Jonathan Sacks, special advisor to Ward Capital Management, LLC, has played an essential role in major strategic initiatives including: leading efforts to set the firm’s business goals and growth strategy, building value for investors, and identifying emerging trends within the real estate industry. Over the course of several years, Jonathan Sacks has served in a variety of leadership roles and senior management positions. He is currently Managing Partner at 188th St. Development, a real estate and development company that has completed over 50 real estate and real estate financing engagements with a combined transaction value of over $20 million. 188th remains active in both development and lending with assets under management of over $8 million. Prior to that, Mr. Sacks acted as the interim CEO of MyEco, a firm that is focused on the protection of the environment by creating a sustainable shopping bag solution for retailers that provides a best practice alternative for retail consumers supporting not for profit entities. Jonathan is also the founding member of the Citizen Financial Advisory Committee (CFAC) for the Mamaroneck, New York Schools and has been instrumental in reducing school district debt costs. Based in New York, Jonathan has a long and successful record of helping clients with business strategy, capital advisory, strategic option analyses and other general management challenges. He has executed a number of investment banking engagements and performed advanced financial modeling, including entity valuations, transaction executing and structuring. He has particular depth working with clients across the real estate and consumer products industry at the intersection of technology while drawing upon a variety of cross-industry experience. Jonathan served as Executive Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors of E&B Giftware/EB Brands and was instrumental in the strategic sales of the companies that were sold to a private equity firms for $43 million and $113 million, respectively. Mr. Sacks is a strong supporter of his local community and participates in a number of civic organizations including a role as a founding member of the Citizen Financial Advisory Committee (CFAC) for the Mamaroneck, New York Schools and has been instrumental in reducing school district debt costs. He is a member of the Mamaroneck Fire Department, founding member of CFAC for the Mamaroneck School District and former member of the school section committee for Mamaroneck schools.
Jewelle Prieto was born and raised in New York, within of a family of restauranteurs that relished in delicious food and memorable experiences. Thanks to her father’s thriving businesses, which owned and operated nearly a dozen restaurants, Jewelle spent much of her childhood in both the back and front of the house; often visiting tables to meet guests and sowing the seeds for her future passion. In 2009, at the age of 21, Jewelle opened her first restaurant, Don Coqui, launching what would become a career in hospitality where she could express her passion for people.
Under Mrs. Prieto’s leadership, the Don Coqui Restaurant group was renowned not only for its acclaimed restaurants but also for its distinct and passion-driven culture of memorable hospitality. During her tenure at Don Coqui, Jewelle was responsible for each of the restaurant’s quality of service by ensuring that guests consistently received the highest quality experience while treating each guest and team member like family.
As the Chief Culture Officer and Managing Principal for Ward Hospitality, Jewelle looks forward to continuing to preserve the importance of people driven encounters by creating a conducive work environment while acting as the main advocate for customers to build a customer-centered culture that resonates throughout the company.
Mrs. Prieto holds a Bachelor of Art from Fordham University with a major in Organizational Leadership and lives in Dobbs Ferry, NY with her husband, D’Wayne, daughter, Sira, and pet Boxer dog, Beans.
Justin Shapiro joined Ward Hospitality as the Director of Operations in early 2018, bringing along an extensive background and expertise in restaurant and bar management. As a Chicago native, Justin was born into a world of editorial entertainment and 1st Amendment rights. He learned early in life about the importance of treating everyone equally, fairly and with compassion. Transferring those important life lessons to the nightlife of Chicago’s bustling culinary and craft cocktail scene, Justin honed his management and operational skills under the tutelage of several Chicago industry veterans. In 2008, two New York bar veterans approached Justin and his business partner to be the majority investors in what would become the world-renowned Mayahuel NYC. Originally the majority investor, Justin became Mayahuel’s operational partner in 2010 and lead the bar to countless awards (including the prestigious Best New Cocktail Bar in the World from Tales of the Cocktails), above-industry average profitability, and a sustained run of almost 10-years. During his tenure at Mayahuel, and while consulting on several projects across the country, Justin also opened Ebanos Crossing, a boutique cocktail lounge in Downtown Los Angeles. Says Justin about his experiences, “it was an amazing learning opportunity that when being an owner/operator, there really is no substitute for being on-premises regularly. The opportunities to interact with our guests is what I covet most.” Having wrapped up the LA venture in 2016 and Mayahuel in 2017, Justin has now found his new home developing the Palo Vivo franchise under the Ward Hospitality group. He looks forward to bringing his operational expertise and passion for hospitality to this new venture. Justin is also a world traveler, founder of JustRight Consulting LLC and holds degrees from both Lincoln College and the College of Charleston.
David Russo was brought on as the Director of Marketing for Ward Capital Management in 2018, with the objective of creating transparency and awareness for our projects to every partner, investor, client and the general public. David brings a breadth of business expertise to Ward Capital Management through a background that combines engineering, marketing, project and product management, real estate investing & media production for companies ranging from start-ups to private equity and Fortune 100 conglomerates. With a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Binghamton University (2007), David spent 4 years growing into a lead engineering role for Siemens AG. While pursuing his Master's in Business Administration at the New York University Stern School of Business (August 2012), David transitioned into a global marketing role for Siemens’ eCommerce and laboratory automation technologies in 2011. In conjunction with maintaining a marketing portfolio, David was given a dual role as Project Manager for a $4MM international development project that included the responsibility of regional marketing managers throughout the US, Europe and South America. After working in another global marketing role for a subsidiary of TPG Capital in 2014, David left the corporate world in 2017 to start and grow his own real estate investment company, ACRO Ventures LLC, with properties throughout New York and New Jersey. In 2018, David co-founded a media company, Aviated Precision, specializing in aerial videography, imaging, surveying and data collection. When not working, David is running marathons, volunteering with newyorkcares.org and hiking in the Adirondacks with his dog, Norman.
Erik Wilhelmsson, Director of Digital Marketing, has been providing marketing consulting, digital publishing and business growth services to companies throughout the New York City area since 2012. Through his own start-up consulting firm, Digital Market Designs LLC, Erik has excelled at cross-channel direct response marketing, focusing on growing digital relationships for businesses, organizations and individuals through effective web, social, mobile and online marketing. Erik is also a Certified Power Marketing Consultant and is well versed in implementing the Power Marketing Program. The Power Marketing Program is a complete marketing system that Erik has directly applied to help many businesses become the leading company in their local markets. Based on principles that have been proven in over 350 industries, this program combines some of the best elements of multiple well-known marketing systems and experts including: Jay Abraham, Michael Gerber (the E-Myth), Steve Jobs (Apple), Frank Kern (Mass Control), Mike Koenigs (Traffic Geyser), Rich Harshaw (Monopolize Your Marketplace), and others to create one complete and cohesive marketing system that gives your business the leverage to dominate your market. Erik brings these cutting edge marketing techniques and strategies to Ward, enabling us to quickly generate new leads, customers and revenue by utilizing the power of the Internet. In 2018, Erik also co-founded a media company, Aviated Precision, which specializes in aerial videography, imaging, surveying and data collection.