Introducing Rupa Shanmugam, 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

Rupa Shanmugam
President & CEO
SoPark Corporation

Rupa Shanmugan is president and CEO of SoPark Corporation, the area’s largest Electronics Manufacturing Service provider, serving advanced and high-tech original equipment manufacturers with electronic printed circuit boards, cables, wiring harness, and electro-mechanical assemblies. Rupa was recently named CEO and is now the majority owner of the manufacturing company, which employs more than 80 people at its Buffalo facilities.

Rupa has long been a trailblazer for women in manufacturing. She studied electrical engineering in Malaysia and worked for large corporations in Malaysia and Singapore. In 2016, Rupa received a “Step Ahead” award from the Manufacturing Institute in Washington, D.C., one of 100 women in manufacturing leadership roles nationally to earn the award.

Rupa serves on the United Way Boards of Directors and the Women United Advisory Board and is a member of the Employ Buffalo Niagara Executive Committee and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Manufacturers Council. She also a committee member with UB Women in STEM. Rupa was involved in the formation of the first Western New York Chapter of Engineering World Health at the University at Buffalo.

First Job

Rupa’s first job was as a technician at Thomson Consumer Electronics in Singapore.

Career Highlights

Rupa says becoming the majority owner of SoPark Corporation is certainly at the top of her list of career highlights. She also points to being able to encourage and motivate young girls and women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Her Career

“Have faith that you can do it.”

Advice to Give to a Woman Just Starting in the Workplace

“Believe in yourself and do not change who you are just to fit in.”

About being an ATHENA Award® Finalist

“I am humbled by the honor to be a finalist for such a prestigious award.”

On Buffalo Niagara

“The people in Buffalo are warm and friendly. For someone who has lived in various places around the world, the Buffalo Niagara region is the place that I feel the most at home.”

Favorite Spot in Buffalo

“Gratwick Waterfront Park.”

Lightning Round: Added Insights
  • Guilty Pleasure: “M&Ms.”
  • My Superpower: “My parents.”
  • Best Describes Me: “A people person, good listener, and someone who always tries to consider how to improve how things are done.”
  • Most Likely To: “Put others needs before my own.”
  • Best At: “Thoroughly analyzing challenging situations.”


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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