JANIQUE S. CURRY is a passionate advocate for community development and strongly believes in giving back to the community and mentoring young people. As the former Regional Director for NYS Governors Eliot Spitzer and David A. Paterson and the former Buffalo Board of Education School Board member, Janique continues to be a highly sought-after conference presenter. In her current role as the MWBE Compliance Officer for the Erie County Medical Center, she continually advocates for local businesses to get their fair share of state contracting opportunities. Janique is a graduate of Buffalo State College, a New York State Commissioned Notary Public, trained as a Paralegal, graduate and charter member of Leadership Buffalo - Rising Leaders Program. She has received numerous awards, serves on numerous boards and organizations, volunteers with Boys Scouts, works as a parent volunteer, serves as Vice President of the Hospitality Ministry at True Bethel Baptist Church where she worships and works with the We Care Block Club. In all of her efforts in working toward the betterment of her community and everything connected thereof, Janique believes that "the future does not just happen, it is created...Our destiny is not in the stars, but in ourselves. We may need to follow in the wake of those who have gone before, but what we do and where we go is ultimately up to us. The attitude of initiative is an on-going state of exploration that is never finished...a journey that never ends."
REVEREND DWAYNE GILLISON, SR., born in Buffalo New York, is an Associate Minister at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, located in Buffalo, NY. He accepted his calling to preach the word of God in 2003. Rev. Gillison is the son of Pastor William Gillison Jr. and Antonia Gillison. He attended Brockport University, Houghton Christian Academy, and is currently continuing his education. Rev. Gillison founded the Buffalo Raiders Little League football team to get youth involved in positive alternatives to street life. He was responsible for obtaining grants and sponsorships which helped to provide an environment in which the youth would be proud of and feel safe. Rev. Gillison and wife, Victoria, have three children, Nichelle, Donald, and Dwayne Jr.
TIMOTHY R. HOGUES was born and raised in Buffalo and graduated from Hutch Tech High School. He later received his BS in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo. In November 2011, Tim was elected to the Erie County Legislature to represent the 1st District of Erie County and in May 2012, he received his license to become a minister at Elim Christian Fellowship in Buffalo, New York. Tim is currently the Community Planning Coordinator for the Erie County department of Senior Services where he oversees all of the services provided by the department to the aging population of Erie County. He is the Vice President of Investors Committed to Excellence (ICE), Inc., an agency dedicated to the successful, positive transformation of the diverse communities of Buffalo - particularly those at risk - through building strong and successful interpersonal and business relationships. Both of these positions fulfill Tim's deep desire - and calling - to serve the public and his faith community. Tim enjoys being active and taking on new challenges. For the past several years, Tim has enjoyed mentoring and facilitating training sessions for at risk as well as an adult men's group focused on teaching life skills and successful transition into the corporate work force. Tim is married and lives in Buffalo with his wife Melissa, daughter Destiny and sons, Christopher and Joseph.
GABRIEL KIEWEK was named vice president, Global Procurement and Materials Management of Praxair, Inc. in 2011. He is responsible for creating strategic supplier relationships worldwide in order to continuously improve the quality of equipment and services delivered to Praxair while reducing total costs. He is based in Shanghai, China.
Gabriel joined Praxair Mexico in 2006 as finance director. He also served as finance and procurement director, vice president finance and procurement and most recently, finance director for Asia. A native of Mexico City, Mexico, Gabriel holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and a master's degree in international business administration from Georgetown University. Gabriel will be relocating to Buffalo in November along with his wife Cristina and his two kids Lucas and Martina.
CHIEF BRIAN K. PATTERSON is an 18-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department. Chief Patterson began his law enforcement career in 1996 and after serving 10 years as a patrol officer, he was selected to lead Mayor Byron Brown's personal protection detail. While assigned to this prestigious unit, Chief Patterson studied and was promoted to Police Lieutenant, ranking first among 200 civil service candidates for the position. As a Lieutenant, he continued commanding the Mayor's protection detail, until his most recent promotion to Police Chief of BPD's Business District. Chief Patterson holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from Buffalo State College as well as a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Chief Patterson is a full-time family man to a beautiful wife and three sons.
EMINA PORICANIN, Esq., is a labor and employment attorney at Hodgson Russ LLP, one of the nation's oldest law firms. Ms. Poricanin works in the Buffalo office of Hodgson Russ, where she counsels public and private sector employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. She represents employers in arbitration proceedings and before the State Division of Human Rights, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and federal and state courts, and has worked on cases before the National Labor Relations Board, the Public Employment Relations Board, and federal and state Departments of Labor. She is one of the trustees of the Community Music School.
LETITIA THOMAS, Ph.D., currently serves as the Assistant Vice Provost and Director of Cora P. Maloney College (CPMC) at the University at Buffalo (UB). CPMC houses a wealth of student support programs and offers undergraduates academic enhancement, scholarships, and internships, with a special emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) support. In her current role, Dr. Thomas manages several National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM grants. Through these NSF programs, she strives to increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing STEM disciplines. The programs provide services to improve students' academic performance, retention, graduation and graduate school acceptance rates. In addition, Dr. Thomas serves as a member for the statewide Planning Committee for the State University of New York (SUNY) STEM Conference and is Chair of the UB Research Team. Her other organizational affiliations include Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, American Association of University Women (AAUW) Buffalo Branch, WNY Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education, National Academic Advisement Association (NACADA), American Sociological Association (ASA) and American Educational Research Association (AERA).