Leadership Buffalo CEO Announced as Spring 2018 Commencement Speaker

Trocaire’s Office of the President is pleased to announce that Leadership Buffalo CEO Althea E. Luehrsen has been chosen as the Spring 2018 Commencement speaker. The ceremony is scheduled Tuesday, May 15 at 7 p.m. at the SUNY University at Buffalo Center for the Arts.

Luehrsen has held the post of CEO of Leadership Buffalo since January 2012. Prior to her appointment to Leadership Buffalo, she was at the University at Buffalo for over ten years holding the positions of the executive director of UB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and assistant vice president for Corporate and Foundation Relations.

With over 40 years of work experience, her expertise encompasses sales, marketing, strategic planning, fundraising, nonprofit management and entrepreneurship, with the latter being gained through directing the center and as the owner of several Western New York businesses.

In addition to her work at Leadership Buffalo, Inc., Ms. Luehrsen is the president/owner of Strategic Solutions Group specializing in strategic plan facilitation and small business consulting. Past clients include the UB Alumni Association, Kevin Guest House, Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance, Empire State College, the National Federation for Just Communities (NFJC), and many others.

Althea is a graduate of SUNY Empire State College, where she received both her BA and MA and where is she is an adjunct faculty, teaching the course ‘Women in Leadership’ at the Niagara Frontier Center.

Althea currently holds several board and committee positions, including immediate past president of the WNY Affiliate Susan G. Komen Foundation, advisory board member for the University at Buffalo’s Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness (CLOE), co-chair of United Way’s Women United, and the Eric Wood Foundation. In addition, she is the chairperson of the Empire State College Alumni Federation Board Member and a member of the President’s Council for Strategic Planning for SUNY Empire.

Luehrsen is a member of the board of directors for Boys and Girls Clubs of Buffalo, The Olmsted Center for Sight and the Eric Wood Foundation Executive Board. In addition, she is a member of the State Attorney General’s Office Advisory Board for charitySTRONG;and  an honorary lifetime member of the University at Buffalo Alumni Association and UB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Alumni Association, where she also serves as a mentor and reactor in their Core Program. She is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Buffalo.

Luehrsen has participated as a State and National Judge for DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) for the past 13 years and also serves annually as a judge for the Buffalo Niagara Ethics Award. She served as the chairperson for the Child and Family Services annual HEARTLIGHT Premier Fundraiser in 2014 and as chairperson for the Dining In the Dark Fundraiser to benefit Olmsted Center for Sight fall of 2016.

Luehrsen is the recipient of number awards throughout her career, but most recently, she was recognized as one of the 100 Top Powerful Women of Buffalo by Business First in 2016 and 2017. In addition, she was a finalist in the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Athena Awards and was named Women of Influence for Nonprofit Leadership in 2015 by Business First Newspapers. In 2013, she was named Executive of the Year by the Sales and Marketing Executives organization, the first women named in 12 years. In October 2014, she received the Outstanding Women of the Year from the NYS Women, Inc. WNY Chapter.

In addition, she was named the Women in Leadership Honoree by the National Association of Women Business Owners in June 2012; she was honored by her high school alma mater in 2010 (Sweet Home Central) with the first Wall of Fame Distinguished Alumni Award; in 2009 as a Distinguished Alumni by Erie Community College and the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Recipient for Empire State College. Luehrsen was a 2006, 2007 and 2011 nominee for the Athena Awards and a 2006 Recipient of the Women Who Mean Business Awards in Western New York and in June 2012, the National Association of Women Business Owners honored her with their Women in Leadership Award.

A lifelong resident of Western New York, she is the proud mother of two adult children Michael and Jenna, who are successful professionals in the Buffalo community. Luehrsen believes that continuing to give back to her community is key to the success of our region and continually makes time to meet and interact with young professionals, those seeking employment or ex-patriots wishing to return back to the Western New York area.