Elissa (EJ) Levy is the Founder and President of MS Hope for a Cure. Since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2002, EJ has dedicated her time and energy to help find a cure for MS. She became an avid poker player as her symptoms worsened and she could no longer ski or run (but still needed an adrenaline rush). Due to research that produced a new MS medication that became available in 2010, EJ can now not only ski and run again, but is well enough to be a single mom to Matilda, who will turn 9 this May. She is thrilled that the past fifteen charity tournaments have raised more than $10.4 million to support crucial research and people living with MS.
Eden Lopez-Robles is a leader in the fight against MS. She works tirelessly to find a cure for her mom, Lois, and everyone else living with the disease. In 2006, Eden was inducted into the National MS Society Hall of Fame. She was a founding board member of MS Hope for a Cure and was elected Chair in 2015. Her goal is to ensure MS Hope raises as much money as possible so that each and every fundraising dollar makes the biggest impact in the fight against MS. Eden is a Managing Director at RBC Wealth Management and lives in Manhattan with her husband, Anthony and their three children, Briana, Maxwell and Dylan.
2022 Benefit Committee
Judd Levy is the very proud father of EJ. He is the former Chairman of the NY State Housing Finance Agency and the State of NY Mortgage Agency. Judd is the founder and former President of CDT, the country’s only affordable housing REIT. He is an accomplished no-limit cash and tournament player. In 2018 he played in the WSOP Seniors Tournament with 5,388 players and finished 55th (top 1.1%) and won $9,239! This June he will be returning to Las Vegas to play in the Super Seniors WSOP tournament, two months shy of his 80th birthday!
Catherine “Cat” McKenzie is an Executive Producer at ABC NEWS responsible for GMA3: What You Need to Know and specials on ABC News Live and is proud to be a founding member of the MS Hope for a Cure Board of Directors. She met EJ while the two were cheering on their respective football teams at their favorite sports bar. She’s “all-in” to finding a cure for MS, which she believes, will happen in their lifetime.
Stacy and Jonathan Pollack feel so lucky to be involved with MS Hope for a Cure. Stacy sits on the MS Hope for a Cure Board of Directors and is also the Board President of the Jewish Community Project Downtown. Her father suffers from the primary progressive form of MS. Jonathan is the Global Head of Structured Finance at Blackstone, They live with their two boys and three dogs in Manhattan. The Pollack family knows that a cure for MS will be found with the money raised from events like this!
Ken Rivlin is a senior partner at Allen & Overy LLP, where he co-heads the International Trade and Regulatory Law Group and heads the International Environmental Law Group. His practice focuses on a range of US and international regulatory issues, including economic sanctions, trade & national security (including dealings with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)), anti-corruption compliance, environment law & ESG, climate change, human rights, and supply chain and other business risks. He is a Lecturer-in- Law at Columbia Law School, and serves or has served on numerous NGO boards and bar committees. Currently, he is Chair of the Advisory Council for the Institute at Brown (University) for Environment and Society, and President of the Board of Trustees for the Human Needs Food Pantry, Inc.
Anthony Robles is the lucky guy married to co-chair Eden Lopez-Robles. Their love of poker is one of the things that brought them together and Anthony actually asked Eden to marry him at the poker table. He planned an elaborate proposal at a poker room in Atlantic City and when the dealer turned over the flop, turn and river, it was a Straight Flush (hearts) with the words Eden - Will - You - Marry - Me printed on the cards. When Anthony is not sweeping Eden off her feet he is helping clients find their dream homes as one of the founding partners of the Scott-Robles Team at Douglas Elliman. They are ranked among the top 250 real estate teams in the country. Anthony and Eden live in Manhattan with their three children, Briana, Maxwell and Dylan.
May Siu met EJ playing poker in NYC home games over 10 years ago. She was immediately inspired by EJ’s story of perseverance, hope, love for life and her ability to turn her MS struggles into a positive powerful movement. May worked in finance and is currently integrating poker with the nonprofit world by starting a poker for good movement and setting up charity tournaments. When she is not doing good through poker, she runs Murals for Good, a nonprofit art organization made up of dedicated New Yorkers who believe the power of public art can heal their fractured city. To learn more visit www.pokerforgood.org and www.muralsforgood.org or ask May in person on May 5th!
Ashley Steinhart guides the Estate and Trust group at Lowenstein Sandler. He has counseled clients for over 50 years on incorporating values into their personal planning. Also, he has been involved in many of the most substantial family trust and estate feuds and his advice is often, “Settle quickly and give the money you would have paid to the attorneys to MS or some other worthy cause.” He has a monthly poker game that Elissa sometimes joins. Thus far, he hasn’t been as impressed with her poker play as he has been with her huge heart and total commitment to MS. Her passion has inspired him to help.
Michael Stepniewski first attended the tournament as a guest in 2016, and after six years, has finally learned how to resist the urge to laugh when he’s bluffing at the poker table. As a member of the benefit committee, he has focused his efforts on bringing a new wave of donors and contributors to the tournament each year. Mike is a born and bred New Yorker and lives in Manhattan’s West Village. When he’s not facing elimination from poker tournaments at lightning speed, he works in the NYC capital markets group at Walker & Dunlop.
Peter Vermette met EJ through his work as a Board Member of the NYC Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society which he joined in hopes of helping to find a cure for his dad, Greg, and everyone else living with the disease. He attended the tournament for the first time in 2013 and has since joined the committee and made this an annual event with his friends and colleagues. Peter is a Managing Director in the Asset Management Division at Goldman Sachs and lives with his wife and their three children in Westchester.