Leadership Team

Driving the Success of our Clients

Executive Management

Steven Francesco

Steven Francesco
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Steven Francesco is Chairman and CEO of Cohere Cyber Secure. Prior to founding Cohere, Mr. Francesco was CEO of U.S. Operations and a member of the Board of Directors at China to Net. Before China to Net, Mr. Francesco joined Netrix Corporation as its Chairman and CEO with the goal of refocusing the company to provide voice/data telecommunications solutions. To that end, he facilitated a strategic merger with OpenRoute and acquired AetherWorks. The resulting company, re-named Nx Networks, offered a comprehensive suite of secure voice communications over Internet Protocol and partnered with industry leaders, such as Motorola, Siemens, and Alcatel. Mr. Francesco provided overall strategic direction and positioned Nx Networks as an industry leader in the Internet-based voice communications market. During his tenure, the company’s value rose from $18 million to its peak of $1.32 billion.

Alex Stange

Alex Stange
Chief Cybersecurity Architect

Formerly with the Department of Defense and most recently with the US Army Cyber Command, Mr. Alex Stange now fills the role as Cohere’s Chief Cybersecurity Architect.  In his last position, Mr. Stange was a member of the U.S. Army Cyber Command Mission Assurance Branch focused on defensive cyber operations for cloud service offerings. Mr. Stange was tasked with analyzing, evaluating, and directing cloud migration plans, projects, and policies. Mr. Stange worked with senior leadership to solve problems regarding implementation, network architecture, network security, and risk management. While working at Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region (JFHQ-NCR) as a Network Administrator, Mr. Stange supported data center migrations, infrastructure upgrades, security operations, and information assurance. In special recognition, Alex earned Special Honors: Army Commanders Award for Civil Service (Mar 2017) and Achievement Medal for Civilian Service (Aug 2016, Mar 2016, and Jan 2014).

Carolyn O'Connor

Carolyn O'Connor
Director of Technology Solutions and Strategy

Carolyn O’Connor currently serves as Cohere’s Director of Technology Solutions and Strategy with more than 20 years of experience in Information Technology. Carolyn was a director at RCS, which joined Citrin Cooperman in 2015. She collaborated in strategic planning and technology direction for clients including design and architecture of systems and processes.  She also provided high-level technical support, planned and managed client projects, developed and implemented cross-client initiatives, mentored staff members and was instrumental in developing software standards and documentation.  As part of the firm’s Technology and Risk Advisory Consulting (TRAC) practice, Carolyn led IT systems audits, and provided Cyber Security, Compliance, Best Practices Assessments and Sarbanes-Oxley IT advisory services. Previously, Carolyn served as director of technology for Sonnenblick-Goldman Company (now part of Cushman & Wakefield), an international real estate investment firm.

Nelia Lokitkova

Nelia Lokotkova
Financial Controller

Nelia Lokotkova provides seasoned leadership to Cohere’s accounting team. With more than 15 years of accounting and operations experience in the media and telecommunications industry. Ms. Lokotkova’s professional experience include AP/AR, tax planning, GAAP financial/cost controls, budget management, FCC regulations, financial reporting, error detection, P&L management, and compliance reporting. Prior to joining Cohere, Ms. Lokotkova managed all accounting and operations at Bravo Price Corp. The business comprised of 6 corporations and generated approximately $10M in annual revenue. She was also responsible for supervising overall performance of 5 company departments consisting of 50 employees. Ms. Lokotkova passed all parts of the CPA exam and graduated from Touro College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting.

Strategic Business Advisor

Evin Hernandez

Evin Hernandez
Cloud Infrastructure and Cybersecurity SME

Mr. Evin Hernandez has been elected to Cohere Cyber Security’s outside advisory committee. His role is to provide guidance, improve methodologies, offer in depth technical insights, ensure future convergence and coordinate with the firm’s business development efforts. Currently the Technical Product Manager and Security and Compliance for global enterprises at VMware, Evin Hernandez brings over 15 years of expertise in cloud infrastructure an network security. As an information security leader, Mr. Hernandez guides the implementation of leading-edge technology solutions while balancing security initiatives to risks, business operations and innovations. His areas of expertise include network design, malware analysis, web application security testing, network penetration testing, red teaming, systems architecture, configuration management, and systems administration with extensive experience healthcare, financial, cloud computing, and software development industries. Prior to joining VMware, Mr. Hernandez served as a Senior Security Engineer at Viacom where he lead the build-out of secure hybrid cloud computing technologies. Mr. Hernandez is a volunteer and President for NY/ NJ chapter of OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) Board member of CIAOA (critical infrastructure of America).

Alain Farrelly

Alain Farrelly
Financial Services SME

Currently, Alain Farrelly represents Alternative Investment Due Diligence at Morgan Stanley where he is responsible for sourcing and due-diligence of hedge fund strategies for the Firm’s wealth management platform. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Mr. Farrelly served as Head of Equity Strategies at Ramius Alternative Solutions LLC, a NYC based Alternative Asset Manager. He was responsible for the underlying due diligence, selection and monitoring of the Firm’s investments in equity related hedge funds and factors.  Prior to joining Ramius, Mr. Farrelly worked as an analyst in Merrill Lynch’s (MLIM) Alternative Strategies Group and at Brown Brothers Harriman. He received an MBA in Finance and Business Economics from Fordham University Gabelli School of Business in 2006 and a B.A. in Economics from Drew University in 1999.

Board of Directors

Elliot Stein

Elliot Stein is a Member of the Board of Directors at Cohere Cyber Secure. As a director, partner and investor of traditional communications companies, Mr. Stein brings management and problem-solving expertise in communications businesses to the Cohere Board. Mr. Stein is Chairman of Caribbean International News Corporation and the owner of El Vocero de Puerto Rico, a large circulation daily paper in San Juan. He is also a shareholder and member of the Board of Directors of Cloud, LLC and VTG Holdings, Inc., manufacturers of machinery, cable and wire products. Additionally, Mr. Stein was a general partner of Television Station Partners, which owned and operated four television stations. He is Managing Director of Commonwealth Capital Partners, a private equity fund. Mr. Stein was formerly a Director of the Alliance Technology Fund, as well as the Director of Play Power Inc., a manufacturer of playground equipment. He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the New School University and Claremont Graduate University.

Andrew Russin

Andrew Russin is a Member of the Board of Directors at Cohere Cyber Secure. Mr. Russin is the founder and Managing Director of JR Marketing, LLC, which provides consulting and marketing services to hedge funds, funds of funds, and private equity funds, including Gladiator Funds, Verity Investment Partners, Landmark Capital, Paladin Homeland Security Fund, and Gartemore Riverview International Group.

Prior to his marketing career, Mr. Russin practiced law and developed two joint ventures, including a money management services company to the credit union industry, and a firm securitizing multi-family mortgages. In addition, he has served in the Office of the Chairman of Patrick Media Group, an outdoor advertising acquisition and disposition company. Mr. Russin was Executive Vice President of Eccleston Properties and on the Tax Staff of Andersen and Co. In 2002, Mr. Russin served on the steering committee that formed the Mid Atlantic Hedge Fund Association and in 2003, became President and initiated the inaugural Outlook for Hedge Funds Conference. Mr. Russin holds a B.S. from the University of Scranton and a JD-LLM from Temple University School of Law.

Jamie Covello

Jamie Covello is a Member of the Board of Directors at Cohere Cyber Secure. Ms. Covello is Executive Director of the New York office of Cushman-Wakefield, a global leader in commercial real estate. During her three decades-plus career at Cushman-Wakefield, she has developed extensive experience in landlord and tenant representation, corporate occupiers, and mergers and acquisition services, including due diligence and HQ rationalization. Ms. Covello’s client focus is primarily within the corporate sector, supporting real estate advisory and transactions for companies in New York City and portfolio-wide. Corporate clients Ms. Covello has represented for all transactions nationally include General Re, Scott Paper, Sunbeam, Honeywell and Pitney Bowes.

Her role as an exclusive real estate provider for businesses with national and international requirements has spanned Hong Kong, Singapore, São Paolo, Mexico City, Juarez, Toronto, Montréal, Halifax, London, Madrid, Paris and Cologne. Ms. Covello has been a prominent board and committee member of many industry organizations, including the Real Estate Board of New York, the Urban Land Institute, WX, Young Men’s / Women’s Real Estate Association and the New York University Real Estate Foundation. Ms. Covello attended Columbia University and New York University.

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