Introducing Kristin Klein Wheaton, finalist for the 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to introduce you to the finalists for the 2019 ATHENA Awards,® which recognize contributions made by individuals to advance the status of women in the Buffalo Niagara region.

We’ll profile each finalist in the weeks leading up to the awards ceremony luncheon on Tuesday, June 4, at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Check back every Wednesday to meet these exceptional women and learn more about their important work in the Buffalo Niagara region.

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 Leadership Award® Finalist

Kristin Klein Wheaton
Partner, Chair, Higher Education Practice Group
Goldberg Segalla

Kristin Klein Wheaton is a partner in the law firm of Goldberg Segalla and chair of its higher education practice group.

In her role with Goldberg Segalla, Kristin counsels and defends the interests of clients facing employment and labor issues, civil rights and discrimination claims, and complex commercial disputes. With over 20 years of legal experience in both the private and public sectors, Kristin’s expertise includes labor and employee relations, contract negotiations, and assisting clients with the creation and maintenance of compliance strategies for state and federal laws.

Prior to Goldberg Segalla, Kristin’s experience included serving as executive vice president for legal affairs at Erie Community College, the first attorney to hold that position. She reported directly to the president of ECC, and managed a team of 20 professionals across a range of departments. As leader of Goldberg Segalla’s higher education practice group, Kristin draws on that experience on behalf of both public and private institutions of higher education across New York State.

Outside of her law practice, Kristin serves as secretary, co-chair of the bylaws and nomination committee and as member of the marketing committee for the WNY Regional Academy of Finance Board. She also serves as secretary and co-chair of the mentorship committee for Hamburg High School’s Academy of Finance advisory board.

First Job

Kristin’s very first job was working in a restaurant at the ice cream counter and then she moved up to waitressing while in high school. She also worked as a cashier at a local grocery store.

Career Highlights

Kristin says her position as executive vice president of legal affairs at Erie Community College is certainly a career highlight. In order to reduce the liability risks at the college, she created processes and forms designed to place ECC in a better legal position. She says she pushed to drive change in human resource processes to increase efficiencies and employee engagement at ECC. She lists other highlights such as creating the leadership academy at SUNY Erie; mentoring law clerks while at SUNY Erie; and chairing and continuing to build the higher education practice group at Goldberg Segalla.

Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Her Career

“Sometimes the best opportunities come at inopportune times. It is good to push yourself outside of your comfort zone because the reward from taking a risk is well worth it.”

Advice to Give to a Woman Just Starting in the Workplace

“Every woman has the opportunity to succeed, grow and become a leader in her profession. Work hard and build relationships. It is possible to manage both a career and family and nobody is perfect. Don’t be too hard on yourself.”

About being an ATHENA Award® Finalist

“I am extremely honored and grateful to be a finalist. The influential women who have been nominated for this award, both past and present, are outstanding leaders and role models in our community. I am humbled and excited to be included with them. It is gratifying to be recognized.”

On Buffalo Niagara

“I love living and working near my family in the area. I love the fact that people are friendly and that there is a true sense of community.”

Favorite Spot in Buffalo

“In the city, Forest Lawn Cemetery is beautiful and rich with history. In the suburbs, the Town of Hamburg Beach is a relaxing and fun place to get away.”

Lightning Round: Added Insights
  • Guilty Pleasure: “Cake (any flavor).”
  • My Superpower: “Attention to detail.”
  • Best Describes Me: “Honest.”
  • Most Likely To: “Say hello with a smile. Even if you are having a tough day, there is no need to take it out on others.”
  • Best At: “Connecting with people and bringing them together.”


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.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Buffalo Niagara Convention Center
153 Franklin Street | Buffalo, NY 14202

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