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Catharine YoungCatharine Young, Director

Catharine Young was named Executive Director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture in March 2019. A longtime champion of agricultural and economic development, Catharine served for 20 years in the New York State Legislature representing western New York. During that time she chaired the Senate Agriculture Committee, founded the Legislative Wine and Grape Caucus, sponsored legislation to create the New York State Council on Food Policy, and chaired the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources. She was the first woman in state history to chair the influential Senate Finance Committee. Catharine is passionate about her new role and feels that “To grow New York’s food, beverage and agriculture economy, and to help businesses expand and flourish by linking them with the incredible innovation, expertise and resources at Cornell, is a natural extension of the work that I have done as a Senator.”



Max Henry, Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Max Henry has more than 25 years of experience leading Silicon Valley internet, consumer, and business-to-business technology companies. He is currently the founder and president of Humming Bird Leadership and his former experience includes serving as president and CEO of multiple companies including Topica, PrivateExpress, Fabrik Communications, and JSB Corporation. Henry has served on numerous boards of directors and advisory boards and is currently board chairman at InfoStreet, an Inc 500 SaaS company.



Brooke MayerBrooke Mayer, Program Manager 

Brooke Mayer, coordinates and executes the Center of Excellence's mission to build a vibrant, sustainable future for food and farming in New York State. Brooke builds meaningful partnerships to advance inter-regional collaboration and connect companies to the resources and partners they need to thrive. Before joining Cornell University, Brooke worked for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the Pratt Center for Community Development, and the University of Rochester Medical Center. These previous experiences in community development and strategic planning have been invaluable as she gathers buy-in from a variety of Center of Excellence stakeholders. Brooke holds an MS in City and Regional Planning from the Pratt Institute and a BS in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University. 



Molly Israel, Marketing Strategist

Molly Israel is the Marketing Strategist at Cornell's Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA). She plans and implements marketing communications plans to promote CREA, its programs, and its various members.

Prior to joining Cornell University, Molly worked at Ithaca College for seven years, most recently as the Executive Director of Marketing. Before joining the ranks within higher education, she got a taste for start-ups as the Director of Marketing and Sales Operations for a fast-growing digital marketing agency in Washington, D.C.

Molly holds a degree in communications from Ithaca College and is constantly seeking better ways to balance mom-life with her two small children. She also serves on the board of the Learning Web, a local nonprofit supporting youth from various backgrounds.



Kailey Maloy, Administrative Assistant

Kailey Maloy provides administrative support to the Center of Excellence team and is enthusiastic about our mission to foster growth in New York State food and agriculture. Before joining the staff at Cornell, she held positions in enrollment management at Rochester Institute of Technology, Ithaca College, and Keuka College.



Max Sims, Graduate Student Assistant