Athena YPLA nominees: Keli-Koran Luchey, Megan Burns-Moran
blog by Sarah Burke • November 06, 2012 @ 7:00am
Welcome to Buffalo.com’s 2012 Athena Young Professional Leadership Awards nominee series. You can see the first installment here. Dr. Keli-Koran Luchey and Megan Burns-Moran are the next two women nominated for one of Western New York’s top honors.
Dr. Keli-Koran Luchey: CEO and founder, Lucid Pathways
Dr. Keli-Koran Luchey juggles several roles in her professional life, devoting her time to help others achieve their dreams. Luchey currently works as a school counselor and is also the founder and CEO of Lucid Pathways, an organization that provides educational consulting, life coaching and personal counseling.
According to Luchey, the philosophy of Lucid Pathways is to “help people create a clear and concise vision for their future—whether they’re students struggling to figure out what they want to do, adults who are struggling in careers they’re unhappy with or people in unhappy relationships that know they want happiness and peace but don’t quite know how to fix it or get out of it.”
Luchey credits her motivation and success to her professional, educational and personal experiences. She previously worked as a Senior Admissions Advisor and Assistant Admissions Coordinator for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at the University at Buffalo, has been a high school counselor for 10 years and is involved in several local organizations.
Luchey also holds an impressive educational background with a master’s of education in education administration from Canisius College, a M.Ed. in college counseling and student personnel work, and a bachelor of arts in psychology and women’s studies from the University at Buffalo.
“I’ve been blessed all along the way,” Luchey said. “Whether it was in school or the university, I’ve been blessed to have a number of people and mentors that have helped shape who I am today.”
Dr. Mary Gresham mentored Luchey, and Luchey’s parents, James Holder, a retired school counselor, and Carolyn Holder, a retired elementary school principal, molded her as an academic and a person.
“I was raised watching my parents give back, taking care of other people and encouraging people,” Luchey said. “I remember them always saying that they would not be where they are today without a number of people in the community who believed in them, helped them and supported them.”
Luchey explained that Lucid Pathways was created out of these values as an organization that is “here to help, support, push, motivate and inspire other people.”
Luchey left encouraging advice for others trying to reach their dreams. “Go for it. Don’t question. Whatever it is that a person wants to achieve, do what you have to do to fulfill it. It’s about making your wish and your dreams a reality.”
Megan Burns-Moran: Executive director, Lancaster Area Chamber of Commerce
An advocate for local businesses in the Lancaster, Depew and Elma areas, Megan Burns-Moran takes on the task of “moving our community forward” as the executive director of the Lancaster Area Chamber of Commerce.
Burns-Moran handles a wide range of activities including planning networking events and educational seminars, handling finances, leading a board of directors and guiding the organization’s several committees including membership, marketing, government affairs and programming.
“I’m the one that goes out and meets our members. That’s what I enjoy the most—I bring back their information, thank them for being members and ask how we can support their efforts,” she explained.
Burns-Moran has no shortage of work experience that has helped her prepare for the leadership role she holds today. Beginning as manager of Lady Foot Locker in Boston, Mass., as her first leadership position, she then moved on to the investor relations manager at the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership working with larger companies, to director of sales at City Made and finally to executive director at the Lancaster Area Chamber of Commerce, where she has worked since May 2010.
“I like to work. I like to be around people and lead people. I think I got that early,” she added.
Burns-Moran shared a story of a defining moment in her career. “I had a really good experience with the American Heart Association. My friend was working there at the time and she reached out to the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership where I managed their account. I helped them one year with the walk and the next year I loved it so much that they asked me to be on the committee, and the following year they asked me to be the logistics chair – then I was responsible for leading five committees.”
“If I wasn’t asked to volunteer,” Burns-Moran explained, “I would have never have put myself in that position—that makes all the difference.”
Not surprisingly, Burns-Moran highly advocates volunteer work. A member of the Rotary Club of Buffalo and several other community organizations, she has no hesitation in saying that involvement in volunteer work is her best advice to a young professional.
“It puts you in front of so many other people that are decision-makers,” she advised. “They are the people who are philanthropists; they’re the companies we all want to work with.”
While it provides a feeling of personal fulfillment, she added that it also makes the workweek more enjoyable and provides connections and skills necessary to launch and advance a career. Burns-Moran said it best, “The more volunteering you do, the better you feel about yourself and the more you want to give back to that organization.”