FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2018
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Non-Profit Supporting Critically-Ill Children Adds Community Leaders in Real Estate, Finance and Electrical Contracting

NORTH SALEM, NY, August 14, 2018 -- Friends of Karen, which supports critically-ill children and their families, has elected three new members to its Board of Directors, Connecticut resident Louis Meltzer, Long Island resident Joana Bekerman and Westchester resident Tom Jocelyn.

With over a decade of real estate experience, Louis Meltzer is the principal of LEM Equities, LLC a real estate investment and management company based in Westport, CT.  Prior to starting his own company, Louis was Vice President at Four Springs Capital Trust, a private net lease REIT.
 
Louis was introduced to Friends of Karen in 2012, when he attended their annual golf outing with his father. Ever since, he has been a generous, annual donor. He was one of the charter members of Friends of Karen’s “Young Professionals” group (now the Next Generation Leadership Council).  As an active participant and advocate of Friends of Karen, Louis co-sponsored a very successful happy hour event for the organization. Louis said “I’m honored to join the Board of such an esteemed organization as Friends of Karen. I look forward to furthering the cause of this wonderful group and doing what I can to help grow its success even further.”
 
Louis received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in International Finance and Marketing from the University of Miami. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the Hofstra University School of Law. Additionally, Louis holds Series 7 and Series 63 Securities Licenses and is licensed as a New York Real Estate Salesperson. He resides in Westport, CT. with his wife and two sons.
 
Joana Bekerman is an Executive Director in Investment Banking at Nikko Securities, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, a Japan-based full-service financial and securities firm. Joana’s experience in the areas of corporate and leverage finance, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate banking have made her an acknowledged leader in her field.
 
Joana noted “I’m excited to be a part of and support such a first-rate organization. Having a personal family connection to cancer, I know the toll it takes. Friends of Karen is a small organization with a big impact that understands the value of the financial, and just as important, the emotional support they provide.” A marathon and Ironman Triathlon competitor, Joana is excited to be involved in Friends of Karen’s bike tour and other athletic-related fundraising events.
 
Joana graduated cum laude from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science. She received her Master of Business Administration degree from Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management. Joana holds Series 24, 79 and 63 Securities Licenses. She resides in Jericho, NY with her husband, two children and two rescue cats.
 
With three decades of experience, Tom Jocelyn is a recognized expert in the field of electrical contracting. In 1992, Tom became President of Scientific Electric Company and he is a Managing Member of ComRent NY. Tom is also past-President and a member of the Board of Directors of the Westchester Licensed Electrical Contractors Association.
 
Tom notes “Twenty years ago, through my own family experiences with cancer, I saw first-hand the needs and challenges a family with a critically-ill child faces.” On his own, Tom hosted and ran numerous successful cancer fundraisers. He was introduced to Friends of Karen in 2012 through his membership in the Somers Lions Club and since then, he has been riding in the annual two-day Journey to the Heart Bike Tour, which raises funds and awareness for the organization. Tom’s enthusiastic, committed and continued drive to raise funds and support Friends of Karen earned him the group’s Humanitarian Award at their 2015 gala.  
 
Tom’s involvement with Friends of Karen extends to his family. His wife has served on various special event committees for the organization and assists the group in a variety of other endeavors. Tom said “I have long considered myself an unofficial ambassador of Friends of Karen and now becoming a board member will further enable me to help Friends of Karen grow and be able to support people in need.” 
 
Tom attended SUNY Stony Brook and is a licensed Master Electrician. He lives in Yorktown Heights, NY with his wife Lisa and two children. 
 
Paul Smadbeck, Friends of Karen Board President, said, “I’m very excited about what the future holds for Friends of Karen. Electing Joana, Louis and Tom to the board brings fresh voices to the table along with their passion for the cause, leadership qualities and governance experiences. We look forward to their ideas, energy and enthusiasm in helping to elevate Friends of Karen to new heights.” 
 
About Friends of Karen: The mission of Friends of Karen is to provide emotional, financial and advocacy support for children with a life-threatening illness and their families in order to help keep them stable, functioning, and able to cope. Friends of Karen serves families living in the New York tri-state region and offers its lifeline of support services at no cost to them so they have more time for what's most important: each other. Friends of Karen has received a four-star rating for nine years from Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates the financial efficiency and responsibility of over 8,000 U.S. charities. Friends of Karen also meets the 20 Standards of Charity Accountability of the BBB of Metropolitan New York.
 
For more information, visit www.friendsofkaren.org or call (914) 277-4547. 
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