ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award Finalist: Melodie Baker

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to introduce you to the finalists who have been selected for the 2017 ATHENA® Awards. We will bring you profiles of each finalist in the weeks ahead, leading up to the awards ceremony luncheon on Thursday, March 30th, 2017 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

So come back often and you’ll learn what it means to be an Athena. And be sure to save the date – March 30 – to attend the awards luncheon.

Interested in attending the ATHENA Luncheon on Thursday, March 30th? Click here to register.

Melodie BakerMelodie K. Baker
Director of Education
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

In her position as director of education, Melodie 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.

First Job Out of School

Melodie’s first job out of school was as an academic coordinator at Daemen College in Amherst, NY.

Career Highlights

As the Director of Education for United Way, Melodie says that having direct access to people and resources to create real change is one of the best things about her career. She goes to work every day energized by professionals who work synergistically towards being a part of the solution.  Among Melodie’s many accomplishments, in 2014, she co-founded The Charter School of Inquiry with 5 of the most talented and determined people she says she ever met. Melodie notes that opening a charter school was by far one of the most challenging and rewarding highlights of her career. 

On Buffalo Niagara

“Buffalo/Niagara is second to none for the best place to raise a family and build a career. The Buffalo Niagara community offers a bustling, diverse atmosphere of innovative thinkers, doers and people who really care about people. I love being a Buffalonian.”

Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Her Career

Find a career that you love and you will never work again.

About Being an Athena Finalist

“Being named a finalist for the Young Professional Athena Award is more than just a title. It is a call to arms to empower the dependent, advocate for the vulnerable and execute your full potential as a leader. As a finalist, I am charged with the responsibility of achieving excellence and continuing the great efforts of the women who came before me, the women who were nominated and the finalists who were selected to receive this prestigious award. Being an Athena finalist means I am a leader, I am a role model and I am accountable for the people (especially women) in my community.”