Introducing Tamara Owen, 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

Tamara Owen
President & CEO
Olmsted Center for Sight

Tamara Owen is president and CEO of Olmsted Center for Sight, a non-profit organization providing a range of services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired since 1907.

Working from headquarters located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Tamara oversees more than 160 staff members offering vocational, educational, and rehabilitation services to the visually impaired and/or physically disabled population in eight counties of Western New York. With more than two decades of leadership experience in the healthcare field, Tamara has led the Olmsted Center for Sight since 2013.

Tamara currently serves on the National Industries for the Blind and Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Board of Directors. She is also an active supporter of local Lions Clubs, Roswell Park Cancer Center, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Susan B. Komen initiatives.



First Job

Tamara started her own personal house painting business at 16 to help pay for college.

Career Highlights

Tamara points to the relocation of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital, where she served as president, to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus as one of many accomplishments in her career. She says she led an empowered team of individuals to accomplish a highly complex and stressful transformational change that impacted the personal and professional lives of staff and physicians. Her team did so while maintaining the care and quality service to patients as a number one priority. Tamara also says making a professional change at 51 years old to join the team at Olmsted Center for Sight is a highlight of her career.

Best Piece of Advice Given Regarding Her Career

“Spend more time cultivating people’s strengths than their weaknesses.”

Advice to Give to a Woman Just Starting in the Workplace

“Happiness and meaning come when you pair your passion with the world’s needs, so let them guide you. Navigating forward is not a straight line; it’s much more exciting, complex, difficult, gnarly, and uncharted than that.”

About being an ATHENA Award® Finalist

“Knowing others think I resemble the traits associated with the Athena leadership qualities is humbling affirmation that I am creating the right legacy.”

On Buffalo Niagara

“I have lived in Buffalo for 30 years. The caring people kept me here for the first 20 years and the dynamic renaissance over the past 10 years of downtown and the waterfront has anchored me here.”

Favorite Spot in Buffalo

“Anywhere on the water.”

Lightning Round: Added Insights
  • Guilty Pleasure: “Ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
  • My Superpower: “Force field: I am the protector!”
  • Best Describes Me: “Reliable, caring, secure, stable.”
  • Most Likely To: “Work forever.”
  • Best At: “Rolling up my sleeves, doing hard work and building teams.”


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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