Leadership Niagara

One year that will change your life

Changing the Way You View Leadership
in Western New York

One Year That Will Change Your Life

Leadership Niagara is disrupting the business as usual approach to community leadership with an innovative and nationally recognized leadership development program.

With clients like CEO's, attorneys, military commanders, and PhD's coming from Buffalo, Niagara, and Ontario, you might wonder how this seemingly small nonprofit positioned itself and its graduates at the forefront of change and innovation in our bi-national region.. 

We transformed our 32 year old organization and created a successful model which brings together leadership and industry experts, intellectual capital, and powerful mentors to help individuals begin to think differently, make connections, and find deeper motivations to become better leaders.  

You are invited to join our 1600 alumni leaders and hundreds of organizations who have already trusted Leadership Niagara to inspire excellence and raise the bar for leadership development in Western New York.

Our Leadership Team

Liz Zulawski
President & CEO 

Vermette, Ph.D.


Lead Facilitator 








Leadership Niagara Board of Directors


Daniel R. Aikin, LN '10, LYNC '03
Communications Director
Senator Mike Ranzenhofer



2nd Vice Chair

Chuck Bell, LN '06

Partner/ Vice President

H. Sicherman Community Development Studio


Lisa Lindamer

School Counselor

Niagara Wheatfield

High School


Sara Carella, LN '11

Director of Finance

Family & Children's Services





Board Member

Annemarie C. Bettino, LN '85


Youth Mentoring Services

Board Member

Melissa A. Foti, LN '13


Kenney Shelton Liptak

Nowak, LLP

Board Member

Dawn I. Gilliam

Chief Operating Officer


Diana Henry, Board of Directors

Board Member

Diana Henry

Business Manager

Niagara Gazette

Tod Kniazuk, Board of Directors

Board Member

Tod Kniazuk, LN '15

Executive Director

Arts Services Initiative of WNY

Heather Lyon, PhD, Board of Directors

Board Member

Heather Lyon Ph.D., LN '14

Director of Elementary Education

Kenmore Tonawanda

UF School District

Joseph McMahon, Board of Directors

Board Member

Joseph McMahon, LN '12


Audubon Machinery

Board Member

Lou Paonessa, LN '10

Community Affairs Director

N.Y. Power Authority

Board Member

Peter Robinson

NYS Court Sergeant

New York State Courts

Board Member

Joseph Steinmetz, Jr., LN '07

Orleans Niagara BOCES

Board Member

Anthony Suess, LN '11


Niagara County Sheriff's Office

Standing on the Shoulders of  Giants

Leadership Niagara was founded in 1984 through a collaboration with the Gannett Foundation, Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce, Cornell University, Niagara Gazette, and the Niagara County Legislature. It was the first program of its kind in New York State. Thanks to all of our early pioneers and supporters: Wayne Jagow, Peter Wendel, David Greenfield, Annemarie Bettino, William Ross, Robert Kazeangin, Jerry Bream and many others for giving us a proud history and strong foundation to build on.