Marianne Ruggiero
Founder and President

Marianne Ruggiero founded Optima Careers after 25 years as a senior human-resources executive in New York City and abroad. Her experience covers a range of industries and types of firms, from small entrepreneurial companies to global corporations, from financial services to professional services to fashion, including prominent companies such as American Express, Citigroup, ING, J. Crew, and Salomon Brothers. Well-versed in nurturing promising talent, she has created staffing, development and coaching programs and accelerated the growth of numerous management teams. Marianne has contributed to the Harvard Business Review and regularly addresses business and education groups. She has an MBA in Organizational Development from Pace University.


Rachel Hammerman
Career Consultant and Mindful Communication Coach

Rachel Hammerman brings 15 years experience in strategic communications to her work as a consultant and coach, helping people articulate their aspirations, put meaning into what they do and fulfill their potential to work and live with ease. She started with Optima Careers in 2015, first going through the career discovery process with Marianne and then becoming certified to offer the Optima Careers consulting process. Rachel supports clients with career management, business development, communications strategy, personal branding and job search.

Rachel excels at helping individuals and companies understand and articulate their purpose and competitive advantage in a way that generates awareness and creates demand. She has a wide range of experience supporting executives at media companies, ad agencies, law firms, startups, global corporations, healthcare organizations, government agencies, academic institutions and nonprofits. Her most visible work to date was helping the creators of This American Life launch the hit podcast, Serial.

Rachel integrates insight meditation practices into her work with clients. Insight meditation is a resiliency training that helps people cultivate the skills of mindful decision-making and compassionate communication, so they may be of greater benefit to themselves and others at work and at home. Rachel has a BA from Tufts University, participated in Stanford's Compassion Cultivation Training and completed The Nalanda Institute's Two-Year Mindfulness and Compassion-based Psychotherapy Certificate Program. She lives in Brooklyn with her girlfriend Dana and their dog, Blue.


Tugce Ercaliskan
Managing Director, Optima Careers Turkey

Tugce Ercaliskan opened Optima Careers Turkey in 2009 to help early- and mid-career professionals manage their work life more strategically. Tugce believes strongly in the power of self-discovery. She consults with individuals and organizations on career management, from discovering and redirecting career paths to re-launching in new fields. She has held various Human Resources positions at Citigroup in New York, providing coaching support to senior-level staff on strategic talent management and training, and leading key efforts in high-potential development and employee management. Tugce received her Master’s degree in organizational psychology from Columbia University and has served as president of the Columbia Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. She has written research papers on performance management, organization turnover and resistance to change.


Tony Farina
Consultant and Professor

Compensation is a critical part of career goal-setting and strategy, and Tony Farina’s experience is well-suited to help guide Optima clients at every stage of their careers. Those in the financial services industry, which has seen multiple pay and regulatory changes over the past few years, will find his background and expertise invaluable in preparing for compensation conversations, from negotiating new job offers to contracts and separation agreements.

Tony has an extensive background in compensation, working as an in-house human resources executive. He has held senior-level generalist and compensation positions with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and American Express. In addition he has been a management consultant for Organization Resources Counselors, Inc. (ORC) working with clients in a broad range of industries.

In addition to his professional experience, Tony has taught courses in human resources at New York University and has been a guest lecturer on human resources, performance management, compensation and corporate governance at Cornell, Yale and the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. He is currently directing the Business Consulting program at Baruch's Zicklin School of Business in New York City. 

Along with Cynthia Lenkiewicz, Esq., he wrote “The Impact of Recent Corporate Governance Changes in Executive Compensation” chapter in Executive Compensation: the Professional’s Guide to Current Issues and Practices, ed. Michael L. Davis and Jerry T. Edge, 2004.