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Maria Cristalli

President and CEO, Hillside

Years in current role: 3.5

What are your expectations for 2022?

I look forward to 2022 with renewed hope and focus to drive positive change in the areas of mental health and violence prevention. Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults have increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic: prolonged periods of social isolation, remote learning, and physical distancing have been shown to create a ripple effect that may create lasting damage without increased intervention and supports. The children are our future, and our collective efforts will be needed to support their healthy development and wellbeing.

What is your biggest takeaway from dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?

My biggest takeaway from a business perspective is how technology will continue to play an increasingly vital role in the field of human services, well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the rapid development and adoption of digital solutions in the earliest days of the public health crisis, youth and families have benefitted from greater options for service delivery and learning. Hillside has pivoted to increased adoption of telehealth and remote work, creating new definitions of community among our business units and redefining how we deliver services. In the post-pandemic environment, human service agencies will need to navigate a balance of remote and in-person services.

What is your favorite thing about the Rochester community?

My favorite thing about this community is the ability and willingness of our leaders to commit to the shared work necessary to achieve meaningful change and improve lives. The men and women of the Greater Rochester business community have worked together to respond to unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. These collaborative relationships will open new doors of opportunity for our community in the future.

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 100 list for 2022. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at


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