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Community Leaders Breakfast

Community Leaders Breakfast  

Wednesday, April 24 

7:30-9 AM 

Oak Hill County Club

The Emerging Leaders Society is excited to present the 8th annual Community Leaders Breakfast!  

You are invited to join the region’s most influential community leaders for breakfast and connection. This is an opportunity to gain insight from local leaders about their careers and pathways to leadership. 


We have reached capacity. Registration is closed. To be placed on a waiting list, please contact

Meet your 2024 Leaders!


Candice Baldwin, Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Monroe Community College

Candice P. Baldwin, Ph.D. currently serves as the Chief of Staff to the president at Monroe Community College. Dr. Baldwin has 20 years of extensive experience as a higher education administrator, specializing in diversity and student success at both private and public institutions, all in service to students, colleagues, and the profession.  She is a strategic, resourceful, and culturally responsive leader, adept at optimizing processes, streamlining operations, and fostering cross-functional collaboration to drive organizational success.  

In addition to her work with Monroe Community College, Dr. Baldwin engages in the Rochester community through her active involvement and board service with the Rochester (NY) Chapter of The Links, Inc., Jordan Health Foundation, and Young Women’s College Prep (YWCP).  She is a natural collaborator, who values diverse perspectives and has a track record of fostering a culture of care, trust, and respect. 

Dr. Baldwin holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership) from William & Mary; a Masters of Public Policy (Public Policy) from William & Mary; and a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) from Hampton University. 

Robert J. Duffy, President and Chief Executive Officer, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce 

Rochester native Robert J. Duffy began as Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce president and Chief Executive Officer January 1, 2015. Prior to coming to Greater Rochester Chamber, Duffy served as New York lieutenant governor from January 2011 to December 2014. Duffy previously served as Rochester mayor from January 2006 to January 2011 and as Rochester police chief from March 1998 to April 2005.

During his tenure as Rochester mayor, Duffy was widely recognized for reducing the cost of government, improving services, lowering tax rates, and attracting millions of dollars in private-sector investments.

As lieutenant governor, Duffy chaired the Regional Economic Development Councils aimed at rebuilding New York's economy and having local/regional leaders identify their respective funding priorities.

Duffy also played an instrumental role on the governor's Mandate Relief Council. He chaired a series of statewide mandate relief hearings, which sought input from local government officials and constituents on the statutory and regulatory burdens faced by local governments and school districts.

In May of 2012, Duffy was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The medal honors notable American citizens who demonstrate a life committed to community service.

Duffy holds two degrees from Monroe Community College, a Bachelor of Science from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a Master of Arts from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Duffy also serves on a variety of boards, including the SUNY Board of Trustees, Co-Chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, the Center for Governmental Research, Business Council of New York State, US Chamber of Commerce Council of 100, AVANGRID, and others.


Malik D. Evans, Mayor, City of Rochester

Malik D. Evans is the 71st Mayor of Rochester. As the leader of the City’s executive branch, Mayor Evans is committed to promoting positive, systemic and structural change by providing transparent and collaborative leadership, offering equitable access to essential municipal services, enabling productive intergovernmental, private, and non-profit partnerships, and promoting increased quality of life through investments that create vibrant neighborhoods and employment opportunities, making Rochester a hope-filled city with an exciting future. He was inaugurated on Jan. 1, 2022.

Mayor Evans was born and raised in the city and graduated from Wilson Magnet High School before going on to earn his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and his Master’s degree from Nazareth College. The son of parents who were committed to civic activism, Mayor Evans’ dual callings in elected office and the banking industry share the complementary ambitions to help others and share prosperity.

Mayor Evans’ interest in public service can be traced back to his days as a high school student, when he launched a City-County Youth Council to help young people develop an interest in community advocacy.

Mayor Evans’ career in elected office began at the age of 23, when he became the youngest person ever elected to the Rochester Board of Education. He served in that role until 2017, including as President of the Board from 2008 to 2013. It was at the School Board that he adopted a mantra that would guide all future decisions in elected office: “We can find solutions to our most pressing challenges by focusing on finding common ground.”

In 2017 he was elected to an at-large seat on the Rochester City Council and held the position through 2021, serving as chair of the Finance Committee.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Mayor Evans worked as an officer in the banking industry for more than 20 years, holding various leadership positions at M&T Bank Corporation and ESL Federal Credit Union. He developed a focus to ensure the financial sector responded to the needs of all customers with equity and fairness by ensuring all individuals and businesses have access to the knowledge, tools and information that will help them build a stronger financial future.

His community involvement included various boards and commissions such as Rochester Area Community Foundation Board of Directors and a founding board member of the Commissary Downtown Kitchen Incubator for foodservice entrepreneurs in Upstate New York. Mayor Evans also served on the Board of Trustees at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, Path Stone Enterprise Center, RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship Advisory, and the Wilmot Cancer Institute.

Mayor Evans and his wife Shawanda are the proud parents of two sons. Evans enjoys spending time with his family, attending concerts, and traveling to new places.

Laura Fox O’Sullivan, Finger Lakes Regional Director, Empire State Development

Laura Fox O’Sullivan is Finger Lakes Regional Director for Empire State Development. After obtaining a Bachelor’s in History of Art and Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, Laura traveled the world for a year to deepen her understanding of economic development, sustainability practices, and agricultural innovations.  After returning to the US, she obtained a Master’s in Urban & Environmental Planning & Policy from Tufts University.                        

As an urban planner and native Rochestarian, Laura has keen interest in working to facilitate this region’s economic development.  She has experience in both academic research as well as commerce, having worked as a research assistant at Tufts, and as an urban planner at Bergmann Associates prior to her appointment as VP of the RDDC.  Laura grew up in the food industry and is married to entrepreneur and restaurateur Marty O’Sullivan, founder and owner of Marty’s, catering, food trucks, restaurant, and line of sauces  She has an interest in the intersection of food and economic development and is involved with various projects to promote Rochester’s revitalization—especially when it comes to its culinary culture. She has been leading the development of the region’s first kitchen incubator, The Commissary, as its Program Director since its inception in 2016.


Dr. Seanelle Hawkins, President & CEO, Urban League of Rochester

As the first woman to serve as President and CEO of the Urban League of Rochester, Dr. Seanelle Hawkins has consistently proven her mettle in transparently engaging with and advocating for the Rochester community.

Dr. Hawkins takes a careful, personal approach to every program and staff member; she has helped ULR to exceed expectations in program performance, fundraising, and community recognition, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Under her leadership, ULR has returned to its roots as the premier civil rights organization in the Greater Rochester area with the introduction of INTERRUPT RACISM and an entirely new Equity and Advocacy division.

Dr. Hawkins is an expert in community engagement and cultural change, advocacy, transitional and permanent supportive housing, fiscal stewardship, strategic planning, and staff development. Her nonprofit executive leadership includes over 20 years in various executive leadership roles for nonprofits and program consultancies in New York and Washington, DC. She also serves as an adjunct professor at St. John Fisher College in its doctoral program of Executive Leadership.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Hawkins received her Bachelor’s Degree from Syracuse University, her Master’s in Strategic Leadership at Roberts Wesleyan College, and her Doctorate of Education from the Executive Leadership Program at St. John Fisher College.

She actively serves as a board member for The Council of Agency Executives, Inc., RochesterWorks!, Greater Rochester Housing Partnership, ROC2025 Board, M&T Bank Directors Advisory Council, Excellus Health Plan Inc., Trillium Health, and she is the President of the Women’s Council.

Dr. Hawkins lives in Rochester with her husband John and their four-year old daughter Zoe.

Mike King, President and CEO, Jewish Senior Life

Mike leads the organization in providing the highest quality care, ensuring that the community’s older adults lead meaningful lives with choice and dignity. Mike served in Jewish Senior Life’s senior management for 10 years before becoming CEO, and he has served in a number of leadership roles in the senior services profession. Mike is a member of the Executive Committee for the Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS), and is a Board Member for Mary Cariola Center and LeadingAge New York.

Colleen Matteson, Senior Vice President and Market Executive, Bank of America

Colleen Matteson serves in a dual role as President, Bank of America in Roches-ter, New York, and Senior Vice President and Private Bank Market Executive for the Upstate New York region. 

In her role as President, Colleen is responsible for connecting the banking and investment resources offered through the company’s eight business lines to companies, families and individuals in the region to help improve their financial lives. She also leads the effort to deploy Bank of America’s resources to address local social and economic concerns and build strong communities, as well as support the health, safety, and engagement of local employees. 

Serving as Private Bank Market Executive for the Upstate region of New York, Colleen leads local teams of seasoned specialists, with industry expertise, who leverage the global presence of the bank to address the complex wealth manage-ment needs of clients throughout the region. She helps her teams address the distinct priorities of high-net-worth individuals, families, and charitable organiza-tions, with respect to sophisticated legacy planning and charitable giving strate-gies, cash flow and retirement income planning strategies, investment manage-ment, customized credit and lending solutions, and specialty asset management.

Prior to joining the Private Bank, Colleen was the Business Banking Market Man-ager for Upstate New York, including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and the Hudson Valley.  In this role, she helped lead a team of relationship managers who delivered strategic financial advice and solutions to mid-size businesses to grow, improve cash flow, and invest for the future.

Colleen joined Bank of America in 2012, when she took on a Small Business Banking Market Executive role and was responsible for the expansion of Bank of America’s Small Business capabilities in Upstate NY.  She also spent time as a Small Business Market Executive in Boston, MA prior to joining the Business Banking team.

Colleen serves as a mentor for teammates across Bank of America as a member of the Women’s Exchange Central New York Chapter and LEAD, an employee network dedicated to promoting professional women’s development to help grow, attract and retain successful women throughout the company.  She also served as a Bank of America Global Ambassador for emerging women leaders, a program in partnership with Vital Voices.  In 2021, Colleen was selected to serve on Bank of America’s National Diversity & Inclusion Council for Business Bank-ing.  In 2022, Colleen serves as a Women’s Empowerment Network (WEN) Circle Executive Sponsor enabling connectivity, commitment, passion and opportunity among Bank of America women through regular, self-led, small group interactions that focus on shared experiences and expertise, in a safe, confidential and encouraging space.  She is also a member of Bank of America’s Black Professionals Group and is an LGBT Ally.   

Colleen is President of the Board of Directors for Dress for Success Rochester, a non- profit that has provided more than 600 women locally with professional attire to secure employment, as well as confidence and skills to enter the workforce. Also, Colleen volunteers with several not-for-profit organizations focused on ending hunger and homelessness, including Feeding America.


Joe Morelle, Congressman, New York’s 25th Congressional District, US House of Representatives

Congressman Joe Morelle is proud to represent New York’s 25th Congressional District, which includes Monroe County and a section of neighboring Orleans County.  A lifelong resident of Upstate New York, Rep. Morelle is a former small business owner and was previously elected to the Monroe County Legislature as well as the New York State Assembly, where he served as Majority Leader from 2013-2018. Throughout his career, Rep. Morelle has worked diligently to improve and expand access to healthcare for all people, grow our economy, and protect our communities by passing legislation to ban assault weapons and strengthen gun background checks.

A graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo, Rep. Morelle resides in the town of Irondequoit in Rochester, New York, with his wife, Mary Beth. They have three children and five grandchildren.


Trish Nilsen, President & CEO, NYSEG and RG&E

Trish Nilsen serves as President and Chief Executive Officer for Rochester Gas and Electric (“RG&E”) and New York State Electric & Gas (“NYSEG”) and is a Paul Harris Fellow at District 7170 Owego Rotary.  Ms. Nilsen has held various positions within NYSEG and RG&E since she joined the company in 1992.  Most recently, she served as Avangrid Networks’ Vice President, Reliability Assurance and Emergency Preparedness, which included electric and natural gas emergency event response and served as a COVID liaison for the business.  Her prior experience in the Companies was serving in Communications, Customer Service, Public Affairs and Human Resources capacities.  Ms. Nilsen received a Bachelor of Science from Alfred University, Master of Arts from Syracuse University and from Elmira College.


Phil Pecora, President & CEO, Genesee Regional Bank

Phil currently serves as President & CEO of Genesee Regional Bank, a position that he has held since 2003. He has more than 20 years of banking experience, having joined GRB as a Senior Vice President, Manager of Commercial Banking after a seven-year career as commercial loan officer at a large regional bank. Phil currently leads GRB’s executive management team overseeing the bank’s financial, operational, administrative, underwriting and sales activities. Phil also serves as the bank’s liaison to community support activities. During his tenure at GRB, the bank has grown from under $40 million in total assets to over $1 billion.

Phil received his BA in Economics from the University of Rochester and MBA in Finance from the William E. Simon School of Business. In addition to sitting on GRB’s Board of Directors, Phil serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Independent Bankers Association of New York State, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at McQuaid Jesuit and Board Member of the Italian Heritage Foundation of Rochester. He was formerly the co-chair of the Boy Scouts of America Seneca Waterways Council “Casting for Character” fundraising event and previously served as a Board Member and President of the Rochester Small Business Council.

In his spare time Phil enjoys spending time with his family and friends, fly fishing, golf, and skiing.

Aqua Porter, Executive Director, Rochester- Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI)

Executive Director of RMAPI, a collective impact organization committed to reducing the number of persons living in poverty and increasing self-sufficiency of people in the City of Rochester and Monroe County. Prior to this, Aqua had a 30+ year career with Xerox Corp, where she held a variety of positions in Engineering, Marketing, Product Development, Global Purchasing, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, Lean Six Sigma and Channel Partner Management. She is a mature, confident and innovative executive with strong interpersonal skills, adept in building strong teams who deliver exceptional business results.

Aqua is a 40-year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., the first Greek Sorority established by African-American college educated women. She is a member of the Rochester Chapter of The Links Incorporated where she has served in several leadership positions. She is the Chair of the Keuka College Board of Trustees, a member of the RIT Saunders School Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC), and a member of the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, Inc. Board of Trustees. She also serves on the board of Yoga 4 A Good Hood.

 Aqua’s hobbies include reading, shopping and traveling. She is a practicing yogi.

Jaime Saunders, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes

Jaime Saunders is President & CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes. As the organization’s chief executive, she leads United Way’s strategies to achieve substantive community impact in the priority areas of Health, Education, and Economic Mobility to improve lives and build a stronger region. She leads nearly 100 talented and committed team members who work every day to mobilize the power of a caring community to address our region’s most pressing challenges.

Annually United Way raises and leverages $25M-$34M to support the 6-county region by engaging thousands of businesses, tens of thousands of donors, thousands of volunteers, and a network of hundreds of human service agencies in coordinated and critical action, to achieve what no one individual or organization can do alone.

Prior to joining United Way, she served as the President & CEO of Willow Domestic Violence Center. Her nonprofit career includes Chief Operating Officer at Foodlink, Associate Director at Center for Governmental Research, Villa of Hope and the Salvation Army. She holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Maxwell School of Public Citizenship at Syracuse University, degrees in Business and Sociology from Whittier College in California, and Public Leadership Credential from the Harvard Kennedy School.


Miguel Velázquez, Chief Executive Officer, RGRTA, 2024 United Way Campaign Chair

Miguel Velázquez was named Chief Executive Officer in December 2022 and took over leadership of the Authority on January 1, 2023. Velázquez is a long-time member of the RGRTA team. He started in 1999 as a member of the Information Technology team and worked his way up to Chief Information Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Deputy CEO before being appointed as CEO.

During his 23-year career at RGRTA, Velázquez has successfully overseen significant, innovative projects such as the transformation of the Authority’s information systems, the construction and opening of the award-winning RTS Transit Center, and the design, planning and implementation of Reimagine RTS, the transit system redesign project, to name a few.

As a resident of the Rochester region for more than 30 years, Velázquez is deeply committed to its quality of life. That is why he has raised funds for youth programs and served on the Boards of several community-based organizations such as the Al Sigl Center and the Ibero-American Action League. Velázquez is currently a member of the Catholic Charities Family and Community Services Board of Directors, the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative steering committee, and the Systems Integration Project. This commitment to the community contributed to Velázquez being named a 2012 recipient of the Rochester Business Journal Forty under 40 Award.

Velázquez holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Rochester and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business. He is a member of the New York Chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society of collegiate schools of business.

He and his family reside in Pittsford.


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