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Management Team

The Council is led by an experienced team of professionals, each with a unique area of expertise. Together, they share a common mission – to inform, guide and advocate for the retailers of New York.

Ted Potrikus | Robert Leonard | Melissa O'Connor

Ted Potrikus – President and Chief Executive Officer

Ted PotrikusTed Potrikus manages the daily operation of the Council, overseeing its government relations and member service offerings, as well as its business affairs. He joined the Retail Council in 1989 as director of public affairs and was promoted in 1996 to vice president. He was promoted in 2000 to senior vice president and director of government relations and again in 2003 to executive vice president. The Council elected him to its board of directors as vice chairman in 2008. He also serves as chairman of Retail Council Services Corp., the Council’s wholly-owned subsidiary.

Ted appears frequently on media outlets throughout New York State and has been a guest on BBC World News, National Public Radio, MSNBC, and other international media.

Representing New York’s retailers for more than 25 years before New York’s state government and its various iterations, he has helped guide the industry through challenges including the successful campaign to make New York the first state to require the collection of sales tax on Internet purchases, the appropriate regulation of gift cards, and, in 2013, co-authored “The Customers’ Bill of Rights,” working with leading civil rights groups to underscore the retail industry’s commitment to shopping equity.

Ted’s previous work included two years as a member of the New York State Senate Education Committee staff, and nearly two years as editor of a community weekly newspaper in suburban Rochester, New York. He holds a Bachelor’s degree (1984) in communication / journalism from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, and is a native of Cooperstown, New York. He and his wife, Angela, reside in Niskayuna, New York and are parents of daughters Lianna and Maggie.

Aside from his goal to push the Retail Council to new levels of success on behalf of its members small and large, Ted works to create the perfect 25-song playlist for his iPod and complete the New York Times crossword each day.

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Robert Leonard – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Robert LeonardRobert Leonard supervises all aspects of the Council's finances and program operations, most notably the various membership insurance products and the merchant services/credit card processing program. Mr. Leonard is licensed by the New York State Department of Financial Services in Property & Casualty and Life, Accident and Health.

Mr. Leonard joined the Council in 2001 as director of sales and marketing with more than a decade of sales, retail and insurance experience. He supervised member recruitment and other marketing activities that feature the Retail Council’s money-saving programs. Mr. Leonard was promoted to vice president in November 2008.

Prior to joining the Council, Mr. Leonard worked in claim services for Allstate Insurance Company and Enterprise Rent-a-Car. In addition to his responsibilities for the Council, Mr. Leonard is executive vice president and chief financial officer of RCSC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Retail Council. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Clarkson University.

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Melissa O’Connor – Senior Vice President and Director of Government Relations

Melissa O'ConnorMelissa O'Connor manages the Council's government relations program. In this role, she serves as the voice for the retail industry by taking members' concerns and ideas directly to New York State's Governor, Attorney General, Legislature and regulatory agencies.

Ms. O'Connor joined the Retail Council as government relations associate in 2005, and was promoted to assistant director of government relations in 2010. Prior to joining the Council, she was an intern with the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities where she researched current laws and proposed legislation, as well as various grants and fundraising opportunities.

Ms. O'Connor holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and a master’s in business administration from the College of St. Rose. She resides in Latham, N.Y. with her husband and son.