Athena Young Professional Leadership Award nominees: Therese Hickok, Hadar Borden
blog by Sarah Burke • November 05, 2012 @ 10:25am
Welcome to Buffalo.com’s 2012 Athena Young Professional Leadership Awards nominee series. Over the next four days, we are going to introduce you to the eight women nominated for one of Western New York’s top honors.
Therese Hickok: senior marketing manager, Uniland
With the primary role as a spokesperson for Uniland, Therese Hickok handles several responsibilities as senior marketing manager of a company that covers more than six million square feet of properties in Buffalo and Rochester.
“I handle all of our media interviews and formal announcements, media relations, crisis planning and crisis communication, strategic planning and marketing planning,” she said.
Hickok also works closely with vice president of marketing and business development, Carl Montante Jr., to market available properties for lease and development, while “at the same time, always thinking about the Uniland brand,” she explained.
“The reputation and credibility of our brand is very strong in the Buffalo-Niagara region,” Hickok continued. “Uniland has been in business for over 38 years and has built a very, very strong reputation in the community, and it’s our job to make sure that that brand is always protected.”
Prior to Hickok’s two-and-a-half years with Uniland, Hickok began her career in broadcasting. She eventually transitioned to public relations and marketing after earning a master’s degree in public relations management from Buffalo State College.
“I’ve always been someone who enjoyed communicating, whether that was with the written word or the spoken word,” Hickok said.“I always knew that I wanted to use those skills.”
Hickok discussed essential qualities for success in a leadership role, “You have to be a good listener and you have to be able to make decisions quickly and effectively,” she said. “Always keep in mind that you are representing the organization that you work for at all times.”
She emphasized community involvement and volunteerism as necessary for anyone looking to carve out a career in Western New York.
“It’s not just about the job you perform,” Hickok said, “it’s about having a deep understanding of both the people you work for, the people that work for you and with you and the community you serve.”
That involvement should continue throughout one’s career as well, Hickok advised. Although advancing a career comes with less free time, “you hone in on the organizations that you feel you can make the most impact being the volunteer of—you may have to choose two, or even one that you can give 150 percent of your time to.”
Hickok encourages young professionals to “take risks and always professionally speak your mind—when you’re in meetings and there are questions posed, don’t be afraid to share your perspective because that diversity at the table that that young professional brings is what shapes the future of our industry in Western New York.”
Hadar Borden: administrative director of undergraduate academies, University at Buffalo
Hadar Borden remarked in a recent telephone interview that her professional life has brought her full circle—after studying at the University at Buffalo to earn degrees in geography and international trade, Borden has spent the past decade serving her alma mater. She is currently the administrative director of undergraduate academies, a position she has held for the past four years after working in the UB Office of Financial Aid for six years, the UB Office of Admissions for two years and the University Honors College as an academic advisor, Borden’s experiences on campus have left her well-prepared to serve as a leader in the university.
Before returning to the academic setting, Borden put her UB education to work by pursuing a career in the business field. Although the corporate and educational areas have their share of differences, Borden explained, “My background in geography really helped me to think about our world in a more critical view and open my eyes to the various challenges that are out there. That has helped me in the position that I’m in today.”
Her position as an academic director entails different tasks on any given day, but her main responsibility is to “work with our faculty academic directors to offer an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to interact through our Living and Learning community.”
Borden described the Living and Learning program in the undergraduate academies as “focused on five different themes: civic engagement, entrepreneurship, global perspective, research exploration and sustainability. These are themes that students are interested in, and we help them figure out a way that they can weave them into their academic majors to help them become more competitive as they pursue their undergraduate degrees, but also as they become global citizens.”
A career in academia comes with many rewards. For Borden, it’s “helping students identify what their interests are and helping them meet those goals that they’ve set for themselves. Having students indicate that they’re interested in research and then, down the road, finding out that they have done research and they’ve developed a relationship with a faculty member as a mentor and that’s opened doors for them—that’s the most rewarding.”
Borden offered advice for young professionals: “I always say to accept everything. Challenge yourself. Lead by example. Get involved and talk to people.”