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Produced by Presented by
Commemorative Album
32nd
Annual
1989 1990 1991 1992
Karen Makowski,
KeyBank, N.A.
Mary Martino,
Canisius College
Mary Ann Lauricella,
Lauricella Public Relations Co.
Christeen Kanowski (deceased),
Merchants Mutual Insurance
Thank you to our amazing Executive Committee members
who have been an invaluable part of the ATHENA process.
Members
Trina Burruss | President/CEO | United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
Lorrie Clemo | President | D’Youville University
Juweria Dahir | Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship | Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
Melissa Free | SVP & Chief Marketing Officer | Seneca Gaming Corporation
Rhonda Frederick | President and CEO | People, Inc.
Rachael Ireland | Social Impact & Community Engagement Specialist | Rich Products
Danielle Ossher | Editor | Buffalo Magazine
Mary Owusu | CEO & Head of Digital | SprintMarketer.com
Teresa Sprague | Creative Services Manager | Independent Health
Vilona Trachtenberg | Distribution Coordinator | New Era Cap Company
Elizabeth Woike-Ganga | President/CEO | BestSelf Behavioral Health
Sujata Yalamanchili | Partner | Hodgson Russ LLP
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership has been honored to produce the ATHENA
Awards®
since1989. The award is celebrated around the world in more than
500 communities and 8 countries and recognizes contributions made by
individuals and organizations to advance the status of women. The ATHENA
Awards®
Luncheon is the region’s most prestigious event recognizing the
professional accomplishments of exceptional individuals and organizations
dedicated to the advancement of women in Buffalo Niagara.
2
1993 1994 1995 1996
Elizabeth Cappella,
Buffalo State College
Cindy Vastola,
Vastola Heating & Air Conditioning
Nancy Nielsen M.D., Ph.D.,
Buffalo General Hospital
Linda Duch,
KeyBank, N.A.
FINALISTS FOR THE
2023 ATHENA
LEADERSHIP AWARD®
The ATHENA Leadership Award®
honors an exceptional individual who has achieved
the highest level of professional excellence, contributed time and energy to improve
the quality of life for others in the community, and actively assisted others—particularly
women—in realizing their full leadership potential.
Jamie Batt
Partner | Rupp Pfalzgraf LLC
Jamie Batt is a Partner and Business Law Group leader
in the law firm of Rupp Pfalzgraf LLC where she focuses
her practice on mergers and acquisitions and business
succession planning.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from
Duquesne University where she was a scholarship
athlete on the school’s Division I tennis team. She then
went on to earn an MBA from the State University of
New York at Buffalo School of Management and a law degree from the University
at Buffalo School of Law.
Jamie has been practicing law for more than 16 years and is a former business
editor of the Buffalo Criminal Law Review. She has been recognized among the
Upstate New York Super Lawyers and the Legal Elite of Western New York
Jamie serves as a board member of the WNY Women’s Foundation and Explore &
More, The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum. She is also an advisory member
of Women United, a network of women in support of the United Way of Buffalo &
Erie County
3
1997 1998 2000 2001
Virginia Purcell Oehler,
United Cerebral Palsy of Western New York
Linda Heary Joseph,
Buchanan Ingersoll P.C.
Marsha Henderson,
Keybank, N.A.
Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted M.D.
(deceased), Private Practice
Gwendolyn Bork
Independent Financial Advisor |
The Legend Group
Gwendolyn Bork is an Independent Financial Advisor with
the Legend Group in Getzville, New York. She serves as an
advisor to high-net-worth philanthropists, entrepreneurs,
and community leaders throughout the region. She also
works as a consultant and impact strategist for business
owners and nonprofit groups seeking to create a legacy in
the community.
Gwendolyn is the founder and president of FOCUS (For Our Community Unity & Support), a
nonprofit committed to uniting sectors such as business, government, and schools to promote
drug prevention education, awareness, and drug-free events for youth within the community.
She is the published author of “Walking the Fine Line,” a book about discovering purpose
after a near-death experience.
In addition to FOCUS, Gwendolyn volunteers as president of the WNY Regional NAF Advisory
Board representing thirteen school districts currently operating a NAF Academy – a high
school educational program dedicated to providing students with the skills and abilities to be
college and career ready.
Dr. Allison Brashear
Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean,
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical
Sciences | University at Buffalo
Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, is an internationally
recognized neurologist, accomplished researcher, and
health science administrator. Dr. Brashear was appointed
vice president for health sciences at the University at
Buffalo and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and
Biomedical Sciences in 2021.
She is currently a principal investigator on a unique genetic form of dystonia known as Rapid-
onset Dystonia-Parkinsonism, studies which are ongoing with researchers at UB. Earlier results
on this research have been published in numerous journals.
Outside of her research and work at the university, Dr. Brashear has been involved with the
WNY Women’s Foundation, All In, HEALTHeLINK, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and AAMC
Council of Deans. She also serves on the McKnight Brain Research Foundation Board, and the
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
4
2002 2003 2004 2005
Maureen Hurley,
Rich Products Corporation
Kathleen Balus,
Pioneer Credit Recovery Inc.
Pamela Davis Heilman,
Hodgson Russ LLP
Mary Kate O’Connell,
O’Connell & Company
Jody Briandi
President/Managing Partner | Hurwitz Fine P.C.
Jody Briandi is a general litigation attorney and President/
Managing Partner of Hurwitz Fine P.C. She leads the firm’s
Board of Directors and chairs the firm’s Premises Liability,
Retail & Hospitality Liability, and School District Litigation
practice groups.
Jody has extensive experience representing retail,
corporate, insurance, commercial transportation, and
municipal clients in the full range of litigated matters and
liability claims. She also represents a number of self-insured
corporate clients for whom she handles all of their litigated
matters ranging from premises and product liability to transportation negligence and for whom
she has conducted extensive in-house training on litigation preventative measures, strategies,
and legal updates. She has significant experience in professional liability, most specifically in the
area of legal malpractice.
Currently, Jody serves on the Board of Directors for the Amherst Chamber of Commerce,
Buffalo State University Foundation, and the Western New York Women’s Foundation. She also
routinely speaks and writes on diversity and gender equity topics.
Dr. Christine Farrow, CRC, CEAP
Commissioner of Jurors for Erie County |
New York State Unified Court System
Dr. Christine Farrow is Commissioner of Jurors for Erie
County in the New York State Unified Court System. She
was appointed to her position in 2021 after serving as
Deputy/Acting Commissioner of Jurors. Dr. Farrow is the
first female and the first African American to hold the title
of Commissioner in Erie County.
In addition to overseeing jury operations for all courts
within the county, Dr. Farrow is also an adjunct professor at the University at Buffalo, where
she teaches courses in counseling and psychology and serves as a member of the Rehabilitation
Counseling Program’s Advisory Committee. She earned a Master of Science from the University
at Buffalo, Diversity and Inclusion Certification from Cornell University, and a PhD from the
University at Buffalo.
Dr. Farrow is the first ever African American president of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers
Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara, and the Southern Tier. She is also a former Little Sister in the
mentoring program.
5
2006 2007 2008 2009
Muriel Howard Ph.D.,
Buffalo State College
Cheryl Howe,
BlueCross BlueShield of WNY
Ann Evanko
Hurwitz & Fine P.C.
Sharon Lochocki, Keybank, N.A.
Amy Martoche, Esq., Connors & Vilardo, LLP
Alicia Fellows
Executive Director | Person Centered Services
Alicia Fellows serves as Executive Director of
Person Centered Services, an organization that
coordinates care for more than 17,000 people with
intellectual and developmental disabilities in 18
counties. She played a crucial role in designing and
establishing the services the company provides.
As Executive Director, she provides leadership,
direction, and strategic oversight of the
organization as a whole. Alicia was previously Director of Care Coordination for
PCSWNY, a non-profit set up in 2013 to prepare for the path to managed care.
Before joining Person Centered Services, Alicia held various leadership roles in her
17-year tenure at Community Services for Every1, formerly Community Services for
the Developmentally Disabled, serving as Care Coordination Administrator, Behavior
Intervention Specialist and Specialized Case Management Program Coordinator.
Alicia earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in legal studies and master’s degree in social work
from the University at Buffalo. She sits on the Crisis Services for I/DD Advisory Board and on
the OPWDD subcommittee of Erie County’s Community Services Board. She is also a board
member for the nonprofit Sensational Fun and the Care Management Alliance of NY.
Katie Gorman
Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and
Strategic Initiatives | Delaware North
Katie Gorman is Director of Corporate Social Responsibility
(CSR) and Strategic Initiatives for Delaware North, a
global hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo. In
her role, Katie oversees the company’s commitments to its
employees and the communities where it operates.
Delaware North’s ongoing CSR initiatives include
building a diverse and inclusive workplace and network
of strategic partners; making investments to positively impact social determinants of health
for the company’s employees and guests; and being conscientious environmental stewards to
support a healthy planet for future generations.
Katie previously served as Delaware North’s director of executive communications. Prior
to Delaware North, Katie led federal government relations for the University at Buffalo, a
flagship research institution of the State University of New York system. Katie started her
career in the office of United States Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, focusing on
transportation and commerce legislative issues.
6
2010 2011
Sister Denise Roche, GNSH, Ph.D., D’Youville College
Amy Schmit, University at Buffalo’s NYS CBLS
Connie Vari, Kaleida Health
Christine Bonaguide, Hodgson Russ LLP
Tyra Johnson Hux
WNY Operations Director | LISC New York
Tyra Johnson Hux leads efforts to cultivate, design and
implement inclusive economic development programs
for the LISC WNY office. LISC New York focuses on four
areas in the region: livability, housing, income and wealth
building, and neighborhood business. These four areas
work together to increase quality of life for residents and
workers in WNY communities. LISC’s work is done through
partner organizations.
A sought-after speaker, Tyra has conducted several training
programs for professionals in the construction industry.
She offers a series of lectures on the benefits of sustainable practices. Additionally, she serves
as an adjunct professor at Daemen University teaching a Sustainable Business Practices course.
Passionate about community involvement, Tyra serves on the board of directors for 43North
and ECIDA (Erie County Industrial Development Agency). Tyra was named a “WNY Game
Changer” by Buffalo Spree and featured in Buffalo Magazine’s “Women & Power”.
Shantelle Patton
CEO & Founder | That Brown Bag Minority
Business Directory
Shantelle Patton is CEO and Founder of That Brown
Bag Minority Business Directory, a comprehensive
list of minority owned businesses in Buffalo and the
surrounding area. Shantelle created the directory to
promote local minority-owned businesses and educate
the community on the products and services they offer.
There are more than 500 Black-owned businesses listed in
the directory from Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester,
plus some listings from businesses in Toronto.
Shantelle is also president of the Urban Chamber of Commerce in Buffalo and serves as vice
president of sponsorship for ATD Buffalo Niagara, professional association dedicated to the
training and development field in Western New York. In addition, she is a board member for
the WNY Arts Collective, The Foundry, and Buffalo’s Own Artist & Designers Group, Inc.
Shantelle attended Niagara University and prior to launching the business directory completed
the Open Buffalo Emerging Leaders program and the UB Citizens Planning School Champions
for Change program.
7
2023
SAY YES
STUDENT
LEADER
AWARD
Congratulations
Hamida Akter!
Say Yes Buffalo Scholar
Dental Hygiene and Liberal Arts,
SUNY Erie Community College
This award recognizes a Say Yes college scholarship
student who has achieved the highest levels of
academic, community and personal success.
“
Hamida is committed to helping people,
either through the care and attention she shows
during her dental hygiene clinics or through her
lifelong dream to one day open an orphanage in
Bangladesh, her country of origin.
”
— Rachel, Say Yes mentor
Daniella Piper
Regional Manager, Western New York and
Chief Transformation Officer | New York
Power Authority
Daniella Piper is the Regional Manager of the New York
Power Authority’s Western Region, anchored by the
Niagara Power Project, the largest hydroelectric facility
in the Northeast. She also serves as Chief Transformation
Officer, providing leadership to select transformational
initiatives. Prior to this, Daniella held roles of increasing
responsibility including Chief of Staff & VP, Digital Transformation, serving as a trusted advisor
to NYPA’s President and CEO and driving digitalization efforts at the Authority.
She has held roles in multiple departments including the Reliability Standards and Compliance
group and Project Management where she led multiple programs including the Authority’s
Transmission Life Extension and Modernization Program, a $726M program to extend the life
of the Authority’s transmission assets.
Daniella, a licensed professional engineer in New York State, holds a Bachelor’s of
Engineering in electrical engineering from City College of New York, a Master of Science in
Electrical Engineering from New York University, and a Master of Engineering Construction
Management from Manhattan College. In her spare time, she is a mentor in the Workplace
Culture Coaching Program of Westchester Community College.
8
2012 2013
Mary Harley Gresham, Ph.D., University at Buffalo
Katie McKenna, Tops Markets
Lynne Marie Finn, Superior Group
Bridget O’Connell, Child & Family Services
FINALISTS FOR THE 2023
ATHENA YOUNG PROFESSIONAL
LEADERSHIP AWARD®
The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award®
honors an emerging leader
who demonstrates excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession,
contributes time and energy to improving the quality of life for others, and serves as a
role model for young women personally and professionally.
Alexis (Lexxie) Book
Product Owner, Associate Experience Agile
Team | Rich Products
Alexis (Lexxie) Book is a Product Owner, Associate
Experience Agile Team, at Rich Products in Buffalo. She is
a strategic employee engagement and communications
professional with experience in change management,
internal communications, DEI advocacy, and Agile
methodology. She began her career as a corporate
communications intern at Rich Products and was hired as a
communications coordinator. Other roles at the company
leading to her current position include corporate communications specialist and Agile
development specialist.
Lexxie earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and media studies from Canisius
College, during which time she also studied abroad at the University of Galway in Ireland. She
is currently working on her MBA from Canisius College.
She serves as a board member and secretary for Compass House, a Buffalo-based runaway
and homeless youth shelter, and is the founder of the Diabetes Impact Scholarship, which has
awarded $3K in tuition assistance to students living with Type 1 Diabetes.
9
2015 2016
Mary Ann Coulson, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Amy Habib Rittling, Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedmann, LLP
Bridget Niland, Daemen College
Christina Holdsworth
Partner | Goldberg Segalla, LLC
Christina Holdsworth is a Partner in the law firm of
Goldberg Segalla where she focuses her practice on
defending businesses and non-profits in personal
injury matters. Within these areas of the law, Christina
defends professionals, fitness facilities, sporting arenas,
municipal entities, security companies, and more. She
has a particular focus on the defense of mental hygiene
agencies, including understanding the unique laws and
regulations for these types of facilities.
Christina earned a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a
law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. She volunteers as a
mentor for students at the law school, as well as for young attorneys. She also serves as co-
chair of the Women’s Bar Association of New York State LGBT Committee and was a member
of the Erie County Republican Executive Committee.
Christina has volunteered with the Pride Center of Western New York, and as an ambassador
for Dining Out for Life, an annual fundraising event for AIDS service organizations.
Tiffany Gaines
Curatorial & Digital Content Associate |
Burchfield Penney Art Center
Tiffany Gaines is a Curatorial and Digital Content
Associate at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo.
She is a grad student working as curator, writer, and
photographer to highlight the diverse art and artists of
the community. Her role in this multidisciplinary practice
engages new perspectives, utilizing art to create a more
understanding and empathetic future.
Tiffany graduated from Buffalo State University with
a bachelor’s degree in journalism and she is currently working toward her Master of Arts
degree at the University at Buffalo. She participates in volunteer opportunities that further
her experiences as an arts administrator, serving on committees for arts organizations and
community programs. She has also been a guest curator and juror for exhibitions.
Prior to joining Burchfield Penney, Tiffany worked as an English tutor at Buffalo Prep, helping
high school students and providing homework assistance as part of the education center’s
College Prep program.
10
2017
Norma Nowak, Ph.D. Executive Director, UB NYS CBLS | Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Empire Genomics LLC.
Melodie Baker, Director of Education, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
Anastasia McCarthy
Member Attorney | Hurwitz Fine P.C.
Anastasia McCarthy is a member attorney with the law
firm of Hurwitz Fine P.C. in Buffalo. She regularly defends
businesses, municipalities, and school districts in high-
exposure matters and focuses her practice on the defense
of personal-injury claims involving premises, transportation
and automotive, and products liability. She also serves
on the firm’s Child Victims Act and Sexual Misconduct
Coverage and Defense team, and frequently writes about
the Child Victims Act and its effect on litigation.
Prior to joining Hurwitz Fine, Anastasia served as Assistant Field Counsel for a large national
insurance carrier, defending commercial policy holders in high-exposure tort actions. She
earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in English Literature and Theatre from SUNY Geneseo and
received her Juris Doctor degree cum laude from the University at Buffalo School of Law. She
also served as co-founder and co-president of the Women of SUNY Buffalo Law.
Anastasia serves on the law firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and is a member of the Erie
County and New York State Bar Associations, as well as the Women’s Bar Association of New
York (WBASNY). She currently serves as President of WBASNY’s Western New York Chapter.
Stephanie Lawson
Chief Development Officer | Investigative Post
Stephanie Lawson works as the Chief Development
Officer for Investigative Post, responsible for increasing
community engagement and growing the base of
supporters for the non-profit news organization.
Stephanie previously worked at Habitat for Humanity
Buffalo, where she oversaw fundraising, communications,
advocacy, outreach, and the ReStore. She helped develop
signature campaigns, including Women Build Week,
Leaders Build, and The House Beer Built.
Prior to Habitat Buffalo, Stephanie worked with the Food Bank of Western New York
(now FeedMore WNY) where she developed the Food for Kids Initiative, a set of programs
that provided education and nutritious food for children across the area. Stephanie also
established the Food Bank’s signature children’s program, the BackPack Program, through
which children receive a backpack filled with food each Friday throughout the school year.
Stephanie is passionate about community service. She has volunteered with HEART Animal
Rescue, A Purrfect Fit Animal Rescue, and as a “big” through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Presently
she serves on the development committee of the Buffalo Central Terminal and volunteers for
WNY Women’s Foundation ALL IN mentorship program. She also fosters dogs for 716 PAWS.
11
2018 2019
Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor, New York State
Mary Owusu, Vice President of Analytics and SEO, Mower
JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Katie Krawczyk, Partner & CEO, 19 IDEAS
Emma Phillips
Project Planner | C&S Companies
Emma Phillips is a Project Planner with C&S Companies
Buffalo office where she works on community planning
and environmental projects across the New York State.
Her experience includes downtown revitalization,
strategic investment plans, Brownfield Opportunity areas,
waterfront revitalization, transportation planning, and
redevelopment strategies.
Emma earned a bachelor’s degree from State University
of New York at Fredonia and a Master of Urban Planning
degree from University at Buffalo. She serves on the C&S Community Foundation
Board of Directors and received a C&S Mac Volunteer Award in 2022. She volunteers as social
media chair, membership chair, and council member for Tomorrow’s Leaders of the Cystic
Fibrosis Foundation.
Emma was also named a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Rising Star and is recipient of the Cystic
Fibrosis Foundation Tomorrow’s Leaders Award. She is also involved with Sleep In Heavenly
Peace, a non-profit providing new beds for under-served families, and has taken part in the
Parkinson’s Revolution Ride.
Stephanie Peete
Director of Workforce Development |
Say Yes Buffalo
Stephanie works strategically and collaboratively at the
intersection of workforce development and racial equity,
creating talent pipelines for Black and brown young
professionals and advocating for inclusive workplaces in
the Greater Buffalo region.
She is also co-owner of Second Chapter Bookstore, a
Black-owned small business in Buffalo created to cultivate
joy, community, and shared learning while centering
on the Black experience. Stephanie is a Say Yes Buffalo
mentor, board vice president for Theatre of Youth, an
advisory board member for Women United, and co-chair
of the Women of Color Summit.
12
2021 2022
Sujata Yalamanchili, Partner, Hodgson Russ LLP
Juweria Dahir, City Planner & External
Affairs Manager, City of Buffalo
Elizabeth Woike-Ganga, Pres/CEO BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc.
Vilona Trachtenberg, Distribution Coordinator | New Era Cap
Jessica Smith, Esq.
Deputy Counsel | BestSelf Behavioral Health
Jessica Smith, Esq. is the Deputy Counsel at BestSelf
Behavioral Health where she handles a variety of legal
matters for the agency. Jessica is passionate about
advocating for the underrepresented. She believes in
access to quality legal services, housing, and education.
Jessica is an Erie County Bar Association Volunteer
Lawyers Project (VLP) Rising Champion of Justice and has
provided legal services through VLP.
Jessica’s involvement in the community also includes Chair of Buffalo Creek Academy School
Board of Trustees, YMCA Buffalo Niagara Board of Directors, and serving as a member of the
Oishei High School Scholarship Selection Committee.
Crystal Selk
Executive Director | West Side
Community Services
Crystal Selk is Executive Director of West Side Community
Services and a nonprofit leader with over 15 years of
experience in direct service, fund development, and
strategic organizational growth. Founded in 1978,
West Side Community Services serves the residents of
the Niagara District with education, prevention, and
recreation programs and services, operating the only full-
service community center in the District.
Prior to joining West Side Community Services, Crystal was director of development for Buffalo
Center for Arts and Technology. Before that she was Development Manager for Jericho Road
Community Health Center in Buffalo. Crystal earned a Bachelor’s degree from University at
Buffalo and a Master of Science degree in counseling psychology from Chatham University.
Crystal is a board member and secretary for Buffalo String Works, a non-profit offering youth-
centered music education.
13
Buffalo Magazine is proud to support the Athena Awards
and celebrate these incredible women leading by example.
to this year’s
Athena Award recipients
and to all the nominees.
Your commitment, leadership and
belief in seeing women succeed inspires.
M A G A Z I N E
Kelsey Sweet
Social Media Strategist | Pegula Sports
and Entertainment
Kelsey Sweet is a proud Buffalo native and is the Social
Media Strategist for Pegula Sports and Entertainment.
In her role, Kelsey develops strategy and executes
social-specific initiatives across all Pegula Sports and
Entertainment brands for special projects. She oversees
day-to-day activity on all social media accounts for the
Buffalo Bandits (NLL), One Buffalo, and Pegula Sports and
Entertainment, and collaborates and contributes to the
social media marketing efforts of the Buffalo Bills (NFL) and the Buffalo Sabres (NHL).
Kelsey is the vice chair of the alumni advisory board for Nazareth College, board member and
marketing committee member of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County’s Next Generation
United, Prep Collective member for Buffalo Prep, and the co-chair of the Salvation Army’s
Most Amazing Race. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Nazareth College.
14
2021 2021
Non-Profit
Girls Scouts of Western New York
For-Profit
Ernst & Young LLP
Aquarium of Niagara
The Aquarium of Niagara is a non-profit public aquarium dedicated to
education and conservation of aquatic life. Originally privately owned and
founded by a group of chemists and other scientists, it opened on June
12, 1965. Ownership was transferred to a non-profit foundation, the Sea
Research Foundation, in 1977, and then to the Niagara Aquarium Foundation
on February 18, 1994. Located in downtown Niagara Falls, New York, the
Aquarium features rescued seals and sea lions, Humboldt penguins, sharks,
jellyfish, and over 128 species of mammals, fish, birds, and reptiles. The
Aquarium of Niagara is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
NON-PROFIT
2023 ATHENA
ORGANIZATIONAL AWARD®
FINALISTS
The ATHENA Organizational Award®
recognizes 2 organizations:
One for-profit organization and one non-profit organization that supports,
develops, and honors women leaders, inspiring women to achieve their full
potential and creating balance in leadership throughout Buffalo Niagara.
15
2022 2022
Non-Profit
The Summit Center
For-Profit
Hodgson Russ
Buffalo Prep
Buffalo Prep was founded in 1989 by education and community leaders to help
talented underrepresented students prepare for, obtain entrance into, and excel at
demanding college preparatory high schools. Buffalo Prep has grown exponentially
over the years and now serves hundreds of students and alumni each year with
our unique pipeline of Prep Scholars Academy, Middle School Prep, High School
Prep, College Prep, and Alumni Prep programs. Many students begin Buffalo Prep’s
rigorous program in 5th grade and commit their summers, evenings, and weekends
to prepare for higher achievement.
NON-PROFIT
AAA Western & Central New York
As Upstate New York’s largest member organization, AAA Western and Central
New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and
automotive-related services.
With over 600 associates across three major metro areas – Buffalo, Rochester, and
Syracuse – AAA serves its members 24/7/365 with emergency road service. While best
known for helping members on the roadside, AAA also offers travel and insurance
services and advocates for traffic safety through its Foundation for Traffic Safety
along with popular driver training programs.
16
NON-PROFIT
Horizon Health Services
Horizon Health Services, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation that provides hope and
healing for individuals and their families dealing with substance use and/or mental
health disorders. Established in 1975, we are the largest provider of outpatient
mental health and substance use treatment in Western New York. Horizon serves
over 22,000 Western New Yorkers per year, including adults, young adults and
adolescents, families, and veterans.
People Inc.
People Inc. was founded in 1970 by a small group of parents and professionals,
who were concerned and passionate about addressing the needs of people with
intellectual disabilities. Since then, People Inc. has remained forward-thinking and
expanded its mission to include a wider variety of supports that address the needs of
people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families, older adults, and
the community. People Inc., a multispecialty non-profit health and human services
agency, has nearly 4,000 staff members, who make an impact for the more than
12,000 people of all abilities and ages at nearly 200 locations.
17
Bond, Schoeneck & King
Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is a law firm with 285 lawyers serving individuals,
companies, nonprofits, and public sector entities in a broad range of practice
areas. These include real estate development and construction; health and long-
term care; manufacturing; higher education; municipalities and school districts;
and agribusiness, among others. Bond has eight offices in New York State as well
as offices in Boston, Kansas City, Naples, Florida, and Red Bank, New Jersey.
NON-PROFIT
FOR-PROFIT
WEDI
WEDI (Westminster Economic Development Initiative) strengthens communities
through a continuum of educational and financial resources, removing systemic
barriers to economic equity for all Western New Yorkers. WEDI’s dual focus areas of
Education and Economic Development work in tandem to tackle systemic inequities
that affect Buffalo’s underserved residents, many of whom are people of color.
By supporting youth to succeed in school and empowering entrepreneurs to launch,
sustain, and grow small businesses, WEDI is helping to create a more equitable
Buffalo. WEDI’s programs and services are available to underserved residents of
Western New York including Erie and parts of Niagara counties.
18
Mod Tech Labs
A 43North $1 million winner in 2022, Mod Tech Labs, Inc., uses machine learning to
create 3D content for industries such as film, TV, and video game production. The
company recently worked on a project with NBC Universal that would have taken six
months using traditional 3D conversion methods. With MOD, it took three weeks. It’s
company software is 20 times more efficient and 3,000 times faster than
traditional programs.
Phillips Lytle LLP
Founded in 1834, Phillips Lytle LLP is a premier regional law firm that is recognized
nationally for its legal excellence. With offices across New York State and in Chicago,
IL; Washington, D.C.; and Canada, the firm’s attorneys serve a multinational client
base, including FORTUNE 1000 companies, global and regional financial institutions,
not-for-profit organizations, middle-market companies, startups, entrepreneurs, and
individuals on important matters affecting their businesses and personal wealth.
FOR-PROFIT
19
Seneca Gaming Corporation
Seneca Gaming Corporation (SGC) is a wholly owned, tribally chartered corporation
of the Seneca Nation of Indians (Nation) which operates all of the Nation’s Class
III gaming operations in Western New York. Seneca Gaming Corporation, through
its wholly owned subsidiaries, Seneca Niagara Falls Gaming Corporation (SNFGC),
Seneca Territory Gaming Corporation (STGC), and Seneca Erie Gaming Corporation
(SEGC), operates Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, New York, Seneca
Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca, New York, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino
in Buffalo, New York.
Since opening Seneca Niagara Casino in 2002, Seneca Gaming Corporation has
grown into one of the largest private sector employers in Western New York, with
4,000 employees at its three locations. The company operates world-class facilities
offering more than 6,000 slot machines, 140 table games, 1,000 hotel rooms, a
championship golf course, and other related amenities.
FOR-PROFIT
20
Avant Building - Suite 900, 200 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202
716.416.7000 • BSK.COM
Congratulations to the
2023 ATHENA Award finalists!
Bond strives to empower the women within
our firm and the Buffalo community. We are proud
to be amongst this impressive group of finalists for
the ATHENA Organizational Award – For-Profit.
Congratulations
to the 2023 ATHENA
Leadership Award®
honorees!
Northwest Bank is Member FDIC.
Northwest.com
THE NEXT
STEP TO
SUCCESS
Hurwitz Fine is proud
Hurwitz Fine is proud
to have two members
to have two members
of our law firm as
of our law firm as
ATHENA Award
ATHENA Award honorees
honorees
www.hurwitzfine.com | 716 849 8900
2023 ATHENA
Young Professional
Award finalist
2023 ATHENA
Leadership Award
finalist
®
®
®
Congratulations
Katie
The Children’s Hospital of
Buffalo Foundation Board Member
Katie, you are so deserving of an award dedicated to improving
the quality of life for others in the community.
Thank you FOR your support of the moms,
kids and babies in Western New York!
horizon-health.org
Womanhood is
not defined by
specific features or
characteristics, but by
self-identification.
Horizon celebrates the
empowerment of
ALL Women.
Congratulations
to all of the ATHENA
Awards Finalists.
A PROUD SPONSOR OF THE
2023
ATHENA AWARDS
SenecaCasinos.com
We’re honored to be
Athena Award
nominees!
Whether in our Education or
Economic Development
programs, WEDI’s women are
proud to work toward a
culturally inclusive Western
New York where all residents
can succeed and thrive.
Join us for WEDIfest
2023 on April 14
to celebrate WEDI’s
work & the
Downtown & West
Side Bazaar Chefs
Tickets
and info
Design is in Our D.N.A!
716.805.7671
Allison Brashear, MD, MBA
Vice President for Health Sciences and
Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and
Biomedical Sciences
congrats!
and all of the 2023 Athena Award finalists!
Thank you for your ongoing efforts to empower
and inspire women in the health sciences and
throughout Western New York.
Alicia Fellows!
Thank you for your leadership and for
empowering Person Centered Services’
mission to connect people with intellectual
and developmental disabilities to the
Congratulations to our Executive Director,
www.personcenteredservices.com
Finalist for the ATHENA Leadership Award
care, support and opportunities that
maximize their quality of life.
Congratulations Jamie Batt!
Athena Leadership Award Finalist
716.854.3400
RuppPfalzgraf.com
Thank you for living our values and being a
champion for women in our community!
Please join us for the 6th Annual – Virtual
June 1, 2023
Maximize your company’s involvement. Buy your Corporate Pass today!
An unlimited number of your employees can attend and benefit.
VISIT: THEPARTNERSHIP.ORG FOR DETAILS
DEI AT WORK
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership offers unique leadership development programs for C-Suite
Executives, business owners, developing managers, and diversity & inclusion leaders.
Each program is professionally facilitated by experienced consultants who will guide
discussions around your specific business challenges. Shared learning and best practice
sharing are also part of what makes these programs effective.
TWO HOUR SESSIONS, ONCE A MONTH, TEN TIMES A YEAR AT EXCELLENT PRICES.
ASK US ABOUT THEM TODAY!
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
TO LEARN MORE VISIT: THEPARTNERSHIP.ORG
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area’s regional chamber of commerce and
privately-funded economic development organization. Since 1844, the BNP has
been working to make Buffalo Niagara a better place in which to do business.
TABLE SPONSORS
AAA Western & Central New York Family of Katie Gorman
Aquarium of Niagara National Grid
BankOnBuffalo, a division of
CNB Bank
New York Power Authority
BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc. People Inc.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Erie,
Niagara & Southern Tier
Person Centered Services
Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC Rich Products Corp.
Buffalo Sabres Rupp Pfalzgraf LLC
Burchfield Penney Art Center Say Yes Buffalo
C&S Companies Seneca Gaming Corporation
Delaware North Companies The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo
Foundation
Horizon Health Services UB Jacobs School of Medicine
Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo Univera Healthcare
Hurwitz Fine P.C. West Side Community Services
Jessica Schimert Consulting Westminster Economic Development
Initiative, Inc. WEDI
Produced by:
Title Sponsor:
Presenting Sponsor:
Finalist Sponsor:
Supporting Sponsor:
Heather Bellini Photography
Official Media Sponsor: Event Sponsor:
Official Accounting Sponsor:
Thank you to our
2023 Annual ATHENA Award®
Sponsors

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2023 ATHENA Awards® Commemorative Album

  • 1. Produced by Presented by Commemorative Album 32nd Annual
  • 2. 1989 1990 1991 1992 Karen Makowski, KeyBank, N.A. Mary Martino, Canisius College Mary Ann Lauricella, Lauricella Public Relations Co. Christeen Kanowski (deceased), Merchants Mutual Insurance Thank you to our amazing Executive Committee members who have been an invaluable part of the ATHENA process. Members Trina Burruss | President/CEO | United Way of Buffalo & Erie County Lorrie Clemo | President | D’Youville University Juweria Dahir | Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship | Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Melissa Free | SVP & Chief Marketing Officer | Seneca Gaming Corporation Rhonda Frederick | President and CEO | People, Inc. Rachael Ireland | Social Impact & Community Engagement Specialist | Rich Products Danielle Ossher | Editor | Buffalo Magazine Mary Owusu | CEO & Head of Digital | SprintMarketer.com Teresa Sprague | Creative Services Manager | Independent Health Vilona Trachtenberg | Distribution Coordinator | New Era Cap Company Elizabeth Woike-Ganga | President/CEO | BestSelf Behavioral Health Sujata Yalamanchili | Partner | Hodgson Russ LLP The Buffalo Niagara Partnership has been honored to produce the ATHENA Awards® since1989. The award is celebrated around the world in more than 500 communities and 8 countries and recognizes contributions made by individuals and organizations to advance the status of women. The ATHENA Awards® Luncheon is the region’s most prestigious event recognizing the professional accomplishments of exceptional individuals and organizations dedicated to the advancement of women in Buffalo Niagara. 2
  • 3. 1993 1994 1995 1996 Elizabeth Cappella, Buffalo State College Cindy Vastola, Vastola Heating & Air Conditioning Nancy Nielsen M.D., Ph.D., Buffalo General Hospital Linda Duch, KeyBank, N.A. FINALISTS FOR THE 2023 ATHENA LEADERSHIP AWARD® The ATHENA Leadership Award® honors an exceptional individual who has achieved the highest level of professional excellence, contributed time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and actively assisted others—particularly women—in realizing their full leadership potential. Jamie Batt Partner | Rupp Pfalzgraf LLC Jamie Batt is a Partner and Business Law Group leader in the law firm of Rupp Pfalzgraf LLC where she focuses her practice on mergers and acquisitions and business succession planning. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Duquesne University where she was a scholarship athlete on the school’s Division I tennis team. She then went on to earn an MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Management and a law degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law. Jamie has been practicing law for more than 16 years and is a former business editor of the Buffalo Criminal Law Review. She has been recognized among the Upstate New York Super Lawyers and the Legal Elite of Western New York Jamie serves as a board member of the WNY Women’s Foundation and Explore & More, The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum. She is also an advisory member of Women United, a network of women in support of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County 3
  • 4. 1997 1998 2000 2001 Virginia Purcell Oehler, United Cerebral Palsy of Western New York Linda Heary Joseph, Buchanan Ingersoll P.C. Marsha Henderson, Keybank, N.A. Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted M.D. (deceased), Private Practice Gwendolyn Bork Independent Financial Advisor | The Legend Group Gwendolyn Bork is an Independent Financial Advisor with the Legend Group in Getzville, New York. She serves as an advisor to high-net-worth philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and community leaders throughout the region. She also works as a consultant and impact strategist for business owners and nonprofit groups seeking to create a legacy in the community. Gwendolyn is the founder and president of FOCUS (For Our Community Unity & Support), a nonprofit committed to uniting sectors such as business, government, and schools to promote drug prevention education, awareness, and drug-free events for youth within the community. She is the published author of “Walking the Fine Line,” a book about discovering purpose after a near-death experience. In addition to FOCUS, Gwendolyn volunteers as president of the WNY Regional NAF Advisory Board representing thirteen school districts currently operating a NAF Academy – a high school educational program dedicated to providing students with the skills and abilities to be college and career ready. Dr. Allison Brashear Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences | University at Buffalo Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, is an internationally recognized neurologist, accomplished researcher, and health science administrator. Dr. Brashear was appointed vice president for health sciences at the University at Buffalo and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 2021. She is currently a principal investigator on a unique genetic form of dystonia known as Rapid- onset Dystonia-Parkinsonism, studies which are ongoing with researchers at UB. Earlier results on this research have been published in numerous journals. Outside of her research and work at the university, Dr. Brashear has been involved with the WNY Women’s Foundation, All In, HEALTHeLINK, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and AAMC Council of Deans. She also serves on the McKnight Brain Research Foundation Board, and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. 4
  • 5. 2002 2003 2004 2005 Maureen Hurley, Rich Products Corporation Kathleen Balus, Pioneer Credit Recovery Inc. Pamela Davis Heilman, Hodgson Russ LLP Mary Kate O’Connell, O’Connell & Company Jody Briandi President/Managing Partner | Hurwitz Fine P.C. Jody Briandi is a general litigation attorney and President/ Managing Partner of Hurwitz Fine P.C. She leads the firm’s Board of Directors and chairs the firm’s Premises Liability, Retail & Hospitality Liability, and School District Litigation practice groups. Jody has extensive experience representing retail, corporate, insurance, commercial transportation, and municipal clients in the full range of litigated matters and liability claims. She also represents a number of self-insured corporate clients for whom she handles all of their litigated matters ranging from premises and product liability to transportation negligence and for whom she has conducted extensive in-house training on litigation preventative measures, strategies, and legal updates. She has significant experience in professional liability, most specifically in the area of legal malpractice. Currently, Jody serves on the Board of Directors for the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, Buffalo State University Foundation, and the Western New York Women’s Foundation. She also routinely speaks and writes on diversity and gender equity topics. Dr. Christine Farrow, CRC, CEAP Commissioner of Jurors for Erie County | New York State Unified Court System Dr. Christine Farrow is Commissioner of Jurors for Erie County in the New York State Unified Court System. She was appointed to her position in 2021 after serving as Deputy/Acting Commissioner of Jurors. Dr. Farrow is the first female and the first African American to hold the title of Commissioner in Erie County. In addition to overseeing jury operations for all courts within the county, Dr. Farrow is also an adjunct professor at the University at Buffalo, where she teaches courses in counseling and psychology and serves as a member of the Rehabilitation Counseling Program’s Advisory Committee. She earned a Master of Science from the University at Buffalo, Diversity and Inclusion Certification from Cornell University, and a PhD from the University at Buffalo. Dr. Farrow is the first ever African American president of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara, and the Southern Tier. She is also a former Little Sister in the mentoring program. 5
  • 6. 2006 2007 2008 2009 Muriel Howard Ph.D., Buffalo State College Cheryl Howe, BlueCross BlueShield of WNY Ann Evanko Hurwitz & Fine P.C. Sharon Lochocki, Keybank, N.A. Amy Martoche, Esq., Connors & Vilardo, LLP Alicia Fellows Executive Director | Person Centered Services Alicia Fellows serves as Executive Director of Person Centered Services, an organization that coordinates care for more than 17,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in 18 counties. She played a crucial role in designing and establishing the services the company provides. As Executive Director, she provides leadership, direction, and strategic oversight of the organization as a whole. Alicia was previously Director of Care Coordination for PCSWNY, a non-profit set up in 2013 to prepare for the path to managed care. Before joining Person Centered Services, Alicia held various leadership roles in her 17-year tenure at Community Services for Every1, formerly Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled, serving as Care Coordination Administrator, Behavior Intervention Specialist and Specialized Case Management Program Coordinator. Alicia earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in legal studies and master’s degree in social work from the University at Buffalo. She sits on the Crisis Services for I/DD Advisory Board and on the OPWDD subcommittee of Erie County’s Community Services Board. She is also a board member for the nonprofit Sensational Fun and the Care Management Alliance of NY. Katie Gorman Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Strategic Initiatives | Delaware North Katie Gorman is Director of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Strategic Initiatives for Delaware North, a global hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo. In her role, Katie oversees the company’s commitments to its employees and the communities where it operates. Delaware North’s ongoing CSR initiatives include building a diverse and inclusive workplace and network of strategic partners; making investments to positively impact social determinants of health for the company’s employees and guests; and being conscientious environmental stewards to support a healthy planet for future generations. Katie previously served as Delaware North’s director of executive communications. Prior to Delaware North, Katie led federal government relations for the University at Buffalo, a flagship research institution of the State University of New York system. Katie started her career in the office of United States Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, focusing on transportation and commerce legislative issues. 6
  • 7. 2010 2011 Sister Denise Roche, GNSH, Ph.D., D’Youville College Amy Schmit, University at Buffalo’s NYS CBLS Connie Vari, Kaleida Health Christine Bonaguide, Hodgson Russ LLP Tyra Johnson Hux WNY Operations Director | LISC New York Tyra Johnson Hux leads efforts to cultivate, design and implement inclusive economic development programs for the LISC WNY office. LISC New York focuses on four areas in the region: livability, housing, income and wealth building, and neighborhood business. These four areas work together to increase quality of life for residents and workers in WNY communities. LISC’s work is done through partner organizations. A sought-after speaker, Tyra has conducted several training programs for professionals in the construction industry. She offers a series of lectures on the benefits of sustainable practices. Additionally, she serves as an adjunct professor at Daemen University teaching a Sustainable Business Practices course. Passionate about community involvement, Tyra serves on the board of directors for 43North and ECIDA (Erie County Industrial Development Agency). Tyra was named a “WNY Game Changer” by Buffalo Spree and featured in Buffalo Magazine’s “Women & Power”. Shantelle Patton CEO & Founder | That Brown Bag Minority Business Directory Shantelle Patton is CEO and Founder of That Brown Bag Minority Business Directory, a comprehensive list of minority owned businesses in Buffalo and the surrounding area. Shantelle created the directory to promote local minority-owned businesses and educate the community on the products and services they offer. There are more than 500 Black-owned businesses listed in the directory from Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester, plus some listings from businesses in Toronto. Shantelle is also president of the Urban Chamber of Commerce in Buffalo and serves as vice president of sponsorship for ATD Buffalo Niagara, professional association dedicated to the training and development field in Western New York. In addition, she is a board member for the WNY Arts Collective, The Foundry, and Buffalo’s Own Artist & Designers Group, Inc. Shantelle attended Niagara University and prior to launching the business directory completed the Open Buffalo Emerging Leaders program and the UB Citizens Planning School Champions for Change program. 7
  • 8. 2023 SAY YES STUDENT LEADER AWARD Congratulations Hamida Akter! Say Yes Buffalo Scholar Dental Hygiene and Liberal Arts, SUNY Erie Community College This award recognizes a Say Yes college scholarship student who has achieved the highest levels of academic, community and personal success. “ Hamida is committed to helping people, either through the care and attention she shows during her dental hygiene clinics or through her lifelong dream to one day open an orphanage in Bangladesh, her country of origin. ” — Rachel, Say Yes mentor Daniella Piper Regional Manager, Western New York and Chief Transformation Officer | New York Power Authority Daniella Piper is the Regional Manager of the New York Power Authority’s Western Region, anchored by the Niagara Power Project, the largest hydroelectric facility in the Northeast. She also serves as Chief Transformation Officer, providing leadership to select transformational initiatives. Prior to this, Daniella held roles of increasing responsibility including Chief of Staff & VP, Digital Transformation, serving as a trusted advisor to NYPA’s President and CEO and driving digitalization efforts at the Authority. She has held roles in multiple departments including the Reliability Standards and Compliance group and Project Management where she led multiple programs including the Authority’s Transmission Life Extension and Modernization Program, a $726M program to extend the life of the Authority’s transmission assets. Daniella, a licensed professional engineer in New York State, holds a Bachelor’s of Engineering in electrical engineering from City College of New York, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from New York University, and a Master of Engineering Construction Management from Manhattan College. In her spare time, she is a mentor in the Workplace Culture Coaching Program of Westchester Community College. 8
  • 9. 2012 2013 Mary Harley Gresham, Ph.D., University at Buffalo Katie McKenna, Tops Markets Lynne Marie Finn, Superior Group Bridget O’Connell, Child & Family Services FINALISTS FOR THE 2023 ATHENA YOUNG PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP AWARD® The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® honors an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession, contributes time and energy to improving the quality of life for others, and serves as a role model for young women personally and professionally. Alexis (Lexxie) Book Product Owner, Associate Experience Agile Team | Rich Products Alexis (Lexxie) Book is a Product Owner, Associate Experience Agile Team, at Rich Products in Buffalo. She is a strategic employee engagement and communications professional with experience in change management, internal communications, DEI advocacy, and Agile methodology. She began her career as a corporate communications intern at Rich Products and was hired as a communications coordinator. Other roles at the company leading to her current position include corporate communications specialist and Agile development specialist. Lexxie earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and media studies from Canisius College, during which time she also studied abroad at the University of Galway in Ireland. She is currently working on her MBA from Canisius College. She serves as a board member and secretary for Compass House, a Buffalo-based runaway and homeless youth shelter, and is the founder of the Diabetes Impact Scholarship, which has awarded $3K in tuition assistance to students living with Type 1 Diabetes. 9
  • 10. 2015 2016 Mary Ann Coulson, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Amy Habib Rittling, Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedmann, LLP Bridget Niland, Daemen College Christina Holdsworth Partner | Goldberg Segalla, LLC Christina Holdsworth is a Partner in the law firm of Goldberg Segalla where she focuses her practice on defending businesses and non-profits in personal injury matters. Within these areas of the law, Christina defends professionals, fitness facilities, sporting arenas, municipal entities, security companies, and more. She has a particular focus on the defense of mental hygiene agencies, including understanding the unique laws and regulations for these types of facilities. Christina earned a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. She volunteers as a mentor for students at the law school, as well as for young attorneys. She also serves as co- chair of the Women’s Bar Association of New York State LGBT Committee and was a member of the Erie County Republican Executive Committee. Christina has volunteered with the Pride Center of Western New York, and as an ambassador for Dining Out for Life, an annual fundraising event for AIDS service organizations. Tiffany Gaines Curatorial & Digital Content Associate | Burchfield Penney Art Center Tiffany Gaines is a Curatorial and Digital Content Associate at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo. She is a grad student working as curator, writer, and photographer to highlight the diverse art and artists of the community. Her role in this multidisciplinary practice engages new perspectives, utilizing art to create a more understanding and empathetic future. Tiffany graduated from Buffalo State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and she is currently working toward her Master of Arts degree at the University at Buffalo. She participates in volunteer opportunities that further her experiences as an arts administrator, serving on committees for arts organizations and community programs. She has also been a guest curator and juror for exhibitions. Prior to joining Burchfield Penney, Tiffany worked as an English tutor at Buffalo Prep, helping high school students and providing homework assistance as part of the education center’s College Prep program. 10
  • 11. 2017 Norma Nowak, Ph.D. Executive Director, UB NYS CBLS | Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Empire Genomics LLC. Melodie Baker, Director of Education, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County Anastasia McCarthy Member Attorney | Hurwitz Fine P.C. Anastasia McCarthy is a member attorney with the law firm of Hurwitz Fine P.C. in Buffalo. She regularly defends businesses, municipalities, and school districts in high- exposure matters and focuses her practice on the defense of personal-injury claims involving premises, transportation and automotive, and products liability. She also serves on the firm’s Child Victims Act and Sexual Misconduct Coverage and Defense team, and frequently writes about the Child Victims Act and its effect on litigation. Prior to joining Hurwitz Fine, Anastasia served as Assistant Field Counsel for a large national insurance carrier, defending commercial policy holders in high-exposure tort actions. She earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in English Literature and Theatre from SUNY Geneseo and received her Juris Doctor degree cum laude from the University at Buffalo School of Law. She also served as co-founder and co-president of the Women of SUNY Buffalo Law. Anastasia serves on the law firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and is a member of the Erie County and New York State Bar Associations, as well as the Women’s Bar Association of New York (WBASNY). She currently serves as President of WBASNY’s Western New York Chapter. Stephanie Lawson Chief Development Officer | Investigative Post Stephanie Lawson works as the Chief Development Officer for Investigative Post, responsible for increasing community engagement and growing the base of supporters for the non-profit news organization. Stephanie previously worked at Habitat for Humanity Buffalo, where she oversaw fundraising, communications, advocacy, outreach, and the ReStore. She helped develop signature campaigns, including Women Build Week, Leaders Build, and The House Beer Built. Prior to Habitat Buffalo, Stephanie worked with the Food Bank of Western New York (now FeedMore WNY) where she developed the Food for Kids Initiative, a set of programs that provided education and nutritious food for children across the area. Stephanie also established the Food Bank’s signature children’s program, the BackPack Program, through which children receive a backpack filled with food each Friday throughout the school year. Stephanie is passionate about community service. She has volunteered with HEART Animal Rescue, A Purrfect Fit Animal Rescue, and as a “big” through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Presently she serves on the development committee of the Buffalo Central Terminal and volunteers for WNY Women’s Foundation ALL IN mentorship program. She also fosters dogs for 716 PAWS. 11
  • 12. 2018 2019 Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor, New York State Mary Owusu, Vice President of Analytics and SEO, Mower JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Katie Krawczyk, Partner & CEO, 19 IDEAS Emma Phillips Project Planner | C&S Companies Emma Phillips is a Project Planner with C&S Companies Buffalo office where she works on community planning and environmental projects across the New York State. Her experience includes downtown revitalization, strategic investment plans, Brownfield Opportunity areas, waterfront revitalization, transportation planning, and redevelopment strategies. Emma earned a bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at Fredonia and a Master of Urban Planning degree from University at Buffalo. She serves on the C&S Community Foundation Board of Directors and received a C&S Mac Volunteer Award in 2022. She volunteers as social media chair, membership chair, and council member for Tomorrow’s Leaders of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Emma was also named a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Rising Star and is recipient of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Tomorrow’s Leaders Award. She is also involved with Sleep In Heavenly Peace, a non-profit providing new beds for under-served families, and has taken part in the Parkinson’s Revolution Ride. Stephanie Peete Director of Workforce Development | Say Yes Buffalo Stephanie works strategically and collaboratively at the intersection of workforce development and racial equity, creating talent pipelines for Black and brown young professionals and advocating for inclusive workplaces in the Greater Buffalo region. She is also co-owner of Second Chapter Bookstore, a Black-owned small business in Buffalo created to cultivate joy, community, and shared learning while centering on the Black experience. Stephanie is a Say Yes Buffalo mentor, board vice president for Theatre of Youth, an advisory board member for Women United, and co-chair of the Women of Color Summit. 12
  • 13. 2021 2022 Sujata Yalamanchili, Partner, Hodgson Russ LLP Juweria Dahir, City Planner & External Affairs Manager, City of Buffalo Elizabeth Woike-Ganga, Pres/CEO BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc. Vilona Trachtenberg, Distribution Coordinator | New Era Cap Jessica Smith, Esq. Deputy Counsel | BestSelf Behavioral Health Jessica Smith, Esq. is the Deputy Counsel at BestSelf Behavioral Health where she handles a variety of legal matters for the agency. Jessica is passionate about advocating for the underrepresented. She believes in access to quality legal services, housing, and education. Jessica is an Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) Rising Champion of Justice and has provided legal services through VLP. Jessica’s involvement in the community also includes Chair of Buffalo Creek Academy School Board of Trustees, YMCA Buffalo Niagara Board of Directors, and serving as a member of the Oishei High School Scholarship Selection Committee. Crystal Selk Executive Director | West Side Community Services Crystal Selk is Executive Director of West Side Community Services and a nonprofit leader with over 15 years of experience in direct service, fund development, and strategic organizational growth. Founded in 1978, West Side Community Services serves the residents of the Niagara District with education, prevention, and recreation programs and services, operating the only full- service community center in the District. Prior to joining West Side Community Services, Crystal was director of development for Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology. Before that she was Development Manager for Jericho Road Community Health Center in Buffalo. Crystal earned a Bachelor’s degree from University at Buffalo and a Master of Science degree in counseling psychology from Chatham University. Crystal is a board member and secretary for Buffalo String Works, a non-profit offering youth- centered music education. 13
  • 14. Buffalo Magazine is proud to support the Athena Awards and celebrate these incredible women leading by example. to this year’s Athena Award recipients and to all the nominees. Your commitment, leadership and belief in seeing women succeed inspires. M A G A Z I N E Kelsey Sweet Social Media Strategist | Pegula Sports and Entertainment Kelsey Sweet is a proud Buffalo native and is the Social Media Strategist for Pegula Sports and Entertainment. In her role, Kelsey develops strategy and executes social-specific initiatives across all Pegula Sports and Entertainment brands for special projects. She oversees day-to-day activity on all social media accounts for the Buffalo Bandits (NLL), One Buffalo, and Pegula Sports and Entertainment, and collaborates and contributes to the social media marketing efforts of the Buffalo Bills (NFL) and the Buffalo Sabres (NHL). Kelsey is the vice chair of the alumni advisory board for Nazareth College, board member and marketing committee member of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County’s Next Generation United, Prep Collective member for Buffalo Prep, and the co-chair of the Salvation Army’s Most Amazing Race. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Nazareth College. 14
  • 15. 2021 2021 Non-Profit Girls Scouts of Western New York For-Profit Ernst & Young LLP Aquarium of Niagara The Aquarium of Niagara is a non-profit public aquarium dedicated to education and conservation of aquatic life. Originally privately owned and founded by a group of chemists and other scientists, it opened on June 12, 1965. Ownership was transferred to a non-profit foundation, the Sea Research Foundation, in 1977, and then to the Niagara Aquarium Foundation on February 18, 1994. Located in downtown Niagara Falls, New York, the Aquarium features rescued seals and sea lions, Humboldt penguins, sharks, jellyfish, and over 128 species of mammals, fish, birds, and reptiles. The Aquarium of Niagara is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. NON-PROFIT 2023 ATHENA ORGANIZATIONAL AWARD® FINALISTS The ATHENA Organizational Award® recognizes 2 organizations: One for-profit organization and one non-profit organization that supports, develops, and honors women leaders, inspiring women to achieve their full potential and creating balance in leadership throughout Buffalo Niagara. 15
  • 16. 2022 2022 Non-Profit The Summit Center For-Profit Hodgson Russ Buffalo Prep Buffalo Prep was founded in 1989 by education and community leaders to help talented underrepresented students prepare for, obtain entrance into, and excel at demanding college preparatory high schools. Buffalo Prep has grown exponentially over the years and now serves hundreds of students and alumni each year with our unique pipeline of Prep Scholars Academy, Middle School Prep, High School Prep, College Prep, and Alumni Prep programs. Many students begin Buffalo Prep’s rigorous program in 5th grade and commit their summers, evenings, and weekends to prepare for higher achievement. NON-PROFIT AAA Western & Central New York As Upstate New York’s largest member organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. With over 600 associates across three major metro areas – Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse – AAA serves its members 24/7/365 with emergency road service. While best known for helping members on the roadside, AAA also offers travel and insurance services and advocates for traffic safety through its Foundation for Traffic Safety along with popular driver training programs. 16
  • 17. NON-PROFIT Horizon Health Services Horizon Health Services, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation that provides hope and healing for individuals and their families dealing with substance use and/or mental health disorders. Established in 1975, we are the largest provider of outpatient mental health and substance use treatment in Western New York. Horizon serves over 22,000 Western New Yorkers per year, including adults, young adults and adolescents, families, and veterans. People Inc. People Inc. was founded in 1970 by a small group of parents and professionals, who were concerned and passionate about addressing the needs of people with intellectual disabilities. Since then, People Inc. has remained forward-thinking and expanded its mission to include a wider variety of supports that address the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families, older adults, and the community. People Inc., a multispecialty non-profit health and human services agency, has nearly 4,000 staff members, who make an impact for the more than 12,000 people of all abilities and ages at nearly 200 locations. 17
  • 18. Bond, Schoeneck & King Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC is a law firm with 285 lawyers serving individuals, companies, nonprofits, and public sector entities in a broad range of practice areas. These include real estate development and construction; health and long- term care; manufacturing; higher education; municipalities and school districts; and agribusiness, among others. Bond has eight offices in New York State as well as offices in Boston, Kansas City, Naples, Florida, and Red Bank, New Jersey. NON-PROFIT FOR-PROFIT WEDI WEDI (Westminster Economic Development Initiative) strengthens communities through a continuum of educational and financial resources, removing systemic barriers to economic equity for all Western New Yorkers. WEDI’s dual focus areas of Education and Economic Development work in tandem to tackle systemic inequities that affect Buffalo’s underserved residents, many of whom are people of color. By supporting youth to succeed in school and empowering entrepreneurs to launch, sustain, and grow small businesses, WEDI is helping to create a more equitable Buffalo. WEDI’s programs and services are available to underserved residents of Western New York including Erie and parts of Niagara counties. 18
  • 19. Mod Tech Labs A 43North $1 million winner in 2022, Mod Tech Labs, Inc., uses machine learning to create 3D content for industries such as film, TV, and video game production. The company recently worked on a project with NBC Universal that would have taken six months using traditional 3D conversion methods. With MOD, it took three weeks. It’s company software is 20 times more efficient and 3,000 times faster than traditional programs. Phillips Lytle LLP Founded in 1834, Phillips Lytle LLP is a premier regional law firm that is recognized nationally for its legal excellence. With offices across New York State and in Chicago, IL; Washington, D.C.; and Canada, the firm’s attorneys serve a multinational client base, including FORTUNE 1000 companies, global and regional financial institutions, not-for-profit organizations, middle-market companies, startups, entrepreneurs, and individuals on important matters affecting their businesses and personal wealth. FOR-PROFIT 19
  • 20. Seneca Gaming Corporation Seneca Gaming Corporation (SGC) is a wholly owned, tribally chartered corporation of the Seneca Nation of Indians (Nation) which operates all of the Nation’s Class III gaming operations in Western New York. Seneca Gaming Corporation, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Seneca Niagara Falls Gaming Corporation (SNFGC), Seneca Territory Gaming Corporation (STGC), and Seneca Erie Gaming Corporation (SEGC), operates Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, New York, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca, New York, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo, New York. Since opening Seneca Niagara Casino in 2002, Seneca Gaming Corporation has grown into one of the largest private sector employers in Western New York, with 4,000 employees at its three locations. The company operates world-class facilities offering more than 6,000 slot machines, 140 table games, 1,000 hotel rooms, a championship golf course, and other related amenities. FOR-PROFIT 20
  • 21. Avant Building - Suite 900, 200 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202 716.416.7000 • BSK.COM Congratulations to the 2023 ATHENA Award finalists! Bond strives to empower the women within our firm and the Buffalo community. We are proud to be amongst this impressive group of finalists for the ATHENA Organizational Award – For-Profit.
  • 22. Congratulations to the 2023 ATHENA Leadership Award® honorees! Northwest Bank is Member FDIC. Northwest.com THE NEXT STEP TO SUCCESS
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  • 24. Hurwitz Fine is proud Hurwitz Fine is proud to have two members to have two members of our law firm as of our law firm as ATHENA Award ATHENA Award honorees honorees www.hurwitzfine.com | 716 849 8900 2023 ATHENA Young Professional Award finalist 2023 ATHENA Leadership Award finalist ® ® ®
  • 25. Congratulations Katie The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation Board Member Katie, you are so deserving of an award dedicated to improving the quality of life for others in the community. Thank you FOR your support of the moms, kids and babies in Western New York! horizon-health.org Womanhood is not defined by specific features or characteristics, but by self-identification. Horizon celebrates the empowerment of ALL Women. Congratulations to all of the ATHENA Awards Finalists.
  • 26. A PROUD SPONSOR OF THE 2023 ATHENA AWARDS SenecaCasinos.com
  • 27. We’re honored to be Athena Award nominees! Whether in our Education or Economic Development programs, WEDI’s women are proud to work toward a culturally inclusive Western New York where all residents can succeed and thrive. Join us for WEDIfest 2023 on April 14 to celebrate WEDI’s work & the Downtown & West Side Bazaar Chefs Tickets and info Design is in Our D.N.A! 716.805.7671
  • 28. Allison Brashear, MD, MBA Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences congrats! and all of the 2023 Athena Award finalists! Thank you for your ongoing efforts to empower and inspire women in the health sciences and throughout Western New York.
  • 29. Alicia Fellows! Thank you for your leadership and for empowering Person Centered Services’ mission to connect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to the Congratulations to our Executive Director, www.personcenteredservices.com Finalist for the ATHENA Leadership Award care, support and opportunities that maximize their quality of life. Congratulations Jamie Batt! Athena Leadership Award Finalist 716.854.3400 RuppPfalzgraf.com Thank you for living our values and being a champion for women in our community!
  • 30. Please join us for the 6th Annual – Virtual June 1, 2023 Maximize your company’s involvement. Buy your Corporate Pass today! An unlimited number of your employees can attend and benefit. VISIT: THEPARTNERSHIP.ORG FOR DETAILS DEI AT WORK
  • 31. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership offers unique leadership development programs for C-Suite Executives, business owners, developing managers, and diversity & inclusion leaders. Each program is professionally facilitated by experienced consultants who will guide discussions around your specific business challenges. Shared learning and best practice sharing are also part of what makes these programs effective. TWO HOUR SESSIONS, ONCE A MONTH, TEN TIMES A YEAR AT EXCELLENT PRICES. ASK US ABOUT THEM TODAY! LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS TO LEARN MORE VISIT: THEPARTNERSHIP.ORG The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area’s regional chamber of commerce and privately-funded economic development organization. Since 1844, the BNP has been working to make Buffalo Niagara a better place in which to do business. TABLE SPONSORS AAA Western & Central New York Family of Katie Gorman Aquarium of Niagara National Grid BankOnBuffalo, a division of CNB Bank New York Power Authority BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc. People Inc. Big Brothers Big Sisters Erie, Niagara & Southern Tier Person Centered Services Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC Rich Products Corp. Buffalo Sabres Rupp Pfalzgraf LLC Burchfield Penney Art Center Say Yes Buffalo C&S Companies Seneca Gaming Corporation Delaware North Companies The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation Horizon Health Services UB Jacobs School of Medicine Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo Univera Healthcare Hurwitz Fine P.C. West Side Community Services Jessica Schimert Consulting Westminster Economic Development Initiative, Inc. WEDI
  • 32. Produced by: Title Sponsor: Presenting Sponsor: Finalist Sponsor: Supporting Sponsor: Heather Bellini Photography Official Media Sponsor: Event Sponsor: Official Accounting Sponsor: Thank you to our 2023 Annual ATHENA Award® Sponsors