International Women's Day Breakfast 2024

International Women's Day Breakfast 2024 Image

A Letter from the Co-Chairs | Schedule of Events | About Our Guest Speaker & Host | About the Honoree | More about Women United | Mark Your Calendars 

A Letter from the WOmen United Co-Chairs

International Women’s Day marks the contributions and achievements of women, and we can’t think of a better place to be than united together at this celebration.  Women United is a Giving Community within the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. We are a network of like-minded women who inspire and motivate others through philanthropy, leadership, and volunteerism. Members mobilize the caring power of women as they work to improve the Health and Wellness, Education, and Financial Stability of individuals & families in Buffalo & Erie County. 
A powerful philanthropic force, Women United is committed to helping women and girls reach their full potential. Today’s program is focused on the collective power of women and the incredible impact we make when united. It is also focused on inspiring you in your own career and community engagement goals. We hope you leave today motivated to get involved with the new friends and connections you made. 

Thank you to the committee who organized today’s event and our sponsors whose investments enabled a space for us to share our stories as we celebrate International Women’s Day together.

Come join us for our upcoming events, and get involved!

Laura Dolan & Mary Kate Loftus



9:00 - 9:45 a.m.: Registration, Breakfast & Mingling

9:45 - 11:00 a.m.: Remarks, Fireside Chat & Awards





Nicole Johnson-Scales is a high-achieving corporate executive turned high-level leadership consultant. Her ability to correct corporate woes, transform teams, and produce new paths forward has served her well in her impressive corporate career and in steering the highly sought-after consultancy she now leads. During her time on their Executive Leadership team, Nicole led Corporate Social Responsibility at Fifth Third Bank based in Chicago. Her professional prowess, matched with her commitment to community, helped to grow the business organizationally and enhance its reputation civically. She served as a key strategic advisor to the region's president and other executive leaders, effectively navigating the needs of multiple stakeholders while leading the bank’s $5.6 billion Community Commitment.

Today, Nicole is CEO of NJS Consulting Group the successful leadership development consulting company she founded to empower organizations and their leaders through dynamic leadership acceleration, executive coaching, and team optimization. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University and Lake Forest Graduate School of Management where she teaches courses on Values-Based Leadership, Leading Organizational Change, and Corporate Social Responsibility.

Nicole uses every bit of her more than two decades of corporate leadership experience to develop her clients' teams, create impactful business outcomes, and broaden the horizons of her students. Her credentials include an MBA from Olivet Nazarene University and her Coaching certification and credentials through an International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited program. Nicole is a member of the Forbes Coaching Council – an invitation-only professional organization for top CEOs, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders. She has recently been appointed to the Board of Advisors of Antunes, a global manufacturing company tasked with providing consulting and coaching to the CEO and executive management team to grow the business and build sustainable value.

Nicole has been recognized nationally and locally as a corporate and civic leader. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Diversity Council’s Most Powerful & Influential Leaders and Chicago United Leader of Color. She serves on several boards and committees.

About trina Burruss

Trina Burruss, President and CEO of United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, is a dynamic community leader committed to excellence through collaboration and a true Buffalo booster.

Trina first came to United Way in July of 2021 as Chief Operating Officer, where she quickly established herself as a visionary and energetic voice within the United Way organization. These qualities, combined with her 30+ years of experience in the financial services industry, led to her being appointed President and CEO in January of 2023.

Under Trina’s leadership, United Way brings people, organizations and resources together to create systemic community change – breaking a cycle of hardship that affects 40% of Erie County families. Trina leads the organization’s efforts to mobilize and invest millions of dollars each year to address pressing local needs in Health, Education and Financial Stability, and to engage the entire community in program building, planning, advocacy and volunteer engagement in order to build an equitable, thriving and united community.

Prior to joining United Way, Trina was Senior Vice President & District Manager for Northwest. In this capacity Trina combined her passion for retail banking and helping the community. Trina led numerous community initiatives during her time in banking, developing relationships with nonprofits and investing millions of dollars in philanthropic support into helping community members build the financial well-being they need to thrive. Her efforts led to, among other things, the opening of a new Northwest branch office on Jefferson Avenue, launching new community financial wellness initiatives and shepherding internal and external practices to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Throughout her career, Trina has been heavily involved in the Buffalo community in a variety of volunteer leadership roles. Trina currently serves on the Board of Directors for Say Yes, Buffalo Urban Development Corp, and the Bank on Buffalo Advisory Council, and is co-chair of Live Well Erie. For her work, inside and outside of the workplace, Trina has received numerous awards and accolades, including a Business First 2022 C-Level Executives Award, recognition as part of the Business First Power 250, Power 100 Business Leaders of Color and one of Buffalo’s Most Powerful Women, Branch and Branch Manager of the Year, Black Achiever Award, Community Service Banker, Diversity Award and Sales Excellence Club. Trina is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc Buffalo Alumnae Chapter.

Trina received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Medaille College and her master’s degree in executive leadership and change from Daemen College.

Trina lives in Buffalo with her husband of 36 years, Cedric. They have four children and are also proud grandparents of four. 



Rhonda Frederick began her career in 1980 in human services at People Inc, an agency providing services to individuals with disabilities, families and older adults. After serving as a direct support staff in a group home, she fell in love with the work and spent the next 43 years rising through the ranks to chief operating officer in 2002 and president and CEO in 2014. 

After helping to grow People Inc. to what it is today - an organization that serves 10,000 individuals with its 4,000 employees and annual budget of over $210 million - Rhonda decided to “retire” in April 2023. When asked, she calls her experience at People Inc. “the honor of a lifetime.” 

Retirement didn’t last long, as Frederick took on the part time role of the Director of Community Support & Giving at the West Herr Automotive Group. Working in conjunction with Scott Bieler and the West Herr Executive Team, Rhonda supports West Herr Cares, the philanthropic initiative that supports charitable and nonprofit organizations throughout the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse area.

Frederick is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in social work and Canisius University with a master’s degree in public administration.  She currently serves on the boards of Amherst Meals on Wheels, Episcopal Church Home and Affiliates, Inc., Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo Foundation Board and Suburban Adult Services, Inc.


Thank you to our generous event sponsors:

Thank you to our generous Giving Communities Sponsors:


We bring women together in the spirit of philanthropy, volunteerism and leadership. We support initiatives that improve the Financial Stability, Health & Wellness and Education of families and individuals in Buffalo & Erie County. 

We help empower women and children to reach their full potential. 

Women United members give $500 annually with a minimum of $250 directed to the United Way. To become a member and for more information on Women United, click here


WNY Girls in Sports: Saturday, May 4, 2024

Community Baby Shower: April 1, 2024 - May 20, 2024

Day of Caring: Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Gateway to Golf — A Ladies Only Golf Outing: Monday, September 9, 2024


Brenda Aja

Jeannie Parent

Maggie Best Colleen Reedy
Laura Dolan Kayleigh Terranova
Lisa Latrovato Robin Wolfgang



Bernadette Aja Laura Dolan Emily Kuch Stephanie Peete
Tricia Barrett Rashida Dowell Lisa Latrovato Colleen Reedy 
Jamie Batt Jasmine Foster Mary Kate Loftus Catherine Roberts
Maggie Best Gretchen Geitter Althea Luehrsen Tina Stenhouse
Tina Castillo  Leigh Hunt Farah Kelly Murphy Kayleigh Terranova
Chavuanne Cousins Patty Kaminski Jeannie Parent Robin Wolfgang