Board and Staff Leadership

Staff Leadership Team

      • Diane Baehre

        Executive Director
        Diane’s Email
        Diane has been working in the developmental disability field since 1979 and joined the Empower team in 1998. She served as Chief Quality Officer before being appointed Executive Director in 2022. She has a BA in Social Work/Human Services.

      • Patrick Cosgrove

        Chief Financial Officer
        Patrick’s Email
        Pat joined Empower as Accounting Manager in 2020 after many years of work in the business and finance world. He was promoted to Chief Financial Officer in 2022.

      • Eric_DesSoye_1_28_16_retake low (final)

        Eric DesSoye

        Director of Analytics and Special Projects
        Eric’s Email
        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. Previously the Director of Community Housing, Eric took on his current role in 2016.

      • Mary Hoffman

        Educational Services Supervisor
        Mary’s Email
        With a BA and MS in Education, Mary has spent her career at Empower, and specifically in Empower’s Children’s Academy. She has worked in a variety of instructional roles, working her way up to Educational Services Supervisor in 2019.

      • William Krayss

        Director of Community Housing
        William’s Email
        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. From Direct Support Professional to a variety of supervisory roles, Bill took on the role of Director of Community Housing in 2016.

      • Petrina Sciandra

        Director of Human Resources
        Petrina’s Email
        Petrina joined Empower as Human Resources Assistant in 2018 and was promoted to HR Manager in 2020. During that time, she earned an MBA. She was promoted to Director of Human Resources in 2022.


      • Kim Kiely

        Director of Job Training & Day Programs
        Kim’s Email
        Kim has been with Empower since 1990 and has been in the developmental disability field since 1979. Kim has a BS in education with a specialization in therapeutic recreation, and an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Empower Board of Directors

Thomas J. Caserta, Jr., Esq.


Kevin Burgess, LMSW, First Vice President

Lead Social Worker
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center

Daniel Vitch, Second Vice President

Community Advocate

Stanley Fera, Treasurer

Branch Manager

Russell J. Petrozzi, Corresponding Secretary

Capitol Cleaners

Robin Warren, Self-Advocate Board Representative

Yvonne Anderson

Family Advocate/Executive Assistant, WTS (retired)

James D’Angelo

Educator, Educational Administrator and Student Teacher Supervisor (Retired)

Robert DiFrancesco

Niagara Catholic and Niagara Falls High Schools (Retired)

Alice Kozen, PhD

Associate Professor of Education
Niagara University

Olivia Linke

Community Affairs Director
Univera Healthcare

Noelle McCoy

Program Manager
Leadership Niagara

Donald Napoleon

VSCO, Inc.

Richard Sawicki, DPM

Doctor of Podiatry

Empower Foundation Board of Directors

Donald Napoleon, Chair
VSCO, Inc.

Charles Dieteman
Niagara University

Eric McGuire
TM Montante Development

Robert O’Leary
Vice President
Parkview Health Services, LLC