on Saturday April 28 to Michael Anthony Welch, general manager at MDC Holdings/Richmond American Homes.

The bride, 25, a Fontbonne Hall alumna, graduated with a degree in business and marketing from Pace University, and now holds a position as an account manager at the Confidence Plumbing Company. She wore a gown designed by Reem Acra and walked down the aisle of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Monsignor Joseph Nagle performed the wedding service.

Both of the bride’s sisters, Samantha Anderson Sessa and Courtney Sessa Flynn, were her bridesmaids. The best man was Eric Welch, the groom’s brother. The bride’s brother, Reid, was an usher. The groom’s brother Matthew Welch was ringbearer.

The couple is currently honeymooning in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and will reside in Denver, Colorado.


The 10th annual Russian Heritage Festival took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on June 6.

It was produced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Russian American Foundation. Guests included George C. White, the founder and president of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center; New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano; Harold Holzer, senior vice president of external affairs of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Marina Kovalyov, co-founder and president of the Russian American Foundation; Stanislav Chizhik, owner of One Stop Beer Shop in Brooklyn; Dr. Daniel Igor Branovan, director and chair of the New York Eye and Ear Institute and founder and president of Project Chernobyl.

On Saturday, June 10, Together in New York held a festival, health and sport fair at Asser Levy Park. The afternoon featured ethnic music, dance, costumes, performances by local youth groups and food. Representatives from the healthcare industry were on hand to educate attendees and provide free medical testing.

Pop artist Anna Reznikova and singer Rebecca Branovan, a rising stars in the Russian-speaking community, also performed.


Members of the St. Francis College community gathered on April 27 at the College’s Founders Hall to honor two new members of the Duns Scotus Honor Society, Borough President Marty Markowitz and John Loconsolo at the college’s 128th Charter Day event.

“Election to membership in the society is based on high scholastic standing, participation in extracurricular activities, evidence of loyalty to the ideals of St. Francis College and demonstration of a true Franciscan spirit,” according to materials distributed by the college.

Markowitz was chosen for the honor because he “has reinvigorated the office of borough president, serving as the tireless chief advocate for Brooklyn’s economic, social and cultural interests, while initiating and promoting efforts to improve Brooklynites’ quality of life,” the college said.

In his speech, Markowitz showered the college’s students with positive affirmations, which he says that, as Brooklynites, they are destined to have in order to succeed.

“You all will earn your BS’s or BA’s,” Markowitz said. “Of course by BS I mean Brooklyn savvy and BA I mean Brooklyn attitude. When I say Brooklyn attitude, I mean that you are tough, you’re resilient, you’re ambitious, you’re determined, you’re innovative, you don’t take no for an answer and it means that you can charm people off their feet and be in their face at the same time.”

Loconsolo, a real estate developer and philanthropist, was presented with the St. Clare Medal of Service for all the work he has done to help to make private school education accessible and affordable to countless families across New York City.

Shortly after receiving the award, Loconsolo established the Victoria Loconsolo Foundation Scholarship, which will help pay tuition for two St. Francis College juniors who attended a Catholic school in the Brooklyn Diocese.

At the same event, Lorraine M. Lynch, a SFC graduate and vice president of National Grid presented National Grid Scholarships and Internships to three St. Francis students: Matthew J. Galeano ‘13, Chandradath Ramotar ’13 and James Toscano ‘13.

National Grid, which was also represented by Kenneth Daly ’88, president of National Grid, New York, was just one of the many community partners in attendance for the event. St. Francis was honored to host attendees representing cultural institutions including Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Bridge Park as well as educational partners like St. Francis Xavier and St. Edmunds.


Jon Forrest Dohlin, vice president and director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium, received the United Federation of Teachers District 21 Community Service Award last week. Dohlin received the award for the hospitality and service he has provided to the Brooklyn community through his work at the New York Aquarium.

In 2009, WCS launched A SEA CHANGE at the New York Aquarium, a 10-year plan to revitalize the aquarium and ignite the rebirth of Coney Island. A major component of A SEA CHANGE will be the construction of the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit, scheduled to break ground later this year.


Air Force Airman Igor Tavuzhnyanskiy, graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. Tavuzhnyanskiy — the son of Lyubov Tavuzhnyanskaya of West Fifth Street and a 2006 graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School — completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Army National Guard Private Gilbert J. Gomez, graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. He is a 2009 graduate of Midwood High School, Brooklyn, and has completed nine weeks of training. Gomez is the brother of Jennifer Gomez of 57th Street.

Army Reserve Private First Class Roberto J. Hernandez graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. Hernandez is the son of Hilda and Jose Hernandez of Prospect Avenue. He is a 2009 graduate of Bishop Ford High School.

Gomez and Hernandez both studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.

Army Reserve Private Chrissondra S. Norris has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. Norris is the daughter of Christine Singleton of Blake Avenue, and is a 2009 graduate of Fort Hamilton High School.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.