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Introducing Emma Phillips, finalist for the 2023 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award

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February 28, 2023

For more than 30 years, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership has been honored to produce the ATHENA Awards® to support, develop, and honor women leaders in Western New York.

The BNP is pleased to introduce you to the finalists who have been selected for the 2023 ATHENA honors. This includes the ATHENA Leadership Award®, the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award®, and the ATHENA Organizational Award®, which recognizes one for-profit organization and one non-profit organization that inspire women in WNY.

We're highlighting each finalist in the weeks ahead, leading up to the Awards Luncheon. Come back often to read the profiles and you’ll learn what it means to be an ATHENA!

Celebrate all of our finalists and see the recipients announced LIVE on March 29, 2023 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to introduce you to 1 of 10 finalists in the ATHENA Leadership Award® category - Young Professional

Meet ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® Finalist: Emma Phillips

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 the State University of New York at Fredonia and a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University at Buffalo. She serves on the C&S 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 the 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. 

We asked Emma a series of questions to get to know her better.

First Job  

Emma’s first job out of school was as a Staff Planner at C&S Companies. 

Career Highlights 

Emma notes that receiving the American Planning Association Comprehensive Planning Award and Public Outreach Award; being a Buffalo Niagara Partnership BN360 Spotlight Professional; and being a member of Leadership Buffalo are career highlights so far. 

Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Her Career 

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

Advice to Give to a Woman Just Starting in the Workplace.   

Speak your mind, give opinions, and tag along to any meeting that you can.  

About Being an Athena Finalist 

“Being named a finalist for the ATHENA award is one of the highest honors of my career yet. I try to lead by example in and outside of work and being a finalist proves that. I am so thankful to be seen as an active leader in my community.” 

On Buffalo Niagara 

The amazing summers and tight-knit community (you will always see at least one person you know at Wegmans) are a couple of reasons I enjoy living and working here. 

Favorite Spot in Buffalo.  

Hoyt Lake 

Added Insights 

  • Guilty Pleasure: $8 lattes 
  • Superpower: Ability to express my perspectives and hear and see other perspectives
  • My Friends Describe Me As: Loud and thoughtful 
  • If I Could Swap Lives with Someone for a Day, I’d choose: Kirsten Gillibrand or my mom (she has been a nurse for almost 40 years and is a hero!)  


Attend the ATHENA Awards® Luncheon

The ATHENA Awards® Luncheon is the region’s most prestigious event recognizing the professional accomplishments of exceptional individuals who are dedicated to the advancement of women. Be there when the recipients are announced:

Wednesday, March 29, 2023
11:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M.

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