Keynote SPeaker
Meghan Taylor


Regional Director - Mid-Hudson Region
Empire State Development

Meghan Taylor is the Mid-Hudson Regional Director for Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) and the Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. Taylor is responsible for guiding and managing ESD's regional office and regional council initiatives. She is charged with sourcing, originating and developing a robust pipeline of new deals, implementing new programs that are consistent with ESD and the Regional Council's policy objectives, structuring discretionary incentive packages for businesses and not-for-profit entities, guiding deals through the necessary board and public approval processes and creating and maintaining strong working relationships with external clients. Prior to taking the role of Regional Director, Taylor was President of the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation, and prior to that role she served as the Orange County Partnership’s Director of Business Attraction.

Professional Development Speaker
Nicholas Mauro


Sr. Human Resources Generalist
Marist COllege

Your Career Spark

Nicholas A. Mauro, is the Senior HR Generalist at Marist College and Principal of Your Career Spark.  His expertise includes more than 12 years of strategic talent acquisition, organizational development and individual career coaching. Nick brings a unique perspective on the modern workplace and career challenges and opportunities that face young professionals. Nick holds a BS in Computer Information Systems from Manhattan College and a Masters in Public Administration in Ethical Leadership from Marist College, and has completed Harvard’s Manage Mentor program in Talent Acquisition, and holds a SHRM-CP certification in strategic HR. Nick also serves on the Professional Development Programming committee of the Chamber Foundation and the Business Education committee of Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce and is the co-chair of the Marist Young Professionals..  He is also a graduate of the Pattern Fellows program and Leadership Dutchess and was a recent recipient of a Forty Under 40 Mover & Shaker award. 

"GIG Economy" Speaker
John Penney

John Penney 2017.jpg


John Penney has been the opinion engagement editor of Poughkeepsie Journal Media since November 1999. In that capacity, he writes editorials on behalf of the Journal, engages with the public, represents the Journal at various events and oversees the publication of the opinion content, both online and in print.

He is the recipient of numerous opinion-writing awards, including Best of the USA Today Network, New York State Publishers Association and New York State Associated Press honors.

He joined the Poughkeepsie Journal in January 1998 as the news editor overseeing the work of the copy desk. He resides in the Village of Rhinebeck with his, wife, Dugan Radwin, who is a former content editor at Poughkeepsie Journal.