Lu grew up here in Buffalo and left to pursue her undergraduate education at Georgetown University in D.C. Following that, she spent several years in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps on the Colville Reservation in Omak, Washington before continuing on to earn her M.A. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Lu returned to Buffalo and spent 12 years as a campus minister at Canisius College before becoming the Executive Director of Family Promise of WNY. She is motivated each and every day by the children and parents FPWNY serves to make this program better. She lives with her husband and two children on the West Side of Buffalo.
Brianna attended Fredonia where she played rugby and studied sociology and psychology. She comes from a huge family and believes in the importance of healthy families, which is one of the reasons she was drawn to work at Family Promise.
Akela has been a dedicated member of our team for more than a year and wears many hats while keeping our building running smoothly.
After graduating from SUNY Fredonia with a Music Business degree, Susana has spent most of her career in marketing/communications; starting off in concert promotion, working at a number of advertising agencies as well as several firms in their in-house marketing departments. She decided it was time to use her skills for the greater good, serving the community and helping others in any way she can. She's extremely grateful to be a part of Family Promise.
Roberta has been on our team for over a year now! She helps keep the shelter going by supporting our staff and guests.
Isohie (Soso)'s role is to support our graduated families and help keep them stable. She supports our families as they successfully transition out of shelter and into apartments and then continues to work with them on any unmet stability goals while housed. She also spearheads our PayDay and MoneyPeace program, working with our families on financial literacy.
Jenn (they/them or she/her) is passionate about building community and supporting youth, which has continued to draw them back to working in the local communities of Buffalo. Jenn is very excited to be working with the families we see here, and creating lasting relationships among the community through their role.
CJ is an International tax manager for a top 35 CPA firm, Aprio. She has been involved with Family Promise since 2015 and has a passion for helping people in the Buffalo community. CJ has lived in the Buffalo area for her entire life and currently lives in Hamburg with her husband Kyle and dog Gus.
Melissa Keith is Vice President of Media at Abbey Mecca. Joining Abbey Mecca in 2006, Melissa has held various positions in the media department. She oversees and manages research, planning, buying and post-buy analysis for both traditional and digital advertising for agency clients. She also serves on the agency management committee. Melissa is a graduate of the 2021 Leadership Buffalo Class & 2022 Young Professionals of Olmsted Parks Class. A native of Western New York, Melissa loves spending time with her two dogs, Belle and Harley and cheering on the Bills and Sabres!
Kaylei Nickerson, CPA is the Controller at Beyond Support Network (formerly The Cantalician Center and Learning Disabilities Association of WNY). After graduating from SUNY Fredonia with a degree in Public Accountancy, Kaylei relocated to Buffalo and is passionate about becoming involved in the local community. She is eager to use her professional experience to aid the mission of Family Promise and play a small role in making a lasting impact in the lives of others. Outside of work Kaylei enjoys hiking with her dog, cycling, kayaking and spending time with friends and family.
Clara Moran is fundraising professional with more than 10 years of leading a multi-million-dollar annual campaign. Progressively taking on roles of increasing responsibility over the years, currently serving as the Development Officer at MMRI and previously as the Chief Development Officer at Catholic Charities of Buffalo. Recognizing Clara for her dynamic leadership, Clara has been nominated for the Athena Young Professional Leadership Award and is the graduate of the 2021 Leadership Buffalo Class. Clara’s involvement with the community extends to her service on multiple boards. She lives in Western New York with her husband and their two daughters.
Dawn has 20 years of experience in the health and human services field. For 16 years of which she has been deeply involved in preventive services and leadership roles, focusing on ensuring the safety of children and families by working to prevent foster care placement or the return to parents from care. Dawn has also held the role of Director at a parenting program, where she ensured that families received the necessary tools and support along their parenting journey. Currently, Dawn serves as an Equal Opportunity Specialist 2 at the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF). She is a member of the Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals, and the National Black MBA Association (NBMBA).
Matthew currently works for Verizon as the Senior Manager of Learning and Development. In this role, Matthew is responsible for overseeing the L&D needs for Verizon vendor partners from a national perspective. Matthew is a native of Buffalo, New York and currently resides in Amherst with his wife, Asia, and 2-year-old son, Matthew2. Matthew graduated from St John Fisher College with a degree in Business Management. Matthew is involved with serving with Buffalo Prep and is passionate about helping serve the city of Buffalo.
Jim Connolly is retired after a career working in management and finance in both the public and private sectors. Before his retirement, he held the position of the Hamburg Highway Superintendent for 12 years. He has served on various school boards and as a Councilmember of the Hamburg Town Board for 15 years. He currently serves as the Director of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Board and volunteers with Excalibur Leisure Skills Center, a nonprofit that works with the differently abled and the disadvantaged. As the father of four and grandfather of twelve, he truly appreciates the importance of family and is looking forward to helping continue and expand the important work of Family Promise!
Marissa Desiderio is the Senior EAP Clinician & Training Coordinator with Child & Family Services of Erie County. Prior to Child & Family Services, Marissa was a Supervisor with Say Yes to Education Buffalo and Catholic Charities. She has been working with children and families for over 15 years in various capacities. Marissa is also a clinical social worker who maintains a small private practice.
Christian Hoffman is the Director of Communication at Community Missions in Niagara County, the largest private provider of basic human needs and of mental health services in the area. Since joining the Mission in February 2013, Mr. Hoffman has garnered unprecedented media coverage for the agency, launched several new initiatives, and helped secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding. He resides in Cheektowaga with his wife, Toni, and two children, Elliana (6) and Jack (3). He has served on the Board of Family Promise of WNY since 2014.
Margot Knab is a senior associate at Colligan Law LLP, and her practice relates primarily to business law.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies with minors in Political Science and Sociology from
the University at Buffalo in 2013 and earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School
of Law in 2017. She is admitted to practice law in New York and Connecticut. She is a Buffalo native and
resides in North Buffalo.
Shannon is the Director of Therapeutic Services at BryLin Hospital. Helping improve the overall wellness of people in the community is a passion of hers, especially those struggling with mental health. she has lived in Buffalo for 15 years. She came to Buffalo to obtain her Bachelors degree in Psychology and Occupational Therapy at the University at Buffalo. She is a recent grad of the Leadership Buffalo Program, where her passion for helping the community of Buffalo grew further.
Michael Murak serves as a Commercial Real Estate Financing Team Lead and Senior Relationship Manager for Evans Bank. He has been serving the WNY Community as a commercial banker for over 20 years and has been involved with multiple development projects that have helped reshape the Buffalo/ Niagara landscape. Michael achieved an MBA from the University of Buffalo and was a graduate of the Leadership Buffalo Program. In addition to receiving his undergraduate degree in accounting from Canisius College, he also received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Michael resides in Amherst with his wife Dana (whom he “recruited” from Nashville, TN while on active duty) and their two daughters, Ava and Ella. Michael is passionate about his faith and family which is what instantly attracted him to serving the families that temporarily reside at Family Promise of WNY.
Danielle Maurice is a Social worker in the Erie County Court System. Prior to working in the court system, she was a preventive case worker at Say Yes to Education Buffalo and Catholic Charities. Danielle has experience working with many marginalized populations and has worked in the child welfare system for over 10 years. Danielle believes "People appreciate and never forget that helping hand especially when times are tough." by Catherine Pulsifer.