The John R. Oishei Foundation is pleased to announce the inaugural cohort of its Oishei Fellowship for Leaders of Color that includes 24 nonprofit leaders from the Buffalo-Niagara region. Those chosen as Fellows will attend the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership program, an intensive five-day retreat to be held at Beaver Hollow Resort & Conference Center in November at no cost to the participants.
The cohort represents a broad cross-section of self-identified nonprofit professionals of color that represent a diversity of gender, age, spiritual practice, types of organization, and professional experience. Nearly 100 nonprofit professionals applied for the program.
Those chosen as Oishei Fellows include:
- Talib Abdullah, Executive Director, Access of WNY
- Esther Annan, Program Director, Say Yes to Education
- April Arman, Executive Director, Resources and Help Against Marital Abuse
- Phuong Brady, Domestic Violence Shelter Supervisor, Child & Family Services of Erie County
- Leah Angel Daniel, Leadership Development Director, Open Buffalo
- Kathryn Franco, Data Analyst/Coalition Chair of the BNCRC, WNY Law Center
- Jazmine Frazier, Office Manager, Westminster Economic Development Initiative, Inc.
- Sarajane Gomlak-Green, Director of Museum Programs, Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences
- Kyla Gordon, Development Coordinator & Curatorial Assistant, Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Center
- De’Jon Hall, Manager, The MOCHA Center/Trillium Health
- Andrea Harden, HR Manager, Albright-Knox Art Gallery
- Paulette Harris, Artistic Director, Paul Robeson Theatre at the African American Cultural Center
- Patricia Howling, Coordinator, Managed Care Services/Clinical Advisor, Native American Community Services
- Jose Latalladi, Senior Disaster Program Manager, American Red Cross
- Jonathan Ling, Director, Neighborhood Legal Services
- Stephanie Mejia, Housing Program Supervisor, Catholic Charities of Buffalo
- Nadia Pizarro, Homeless Services Program Director, BestSelf Behavioral Health
- Deborah Porter, Director, Adult Workforce Programs, Buffalo Center for Arts & Technology
- Casimiro Rodriguez, President, Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY, Inc.
- Zainab Saleh, Program Coordinator, Partnership for the Public Good
- Cord Stone, Director of Community Impact, Evergreen Health
- Dina Thompson, Executive Director, Erie County Restorative Justice Coalition
- Rebekah Williams, Community Organizer, Massachusetts Avenue Project
- Jane Yoo, Managing Attorney, The Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc.
The Art of Leadership teaches critical personal and organizational leadership skills necessary for successful and sustainable leadership including powerful visioning, listening, speaking, presentation, coaching, collaboration and feedback skills. In addition to participating in the retreat, each participant will undergo a 360-degree leadership assessment and will receive a comprehensive workbook and electronic resource filled with tools and processes to use within their own organizations. They will be also part of the 7000+ national and international member Rockwood Community of Practice which provides post-training learning opportunities through alumni gatherings and social media tools.
According to Robert D. Gioia, President of The John R. Oishei Foundation, “The Buffalo Niagara region could benefit tremendously by having more people of color in positions of leadership to offer their perspective and life experience as well as their expertise. After hosting conversations specifically for nonprofit professionals of color, it was clear to us that there is an intense interest in leadership training and for programs designed specifically for people of color. We are so pleased to see the enthusiastic response to this program and believe that it is a critical step to support these professionals and to provide more tools for them to succeed.”
Selection criteria for the program included possessing personal and professional readiness to learn new leadership skills; an interest in participating in a rigorous learning experience; demonstrated commitment to improving the wellbeing of all people in the Buffalo Niagara region; representing a meaningful cross-section of nonprofit professional backgrounds, experiences and sectors; and representing a diversity of racial/ethnic communities. The applicants were vetted and chosen by Rockwood Leadership Institute.
The Oishei Fellowship for Leaders of Color is part of the Oishei Foundation’s commitment to racial equity and is strategically aligned with the Foundation’s focus on providing resources and support to local nonprofits beyond grantmaking in the areas of leadership development and network building.