Staff Leadership Team
Chief Executive Officer
Jeff’s Email | Full Bio (PDF)
Jeff joined Empower in 2014 as CEO. Jeff is involved in leadership roles with many organizations, including the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of WNY to the Person Centered Services Care Coordination Organization. He helps individuals live their best lives by building Empower’s capacity to do more things, in more places, for more people.
Director of Program Operations and Quality Assurance Administration
Diane has been working in the developmental disability field since 1979 and joined the Empower team in 1999. She has a BA in Social Work/Human Services along with additional certifications and enjoys outdoor activities with her family. Diane helps individuals live their best lives by ensuring they are safe and free from neglect and abuse.
Chief Financial Officer
Rita has been with Empower since 1989. She is an avid golfer who enjoys reading and spending time with family. Rita helps individuals live their best lives by ensuring the agency’s financial stability so that they have the services they need.
Director of Human Resources
Kristin helps individuals live their best lives by treating everyone with respect and providing encouragement, support and feedback. Kristin joined Empower in 2009 with an AAS in Office Mgmt & Admin from ECC, BS in Business Administration from UB. She enjoys spending time with family, including her husband, their daughter and their dogs.
Director of Communication and Development
New to the team (and Western New York area), Elizabeth began her career at Empower in 2016. Outside of work, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and 3 kids, reading, gardening and shopping. Elizabeth helps individuals live their best lives by raising money and awareness about developmental disabilities.
Director of Managed Care Readiness
With a BA and a MA in Psychology, Eric has been in the developmental disability field since 1990 and has been with Empower since 1997. He enjoys spending time with his family, biking, traveling, and patronizing local eateries and cultural venues. Eric helps individuals live their best lives by empowering them to be happy, strong and independent.
Director of Community Housing
Bill has been with Empower since 2000 and has an AA in Liberal Arts from NCCC and a BA in Human Services Management from SUNY Buffalo State. When not working, Bill likes to spend time with family, including his wife, 2 daughters and lots of pets, coach baseball and soccer, and watch wrestling. He helps individuals live their best lives by modeling a positive outlook and work habits, and always looking out for ways he can be helpful.
Director of Job Training and Day Programs
Kim helps individuals live their best lives by being kind to everyone, including strangers, through random acts of kindness, and by providing job training and opportunities that help boost their self-esteem and reach their highest potential. She has been with Empower since 1990 and has been in the developmental disability field since 1979. When Kim is not working she enjoys spending time with her two beautiful daughters and two golden retrievers, camping, and taking family trips in the summer.
Director of Empower Children’s Academy
Sherri has been with Empower since 1980 and has a MA in Communicative Disorders & Science and a Certificate in School Administration from SUNY Buffalo. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and Ragdoll kitty, Skye. Sherri helps individuals live their best lives by helping them to succeed.
Director of Community Health Programs
Karen S’s Email
Karen is a Western New York native and has been with Empower since 2015. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, working out, reading, and leading her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. Karen helps individuals live their best lives through kindness and support.
Medicaid Service Coordination Supervisor
Karen K’s Email
Karen has been with Empower since 2008 and has been in the developmental disability field since 1999. She has a BA in social work from the SUNY College at Buffalo and enjoys gardening, baking, and spending time outdoors and with her family, which includes her husband and teenage daughter. She helps individuals live their best lives by supporting their goals according to two quotes, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it” and “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll end up among the stars”.
Board of Directors
Susan Kuznik, President
Director of Special Education
Niagara Falls City School District (Retired)
Patricia Wrobel, First Vice President
Executive Director, Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, CM, Institute for Civic Engagement
Daniel Vitch, Second Vice President
Stanley Fera, Treasurer
KeyBank Main Branch
Russell J. Petrozzi, Corresponding Secretary
Patrice Wells, Recording Secretary
Senior Biopharmaceutical Representative Oncology
Robert DiFrancesco, Immediate Past President
Niagara Catholic and Niagara Falls High Schools (ret.)
Kevin Burgess, LMSW
Clinic Supervisor Outpatient Behavior
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center
Thomas J. Caserta, Esq.
Erie County Director
Center for Employment Opportunities
Alice Kozen, PhD
Associate Professor of Education
Niagara Falls City School District
Ernest C. Palmer
Enrolled Agent/Tax Practitioner
Ernest Palmer, EA
Richard Sawicki, DPM
Doctor of Podiatry