Who We Are
Turf is a team of infrastructure, technology and finance experts with 130+ years of experience.
Lisa Diaz (she/her)
Lisa is the Managing Partner and Founder of Turf Advisory. She provides public and private sector clients with strategic and tactical advice on designing, financing and managing next-generation infrastructure to build smarter cities. Lisa is responsible for business development and oversees partnerships with AWS Marketplace, Rubicon Global, The Trust for Public Land, Philips Lighting, Bronx Pro, Save the Sound among others. She curates innovative and pragmatic technology-powered solutions, working with clients to market their services to both the public and the private sectors. Lisa identifies opportunities to leverage Smart Cities Technologies to maximize the quality and efficiency of projects.
Lisa is the Smart Infrastructure Executive-in-Residence at the Baker Program in Real Estate, Cornell University; Guest Lecturer, Cornell Tech. She is a Committee Chair for Westchester Climate Crisis Taskforce, a member of the Steering Committee of NY Blue Tech and a member of the Smart Cities NY Advisory Board. She is also a member of the NYCSBS MWBE Construction Mentorship Program and the Women’s Builders Council.
Prior to her focus on urban innovation, Lisa was President and CEO of Prince Street Capital Management, an emerging markets asset management company. She was also a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs spearheading the firm’s relationship with Sovereign Wealth Funds, global hedge funds and mutual fund complexes. Her nearly three-decade career on Wall Street spanned capital markets, research, prime brokerage across the capital structure and globe.
John Tormondsen Jr. (he/him)
John is a project manager at Turf who manages day to day operations, communications and client deliverables. An aspiring lawyer, he put his legal education on hold to bring his strong problem solving and organizational skills to the Turf team. Prior to joining the company, John worked at both a legal non-profit organization and foreign exchange hedge fund.
John graduated from Dartmouth College where he majored in Political Science with a focus on public policy. His interest in city governance and the built-environment has only grown since joining Turf.
Kareem Tayara (he/him)
Venture Capital Specialist
Kareem Tayara is a technology and consulting expert with over 10 years of experience who has worked with Turf since 2019.
Kareem’s experience includes Battery Road Digital––an emerging market venture fund where he worked on venture capital due diligence and deal structuring––and Prince Street Capital––an emerging market investment company, where he worked on investment research within the technology sector as well as marketing and investor relations.
Previously, Kareem spent 7 years as part of a boutique strategy consulting and corporate finance company in Dubai working across the Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. While there he consulted on several infrastructure projects. Kareem attended Durham University; he is a native of Lebanon and is conversant in Arabic and French.
Roger Begelman (he/him)
General Counsel and COO
Roger is Chief Operation Officer and General Counsel. He spearheads operations management, executes compliance procedures and advises on legal matters. Previously, Roger was a Managing Director and co-chief compliance officer of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. He was the primary liaison with new regulators (Federal Reserve Board of NY, Department of Financial Services) for bank compliance reviews. He was responsible for firmwide development of compliance strategy, policy, and systems for global control rooms, regulatory reporting, and surveillance systems.
Corey Baker (he/they)
Design Thinking Specialist
Corey is a graduate student at Stanford University studying Management Science & Engineering with a concentration in Technology and Engineering Management. Prior to this, he worked for a year as a Product Manager at New York-based AI startup Dataminr. While at Dataminr, he worked with Data Scientists on Computer Vision model releases, led the integration of a strategic source enabling the detection of threats against persons of interest for Fortune 500 companies, and partnered with Engineering to ensure the data pipeline guaranteed timely alert delivery.
Corey has also worked at Warner Bros. Discovery as Technical Product Management Intern, Stanford University as a Human-Computer Interaction Researcher, and as a Design Intern at a variety of start-ups ranging from sustainable fashion to IoT sensors. Their undergraduate major was Product Design with a minor in Computer Science.
Maddy Faul (she/her)
Urban Governance and Built Environment Specialist
Maddy initially joined Turf Advisory in 2019 as an Analyst and Research Assistant while attending Stanford University. She has since graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies, with a concentration in Urban Sustainability. In this position and previous positions with Turf, she primarily assists in the production and publication of consulting reviews. The scope of her work includes performing research and other tasks on behalf of multinational clients on subjects within the urban environment, such as smart infrastructure opportunities or other potential target markets. She further assists with audits of client marketing materials and other communications. As an analyst, she gathers, documents and analyzes macroeconomic trends related to the future of cities and the opportunities therein. As an Urban Governance and Built Environment Specialist, she provides unique insights fostered through her studies and her work within the public sector.
In compliment with her job at Turf Advisory, Maddy currently works as a planning intern in the Community Development Department of a San Francisco Bay Area municipality.