CARES of NY, Inc. Board of Directors
CARES Board of Directors
Mario D. Cometti
Mario is well known throughout New York for his support and assistance in various community action activities and initiatives. He is Chair of VETCON – an Alliance Board of leaders in the business, institutional education and not-for-profit fields – who together created and sponsored a now-annual conference focused on veteran opportunities in business and employment. He is also likes to be personally involved in the startup business community, providing legal guidance to new entrepreneurial ventures. Further, he is the Chair of the Center for Advancement & Understanding of Social Enterprises (CAUSE) at the University of Albany School of Business, which focuses on promoting social entrepreneurship.
Professionally, Mario is a Partner at national law firm Tully Rinckey PLLC. He has a long record of successful representation of individuals and businesses throughout New York State and across the country. His practice focuses on litigation, including family and matrimonial law as well as civil and commercial litigation. He advises parties on best business legal practices and represents businesses of all sizes in contract disputes, contract negotiations, and dispute resolution.
Partner, Tully Rinckey PLLC
Attorneys & Counselors at Law
Audra K. Higgins
With over a decade of experience in the financial planning industry, Audra originally hails from an unconventional background in the interior design field. Having managed different businesses over the years, including her own design firm, she now uses her education in finance and insurance as chief operating officer, chief compliance officer, and a partner of Simmons Capital Group. “It is all about building solid relationships, being timely, and delivering exceptional service, no matter what industry you are in,” she can be heard sharing with new clients and colleagues alike. It is no wonder she has a passion for helping clients grow in their knowledge and confidence through financial planning and risk management.
Audra spends most of her time working with new and existing clients to meet their diverse needs, and her varied background has proven beneficial to working with individuals as well as small business owners.
She is continuously driven to increase her knowledge in many industry specialty areas to better serve her clients at Simmons Capital Group. Audra helps lead seminars on insurance planning and social security, and she works in collaboration with her partners and other colleagues to provide comprehensive financial planning for her clients, helping them minimize risk and find success in retirement.
As a small business owner, Audra enjoys working with other proprietors to find ways to make their businesses stronger, more competitive, and sustainable, helping ensure their own personal retirement.
While she relishes the challenges of her day job, Audra also maintains a passion for design and enjoys keeping up on current trends–helping friends with design projects in her spare time. Her love of the outdoors leads her to continually work on a perennial garden and indulge in sporting activities when possible. And when the weather is not so good, she can be found cooking up a storm in the kitchen.
Partner/COO & CCO
Simmons Capital Group
Kathy Leyden joined CDPHP in 2013 and currently serves as Director of Medicaid Innovation. In this position, she helps design and implement new programs to meet the needs of the CDPHP’s rising Medicaid membership and coordinates both internal and external resources for Medicaid members throughout the Capital Region. Kathy utilizes her expertise to implement creative solutions for promoting greater health equity among at-risk populations. Prior to CDPHP, Kathy worked as deputy director for Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, where she gained valuable experience and insight into issues around poverty and the social determinants of health. Kathy received her Master’s Degree in Social Welfare from the University at Albany and is a Licensed Master Social Worker in NYS. Kathy is a 2012 recipient of the Albany Business Review’s 40 Under Forty award. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Board for the Albany County Coalition on Homelessness. Kathy is a lifelong resident of the Capital District and lives with her husband and two dogs in Glenmont.
Director of Medicaid Innovation
Associate Director for Academic Community Engagement