Published February 24, 2017
As a high school student, Anthony Falvo realized his leadership potential after participating in a Hugh O’Brien Youth (HOBY) Leadership Foundation seminar.
The experience was so profound that today, as a UB School of Management MBA student, Falvo continues to give back and encourage other young people on their leadership journey.
“HOBY gave me a voice I didn’t know I had,” he says. “I was concerned what other students thought of me. But at HOBY, students do not judge others, and I gained the confidence to be an outgoing leader.”
On Feb. 12, Falvo led a free HOBY Community Leadership Workshop at the School of Management for 15 students from Project SOAR, an educational and leadership program Cradle Beach Camp hosts in the Buffalo Public Schools. With a focus on societal leadership, the afternoon conference helped students identify their strengths and weaknesses, set goals and meet inspiring local leaders.
“We try to push students outside their comfort zones and break down barriers that prohibit them from being creative so they can make a difference in their communities,” Falvo says.
One panel, made up of leaders who immigrated to the United States from around the world, featured Sudha Bommidi, MBA ’07, and JuYi Chen, MBA ’13, both of Roswell Park Cancer Institute; and Dorothy Siaw-Asamoah, clinical assistant professor of organization and human resources in the School of Management.
“The students were eager to learn about our backgrounds and how we got to where we are today,” says Siaw-Asamoah, who is also a School of Management alumna. “I hope they were encouraged to take advantage of every opportunity and learned that we all have more in common than we might realize, regardless of where we come from.”
Another panel featured prominent Buffalo leaders, including Dennis Lesniak, owner of Quarter Deck Athletics; Sergio Rodriguez, an author, entrepreneur and former mayoral candidate; and Erin Dorozynski, claims supervisor at Geico and HOBY volunteer.
Students also completed a service project, creating blankets to donate to local refugee centers.
“Many students who attended don’t usually have the opportunity to participate in leadership conferences,” Falvo says. “I hope they know they have support and friends in the community who can help them achieve their aspirations.”