Trailblazing the new Buffalo

Sharon Randaccio.

Randaccio stands in front of the HarborCenter work site, a symbol of the new Buffalo. Her Red Siren store, which opened in 2015, was the first retail boutique to be located in the center.

Throughout her 20-year rise to the top of the banking industry, Sharon Randaccio, BS ’76, MBA ’81, never skipped a beat while climbing the corporate ladder and raising a family.

Her career began as a part-time teller at Buffalo Savings Bank while she was working toward her accounting degree at the School of Management. In what was then a male-dominated field, Randaccio worked hard to set herself apart as she paved the way for future female leaders.

She joined the bank’s management development program and spent the next 15 years rising in the ranks, later gaining executive experience at two of Buffalo’s largest banks, Goldome and M&T. Throughout her career she’s managed a $100 million profit and loss and led mergers and acquisitions, corporate planning and human resources. As the youngest female officer and one of two senior female officers in a $2 billion bank, Randaccio built confidence and quickly added tools to her toolbox.

“During those years I learned about the importance of leadership, politics, integrity and community involvement from my CEO and mentor, Ross B. Kenzie,” says Randaccio. “I served as president of the Goldome and M&T foundations and became quite connected to my community while building an extensive network.

“When Goldome failed in 1990 and top execs were escorted out of the building I thought my world had ended. But I have been blessed with a supportive family, a strong network and a world of opportunity. A door opened at M&T Bank and then I became an entrepreneur.”

In 1999, Randaccio decided to leave and follow her heart by founding Performance Management Partners, a Buffalo-based talent acquisition and management consulting firm serving clients such as Lawley Insurance, Seed Capital and Catholic Health. Today she enjoys coaching startups as they scale, building a new entrepreneurial ecosystem in Buffalo. In addition, she recently opened RedSiren, the first retail boutique in HarborCenter on Buffalo’s evolving waterfront.

“In each role, I lead a team of great people who make a difference with our clients and our community,” says Randaccio. “Both companies are a part of creating the new Buffalo.”

Randaccio says her accounting degree gave her a competitive advantage because she understood the language of business: the numbers.

“I could quickly grasp concepts and participate in conversations that otherwise might have been over my head, which built the respect of senior leaders and bolstered my own confidence,” she says.

Randaccio says her MBA from the School of Management built a network that persists to this day.

“Having the opportunity to go for an MBA in Buffalo at such a fine school — without disrupting my career progression and family — was a huge plus,” she says.

Randaccio enjoys spending free time with family and friends, connecting others and watching Buffalo’s sports teams. “I live for Buffalo sports and take great pride in their performance,” she says. “I cherish my family and friends as they give me the energy and insight to live life to the fullest.”

Written by Kevin Manne