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NATALIE 

PORTMAN

Fashion, Beauty, Travel, Art 

Exclusive Gala Photos

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roviding networking opportunities is a most worthwhile aim 

of the philanthropically inclined. This can help a new genera-

tion of Americans who are entrepreneurs, running companies at 

a crossroads, or future leaders being held back by unfortunate cir-

cumstances. Building a more inclusive and humane future for all is 

a common reason financial leaders support networking opportuni-

ties that also benefit education, social services, and culture. With-

out the continued philanthropic commitments made by visionary 

leadership at institutions like Citibank, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, 

and JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management at Bank 

of America (with a special shout-out to John Thiel for his group’s 

ongoing support of the American Cancer Society), and those in 

the venture capital and private equity community at Apax Partners 

and Greycroft Partners, fortifying a more inclusive future would be 

difficult to impossible. Without them the worlds of commerce and 

philanthropy would diminish.

The Opportunity Network is a Manhattan-based-charity found-

ed in 2003 by Brian Weinstein and Jessica Pliska, who met as un-

dergraduates at Yale. They wanted to find a way to leverage the 

networks afforded to themselves to increase opportunities for high 

school students. Brian and Jessica tapped into their own networks in 

order to establish a strong community of New York professionals 

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NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY

Jason Wright, Alan Patricof

Thorne Perkin, Tatiana Papanicolaou Perkin, Alexandra Papanicolaou, Karl Wellner

Carlos Falchi, Juliet Falchi, Missy Falchi, Kate Falchi

Social Life

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to serve as classroom career-speakers, internship hosts, networking 

leaders, college application tutors, donors, partners, advisors, and 

friends. Through interaction with executives, intensive networking 

training, coursework in careers, internships, and college counsel-

ing, students in sponsored programs have dramatically changed 

the course of their futures. Today, the Opportunity Network is an 

intensive, six-year program designed to equal the playing field for 

high-achieving, underserved high school and college students by 

creating access for them to competitive colleges, career opportuni-

ties, and professional networks.

Jason  Wright  is  chairman  of  Opportunity  Network’s  board 

of directors. He graduated from Bryn Mawr and the Wharton 

Business School and worked at General Electric before becoming 

a partner at Apax Partners, L.P. The board is an all-star cast of  

leaders in the financial, legal, media, entertainment, and creative 

communities who are committed to mentoring and guiding un-

derserved youth.

Jason credits learning how to balance his responsibilities at Apax 

and the Opportunity Network to his own mentor, Apax founder, 

Alan Patricof, an early pioneer of the venture capital and private 

equity industries. Alan is also a legendary builder of men. Jason has 

not only profited from Alan’s mentoring, but his example as a both 

a businessman and philanthropist has been extraordinarily instruc-

tive. Jason says: “The first thing I noticed about Alan was his tenac-

ity and intellectual curiosity. He is tough, but fair. Alan has always 

found the time to give back to the community. His focus on social 

responsibility has been an important legacy at Apax. I have tried to 

continue this tradition. Alan has been a big contributor to the cause, 

and I was thrilled when he agreed to be our honoree this past year.”

Jason acknowledges the similarities in being the chairman of  

both a large business and a charity. In either case, Jason explains: 

“The most important decision you can make is choosing the leader.  

In the case of the Opportunity Network, we are lucky to have Jessi-

ca Pliska as executive director. Her passion for the mission is conta-

gious, and she continues to drive the organization to new heights.”

Alan has gone back to his roots with Greycroft Partners to focus 

primarily on working with early-stage companies. “In order to stay 

young and healthy, one has to stay relevant, and I can’t think of a 

better way of doing this than continuing to be a participant in the 

venture capital field, which brings me into contact every day with 

young, dynamic, and excited entrepreneurs,” he says.

There is a parallel between the Opportunity Network’s mission 

of providing underserved youth with a better life trajectory with 

what a visionary investor like Alan strives to do with early-stage 

companies at Greycroft. Aren’t they both seed financing? When I 

posed this question to Alan, he confirmed the truth of this: “Yes, 

absolutely. The Opportunity Network is focused on giving young 

people who would not otherwise have a chance an opportunity at 

an early stage to hone their skills and become active participants 

in the business world.” Likewise, many companies would not exist 

today, employing countless workers were it not for the likes of Alan 

and his like-minded business leaders.

S O C I E T Y

Hilaria Baldwin, Alec Baldwin, Dame Jillian Sackler in Grey Gardens, East Hampton

Juliet Falchi, Kate Falchi at the Falchi West Village residence



Ann Morrison Calvert, Taylor Colson Horton



Document Outline

  • SLMag
    • SLMagLD2013Cover.pdf
    • SLMagLondon LD2013.pdf


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