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Champions of Diversity Award Recipients

Congratulations to this year’s Champions of Diversity Awardees! YWCA Champions of Diversity Award are presented to residents, community leaders, and professionals that have engaged in significant efforts to promote diversity and eliminate racism locally or at a national level. These actions capture YWCA’s Mission of Eliminating Racism & Empowering Women and strengthen the fabric of our community by helping to advance opportunities for all.

Jim Reed, Regional President, 
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield 

“Thank you to the YWCA of Syracuse and Onondaga County, Inc. for this honor! 

I am proud to be a partner, mentor and supporter of diversity at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and in our community. Inspired by the efforts made by the YWCA, we are creating greater awareness of the issue of racism. 

Together, through education, understanding and support, we are able to emphasize how important diversity, equity and inclusion are. We will continue to create opportunities for all people, while defending the values of justice, peace, dignity and equality.”

Paul G. Barone, CPC, Informatics Analyst,
Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield 

“I’d like to thank the wonderful community agencies I’ve partnered with in CNY, who make this work so rewarding and encouraging. I believe that each one of us has a duty to love and lift the vulnerable among us in hopes they will also extend open arms for future generations.”

Alberto Bianchetti, Director, CNY Customer & Community Engagement, National Grid

“There is a strong business case to fight racism and support diversity. A business that wants to serve all customers, has an obligation to have its workforce reflect its customer base. In addition, any organization needs the input of multiple voices to maximize success, having a diverse team is the best pathway to that success. Finally, the competition for top talent is real. Creating an atmosphere where every employee is comfortable bringing their whole self to work will attract the widest and deepest pool of potential future employees.”

Diana Perez, Teacher, Syracuse City School District

“I am humbled to receive this award and want to thank Fanny Villarreal and the YWCA for this honor. I dedicate it to my closest friends who are at the center of what reminds me every day that I need to fight to end racism. I am inspired by the quote by Adrienne Maree Brown who said, “Where we are born into privilege, we are charged with dismantling any myth of supremacy. Where we are born into struggle, we are charged with claiming our dignity, joy and liberation.” I hope that my work in teaching and writing helps to dismantle systems of oppression and bring joy, dignity and liberation to people who have been historically marginalized.”