In the informal survey, listeners were asked to vote online for one of ten nominees as the region's most powerful woman. Buffalo Zoo President Donna Fernandes, Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio and Erie County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant round out the top five.
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Andrew Rudnick, CEO
Buffalo Niagara Partnership
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While non scientific, WBEN took every measure to eliminate duplicate voting from the same computer terminal, but candidates were not in any way restricted from mounting voting campaigns to increase their totals.
The initial 10 selections were made by the WBEN News Team, after a review of the past year's news stories and consultation with various observers and experts in the community.
|Rank||The Most Powerful Women In WNY||
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Joanne Falletta
Falletta works at the highest levels of Buffalo's corporate and philanthropic community, while also representing the Buffalo area on a national stage. She also orchestrates the Joanne Falletta International Guitar Competition in Buffalo, and brought the orchestra a never before seen two grammys in one year (2009).
Her official BPO biography states " Few artists are as important to the fabric of their communities as JoAnn Falletta. Acclaimed by The New York Times as 'one of the finest conductors of her generation.. (she) has been credited with bringing the Philharmonic to a new level of national and international prominence "
Congresswoman Kathy Hochul
The only female member of Western New York's congressional delegation, she's been a guest at the White House and received national attention after her special election victory in 2011 ended over 80 years of Republican rule in the 26th Congressional Dist.
Facing a tough re-election bid, she nonetheless added to her clout when she recently secured a WNY visit by Defense Sec'y. Leon Panetta as part of the efforts to save jobs at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
Buffalo Zoo President Donna Fernandes
Look at the number of area groups that have donated millions to the Zoo under her long tenure, and try to argue that she doesn't have power in WNY.
"When you think of how big a plate it is at the Zoo, .. she handles it very very well" says Zoo Board Chair Dorothy Ferguson.
Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio
Powerful for more than the high profile cases she's handled (City Grille Shootings, Dr. James Corasanti) , DiTullio is also the supervising judge for all criminal courts in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee and Wyoming Counties.
Erie County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant
Grant is well connected behind the scenes to the region's political organizations and as chairman of the legislature is one of the area's highest ranking elected officials, at the top of one of the region's largest employers. "She has earned my respect for her strength and her courageous stance; she is not afraid to be vocal about issues that may be unpopular," wrote voter Karima Amin, a storyteller, educator, from Buffalo's African American Community
Mindy Rich, Vice Chair, Rich Products
Active on several boards, including the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., Rich is a Vice Chair of Rich Products Corp., and heads the company's Entertainment Group, producing Broadway musicals, working on various movie projects and supervising their activities with sports teams including the Buffalo Bisons.
Margaret Sullivan, departing Editor In Chief , Buffalo News
Sullivan was until recent weeks, responsible for all editorial content at the region's daily newspaper for the past 13 years, cementing her position in the past several years as an opinion leader who's decisions influence what the city's movers-and -shakers focus on. She soon becomes the reader ombudsman for the New York Times, a further testament to her stature among national journalists
Dottie Gallagher Cohen, CEO, Visit Buffalo Niagara
Gallagher-Cohen more than most anyone else is responsible for shepherding the region's image, as head of the area's main tourism promotion agency, she is responsible for over $82 million in future visitor spending annually
Kim Pegula Philanthropist, wife of Sabres Owner Terry Pegula
More than just a stand-in for and advisor to her husband Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres, she is also responsible with him for their philanthropic activities, and a co-founder of their Nashville record label and is a sports talent agency
Pamela Brown, Supt., Buffalo Schools
CEO of the region's largest school district, Brown is responsible for supervising an entity with an $874 million budget, larger than all but two of region's largest private companies. While new to the job, her future decisions have the power to influence the fabric and economy of the entire region.