top of page

Click on the Name to open the recommendation letters


I would have had a more current Letter of Recommendation from Cliff Scutella but again I learned that my timing and a higher divinity’s timing can be different.  Cliff died suddenly on July 2022 but here is a Letter of Recommendation that he wrote a few years back. The club existed from 2011 through December 2019. Cliff retired in 2019 and that is when I put my Genesee Community College (GCC) Multicultural Communications Club gavel down and elected to leave as I knew the club would never get the same support that Cliff gave the Multicultural Communications Club. The club no longer exists!

image0[2161] (2).jpeg

I met Khilna in 2009 when she was a student in my Interpersonal Communications class. Khilna hailed from Tanzania, Africa and her family heritage is Indian. I was extremely impressed with this young lady as she was very articulate, bright, and anxious to learn as much as possible about the Western world. The next semester Khilna became my teaching assistant. A position she held until she graduated from SUNY GCC and transitioned to SUNY Geneseo for a degree in Biochemistry. I tried unsuccessfully to start the GCC Multicultural Communications Club under the banner of my Dean but she had no interest in this club. It was Khilna who was very active in Student Activities at GCC, that introduced me to Cliff Scutella, Director of Student Activities, at GCC. When I made my presentation to Cliff Scutella about starting the club, he immediately told me, 'you start putting the framework together for this club and I will pay the bills.' This club most likely would never have materialized if Khilna had not crossed my path. She became the founding member President of the club in 2011. I am eternally grateful to Khilna and, it has been said that students learn from instructors and many times instructors learn from students.

Patrick Reichard
Air Traffic Controller - U.S. Dept. of Transportation


This young man was my student in 2011 and was extremely shy. Very bright individual and in 2013, he became the club’s third President. At that time, he now was a student at SUNY Geneseo and each week Patrick drove twenty-five miles each way - each week to SUNY GCC to take on his role as President. He did this during sunshine, rain and snow blizzard days in Western New York and never missed a meeting. In the summer of 2012, Patrick accompanied me to attend Toastmasters International Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. We flew to Cincinnati, and this was Patrick’s first airplane ride. Patrick Reichard is now an air traffic controller for U.S. Department of Transportation under the leadership of Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg. I would like to believe that I may have opened the windows of Patrick’s world by bringing him to Cincinnati.

image (7).png

I met Julie in the winter of 2015 when she gave a speech about being invisible. Julie has been in a wheelchair since young adolescence but nothing gets in Julie's way. She is a publishing expert at Thompson Reuter - very active in Toastmasters International - has a Master's Degree in Social Work and nothing stops Julie. After hearing Julie speak about being invisible and becoming visible, I knew she had to be a keynote speaker at East Meets West 2015. That evening and every day Julie is strapped into a harness as she sits in her wheelchair. She shared with us how she loves the Erie Canal and can have a hydraulic lift hoist her from her wheelchair and swing her over the waters of the Erie Canal. The lift lowers her into a kayak, and its operator adjusts her seat and in a few minutes, she is cruising alone down the Erie Canal.

Julie shared with the audience that evening she has cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects her mobility. That evening Julie told us that she looks at her disability as just simply a mismatch between the demands of the environment and the abilities of the people.

When Julie completed her speech there was a ten -minute standing ovation for this woman with the amazing voice to tell the story of how she became visible.

Julie and I have become friends and we connect whenever we can to have lunch or dinner. I am in awe of this amazing woman!  


I met Dr. Medina the summer of 2014 when I was introduced to him by State University of New York, Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. I contacted Chancellor Zimpher about the success of the GCC Multicultural Communications Club and was exploring interest in creating clubs at other SUNY community colleges. This is when Chancellor Zimpher introduced me to Dr. Medina. The introduction changed the character of the GCC Multicultural Communications Club.  Dr. Medina opened the doors for the club to apply for SUNY grants that the club received and allowed the club to venture into new terrains that assisted the club members to grow, develop, and to have a wide-ranging comprehension of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

Thao Hoang
Senior Analyst - Tufts University


Thao was my communication student and she was an international student from Viet Nam. She lived with me during the summer of 2011 and worked for Rochester Optical. I was able to get her the position as the President of Rochester Optical, Patrick Ho, was the keynote speaker for East Meets West in April 2011. I highly recommended Thao and based on my recommendation; Patrick Ho hired her. After graduating with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Bryant University – Rhode Island, Thao went back to work for Rochester Optical and worked there until 2019 when she took the position of Senior Analyst – Office of Vice President for Operations at Tuft University. Each quarter of the year, Thao and I have a two hour ZOOM call to catch up what is happening and in January 2023, we had our call and I advised her I had accepted a position at Empire Justice. Thao responded that I should look for a position as Director of DEIA. Shortly thereafter, I learned that Empire Justice was preparing a job description for this position. I believe this was prophetic.


I met Liz Yeager in 2017. This is when my former student, Khilna Samat, came into play again.

Khilna was working for Liz’s brother in Pensacola, Florida, and Liz wanted to apply to URMC Department of Urology for her residency. She was looking for living accommodations for the month of August. Khilna asked me if I would be willing to rent a room to Liz. I was thrilled to have Liz stay with me pro bono and I got to know what a committed – driven – hardworking – beautiful woman Liz Ellis is. She would leave the house many mornings at 4 in the morning and not return until 9 to 10 pm in the evening. Subsequently, she received her residency at URMC and she and her husband Sam Yeager moved to Rochester and I have become very good friends with both. Liz is now a new mommy and juggling her work schedule – being a new mommy - wife and applying for a Fellowship in Oncology at Harvard – Sloan Kettering and Mayo. She will know in June where she will settle a year from now. I have so much respect for this exceptional Woman. She has a sense of inclusion and rightness that can change the world.  She cannot afford to settle for passable work as she is always there if something more can be done. She has set a high bar for herself and is able to inspire others to do the same.

Yuuki Sasao-Ruef
Consultant - HR Institute


Photo taken of me and Yuuki when she received the Chancellor's Award. April 2, 2014-Albany, New York

I met Yuuki in 2012 at SUNY Genesee Community College (GCC) when she joined the Multicultural Communications Club. She was an international student from Japan. When Yuuki came to GCC, Yuuki’s objective was to remove herself from the Japanese community at the college and integrate with the U.S. student body. She knew she needed to stop speaking in her mother tongue and improve her English. What better way to improve her English than having American friends including an American boyfriend?

The objective was fulfilled.

Yuuki was hired as a part-time worker for the custodial janitorial staff at GCC working twenty hours per week to make money so as not to put such a financial strain on her parents. Each day she would oversee picking up the trash in all the classrooms and offices. She was an exemplary student and I nominated her for SUNY’s Chancellor Award which she received in 2014. I had the honor to accompany Yuuki to Albany for this ceremony whereby Chancellor Nancy Zimpher presented Yuuki with this award. Yuuki did not realize the magnitude of receiving this award at that time. No matter how many times I explained to her that within the entire SUNY Student body there were approximately 50,000 students and only 250 students of the 50,000 received this award.

Yuuki transitioned to SUNY Oswego and received her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. The summer after graduation I got her a position with a Payroll Processing company in Perry, New York. As fate would have it, an employee from Pricewater Coopers who was from Japan met Yuuki and by September of that year, Yuuki was in Manhattan working on Madison Avenue at Pricewater Coopers. A few years later, she was tired of the Manhattan hustle-bustle and moved to Portland, Oregon to work for KMPG. Subsequently, she married and now is with the Human Resources Institute that sets the standards for HR rigor and excellence.

Finally, Yuuki purchased a home in Batavia, New York and she rents to five Japanese students that are attending GCC. Yuuki Sasao-Ruef is an incredible woman, and I am so honored our paths have crossed.

bottom of page