Buffalo Niagara Partnership Names 2019 ATHENA Award® Finalists


Buffalo Niagara Partnership Names 2019 ATHENA Award® Finalists

BUFFALO, N.Y.—The Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce and the area representative for ATHENA International, has announced that 20 finalists have been selected for the 2019 ATHENA Awards®, which recognize contributions made by women leaders to advance the status of women throughout the Buffalo Niagara region.

“We are proud to showcase the valuable contributions made by women leaders,” said Dottie Gallagher, the President and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “Not only are these leaders advancing the status of women throughout the Buffalo Niagara region, but their work is critical to the advancement of the region itself. Their dedication to making the Buffalo Niagara region a better place—and helping others along the way—is an inspiration.”

Finalists were selected by the ATHENA Awards® Steering Committee, which is co-chaired by Crystal Peoples-Stokes, the Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly, and Jennifer Gibson, the Senior Vice President, District Manager at Northwest Savings Bank. The Steering Committee includes women business leaders from a variety of industry sectors.

The ATHENA Leadership Award® honors exceptional individuals who have achieved the highest level of professional excellence, contribute time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and actively assist others—particularly women—in realizing their full leadership potential.

Finalists for the 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award® are:

  • Teresa Bair, Senior Vice President, Administration & Legal Affairs, Athenex, Inc.
  • Bridget Bartolone, CEO, Person Centered Services
  • JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Kristin Klein Wheaton, Partner, Goldberg Segalla
  • Marnie LaVigne, President & CEO, LaunchNY
  • Nora McGuire, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Independent Health
  • Tamara Owen, President, Olmsted Center for Sight
  • Susan Roney, Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP
  • Rupa Shanmugam, President & CEO, SoPark Corporation
  • Gail Tylec, Professor, Niagara County Community College


The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® honors emerging leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession, contribute time and energy to improving the quality of life for others, and serve as role models for young women personally and professionally. Nominees must be under the age of 40.

Finalists for the 2019 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® are:

  • Esther Annan, Program Director, Say Yes to Education Buffalo
  • Kara Burke, Vice President Innovation & Growth, Rich Products
  • Emily Burns Perryman, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, Trocaire College
  • Anna-Lesa Calvert, Executive Director, Algonquin Sports for Kids, Inc.
  • Amanda Coniglio, President & Owner, Cavalry Safety & Security Services
  • Anne Joynt, Junior Partner, Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC
  • Jenna Koch, Human Resources Business Partner, Catholic Health and President, City of Tonawanda Common Council
  • Katie Krawczyk, President, 19 Ideas
  • Lori Overdorf, Director of Development & Youth Services, Valley Community Association
  • Katie Rozsa, Senior Manager, Audit, KPMG


Recipients for both awards are selected by secret ballot and will be named at an awards ceremony luncheon on Tuesday, June 4 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Tickets are $75 per person and can be reserved online at thepartnership.org.

The Partnership is the area representative for ATHENA International, a nonprofit that seeks to support, develop, and honor women leaders. For a full list of past recipients and 2019 Steering Committee members, visit thepartnership.org/athena.

The Partnership’s ATHENA Awards® luncheon is presented by Northwest Bank. Other supporters include event sponsors Alpine Films, Houghton College, and Seneca Resorts & Casinos; official accounting firm sponsor Lumsden McCormick LLP; networking sponsor Harter Secrest & Emery LLP; and supporting sponsors Heather Bellini Photography LLC, Inky Fingers Printing, National Fuel Gas Company, National Grid, and Performance Management Partners, Inc.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area’s regional chamber of commerce and privately-funded economic development organization. Partnership members employ more than a quarter of a million people in the Buffalo Niagara region. By mobilizing members and strategic partners around common goals, the Partnership grows private investment and jobs in Buffalo Niagara through advocacy, business development, and convening.

For Press Inquiries, Please Contact Grant Loomis, Vice President, Government Affairs at gloomis@thepartnership.org or 716-541-1736