TalentRise Recruits CEO for Leadership Buffalo

November 7, 2023 – Pete Petrella of TalentRise recently assisted in the recruitment of Morgan Williams-Bryant as the new CEO of Leadership Buffalo, a non-profit leadership development program in Buffalo, NY. She replaces outgoing CEO, Althea Luehrsen, who is retiring at the end of 2023 after 12 years at the organization. “On behalf of the entire board of directors, we couldn’t be more excited for Morgan to take the helm and lead Leadership Buffalo into its next chapter,” said Trevor Torcello, board chair of Leadership Buffalo. “Morgan has been actively involved with Leadership Buffalo since participating in the program back in 2017 and has a proven track record of success in her professional and numerous volunteer roles.”

A national search for Leadership Buffalo’s next leader was launched by TalentRise in June 2023 following the announcement of Mr. Luehrsen’s retirement. The search generated interest from over 400 combined candidates, which was ultimately narrowed down to 167 formal applicants, 10 formal interviews, and five finalists. Kendra Brim, senior diversity and inclusion partner at Tesla, chaired the search committee, which also consisted of current and past members of the Leadership Buffalo board of directors.

“We knew filling Althea’s shoes was going to be a challenge, so we wanted to make sure we conducted an extremely thorough and inclusive search, knowing what an important asset Leadership Buffalo is to the Western New York community and its vast organizational network,” said Ms. Brim. “We were overwhelmed by the response and quality of candidates, but Morgan’s leadership background and existing involvement with Leadership Buffalo made her the top choice for this role. I have no doubt Morgan will carry on the legacy and leave her own indelible mark.”

Ms. Williams-Bryant is currently the chief impact officer the Girl Scouts of WNY, where she is responsible for integrating all functions related to membership and program development. In this role she has collaborated with the senior leadership team to launch the organization’s first DEI committee. Ms. Williams-Bryant also serves as the founder and CEO of MWB Ignites, LLC, a leadership and empowerment consultancy firm. Prior to these roles, she was the deputy commissioner of Youth Services for Erie County. Ms. Williams-Bryant has served as a health leadership fellow for the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and as an adjunct faculty member at Bryant & Stratton College.

Related: Professional Development Is Key to Retaining Talent

“Leadership Buffalo has been a staple in this community for over three decades, connecting leaders across Western New York. I am so excited to build upon the great legacy this organization holds and lead the next chapter,” said Ms. Williams-Bryant. “I look forward to working with the many corporations, organizations and the broader community to continue to make Buffalo better. Thank you to Althea Luehrsen for passing the torch and for your leadership these past 12 years.”

Seamless Transition

“Having worked with Morgan for the past seven years through her involvement with Leadership Buffalo, I know the transition will be seamless and I look forward to officially passing the baton,” said Ms. Luehrsen. “Morgan will be a tremendous leader for Leadership Buffalo and our city of good neighbors, and I couldn’t be happier for her.”

Founded in 2008 in Chicago, TalentRise provides executive search, interim executive placement, and talent consulting. The firm’s talent optimization model uses data-driven insights to align people and organizational strategies for optimum performance. TalentRise supports companies in nearly every vertical — retail, manufacturing, technology, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, E-commerce, and more — with custom and comprehensive talent acquisition solutions.

Mr. Petrella serves as practice leader of executive search at TalentRise and is responsible for leading the division focused on placing C-suite and executive-level talent into leadership positions within organizations. He plays a critical role in the TalentRise growth plan by cultivating c-level, investor, and board of director relationships with companies looking to acquire senior leadership talent for their business. Mr. Petrella brings over 22 years of experience in a variety of business sectors including sports, healthcare, startups, scaleups, and technology. His areas of expertise include management, sales, marketing, IT, software, and strategy. Additionally, Mr. Petrella serves in a dual role at Aleron Group and helps lead Viaduct, which assists startups and emerging businesses find talent. He is active in several growth-stage technology organizations in the Buffalo, Upstate NY, Chicago, IL, Toronto, and Austin, TX markets.

Related: Candidate-Driven Market Continues to Complicate Hiring Top Talent

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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