Board of Directors

Board Chair
Gwen Appelbaum (LB '07)
University at Buffalo

Gwen Appelbaum is the assistant dean and director of UB School of Management's Career Resource Center. In her role, Gwen works with both students and alumni to promote career development and professional success. Gwen's background spans higher education, as well as energy and finance sectors. She joined the School of Management as assistant dean in 2008.

Immediate Past Chair
Christopher Kania (LB '10)
M&T Bank

Chris Kania is Administrative Vice President of Corporate Banking for M&T Bank. In this capacity he is responsible for managing a group of relationship managers who cover two segments - Canadian Banking and Western New York Middle Market banking. Chris joined M&T in November 1998 after spending seven years in the corporate banking area of Fleet Bank (now Bank of America) in Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

Treasurer
J Kincaid (LB '13)
Lougen, Valenti, Bookbinder & Weintraub LLP

J is an Audit and Accounting Partner for Lougen, Valenti, Bookbinder & Weintraub, LLP. A CPA since 1993, J has 24 years of experience in accounting, auditing, and taxation, concentrating on closely-held businesses in the construction, refining, manufacturing and real estate industries, employee benefit plans and not-for-profit organizations.

Secretary
Bernadette Aja (LB '13)
Evans Bank

Bernie Aja is Senior Vice President of the Retail Customer Experience at Evans Bank, responsible for managing the Retail Branch network, Customer Experience Call Center, Wealth Management and Consumer Loan originations. Bernie joined Evans Bank in 2014 after dedicating over 30 years at KeyBank.

Tricia Barrett (LB '15)
Crowley Webb

Tricia Barrett is the SVP, Managing Director for Crowley Webb, where she leads the strategy and operations for the agency's healthcare and patient recruitment divisions. She is a graduate of the Leadership Buffalo Class of 2015, and remains active with the organization as a class chair and youth advisor. Tricia is also a 2016 Buffalo Business First '40 Under 40' recipient.

Denise Bienko (LB '03)
People, Inc.

Denise Bienko is vice president at People Inc. responsible for overseeing corporate governance affairs, grants and program development, long range planning, marketing/communications, government & community relations and family advisory functions. She also serves as executive director of the People Inc. Foundation. She was named a Business First Health Care Champion in 2015.

Frank DelSignore (LB '07)
Clough Harbour & Associates LLP

Frank DelSignore is a Vice President for CHA Consulting, a leading national consulting engineering firm. He has headed the firm's Buffalo office since 1996 and is currently the Market Leader for the Transportation Group in Western New York. He is a graduate of the Leadership Buffalo Class of 2009.

Jerry Fritz (LB '10)
Moog Inc.

Jerry Fritz is currently the General Manager for the Moog Space and Defense Group Sites. Jerry maintains overall responsibility for the Site along with the Site Leadership Team which includes Leaders from Functional and Business Unit Management. He has been at Moog for close to thirty years. Jerry resides in North Buffalo with his wife Isabelle and their six children. He enjoys swimming, biking, red wine and walking their three dogs in the neighborhood.

Melissa Golen (LB '05)
BlueCross BlueShield

Melissa Golen is the director of corporate relations for BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. In this role, she oversees the health plan's public relations, community relations, internal communications and social media functions. Melissa is a Leadership Buffalo class of 2005 alumnus and a 2007 Buffalo Business First 40 Under 40 honoree. 

Rema Hanash (LB '05)
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

Rema Hanash is Director of Resource Development at the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and responsible for overseeing and executing organizational strategies for the United Way Annual Campaign. Rema is a graduate of Leadership Buffalo Class of 2005, and a Business First 40 under 40 honoree. Rema has volunteered and served on numerous boards and received a number of awards throughout the community.

Sharon Lohocki (EB '14)
KeyBank

Sharon Lohocki is senior vice president and market leader, Retail Banking, for the Western New York Region (Buffalo and Rochester markets). She is responsible for the oversight of 81 branches throughout Western New York. She has more than 30 years'experience in the financial services industry and has been involved in many initiatives.

Rita Markle (LB '00)
Performance Management Partners, Inc.

Rita Markle is the Chief Learning Officer at Performance Management Partners Inc., a talent management firm based in Upstate New York. Rita has over 20 years of senior management experience in both large and small companies, including a Fortune 500 company. She is a Leadership Buffalo Class of 2000 graduate and class chair.

Jeffrey McArthur (LB '98)
Ellicott Development

Jeff McArthur is the Finance Director for Ellicott Development Company. He is a graduate of the Leadership Buffalo class of 1998 and serves as a class chairs. Two of his children, Kelsey (Rising Leaders '15) and Max (Youth Leadership '16) are involved in LB.

Thomas Muraca RL '11
Katz Americas

Tom Muraca is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for KATZ Americas. Tom is a published contributor and a featured speaker for IndustryWeek Magazine. He is a graduate of the Leadership Buffalo class of 2011, is a class chair and serves as a mentor for the Youth Leadership Program.

Steve Perrigo LB '10
Turner Construction

Steve is currently the Deputy Operations Manager and the operational lead for Turner Construction in Buffalo. He also chairs the WNY training committee and leads all recruitment in Buffalo. Perrigo has spent the past 19-years with Turner Construction Company building world class facilities in both Pittsburgh and in Western New York.

Shahryar Rehman EB '12
M&T Bank

Shahryar Rehman is currently employed with M&T Bank as Vice President of Business Planning. He is a seasoned Sales, Service & Operations Management Executive with 17+ years of experience building and managing high-performance teams, productive client/ vendor relationships, driving innovation, improving business processes and implementing best practices to achieve company objectives.

Stuart Scheff (LB '14)
Lawley

Stuart Scheff is a Partner with Lawley and has over 30 years of insurance experience. A graduate of Leadership Buffalo and a UB's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) graduate, Stuart created Chip in for Carly's Club which supports patient experiences at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, is also a board member with Hearts & Hands Faith & Action and serves as a Jewish Federation of Buffalo finance committee member.

Jim Walleshauser (LB '16)
Independent Health

Jim Walleshauser is the Senior Executive, Strategy and Operations for Independent Health. He has been with the company since 2008. Jim oversees the Health Care Operations within Independent Health and is responsible for the coordination and implementation of strategic and operational initiatives for Health Care Services and Medical Management.

Lamont Williams LB '12 
Hillside Work Scholarship Connection

Lamont Williams is the Executive Director of Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection and an expert on youth engagement. For six years he served as the leading advocate for youth for the Buffalo Urban League. He is a graduate of the Leadership Buffalo Class of 2012.