6 County Business Leaders Share Their Wisdom

What you need to know from Westchester’s top dogs.



Joel Seligman
President & CEO
Northern Westchester Hospital (Mt. Kisco): A comprehensive community hospital that is a leader in the delivery of patient-centered care, providing the highest clinical quality in conjunction with an outstanding medical staff and a Magnet Designated nursing staff.

Why Westchester

“Northern Westchester is an ideal setting for a state-of-the-art community hospital, as it provides in one locale outstanding physicians from the finest medical schools in America, access to a talented pool of nursing and other professional support staff, and the support of a wonderful community which created and continues to maintain this excellent hospital, just one hour north of NYC.”

First Steps

“The first step to getting an organization on a path to excellence is a broad dialogue, an ultimate consensus on a purpose and vision for the organization. In the case of a hospital, this begins with the community, but incorporates the views of clinicians and a vast range of partners. There is no limit to the capability of an organization that shares a passion across multiple levels.”

Lessons Learned

“Too often, administrators and other professionals believe that their training somehow allows them to define what is best for the community or the patient or the patient’s family. This is how we created a hospital system that dehumanizes and disempowers the very people we are here to serve. The communities of Northern Westchester created this hospital and they know what is best for the health and well-being of their neighbors and families.”

Secret To Success

“Invest in the long-term, not the short-term. It takes time to listen to your patients and it takes years to create a culture that truly values caring.”

What’s Next

“Healthcare is undergoing the most exciting changes in my career. And Northern Westchester Hospital is both leading the way and finding its way through these challenges. Within the next few years, NWH will find itself an integral part of an even higher quality and more affordable regional healthcare delivery system. This will allow us to help assure that all members of our community have access to the best quality of care, across a network of well-coordinated and efficient healthcare providers.”

On the web at: nwhc.net

Michael Neuwirth
Senior Director of Public Relations
The Dannon Company (White Plains): Makers of a diverse offering of delicious, wholesome yogurts to bring health through food to as many people as possible. 

Why Westchester

“It is centrally located for residents of the tri-state area, which is home to many of the country’s leading food makers, so we are part of a great packaged-goods talent pool. Westchester is also a remarkably diverse collection of towns and offers a huge range of different communities in which to choose to live. Increasingly, Westchester is offering residents more to do in terms of cultural activities, such as the Southern Westchester Food & Wine Festival, which Dannon was very pleased to be able to support.”

Most Valuable Resources

“We have consistently benefitted from the advice and support from local organizations, including The Business Council [of Westchester]. And the Greenburgh town has been very supportive, particularly when we recently undertook major renovations in our offices to accommodate the building of a miniature dairy processing plant in our corporate office. … We now have our entire R&D team here in White Plains, which accelerates our product development process a lot.”

Secret To Success

“Staying ahead of the needs of our customers, who are food retailers, is paramount, because without their success, we cannot be successful. We also have to give opportunities to our employees to continually grow and develop. … And it goes without saying that we have to stay ahead of the preferences of our consumers to continually surprise and delight them with the best yogurt in the market.”

What’s Next 

“We are on a mission to have all Americans eat yogurt every day for its great taste and contributions to a healthful life. We have a long way to go to accomplish that ambitious goal.”

On the web at: dannon.com

Aarti Comstock
Senior Account Manager
Xand (Hawthorne): The Northeast’s premier provider of highly resilient data center services, including cloud, colo and disaster recovery. Since 1999, Xand has worked with enterprises to maximize their critical application availability.

Why Westchester

“Each of Xand’s six facilities are strategically located away from ‘threat zones’ such as high-risk coastal flood zones and dense urban areas. With perfect proximity to NYC, our Westchester facility offers clients safety and peace while also being conveniently accessible from Manhattan and points across the tri-state area.”

First Steps

“I strongly believe in a strategic vision and having that vision carry through in all of your business practices – everything from your approach to client acquisition to service delivery models and a tactical selection of the ‘ideal’ location.”

Most Valuable Resources

“I have truly enjoyed being a part of The Business Council of Westchster, and have found many industry-specific groups stemming from that organization that have assisted me in building the business.”

Lessons Learned

“I’m constantly reminding myself to stay focused and reprioritize the business requirements, even on a daily basis.  When you are in the business of providing uptime for your clients, one minute you are working on a proposal and the next minute you are communicating with clients on preparation for a weather condition. I have learned that being agile is key to delivering service to your clients.”

Secret To Success

“I believe in staying true to your word. That needs to be the case when delivering good news and bad … and that is a key differentiator in maintaining successful relationships with your clients.”

Most Rewarding Moment

“It was very meaningful to me to work with clients and see that all things were working according to plan during Hurricane Sandy. It is truly a testament to the operational diligence of the members of the Xand team. … Xand hosted nearly 1,000 customer staff members at our facilities throughout the storm, and even accommodated new clients in cases where their previous providers oversubscribed disaster recovery services and were not able to meet demand.”

What’s Next

“Xand has experienced a tremendous amount of growth over the last year, and there’s much more to come. As our company grows in size, our product and service offerings are growing along with it.”

On the web at: xand.com 

Anthony J. Justic
Managing Partner
Maier Markey & Justic LLP (White Plains): CPA and consulting firm specializing in outsourced services, including CFO, controllership, accounting, information technology and human resources. 

Why Westchester

“Westchester provides access to the human capital we need to provide our highly specialized services. … Westchester allows us to attract and retain the best, brightest and most talented individuals from a larger geographic region. Westchester is also convenient to servicing clients in those same areas.”

First Steps

“Assisting business owners with the essential, real-time, key performance indicators and business metrics, both financial and operational, in a manner that is efficient and understandable, is critical. This allows for effective decision-making but also allows the business owner to focus on revenue growth and their passion for starting their business.”

Most Valuable Resources

“The Business Council of Westchester has been most valuable to our firm. The organization provided the platform for many of the essential relationships we have with financial institutions and other professionals. In addition, the Business Council enables us to be in the know about current events affecting the Westchester business community and the entire region.”

Lessons Learned

“Choosing business partners who are philosophically similar to you is very important.”

Secret To Success

“We believe it is essential to surround yourself with the best talent available and keep them as part of your organization. We have grown to 90 people and have very little turnover. Having such a talented staff allows us to continue to grow our business by providing outstanding service to clients.”

Most Rewarding Moment

“We knew we had developed the formula for success: Treat clients the way you want to be treated as a client and treat staff the way you wished you were treated when you were staff; when other professionals and clients began referring us to other businesses. Companies began seeking us rather than our having to go out to find new business.”

What’s Next

“We want to continue helping business owners succeed and achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. … There is no better reward for us than knowing you have helped entrepreneurs have better personal lives because their business is more successful.”

On the web at: mgroupusa.com

Dani Glaser
Founder/CEO
Green Team Spirit (Croton-on-Hudson): Provides organizations with the expertise and tools they need to reduce their environmental footprint and maximize profit while operating responsibly.

Why Westchester

“Westchester is a beautiful, unique and welcoming place to live and work. If you make the effort to be a part of the community, the opportunity is yours. Green Team Spirit helps bring together the green business community in Westchester.”

First Steps

“Vision. Looking back over five years, the vision of Green Team Spirit has remained constant. Executing your mission and vision can be a journey. The experts at SCORE Westchester offered me great free advice when I was starting out.”

Most Valuable Resources

“The Business Council of Westchester has opened many doors for Green Team Spirit. Membership is what you make of it, so when you join, stay active!”

Lessons Learned

“Green Team Spirit is in the business of organizational change. I have learned to be patient, to listen and appreciate the power of small change.”

Secret To Success

“Surround yourself with people who are positive, hard-working and share your passion. Love what you do… be excited when you get up in the morning to do it again!”

Most Rewarding Moment

“Being an organizer of the Westchester Green Business Challenge (WGBC) has been an incredible experience, helping county businesses to ‘go green.’ Standing before over 100 Westchester business leaders who are taking the Challenge at the annual Recognition Event is an amazing moment!”

What’s Next

“We are excited to launch Westchester Green Business-Certified! Westchester business leaders interested in pursuing certification will be provided with the tools, expert training and support to measurably reduce their environmental footprint and maximize profit while operating responsibly.”

On the web at: greenteamspirit.com

Tierney Saccavino
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications
Acorda Therapeutics (Ardsley): A biotechnology company whose mission is to develop therapies to restore function and improve the lives of people with nervous system disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury or epilepsy.

Why Westchester

“Westchester is an ideal location for a biotechnology company. It is already the home to an emerging cluster of biotech companies in the Tarrytown – Ardsley corridor. It also has a population of highly educated professionals, which is important to a company like ours. Finally, its proximity to New York City, the world capitals of finance and media, makes it a great place to start a tech company.”

Most Valuable Resources

“In 2012, when Acorda was relocating its corporate headquarters to Ardsley, a coalition of state, county and local officials worked together to help make the transition as easy as possible. We’ve also worked closely with the BioHud Valley and the Westchester Economic Development organizations to support the growth of the biotech industry in Westchester.”

Secret To Success

“It took nearly 15 years to get our lead product approved for multiple sclerosis, and there were innumerable challenges and roadblocks along the way. However, as a company we really believed in this medication, and we wouldn’t give up until we found a way to get it approved by the FDA, which finally happened in 2010.”

Most Rewarding Moment

“When a patient who takes one of our medications takes the time to get in touch with us and tell us how it has made a difference for him or her, I know I’m part of something truly meaningful and important.”

What’s Next

“Acorda has a pipeline of genuinely innovative products that are now in clinical trials for stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and heart failure. If they succeed, these treatments have the potential to impact the lives of the many, many people who live with these terrible diseases and medical conditions. That’s a great reason to get up and come to work every day!”

On the web at: acorda.com

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