Skip to main content
About The International Institute

Our People

It takes a team to make our mission a success. The people and partners behind the International Institute of Buffalo are the ones that see it through.

Board of Directors

Matthew Romagnuolo headshot

Matthew Romagnuolo
United States Army, Retired

“I am a retired Army officer who served extensively at US Embassies in Africa and on peacekeeping missions in the Former Yugoslavia. I’m originally from Western New York and support several local nonprofits, including the International Institute of Buffalo.”

Kevin Gentry headshot

Kevin Gentry
Vice Chair
Assistant Vice President Consumer Direct Sales Manager, M&T Bank

“I am a proud native of England who boldly decided to immigrate to this great nation in 1988. I am thrilled to say that I have become an official citizen of this beautiful country in 2022. As someone who deeply values the richness and diversity of our community, I am incredibly passionate about supporting refugees and immigrants in any way I can. Together, we can build a brighter future for all.”

Umesh Babaria headshot

Umesh Babaria
Consumer Bank CFO, Key Bank

“Having immigrated to Buffalo, NY, from my birthplace of Mumbai, India, I learned from the challenges of assimilating in a new country and the joys of being a proud American citizen. I wanted to join an organization that makes a difference in our communities, and IIB was one of my top choices as it helps integrate refugees and immigrants into our local communities.”

Katie Schneider headshot

Katie Schneider
Immediate Past Chair
Owner, Katie Schneider Photography, LLC

“Due to Trump’s Muslim ban, I reached out to IIB as it was the only way I could help our newest Americans. My involvement has helped me become a better American, and I have come to realize that there are significant challenges ahead for all of us. We Americans have a lot to re-learn, and the struggle for freedom and respect is ongoing. However, my faith in the goodness of people leads me to believe that we can improve as humans by reaching out and caring for others.”

Luisa D. Bostick headshot

Luisa D. Bostick
Partner, Hodgson Russ LLP

“I joined the Board after working abroad and seeing the impact of labor and sex trafficking. Based on that work, it was important to me to assist in creating an inclusive, safe community for foreign-born individuals.”

Larry Christ headshot

Larry Christ
Retired Manufacturing Executive

“I joined the board because I am an ardent believer in the human power of immigrants and refugees to positively affect our community and country.”

Molly Chvala headshot

Molly Chvala
Senior Vice Principle of User Experience, Crowley Webb

“I grew up on the West Side of Buffalo, in a neighborhood rich with immigrants and diversity. My decision to join the IIB Board stems from my desire to make Buffalo a more equitable and inclusive place and to contribute to the betterment and empowerment of immigrants in our community.”

Adam Croglia headshot

Adam Croglia
Managing Director, Trysail Strategies

“My grandparents were Italian immigrants. I value keeping Buffalo a place where immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers can find safety, peace and prosperity.”

Amina Diallo headshot

Amina Diallo
Audit Manager, Lumsden & McCormick, LLP

“As a first-generation immigrant, I can contribute my time and nonprofit accounting experience to an organization that makes WNY a better place for immigrants.”

Omar ElNasser headshot

Omar ElNasser
Senior Program Manager, Integer

“I grew up in Western NY. My father immigrated to the US in the 1960s from Jordan, and my wife immigrated from Uzbekistan in 2003. I advocate for immigrants and refugees and strongly believe in their value to American ideals and the health of the Western NY community.”

Jim Kennedy headshot

Jim Kennedy
Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations, Roswell Park

“While working for federal and state governments, I developed a passion for refugee resettlement and immigration policy. I’ve also had the honor to hire and work alongside Western New Yorkers who came to our community through refugee resettlement and immigration programs. Each of them made our organization a better and more productive place. I believe in New Americans’ positive economic impact in Western New York.”

Dawn Odrzywolski headshot

Dawn Odrzywolski
Vice President of Medicare Programs, Independent Health

“I now call Buffalo my home, but I was actually born and raised overseas. Coming from a family of travelers, we are all very passionate about diverse cultures and experiences. My mother used to work for the Institute in the late 90s after moving back to the United States from living abroad. The Institute was a welcoming organization to us, and I am now a member of the board, hoping to give back to it.”

Mohammed Osman headshot

Mohammed Osman
President & CEO of Fortunes America Properties LLC

“I was born in Bangladesh and became a board member of the International Institute of Buffalo because I want to bring all of the communities of Buffalo together under one umbrella, fostering peace and love while advocating for the betterment of all.”

Dan Theal headshot

Dan Theal
Vice President, M&T Bank Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Sr. Program Manager

“I am deeply passionate about promoting allyship with the historically marginalized in our community. Through my wife’s immigration experience, I have developed an empathetic appreciation for many immigrants and refugees’ unique challenges.”

Sarah Viksjo headshot

Sarah Viksjo
Vice President of Captive Programs, M & T Insurance Agency

“I decided to join the board at IIB to contribute to our community and the richness of all the unique cultures that call Buffalo home.”

Senior Staff

Jennifer Rizzo-Choi
Executive Director

Denise Phillips Beehag
Director of New American Integration

Todd Brooks
Director of Philanthropy and Community Engagement

Gabe DiMaio
Director of Communications

Carrie Florea
Director of Human Resources

Dominic Floro
Director of Language & Employment Services

Shannon Riley
Director of Survivor Support

May Shogan
Senior Director of Programs, International Exchanges and Education