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Women of Excellence honorees announced

The recipients of the Rochester Business Journal’s 2019 Women of Excellence awards have been selected.

PrintThe Women of Excellence awards identify high-achieving women for their tremendous career accomplishments. The women are selected based on their professional experience, community involvement, leadership and sustained commitment to mentoring.

This year’s class, selected by a panel of past Circle of Excellence honorees, features 40 women from a variety of industries. They have achieved impressive career accomplishments and have made the Rochester community better through their civic engagement and mentoring.

In addition 10 women will be inducted into the Circle of Excellence. The Circle of Excellence recognizes women of longstanding, notable success in the community who are leading the way for other women.

“The 2019 Women of Excellence honorees demonstrate hard work, professional success, leadership and a relentless commitment to making the Rochester community the best place to live and work,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of the Rochester Business Journal. “Most importantly, they are paving the way for future generations of women who know they can achieve anything. The Rochester Business Journal is pleased to honor these remarkable women.”

The Women of Excellence awards will be presented Thursday, May 9, at an awards celebration from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Winners will be profiled in a magazine that will be inserted into the May 10 issue of the Rochester Business Journal and will be available online at www.rbj.net.

The 2019 honorees are:

Women of Excellence

  • Carmen Allen, Calm & Sense Communications
  • Lisa Baron, Greentopia
  • Wendy A. Bello, WROC TV – Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.
  • Wendy Bernstein, University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Maggie Brooks, Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority
  • Michelle Cain, Mengel Metzger Barr & Co.
  • Chetna Chandrakala, GRIPA/COGNISIGHT
  • Mona Chitre, Excellus Health Plan
  • Kathryn Durfee D’Amanda, MillRace Design Associates
  • Sandra Doorley, Monroe County District Attorney’s Office
  • Sitima Fowler, Capstone IT Inc.
  • Kelly Gagan, Nazareth College
  • Susan George, The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce
  • Heather Goodbody, Merrill Lynch: Goodbody & Associates
  • Tokeya C. Graham, Monroe Community College
  • Cynthia Haskins, New York Apple Association
  • Jane Hasselkus, CooperVision, Inc.
  • Kristina “Kitty” Karle, Ontario County Court
  • Kate Kenney, ProNexus, LLC
  • Jill Knittel, JK Executive Strategies, LLC
  • Allana Lazeroff, Genesee Regional Bank
  • LaShunda Leslie-Smith, Connected Communities, Inc.
  • Stefani LiDestri, LiDestri Food and Drink
  • Angella Luyk, One Stop Janitorial And Office Supply
  • Colleen A. Matteson, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Lesli C. Myers-Small, Brockport Central School District
  • Jennifer Newman, Young Lion Brewery Company, LLC
  • Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez, Rochester City School District
  • Carla M. Palumbo, The Legal Aid Society of Rochester, New York
  • Audrey Patrone Peartree, Harris Beach PLLC
  • Kathleen Pringle, Kathleen Pringle Group, Inc.
  • Laura Saxby Lynch, Paychex, Inc.
  • Stephanie T. Seiffert, Nixon Peabody LLP
  • Nancy J. Snyder, The Bonadio Group
  • Laura Stradley, Veterans Outreach Center
  • Jennifer F. Takatch, Architectura PC
  • Ann Marie White, URMC Department of Psychiatry
  • Bridgette Wiefling, Rochester Regional Health
  • Melanie S. Wolk, Trevett Cristo
  • Gretchen Wood, Monroe Community College Foundation

Circle of Excellence

  • Ann Burr, Frontier Communications (Retired)
  • Mary Ellen Burris, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
  • Essie Calhoun-McDavid, Eastman Kodak Company (Retired)
  • Jennifer Leonard, Rochester Area Community Foundation
  • Theresa Mazzullo, Excell Partners, Inc.
  • Nannette Nocon, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
  • Susan Robfogel, Nixon Peabody LLP
  • Elaine Spaull, Center for Youth, City Council
  • Amy Tait, Broadstone Real Estate, LLC
  • Grace Tillinghast, The Battery


  1. How does one get nominated for this award?

  2. Cris, nominations could be made on our website until Feb. 15. Nominations for next year’s awards will open after this year’s event in May.

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