Mary Hauptman, President
Mary Hauptman has specialized in Commercial Property Management and Acquisition since the 1990’s. Her broad expertise and experience includes overseeing the daily administration of Hauptman Realty Corp., the management of 535 Broad Hollow Road in Melville, New York and Harbourview Shoppes located in Roslyn, New York. Her additional responsibilities include directing, reviewing, writing and submitting business plans, along with operating budgets and support schedules for all properties. Furthermore, Hauptman directs all contractual management relationships for both sites, and interfaces with prospective and current tenants.
As a Long Island native, Hauptman’s dedication to her community and clients includes her association with the Melville Chamber of Commerce, Long Island Association, National Association of Commercial Real Estate, Commercial Industrial Brokers Society, LIBOR, and Long Island Association. In addition, she is a very proud member of the Women’s President Organization- a prestigious group comprised of women presidents owning and managing Multimillion-Dollar Companies.
Hauptman’s philosophy is to provide a professional and friendly environment for her tenants and their employees. She has provided an upscale working atmosphere with services comparable to those found in buildings charging much higher rates. Thus, the phrase, “Great Space, Great Rates!”
SUSAN GRUEN HELSINGER, DIRECTOR
By the time Susan Gruen Helsinger was twenty five, she was a founding partner of Gruen Optika Corporation of New York City. With a newborn son, she and her husband went on to build the business into the premier optical company of the metropolitan area. She traveled the world to find the most stylish of products. At thirty five, Susan and her friend, Heidi Grijnsztein, went on to open Hi-D and Su-Z Toys of Great Neck. It all came to an abrupt halt when her son, Jason, died suddenly of I.H.S.S. and Cardiomyopathy and her husband left two months later. She negotiated a buy out of both companies and started on a new journey.
Susan, a former nurse, went back to school. She received a degree as a paralegal from Adelphi University and became licensed as a Notary Public and a Real Estate Broker. Susan and her late husband, Jay Helsinger, founded the Custom Real Estate Group and JSC Building Corporation. In 2004, Susan took over sole ownership. Recently the Custom Real Estate Group was acquired by Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Susan Gruen Helsinger is the Founder and CEO of The Jason Gruen Foundation.org, a not-for-profit organization named for her late son. The foundation is instrumental in building the Children’s Heart Centers at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and Cohen Children’s Hospital at Northwell Health. The foundation contributes equipment on an ongoing basis to many hospitals and facilities in need. The foundation made history nine years ago when it started offering cardiac screenings to eighth grade students in school systems on Long Island.
Ms. Helsinger will be installed on January 1, 2017 as Vice President of the Long Island Board of Realtors, the third largest board in the United States. She serves on the Board of Directors of the New York State Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. Susan serves on the Board of Directors of the L.I.B.O.R. Federal Credit Union and is the Parliamentarian for the Women’s Council of Realtors. Susan has served as a guest lecturer at Molloy College speaking about marketing in business. She has been chosen to be recognized as a member of the NYSAR Realtors Honor Society for the past eight years.
Ms. Helsinger was named Merrick’s “Woman of the Year” in 2000. In 2001, she was nominated by Senator Charles Fuschillo and bestowed the great honor of “Woman of Distinction” by the New York State Senate at a ceremony in Albany. In 2004, Susan was chosen as “Small Business Person of the Year” by the Nassau Chambers of Commerce from Merrick. In 2006, Ms. Helsinger was honored with the “Woman of the Year” award from United Cerebral Palsy of Nassau County, and the “Humanitarian of the Year” award from the Long Island Board of Realtors, as well as the 2008 “Spirit Award.” In March 2012, Susan and her best buddy Mary Hauptman, were bestowed the Humanitarian Award from “Best Buddies of America”, an organization founded by the Kennedy/Shriver families. In Spring 2016, Ms. Helsinger was honored with the Community Service award by the PTAs of Long Island followed by receiving the Nassau County Kiwanis Community Service Award in July. In November 2016, the National Association of realtors awarded Susan their highest honor, The Good Neighbor Award. Susan had the added distinction of being the first New Yorker to receive this award.
Susan was brought up by parents who believed that giving to others is an important part of life. Her parents, Cornelius and Jeanette Schneider were active in the Jewish War Veterans and her mother, Jeanette Schneider was a National President of J.W.V.A. Carrying on that tradition, Susan served as President of the State of New York J.W.V.A. Susan is a Past President of the Kiwanis Club of Merrick and serves as Chairperson of their largest fundraiser “Holiday Gift Wrapping for Charity” program which has raised over $400,000 for community and children’s charities. She sits on the board of the Merrick Chamber of Commerce and the Advisory Board of the Department of New York J.W.V.A. She is a proud member of the Long Island Center for Business & Professional Women, the Women’s Presidents Organization, and serves as a Trustee of Temple Emanuel of Great Neck.
Susan is thankful to have her son Connor Helsinger, sister Edna Schneider, and niece Jacie to be there to help give her strength to look forward into the future.
RACHAEL DOUKAS, Executive Vice President
Rachael Doukas is the Founder and CEO of Doukas Media Inc., a digital marketing agency founded to help businesses successfully communicate their story in the competitive marketplace. The company has distinguished itself as a leader in its field, known for harnessing various social and new media outlets in order to increase engagement and effectively deliver the messages of its clients.
Miss Doukas recently developed an iOS application, Arthur Alarm. The app is a motivational alarm starring Arthur, a charming, well spoken British Canine who recites motivational quotes to users each time they set their alarm. Arthur Alarm is currently available for purchase in the App Store.
Additionally, Miss Doukas co-produced, co-wrote, and performed in a short film, “Rocket Man” with her sister, Laura Doukas. “Rocket Man” is about a young man suffering from Asperger’s who, with the help of his family, builds a time machine to go back in time and change his damaged past. Though made of little more than cardboard and scrap metal, it is real to him.
Miss Doukas graduated Stony Brook University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Theatre Arts and also earned her MBA in Innovation and Marketing from Stony Brook in 2014.
Lina Gottesman, Director
Lina Gottesman was introduced to the construction business early on through a Long Island-based stone and masonry company run by her father and uncles. In 1989, Lina returned to her roots and founded Altus Metal & Marble Maintenance. Altus, the Greek symbol of excellence, demonstrates the company’s commitment to high quality workmanship.
For over 29 years, Altus, a certified WBE (woman-owned business enterprise) based in Smithtown, L.I., has performed restorations for numerous prominent commercial, residential and historic buildings in the metropolitan area: World Trade Buildings 1 and 2 following the terrorist bombing of 1993 – a project that established Altus’ reputation; Grand Central Terminal; The Port Authority Bus Terminal; Columbia University; Carnegie Hall; The Empire State Building; The New York City Public Library; and Macy’s Herald Square. Altus is certified as a WBE with many major public agencies such as New York City Small Business Services; the Port Authority of NY & NJ (PANYNJ); the MTA; New York Empire State Development Corp., the NYC School Construction Authority and WBENC (Women’s Business and Economic National Council)
Lina applied her business acumen, she honed and developed through Altus, to a new venture: RN Nurses Evolve PLLC (professional limited liability corporation). A Registered Nurse who attended St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing, St. John’s University and NYU, Lina created the company to provide Contract Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to the industry in response to the unprecedented demand for Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses, and the growing challenges of today’s healthcare environment.
Lina and Altus are widely recognized throughout the New York and New Jersey area. She has been honored by such groups as the Regional Alliance for Small Contractors and the PANY/NJ at the Competitive Edge Conference. Lina serves on the board of the NY Women’s Agenda; is the Chair of the NY Women’s Chamber of Commerce; St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association, Treasurer; Board Member at the Long Island Center for Business and Professional Women, and is an active member of the Women’s Presidents’ Organization.
Stony Brook, L.I., residents for over 30 years, Lina and her husband, Robert, Vice President of Altus, have three grown children and four grandchildren.
LAURA DOUKAS, Director & Chair
Laura Doukas Laura Doukas is Controller of Hauptman Realty, a commercial real estate company with holdings in New York and Florida. In this capacity, Laura manages the firm’s creative process from concept to completion and works closely with team members to ensure visual communication and brand standards are met. In addition, Laura oversees profitability, deliverables, timelines and budgets of Hauptman Realty and works directly with clients to ensure all of their needs are addressed and met.
Laura is also Co-Founder and CEO of Doukas Pictures, an independent film production company she started with her sister, Rachael Doukas. She began her career in the entertainment industry acting in various
regional theatre performances, cable television shows and independent films. She soon graduated to writing and producing her own work in the form of short narrative films. Casting director Judy Henderson (HBO's Homeland) and actor Robert Sedgwick (Die Hard), collaborated with Doukas Pictures on their short film, Rocket Man, which went on to win several awards on the film festival circuit. Doukas Pictures is currently being developed into a narrative feature length film with James V. Hart (Hook, August Rush).
Laura serves on the Board of Directors for the Long Island Center for Business and Professional Women, an organization dedicated to the rise of women in business, industry and the professions. Through her work as Chair for three fundraisers, Laura has raised over $100,000 for the organization.
A graduate of Locust Valley High School and Stony Brook University, Laura currently resides in Muttontown, NY with her family
John Rizzo, Director
John Rizzo was born and raised in the town of Seaford and still resides there today. John’s dedication and work ethic began early as he was a part of his father’s company. As a young man, John helped run his father’s trucking business. He took on roles both in the office and out in the field.
John attended college at SUNY Cortland where he majored in Business Economics with a minor in Computer Applications. At SUNY Cortland, John played rugby and took on many leadership roles for different clubs he was a part of. One of John’s most proud accomplishments was during the National College Fed Challenge, when he was able to help take Cortland to the
finals for the first time in school history. Upon graduating from Cortland, John began his dream career at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. As a Financial Advisor, John works with business owners, executives, and has a primary focus on serving professional women. John’s favorite part about being a Financial Advisor is that he is able to help others and give back to the community that he loves.
John has always put a strong value on the relationships he has built and the people he surrounds himself with. In his spare time, John enjoys watching and playing sports and getting involved in his local area. John is a spin instructor at his local gym. This position allows John to get to know the people in his community, while pursuing his passion of helping others.
Laura Jacobellis, Director
Laura Jacobellis started in the collision repair industry back in 1987. Like many of us just out of high school, she wanted to be independent and make it on her own, so needed to earn some money and pay her bills. So, like many of us, she opened the Help Wanted section of the newspaper and she found a job offering for a receptionist at a collision repair shop. What the job actually entailed, she had no idea, but she went in with that can-do attitude that has propelled her throughout her career. Laura learned how to be a great receptionist and assist
people who needed information about their vehicles in the shop. Laura had a knack for being a “people person” and really enjoyed not only talking to the customers but helping them out. Only six months into her new career as a receptionist, the shop owner needed help with estimates. Once again Laura had to quickly learn another job.
Laura did hours of research, reading and studying at home to learn all about estimating. After about a year with the shop Laura earned the respect of the shop owner, and he left her alone at the shop more and more. Laura had a lot a pressure on her, and she had to face a barrage of catcall comments, sexual innuendos and verbal abuse from not only certain employees, but parts deliverymen and insurance adjusters not to mention the occasional arrogant customer. Laura eventually out grew that shop and moved on to bigger and better things. She finally landed at pretty successful shop where she was to be the general manager. The shop was involved with multiple insurance company programs, commonly known as Direct Repair Facility. At that time the industry was going through a big change, as training was becoming a requirement.
Laura took all the classes she could take and started to get involved in industry association meetings. It was through training and meetings Laura learned about the new Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Certified Collison Repair Program (CCRP). As Laura learned more about the CCRP the more she realized she was not happy with the insurer type repair relationship. Through a mutual friend, Laura was introduced to Sal (owner of Sal’s Auto Body). Laura and Sal hit it off right away and had the same vision to be the best OEM Repair Facility. Since joining forces with Sal’s Auto Body, Laura has brought Mercedes-Benz Elite 2 Aluminum Repair Certification, BMW Approved Repair Certification and is only one of two Certified Sprinter Collision Repair Centers in the New York City/Long Island Area. Laura has also secured OEM certifications from Nissan/Infiniti, GM, Cadillac CT-6 (Aluminum), Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep, Ford and Ford F-150 Aluminum, Hyundai, and soon Subaru and Volvo. Laura single handedly has increased Sal’s annual gross sales by 56.8% over the last six years and her employee retention over the past six years is 96.8%. Laura, who never stops moving or planning, is now rebuilding Sal’s website to be more informative and interactive with other social media outlets, such as Sal’s Auto Body Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Additionally, Laura is now in negotiations for Sal’s to sponsor a Champion Drag Motorcycle Team and is working on bring more attention to Sal’s Auto body and their business relationship with their sponsoring Mercedes-Benz and BMW dealerships. Laura has persevered a lot of male chauvinistic attitudes and push back, as the collision repair field is a male dominated industry, to become one of the most successful facility operators in the country.
Laura's never give up, never let them get you down attitude has put her at the top of the this male dominated industry.