NYS Women Buffalo Niagara Chapter Women In Leadership Award

Women In Leadership

Women In Leadership NYS Women IncThe Buffalo Niagara Chapter of NYS Women, Inc. (BNC) is proud to partner with WKBW-TV to showcase successful local women who have given back to the Western New York community. “Women In Leadership” honorees are established women business owners or professional/working women who have exhibited leadership, enterprise, and excellence in their business or profession and give back to the Western New York or greater community. The goal of the program is to recognize women who have succeeded both in the business and charitable arenas and help inspire others to follow in their path.

Each month throughout the year a woman business owner or working woman will be featured on AM Buffalo. Each June, BNC and WKBW-TV will recognize all our honorees at an annual event.


Established woman business owner or working/professional woman who:

  • Exhibits leadership, enterprise, and excellence in their business;
  • Gives back to Western New York or greater community with volunteer service 

Women In Leadership Application PDF

June 2017 Honoree

Melodie BakerMelodie Baker
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, director of education

Charter School of Inquiry, co-founder

Melodie Baker is the director of education at the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, where she designs, implements and secures funding for evidence-based education programs. In 2014, she co-founded the Charter School of Inquiry, where she is also chair of community engagement and a member of the board of trustees.

When she was assistant director at Bethel Head Start, Melodie and Read to Succeed executive director Helene Kramer received a grant to implement early reading skills for Head Start children ages 2 to 5. The children, who started the program about 5 months below their developmental age, were 5 months ahead in reading after the program.

Melodie and Helene, along with two other people, founded the K-6th grade, Charter School of Inquiry, to take children from this disadvantaged background, build on early reading skills, and have them reading well through the third grade critical milestone. The school received enthusiastic backing from both the Buffalo Public Schools board and New York State.

Melodie earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from SUNY Buffalo State in 2005 and got her master’s degree in executive leadership in 2008. She also recently received the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Athena Young Professional Leadership Award.

Melodie and her husband, who is the principal at a Buffalo school, have five children (ages 8 to 18).