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.

 

Amini Fonua, Account Coordinator

Amini Fonua graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunication and Multimedia Studies, along with a minor in Creative Writing.  After graduating in May 2013, he moved to New York with an internship at DeVries Public Relations, where he worked on the P&G Everyday, Pepperidge Farm, Samuel Adams, New Amsterdam Spirits, and Zippo Lighter accounts.

An accomplished swimmer, Amini accepted a swimming scholarship to Texas A&M in 2008.  During his time on the swim team, he was elected Team Captain, and competed at the 2012 London Olympics for the nation of Tonga.  He also held the Tongan flag at the Opening Parade of Nations.

He joined Cornerstone in February 2014.

Courtney Schiessl, Account Executive

Courtney joined Cornerstone in 2011, after graduating from Fordham University in the Bronx earlier that year.  Prior to joining the agency, she completed internships in media and public relations at The TODAY Show and SELF Magazine, as well as an internship in non-profit event-planning at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

While earning her BA in Communication and Media Studies, Courtney was an active part of University life, working with the undergraduate admissions team and managing a main-stage theatre group. Working to become Cornerstone’s resident beer aficionado, Courtney is currently a Certified Beer Server through the Cicerone Certification Program. She also holds her Advanced Certificate through the Wine & Spirits Education Trust and is studying to become a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers.  Follow Courtney on Twitter @TakeItToCourt.