It was almost 20 years ago that Maria Angelova, a happy and outgoing young child, was forced to leave everything dear to her behind and flee her native country Bulgaria for fear of imprisonment (or worse). Her parents opposed communism, and longed for freedom and a better future for their child. Maria and her parents fled Bulgaria through barbed-wire fences, high waters, and finally, in the trunk of a car. Once safe in Austria, they had to start life from scratch. In the months and years that followed, Maria and her parents continued their fight for a new life, eventually immigrating to the United States.
Through her journey, Angelova developed a tender heart for people who are hurting, leading her to spending the last 15 years volunteering her time and resources to help many local organizations. She earned a MA degree in Counseling, and focuses her efforts on working with victims of domestic violence.
Maria Angelova is an accomplished leader, as well as an experienced administrator, counselor, and teacher. She has a record of success in improving organizational results, developing educational curriculum, and coordinating and delivering training programs.
She currently works as The Director of Human Services at the YWCA of the Tonawandas, aiding women and children who have fallen prey to domestic violence. “I want to use my gifts; I want to change people’s lives – directly and indirectly – and be true to my calling,” she says.
For her efforts, she was named a Woman of Distinction in Niagara County in 2008. Angelova asserts, “My journey has birthed in me compassion for the hurting and less fortunate. It’s not about me, it’s about what I can give to someone else.”
For those who know Angelova, and to those who have worked with her, one thing is obvious: in whatever she does, she is driven toward excellence.
“Everything I do, I do with my whole heart,” she says.
And that is what makes Maria Angelova different, her story worth telling, and her life worth sharing.
The daughter of a Mexican immigrant, Cecily Rodriguez was born and raised in the Rockwellian middle America state of Kansas. While her childhood included divorced parents, parental substance abuse and domestic violence issues – all of this only motivated her to become the first in her family to obtain a college degree, earning a BS in Journalism & Mass Communications from Kansas State University. Shortly after graduating – and despite not having a job — Cecily relocated to Buffalo, NY.
In Buffalo, Cecily spent over 10 years at Moog building a $10million Mobility program and eventually earning the position of Global Mobility Manager. During this time, she also completed her PHR and Leadership Effectiveness Analysis 360™ certifications, as well as “Facilitative Leader Approach” certification. She spent eight years coaching global executives on effective communication, conflict resolution, and leadership development, while completing her MS in Communication & Leadership from Canisius College. The best part, she did all of this while working a flexible schedule.
After 11 years at Moog, on 11/11/11, Cecily switched industries and took an opportunity with one of WNY’s prominent, locally-headquartered businesses, First Niagara Bank, where she joined the Organizational Development function.
Sensing an unmet need of professional women who want to move up in their careers but need a support system of other women, in 2012 Cecily became a charter member and co-chair of Women on the Rise. She is an adjunct professor at Canisius College, former Co-President and current Social Media Chair of the Buffalo Alumnae Association of Kappa Kappa Gamma, and member of Women Events Buffalo. She also volunteers her time and provides leadership development, coaching and facilitation for the Headmaster and administrative team of a local private school.
Cecily will be speaking about how work is set up for people who have wives, not for people who are wives, and discuss how the lack of flexibility in the traditional, masculine work world causes talented women to decline leadership roles or opt out of Corporate America entirely. This generation of women in the workforce are the “Space Between” the old and new paradigms of how we work.
Cecily and her husband Frank reside in West Seneca with their daughter Cecilia whom they are raising to change the world!
Terri Parsell Hilmey
Terri Parsell Hilmey is very excited to have an opportunity to speak at this year’s TEDxBuffaloWomen. She grew up in Orchard Park, New York, before heading to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to attend PineManorCollege for her Bachelor’s Degree and NortheasternUniversity for her Paralegal Certification. She returned to the Buffalo area in 1999, met the man of her dreams, married him, and now is here for good. She is currently working on a MS in Financial Planning, and her fourth book. First-hand, she has experienced all of the marvelous freedoms and joys of being a single woman (having not married until age 36), and then also having experienced the hard work, sleepless nights, and grinding, disgusting, mind-numbing joys of being a happy wife and mother.
Terri is President-Elect of the Junior League of Buffalo. A freelance writer, author of three books and over 200 published articles, Terri was a litigation paralegal, and worked for the New York State Supreme Court before having her three children — when she began writing from home. She is a life-long charitable volunteer, has been a member of the Junior League for over 14 years, served on the board of the Miss Buffalo Pageant (Miss America Organization), and is a veteran of the Massachusetts National Guard. She has three daughters, Elsie, Charlotte and Henrietta, with her husband, Peter.
Peggy Brooks Bertram
Peggy Brooks-Bertram is a native Baltimorean and was born in one of Baltimore’s historic “alley houses” in East Baltimore. She is currently writing a book about her life in East Baltimore. Peggy earned a Master of Public Health and a Doctor of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University at Buffalo. She is the co-founder of the Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Women, Inc. an organization desired to preserve the histories of African American women and men who contributed to the building of the Buffalo Community. The organization has received numerous community and national awards.
Peggy is also a writer and is CEO of Peggy Bertram Publishing and Jehudi Educational Services. Peggy is the editor of an historical text called Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empires, Book II, written by Drusilla Dunjee Houston for which she received Honorary Mention for Best Black Book of 2007. She is the co-author of Go, Tell Michelle, African American Women Write to the First Lady, an award winning book of letters from women around the world celebrating the first African American woman First Lady. Most recently, she compiled and edited the book, Letters to the Superintendent, A Community Responds, a book created to allow Buffalo stakeholders in education to express their hopes, dreams and aspirations to the new Superintendent of Buffalo Schools.
In addition, Dr. Bertram has contributed to the WNY community several years of newspaper articles with the Challenger Newspaper and production of a local radio program. She also co-produced and hosted an educational television program, Education in Review, which informed the community of major educational issues in public education in Buffalo and beyond. Peggy was also responsible for initiating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, well received community radio series, Uncrowned Queens, Voices from the Community. The program won the coveted Gracie Award for broadcasting.
Peggy will address the topic of the Space Between by briefly examining life approaching the “seventh decade.” In a country where the majority of people are sixty or older, it is important to discuss issues of living well in this extended space. Peggy stresses issues of women growing old like accumulating fat, losing hair, losing memory, losing friends. She briefly discusses these critical issues with a mix of seriousness and comedy with suggestions on living well/better in the space between.
Dr. Bertram has received numerous awards for professional and community service including: the 2009 NYS Women of Excellence in Education Award from Governor David Paterson; the 2008 Erie County Bar Association’s Special Justice Award; the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Keeper of the Flame Award, 2006. In 2001, she received the Morgan State University first Distinguished Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to African American History and Culture. Dr. Bertram and her husband of 35 years, Dennis, have two children, Lillian Yvonne Margaret Bertram an accomplished poet and Dennison Ivor Jean a highly sought after international fashion photographer living in Milan, Italy.
Gina’s story is a very personal one. It is the story of a journey of coming to terms with her own experiences of physical, emotional and sexual violence, and her path to a place of healing; a process that involved self-compassion, letting go of shame, and ultimately, recognizing, and taking ownership of her own part in the drama.
In Gina’s words:
“My story is, in some measure, every woman’s story. It is a story about the ways in which we, as women (and ultimately as human beings) abandon ourselves, and in the process, unwittingly co-create so much of our own pain.
My work explores “the space between” emotion and action; the space where we are always at choice, the space of revelation and of strength. It is the space where we meet our shadow, and where the power of acknowledgment and self-compassion can begin to melt away the crippling impact of shame and let the healing begin.”
Gina is certified through the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and spent many years in the arts and entrepreneurship before starting Infinity Impact, LLC, a professional coaching and leadership development practice committed to transforming individuals and organizations through the cultivation of connection, collaboration, presence and purpose.
Her focus is on bringing a paradigm of Conscious Leadership into the world; Conscious leadership arises from a deep awareness of the self and our relationship to our world(s). It is an integration of the feminine and the masculine voice; it balances who we are and what we do, and it is grounded in a profound sense of personal responsibility.
Gina makes her home, along with her two delightful boomerang children, in the Elmwood Village area of Buffalo.
Karima Amin is a life-long resident of Buffalo, NY who is well known in her community and beyond as a storyteller, retired public school educator, children’s author, percussionist, and community activist.
Karima has received more than forty awards for her work in education, community development, social justice, and the arts. Among her many honors, are citations for Black Educator of the Year (1977), Outstanding Artist of the Year (1995), Dedicated Community Servant of the Year (2007), and Distinguished Humanitarian of the Year (2009). This year, the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. selected her to receive the Zora Neale Hurston Legacy Award for three decades of working to preserve and perpetuate the art of storytelling.
Karima’s life and work are testaments to love and courage. Her parents gave her both, as they were sterling examples of people, born poor and Black in the Jim Crow South, who put love and courage ahead of hatred and fear. They were good parents to three daughters who were taught to love and honor themselves and who learned not to fear anything or anyone.
Surviving domestic violence, being a single parent to three children, choosing to start a second career after nearly 25 years in the first, homeschooling one child in high school, creating an organization to help formerly incarcerated people and families with incarcerated loved ones, all required Karima to make critical choices, framing her actions with love and courage. More often than not, there is a considerable space between what a woman feels she can do and what others feel she should do. How can women successfully navigate that space? Having unconditional love for self and others and courage that knows no bounds might be the answer.
Karima Amin has earned a B.A. in English/Secondary Education and a M.Ed. in Urban Education/Curriculum Development from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is the Founder/Director of Prisoners Are People Too, Inc., Co-Chairperson of the Erie County Prisoners Rights Coalition, and member of the Erie County Community Corrections Advisory Board. She is a co-founding member of several groups, including Daughters of Creative Sound, a women’s percussion ensemble and Tradition Keepers: Black Storytellers of WNY. She serves on the board of the Partnership for the Public Good and also serves as a Writer-in-Education with Just Buffalo Literary Center. Her three adult children encourage her creativity.
Amy Jo Lauber
Amy Jo Lauber takes this event’s theme of “The Space Between” to our heads and wallets and will discuss the space between our left and right brains where financial decisions are made (or, not made).
Amy Jo is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM professional and has been helping people make good financial decisions for 19 years. President of Lauber Financial Planning, a fee-only financial planning company, and author of the book Living Inspired and Financially Empowered: Aligning Our Spiritual and Material Lives, Amy Jo’s mission is to empower people to understand their relationship to money and how to make it a better one. She admittedly suffers from “chronic curiosity” and is a student of behavioral finance, social economics, and world religion.
A native of Buffalo, Amy Jo is married to Paul Lauber and has one daughter, Madison.
Have you ever considered “The Space Between” a rock and a hard place? This call to action invites women to use “the space between” a rock and a hard place as a source of power, passion and purpose to complete their individual mission. Take an up close and personal look at how you can help keep our mission in motion as women!
Passionate, inspirational speaker and educator Tamara L. McMillan is the Chief Empowerment Officer of McMillan Empowerment Enterprise (www.empowermee.com). M.E.E. was cultivated as a result of her personal trials and tribulations. The company’s mission is To Empower Women who choose to be the Victor!
Empowerment captures the essence of what M.E.E. has set out to accomplish. “Investing in something with authority” suggest a certain amount of intentionality. At M.E.E. we are deliberate about each and every event and program we design. Empowerment is infused throughout the fabric of everything we touch. As it is our goal to create and support platforms where exploration, education and excellence is the rule and not the exception!
We specialize in youth and professional development with a focus on empowering females to be authentic! In an effort to Motivate, Educate and Empower, M.E.E.’s annual conferences create a platform for rich dialogue. These inviting and in-depth forums allow brilliant and brave women to come together to fellowship, network and support one another in an environment that is non-judgmental.
Tamara has presented at local and regional conferences on topics surrounding Networking, Effective Resumes and Cover Letter Writing, Student Development, Interviewing skills, Empowerment and Leadership. She is also qualified in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Strong Interest Inventory and an advanced trainer for FourSight.
Tamara attended the State University of New York College at Buffalo, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. Returning to her alma mater, she graduated Summa cum Laude earning a Master of Science degree in Student Personnel Administration. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Xi Epsilon Omega Chapter in Amherst, New York.
Tamara and her daughter Jontay Deaira live in North Buffalo.
Amber Small joins this year’s list of TEDxBuffaloWomen speakers with an important question: why aren’t there more women in elected office? Throughout the United States women are significantly underrepresented in all levels of government, including Congress, where they make up less than 20% of the total membership.
Through her participation in WomenElect, Amber has spent the past several months working to address and conquer her own “space between” understanding the need for more women in elected office and making the decision to be a part of the solution by becoming a candidate.
Drawing from her experiences, as well as her professional background in political and legislative work for the City of Buffalo and Planned Parenthood, Amber will address the uncertainties that deter so many women from seeking elected office and the ways we can combat them.
A native of Western New York, Amber was raised in Fredonia before moving to Buffalo to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Buffalo and a Master of Science in Public Relations from Buffalo State University.
Renee Martinez consults and speaks professionally on social media marketing, integrated marketing communications, public relations and branding. She is the owner of RubyMarCom (www.rubymarcom.com), a boutique marketing communications company as well as an adjunct professor in the Richard J. Wehle Business School at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. Her business blog (www.reneemartinez.com), provides resources on everything marketing and social media for her active audience. She offers small group social media marketing training and educational seminars for businesses throughout the country.
Renee has contributed as a featured monthly columnist in the monthly jewelry industry publication, JCK on matters related to internet marketing as well as in InStore Magazine as a featured blogger where she writes about developing effective marketing strategies for the jewelry industry using social media. She is the founder of: Social Media Biz Summit (www.socialmediabizsummit.com), the first large-scale SM conference to come to Buffalo, NY; #jewelrychat, a weekly twitter chat for the jewelry industry and www.RaisingBoysWorld.com, an online community for parents of boys.
Renee has dabbled in the internet marketing scene since the early 90′s and is not ashamed to call herself a “marketing geek”. From chatting in AOL, “sharing” music on Napster, and teaching HTML classes before it was considered “cool”, to developing comprehensive social media strategies, effective public relations campaigns and managing online communities (most recently Chevy Girls Buffalo).
She enjoys being able to help people find their voice online and to create buzz about their product or service that will give them the results they desire.
Renee can be found on Twitter (@reneemmartinez or @rubymarcom) and Facebook (http:/www.facebook.com/RubyMarCom).