Board of Commissioners
All Board members are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the State Senate and receive no salary in connection with the performance of their duties. The Chairman and Vice Chairman are voted upon by the Board. The members of the Board must be NYSIF policyholders. One commissioner is appointed by the Governor upon recommendation by the New York State AFL-CIO and one upon recommendation of the Business Council of New York State. NYSIF day-to-day operations are managed by an Executive Director, appointed by the Board of Commissioners.
Mary Beth Woods joined NYSIF on March 23, 2021, following her appointment as NYSIF Acting Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer by the NYSIF Board of Commissioners. Ms. Woods came to NYSIF from the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), where she served as Executive Director for the past five years. Before that, she served as Director of Financial Administration and the Director of Licensing at WCB.
At WCB, Ms. Woods was responsible for the daily administration of the 1,100-employee, $200-million executive branch agency, including managing annual revenues in excess of $1 billion. Ms. Woods was instrumental in the Board’s successful implementation of Governor Cuomo’s Paid Family Leave initiative in 2018.
Ms. Woods also led the Board’s reengineering effort, ensuring industry input and needs were addressed in the overall system redesign. This included gaining consensus from a variety of stakeholders, such as the Business Council of New York State, the New York State AFL-CIO, carriers, attorneys and other industry groups.
As Director of Financial Administration, Ms. Woods oversaw the Board’s administrative and financial functions, including the management of special funds, the annual agency budget and bond programs with capacity totaling more than $5 billion. Ms. Woods also supported the Board’s efforts to successfully meet the needs of business and workers in implementing the Business Relief Act of 2013.
Prior to joining the Board, Ms. Woods was a Budget Analyst with the NYS Division of the Budget from 1990 – 1998. Her duties led to analysis/oversight of agency budgets for the State Insurance Fund and the Workers’ Compensation Board, involving budgeting issues ranging from privatization to computer modernization.
Ms. Woods has a BS in Business Administration from Siena College and is a Certified Public Accountant. She also serves as a member of the Board of Governors for the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board.
NYSIF Executive Staff
Shirley Stark, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Executive Director: Shirley joined NYSIF after more than 22 years of service in the Office of the New York State Attorney General, including serving as section chief of the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection. Shirley has worked at NYSIF for 11 years, during which time she has served NYSIF in many important roles such as Deputy General Attorney, Deputy Executive Director, and, for the past five years, as Chief of Staff. In that role, Shirley successfully oversaw a complete revamp of NYSIF’s website, directed the implementation of a redesigned premium bill for NYSIF’s 200,000 policyholders and led NYSIF’s rebranding initiative, which has been particularly well received by our employees and customers. Shirley was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in November 2019.
Tanisha Edwards, Esq., General Attorney: Tanisha joined NYSIF in 2019 after serving more than three years as Assistant Counsel to the Governor for Taxation & Financial Services in Governor Cuomo's Counsel's Office. In that role, Tanisha advised the Governor and his cabinet on legal affairs involving taxation, insurance and banking. These responsibilities included managing legal issues for the Department of Tax and Finance, the Department of Financial Services and NYSIF. Before joining the Governor’s Office, Tanisha spent 10 years at the New York City Council, serving as Chief Counsel to the Finance Division, as well as serving as Counsel to the Finance Committee. Prior to working at the City Council, Tanisha served as the Legislative Counsel at the Office of the New York City Comptroller. Tanisha earned a JD from Rutgers University School of Law and a BA from Syracuse University.
Joseph Mullen, Deputy Executive Director and Director of Policyholder Services: Joe joined NYSIF in 1997 as a senior budget analyst and has gone on to serve in many roles, including Director of Financial Administration and Director of Administration. In his current role, Joe is responsible for overseeing NYSIF’s statewide underwriting, premium audit and field services operations along with statewide PHS business office operations. Since his appointment to this position in 2018, Joe has guided several critical initiatives, including a streamlined online quote and application process, an underwriting reorganization to better meet the needs of our customers, and significant updates to our premium audit process. Joe holds an MBA from the College of St. Rose and a BS in Business Economics & Accounting from SUNY Oneonta.
Joseph Nolte, Director of Claims Operations: Joe joined NYSIF in 1982 as a claims examiner and has been involved in every aspect of Claims operations during his 39 years with NYSIF. He most recently served in several senior positions, including Assistant Director of Business Operations, Central Regional Director for Claims, and Deputy Director of Claims Operations. He is a graduate of Siena College and holds a BS in Marketing and Management.
Patricia Carroll, Director of Administration: Patti joined NYSIF after 17 years with the NYS Department of Labor where she served in accounting and budget roles, including the Director of Agency Budget Services. Patti has been with NYSIF for nearly 13 years, serving in several administrative titles, most recently as Director of Financial Administration. In her current role, Patti oversees Human Resources, Personnel, Procurement & Contracts, Labor Relations and Facilities. Most recently, Patti was part of the team responsible for the successful implementation of NYSIF headquarters’ renovation project. Patti is a graduate of Russell Sage College with a BS in Accounting and a minor in Economics.
William Gratrix, Chief Financial Officer: Bill has responsibility for the Accounting and Financial Reporting, Actuarial, Treasury, and Financial Planning and Analysis functions at NYSIF. After more than a decade as a Senior Manager in international public accounting firms, Bill made meaningful strategic and leadership contributions to major financial services companies in the property/casualty, life insurance, mortgage finance, banking and investment management industries. Bill holds an MBA in Accounting from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a BA in Speech Communications from the State University of New York. He has held the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designations in New York and Maryland.
Melissa Jensen, Director, Executive Project Management Office (EPMO): Melissa joined NYSIF in 2015 after 10 years at the Department of Insurance, where she served as an associate budget analyst and a project manager on the team overseeing the merger of the Banking and Insurance Departments into the newly-created Department of Financial Services. At NYSIF, Melissa helped to establish the new EPMO division, where she has facilitated many strategic planning projects, defined and implemented numerous policies, and effectively implemented the NYS Lean initiative agency wide. Melissa also manages NYSIF's Disability Benefits unit and oversaw the agency's successful implementation of Governor Cuomo's Paid Family Leave program in 2018. Melissa has a BS in Accounting from Empire State College and holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification through the Project Management Institute.
Lawrence C. Montle, Chief Information Security Officer and Privacy Officer: Lawrence is responsible for the development and implementation of a comprehensive information security plan to improve and ensure agency security levels. Prior to joining NYSIF, Lawrence served as internal audit director for the Department of Financial Services, where he oversaw audits and monitored compliance and adherence to policies and internal controls. Lawrence also served as IT director at the New York Liquidation Bureau and worked at Verizon as an auditor and engineer for over a decade. He holds certifications in information privacy (CIPP/US, CIPT), information systems auditing (CISA) and is licensed to practice law in NY and DC. Lawrence also teaches Information Privacy Law at New York Law School, where he earned his JD. Lawrence holds an MBA from Fordham University and a BA from New York University.