Denise A. Battles

Denise A. Battles

Power 100 list

denise-a-battles-headshot-2020Denise A. Battles

President, SUNY Geneseo

Years in current role: 6

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?

The key lesson I have gleaned over the years is the importance of having an effective team. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses; having areas for improvement is not a disqualifier for leadership. What’s important is to surround oneself with talented people with complementary skill sets such that the team is maximally effective.

What’s been your biggest success?

I don’t think in terms of a particular “big success.” The achievements that have brought me the most satisfaction are those in which I have worked within a team to achieve a desired end and we have done so.

What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?

Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community, my hopes are centered around a rapid return to normalcy with regard to public health and economic recovery.

What do you do to unplug in your free time?

As a geologist by education, I love spending time outdoors. My husband and I have enjoyed discovering great places to walk our dog — whether natural or urban — in the greater Rochester area.

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 100 list for 2021. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at