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Emily Oaks, 2021 BN360 Spotlight Professional

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Cheryl Ciccarelli

July 29, 2021

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to present the 2021 BN360 Spotlight Professionals.

Each year, BN360 highlights up-and-coming young professionals who strive for professional growth and development, care for their community, and are passionate about the future of the Buffalo Niagara region.

Emily Oaks  | Director of Health Education and Outreach | Evergreen Health 

Emily Oaks is Director of Health Education and Outreach at Evergreen Health, where she is responsible for coordinating and implementing community-based HIV/AIDS grant programs, including behavioral health and sexual health education to people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as high-risk individuals. Recently, Emily assisted in the transition of MOCHA Buffalo (founded as the Men of Color Health Awareness Project) from Trillium Health to Evergreen. Bringing MOCHA Buffalo into the fold allows Evergreen to reach communities of color in new ways, a crucial part of the organization’s three-year Racial Equity Action Plan, and ensures these services will be available to the community for years to come.

Emily is a board member for the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) and is Secretary for the Board of Directors, where she helps to lead innovative and dynamic approaches to address economic disparity in Western New York. She is also very involved with WNY Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness and loves working with women who are new to boxing and jiu-jitsu to learn valuable self-defense techniques.

First Job: 

I worked the fitting room and sales floor at Target. I still fold my shirts like they’re going on display tables (if I fold them at all).

Greatest Professional Win:

When I was just starting out in my professional career I was tasked with helping provide financial assistance and education to 12,500 low-income adults in 3 years. Through partnerships with incredible non-profit organizations throughout the Buffalo Niagara region we exceeded our goal!

Best Piece of Professional Advice:

If you care about something, give it your full effort. This passion gets recognized by coworkers, supervisors, and community members and will allow you to surround yourself with the change makers you want by your side.

Community Engagement:

  • WEDI Board of Directors, Secretary
  • WNY MMA and Fitness

Thoughts on Living and Working in Buffalo Niagara:

Buffalo Niagara is a physically beautiful area filled with good neighbors who know what it means to work hard, have a good time, and never change your sports loyalty. I love it here!

On Being a BN360 Spotlight Professional:

I’m blushing! Thank you for the honor!

2020 Takeaway:

It’s important to consistently take a step back and remind yourself of what you really want in life and adjust your priorities accordingly.

The Pandemic’s Career Impact:

I had been passionate about addressing economic and health inequality in this country since I was very young, but the pandemic really demonstrated the urgency with which these issues need to be addressed at both systemic and individual levels. I plan to go back to school now to learn more about the most effective ways to make change in the place I call home.

Top 5 Favorites: 

  • Favorite MuralChuck Tingley Astronaut Mural on Hertel
  • Best Buffalo-Niagara Hidden Gem: Hunter’s Creek hiking trails
  • Go-to Buffalo FoodSunshine Vegan Eats and the West Side Bazaar!
  • Best Buffalo Activity/Hobby: Bomba classes at El Batey / Salsa in the Park
  • Place you would take someone new to Buffalo:​ Bike There, Buffalo!: Self Guided Bike Tour Of The Public Art Loop

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