2018 ATHENA Leadership Award Finalist: Nina Heard

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to introduce you to the finalists who have been selected for the 2018 ATHENA® Awards. The awards recognize contributions made by individuals to advance the status of women in the Buffalo Niagara region.

We will bring you profiles of each finalist in the weeks ahead, leading up to the awards ceremony luncheon on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

So come back often and learn what it means to be an Athena. And be sure to save the date – June 5 – to attend the awards luncheon.

Meet This Week’s Athena Finalist:

Nina Heard
Community Relations Manager
General Motors Tonawanda Engine

Nina Heard has built a long and successful career with General Motors Corporation, beginning as a production supervisor in Michigan in 1995. Born in Flint, Nina has served in numerous roles at the General Motors Tonawanda Engine Plant including community relations manager and executive technical assistant and senior business planner for the plant’s Global Supply Chain department. She is currently the plant manpower planner and coordinator.

Nina has a long list of volunteer activities including serving as a board member for Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Chamber of Commerce; Every Person Influences Children in Buffalo; American Cancer Society in Buffalo; and Evon Price Memorial Foundation in Flint. She has also served as National Pre-Teen Choir Director for Church of God, Inc. in Nashville, TN and she volunteered with the Willie Hutch Jones Educational & Sports Program.

First Job Out of School

Nina’s first job after graduating from Michigan State University was as a production supervisor with General Motors Company in Lake Orion, Michigan.

Career Highlights

Nina says the best part about her career is the opportunity to work for a company such as General Motors that is committed to improving the lives of residents and the community where its employees work and live. Among the accomplishments for which Nina is most proud was being a part of the General Motors, Chevrolet, and Diversity Communications team that was a driving force in seeing the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. completed.

She was also involved in the Chevrolet Table of Brotherhood Tour, a national tour sponored by the GM Foundation designed to encourage an open discussion around relevant topics to Dr. King’s message and legacy.

Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Her Career

In my youth – It only takes a second to get in trouble, but it may take a lifetime to get out of it.  As an adult –  Always have integrity.  Success will come and go, but integrity lasts forever.

About Being an Athena Finalist

“I am honored and overwhelmed with gratitude for being named a finalist and to share this platform with such phenomenal women who have dedicated their lives to improving WNY. As with many finalists, I will continue to strive in shattering stereotypes and redefining the role of women in traditionally male-dominated manufacturing careers.”

On Buffalo Niagara

“Buffalo is the ideal city…not too big and not too small.  It’s small enough to navigate quickly in about 20 minutes from one side of city to the other, while avoiding the headaches and congested traffic that comes with larger cities.”

Added Insights

Guilty Pleasure: Anything made with potatoes….baked, mashed, and of course French fries.

Superpower: If I had a superpower I would want to fly. I would visit family members around the world every weekend.

Personal Description: I am a “servant leader” committed to helping others achieve success.

Most Likely To: Volunteer.  It is part of my and my family members’ DNA.

Best At: Strategic planning and coordination of initiatives to enhance relationships.  I have an unwavering optimism for solving problems.