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80+ Leaders Graduate  From United Ways’s Leadership Development Programs

In the Community

Leadership Development Graduates. Photo provided.

Recently the United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes hosted a graduation ceremony at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center for its Leadership Development Programs.

More than 80 leaders graduated from the following programs: African American Leadership Development Program (AALDP), Latino Leadership Development Program (LLDP), Emerging Leaders Development Program (ELDP), PRIDE Leadership Development Program (PLDP), and Development of Indo-American Leaders (DIAL) Program. 

The programs aim to advance and broaden the participation of diverse individuals in influential leadership positions throughout the community. 

United Way also celebrated the 40th and 30th anniversary of LLDP and AALDP at the event.

Mayor Malik Evans and Monroe County Deputy Executive Corinda Crossdale joined the celebration, issuing a proclamation recognizing November 3, 2022 as the 30th and 40th anniversary of the respective programs. AALDP founder Essie Calhoun-McDavid, LLDP founder Nydia Padilla Rodriguez, and Congressman Joe Morelle also joined the celebration. Pastor James R. Cooper Sr., of Love Fellowship worship Center, located at 740 marshall Road in Rochester was the keynote speaker for the event.

Applications for 2023 will open in spring. More information can be found on   

List of 2022 Graduates

African American Leadership Development Program

  • Theodore Adams United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes
  • Christy Anderson-Evans Monroe Community College
  • Amadimo Belleh Empire Justice Center
  • Cynthia Blackmon Trillium Health
  • Biannca Bullard Trillium Health
  • Labria Burgess United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes
  • Jahmar Elliott Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Misha Faison
  • Karen Finklea Anthony L. Jordan Health Center
  • Elissa Fleming St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center
  • Trina Gibson-Sanders Rochester Regional Health
  • Sheniece Griffin University of Rochester Medical Center
  • La’ren Lauchie-Paul Wegmans Food Markets
  • Derek LeBlanc Wegmans Food Markets
  • Mercedece Love Empire Justice Center
  • Tamiko Matthews Rochester City School District
  • Walida Monroe-Sims City of Rochester
  • Maria O’Brien United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes
  • Kelli Ragin Academy of Health Science Charter School
  • Valyn Reed Society for the Protection and Care of Children
  • Wilhelmina Sizer University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Maya Smith Wegmans Food Markets
  • Christopher Weatherspoon Wegmans Food Markets
  • Sparkle Wells University of Rochester Medical Center (Center for Community Health & Prevention) 

Latino Leadership Development Program

  • Rachel Betts Connected Communities, Inc.
  • Irene Bunting Genesee Regional Bank
  • Maureen Connell Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
  • Maria Cruz Mental Health Association
  • Carlos Martinez Wegmans Food Markets
  • Elizabeth Medina Compeer of Rochester
  • Sylvia Mendez Monroe Community College
  • Alicia Montalvo Connected Communities
  • Edwin Ortiz JustCause
  • Jilian Quigley Society for the Protection & Care of Children
  • Tiffany Ramos United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes
  • Julián Sánchez Convo Communications
  • Adelina Santiago ESL Federal Credit Union
  • Diana Stepp The Summit Federal Credit Union
  • Renee Vaquero Monroe Plan for Medical Care 

Emerging Leaders Development Program

  • Chris Bechle United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes
  • Katherine Blum Empire Justice Center
  • Michelle Branciforte Mary Cariola Center
  • Jacob Braniecki Wegmans Food Markets
  • Caitlyn Crowder Lifespan of Greater Rochester Inc.
  • Dawn Davison Rochester Regional Health
  • Ashley Doerzbacher YMCA of Greater Rochester
  • Sarah Dupre Compeer Rochester
  • Katelyn Gelser Livingston County
  • Maryam Ghanbari JustCause
  • Caroline Jaeckel Trillium Health
  • Amarinder Jaswal-Bains Hillside Children’s Center
  • Essence Jones Society for the Protection and Care of Children
  • James Kemnitz Livingston County Public Defender’s Office
  • Macie McGowan Foodlink
  • Karin Nowicki Lifespan of Greater Rochester
  • Jordyn Rizzo US Ceiling Corp
  • Amanda Sanfilippo L3Harris Technologies
  • Devone Scala Willow Domestic Violence Center
  • Megan Sokolow Livingston County
  • Amanda Stenson Monroe Plan for Medical Care
  • Eric Thomas Wegmans Food Markets
  • Ryan Trevas New York State
  • Chloe Vazzana Monroe Community College
  • Katherine Wawrzaszek United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes 

PRIDE Leadership Development Program

  • Chanel A Snead
  • Frank Guidice Wegmans Food Markets
  • Shealynn Hilliard Trillium Health
  • Keith Jensen Empire Justice Center
  • Paul Johnstone Monroe Plan for Medical Care
  • Sarah Mangan Trillium Health
  • Laurel McCarthy Wegmans Food Markets
  • Sarah Thompson Empire Justice Center
  • Sean Watson Rochester Institute of Technology 

Development of Indo-American Leaders

  • Aditi Bhandiwad
  • Hema Bhaskaran
  • Rohit Braggs Orolia
  • Seema Dahake University of Rochester
  • Shweta Narang
  • Sangita Patel Monroe Community College
  • Jyoti Prabhat
  • Ravi Rasu Sutherland Global
  • Vipul Saran
  • Karthik Sekharan Harter Secrest & Emery LLP
  • Geetha Vijay Howard Hanna Real Estate Services                                                                                    

The mission of United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes is to unite the goodwill and resources of the entire region so everyone can thrive. United Way mobilizes thousands of workplaces, tens of thousands of donors, thousands of volunteers, and hundreds of human service agencies in coordinated and critical action, to achieve what no one individual or organization can do alone. 

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