Team

Marsha Palanci, Founder/CEO

In her 20 years at the helm of Cornerstone, Marsha has built the agency’s reputation on its proven ability to create awareness for lifestyle brands from around the world. Previously, Marsha was Vice President, Public Relations for Schieffelin & Company (now Moët Hennessy USA) where she managed media relations and special events campaigns for Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon, Hennessy Cognac, Marqués de Riscal, Simi and Domaine Chandon. Her career began as Assistant Director of Public Relations at Sopexa/Food & Wines from France, implementing US campaigns for French luxury foods, wines and spirits.

Marsha is a board member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, New York City Chapter, an international association of leading women in the hospitality field and serves as a trustee to CancerCare©. She holds a Masters degree in Medieval French literature from Kent State University.

A woman of diverse interests, Marsha collects artwork by female artists, enjoys exotic travel – frequently on a bike – and delights in gardening on her Manhattan terrace. A seven-time marathon runner, she believes fitness is really only a means to enjoying a good meal. An avid cook, she studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris as well as with Mario Batali at the Capezzana Cooking School in Tuscany.  Follow her on Twitter @marshapalanci.

Beth Cotenoff, Senior Vice President

Beth joined Cornerstone in 2007 and has 20 years of international business experience.  Previously, she was a Vice President at DeVries Public Relations where she created and managed initiatives for Gallo’s international wine brands including Ecco Domani and Red Bicyclette.  Former Director of PR at Sopexa USA, Beth ran public relations programs for the Bordeaux Wine Bureau, Alsace Wines, the Cognac Bureau, Calvados, Richart Chocolat and others.  Beth began her career in the hospitality industry with the Accor Hotel Group in New York and in Paris, France.  She is a certified TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) instructor.

Beth graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in French from Tufts University and studied at the Sorbonne and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. She holds Intermediate and Advanced Certificates in Wine & Spirits from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and is a Certified Spanish Wine Educator. Beth has also worked as a sales consultant for Astor Wine & Spirits in New York City. Fluent in French, Beth is pursuing Spanish studies. Follow @betherica for wine and culinary adventures in NYC and abroad.

Elyse Genderson, Senior Account Executive

Elyse Genderson’s passion for wine began when she spent summers working in her family’s generations-old wine shop in Washington, DC.  Expanding her exposure to the world of wine, she lived in Argentina and taught English courses as a certified TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) instructor, while also experiencing wine throughout Mendoza and Salta.

Elyse then worked at Gregory White PR, where she managed several luxury wine and spirits brands including Moët Hennessy Estates and Wines, Mount Gay Rum, Wölffer Estate Vineyard, Yarden Wines from Israel, and Craggy Range Wines from New Zealand. Additionally, Elyse completed a public relations internship with Weber Shandwick in Chicago and served as Staff Assistant in the Office of Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

Elyse graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA in English Literature and a BA in Political Science.  She plans to continue her wine education with courses at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust in the near future.

Brendan Drewniany, Account Executive

Brendan’s zeal for wine, luxury spirits and travel, has synchronized with his work in media relations, digital strategy and marketing.  After studying archaeology abroad in Ireland and graduating from Sewanee: The University of the South with a B.A. in Anthropology, Brendan went to work in public relations for a NY State Attorney General Candidate.

Brendan was then recruited to create and implement the digital and online marketing strategy for a venture-capital start-up in Chicago. Recently, Brendan worked for Abelow PR where he managed media relations and headed up digital strategy for numerous luxury spirits and travel brands, including Martin Miller’s Gin, Esencia Estate, Las Terrazas Resort & Residences, Sublime Samana Hotel & Residences, The Lodge at Pico Bonito and Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge.

Brendan’s tenure as innkeeper and event organizer at the illustrious Hedges Inn in East Hampton, New York, gives him an inside perspective into the luxury hospitality as well as wine and spirits spheres.

Brendan plans to enroll in wine education programs in the near future to further his expertise in the wine and spirits sectors.

Casey Galasso, Account Coordinator

The newest member of the Cornerstone team, Casey graduated summa cum laude from Marist College with a BA in public relations and journalism and a minor in psychology. As an undergrad, Casey interned with Seventeen Magazine and served as public relations chair for her sorority and St. Jude’s “Up ’til Dawn” program. A summer spent as an intern for a wine and spirits distributor sparked her interest in the wonderful world of travel, wine, and food.

Casey is looking forward to expanding her wine and culinary education and is eager to soak up as much as she can about the hospitality industry.

An avid runner and fitness enthusiast, Casey is never without a pair of running shoes and delights in discovering healthy, delicious and rich recipes to try.

 

Lesley Hennen, Account Coordinator

Lesley graduated from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University where she curated her own curriculum earning a B.A. of Creativity and Capitalism and a minor in Media, Culture and Communications. Growing up in the Midwest, Lesley was always searching for a way to combine her two interests of writing and business, which she eventually found in the world of public relations.

In the fall of 2012, Lesley studied abroad in Shanghai, China, where she studied Global Media Communications, and spent the rest of her time traveling throughout China. Lesley has also traveled to Japan, Scotland, Spain, Italy, France and England, and hopes to make Greece her next travel destination.

Most recently, Lesley interned with Deussen Global Communications where she worked with luxury spirits clients including Kweichow Moutai, Blue Nectar Tequila and Sobieski Vodka.

Lesley is looking forward to continuing her public relations career while learning everything she can about the wine industry.