The BNP is pleased to introduce you to the finalists who have been selected for the 2021 ATHENA® honors including the ATHENA Leadership Award® and the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award®. NEW THIS YEAR, we will also present the ATHENA Organizational Award® to recognize one for-profit organization and one non-profit organization that inspire women in WNY to achieve their full potential.
We will bring you profiles of each finalist in the weeks ahead, leading up to the awards event. Come back often to read the profiles and you’ll learn what it means to be an Athena. And if you’d like to attend the ATHENA Awards® Luncheon, 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 Young Professional Leadership Award® Finalist
External Affairs Manager
City of Buffalo, Division of Citizen Services
Juweria Dahir is a City Planner and serves as External Affairs Manager for the City of Buffalo’s Division of Citizen Services under Mayor Byron Brown’s office. In this role, she serves as a liaison between various city departments and nearly 500 block clubs, identifying and implementing neighborhood development projects, including beautification and restoration initiatives.
Originally from East Africa, Juweria now shares her time and talents in the Buffalo Niagara community including leading H.E.A.L. International, a non-profit organization in the heart of Buffalo’s West Side on Women Empowerment, Economic Development and Youth Enrichment Programs. She has also organized and volunteered on food drives, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic to fundraising for families displaced by a house fire, as a conduit for wellness and bridging connections in our community.
Juweria’s first job was as a math and science tutor for a group of middle school and high school age kids in struggling neighborhoods.
Juweria says her biggest career accomplishment so far is securing a million-dollar grant for the City of Buffalo to transform Buffalo’s code enforcement policy through the Cities RISE program and boost the community engagement in this facet of city government. She also played a leading role in securing the very first AmeriCorps VISTA program in the Mayor’s office, and the very first Love Your Block program for Buffalo City Hall and its partnering organizations.
Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Her Career
Always let your voice be heard, even when people in the room are dismissing you.
Advice to Give to a Woman Just Starting in the Workplace
Make sure you have a healthy balance between your work and personal life. While it is admirable to get everything done efficiently and in the best way possible, it is also important for your physical and mental health that you take time for yourself. Keep your eyes, heart and mind open and be true to yourself.
About being an ATHENA Award® Finalist
“As a woman in government, and a black, Muslim woman in government, I am honored to be among this amazing group of finalists. I see countless women doing amazing things in all sectors, everyday life, but I cannot help but notice the great disparity in elected roles in our country. Women can and should discover their talents and put them to use, even if the odds turn out to be against them. It is this lack of representation that made me want to work in government in the first place and I am trying to use every bit of power I have to make sure women, particularly minority women are paving the way for female leadership. And that starts with us, the current generation of female.”
On Buffalo Niagara
I love the diversity in the city. There are so many different cultures represented throughout the community and you can see that in the variety of businesses and languages spoken. This makes it even more important to strengthen the existing framework that provides a pathway to redesign institutions built on generations of systemic exclusions, which hold back Black women and all of us. This moment is not only about recovering from a pandemic and an economic crisis. It is an opportunity for a transformational restructuring.
Favorite Spot in Buffalo
The Westside Bazaar. The rich diversity of Buffalo’s community is on full display and there are several great food options.
Lightning Round: Added Insights
- Guilty Pleasure: Chocoloate
- My Superpower: Foresight
- Best Describes Me: Bold
- Most likely To: Perservere
- Best At: Leading by example
- Most Used Emoji: Thumbs up
- If You Were a Celebrity, You’d Be: Kamala Harris
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.