Our team has more than 30 year's experience identifying anomalies and recognizing patterns of change. By design, we retain a team with diverse backgrounds and talents to ensure we include a variety of perspectives in our process.
Charles Hess developed the technique of inference reading while earning his B.A. in Political Science at the University of Rochester. By reading outside his field of study, he found he was able to create connections and piece together a more realistic perspective of world economic, political and social events. Recognizing the implications of inference reading for business, Mr. Hess helped develop its steady growth and development. In 1980, as a leader in the field, he helped found Inferential Focus.
Kenneth Hey, managing partner and writer, holds an M.A. in Renaissance Humanities and a Ph.D. in American Studies. Mr. Hey received a Fulbright Lectureship to the University of Rome, Italy, for 1976-1977. He also participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. In 1985, he received a Silver Award at the Houston International Film Festival for his feature-length documentary, Southern Voices, American Dreams, an overview of the American South in the 1970’s. After fourteen years as a professor at Brooklyn College, where he served as Chairman of the Film Department, he became a partner at Inferential Focus. Also formerly a film critic for USA Today magazine, Mr. Hey’s continuing achievements in diverse fields contribute a unique dimension to research and published reports at Inferential Focus. His writing has appeared in the popular, professional and scholarly press.
Fran Insinga has served as Chief Operating Officer since the earliest days of Inferential Focus. She, along with managing partner Charles Hess, has been with the company from its inception. Fran has had a long career at Inferential Focus working with investment firms where she acted as a registered broker and general principal. Her current duties include management of office operations, the administrative staff as well as being directly involved in financial aspects of the firm.
Risa Hess, is a managing director, writer and member of the intelligence, client service and investment teams. She also leads Inferential Focus’ due diligence initiatives for Private Equity clients. Risa holds a B.S. from the University of Rhode Island in Fashion and Textiles with a minor in Fine Arts including a senior honors colloquium thesis in photography. Ms. Hess spent 20 years in the fashion industry spending the first half as a buyer for Lord & Taylor. Her successive stint as product development coordinator for the country’s largest buying office took her on extensive travels throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Eric Zavolinsky is a Managing Director, Applied Intelligence at Inferential Focus. Eric leads the content team and Inferential Focus’ digital initiatives. He is also a writer and member of the intelligence, client service and investment teams. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from Washington and Lee University. Prior to joining Inferential Focus in 2002, Mr. Zavolinsky worked in the entertainment and technology industries at CDNOW, an online music retailer, and at Island Def Jam Records. Mr. Zavolinsky began his career as a freelance television producer, including a job as the highlight producer at the 1998 U.S. Open for USA Network.
Michael J. Hines is the managing director of client service for Inferential Focus, a writer and also a member of the intelligence and investment teams. He holds an A.B. from Harvard University in Social Studies with a thesis in Economic Sociology, and maintains an ongoing interest in social and consumer change. An avid world traveler with studies in four languages, he takes particular interest in the development of emerging markets and in international relations. Prior to working at Inferential Focus, Mr. Hines worked for WIEGO, an international NGO that organizes women in the informal economy of emerging markets. Mr. Hines is the principal author of inFocus.
Eric Brezina is a Senior Director at Inferential Advisory, responsible for new business development and client service initiatives. Prior to working with Inferential Focus, Eric spent over 14 years developing and maintaining firm-wide equity relationships with Institutional Equity clients at UBS, Barclays Capital, and Lehman Brothers. He graduated from Drake University with a B.A. in History and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Eric is a member of the CFA Society of Chicago and is a CFA charter holder.
Melissa Cipolla started her administrative career in New York City 17 years ago. Prior to joining the team at Inferential Focus, she held positions at Nathan & Lewis Securities and Calvin Klein Inc., where she served in the capacity of executive administrative support to management. Since joining Inferential Focus in 2002, Melissa has held the position of Senior Executive Administrative Assistant to Charles Hess. Melissa also serves as our chief travel coordinator for the Managing Partners and Directors.
Lauren Wonica graduated magna cum laude from St. John’s University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in pre-professional Business. She started her administrative career with Inferential Focus right out of school and has remained an integral part of our company ever since. Lauren has been the key force behind coordinating our Executive Forums. Across time, Lauren’s responsibilities have grown to the degree that she now executes dual roles as Administrative Director of front office operations, as well as Executive Assistant to Ken Hey.
Theresa is a 2011 graduate from SUNY Oneonta where she majored in Communications and minored in Computer Art. She joined the team at Inferential Focus in 2011 and has assumed many responsibilities within our front office operations. In addition to assisting the Directors in day-to-day operations, she serves a key role in the production and distribution of reports and other client communications. In the past year, Theresa has also assumed the role of our in-house Events Coordinator.
Gerarda Pizzarello graduated from Rutgers University, Douglass College with two B.A. degrees, one in English and one Sociology. Her academic achievements are complemented by artistic and project management skills, having spent over a decade leading projects for plays and feature films in the NY and NJ areas. She is an alumni of the Julliard School in NY. She served on the faculty of The Studio School of Stage Design. Gerarda later went on to become Charge Scenic Artist at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ. Her film career began by working with Director John Sayles as Scenic Foreman on his 1996 film Lone Star. Since joining United Scenic Artists, her professional career spans across Broadway, opera at both the Metropolitan Opera and the Wolf Trap Opera, network television and feature films. Television and film work includes: Saturday Night Live, Sex and the City, Law and Order: Criminal, A Beautiful Mind, City by the Sea, Mona Lisa Smile, the Manchurian Candidate, Spiderman 2 and Definitely Maybe. After more than a decade in show business, she has turned her attention back to work in the private sector where she currently holds a position as staff artist for Inferential Focus.