Valerie Hovasapian
Vice President

Valerie is responsible for overall account management, strategic planning and budgeting for Thompson & Bender’s diversified client group. A seasoned advertising and marketing pro, Valerie has successfully coordinated more than 150 special events over her career, including: the re-launch of one-name edition of The Journal News; the grand openings of Trump Tower White Plains and the Jacob Burns Film Center; gala fundraising events for White Plains Hospital and New York Medical College; and major media events at Trump Plaza New Rochelle and The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester. In addition, Valerie has directed award-winning advertising campaigns for such clients as the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of New York, St. John’s Riverside Hospital, White Plains Hospital, New York Medical College and Westchester Community College. Valerie also oversees T&B’s media buying strategy.

The precision and focus Valerie brings to T&B extends to her offline pursuits: she is an accomplished markswoman, winning gold medals in skeet shooting across New York and New Jersey. Valerie has also run marathons and half marathons in Australia, Peru, Cambodia, Maui and Big Sur, as well as several closer to home. She lives in Salt Point with her boyfriend Tony, and Karlie and Millie—two exuberant German Shorthaired Pointer rescue dogs.

Victoria Hochman
Manager of PR & Strategic Planning

With more than 25 years of experience as a journalist and marketing/communication professional, Victoria brings a wealth of knowledge to her role as Public Relations and Strategic Planning Manager at Thompson & Bender. A Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, she served as Deputy Communications Director and later Communications Director for Westchester County from 1998-2010. Most recently, she was Director of Marketing and Public Relations for NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital, creating successful branding and social media campaigns.
A former reporter and editor with The Journal News and Newsday, Victoria received the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for spot news on Newsday’s coverage of the TWA 800 crash off Long Island in July 1996.

She lives in White Plains and is married and has two children. An enthusiastic animal lover, Victoria works rescuing homeless animals and has an energetic Collie mix.

Josefa Paganuzzi
Senior Account Executive

Josefa brings decades of public relations, media relations, crisis communications and marketing to Thompson & Bender.  She most recently served as the Director of Public Relations at Music Choice, the multi-platform video and music service, where she spearheaded all B2B and B2C public relations campaigns for the company.  Prior to that, she spent six years at Clear Channel Radio New York, where she handled publicity for Z100, WLTW, WKTU, Power 105.1, WALK-FM and Q104.3.

Josefa started her career at Rubenstein Associates, Inc. where she worked on campaigns for several NYC and national brands including Weight Watchers International, Sally Hansen Cosmetics, Planet Hollywood and the New York City Marathon.

Born and raised in Eastchester, Josefa currently resides in Crestwood, NY with her husband Chris and son Paul.  A graduate of Iona College, Josefa is a pop culture junkie and loves the holidays!

Ernie Garcia
Senior Communications/Media Specialist

Ernie has more than 25 years of experience as a journalist writing for digital and print newspapers, weeklies, and lifestyle magazines. He developed his knowledge of Westchester County’s economic, social, and political landscapes over an 18-year period when he was a news reporter for Journal News. As a young reporter, he wrote for the Herald News in Woodland Park, N.J., The Village Voice and The New York Blade.

Prior to his arrival at Thompson & Bender, Ernie was Communications Director at the Mount Vernon Industrial Development Agency, where he promoted investment and development opportunities in that city. He lives in the Bronx.

Debbie Pizzino
Media Director

Debbie brings over 25 years of media experience to Thompson & Bender as Integrated Media Planner & Buyer. Over the years, her career has evolved and while always rooted in media has included event marketing, consumer research and insights, partnership consulting and most recently she was Associate Director, Shopper Marketing Media for Team Unilever Shopper, a WPP agency. While at TUS/WPP, Debbie oversaw the Unilever shopper marketing account specifically for Walmart and Club retailers and has worked on Effie-winning programs for Unilever at both Target and Walmart. Past clients include Alcon, Castrol, AARP, Erie Insurance, Vitamin Shoppe, and Pepperidge Farm, to name a few. Debbie also worked closely with Sandra Lee, Food Network Host and Chef, as a partnership consultant.

Debbie enjoys traveling, reading, and gardening. But most of all, Debbie enjoys her quality time with her husband and son- whether it’s inside near the fire or outside at the playground.

Amy Lasagna
Creative Director

A designer first and foremost, Amy is experienced in conceptualizing and executing purposeful design solutions across printed and digital media for regional, national, and global brands. She brings to T&B over 15 years of experience gained from working for global activation agencies, internal corporate communications/creative services departments and design studios in the Greater New York City area. Amy specializes in: branding, digital, graphics for retail displays and other large-format installations, marcomm, packaging design and promotions.

Past life: Most recently Amy was Art Director at Mechtronics in Beacon, NY where she executed visual communication strategy and graphics for point-of-sale programs and digitally-integrated in-store displays. Before that she was Senior Designer at Daymon Worldwide in Stamford, CT designing packaging and promotions. Amy is a graduate of the Graphic Design program at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Things that make Amy tick include: stuff that’s well designed, classic rock, open roads, comfort food, inside jokes, ‘me’ time and YouTube videos of cats. She lives in New Fairfield, CT with her fiancé Eric and cat Rambo.

Zeno Gill
Senior Graphic/Multimedia Designer

Zeno has enjoyed a career as a designer, art director, and photographer for over 15 years, having worked on everything from web sites for global personal-care brands to printed look books for fashion companies to silkscreen and album-cover designs for musicians. Some of the brands he’s worked on are Verizon, Disney, Beggars Group, Just For Men, Cetaphil, Sequin, Brylcreem, ReverbNation, Vagisil, and FrontPoint. He loves solving design and marketing puzzles to communicate compellingly and tastefully.

Zeno lives in the Edgemont neighborhood in Westchester with his wife, daughter, and lunatic dog. When not designing, he enjoys working on personal photography projects, making music, and exploring. He is also an advocate of outdoor showering, which he enjoys year-round.

Domenick Cocchiara
Manager of Social Media and Digital Advertising

Domenick brings more than a decade of experience as a social media and digital advertising manager in the non-profit, for-profit, and government sectors to Thompson & Bender. Having worked most recently at the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce as their Director of Marketing and Communications, he spearheaded the social media accounts of not only the Chamber, but all of its various affiliates. This included The Chamber Foundation, Hudson Valley Young Professionals, the Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival, and the Dutchess Business Notification Network. Prior to that position, Domenick served as the Regional Director for a non-profit focused on civic engagement and government accessibility. He is also a proud Army veteran, serving 6 years as a combat engineer with the 253rd Sapper Company based in Maryland.

Having been born and raised in the Hudson Valley, Domenick likes nothing more than to take advantage of the many streams, lakes, and rivers the region offers as he is an avid fly-fisherman. When not working on social media, he can often be found working on houses for both his family’s company and charity. With community service being important to him, Domenick is always looking for a cause to volunteer his time and energies to.

Alana Zayas
Communications Specialist

Alana joined the Thompson & Bender team after graduating from Iona College with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing. Having served in various leadership roles throughout her educational career, such as president of the Marketing Club and mentoring incoming freshman, Alana has gained experience through industry internships in the marketing, fundraising, and editorial sectors. Aside from working on client Public Relations and Social Media accounts at Thompson & Bender, Alana is further pursuing her studies at Iona College, where she will be receiving her Masters of Business Administration in Management.

Alana lives at her family home in the Bronx with her two crazy cats, Pia & Pacino. When not working or studying, you can find Alana trying a new restaurant or basking in the sun at a local Westchester park. Surprisingly, Alana is not one to put on popular music from today. Instead, Alana is a huge classic rock fan, where she has attended tons of 70s and 80s rock band concerts. Name that band and Alana has probably seen them.

Thompson and Bender