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30th
Annual
Produced by Presented by
Commemorative Album
TABLE OF CONTENTS
3.	 Introduction & Acknowledgments
5.	 Past ATHENA Award®
Recipients
7.	 Finalists for the 2021 ATHENA Professional Leadership Award®
16.	 Finalists for the 2021 Young Professional Leadership Award®
24.	 NEW: Finalists for the 2021 Organizational Award®
31.	 Buffalo News BNspired Award Winner
32.	 30th Annual ATHENA Awards®
Corporate Champions
Thank you to our amazing steering committee members who have
been an invaluable part of the ATHENA process.
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership has been honored to produce the ATHENA Awards®
since
1989. 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.
Honorary Co-Chairs
Crystal Peoples-Stokes | Majority Leader | New York State Assembly
	 Trina Burruss | Senior Vice President & District Manager | Northwest Bank
Members
Lorrie Clemo | President | D’Youville College
Ann M. Evanko  | Member, Chair of Labor & Employment Practices Group | Hurwitz & Fine, P.C.
Mary Owusu  | Assistant Professor of Marketing | Canisius College & CEO | GuruBound.com
	 Danielle Ossher | Editor | Buffalo Magazine
Rhonda Frederick  | President and CEO | People, Inc.
Sharon Randaccio | President and CEO | Performance Management Partners & Chair | Vistage International
	 Katie Krawczyk  | CEO and Partner | 19 Ideas
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Thank you to our sponsors for their incredible support.
Title Sponsor:
Presenting Sponsor:
Supporting Sponsors:
Elderwood | Grover Cleveland Press
Heather Bellini Photography | National Fuel Gas Company
St. Bonaventure University
Official Accounting Sponsor:
Official Print Media Sponsor:
Finalist Sponsor:
Television Sponsor:
4
PAST ATHENA AWARD RECIPIENTS
1989		 Sharon Lochocki, Keybank, N.A.
1990		 Mary Martino, Canisius College
1991		 Mary Ann Lauricella, Lauricella Public Relations Co.
1992		 Christeen Kanowski (deceased), Merchants Mutual Insurance
1993		 Elizabeth Cappella, Buffalo State College
1994		 Cindy Vastola, Vastola Heating & Air Conditioning
1995		 Nancy Nielsen M.D., Ph.D., Buffalo General Hospital
1996		 Linda Duch, KeyBank, N.A.
1997		 Virginia Purcell Oehler, United Cerebral Palsy of Western New York
1998		 Linda Heary Joseph, Buchanan Ingersoll P.C.
2000		 Marsha Henderson, Keybank, N.A.
2001		 Elizabeth Pierce Olmstead M.D. (deceased), Private Practice
2002		 Maureen Hurley, Rich Products Corporation
2003		 Kathleen Balus, Pioneer Credit Recovery Inc.
2004		 Pamela Davis Heilman, Hodgson Russ LLP
2005		 Mary Kate O’Connell, O’Connell & Company
2006		 Muriel Howard Ph.D., Buffalo State College
2007		 Cheryl Howe, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York
2008		 Ann Evanko, Hurwitz & Fine P.C.
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2009	 	 Sharon Lochocki, Keybank, N.A.
		 Amy Martoche, Esq., Connors & Vilardo, LLP
2010		 Sister Denise Roche, GNSH, Ph.D., D’Youville College
		 Amy Schmit, University at Buffalo’s NYS Center for Excellence in
		 Bioinformatics and Life Sciences
2011	 	 Connie Vari, Kaleida Health
		 Christine Bonaguide, Hodgson Russ LLP
2012	 	 Mary Harley Gresham, PH.D., University at Buffalo
		 Katie McKenna, Tops Markets
2013	 	 Lynne Marie Finn, Superior Group
		 Bridget O’Connell, Child & Family Services
2015	 	 Mary Ann Coulson, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
		 Shannon Linehan, Journey’s End Refugee Services
2016	 	 Amy Habib Rittling, Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedmann, LLP
		 Bridget Niland, Daemen College
2017	 	 Norma Nowak, Ph.D. Executive Director, UB NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics
		and Life Science | Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Empire Genomics LLC.
		 Melodie Baker, Director of Education, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
2018 	 	 Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor, New York State
		 Mary Owusu, Vice President, Analytics and SEO, Mower
2019		 JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
		 Katie Krawczyk, Partner & CEO, 19 IDEAS
Professional Leadership Award
Young Professional Leadership Award
6
FINALISTS FOR THE 2021
ATHENA PROFESSIONAL
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.
GINA BURKHARDT
BETH GUILIANI GATTO
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Gina Burkhardt
President & CEO | Buffalo Center for Arts
and Technology
Gina Burkhardt is President and CEO of Buffalo Center for Arts
and Technology, an arts and training center based on a nationally
recognized model that seeks to mentor and prepare adults for
new career paths through the arts and workforce development.
An experienced educator with a background in organizational
development, Gina has previously held leadership positions at the
Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Preparation in Washington, D.C., as well as at Jobs for the
Future, and the American Institutes for Research.
Gina gives back through many volunteer and community activities including serving as a board
member at Community Services For Every1, Erie County Arts and Cultural Advisory Board and
Dreambox Learning. She also lends her support to Buffalo String Works, The Western NY Women’s
Foundation, Peace of the City, City Mission, and Olmsted Park Conservatory. Much of her
community work is focused on working with individuals – youth and adults – who need one on
one support in times of need or crisis.
READ MORE HERE
Beth Guiliani Gatto
Director Arena Operations | Buffalo Sabres/
KeyBank Center
Beth Guiliani Gatto is Director of Arena Operations for the Buffalo
Sabres and KeyBank Center where she oversees a variety of
operations and requirements for events at the arena including
ushers, ticket takers, and other staff. With more than 20 years of
experience at the arena, Beth worked as a production manager
for ABC Sports before joining the Sabres and arena organization.
READ MORE HERE
8
Rema Hanash
Director of Resource Development | United Way of
Buffalo & Erie County
Rema Hanash is Director of Resource Development at United Way
of Buffalo & Erie County where she has more than 25 years of
experience with the non-profit human services organization. In her
role as director, Rema is responsible for overseeing and executing
organizational strategies for the United Way Annual Campaign
among other management duties.
Rema has volunteered and served on numerous boards and received a number of awards
throughout the Western New York Community. Her volunteer involvement includes WNY Girls in
Sports, Leadership Buffalo, Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the Ladies Theatre Guild. She has
been recognized with the Community Leaders Award for Community Service and Volunteerism;
Eyes on America Community Service Award; Global Citizen Award for Community Service; and
UB’s Outstanding Service Award.
READ MORE HERE
Mary Jean Jakubowski
Director | Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
Mary Jean Jakubowski is Library System Director of the Buffalo &
Erie County Public Library, responsible for overseeing the Central
Library, 8 branches in the City of Buffalo and 22 contract member
libraries which operate 28 facilities outside the city in Erie County.
She has more than 30 years of experience with the library system
including 10 years as director. Among her many volunteer and
community activities, Mary Jean has served with the American
Library Association (ALA) Key Congressional Contact Program and
the New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries. She
also supports the Zonta Club of Buffalo and Trailblazing Women
of Western New York.
READ MORE HERE
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It is an honor to be a finalist. Each year when I read about
the incredible women who are finalists for the Athena award, I am
always inspired by their successes and achievements. Being in
their company is very humbling and it inspires me to want to do
more to help people and our community.”
– Rema Hanash
MARY JEAN JAKUBOWSKI
REMA HANASH
LISA LATROVATO
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Lisa LaTrovato
Donor Relations Manager | Hauptman - Woodward
Medical Research Institute
Lisa LaTrovato is Donor Relations Manager at Hauptman-
Woodward Medical Research Institute where she oversees annual
fundraising, events and major gifts at the independent, not-for-
profit, biomedical research facility. Lisa is also the founder and
president of the Fifty Fabulous Women Giving Circle that brings
together professional women of all backgrounds to support
small not-for-profits that serve women and children in the eight
counties of WNY.
Outside of her professional work, Lisa gives back to the community in many ways including
serving as past president of the Canisius College Masters Business Alumni Association and as vice
chair of events for University at Buffalo’s School of Management Alumni Association as well as
Fleet Captain for her sailing club.
READ MORE HERE
Cindy Lee
CEO | OLV Human Services
Cindy Lee is CEO of OLV Human Services, a leading provider
of mental and behavioral health care formerly known as
Baker Victory Services. Cindy is responsible for guiding the
organization’s wide variety of services and programs for children,
adults and families, overseeing more than 1,000 employees.
Prior to being named CEO, Cindy served as Chief Clinical Officer
and Director of Education at OLV and held executive roles with
other school systems including principal, program director and
superintendent of schools.
While her role with OLV has a major impact on the Western New
York Community, Cindy finds time to give back in other ways as well. This includes volunteering
with Therapy Pets Unlimited, taking one or more of her four certified therapy dogs to local nursing
homes, hospice, and schools.
READ MORE HERE
11
Kimberley Minkel
Executive Director | Niagara Frontier
Transportation Authority (NFTA)
Kimberley Minkel is Executive Director of the Niagara Frontier
Transportation Authority – NFTA – where she oversees more
than 1,500 employees of Metro Bus and Rail, Buffalo Niagara
International Airport, Niagara Falls International Airport and
related departments. With nearly two decades of experience at
the NFTA, Kimberley leads the organization in providing efficient
and professional transportation services throughout the Buffalo
Niagara region.
Kimberley’s community involvement includes a wide range of activities including serving on the Board
of Directors at the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Niagara
Military Affairs Commission, Evans Bank and Niagara University Advisory Board. She also served on the
Board of Directors for Peace Bridge Authority and is a 2007 Graduate of Leadership Buffalo.
READ MORE HERE
Crystal Rodriguez-Dabney
Chief of Staff to the President & Chief Diversity
Officer | Buffalo State College
Crystal Rodriguez-Dabney is Chief of Staff to Buffalo State
College President Katherine Conway-Turner and serves as the
college’s Chief Diversity Officer. In her diversity role, Crystal
assists Buffalo State College in eliminating barriers based on
race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and various differences
with intentional, more productive policies. Prior to her work at
Buff State, Crystal served in various roles for the City of Buffalo
including Chief Diversity Officer and as executive director of the
city’s Commission on Citizens’ Rights and Community Relations.
She is also an attorney at law.
Crystal’s community support and volunteer efforts include organizing Miss Borinquen Leadership
Development Program, working for Attract Manifest Repeat! Retreat for Female Entrepreneurs, and
serving on the NYS Campaign Finance Reform Commission.
READ MORE HERE
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I’m humbled that I would even be considered among so many
talented women in our community. Many of these women give so
much of their time, talents and treasures to the many worthy
causes here in Western New York. I am also very proud to share
this with my teenage daughter and hope that this in some small
way, it will help inspire her to reach her full potential.”
– Kimberly Minkel
CINDY LEE
CRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ-DABNEY
KIMBERLEY MINKEL
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Cindy Vance
CEO | Sterling Investment Counsel, LLC |
Managing Partner | Jensen, Marks, Langer
& Vance LLP
Cynthia Vance is a Managing Partner at Jensen Marks Langer
and Vance, an independent wealth management firm, and CEO
of Sterling Investment Counsel, a registered investment advisory
firm. Cynthia has worked in the financial services industry
for more than 35 years and earned her law degree from the
University at Buffalo School of Law.
Cynthia’s long list of volunteer and community activities include serving as President of the Board of
Trustees for the Center for Elder Law & Justice; as a member of the Board of Trustees for Canisius
College and Chair of the Endowment Committee; as a member of the Board of Trustees for Nichols
School and Chair of their Endowment Committee; as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Buffalo
Toronto Public Media (WNED|WBFO) and a board member of The Buffalo Club.
READ MORE HERE
Sujata Yalamanchili
Partner | Hodgson Russ LLP
Sujata Yalamanchili is partner with the law firm Hodgson Russ
where she has practiced for 22 years, assisting businesses in
structuring complex business transactions usually involving real
property, including leasing, purchase and sales and financing.
Sujata is a Fellow with the American College of Real Estate
Lawyers which elects attorneys nationwide to the fellowship for
their outstanding legal ability, experience and high standards of
professional and ethical conduct in the practice of real estate law.
Outside of the legal profession, Sujata gives back to the
community in many ways. She serves as a trustee for the
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation, is a board member with Summit Educational
Resources, and is a member of the UB School of Management Dean’s Advisory Council. She also
serves on Shea’s Buffalo Theater Board of Directors and the Williamsville Education Foundation board.
READ MORE HERE
14
I am very proud to shine a light on the different ways in
which women leaders contribute to the community and lift up
others. My parents came to the US to provide a better life and
opportunities for their five daughters. The Athena Award
represents the possibilities that women have to lead and to
contribute to the community.”
– Sujata Yalamanchili
I never expected to receive
thanks or public recognition.
But, to actually receive it is the
greatest honor I can imagine.”
– Gina Burkhardt
CINDY VANCE
SUJATA YALAMANCHILI
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FINALISTS FOR THE 2021
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.
JUWERIA DAHIR
KANASHA BLUE
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Kanasha Blue
Business Service Representative | NYS Dept.
of Labor
Kanasha Blue is a Business Service Representative for the
New York Department of Labor, working for the Batavia, NY
office. With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from State
University of New York College at Buffalo, Kanasha also earned
her Master’s degree in public administration and is currently
pursuing a PhD in leadership and policy from Niagara University.
Prior to the Department of Labor, she worked as a care manager
for Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers and as a residential counselor at Gateway
Longview. She also served more than nine years in the Army National Guard. In addition, she is an
independent Mary Kay beauty consultant.
Among her community volunteer activities, Kanasha serves as 1st Vice Commander for the
American Legion Jesse Clipper Post 430 where she is a member of the Post honor and color
guard. The Post renders final salutes to fallen service members and veterans and engages with the
community through educational programming and workshop, focusing on flag education, service,
patriotism, and African American history in the military.
READ MORE HERE
Juweria Dahir
City Planner & External Affairs Manager |
City of Buffalo
Juweria Dahir is a City Planner and serves as External Affairs
Manager for the City of Buffalo’s Division of Citizen Services
under Mayor Byron Brown’s office. In this role, she serves as a
liaison between various city departments and nearly 500 block
clubs, identifying and implementing neighborhood development
projects, including beautification and restoration initiatives.
Originally from East Africa, Juweria now shares her time and talents in the Buffalo Niagara community
including leading H.E.A.L. International, a non-profit organization in the heart of Buffalo’s West Side
on Women Empowerment, Economic Development and Youth Enrichment Programs. She has also
organized and volunteered on food drives, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic to fundraising for
families displaced by a house fire, as a conduit for wellness and bridging connections in our community.
READ MORE HERE
17
Maggie Hamilton Winship
Director of Economic Development |
Town of Amherst
Maggie Hamilton Winship is Director of Economic Development
in the Town of Amherst and President of Common Owner, a
web site that brings investors and developers together under
one domain including real estate developers of all sizes and
investors of all financial means to invest in projects. A licensed
New York State Real Estate Broker, Maggie previously served as
Director of Economic Development in the Village of Williamsville.
Maggie’s many volunteer and community involvement activities include coaching the Buffalo
Academy of the Sacred Heart’s swim team for four years and serving on the local Urban Land Institute
Leadership Committee as a Vice-Chair. She also works with students at UB, serving as a mentor for the
Real Estate Development program, and teaching classes in the school of Architecture & Planning.
READ MORE HERE
Christina Holdsworth
Associate | Goldberg Segalla, LLP
Christina Holdsworth is an attorney at Goldberg Segalla LLP where
she practices in the law firm’s Litigation Department, with litigation
experience in matters involving personal injury, defense of retail
businesses, not-for-profit corporations and libel/slander, among
others.  She earned her law degree from University at Buffalo Law
School and was an attorney and law clerk for two other Buffalo
firms before her current position.
Christina is involved in many volunteer activities including the
Erie County Republican Committee, as well as the Republican
Lawyers Group. Through this involvement, she was appointed to
the Erie County Charter Revision Commission which was tasked
with revising the County Charter which occurs once every 10 years. Christina also founded Ambush
Buffalo, a community-based organization for local lesbians. It quickly became one of the largest social
gatherings for the LGBT community in Buffalo and later expanded to create Ambush Rochester.
READ MORE HERE
18
Buffalo is full of amazing, accomplished women who give
so much to our community and make Buffalo a better place. To
say I am humbled to be included on this list is an understate-
ment. I am glad that my devotion to Buffalo is apparent enough to
be recognized with this nomination. It motivates me to continue
my efforts to make Buffalo an even better place.”
– Christina Holdsworth
MAGGIE HAMILTON WINSHIP
CHRISTINA HOLDSWORTH
JENNA KOCH
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Jenna Koch
Human Resources Business Partner |
Catholic Health
Jenna Koch is a Human Resources Business Partner at Catholic
Health and has more than 15 years of experience as a human
resources professional. Prior to joining Catholic Health, she served
as director of human resources for Absolut Care LLC. She currently
serves as the Council President in the City of Tonawanda where
she previously served as a Council Member in the 4th Ward.
Outside of her busy professional life, Jenna has been involved
in numerous volunteer activities including serving on the Board of Directors with the Boys and Girls
Club and the Board of Directors with Totally Buffalo’s Hope for the Holidays program. She is also a
member of the Clean Air Coalition and the Buffalo Niagara Human Resources Association
READ MORE HERE
Lynne Ruda
Orchestra Director | Lancaster Central School District
Lynne Ruda is the Orchestra Director in the Lancaster Central
School District where she also teaches music and serves as advisor
for the Lancaster High School First Responder’s Club. Lynne is
currently a finalist for the GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year
2021 and was a finalist for the award in 2020. In addition to
teaching, she performs as a cellist as a member of Buffalo Local
92 – Musician’s Union throughout Western New York. A lifelong
Lancaster resident, Lynne serves her community as a Village of
Lancaster Trustee and the Director of Economic Development. At
this writing, Lynne has announced her candidacy to run for mayor
of the Village of Lancaster in March 2021.
A volunteer firefighter with the Lancaster Fire Department for
more than 13 years, Lynne also gives back through many activities. She volunteers with Buffalo String
Works, a non-profit that provides free instruments and lessons for refugee and immigrant students in
the area and is a member of Focus – For Our Community Unity & Support – an addiction prevention
coalition in the Lancaster/Depew community. Since 2016, she has served as a Board Member for the
Lancaster Opera House.
READ MORE HERE
20
Caitlin Schneider
Vendor Business Manager | Ingram Micro, Inc.
Caitlin Schneider is Vendor Business Manager at Ingram Micro,
Inc. where she creates business and marketing strategies,
coordinates development resources, oversees vendor
onboarding and on-going operations, and manages financial
planning. Prior to joining the company, she worked as an
accounts receivable manager at another business.
Caitlin’s community and volunteer activities include serving on
the board of directors for the local non-profit organization,
Be Your Own Hero, Inc., that helps connect students and young professionals with employment
opportunities, particularly in skilled trades. She has also volunteered for the She Started IT event
through the University at Buffalo which encourages middle and high school girls to pursue careers
in technology. Caitlin is also an active member of The WIT Network, a global and local non-profit
that encourages women to study STEM, pursue technology careers, and attain leadership positions.
READ MORE HERE
Julia Spitz
Executive Vice President | Savarino Properties
Julia Spitz is Executive Vice President at Savarino Properties,
responsible for oversight and day-to-day management of
250,000 square feet of commercial, residential and retail
space in Western New York. Julia is a licensed NYS Real Estate
Salesperson and Licensed Property Manager as well as a member
of BOMA Buffalo and NAIOP Upstate New York.
Outside the real estate business, Julia has served on the board
of directors for Explore & More Children’s Museum, Girls on the
Run Buffalo and as an LISC WNY Community-Based Real Estate
Development Training Mentor. She also teaches and participates
in yoga at Power Yoga Buffalo Elmwood.
READ MORE HERE
21
It is a huge honor to be a named a finalist for the ATHENA Awards –
to not only to be recognized for my leadership in my community, but
also to be able to be a role model for the aspiring young ladies at Lancaster
High School – showing them that no matter what anyone says, or believes,
you can truly do whatever you feel that you are called to do. I am very
grateful that an organization like ATHENA International exists to support,
develop, and honor women leaders and am humbled to be considered a
finalist among so many other amazing candidates.”
– Lynne Ruda
JULIA SPITZ
LYNNE RUDA
CAITLIN SCHNEIDER
KAYLEIGH TERRANOVA
22
Kayleigh Terranova
Community Relations Partner | Tesla
Kayleigh Terranova is Community Relations Partner at the
Tesla Gigafactory in Buffalo where the company is producing
solar roof tiles and Power Electronic units for commercial and
residential use from a 1.2 million square foot facility. Prior
to Tesla, she worked in community engagements roles at
the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. Kayleigh is also an
instructor at Danceability, a nonprofit dance and movement
program for children and adults with special needs.
In addition to dance instruction, Kayleigh gives back in many ways including serving on the board
for United Way of Buffalo & Erie County’s Women United, and is past board member of the
Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) of Greater Buffalo and Homespace Inc. She has
volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier and was a Youth
Mentor for Leadership Buffalo’s Youth Program. She also has volunteered with United Way’s
Program Investment Process.
READ MORE HERE
Jennifer Flannery (Not Pictured)
Partner/Trust & Estates Practice | Barclay
Damon LLP
23
2021 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.
24
With offices in downtown Buffalo, Ernst & Young LLP (EY) is a member firm of Ernst
& Young Global Limited, a multinational professional services network with global
headquarters in London, England. EY is one of the largest professional services
networks in the world and is ranked as one of the Big Four accounting firms.
EY is committed to gender parity in the workplace and supporting women to
achieve their full leadership potential. The firm continuously works to bridge the
gender gap, defeat unconscious biases and engage men as allies in driving change.
Their approach is holistic, and their women-centered initiatives create opportunities
for professionals in all stages of their lives and careers, and at all levels, roles and
geographies in the organization.
READ MORE HERE
FOR-PROFIT
25
One of the top global engineering companies and the world’s largest industrial
gas company, Linde – formerly known as Praxair – is a company that employs
approximately 80,000 people globally and serves customers in more than 100
countries worldwide. Locally, the Linde Technology Center, based in Tonawanda,
N.Y., employs approximately 1,000 employees and is home to a wide range of
operations, including engineering, logistics and research and development.
Linde is at the forefront of efforts to create gender balance across all areas of
the corporation, including engineering, with its global goal of achieving 30%
gender balance by 2030. This is thanks to the corporate-level focus on the issue
of developing women in the workforce, which is particularly critical in a male-
dominated field like engineering.
READ MORE HERE
FOR-PROFIT
26
Seneca Gaming Corporation is a wholly owned, tribally chartered corporation of
the Seneca Nation of Indians which operates all of the Nation’s Class III gaming
operations in Western New York. These include Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino,
Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, and Seneca Hickory
Stick Golf in Lewiston, NY. The casino properties collectively employ more than
2,700 workers and attract millions of visitors each year.
Seneca Gaming Corporation supports and encourages women to pursue
advancement within the company. This is evident by the numbers that Seneca
Gaming Corporation boasts with regard to women in leadership roles, which
includes an executive team that is 50% women.
READ MORE HERE
FOR-PROFIT
27
BestSelf Behavioral Health (BestSelf) provides innovative, evidence-based,
accessible, and family-focused behavioral health services to promote health, hope,
and recovery, and an enhanced quality of life. BestSelf is the largest community-
based behavioral health organization in Western New York, serving over 35,000
children and adults in more than 60 locations.
Cultivating a diverse and inclusive staff is a top-priority of BestSelf and the agency
works to recruit and hire a workforce that is as diverse as the clients it serves.
BestSelf is committed to creating a culture that encourages women employees to
achieve their full leadership potential as demonstrated by the high percentage of
women in leadership at the agency. Honoring and encouraging women is woven
throughout the agency.
READ MORE HERE
NON-FOR PROFIT
28
Evergreen Health fosters healthy communities by providing medical, supportive and
behavioral services to individuals and families in Western New York — especially
those who are living with chronic illness or who are underserved by the healthcare
system. Evergreen provides medical, pharmacy, housing, mental health, nutrition,
transportation and syringe exchange services, as well as health education, health
promotion and disease-specific prevention programs to over 14,308 individuals
throughout eight facilities located in Buffalo and Jamestown, NY.
Female employees make up almost 70% of the workforce at Evergreen. A deeper
look into the employee demographics shows that the organization currently has
99 management and leadership positions. Of those 99 positions, 66 of them are
held by women. Evergreen has a large female demographic and has more female
leaders than male.
READ MORE HERE
NON-FOR PROFIT
29
Girl Scouts of Western New York serves nearly 14,000 girls and 6,000 adult
volunteers across the Buffalo Niagara and Western New York region and nationally,
has served girls for more than 100 years. Girl Scouts of WNY offers a variety of
programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), Outdoors, Life
Skills, and Entrepreneurship to prepare girls for a lifetime of leadership, success,
and adventure.
GSWNY’s exceptional team which consists of 96% women employees lead
the charge for its 20,000 members across its nine-county region. The GSWNY
leadership team is 99% female with 23 positions (8 executive leadership and 15
senior leadership positions) across racial and ethnic backgrounds, and the GSWNY
board of directors is 84% female with 19 positions—16 of which are held by
women across racial and ethnic backgrounds.
READ MORE HERE
NON-FOR PROFIT
30
2021 Award Winner:
Tierra Purdue
BNSPIRED AWARD
The [BN]spired award winner is selected in partnership with Say Yes. The award is presented to a
student who exemplifies the Athena-like qualities of highest academic achievement, devotion to
improving quality of life for their community, and investment in assisting others (particularly women)
in realizing their full potential.
Tierra Purdue is a May 2020 graduate of Buffalo State
College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science
degree in applied mathematics, with a concentration
in statistics and a minor in business economics.
Tierra has been a Say Yes Buffalo ambassador since
2016 and through the program has completed
numerous internships while inspiring others to
follow in her footsteps by earning a college degree.
During her time at Buff State, Tierra interned with
the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo,
Jericho Road and Walsh Duffield Co. She also served
as president of her philanthropic sorority, Zeta Chi
Omega, and completed a service trip to Rwanda as
part of the Anne Frank Project. Tierra is taking her
love of math into the classroom as a tutor for Sylvan
Learning, and as an academic coordinator specializing in math with Peace of the
City Buffalo while pursuing other long-term career goals. She remains an active
ambassador on behalf of Say Yes Buffalo.
31
THANK YOU
to the many Corporate Champions on the following pages for
supporting this event and the accomplishments of those dedicated to
the advancement of local women in business.
32
We recognize and celebrate your contributions to
the advancement of women in Western New York.
Thank you for all you do to step up and give back to
our community.
CONGRATS
TO THE 2021
ATHENA
AWARDS®
FINALISTS!
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2021 Athena Awards
CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF
HONORING EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN
Buffalo Magazine is proud to support the
Athena Awards, and celebrate these incredible
women making a difference in Western New York.
M A G A Z I N E
to this year’s Athena Award
recipients and to all the nominees.
Your commitment to empowering and
supporting women is truly inspiring.
Find out the best piece of advice given to the nominees at buffalo.com.
We are proud to sponsor this
years’ ATHENA Awards and the
recognition of individuals and
organizations that demonstrate a
dedication to the advancement
of women in our region.
ARCBUILDINGPARTNERS.COM
Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation is a proud
supporter of the ATHENA Awards. Thank you to all
the exceptional individuals and organizations
dedicated to the advancement of women.
Congratulations to all the finalists!
Congratulations to all of the 2020
Athena Awards®
finalists!
Your outstanding dedication to
leadership deserves recognition.
BestSelf is proud to celebrate your
contributions to the advancement
of women in WNY.
(716) 884-0888 | BestSelfWNY.org
BestSelf is committed to creating a culture that encourages
women employees to achieve their
full leadership potential.
Elizabeth Woike-Ganga, LCSW-R, President and CEO
SUNY BUFFALO STATE COLLEGE
congratulates
Crystal J. Rodriguez-Dabney, Esq., LL.M.
Chief of Staff to the President and Chief Diversity Officer
SUNY Buffalo State College
and all of the 2021 ATHENA Leadership Award Finalists
believe.
inspire.
achieve.
Girl Scouts of Western New York applauds the amazing women
and organizations who are finalists and we are glad to join them in
empowering women in leadership.
Try Girl Scouts
Try Girl Scouts
1-888-837-6410
gswny.org
Volunteer today!
Volunteer today!
ALBANY + BUFFALO + HACKENSACK + NEW YORK CITY + PALM BEACH + ROCHESTER + SARATOGA SPRINGS + TORONTO
HODGSONRUSS.COM + HODGSONRUSS.CA
Hodgson Russ congratulates our partner
Sujata Yalamanchili
and all the
2021 ATHENA Leadership
Award finalists
A T T O R N E Y S
LLP
Ingram Micro is proud to honor
CAITLIN
SCHNEIDER
Caitlin, we applaud you for your leadership,
creativity and initiative at Ingram Micro, and
for being a role model to young women.
as a finalist for the
ATHENA YOUNG
PROFESSIONAL AWARD
We are proud to Honor Julia Spitz, for her nomination as a Finalist for the 2021 ATHENA
Young Professional Leadership Award!
This nomination is an acknowledgement of your many amazing contributions as a leader in
the workplace, community, and the many organizations you support.
CONGRATULATIONS JULIA!
From the entire Javen Construction team.
General Construction
Construction Management
www.JAVEN.com
716-955-9993
Buffalo | Rochester
We are happy to announce that CindyVance
has been named a 2021 ATHENA Awards®
Leadership Finalist.
Congratulations!
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through LPL Financial or Sterling Investment Counsel, LLC,
both registered investment advisors and separate entities from Jensen, Marks, Langer, & Vance LLC.
360 Delaware Avenue, Suite 400
Buffalo, NY 14202
www.jmlvwealthplanning.com
tel. 716.362.0170
fax. 716.362.0189
1.866.552.4196
Making our world more productive
Congratulations to all of this year’s impressive finalists. We’re proud to support, develop, and honor female
leaders, so that they may achieve their full potential and create balance in leadership throughout our community.
www.linde.com
© Copyright 2021, All Rights Reserved.
Linde is proud to support the 30th
Annual Athena Awards.
Congratulations to all the
2021AthenaAwards Finalists.
Your hardwork and
leadership in our community
is an inspiration.
www.niagara.edu
The John R. Oishei Foundation
Congratulates
GINA BURKHARDT
for her leadership in helping
women and girls reach their dreams
OLV Human Services proudly
recognizes Cindy Lee – Chief Executive Officer
– as a 2021 ATHENA Award Finalist. Through
her passion, hard work, and dedication, OLV
Human Services continues to carry on the time-
honored legacy of Father Nelson Baker.
#FosteringMiracles
OLVhumanservices.org
Precision Motion Controls and Systems
for Aviation/Space/Industry
Vice President
Chief FinancialOfficer
Jennifer Walter
President
SpaceandDefense Group
Maureen Athoe
Moog has recognized and rewarded the
skills and contributions
of women in the workforce for 70 years.
Moog salutes the amazing women making a
difference in the Buffalo area and the world!
Congratulations, Kim!
We are proud to recognize Executive Director
Kimberley Minkel, and all of the finalists this year
who keep this region moving forward.
Ad created by NFTA
Intern Samantha Szykowny,
a talented future leader.
The women of Western New York
keep us all moving forward. We are
very proud Kimberley Minkel has
been recognized for her contribution
to this region’s renaissance.
Performance Management Partners
would like to congratulate the
2021 ATHENA®
Awards nominees
and the organizations that empower,
support and advance the women
in our community.
PERFORMANCEPROS.NET
SHARON RANDACCIO
sharon@performancepros.net
People Inc. is a proud supporter of
the ATHENA Awards
Saluting women across the region, who create more
inclusive and impactful workplaces with their creativity,
innovation and leadership.
People Inc., a regional multispecialty non-profit health and human services
agency, is proud to serve the community. The agency provides comprehensive
services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families
and older adults to lead more healthy, independent and productive lives across
Western New York and the Greater Rochester region.
people-inc.org
Sterling Investment Counsel, LLC is
proud to honor CynthiaVance as a
2021 ATHENA Awards®
Leadership Finalist.
Congratulations!
360 Delaware Avenue, Suite 400, Buffalo, NY 14202
tel.716.783.7054 | fax.716.783.7068 | www.sterinv.com
Takingcareofeachother-
that’swhatWNY
isallabout.
At Univera Healthcare, we’re committed to
caring for our neighbors in Western New York.
We’re proud of what we’ve been able to do to support our members, our communities and each other during
this pandemic. We’re continuing to monitor COVID-19 and vaccine developments and will keep you updated
on what you need to know.
Eligibility criteria, vaccines and vaccine availability continues to evolve rapidly. Make sure to re-check your
eligibility and look for available appointments.
Getvaccineinformationandmore:
UniveraHealthcare.com/COVID19

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2021 BNP 30th Annual ATHENA Commemorative Album

  • 1. 30th Annual Produced by Presented by Commemorative Album
  • 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS 3. Introduction & Acknowledgments 5. Past ATHENA Award® Recipients 7. Finalists for the 2021 ATHENA Professional Leadership Award® 16. Finalists for the 2021 Young Professional Leadership Award® 24. NEW: Finalists for the 2021 Organizational Award® 31. Buffalo News BNspired Award Winner 32. 30th Annual ATHENA Awards® Corporate Champions
  • 3. Thank you to our amazing steering committee members who have been an invaluable part of the ATHENA process. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership has been honored to produce the ATHENA Awards® since 1989. 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. Honorary Co-Chairs Crystal Peoples-Stokes | Majority Leader | New York State Assembly Trina Burruss | Senior Vice President & District Manager | Northwest Bank Members Lorrie Clemo | President | D’Youville College Ann M. Evanko  | Member, Chair of Labor & Employment Practices Group | Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. Mary Owusu  | Assistant Professor of Marketing | Canisius College & CEO | GuruBound.com Danielle Ossher | Editor | Buffalo Magazine Rhonda Frederick  | President and CEO | People, Inc. Sharon Randaccio | President and CEO | Performance Management Partners & Chair | Vistage International Katie Krawczyk  | CEO and Partner | 19 Ideas 3
  • 4. Thank you to our sponsors for their incredible support. Title Sponsor: Presenting Sponsor: Supporting Sponsors: Elderwood | Grover Cleveland Press Heather Bellini Photography | National Fuel Gas Company St. Bonaventure University Official Accounting Sponsor: Official Print Media Sponsor: Finalist Sponsor: Television Sponsor: 4
  • 5. PAST ATHENA AWARD RECIPIENTS 1989 Sharon Lochocki, Keybank, N.A. 1990 Mary Martino, Canisius College 1991 Mary Ann Lauricella, Lauricella Public Relations Co. 1992 Christeen Kanowski (deceased), Merchants Mutual Insurance 1993 Elizabeth Cappella, Buffalo State College 1994 Cindy Vastola, Vastola Heating & Air Conditioning 1995 Nancy Nielsen M.D., Ph.D., Buffalo General Hospital 1996 Linda Duch, KeyBank, N.A. 1997 Virginia Purcell Oehler, United Cerebral Palsy of Western New York 1998 Linda Heary Joseph, Buchanan Ingersoll P.C. 2000 Marsha Henderson, Keybank, N.A. 2001 Elizabeth Pierce Olmstead M.D. (deceased), Private Practice 2002 Maureen Hurley, Rich Products Corporation 2003 Kathleen Balus, Pioneer Credit Recovery Inc. 2004 Pamela Davis Heilman, Hodgson Russ LLP 2005 Mary Kate O’Connell, O’Connell & Company 2006 Muriel Howard Ph.D., Buffalo State College 2007 Cheryl Howe, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York 2008 Ann Evanko, Hurwitz & Fine P.C. 5
  • 6. 2009 Sharon Lochocki, Keybank, N.A. Amy Martoche, Esq., Connors & Vilardo, LLP 2010 Sister Denise Roche, GNSH, Ph.D., D’Youville College Amy Schmit, University at Buffalo’s NYS Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences 2011 Connie Vari, Kaleida Health Christine Bonaguide, Hodgson Russ LLP 2012 Mary Harley Gresham, PH.D., University at Buffalo Katie McKenna, Tops Markets 2013 Lynne Marie Finn, Superior Group Bridget O’Connell, Child & Family Services 2015 Mary Ann Coulson, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Shannon Linehan, Journey’s End Refugee Services 2016 Amy Habib Rittling, Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedmann, LLP Bridget Niland, Daemen College 2017 Norma Nowak, Ph.D. Executive Director, UB NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Science | Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Empire Genomics LLC. Melodie Baker, Director of Education, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County 2018 Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor, New York State Mary Owusu, Vice President, Analytics and SEO, Mower 2019 JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Katie Krawczyk, Partner & CEO, 19 IDEAS Professional Leadership Award Young Professional Leadership Award 6
  • 7. FINALISTS FOR THE 2021 ATHENA PROFESSIONAL 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. GINA BURKHARDT BETH GUILIANI GATTO 7
  • 8. Gina Burkhardt President & CEO | Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology Gina Burkhardt is President and CEO of Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology, an arts and training center based on a nationally recognized model that seeks to mentor and prepare adults for new career paths through the arts and workforce development. An experienced educator with a background in organizational development, Gina has previously held leadership positions at the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Preparation in Washington, D.C., as well as at Jobs for the Future, and the American Institutes for Research. Gina gives back through many volunteer and community activities including serving as a board member at Community Services For Every1, Erie County Arts and Cultural Advisory Board and Dreambox Learning. She also lends her support to Buffalo String Works, The Western NY Women’s Foundation, Peace of the City, City Mission, and Olmsted Park Conservatory. Much of her community work is focused on working with individuals – youth and adults – who need one on one support in times of need or crisis. READ MORE HERE Beth Guiliani Gatto Director Arena Operations | Buffalo Sabres/ KeyBank Center Beth Guiliani Gatto is Director of Arena Operations for the Buffalo Sabres and KeyBank Center where she oversees a variety of operations and requirements for events at the arena including ushers, ticket takers, and other staff. With more than 20 years of experience at the arena, Beth worked as a production manager for ABC Sports before joining the Sabres and arena organization. READ MORE HERE 8
  • 9. Rema Hanash Director of Resource Development | United Way of Buffalo & Erie County Rema Hanash is Director of Resource Development at United Way of Buffalo & Erie County where she has more than 25 years of experience with the non-profit human services organization. In her role as director, Rema is responsible for overseeing and executing organizational strategies for the United Way Annual Campaign among other management duties. Rema has volunteered and served on numerous boards and received a number of awards throughout the Western New York Community. Her volunteer involvement includes WNY Girls in Sports, Leadership Buffalo, Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the Ladies Theatre Guild. She has been recognized with the Community Leaders Award for Community Service and Volunteerism; Eyes on America Community Service Award; Global Citizen Award for Community Service; and UB’s Outstanding Service Award. READ MORE HERE Mary Jean Jakubowski Director | Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Mary Jean Jakubowski is Library System Director of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, responsible for overseeing the Central Library, 8 branches in the City of Buffalo and 22 contract member libraries which operate 28 facilities outside the city in Erie County. She has more than 30 years of experience with the library system including 10 years as director. Among her many volunteer and community activities, Mary Jean has served with the American Library Association (ALA) Key Congressional Contact Program and the New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries. She also supports the Zonta Club of Buffalo and Trailblazing Women of Western New York. READ MORE HERE 9
  • 10. It is an honor to be a finalist. Each year when I read about the incredible women who are finalists for the Athena award, I am always inspired by their successes and achievements. Being in their company is very humbling and it inspires me to want to do more to help people and our community.” – Rema Hanash MARY JEAN JAKUBOWSKI REMA HANASH LISA LATROVATO 10
  • 11. Lisa LaTrovato Donor Relations Manager | Hauptman - Woodward Medical Research Institute Lisa LaTrovato is Donor Relations Manager at Hauptman- Woodward Medical Research Institute where she oversees annual fundraising, events and major gifts at the independent, not-for- profit, biomedical research facility. Lisa is also the founder and president of the Fifty Fabulous Women Giving Circle that brings together professional women of all backgrounds to support small not-for-profits that serve women and children in the eight counties of WNY. Outside of her professional work, Lisa gives back to the community in many ways including serving as past president of the Canisius College Masters Business Alumni Association and as vice chair of events for University at Buffalo’s School of Management Alumni Association as well as Fleet Captain for her sailing club. READ MORE HERE Cindy Lee CEO | OLV Human Services Cindy Lee is CEO of OLV Human Services, a leading provider of mental and behavioral health care formerly known as Baker Victory Services. Cindy is responsible for guiding the organization’s wide variety of services and programs for children, adults and families, overseeing more than 1,000 employees. Prior to being named CEO, Cindy served as Chief Clinical Officer and Director of Education at OLV and held executive roles with other school systems including principal, program director and superintendent of schools. While her role with OLV has a major impact on the Western New York Community, Cindy finds time to give back in other ways as well. This includes volunteering with Therapy Pets Unlimited, taking one or more of her four certified therapy dogs to local nursing homes, hospice, and schools. READ MORE HERE 11
  • 12. Kimberley Minkel Executive Director | Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) Kimberley Minkel is Executive Director of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority – NFTA – where she oversees more than 1,500 employees of Metro Bus and Rail, Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Niagara Falls International Airport and related departments. With nearly two decades of experience at the NFTA, Kimberley leads the organization in providing efficient and professional transportation services throughout the Buffalo Niagara region. Kimberley’s community involvement includes a wide range of activities including serving on the Board of Directors at the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Niagara Military Affairs Commission, Evans Bank and Niagara University Advisory Board. She also served on the Board of Directors for Peace Bridge Authority and is a 2007 Graduate of Leadership Buffalo. READ MORE HERE Crystal Rodriguez-Dabney Chief of Staff to the President & Chief Diversity Officer | Buffalo State College Crystal Rodriguez-Dabney is Chief of Staff to Buffalo State College President Katherine Conway-Turner and serves as the college’s Chief Diversity Officer. In her diversity role, Crystal assists Buffalo State College in eliminating barriers based on race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and various differences with intentional, more productive policies. Prior to her work at Buff State, Crystal served in various roles for the City of Buffalo including Chief Diversity Officer and as executive director of the city’s Commission on Citizens’ Rights and Community Relations. She is also an attorney at law. Crystal’s community support and volunteer efforts include organizing Miss Borinquen Leadership Development Program, working for Attract Manifest Repeat! Retreat for Female Entrepreneurs, and serving on the NYS Campaign Finance Reform Commission. READ MORE HERE 12
  • 13. I’m humbled that I would even be considered among so many talented women in our community. Many of these women give so much of their time, talents and treasures to the many worthy causes here in Western New York. I am also very proud to share this with my teenage daughter and hope that this in some small way, it will help inspire her to reach her full potential.” – Kimberly Minkel CINDY LEE CRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ-DABNEY KIMBERLEY MINKEL 13
  • 14. Cindy Vance CEO | Sterling Investment Counsel, LLC | Managing Partner | Jensen, Marks, Langer & Vance LLP Cynthia Vance is a Managing Partner at Jensen Marks Langer and Vance, an independent wealth management firm, and CEO of Sterling Investment Counsel, a registered investment advisory firm. Cynthia has worked in the financial services industry for more than 35 years and earned her law degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law. Cynthia’s long list of volunteer and community activities include serving as President of the Board of Trustees for the Center for Elder Law & Justice; as a member of the Board of Trustees for Canisius College and Chair of the Endowment Committee; as a member of the Board of Trustees for Nichols School and Chair of their Endowment Committee; as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Buffalo Toronto Public Media (WNED|WBFO) and a board member of The Buffalo Club. READ MORE HERE Sujata Yalamanchili Partner | Hodgson Russ LLP Sujata Yalamanchili is partner with the law firm Hodgson Russ where she has practiced for 22 years, assisting businesses in structuring complex business transactions usually involving real property, including leasing, purchase and sales and financing. Sujata is a Fellow with the American College of Real Estate Lawyers which elects attorneys nationwide to the fellowship for their outstanding legal ability, experience and high standards of professional and ethical conduct in the practice of real estate law. Outside of the legal profession, Sujata gives back to the community in many ways. She serves as a trustee for the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation, is a board member with Summit Educational Resources, and is a member of the UB School of Management Dean’s Advisory Council. She also serves on Shea’s Buffalo Theater Board of Directors and the Williamsville Education Foundation board. READ MORE HERE 14
  • 15. I am very proud to shine a light on the different ways in which women leaders contribute to the community and lift up others. My parents came to the US to provide a better life and opportunities for their five daughters. The Athena Award represents the possibilities that women have to lead and to contribute to the community.” – Sujata Yalamanchili I never expected to receive thanks or public recognition. But, to actually receive it is the greatest honor I can imagine.” – Gina Burkhardt CINDY VANCE SUJATA YALAMANCHILI 15
  • 16. FINALISTS FOR THE 2021 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. JUWERIA DAHIR KANASHA BLUE 16
  • 17. Kanasha Blue Business Service Representative | NYS Dept. of Labor Kanasha Blue is a Business Service Representative for the New York Department of Labor, working for the Batavia, NY office. With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from State University of New York College at Buffalo, Kanasha also earned her Master’s degree in public administration and is currently pursuing a PhD in leadership and policy from Niagara University. Prior to the Department of Labor, she worked as a care manager for Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers and as a residential counselor at Gateway Longview. She also served more than nine years in the Army National Guard. In addition, she is an independent Mary Kay beauty consultant. Among her community volunteer activities, Kanasha serves as 1st Vice Commander for the American Legion Jesse Clipper Post 430 where she is a member of the Post honor and color guard. The Post renders final salutes to fallen service members and veterans and engages with the community through educational programming and workshop, focusing on flag education, service, patriotism, and African American history in the military. READ MORE HERE Juweria Dahir City Planner & External Affairs Manager | City of Buffalo Juweria Dahir is a City Planner and serves as External Affairs Manager for the City of Buffalo’s Division of Citizen Services under Mayor Byron Brown’s office. In this role, she serves as a liaison between various city departments and nearly 500 block clubs, identifying and implementing neighborhood development projects, including beautification and restoration initiatives. Originally from East Africa, Juweria now shares her time and talents in the Buffalo Niagara community including leading H.E.A.L. International, a non-profit organization in the heart of Buffalo’s West Side on Women Empowerment, Economic Development and Youth Enrichment Programs. She has also organized and volunteered on food drives, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic to fundraising for families displaced by a house fire, as a conduit for wellness and bridging connections in our community. READ MORE HERE 17
  • 18. Maggie Hamilton Winship Director of Economic Development | Town of Amherst Maggie Hamilton Winship is Director of Economic Development in the Town of Amherst and President of Common Owner, a web site that brings investors and developers together under one domain including real estate developers of all sizes and investors of all financial means to invest in projects. A licensed New York State Real Estate Broker, Maggie previously served as Director of Economic Development in the Village of Williamsville. Maggie’s many volunteer and community involvement activities include coaching the Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart’s swim team for four years and serving on the local Urban Land Institute Leadership Committee as a Vice-Chair. She also works with students at UB, serving as a mentor for the Real Estate Development program, and teaching classes in the school of Architecture & Planning. READ MORE HERE Christina Holdsworth Associate | Goldberg Segalla, LLP Christina Holdsworth is an attorney at Goldberg Segalla LLP where she practices in the law firm’s Litigation Department, with litigation experience in matters involving personal injury, defense of retail businesses, not-for-profit corporations and libel/slander, among others.  She earned her law degree from University at Buffalo Law School and was an attorney and law clerk for two other Buffalo firms before her current position. Christina is involved in many volunteer activities including the Erie County Republican Committee, as well as the Republican Lawyers Group. Through this involvement, she was appointed to the Erie County Charter Revision Commission which was tasked with revising the County Charter which occurs once every 10 years. Christina also founded Ambush Buffalo, a community-based organization for local lesbians. It quickly became one of the largest social gatherings for the LGBT community in Buffalo and later expanded to create Ambush Rochester. READ MORE HERE 18
  • 19. Buffalo is full of amazing, accomplished women who give so much to our community and make Buffalo a better place. To say I am humbled to be included on this list is an understate- ment. I am glad that my devotion to Buffalo is apparent enough to be recognized with this nomination. It motivates me to continue my efforts to make Buffalo an even better place.” – Christina Holdsworth MAGGIE HAMILTON WINSHIP CHRISTINA HOLDSWORTH JENNA KOCH 19
  • 20. Jenna Koch Human Resources Business Partner | Catholic Health Jenna Koch is a Human Resources Business Partner at Catholic Health and has more than 15 years of experience as a human resources professional. Prior to joining Catholic Health, she served as director of human resources for Absolut Care LLC. She currently serves as the Council President in the City of Tonawanda where she previously served as a Council Member in the 4th Ward. Outside of her busy professional life, Jenna has been involved in numerous volunteer activities including serving on the Board of Directors with the Boys and Girls Club and the Board of Directors with Totally Buffalo’s Hope for the Holidays program. She is also a member of the Clean Air Coalition and the Buffalo Niagara Human Resources Association READ MORE HERE Lynne Ruda Orchestra Director | Lancaster Central School District Lynne Ruda is the Orchestra Director in the Lancaster Central School District where she also teaches music and serves as advisor for the Lancaster High School First Responder’s Club. Lynne is currently a finalist for the GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year 2021 and was a finalist for the award in 2020. In addition to teaching, she performs as a cellist as a member of Buffalo Local 92 – Musician’s Union throughout Western New York. A lifelong Lancaster resident, Lynne serves her community as a Village of Lancaster Trustee and the Director of Economic Development. At this writing, Lynne has announced her candidacy to run for mayor of the Village of Lancaster in March 2021. A volunteer firefighter with the Lancaster Fire Department for more than 13 years, Lynne also gives back through many activities. She volunteers with Buffalo String Works, a non-profit that provides free instruments and lessons for refugee and immigrant students in the area and is a member of Focus – For Our Community Unity & Support – an addiction prevention coalition in the Lancaster/Depew community. Since 2016, she has served as a Board Member for the Lancaster Opera House. READ MORE HERE 20
  • 21. Caitlin Schneider Vendor Business Manager | Ingram Micro, Inc. Caitlin Schneider is Vendor Business Manager at Ingram Micro, Inc. where she creates business and marketing strategies, coordinates development resources, oversees vendor onboarding and on-going operations, and manages financial planning. Prior to joining the company, she worked as an accounts receivable manager at another business. Caitlin’s community and volunteer activities include serving on the board of directors for the local non-profit organization, Be Your Own Hero, Inc., that helps connect students and young professionals with employment opportunities, particularly in skilled trades. She has also volunteered for the She Started IT event through the University at Buffalo which encourages middle and high school girls to pursue careers in technology. Caitlin is also an active member of The WIT Network, a global and local non-profit that encourages women to study STEM, pursue technology careers, and attain leadership positions. READ MORE HERE Julia Spitz Executive Vice President | Savarino Properties Julia Spitz is Executive Vice President at Savarino Properties, responsible for oversight and day-to-day management of 250,000 square feet of commercial, residential and retail space in Western New York. Julia is a licensed NYS Real Estate Salesperson and Licensed Property Manager as well as a member of BOMA Buffalo and NAIOP Upstate New York. Outside the real estate business, Julia has served on the board of directors for Explore & More Children’s Museum, Girls on the Run Buffalo and as an LISC WNY Community-Based Real Estate Development Training Mentor. She also teaches and participates in yoga at Power Yoga Buffalo Elmwood. READ MORE HERE 21
  • 22. It is a huge honor to be a named a finalist for the ATHENA Awards – to not only to be recognized for my leadership in my community, but also to be able to be a role model for the aspiring young ladies at Lancaster High School – showing them that no matter what anyone says, or believes, you can truly do whatever you feel that you are called to do. I am very grateful that an organization like ATHENA International exists to support, develop, and honor women leaders and am humbled to be considered a finalist among so many other amazing candidates.” – Lynne Ruda JULIA SPITZ LYNNE RUDA CAITLIN SCHNEIDER KAYLEIGH TERRANOVA 22
  • 23. Kayleigh Terranova Community Relations Partner | Tesla Kayleigh Terranova is Community Relations Partner at the Tesla Gigafactory in Buffalo where the company is producing solar roof tiles and Power Electronic units for commercial and residential use from a 1.2 million square foot facility. Prior to Tesla, she worked in community engagements roles at the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. Kayleigh is also an instructor at Danceability, a nonprofit dance and movement program for children and adults with special needs. In addition to dance instruction, Kayleigh gives back in many ways including serving on the board for United Way of Buffalo & Erie County’s Women United, and is past board member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) of Greater Buffalo and Homespace Inc. She has volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier and was a Youth Mentor for Leadership Buffalo’s Youth Program. She also has volunteered with United Way’s Program Investment Process. READ MORE HERE Jennifer Flannery (Not Pictured) Partner/Trust & Estates Practice | Barclay Damon LLP 23
  • 24. 2021 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. 24
  • 25. With offices in downtown Buffalo, Ernst & Young LLP (EY) is a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited, a multinational professional services network with global headquarters in London, England. EY is one of the largest professional services networks in the world and is ranked as one of the Big Four accounting firms. EY is committed to gender parity in the workplace and supporting women to achieve their full leadership potential. The firm continuously works to bridge the gender gap, defeat unconscious biases and engage men as allies in driving change. Their approach is holistic, and their women-centered initiatives create opportunities for professionals in all stages of their lives and careers, and at all levels, roles and geographies in the organization. READ MORE HERE FOR-PROFIT 25
  • 26. One of the top global engineering companies and the world’s largest industrial gas company, Linde – formerly known as Praxair – is a company that employs approximately 80,000 people globally and serves customers in more than 100 countries worldwide. Locally, the Linde Technology Center, based in Tonawanda, N.Y., employs approximately 1,000 employees and is home to a wide range of operations, including engineering, logistics and research and development. Linde is at the forefront of efforts to create gender balance across all areas of the corporation, including engineering, with its global goal of achieving 30% gender balance by 2030. This is thanks to the corporate-level focus on the issue of developing women in the workforce, which is particularly critical in a male- dominated field like engineering. READ MORE HERE FOR-PROFIT 26
  • 27. Seneca Gaming Corporation is a wholly owned, tribally chartered corporation of the Seneca Nation of Indians which operates all of the Nation’s Class III gaming operations in Western New York. These include Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, and Seneca Hickory Stick Golf in Lewiston, NY. The casino properties collectively employ more than 2,700 workers and attract millions of visitors each year. Seneca Gaming Corporation supports and encourages women to pursue advancement within the company. This is evident by the numbers that Seneca Gaming Corporation boasts with regard to women in leadership roles, which includes an executive team that is 50% women. READ MORE HERE FOR-PROFIT 27
  • 28. BestSelf Behavioral Health (BestSelf) provides innovative, evidence-based, accessible, and family-focused behavioral health services to promote health, hope, and recovery, and an enhanced quality of life. BestSelf is the largest community- based behavioral health organization in Western New York, serving over 35,000 children and adults in more than 60 locations. Cultivating a diverse and inclusive staff is a top-priority of BestSelf and the agency works to recruit and hire a workforce that is as diverse as the clients it serves. BestSelf is committed to creating a culture that encourages women employees to achieve their full leadership potential as demonstrated by the high percentage of women in leadership at the agency. Honoring and encouraging women is woven throughout the agency. READ MORE HERE NON-FOR PROFIT 28
  • 29. Evergreen Health fosters healthy communities by providing medical, supportive and behavioral services to individuals and families in Western New York — especially those who are living with chronic illness or who are underserved by the healthcare system. Evergreen provides medical, pharmacy, housing, mental health, nutrition, transportation and syringe exchange services, as well as health education, health promotion and disease-specific prevention programs to over 14,308 individuals throughout eight facilities located in Buffalo and Jamestown, NY. Female employees make up almost 70% of the workforce at Evergreen. A deeper look into the employee demographics shows that the organization currently has 99 management and leadership positions. Of those 99 positions, 66 of them are held by women. Evergreen has a large female demographic and has more female leaders than male. READ MORE HERE NON-FOR PROFIT 29
  • 30. Girl Scouts of Western New York serves nearly 14,000 girls and 6,000 adult volunteers across the Buffalo Niagara and Western New York region and nationally, has served girls for more than 100 years. Girl Scouts of WNY offers a variety of programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), Outdoors, Life Skills, and Entrepreneurship to prepare girls for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure. GSWNY’s exceptional team which consists of 96% women employees lead the charge for its 20,000 members across its nine-county region. The GSWNY leadership team is 99% female with 23 positions (8 executive leadership and 15 senior leadership positions) across racial and ethnic backgrounds, and the GSWNY board of directors is 84% female with 19 positions—16 of which are held by women across racial and ethnic backgrounds. READ MORE HERE NON-FOR PROFIT 30
  • 31. 2021 Award Winner: Tierra Purdue BNSPIRED AWARD The [BN]spired award winner is selected in partnership with Say Yes. The award is presented to a student who exemplifies the Athena-like qualities of highest academic achievement, devotion to improving quality of life for their community, and investment in assisting others (particularly women) in realizing their full potential. Tierra Purdue is a May 2020 graduate of Buffalo State College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in applied mathematics, with a concentration in statistics and a minor in business economics. Tierra has been a Say Yes Buffalo ambassador since 2016 and through the program has completed numerous internships while inspiring others to follow in her footsteps by earning a college degree. During her time at Buff State, Tierra interned with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Jericho Road and Walsh Duffield Co. She also served as president of her philanthropic sorority, Zeta Chi Omega, and completed a service trip to Rwanda as part of the Anne Frank Project. Tierra is taking her love of math into the classroom as a tutor for Sylvan Learning, and as an academic coordinator specializing in math with Peace of the City Buffalo while pursuing other long-term career goals. She remains an active ambassador on behalf of Say Yes Buffalo. 31
  • 32. THANK YOU to the many Corporate Champions on the following pages for supporting this event and the accomplishments of those dedicated to the advancement of local women in business. 32
  • 33. We recognize and celebrate your contributions to the advancement of women in Western New York. Thank you for all you do to step up and give back to our community. CONGRATS TO THE 2021 ATHENA AWARDS® FINALISTS! Only deposit products offered by Northwest Bank are Member FDIC. 1-877-672-5678 | northwest.com Bank | Borrow | Invest | Insure | Plan
  • 34. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL NOMINEES ON YOUR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS Proud Presenting Sponsor of the 2021 Athena Awards CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF HONORING EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN
  • 35. Buffalo Magazine is proud to support the Athena Awards, and celebrate these incredible women making a difference in Western New York. M A G A Z I N E to this year’s Athena Award recipients and to all the nominees. Your commitment to empowering and supporting women is truly inspiring. Find out the best piece of advice given to the nominees at buffalo.com.
  • 36. We are proud to sponsor this years’ ATHENA Awards and the recognition of individuals and organizations that demonstrate a dedication to the advancement of women in our region. ARCBUILDINGPARTNERS.COM Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation is a proud supporter of the ATHENA Awards. Thank you to all the exceptional individuals and organizations dedicated to the advancement of women. Congratulations to all the finalists!
  • 37. Congratulations to all of the 2020 Athena Awards® finalists! Your outstanding dedication to leadership deserves recognition. BestSelf is proud to celebrate your contributions to the advancement of women in WNY. (716) 884-0888 | BestSelfWNY.org BestSelf is committed to creating a culture that encourages women employees to achieve their full leadership potential. Elizabeth Woike-Ganga, LCSW-R, President and CEO SUNY BUFFALO STATE COLLEGE congratulates Crystal J. Rodriguez-Dabney, Esq., LL.M. Chief of Staff to the President and Chief Diversity Officer SUNY Buffalo State College and all of the 2021 ATHENA Leadership Award Finalists believe. inspire. achieve.
  • 38. Girl Scouts of Western New York applauds the amazing women and organizations who are finalists and we are glad to join them in empowering women in leadership. Try Girl Scouts Try Girl Scouts 1-888-837-6410 gswny.org Volunteer today! Volunteer today! ALBANY + BUFFALO + HACKENSACK + NEW YORK CITY + PALM BEACH + ROCHESTER + SARATOGA SPRINGS + TORONTO HODGSONRUSS.COM + HODGSONRUSS.CA Hodgson Russ congratulates our partner Sujata Yalamanchili and all the 2021 ATHENA Leadership Award finalists A T T O R N E Y S LLP
  • 39. Ingram Micro is proud to honor CAITLIN SCHNEIDER Caitlin, we applaud you for your leadership, creativity and initiative at Ingram Micro, and for being a role model to young women. as a finalist for the ATHENA YOUNG PROFESSIONAL AWARD We are proud to Honor Julia Spitz, for her nomination as a Finalist for the 2021 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award! This nomination is an acknowledgement of your many amazing contributions as a leader in the workplace, community, and the many organizations you support. CONGRATULATIONS JULIA! From the entire Javen Construction team. General Construction Construction Management www.JAVEN.com 716-955-9993 Buffalo | Rochester
  • 40. We are happy to announce that CindyVance has been named a 2021 ATHENA Awards® Leadership Finalist. Congratulations! Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through LPL Financial or Sterling Investment Counsel, LLC, both registered investment advisors and separate entities from Jensen, Marks, Langer, & Vance LLC. 360 Delaware Avenue, Suite 400 Buffalo, NY 14202 www.jmlvwealthplanning.com tel. 716.362.0170 fax. 716.362.0189 1.866.552.4196 Making our world more productive Congratulations to all of this year’s impressive finalists. We’re proud to support, develop, and honor female leaders, so that they may achieve their full potential and create balance in leadership throughout our community. www.linde.com © Copyright 2021, All Rights Reserved. Linde is proud to support the 30th Annual Athena Awards.
  • 41. Congratulations to all the 2021AthenaAwards Finalists. Your hardwork and leadership in our community is an inspiration. www.niagara.edu
  • 42. The John R. Oishei Foundation Congratulates GINA BURKHARDT for her leadership in helping women and girls reach their dreams OLV Human Services proudly recognizes Cindy Lee – Chief Executive Officer – as a 2021 ATHENA Award Finalist. Through her passion, hard work, and dedication, OLV Human Services continues to carry on the time- honored legacy of Father Nelson Baker. #FosteringMiracles OLVhumanservices.org
  • 43. Precision Motion Controls and Systems for Aviation/Space/Industry Vice President Chief FinancialOfficer Jennifer Walter President SpaceandDefense Group Maureen Athoe Moog has recognized and rewarded the skills and contributions of women in the workforce for 70 years. Moog salutes the amazing women making a difference in the Buffalo area and the world!
  • 44. Congratulations, Kim! We are proud to recognize Executive Director Kimberley Minkel, and all of the finalists this year who keep this region moving forward. Ad created by NFTA Intern Samantha Szykowny, a talented future leader. The women of Western New York keep us all moving forward. We are very proud Kimberley Minkel has been recognized for her contribution to this region’s renaissance.
  • 45. Performance Management Partners would like to congratulate the 2021 ATHENA® Awards nominees and the organizations that empower, support and advance the women in our community. PERFORMANCEPROS.NET SHARON RANDACCIO sharon@performancepros.net
  • 46. People Inc. is a proud supporter of the ATHENA Awards Saluting women across the region, who create more inclusive and impactful workplaces with their creativity, innovation and leadership. People Inc., a regional multispecialty non-profit health and human services agency, is proud to serve the community. The agency provides comprehensive services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families and older adults to lead more healthy, independent and productive lives across Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. people-inc.org
  • 47. Sterling Investment Counsel, LLC is proud to honor CynthiaVance as a 2021 ATHENA Awards® Leadership Finalist. Congratulations! 360 Delaware Avenue, Suite 400, Buffalo, NY 14202 tel.716.783.7054 | fax.716.783.7068 | www.sterinv.com
  • 48. Takingcareofeachother- that’swhatWNY isallabout. At Univera Healthcare, we’re committed to caring for our neighbors in Western New York. We’re proud of what we’ve been able to do to support our members, our communities and each other during this pandemic. We’re continuing to monitor COVID-19 and vaccine developments and will keep you updated on what you need to know. Eligibility criteria, vaccines and vaccine availability continues to evolve rapidly. Make sure to re-check your eligibility and look for available appointments. Getvaccineinformationandmore: UniveraHealthcare.com/COVID19