Summit 2023 Speakers

Beth Machnica, Director of Health and Well-Being at Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in Buffalo, NY, leads the development and growth of various healthy eating, active living, and well-being initiatives on the Medical Campus and surrounding community. Beth develops strategies, policies, and programs to activate and transform workplaces, community settings, and institutions into places of well-being. Beth has broad experience in corporate wellness, community health, social design, and food systems. A health and well-being advocate, Beth is committed to making healthy lifestyle choices accessible, attainable, and sustainable in order to favorably shift human health outcomes for all. 

Beth is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist by trade with further education in public health and food systems. She holds Masters’ degrees in both Public Health and Clinical Nutrition Science from the University at Buffalo, and is a WELL Accredited Professional.

Dina Thompson is the Executive Director and a founding member of Erie County Restorative Justice Coalition. She has been an adjunct instructor for nine years at the University at Buffalo in the department of Social Work. A graduate of Hilbert College and the International Institute of Restorative Practices, she holds a Bachelors in Science and Conlict Resolution Studies from
Hilbert College and a Master’s Certificate and license in Restorative Practice. Additionally, Dina has certifications in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and is a certified practitioner of Healing Centered Engagement approaches. Her endeavors speak to her passion and activism for racial healing, justice, and equity for marginalized communities. Dina serves her community as a social justice advocate using the principles and practices of
Restorative Justice. Her ambition is to address and heal the impacts of systemic and institutional inequalities in order to build communities where everyone can live, work, play, and thrive.

Lauren Orlowski is a dedicated communications and fundraising professional with over 10 years of experience working for a variety of companies, including a national nonprofit, local nonprofit, national franchise, and Fortune 500 company. Prior to her work in the non-profit sector, Lauren spent time with The Walt Disney Company where she learned that magical experiences truly make a difference. Today, she carries that same spirit through her
work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Lauren oversees national campaigns and initiatives that engage 3,000 volunteers while facilitating specific programming that stewards some of the Foundation’s key volunteers, including young professionals and major donors. Previously, she worked for the WNY chapter of the CF Foundation and led many fundraising programs that increased the organization’s footprint in the community while engaging new volunteers and supporters. Lauren credits her successful
career to curious learning, relationship building, and understanding the importance of reciprocal value between an organization and its audience.

In her spare time, she enjoys supporting various organizations in the local community, including the Independent Health Foundation and Kelly for Kids. She is an active alum with her alma mater, SUNY Fredonia and is committed to mentoring the next generation of leaders to help them achieve their goals.

Bridget Scott, Executive Assistant for New Era Cap, attended the University at Buffalo for her undergraduate degree before going on to complete her master’s degree in Nonprofit Management with Johnson & Wales University. As a Buffalo native, Bridget is proud to actively support many local nonprofits – including being a Big Sister and sitting on the Ambassadors Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara, & Southern Tier, being on the Board and Shine Gold Committee for Hope Rises, and being a volunteer with organizations such as Make-A-Wish Western New York and Hope Totes. Bridget was also a member of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Rising Stars program in 2020 and was on the YNPN Greater Buffalo Board of Directors from 2019-2021. In her current role with New Era Cap, Bridget works to support the executive leadership team and the New Era Cap Foundation.

Stephanie Peete is the Director of Workforce Development at Say Yes Buffalo, where she leads programs and strategies to create equitable opportunities for Buffalo youth entering the workforce. She also created the Employer Think Tank series, an initiative that invites WNY employers and leaders to deepen their understanding of racial equity to create more inclusive
workplaces. Stephanie earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Hilbert College, and graduated from Canisius College with a dual Bachelor’s in Urban Studies and Sociology. Stephanie is passionate about anti-racism, inclusion, and supporting young people in her community. She currently volunteers as a Say Yes Buffalo Mentor; serves on the Board of Directors for Theatre of Youth as Vice President; is a member of Women United through the United Way for Buffalo & Erie County; is a co-chair for the Women of Color Summit; is a 2021 recipient of the Bar Association of Erie County’s Liberty Bell Award, a 2022 Buffalo Business First IDEA Award recipient, and a 2023 ATHENA Young Professional finalist. Most recently, she and her mother launched Second Chapter Bookstore, which is a Black-owned small business operated in Buffalo, NY. They don’t just sell books! As a mother-daughter duo, they combine their mutual passion for Black culture and love for reading to create spaces and events that cultivate joy, community, and shared learning while centering the Black experience.

Shelby Arena earned her dual Bachelor of Arts Degrees in International Relations and Latin American Studies from Canisius College. She has worked in the health and human services sector since 2016 with experience educating and counseling people in reproductive health and justice, domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as mental health and substance use. Shelby is an advocate for harm reduction and is passionate about fostering community connections.

Brigid Keane completed her MPH program at Daemen University. She graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with an undergraduate degree in biology with the ambition of going into a field where she was able to help others. Brigid is passionate about being a supportive member of her surrounding communities. She spends her free time doing pilates/other forms of physical activity and spending time with family, friends, and her 2 year old puppy Mochi.

Stan Martin, MM, Buffalo Office Director and Senior Trainer at CAI, is a native son of Buffalo, NY. He possesses over 20 years of experience in program planning, coordination and implementation of community initiatives focused on tobacco control, chronic disease prevention, healthy eating, nutrition, optimal adolescent health, and vaccine hesitancy in historic oppressed populations. Mr. Martin has expertise in building the capacity of community stakeholders to address the social determinants of health, utilization of Community Based Participatory Research, Collective Impact and Population-Based Health strategies that promote systemic and policy change, at every level of society. He began his career at Prevention Focus, as a Prevention Educator and later became the Supervisor of the Teen Focus program. After serving seven years in this position, he later accepted a leadership position with the New York State Department of Health, where he served as the Western Regional Office, Youth Engagement Manager to advance tobacco free communities in the eight surrounding counties of Western New York.
During his years of service, he also served as a Youth Empowerment Consultant for the Ministry of Health Promotion in Toronto, Ontario where he worked to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use and on their poverty reduction strategy. Upon returning to the United States, he was hired by CAI Global as Director of their Tobacco Control training portfolio. Throughout his decade of service with CAI he has held several key leadership positions, which promote health and wellness, facilitation of youth-community led initiatives (i.e., HOPE Buffalo, REACH Buffalo and Advancing Tobacco Free Communities) that serve those with the greatest needs. He has a passion for mentoring, coaching boys’ basketball, listening to hip hop-jazz music, and watching the Buffalo Bills win football games with family and friends. He now lives in Buffalo, NY where he spends time strengthening his skills, promoting positive youth development, pursuing career interest and contributing to his community.

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