When Florence Conti joined The John R. Oishei Foundation Board of Directors in 2011, she brought a unique background with her, having built a career in both the private sector and in the nonprofit world. Using both her business acumen and her knowledge of running a successful nonprofit organization, Florence has been a guiding force for the Board and the Foundation overall.
We bid a fond farewell to Florence Conti today as she concludes her last day of service to the Board of the Oishei Foundation. Serving as Vice-Chair under Chairman William G. Gisel since 2018, Florence will be missed for her unwavering support for our work, her leadership, and her wisdom. She never hesitated to ask questions, to challenge us, and to ensure that our funding was used as effectively as possible. Florence was a welcome presence at many of our grantee events lending her support to our partner organizations and demonstrating a keen interest in their work.
Florence joined the Board after her retirement as CEO of Goodwill Industries of WNY where she was instrumental in refocusing Goodwill stores and increasing sales which helped to ensure future sustainability for the organization. She spent 19 years with the organization, the last 12 of them serving as CEO and overseeing a staff of 300. Prior to joining Goodwill, Florence built a successful career as a fashion buyer and retail manager for LL Berger, an upscale Buffalo-based department store. She used her expertise in the fashion and retail industries to successfully build Goodwill retail sales that drove revenue to fund the organization’s operations and workforce development programs.
Reflecting on her tenure, Gisel commented, “Florence brought rigor to her analysis and an open heart to the work of our community. Her colleagues on the Board have been forever enriched by her presence.”
She and her family immigrated to Buffalo from Sicily when she was eleven and benefited from similar social service agencies the Foundation now supports. She went on to become a trailblazer for female professionals and a strong community leader. We will miss her not only for her perspective and insight but also for her sweet demeanor, her excellent sense of style, and her magnificent baked goods!