The WNY Women's Foundation's mission is to promote intersectional gender equity. Ready, Set, Lead! is a data-driven program that recognizes the gender gap in leadership facilitates career, personal, and community development for women and gender minorities in the first five years of their careers.

In collaboration with Women Who Lead, Ready, Set, Lead! provides an opportunity for companies to sponsor women and gender minorities that demonstrate significant leadership desire and capacity. It also allows individuals to make an investment in themselves by developing new skills, identifying areas for growth, and creating a pathway to future leadership positions.

Aspiring Leader Pathway

Ready, Set, Lead! Aspiring Leaders receive:

  • Personalized mentor matching and six months of mentorship with an established community leader
  • Four educational sessions covering emotional intelligence, servant leadership, professional reputation and executive branding, and DEI Storytelling.
  • One private session with an accredited leadership coach
  • Collaboration and networking with a diverse community of colleagues

Javeena A. Edwards, MBA, chief financial officer at Girl Scouts of Western New York

Why Mentorship?

"It doesn't matter where you are in your career, everybody needs a mentor. I look at it as someone I can build a companionship and a relationship with who can help coach and guide me. I feel like everyone needs that person."

Gillian Burkhardt, Associate Accountant, Harmac Medical Products

"I think a lot of women in their twenties feel very lost, especially career-wise. This program has encouraged me to figure out what it was that I felt I was missing and gave me the initiative to actually do something about it. I would recommend this program to my peers because I want them to feel that they are supported on their journey to figuring out who they are."

Join Ready, Set, Lead!

Contact to apply. Please note that the WNY Women's Foundation is looking to create a 30-person broadly diverse cohort, and reserves the right to create a waitlist. We strongly encourage people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and members of other marginalized communities to apply.

Why Mentorship?

Women with mentors experience increased connection, broader perspective, and more engagement at work, plus women with mentors are more likely to advance in their careers. Mentorship can also help the bottom line: recent studies have reported how a more gender-diversified C-suite positively impacts profitability.

Yet roughly half of all women have no access to a mentor.

As such, the WNY Women's Foundation's ALL IN WNY initiative recognizes the importance of facilitating opportunities for mentorship as part of its Aspiring Leader Pathway. ALL IN is proud to partner with Women Who Lead to bring together women and encourage female mentorships throughout the region.

Women Who Lead Leadership Team

Founded in 2017 by Ellen Grant, executive director for corporate social responsibility and community education for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Women Who Lead established a partnership with the WNY Women's Foundation in 2020.

Meet the team!

Ellen Grant, Founder

Althea Luehrsen, Bernie Aja, Tammy Alsace, Florina Altshiler, Morgan Bryant, Lynne Marinelli, Catherine Roberts, Kelli Tanzella, Lynne Thornton