Buffalo Niagara Partnership Announces 27th Annual ATHENA Award® Recipient


Buffalo Niagara Partnership Announces 27th Annual ATHENA Award® Recipient

Over 500 People Packed the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center for the Annual Luncheon

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is excited to announce Norma Nowak, Ph.D., Executive Director of UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences, as the recipient of the 2017 ATHENA Award®. A packed house of over 500 people were on hand at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center this afternoon for the announcement. 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.

Norma Nowak is Executive Director of the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences at University at Buffalo. She is an acclaimed researcher and a recognized leader in the human genomics field. Her research contributed directly to the Human Genome Project, as well as to genomic-based approaches to understanding heritable disorders and cancer. Nowak is also the founder and chief scientific officer of Empire Genomics, LLC, a molecular diagnostics firm focused on enabling personalized medicine.

In addition to Nowak, the 2017 ATHENA Award Finalists were: Anne Constantino, President & CEO of Horizons Corporations; Katherine Conway-Turner, Ph.D., President of Buffalo State College; Ellen Grant, Ph.D. LCSW-R, Senior Vice President of Chapter Programming, Say Yes to Education; and Yvonne Minor-Ragan, Ph.D., President and CEO of YMRagan Consulting, LLC.

“This is the 27th year the Partnership has been involved with ATHENA and the depth of professional talent and leadership in the Buffalo Niagara community is more apparent than ever before,” said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, President and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.  “This year’s slate of honorees reflects the diverse and accomplished leaders helping to move the Buffalo Niagara region forward and develop our next generation of successful leaders.”

The recipient of the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® was also announced during the luncheon this afternoon. This year’s recipient is Melodie Baker, Director of Education for the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® honors emerging leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession, provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and serve as role models for young women personally and professionally.

In her position as Director of Education, Baker is responsible for the design and implementation of education platform strategic plans, coalition building, product development, grants, budgets and investments, supporting 26 school districts in Erie County. She works with key community leaders to develop strategic plan goals and design a workable operations plan including roles and expectations for coalition committees.

In addition to Baker, the 2017 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® Finalists were: Sarah Cotter, Vice President of Clinical Transformation and Operations, Catholic Medical Partners; Christina Pearl, Director of Corporate Communications at Horizon Health Services; Nicole Savage, President and CEO of Nature’s Way Environmental; and Tayrin Tapia, Founder and CEO of Dear Tayrin, Inc.

Sponsors of the 2017 ATHENA Awards® include:

Title Sponsor: Buffalo Bills

Event Sponsors: Key Resource Group and Tops Friendly Markets

Media Sponsor: Buffalo Magazine

Pre-Luncheon Networking Sponsor: Alexandria Professional, LLC

Official Accounting Sponsor: Lumsden & McCormick, LLP

 Supporting Sponsors: Catholic Medical Partners, FARM, Heather Bellini         Photography, Morgan Stanley, Inky Fingers Printing, National Fuel Gas Company and Seneca Gaming Corporation.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the region’s private sector economic development organization and regional chamber of commerce, representing nearly a quarter of a million employees in the Buffalo Niagara region. The Partnership’s work has three main focuses: advocacy, business development and convening. By mobilizing members and strategic partners around common goals, the Partnership grows private investment and jobs in Buffalo Niagara.

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