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A new breed of leaders

A new generation of elected officials emphasizes passion, businesslike focus

Anthony Daniele has carefully nurtured an interest in government and its influence on people’s lives. Growing up working at his family’s restaurant, retail and real estate development ventures helped.
 
Motivated to run for public office, he was elected to the Monroe County Legislature in 2007 and then majority leader of the Republican caucus.
 
Lovely Warren, an attorney and president of the Rochester City Council, was born and raised in Rochester. She left the area for college and law school, and soon after interning and working for New York Assemblyman David Gantt, D-Rochester, she decided to return home to contribute to the community.
 
"Rochester is my home, and I want to utilize my talents and abilities to make Rochester a better place," Warren said. "Frankly, I couldn’t see myself serving any other community."
 
Daniele and Warren are part of a growing group of young professionals playing key roles in the public sector.
 
Rochester native Scott Odorisi has been a town justice in East Rochester for 16 years, and for nine years has been an acting City Court judge in Rochester. A third-generation attorney, he learned early about community involvement. Being a judge, Odorisi said, has enabled him to help others and become a better person. He and his wife are committed to raising their family in the area.
 
Melisza Campos is vice president of operations and instruction and a master trainer for the Dale Carnegie Rochester office. She also serves on the Rochester City School Board. Her roles allow her to assess situations using different points of view-experiences that she says make her a better coach and manager.
 
Saul Maneiro works with people who are passionate about philanthropy. As program officer at the Rochester Area Community Foundation, he considers how charitable giving can create a permanent legacy. Rochester has been a major factor in his development, and he says he will always have a home here.
 
Maneiro believes that, because talent goes only so far, hard work is necessary to succeed in business. 
 
"Hard work will always make a difference between good and great," he said.  
 
Warren agrees, noting that being innovative and flexible are equally important. As new technologies emerge, businesses and professionals must constantly work to stay relevant, she said.
 
"You have to think outside of the box and create opportunities for yourself and/or your company," she said. "But despite the challenges, I see nothing but opportunities for the individuals and organizations that are willing to take a risk and make things happen."
 
Focus, passion and intensity are what Daniele considers important to growing and prospering. For Odorisi, business growth depends on doing the right thing and treating clients or customers respectfully.
 
As a candidate for the New York State Supreme Court in the 7th Judicial District, Odorisi said he hopes to be serving a second term as a Supreme Court Judge in the next 25 years, dealing with a variety of community legal issues.
 
As a judge, Odorisi hopes to directly impact more people’s lives and improve perceptions of the judiciary and the justice system. He also said he plans to continue volunteering with charitable and community organizations.
 
For Warren, serving the community is a passion she takes pleasure in pursuing. Over the next two decades, she said she intends to continue to serve the city where she was born and is raising her family.
 
"I truly believe in this city and hope to play a major role in bringing it back to a position of strength and prominence," Warren said.
 
Daniele said he expects to continue improving how government operates, applying a businesslike mentality to operating, marketing and planning for the community’s future.
 
Odorisi predicts that the growth Rochester has experienced in the last decade will continue into the next two decades. Expansive investment and development downtown will attract young professionals to the community, he said, which is vital to Rochester’s success.
 
Daniele and Warren emphasize the success of small businesses as well. A sound education sector and skilled workforce combined with a bounty of startups in high-tech areas like optics and photonics position the region to produce change agents.
 
The area’s rising stars, however, do acknowledge the challenges.
 
While Rochester enjoys tremendous wealth, Maneiro said, the socioeconomic disparities are stark.
 
And Odorisi notes that, although the housing market remains strong, unemployment and rising health insurance costs illustrate the economic challenges.
 
Campos said she would like to see more efforts to alleviate poverty in the city and points to the schools’ ongoing efforts to equip youth for careers and life.
 
"If we can take on projects to improve our city and be a voice for change, we can show that young professionals do have a role in the improvement of our city," Campos says.
 
Odorisi said he would like to see more college graduates return or stay in Rochester to live and raise a family.
 
Those who build their careers in Rochester, Daniele said, enjoy an easy commute, a low cost of living and good suburban schools. And while traveling and experiencing other communities is valuable, he said, Rochester is the perfect size for most careers.
 
He and others express confidence in thinking big for themselves and the community. Warren is eager to learn about the area’s next entrepreneurs. After all, she said, the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg could be sitting in a class right now at the University of Rochester or Rochester Institute of Technology.
 
Maneiro said he hopes to play an even more significant role in the city. His dream job? Being mayor of Rochester.
 
Crystal Gulian is a Rochester-area freelance writer.

10/12/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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