Fostering community

Carly Battin.

With more than 21,000 residents and 200 businesses, the Elmwood Village is among Buffalo’s most vibrant districts. In fact, the American Planning Association has designated it one of the “10 Great Neighborhoods in America.”

As executive director of the Elmwood Village Association (EVA), Carly Battin, MBA ’09, oversees many aspects of life in the community, including reviewing development proposals, advocating for city services, administering grant money and connecting business owners and residents together.

“One of my favorite parts of this job is that it’s very diverse because of the many big-picture projects we work on throughout the year,” she says. “Right now, we’re consulting on the Green Code, a new zoning code that will have a big impact citywide and bring development in Buffalo more in line with good urban design standards.”

Battin earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fredonia in 2006 and hoped to eventually attend law school. However, a consultant at Basil Automotive Group, where she worked in sales and event-planning, steered her toward a career in business.

In 2009, she completed her MBA with a marketing concentration from the School of Management and was hired as assistant promotions manager by The Buffalo News. Over the next three years, she filled several roles in the marketing department; among other duties, she created promotions and contests for advertisers, planned events and fundraisers, and developed marketing initiatives to attract a younger audience.

But by 2012, Battin and her husband, Joe, had bought a house in the Elmwood Village, and she was looking to leave the corporate world behind for a community-focused position.

In October 2012, she was named executive director of the EVA, a two-person agency with more than 500 members and a $250,000 annual budget. Guided by a volunteer board of directors, the association strives to improve the quality of life in the community by marketing it as a destination across the region, supporting public art and streetscape improvements, assisting business owners and more.

“The best part of my job is meeting all of the people I do and seeing how people are willing to go above and beyond to improve their community,” says Battin. “The passion that our volunteers and the people we work with in City Hall and other organizations bring to the work they do is impressive.”

Battin credits her MBA education with providing the accounting and finance skills she needs to manage the organization. In addition, she says the Leadership PACE program (the precursor to the LeaderCORE™ program) was essential to her professional development.

“With the skills I learned in the PACE program, I’m able to recognize my strengths and weaknesses and lead a team,” says Battin, assistant vice president for faculty relations for the School of Management Alumni Association. “I also rely on my MBA skills to find the right strategies to motivate and engage volunteers and keep projects moving, which has been important because of the complex issues we work on here.”

Battin often bikes to work and loves spending free time outdoors with her husband and their dog, Beau. They enjoy skiing in the winter, golfing during the summer and, of course, spending time around the neighborhood.

Written by Matthew Biddle