A Time of Transition & Celebration


Leadership Buffalo Announces Retirement of Althea Luehrsen, CEO

Leadership Buffalo Board of Directors initiates search for next Executive Director BUFFALO, NY,

June 14, 2023 — Today, prominent leadership development organization, Leadership Buffalo, announced the planned retirement of Althea Luehrsen, who has served as CEO for the past 12 years. Luehrsen will officially step down from her role in December 2023, leaving behind a remarkable legacy of transformative leadership and community impact.

For more than a decade, Luehrsen has played a pivotal role in driving Leadership Buffalo’s mission to cultivate and empower effective leaders dedicated to making a positive difference in the Western New York region. During her tenure, the organization expanded its programmatic footprint through newer initiatives like leadership coaching and the Leadership Buffalo Essentials program. By establishing a new DEI committee and a Director of DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging), the organization also diversified programming and event offerings, increasing community engagement with a more inclusive audience.

“Leading this organization for the past 12 years has brought me immense joy and, although I am stepping down as CEO, Leadership Buffalo will forever hold a special place in my heart,” said Althea Luehrsen, outgoing CEO, Leadership Buffalo. “As an alumnus of Leadership Buffalo, I was well aware of the exceptional nature of this organization before taking on the role. I have genuinely relished working alongside my board of directors, my team, and the community to propel it to its current stature. Along the way, I have encountered a tremendous number of remarkable individuals and continually deepened my understanding of my city year after year.”

Luehrsen guided Leadership Buffalo through periods of significant growth and successfully navigated the challenges of an ever-changing landscape, including the COVID-19 pandemic, ultimately inspiring participants to become catalysts for positive change. Under her leadership, as of June 2023, 2,300 individuals and 483 organizations have participated in Leadership Buffalo programs, including Class Experience and Rising Leaders. The Youth Program has also recruited high school students from 75 area schools. Since 2012, Leadership Buffalo has awarded more than 400 scholarships totaling $396,775. Luehrsen’s other notable achievements include:

• Increasing Leadership Buffalo revenue by 96 percent.

• Growing membership from 300 to 700 individuals.

• Launching a scholarship legacy fund through the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

• Establishing the bowling Ten Pin Throw Down and scholarship golf tournament annual fundraisers, drawing hundreds of participants and raising a total of $200,000 for the organization.

• Creating and leading a regional leadership forum with Niagara Falls, Rochester, Syracuse, and Batavia.

Luehrsen's commitment, strategic vision, and guidance have helped elevate Leadership Buffalo, solidifying its reputation as a premier leadership organization and fostering strong partnerships across Western New York and beyond. She has represented Leadership Buffalo on the national circuit of leadership organizations and built strategic alliances with numerous area organizations, including United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and the University at Buffalo's Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness.

"We are immensely grateful for Althea’s exemplary leadership and transformative impact on Leadership Buffalo over the past 12 years," said Trevor Torcello, board chair, Leadership Buffalo. "As we search for our next executive director, while they will certainly have large shoes to fill, we are excited to identify an exceptional individual who will carry forward our mission and lead us into an even brighter future."

In light of Luehrsen's retirement, Leadership Buffalo's Board of Directors has initiated a comprehensive search for her successor. The ideal candidate will oversee all aspects of the organization, including curriculum development for each program, fundraising, budget management, staff and volunteer management, and program evaluation. To ensure a thorough and rigorous process, Leadership Buffalo has engaged renowned executive search firm, TalentRise.

Through this leadership transition, Leadership Buffalo will continue to provide exceptional leadership development opportunities and foster collaboration among diverse leaders during the transitional period. The organization remains steadfast in its dedication to the community and will work collaboratively with its members, partners, and stakeholders to ensure a smooth leadership transition. For more information about Leadership Buffalo, visit www.leadershipbuffalo.org.

For information about the Executive Director position, or to apply, please contact Peter Petrella, Practice Leader at TalentRise at 716.860.4485 or petrellap@talentrise.com. About Leadership Buffalo: Leadership Buffalo is a nonprofit organization that has been empowering leaders in the Buffalo region since 1987. Through its premier leadership development programs, the organization equips individuals with the knowledge, skills, and connections necessary to make a positive impact in the community. By bringing together diverse leaders, fostering collaboration, and encouraging civic engagement, Leadership Buffalo aims to create a more vibrant and inclusive region.


Porsha Ari Parson



(716) 218-9241