Introducing BestSelf Behavioral Health, finalist for the 2021 ATHENA Organizational Award

New this year: The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to introduce you to the finalists for the 2021 ATHENA Organizational Award®, which will recognize two organizations that support, develop, and honor women leaders, inspiring women to achieve their full potential and creating balance in leadership throughout Buffalo Niagara.

The award will be presented to one for-profit organization and one non-profit organization.  Nominations were reviewed for the organization’s culture, community engagement, and leadership in supporting women. 

Iyou’d like to attend the 30th annual ATHENA Awards®, the region’s most prestigious event dedicated to the professional accomplishments of those who work to advance women, you can get tickets here.

Meet This Week’s ATHENA Organizational Award® Finalist

BestSelf Behavioral Health


BestSelf Behavioral Health (BestSelf) provides innovative, evidence-based, accessible, and family-focused behavioral health services to promote health, hope, and recovery, and an enhanced quality of life. BestSelf is the largest community-based behavioral health organization in Western New York, serving over 35,000 children and adults in more than 60 locations.  

Company Culture 

Cultivating a diverse and inclusive staff is a top-priority of BestSelf and the agency works to recruit and hire a workforce that is as diverse as the clients it serves. BestSelf is committed to creating a culture that encourages women employees to achieve their full leadership potential as demonstrated by the high percentage of women in leadership at the agency. Honoring and encouraging women is woven throughout the agency. 

BestSelf also has several programs that serve women-only including: 

  • The Lighthouse at BestSelf is a women’s residence that provides a supportive recovery environment for pregnant or parenting women with substance use disorders  
  • The BestSelf Maternal Wrap program is a mobile support program designed for pregnant women with opioid use disorder in nine counties in Western New York. 
Community Engagement 

BestSelf gives back to the larger community of women and girls in Western New York in several ways.  

For example, Cambria Daniels, Program Director in its school-based services program, Building Brighter Futures, founded and hosts the annual Young Queens Empowerment Conference for young women between the ages of 10-20. The conference is a day of free workshops to encourage, inspire, and empower the self-esteem, emotional, and mental health of young women 

In addition, BestSelf is committed to supporting minority and women-owned businesses for various services and products used by the agency. The agency’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Committee is actively taking steps to create policy around agency purchasing to support locally owned minority and women owned businesses.  

BestSelf also provides internship placements for more than 100 students each year, the majority of whom are women. 

BestSelf has been recognized Buffalo Business First for a number of awards and honors in 2020 including:  

  • IDEA (Inclusion Diversity Equity Awareness)​ Award  – BestSelf Behavioral Health​ 
  • Women of Influence – Kelly Dumas, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer 
  • C-Level Executive – Elizabeth Woike-Ganga, President & CEO 
  • 2020 Company of the Year 

BestSelf’s commitment to creating a culture that encourages women employees to achieve their full leadership potential can be demonstrated by the agency’s workforce gender breakdown in leadership teams:  

  • Senior Management Team – 20 total members/ 15 women = 75% of positions filled by women including the President and Chief Executive Officer 
  • Marketing and Development Team – 8 total members/8 women = 100% of positions filled by women including the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Development 
  • Program & Assistant Program Directors – 76 total members / 63 women = 83% of positions filled by women 
  • Peers – 43 total members / 29 women = 67% of positions filled by women including the team supervisor 
  • Board of Directors – 15 total members / 8 women = 53% of positions filled by women including the Board Chair

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to welcome BestSelf as a finalist for this year’s ATHENA Organizational Award in the not for profit category. 

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 winners are announced.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Register to Attend Here


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