Monroe Community College, President
DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna, Ph.D., is the sixth president of Monroe Community College. Her professional experience in business, industry, and higher education spans more than three decades. Her leadership has served as a catalyst for equitable pathways to socioeconomic mobility for individuals in New York, Minnesota, and Michigan.
Building on an educational foundation that includes degrees in computer information systems, business administration, and educational leadership, Dr. Burt-Nanna is nationally recognized for advancing student success, innovation, operational efficiency, organizational culture change, and creating college-going cultures in communities where she has served. She is a passionate advocate for and a frequent speaker on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion; educational access and attainment; and workforce development at local, state, and national levels. She embraces opportunities to build early connections with faculty and staff in celebrating their work and strategically forms collaborative partnerships with educators and employers to transform lives and create opportunities through public higher education.
Her impressive record of volunteerism, philanthropy, and board/council service ranges from the Community Foundation for Muskegon County in Michigan to the YWCA Mankato in Minnesota. Dr. Burt-Nanna serves on the board of directors for the Greater Rochester Enterprise, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region, and the Monroe Community College Foundation. In addition to sitting on the executive board of the New York Community College Association of Presidents, she is a New York gubernatorial appointee on the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council’s Executive Committee, serving as co-chair of the Council’s Workforce Development Work Group. She also serves as an appointee to the regional M&T Bank Directors Advisory Council.
On a national level, Dr. Burt-Nanna serves on the American Association of Community Colleges Commission on Structured Pathways, the board of directors for the League for Innovation in the Community College, the American Graduate: Path to the Future National Advisory Group, and is a member of The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program’s Workforce Speakers Bureau. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her transformational leadership and has successfully secured grants and philanthropic support for the organizations she serves.
Since assuming the helm at MCC in 2021, Dr. Burt-Nanna has been recognized among the Rochester Business Journal’s 100 significant power players in the region and among 50 local Women of Excellence noted for professional experience, community involvement, leadership and sustained commitment to mentoring. She is also the proud recipient of the Rochester-based University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men’s Woman of Substance Award and the Young Women’s College Prep Foundation’s Leadership Honoree Award, both for her transformational work within the local community.
Dixon Schwabl + Company, CEO
Kim Allen puts our people front and center, building on empathy and quick decision-making that have served her teams well. A graduate of Ithaca College with a B.S. in communications, she began her career in public relations in 1996 as an administrative assistant at Eric Mower & Associates. She soon found her home with DS+CO in 2001, where she led our public relations team and expanded her skillset into consumer, B2B, telecom and human services. In 2012 she took the role of managing partner and not long after in 2020, she took the helm, guiding our agency into a new era.
She’s a Forty Under 40 and ATHENA Young Professional, is DEI certified, and sits on the boards of the American Heart Association of NY, Mercy Flight Central, Alfred University and the RIT Advertising & Marketing Program.
Allen is a mom to two children, her daughter Norynn, 12, and son Simon, 11. She resides in Victor with her kids and her husband, Josh (not the Buffalo Bills QB).
Light My Candle Co., Owner & CEO
Lauren Barley, the owner of Light My Candle Co. and a full-time high school math teacher in the Rochester City School District. The mission at Light My Candle Co. is to make your home a happier place to be. All of our home fragrance products are hand-crafted, hand-poured and made with clean, eco-friendly ingredients that you can feel good about using in your home.
In addition to selling at local boutiques such as Parkleigh and Women of Color New York, Barley sells products on her own website, Etsy, Amazon, Wayfair,
“L-O-V-E is the secret ingredient, and I hope that your home is filled with it as soon as you Light My Candle!”
Helen & Gertrude, Co-Founder & Chief of Strategy
Leire Bascaran is the co-founder and chief of strategy at Helen & Gertrude, leading the integration of the company’s client services, media, analytics and marketing teams to produce cutting-edge content focused on results.
As a Latina woman leader, Bascaran uses her role to empower those around her and find opportunities to infuse her heritage with her professional pursuits.
In the midst of advocating for women, growing a business and being a mom of two, she has produced several award-winning digital marketing campaigns and advised some of the world’s largest Fortune 500 companies.
Wegmans Food Markets Inc., Incredible Service Priority Owner
Melisza Campos works in customer experience for Wegmans Food Markets. She builds on the strong foundation of service at Wegmans to find opportunities to build more meaningful interactions with our customers through people and programs. She is a tireless maximizer at heart who led an award-winning delivery team with Dale Carnegie, and is one of 35 master facilitators in the world. Contributing to her community is a mandate she takes seriously.
Campos currently serves on the United Way Board of Directors, SUNY Geneseo’s College Council, and Go Red for Women campaign, and is a former elected official.
Coordinated Care Services Inc., Human Resources Director
Shaunta Collier-Rankin is a seasoned business leader and strategist with a diverse and extensive background in human resources, development and fundraising, marketing, public and media relations, risk management, and strategic planning in corporate and nonprofit environments. As human resources director for CCSI, she provides direction, guidance and oversight of the Human Resources department and drives continuous improvement initiatives and operational excellence in CCSI’s human resource service delivery. Through her leadership, CCSI’s Human Resource team makes progress every day by attracting and hiring specialized talent, implementing talent and culture initiatives to ensure employee retention and career growth, and sustaining an award-winning workplace wellness program so employees can be their best at work and in their personal lives.
Collier-Rankin has served on numerous boards and committees supporting humanitarian, economic empowerment, poverty alleviation, civil rights, and social justice efforts. Currently, she is the Chairperson of the NY NonProfit Buying Exchange Wellness Committee, representing 26 organizations collaboratively purchasing health care and improving the health and welfare of over 3,000 employees in western and central New York. She is also a member of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources of Western NY (NAAAHR-WNY).
Collier-Rankin holds an associate’s degree in Theological Studies from First Zion Bible College and Seminary and a management certificate in management development from Rochester Institute of Technology. She is also a Certified Diversity and Inclusion Specialist from Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR).
Bank of America, Senior Vice President
Kristina Dengler serves as the Rochester Market Executive in the Local Markets Organization at Bank of America. In this role she focuses on delivering all the capabilities that the bank has to offer to advance economic mobility and racial equality, employee engagement, strengthening corporate reputation, coordinating and leveraging of the bank’s local philanthropic contributions, and managing events and sponsorships in the Rochester market.
A graduate of Colorado Technical University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing, Dengler joined Bank of America in 2007, and from 2012 through 2017 she served as chairwoman of Bank of America’s Rochester Community Volunteer board, where she led the efforts in supporting the Rochester community through volunteerism with several not-for-profit organizations focused on workforce development, affordable housing, hunger and homelessness.
Dengler also leads the local Bank of America foundation committee who has deployed nearly $3 million dollars (since 2017) to local nonprofits focused on community development, workforce development and basic needs. She works to identify organizations with missions that fit the priorities of our charitable foundation and works with those organizations in the preparation of their grant applications.
Dengler serves on the Board of Directors and Development Committee for Flower City Habitat for Humanity, which believes that everyone deserves a decent place to live.
A Rochester native and mom to Pickles, a 7-year-old American pit bull, Dengler enjoys outdoor activities visiting all the beautiful areas in and around Rochester.
Dunne Goodwin, Co-Founder and President
As the co-founder of Dunne Goodwin, a digital marketing firm, Sheila Dunne helps businesses stand out and connect with their online audiences since she launched in 2017 while a freshman at Colgate University.
The team has since worked with 90+ clients, including
Vanderbilt University, Boston Scientific and Hallmark.
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Communications & Marketing Director
As director of communications and marketing for the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, the region’s largest business advocacy organization, Shannon Ealy manages 29 (and counting) social media accounts for various programs, initiatives and for-profit divisions, as well as overseeing communications strategy, marketing, public relations and branding.
A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Ealy worked in radio and sales prior to 2014 when she joined Greater Rochester Chamber, where she has also served in public policy/advocacy and program development roles.
She is currently co-chair of RocCity Coalition, an organization harnessing the collective impact of young Rochesterians, chair of the Greater Rochester Community Transportation Foundation, and a member of the board of the Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region. Ealy is proud to have been a 2021 Rochester Business Journal Forty Under 40 honoree.
Synthesis Management Group, President/CEO
Bobbie Goheen is a resourceful and committed leadership expert and Fortune 100 executive coach, who promotes environments of growth and development for individuals, executives, and organizational teams.
With more than 25 years of world-class experience, Goheen is a motivational force who inspires her clients to steer their personal and professional lives in the direction of excellence. She has worked with companies worldwide and organizations ranging in size from five employees to 80,000. Clients include international, national, and local C-suite executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and professionals looking for curated, practical tools to match their desire to lead others with greater ease and agility.
Goheen offers a multidimensional approach for successful business leaders and their workforce to achieve results through experimental learning and development. She utilizes researched and proven methodology combined with a style that is fresh, dynamic, and inspirational.
Goodbody & Associates Merrill Private Wealth, Senior Vice President, Private Wealth Advisor
Holland Communications LLC, Executive Communications Coach & Consultant
It’s been a lifelong calling for Andrea Holland, and now — as an executive coach to clients across the globe — it’s the bold call to action she issues to others. With over 20 years of experience in professional storytelling and communications, Holland has intensely studied how words, body language and mindset affect ourselves and others, relationships, business outcomes, and more. She is a certified coach, a public speaker and a self-proclaimed “Mouthy Broad.”
Prior to launching her company in 2012, Holland was an award-winning radio host at Clear Channel (I-Heart Radio) and Entercom, served in marketing and public relations at American Red Cross and United Way, and traveled internationally as a video producer interviewing leadership experts at brands like U.S. Olympics, Ford Canada, American Airlines, The Economist and more. Holland has taken the stage at TEDx as a speaker, host & speaker-coach. She is also a certified senior trainer at Dale Carnegie in 3 of its flagship programs, including Diversity & Inclusion: Cultural Awareness & Competency.
Holland holds three volunteer leadership positions — as vice president of the Rochester Women’s Business Council, board member of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Home Care Foundation and board member of East House Foundation. She is a proud multiracial Latina, a single mom to a 3-year-old (aka her “broke bestie”) and a 12-year member of sketch comedy troupe EstroFest. Wepa! (Look it up!)
ESL Federal Credit Union, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Customer Experience Director
Since beginning her career at ESL in 1988, Celeste Kier has steadily taken on positions of increasing responsibilities and served the organization in various leadership positions. She was promoted to senior vice president in 2017. She served as marketing director from 2006 through 2012, when she was responsible for advertising, customer communications, research, product management, member focus and public relations. She was appointed to her current role of customer experience director in June 2012, a role in which she ensures that all aspects of the organization’s operations deliver a consistently superior customer experience. She is also responsible for implementing and managing ESL’s social media strategy.
A civic-minded member of various community organizations, Kier serves on the board of the United Way Women’s Leadership Council Advisory Board, and Writers and Books. She also served as past board member of the George Eastman Museum, Hope Hall and the SUNY Geneseo School of Business Advisory Council.
A native of Pennsylvania, Kier earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Rochester and her MBA from the William E. Simon School.
Little Black Buddha & Careal Bayo, CEO & Founder
Ahlia Kitwana is a certified Gallup Strengths Coach and a Holistic Leadership Coach. She is also a passionate entrepreneur working at the intersection of workforce development and the emotional well-being of adolescents. She believes we all have strengths & superpowers that we can tap into to live our best lives and make a positive impact on the world.
She is the founder of Little Black Buddha (LBB), which offers CliftonStrengths team development, team maximization and leadership coaching. She has also pioneered Career Pathways by LBB, a program that is helping young adults discover their strengths, superpowers and transferable skills; then align those skills with possible career paths.
Kitwana is married to a wonderful and supportive partner. Most importantly, she is a mother of three beautiful and bright children (6, 11 & 14 years old).
Sarah Knight Design, Owner
Sarah Knight is a freelance graphic designer and the founder of Roc Girl Gang (2015 – 2022), an organization that featured the creatives, entrepreneurs and movers & shakers in Rochester. Through Roc Girl Gang, their online publication and live panel events called “Becoming Boss,” Rochester’s women and their important work got the spotlight that they deserved. In the spring of 2022, Knight announced it was time to close the Roc Girl Gang chapter of her life and once again focus on her freelance graphic design work.
Knight, who was named a Young Athena Award Finalist in 2020, happily lives in the town of Brighton with her two young sons and husband.
JK Executive Strategies, President & CEO
Jill Knittel is the president and CEO of JK Executive Strategies. After working in the search and recruiting industry for decades, Knittel set out to build a new type of search firm in 2017, focused on a personal approach with transparent processes.
Today, her team partners with companies across the country providing executive and leadership search to help companies identify and hire talent to move their companies forward. Demonstrating just how effective her unique approach to hiring is, Knittel has expanded her team 1,000% in five years’ time with talent search specialists in nonprofit, higher education, manufacturing, distribution, renewable energy, real estate and professional services amongst other industries.
JK Executive Strategies has been named to the 2022 Greater Rochester Chamber Top 100. Knittel received the 2022 Circle of Excellence Award from the Rochester Business Journal, as well as the 2020 Small Business Person of the Year Award from the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. She is a previous recipient of Rochester’s Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award and was a finalist for the Women’s Council Athena Award. Knittel obtained her MBA and BS in Accounting from St. John Fisher University.
As an individual who is committed to the community, Knittel is a member of the Board of Trustees at St. John Fisher College, a $90 mm Liberal Arts College located in Rochester. She serves as a member of the Executive Committee and as the chair of the Strategic Enrollment and Planning Committee.
Knittel also serves as the chairperson of the Board of Governors for Hillside Family of Agencies and is an honorary board member of Bivona Child Advocacy Center. She is an active member of Vistage and Entrepreneur’s Organization.
LáLew Public Relations, President & CEO
Jessica Lewis is the president & CEO of LáLew Public Relations and Communications Specialist for ROC the Future. She is a 2021 Rochester Business Journal Forty Under 40 honoree and a Woman to Watch for the Democrat & Chronicle Newspaper. Lewis is a successful entrepreneur, owning one of the first Black-owned public relations firms in Rochester.
LáLew Public Relations is a full-service PR firm specializing in media and press relations, marketing, branding, and web and social media management. LáLew PR serves a variety of clients in the Finger Lakes Region and beyond. The firm has secured earned media for clients on top rated news stations locally, regionally and nationally. Lewis’ success was recognized by the Rochester Business Journal as a Small Business Feature of the Week.
Lewis received her bachelor’s degree from Buffalo State College in Social Studies Education grades 7-12 and a Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum from the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education at the University of Rochester. She holds membership in the Rochester Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the American Advertising Federation Greater Rochester Chapter and the Theta Omega Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. She is also a 2018 Athena Young Professional Award Finalist.
United Way of Greater Rochester & the Finger Lakes, Community Resource & Volunteer Engagement Manager
Amber Lingenfelter serves the Finger Lakes region as the community resources and volunteer engagement manager at United Way. Working across all sectors, Lingenfelter develops and executes a community engagement strategy to best support United Way’s mission to unite the goodwill and resources so everyone can thrive. She thrives when helping organizations reach new levels of performance through a focus on engagement, leadership development, innovation, partnership, and commitment to creating systemic community change.
Before joining United Way, her nonprofit career included administrative services and program management at Willow Domestic Violence Center and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. Lingenfelter holds an MS in organization development from American University and a BS in hospitality management and entrepreneurship from Syracuse University.
Lingenfelter serves on the Board of the NYS Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Program and the Board of the Greater Rochester Quality Council. Lingenfelter serves on multiple committees for the International Society for Organization Development and Change.
Paychex, Chief Human Resource Officer
Karen McClendon joined Paychex in April 2021 and serves as the company’s chief human resources officer. McClendon delivers an exemplary employee experience as the CHRO while maintaining the company’s position as an industry leader in competitive compensation and benefits — attracting, recruiting, and retaining highly sought-after talent. She is committed to championing and modeling Paychex’s company values and integrating strategies that focus on evolving human capital needs, including expanding initiatives for development, diversity, inclusion, and engagement.
Before Paychex, McClendon spent 25 years in human resources and organizational development, directing, designing, and developing critical HR functions. She recently served as vice president of human resources for Comcast Xfinity Consumer Sales, where she led national HR initiatives and served as a liaison to stakeholders for a 15,000-person sales force. McClendon has also held senior leadership roles in organizations such as the Children’s Television Workshop, Exelon and Aramark.
McClendon holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Old Dominion University and an MBA from Temple University. She has previously served on several boards, including the Philadelphia Achievability Board, the Career Wardrobe Board and the Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Board.
Saunders College of Business, Dean
Dr. Jacqueline R. Mozrall has been serving as dean of Saunders College of Business at RIT since July 2014. Working with a dedicated, talented and diverse team of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and corporate partners, she is leading Saunders College in initiatives focused at the intersection of business and technology, including strengthening expertise and curricula in the areas of business analytics and supply chain management and the integration of technology across all programs. A full portfolio of STEM-based MS and MBA programs has also been introduced. Experiential-based student learning opportunities have been expanded, through internships, undergraduate research, business simulations, industry-sponsored capstone projects, case-based learning, extracurricular leadership activities and entrepreneurial programming.
Over the past several years, through the engagement and support of corporate, foundation, and government partners and alumni, state-of-the-art experiential learning facilities have been established, including the Sklarsky Center for Business Analytics Lab (with Bloomberg terminals), Lobozzo Center for Executive Education, and REDCOM Active Learning Collaboratory. Saunders College is now embarking on a $25 million-plus business school expansion, funded primarily through external sources, that will nearly double the size of the current facility. This major expansion and renovation will further enhance interdisciplinary collaborations, applied education and research and community engagement through applied research labs, contemporary team rooms, active learning spaces, and premier event spaces.
Dr. Mozrall has also worked with the faculty to elevate research outcomes through an enhanced research culture and the addition of endowed professorships and fellowships, distinguished speaker series, as well as the recruitment, retention and mentoring of a strong and diverse faculty. A Ph.D. in Business Administration degree launch is anticipated for 2023.
Dr. Mozrall is a professor of industrial and systems engineering at RIT and formerly served as associate dean in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering at RIT. She was a member of the management team for Women in Engineering Program at RIT for more than 10 years and served as department head of Industrial and Systems Engineering at RIT from 2000 to 2010, through a period of significant enrollment growth. She was also executive director and principal investigator of a $420,000 Toyota USA foundation grant to support the development of in-lab and on-line activities linking K-12 STEM curriculum to real-world engineering problems.
Dr. Mozrall holds a Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo, M.S. in industrial engineering from North Carolina State University, and a B.S. in industrial engineering from RIT.
Wegmans Food Markets Inc., Director for Public Relations, Community Relations and Nutrition
Deana Percassi is director of the Public Relations, Community Relations, and Nutrition teams. She is responsible for providing strategic direction and support, monitoring successes, and ensuring consistency across teams, as well as fostering positive relationships with media and community leaders across all Wegmans divisions. Our company values are reflected in her strong work ethic, leadership, and commitment to the communities we serve.
Percassi’s very first job was as a cashier for Wegmans at age 16, rejoining Wegmans as a director in 2019. Prior to her return, she spent 17 years at The Harris Poll leading a team that provided strategic communication consultation to global public relations and corporate communications clients across several industries. Prior to that, she spent five years as a laboratory technician in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Rochester.
Percassi earned her Master’s in Business Administration from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester with concentrations in competitive and organizational strategy, health sciences management and finance. Her Bachelor of Arts degree in biological sciences is from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She lives in Churchville, New York, with her husband and three children. Her oldest child currently works as a cashier at Wegmans.
Mackenzie’s Table + Crosby Lane, Founder/Owner
Mackenzie Piccarreto is a self-taught wellness chef, educator and blogger. She’s the founder of Mackenzie’s Table + Crosby Lane — both of which are focused on connecting our community to the food they eat.
Piccaretto believes that being healthy doesn’t need to be complicated or boring, that we can simultaneously enjoy food that’s both nourishing and delicious.
Brown & Brown, National Population Health Consultant
Kelly Polinski, MPH, CPH, CWPM, brings 13 years of experience in wellness, population health, and quality improvement. She enjoys working with clients and their partners in strategic design with an overall goal to empower employers and their employees to achieve better health and health care.
She is a former board member of the Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts where she also served as the Programs Committee Chair. In her previous role with the Cambridge Health Alliance, she was responsible for implementing and managing the wellness program for over 3,000 employees. Polinski also managed statewide initiatives for the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), including the HANYS Diabetes Campaign Collaborative. She is a Certified Wellness Program Manager through the Chapman Institute and is certified in public health (CPH).
Polinski earned her Master of Public Health from the University at Albany and her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Elizabethtown College. She has served as an examiner for Partners in Performance Excellence, using the Malcolm Baldridge excellence principles to strategically evaluate organizations.
Polinski resides in central Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She is a certified indoor cycling instructor and enjoys competing in sprint distance triathlons in her spare time.
Greater Rochester Enterprise, Senior Vice President, Business Development
As the senior member of the Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE) business development team, Leah George VanScott manages relationships with corporate executives, site selectors, and regional economic development officials to attract private capital investment and new jobs to the 9-county Greater Rochester, NY Region.
VanScott serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and St. John Fisher’s School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, and is an advisory board member of the Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights Project at Monroe Community College.
Prior to joining GRE, VanScott spent more than a decade as a broadcast journalist. She graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a B.A. in communications, public relations and business and earned an M.B.A. from St. John Fisher College.
VanScott received the Rochester Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award, the Victor E. Salerno Award for American Enterprise and Excellence in Management and the Rochester Women’s Network Up & Coming Businesswoman’s Award.
Coordinated Care Services Inc., President
Anne Wilder is the president of CCSI, a not-for-profit with 30 years of experience in partnering with local government, mental health providers, community-based organizations, and schools to develop and deliver high-impact programs and services that help meet the needs of individuals and families. During her 15 years at the helm of CCSI, Wilder has led the organization through significant growth and development, evolving and diversifying core lines of business to support increasingly complex service delivery challenges, all with an eye toward improving outcomes and strengthening communities.
An active community volunteer, Wilder serves on the Board of Directors for Bivona Child Advocacy Center, Leadership Rochester, and Rochester Regional Health Behavioral Health Services Advisory Board. She was named as a Women of Excellence honoree by the Rochester Business Journal in 2021 and an Athena International Award Finalist in 2022.
Wilder holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Rochester.