Board of Directors
- Barbara Todd Heiner ’81
- Vice President
- Andrew Stifel ’91
- Matthew Herndon ’04
- Gabriel Ayache ’07
- General Board Members
- Lauren Darienzo ’97
- Nina Inamdar ’94
- Joe Kirk ’86
- Adam Kirsch ’15
- Valerie Derose Leimer ’05
- Elise Pasoreck ’07
- Alan Petroff ’74
- Head Coach
- Ariana Klinkov
- Cornell University Director of Athletics
- Andy Noel
Gabriel Ayache, BS ’07, Hotel Administration, is a Director of Strategic Initiatives at American Express, focusing on technology driven M&A and partnerships in the corporate travel management space.
Gabriel began fencing Sabre as a freshman in Great Neck, NY and continued through his tenure at Cornell. He was a member of the US Club Fencing Championship Team in 2004, served as the Sabre team Captain in 2005-2006, and served as Men’s team Captain in 2006-2007. Since graduating, Gabriel has been involved in the inception, formation, and growth of the Cornell Fencing Association as a founding member providing strategic support in planning and development, serving on the bylaws committee, and currently chair of the Nomination and Election Committee.
He currently lives in New York City with his wife, Francesca, and their newborn daughter, Eva. Gabriel is currently a board member. His first term ends in 2020.
Lauren Darienzo Bio in progress. Her term ends 2022.
Barbara Todd Heiner BA ’81, A&S, fenced under Coach Jean-Jacques Gillet and served as captain her senior year. She studied Psychology at Cornell and earned a master’s degree in Social Psychology from Rutgers University in 1987. After briefly working in market research at HBO in New York, she became a full-time mom and moved to Seattle in 1994.
Barbara returned to fencing in 1995, first as a competitor and then as a club owner. She was a finalist in several national events and won the Vet-40 National Champion in 1997. In 2000, Barbara co-founded Rain City Fencing Center and spent the next decade coaching, teaching and growing the business into a nationally competitive program for fencers of all ages. Notably, her son, Nick, (BA ’12, IS) was one of the first students at Rain City and enjoyed a successful competitive career on the Cornell Men’s Club Team.
Barbara still lives in Seattle with her husband, Dave Heiner ’82, but her new sport is golf. They enjoy traveling and sharing a good meal with their sons Nick and Scott whenever they can. Barbara is in her second term as President of the board. Her term ends in 2020.
Matt Herndon BS ’04, Engineering, is a father, volunteer, and energy efficiency enthusiast. He studied Computer Science at Cornell and worked as a database engineer and manager at web startups for his first decade out of college before becoming a full-time dad.
Matt started fencing epee at Cornell in 2000 and was elected team captain for the 03-04 season. His top personal finishes are 2nd place epee in MACFA and US Club Fencing Championships (USACFC) in 2004 and earning his A at the Cherry Blossom Open in 2012. Matt’s proudest fencing moment was leading the Cornell Men’s Club Team to 1st place men’s epee squad and men’s three weapon team at the 2004 USACFC. He has coached fencing at the UVA Fencing Club, the Cornell Recreational Fencing Club, the Vermont Fencing Alliance, and the Arizona State University Fencing Club.
Matt currently resides in State College, Pennsylvania with wife Lauren McPhillips ’07 and their children Rolin (3) and Fern (1). Lauren is an assistant professor of civil engineering at Penn State. Matt was the inaugural CFA Treasurer and is now CFA Secretary. His first term ends in 2019.
Nina Inamdar BS ’94, CALS, is a physician for Northwell Health practicing in Stamford, Connecticut. She received her BS in Neuroscience from Cornell University and her MD from New York University where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society in 1998. She did her residency at NYU and was selected as Chief Resident in 2001. She has been practicing Internal Medicine in her private practice in Stamford, CT for the past 16 years.
Nina started fencing foil at Cornell, instructed by head coach Graeme Jennings and assistant coach John Helmich. When the teams were cut in 1993, she started the Cornell Fencing Club which is now the Cornell Men’s Club Team and was part of the Cornell Eight who helped bring back the women’s team under Title IX. She was Co-captain when the team was reinstated in 1994. She started fencing foil again in 2008 and took up epee in 2011. Her best results to date are a Bronze Medal in Vet40 Women’s Epee at a North American Cup and 19th out of 121 mostly teenagers in a Division 3 at Summer Nationals.
She currently resides in Rye, New York with her husband Jeff Miller, EE ’92 and her daughters Serena (15) and Gavin (13). When not working or fencing, she can be found enjoying time with her family and binge-watching Netflix shows. Nina is currently a board member whose first term ends in 2019.
Joseph Kirk BS ’86, CALS, majored in microbiology at Cornell. After graduation he worked for two years at the Rockefeller University in New York in a neurobiology lab and in the fall of 1988 he entered the Boston University School of Law seeking to leverage his science background into a legal career. He began in private practice in New York and in 2000 he joined the patent litigation team at the French pharma company, Sanofi. While based in Paris with Sanofi, he was responsible for patent litigation matters throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Russia. Now based in the U.S. with mostly North American responsibilities, Joseph manages matters in Asia and elsewhere from time to time.
Joseph was converted from foil to saber by Coaches Jean-Jacques Gillet and James Fazekas his freshman year. He went on to earn three letters for Fencing and was Captain of the Fencing team for the 1985-1986 season. He also played Sprint Football and represented both sports as a member of the Red Key Society. When time allows, Joseph fences in Bridgewater, NJ at the Medeo Fencing Club.
Joseph and his wife Janelle Bryant now live in Bridgewater, New Jersey with their three boys, Grafton (10), Pennell (9) and Thatcher (7) who are all avid soccer players and swimmers. The family enjoys camping, fishing, kayaking and travel. Joseph joined the Cornell Fencing Association Board in 2017 and is a member of the Reinstatement and Mentorship Committees. Joseph is currently a board member. His first term ends in 2020.
Adam Kirsch BS ’15, ILR, ’16 MBA. Professionally, Adam works as a management consultant in New York, specializing in the mergers and acquisitions of technology companies. Prior to entering consulting, he was an entrepreneur with businesses in technology and entertainment.
At Cornell, Adam was a four-year member of the epee squad, continuing a career that began at New Jersey’s Bergen Tech. Since graduation, Adam has continued to fence around the tri-state area and can be spotted in Cornell socks at the occasional NAC.
Outside of work and fencing, Adam enjoys reading, writing, and witty repartee. A volunteer with several nonprofits, he will be serving on the CFA board through 2021.
Valerie Leimer BS ’05, CALS, is the owner and Chief Operating Officer of Major Products Company, a global food manufacturer specializing in stocks, flavors and sauces. She graduated Cornell with a degree in Food Science.
Valerie started her fencing career at the age of 14, in Wyckoff, NJ at Ramapo High School as a foilist and continued fencing throughout college. Valerie joined the Cornell fencing team junior year after transferring the second half of her sophomore year from James Madison University. While at JMU, she briefly fenced sabre, as it was the first year that women were allowed to compete in the weapon. After coming to Cornell, she came back to her roots as a foil fencer and served as captain her senior year. Valerie’s passion for fencing did not end after college. She was part of an ambitious group of alumni who spearheaded the formation of the Cornell Fencing Association and served as President the inaugural year.
She currently lives in New York City with her husband Matthias and two young daughters, Hannah (18mo) and Sienna (3mo). Valerie is currently a board member whose second term ends in 2021.
Elise Pasoreck Bio in progress. Her term ends 2022.
Alan Petroff Bio in progress. His term ends 2021.
Andrew P. Stifel BA ’91, A&S, is a Senior Program Manager at Leidos. His work in recent years has provided support to a variety of government clients primarily in the Defense and Intelligence sectors. He has also provided analysis and support in the areas of Strategic Communication, Public Diplomacy, Political Instability, Intelligence Analysis, and Information Operations for a variety of clients. He majored in Government at Cornell.
Andrew began fencing at DC Fencers Club in 1985 while at St. Albans School in Washington, DC, and went on to fence on the Varsity Foil team at Cornell with Jean-Jacques Gillet, Graeme Jennings and John Helmich, and served as Foil Captain his senior year. Andrew went on to fence for Oxford University under Coach Tomek Walicki, earned his Full Blue representing the University, competed in a variety of international tournaments to include the World Student Games, and was ranked in the Top 50 fencers in the UK. Upon returning to the U.S., Andrew competed for DCFC again, under Coach Janusz Smolenski, consistently ranked in the Top 50 foil fencers in the US, and went to US Nationals/Olympic Trials for 10 years running. His highest rank in the US was 22nd.
He currently lives in Arlington, VA with his wife Amanda, daughter Emma (11) and son William (8), the latter of which has just recently taken up sabre. Andrew coaches his daughter’s soccer team. His son’s baseball team, and he and his family enjoy a variety of outdoor pursuits, to include sailing, fishing, and hiking/climbing. Andrew is currently in his second term as Vice President of the board. His term ends in 2021.
- Reinstatement Committee
- Andrew Stifel (Chair)
- Jeff Estabrook
- Barbara Heiner
- Joe Kirk
- Valerie Derose Leimer
- Alan Petroff
- Ariana Klinkov
- Jake Silverman
Purpose: Explores the feasibility of reinstating the Men’s Fencing Team to Varsity status by gauging potential for a successful capital campaign and interest among Athletic Department and University.
- Public Relations Committee
- Nina Inamdar (Chair)
- Nick Heiner
- Matt Herndon
- Alumni Events & Recognition Committee
- Elise Pasoreck (Co-chair)
- Valerie Derose Leimer (Co-chair)
- Harrison Fox
- Outreach Committee
- Adam Kirsch (Chair)
- Gabe Ayache
- Lauren Darienzo
- Conan Gillis
- Alan Petroff
Purpose: Reach out to alumni and other former contributers to Cornell Fencing to let them know about what is happening with the team today and get them involved again. Recruit nominees for open seats on the board of directors.