CenterState CEO Announces Promotions and New Hires

Posted on May 14, 2023

Centerstate Ceo Announces New Hires And Promotions  Pr

SYRACUSE, NY – CenterState CEO announced the promotions of Jessica Barbuto to Assistant Director of Inclusive Growth, Lauren Chyle to Director of Inclusive Growth, and Aimee Durfee to Vice President of Workforce Innovation. Additionally, Zeruiah Jones now serves as the Business Client Membership Manager and Jessica Underwood is the Director of Digital Services.

Joining the CenterState CEO team is Emad Rahim as the Syracuse Surge Entrepreneurship Manager, Megan Reichel as the Director of Marketing and Graphic Design, Brittni Smallwood as the Vice President of Marketing, Dylan Werts as a Membership Manager and Katie Zilcosky as the Director of Communications.

Jessica DeJohn Barbuto is Assistant Director of Inclusive Growth. She leads the team’s grant management, budget management and team administration. She is tasked with the management and refinement of existing systems and processes, and the creation of new ones to maintain oversight and execution of programmatic and administrative tasks. Prior to CenterState CEO, Jessica held positions at the Upstate Center For Bioethics and Humanities and in the real estate division at Home Headquarters. She is active with Moms Demand Action.

Lauren Chyle is CenterState CEO’s Director of Inclusive Growth. She supports the team in planning and developing goals, objectives and metrics, ensuring a culture of collaboration and support and managing systems and processes that ensure effectiveness and accountability among the team. Lauren has worked in nonprofit administration and development for 15 years. Before coming to CenterState CEO she served as Assistant Director of the Everson Museum of Art where she helped manage a $1.2 million auditorium renovation and helped initiate a $17 million comprehensive fundraising campaign.  

Aimee Durfee is Vice President of Workforce Innovation at CenterState CEO. In this position, she leads the Work Train team, which creates partnerships and workforce strategies designed to attract, train, retain and advance un/underemployed individuals into careers in high-growth industries. With over 25 years of experience working on poverty issues, her areas of expertise include workforce development, public benefits, asset building and community economic development, as well as racial/gender equity and employment discrimination issues. Durfee holds a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, and a law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law.

In her new role as Director of Digital Services, Jessica Underwood oversees the development and ongoing operations of CenterState CEO’s Digital Chamber Platform Click.  She supports internal and external users and work to onboard new groups of members. She previously served as Digital Platform Manager. Underwood has over 15 years of sales and customer service experience from the hospitality and tourism industries. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Jacksonville State University.

Zeruiah Jonesis CenterState CEO’s Business Client Membership Manager. In this role, Jones supports and engages the programmatic clients of CenterState CEO through the various resources, programs, and opportunities across the organization. She also connects programmatic staff to the broader membership. She previously worked as a Membership Manager. Jones joined CenterState CEO in 2021 after serving as a Community Liaison for Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter. She has eight years of retail sales experience and a Bachelor of Science from Buffalo State University.

Dr. Emad Rahim is CenterState CEO’s Syracuse Surge Entrepreneurship Manager. In this role, Rahim manages a competitive program that helps BIPOC entrepreneurs launch a tech related startup in Syracuse and oversees program participants’ progress. He is also responsible for planning and assembling workshops, events and conferences for the program. Dr. Rahim serves on the Board of Directors of the Good Life Youth Foundation, CNY Community Foundation, OCC Scholarship Foundation and Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, and volunteers with 100 Black Men and Vera House. He’s a graduate of the Syracuse City School District and completed his post-doctoral studies at Tulane, Harvard and University of Maryland Global Campus.

As the director of Marketing and Graphic Design, Megan Reichel develops and implements brand strategies and leads the creation of marketing content, including collateral material and graphics. Reichel most recently lead the graphic design and marketing at Sheltair Aviation. She brings 12 years of creative marketing experience to this role including design and branding strategy. She earned a bachelor’s in fine arts in graphic design from SUNY Oswego.

Brittni Smallwood is CenterState CEO’s Vice President of Marketing. She leads and manages marketing functions, including strategic planning and program, project and event marketing. She will also lead cross-department marketing projects to support internal and external marketing needs. Smallwood has 13 years of marketing and communications experience. After serving as an award-winning anchor and reporter in Buffalo, she founded a marketing and communications company helping clients in the nonprofit and private sectors make a difference in their communities. She earned her master’s in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University and her bachelor’s in English/communications from Saint Francis University.

As a membership manager, Dylan Werts is responsible for ensuring members receive valuable support and engagement. In this role, he identifies opportunities for increased membership involvement, and supports members through networking events and community involvement. Werts graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Economics. He previously worked at Syracuse University, where he was responsible for fostering relationships with students and parents on campus.

As the Director of Communications, Katie Zilcosky manages, executes internal and external strategic communication projects and initiatives. This includes member/stakeholder communications, podcasts, blogs, reports, website content, presentations and remarks. She most recently served as a reporter and host at 88.3 WAER. She brings five years of communications experience to this role including feature writing and audio production. Katie earned her bachelor’s in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University.  

To learn more about CenterState CEO, please visit Headshots for each of the staff members mentioned above can be found in this Google folder.

About CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO is an independent and forward-thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. We serve as an advocate and resource for smart business, catalyze and facilitate regional growth, and promote community prosperity through results-driven partnerships, planning and problem-solving.

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