B&W NYC

Staff

REBNY President

James Whelan

Jim leads REBNY’s work to promote effective public and industry policy, support REBNY members with resources and educational opportunities, and foster partnerships between industry leaders and other stakeholders. He previously served in various private sector and government roles including chief of staff for Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Daniel Doctoroff. He was executive director of the Hudson Yards Coalition and, as the first executive director of the Downtown Brooklyn Council, he oversaw the creation of the Downtown Brooklyn redevelopment plan.

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Chief Technology Officer

Chris Beach

Chris leads REBNY’s technology initiatives and oversees all aspects of IT infrastructure, operations, application development, and cybersecurity. During his time at REBNY Chris has been instrumental in improving the technological capabilities and resilience of the organization. Chris also manages the REBNY Technology Committee, which promotes technologies that benefit the real estate industry.  Chris was previously CTO for iStar, a real estate finance company. 

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Chief Operating Officer

Sandhya Espitia

Sandhya leads REBNY’s organization-wide strategy and operations for programs, products and services. She works across departments to help ensure that REBNY is delivering the best possible results for its members across New York City. Prior to REBNY, Sandhya was Global Vice President at ICSC where she managed learning and innovation initiatives in retail real estate. She also previously worked at Harvard University as Senior Program Officer for the Americas.

Sandhya Espitia
Senior Vice President of Planning

Basha Gerhards

Basha leads REBNY’s policy work on issues related to housing, land use, zoning, resiliency, and community development. Her work has helped to secure City and State legislation expanding access to housing vouchers and advance major projects delivering much-needed housing for New Yorkers. She previously served as senior land use advisor to Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and, prior to that, worked for the New York City Department of City Planning.

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Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Carl Hum

As REBNY’s chief legal officer, Carl supports the organization with its compliance, legislative, corporate and legal needs. He also administers REBNY’s arbitration services, complaint tribunals, and assists with the organization’s litigation efforts.  Prior to joining REBNY, Carl led voting rights and immigration reform policy on behalf of a national Asian-American civil rights organization, held senior policy and legal positions in the Bloomberg Administration, and was an Assistant District Attorney in New York County.

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Senior Vice President of Residential Brokerage Services & Products

Ninve James

Ninve leads REBNY’s work to support residential brokerage members across New York City, including oversight of REBNY’s Residential Listing Service (RLS), Residential Brokerage Events and Program and Residential Professional Development . She led REBNY’s work with CoStar Group to launch and operate Citysnap, the first-ever consumer-facing search website and mobile app for REBNY’s RLS. Previously, Ninve served as vice president of Realtor.com and, prior to that, she was a member of the New York City founding team at Trulia.com.

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Chief Financial Officer

Maureen Lauster

Maureen oversees REBNY’s financials and works across departments to manage the organization’s budget and maximize efficiency. Her efforts ensure that REBNY’s financial resources deliver maximum impact when it comes to helping staff provide the best possible results for our members. Prior to REBNY, she worked as Director of Finance and Operations, Risk Management at Related Companies. She began her career working in public accounting with Ernst and Young.

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Vice President of Government Affairs

Ryan Monell

As part of REBNY’s Government Affairs team, Ryan helps lead advocacy efforts before City Hall, the City Council and amongst New York’s Congressional delegation while also supporting big-picture state legislative advocacy in Albany and other political initiatives. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Ryan’s previous experience includes leadership for Gilbane Building Company’s New York Division and for New York City Council Land Use Chair Rafael Salamanca.

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Senior Vice President of Social Impact

Yvonne Riley-Tepie

Yvonne oversees REBNY’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and leads the direction for REBNY’s social impact projects. She has played a key role in REBNY’s work to expand real estate internships for diverse CUNY students, as well as supporting early- and mid-career real estate professionals of diverse backgrounds. Prior to REBNY, Yvonne spent 16 years at TD Bank, where she most recently served as Vice President of the TD Charitable Foundation.

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Vice President of Human Resources

Colleen Slattery

Colleen drives HR initiatives and solutions across departments, including staffing, performance management, compensation planning, succession planning, training, rewards and recognition, organizational effectiveness, labor relations and employee communications. Colleen created and runs REBNY’s Summer Associate program. She was previously head of Talent Acquisition for Related Management and Hudson Yards and prior to that was Vice President, Human Resources at Bank of America. 

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Chief Communications Officer

Sam Spokony

Sam oversees REBNY communications activity, including member newsletters and other updates, public relations and digital media. His team works with departments across the organization to provide strategic communications support on events, policy initiatives and research reports, among other efforts. He was previously senior vice president for Marathon Strategies, communications director for City Council Member Margaret Chin and a reporter for The Villager.

Sam Spokony
Senior Vice President of Policy

Zachary Steinberg

Zach leads REBNY’s policy work on issues including taxes, budget, labor, sustainability, building operations, economic development, construction, and real estate market conditions. His work has helped to advance sensible City and State policies that support building owners in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Prior to REBNY, Zach was Deputy Policy Director in the Office of the New York City Comptroller and worked for former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin.

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Senior Vice President of Government Affairs

Reggie Thomas

Reggie oversees REBNY’s government affairs and advocacy efforts across City, State, and Federal government. He works with REBNY’s divisions to engage members, analyze legislation, testify on behalf of the industry at public hearings, and develop advocacy campaigns. Reggie was previously a Principal with Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies and, prior to that, served with Mayors Bill de Blasio and Michael Bloomberg in the Office of City Legislative Affairs as First Deputy Director and Senior Policy Advisor.

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