2023 Conference

Leadership Under Pressure:  Rising to Today’s Business Challenges

Conference Highlights

More than 175 leaders from the business, nonprofit and academic worlds attended our annual conference focused on leadership under pressure. Keynote presentations and breakout sessions from entrepreneurs, industry experts and UB School of Management faculty gave attendees tools and advice on how to go above and beyond when leading amid a crisis.

May 2, 2023 | Buffalo Niagara Convention Center

Contact Us

Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness
School of Management
University at Buffalo
UB Downtown Gateway
77 Goodell St., Suite 201
Buffalo, NY 14203

Tel:  716-645-2235
Fax: 716-645-2863

Meet our Team

Hosted By

Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness (CLOE)
Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL)


8 a.m.

Registration and Coffee

8:25 a.m.

Opening Remarks

8:30 a.m.

Morning Keynote Presentation

Joseph Patrnchak.

Five Core Principles to Create Organizational Change

Joseph Patrnchak, Former Chief Human Resources Officer, Cleveland Clinic

During this discussion, Joe Patrnchak, former chief human resources officer for the Cleveland Clinic, will review the strategy and steps taken to transform the organization’s culture and patient experience — and build an engaged workforce.

At the Clinic, Patrnchak developed a “we are all caregivers” culture through innovative employee wellness, serving leadership, and recognition programs that drove engagement to world class levels and contributed to a dramatically improved patient experience. He also implemented a new “people strategy” that transformed the Clinic into an employer of choice, which was recognized by numerous local, regional and national awards.

With servant leadership at the core of the strategy, Patrnchak will share five core principles to create organizational change using Cleveland Clinic as a case study.

9:10-10 a.m.

Morning Breakout Sessions 1

10:10-11 a.m.

Morning Breakout Sessions 2

11 a.m.


11:15 a.m.

Keynote Presentation

Natalie Simpson.

When You’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Managing Successfully Under Disrupted Conditions

Natalie Simpson, Professor and Chair of Operations Management and Strategy, and Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, UB School of Management

Efficiency and control are the stars we steer by under normal conditions. Disruption throws us into a different hemisphere, where those stars aren’t helpful, or even present in the sky above us. To learn how to navigate this new world, we’ll examine the successful practices of professionals and organizations that routinely operate under disruption. Emergency response, rapid product development, and even large-scale artistic endeavors are all examples of complex project work without precise control over the circumstances, and all these groups share intriguing operational habits we can adopt when we’re suddenly thrown into the same situation.

Noon-1 p.m.


1-1:30 p.m

Afternoon Keynote Presentation

Rita Hubbard-Robinson.

She Persisted: A Journey to Improve Health through a Food System Social Enterprise

Rita Hubbard-Robinson, Associate Director, CEO, Community Health Equity Research Institute, Neuwater & Associates, Buffalo Center for Health Equity

This presentation will share the process of identifying and solving a problem, using a business model to generate wealth in a disinvested community.

1:30 p.m


1:40-2:30 p.m.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions 1

2:30 p.m.


2:40-3:30 p.m.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions 2

3:45 p.m.

Closing Keynote Presentation

Ryan Dunlap.

Conflict Communication for Leaders: Delivering an Ideal Message in Less Than Ideal Circumstances

Ryan Marshall Dunlap

In the face of conflict, adversity and uncertainty, leaders are expected to lead courageously and communicate competently. Failing to do so can quickly cause conflict to escalate into a crisis. When the message is the difference between success and failure, the messenger has to be ready to deliver.

This keynote will introduce you to practical strategies for delivering an ideal message in less-than-ideal circumstances by way of real-world lessons learned from a former hostage negotiator and crisis intervention officer.

4:15-6 p.m.

Reception and Networking


Gold Sponsor

UB School of Management Alumni Association.

Silver Sponsors

M&T Bank
North Forest Office Space
Rich Products

Past Conferences