Master’s Degree in Executive Leadership and Change
Executive Director | Women’s Business Center at Canisius College | Buffalo, N.Y.
Sara Vescio leads the way for women entrepreneurs.
As executive director of the Women’s Business Center (WBC) at Canisius College, she and her team work with local women entrepreneurs to help them learn to grow their small businesses into strong, thriving ventures, while connecting them with resources that will further promote success.
All kinds of women business owners come to the WBC for assistance. Attorneys. Pet shop owners. Soware developers. e center, which is the only one of its kind for women business owners in the Western New York area, pools resources and brings like-minded women together to foster economic opportunities and business growth.
“Our vision is to be recognized as the ‘home of women entrepreneurship’ in Western New York,” says Vescio. “We create a sense of community to help these women entrepreneurs stay on track with their business strategies and come up with solutions to the hurdles they face.”
Vescio says the center had about 785 program participants and 230 distinct women-owned businesses involved last year. The center helped launch 13 new women-owned businesses, expand existing businesses and hire 21 new positions, and increased their revenue by $1.4 million. The center also works with collaborative partners such as the Small Business Administration Buffalo District and many other entities to give clients the best guidance and resources available.
Vescio oversees a wide variety of programs offered by the WBC, including opportunities for women to access business counseling, networking, and mentorship. The center also offers educational resources to teach women business owners about marketing, certifications, funding, and other business needs.
The WBC is hosted by Canisius with offices inside the college’s Science Hall and a 50-person educational space. Funded in part by the SBA, the organization is a private/public partnership affiliated with more than 100 similar women’s business centers across the country. Vescio started out as a program director at the WBC and became executive director in 2014.
According to Vescio, her experience in Daemen’s Executive Leadership and Change Program put her on the path to the position she holds today. In fact, she was among the first cohort to complete the master’s degree, and was honored as the 2015 Alumna of Distinction. She says she was considering an MBA when a brochure about the Daemen program, which was new at the time, came across her desk.
“The program did a great job of connecting the curriculum to real life,” she concludes. “I learned what it takes to be a strong, strategic, and team-oriented leader, and how to cultivate the skills and characteristics that were within me to accomplish my goals. I bring that knowledge to my role at the WBC in helping women entrepreneurs. I am forever grateful for my Daemen education.