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Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership and Baruch College Host Free Business Assistance Forum - Social Responsibility: Better for Business - on Wednesday, September 25

New York, NY - The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership and Baruch College will host their annual Business Assistance Forum – Social Responsibility: Better for Business on Wednesday, September 25 at Baruch College’s Newman Conference Center. This year’s forum will focus on social responsibility and sustainability, and how they contribute to successful businesses.

The event will include a panel discussion moderated by Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, featuring Flatiron businesses discussing best practices and philosophies around conscientious capitalism, and a fireside chat titled “Ethical Marketing & Corporate Responsibility” with Giovanna Gray Lockhart, Senior Director of Impact at The Wing, and Seth Besmertnick, CEO & Founder of Conductor.

Who:  Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Executive Director James Mettham; NYC Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop; Flatiron District business leaders and community members
When:  Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 8:00 – 10:00 AM
Where:  Baruch College – Newman Conference Center, 151 East 25th Street, 7th Floor

RSVP: The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required. Register online here or by visiting

“At the Partnership, we enhance Flatiron’s reputation as one of New York’s most vital and dynamic neighborhoods, and central to that mission is supporting our local small businesses through events like this,” said James Mettham, Executive Director of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership. “Flatiron is home to so many amazing businesses that prioritize socially responsible commerce and corporate initiatives. In doing so, they make our community—and our planet—healthier and more. We are excited and proud to highlight their work and learn from them at this year’s forum. We are grateful to Commissioner Bishop, Baruch College, and our panelists and speakers for providing their support and expertise.”

“For a decade, Baruch has been proudly partnering with the Flatiron BID to offer this forum, which provides presentations on timely business topics, best practices from experts, and networking opportunities.” said Christina Latouf, Vice President for Communications, External Relations and Economic Development at Baruch College. ”The goal is to help entrepreneurs and small business owners—who are essential to New York City’s economy and communities—launch, strengthen, or expand their ventures.”

The panel discussion moderated by Commissioner Bishop will feature Field Failing, Founder & Managing Partner, Fields Good Chicken; Larissa Shirley King, Senior Designer, Hanky Panky; Deborah Koenigsberger, Founder & Owner, Noir et Blanc; and Marjolein Westerbeek, President US, Rituals.

The forum will be produced by the Partnership with support from the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and WE NYC. TD Bank is sponsoring coffee and a light breakfast, The Baruch College Field Center for Entrepreneurship and Baruch College Continuing and Professional Studies (CAPS) will have resource tables, as will representatives from SBS’ Small Business Advocates Program.

About the Speakers and Panelists

Fireside Chat on Ethical Marketing & Corporate Responsibility

  • Giovanna Gray Lockhart, Senior Director of Impact, The Wing
    Founded in 2016, The Wing is a community space of women gathering together to work, connect, and thrive. The Wing’s mission is the professional, civic, social, and economic advancement of women through community.
  • Seth Besmertnik, CEO & Founder, Conductor
    Conductor is a technology company driven by a deep passion for helping companies help their customers. Marketers use our software and services to create and optimize content so that it gets found and provides value.

Panel Discussion: Socially Responsible Business in Flatiron

  • Field Failing, Founder & Managing Partner, Fields Good Chicken
    Fields Good Chicken is a fast-casual chicken joint committed to nourishing people with better food while reducing its footprint. Fields Good is a clean energy business, uses recyclable and biodegradable packaging, donates proceeds to 1% for the Planet, and uses sustainably sourced wood and stone during construction. 
  • Larissa Shirley King, Senior Designer, Hanky Panky
    From the workplace to product and sourcing, women’s fashion and undergarments retailer, Hanky Panky, strives to be as ethical and environmentally responsible as possible. Efforts include manufacturing in the United States, using organically-grown domestic cotton fibers and low-impact dyes, and the launch of Lingeriecycle, a sustainability initiative to help divert no longer wearable items from landfills.
  • Deborah Koenigsberger, Founder & Owner, Noir et Blanc
    Opened in 1989, Noir et Blanc is a contemporary boutique for the fashion-conscious shopper. Just next store, you’ll find the Thrifty HoG, an upscale resale boutique that benefits Hearts of Gold, a nonprofit founded by Koenigsberger dedicated to helping homeless mothers and children.
  • Marjolein Westerbeek, President, Rituals
    Home and body cosmetics shop, Rituals values personal well-being as much as the well-being of the planet. Rituals never tests products on animals, formulates products free of harmful substances, is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative to improve global cotton production, limits the waste of packaging materials, and supports a number of philanthropic initiatives.
  • Moderator: Gregg Bishop, Commissioner, NYC Department of Small Business Services
    Small Business Services focuses on equity of opportunity that leads to economic self-sufficiency and mobility for New York City's diverse communities. Since his appointment in November 2015, Commissioner Bishop has overseen the opening of new Workforce1 Career Centers, certified a record number of minority and women-owned businesses, helped businesses to open faster, and expanded services to women and immigrant entrepreneurs.

About the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, formed in 2006, is a nonprofit organization and Business Improvement District whose mission is to enhance the reputation of Flatiron and NoMad as two of New York's most vital and exciting neighborhoods. This is accomplished by maintaining a clean and safe environment for the district's businesses, residents and visitors; by spearheading area improvement projects; and by marketing the diverse business and retail options in this vibrant and historic neighborhood.

Learn more at
Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @FlatironNY

About Baruch College

Baruch College provides students with the skills, knowledge, and perspectives to pursue their aspirations in today's global environment. Part of The City University of New York (CUNY), Baruch is also listed among the nation’s top public colleges for academic excellence, affordability, student success, and value. Its three schools educate more than 18,000 students who represent one of the most diverse college campuses in the country. Strong career and support services drive Baruch’s national recognition as an engine for social and economic mobility. Through executive education, continuing studies, international partnerships, public events, and arts programming, Baruch stands out as an intellectual and cultural resource for New York City and the world.

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 (Story published on 9/16/19)

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