BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Each Monday, we introduce you to a City Shaper, someone or a group of people who are helping to make Western New York a better place. This week, we are featuring graduates of Leadership Buffalo.
Leadership Buffalo is a community non-profit organization that focuses on making Buffalo better.
“I am a graduate of Leadership Buffalo. I was working at the University at Buffalo as an Assistant Vice President. Fortunate enough to be able to go through the program in 2010," says Leadership Buffalo C.E.O. Althea Luehrsen.
Luehrsen loved it so much, she decided to leave her job at U.B. and take over as C.E.O. of Leadership Buffalo.
“We take people from all walks of life, when I say that, I mean high school students to senior executives, and put them through our programs and through exponential learning," explains Luehrsen.
You can be nominated by someone, or nominate yourself right now, for a spot in the next Leadership Buffalo class. Members come from backgrounds ranging from small business owners, to those who work for large corporations, and other non-profits. More than three-thousand people have graduated from the program over the past 30 years.
"They enhance their own personal leadership skills in their ability to lead internally and externally in the community. They also become better servant leaders to understand that it's better to give than take and then become a better person all the way around," says Luehrsen.
Gwen Appelbaum is the Leadership Buffalo Board Chair. She is also a 2007 graduate.
"When I moved to Buffalo, I became, you know, like everyone else, very kind of siloed in my job, my family, my inner circle, and a woman I worked with recommended that I take part in the program, and it was really Leadership Buffalo that helped me start feeling like this was my community, too," says Appelbaum.
Shahryar Rehman moved here from the Midwest.
"This program allowed me and my wife to not only get settled in the area, but also understand all the things Buffalo had offer. It really got us kind of not only involved in the community, but kept us here," says Rehman.
There's also a youth program for high school students, and Luehrsen says they're now saying more and more that they want to come back to Buffalo after college.
If you'd like to nominate someone to be a City Shaper, just email Kelly Dudzik.
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