Thank you to our event sponsor Uniland!
Join us for our 5th Annual Women’s Leadership Fireside Chat. This year, Christina Orsi, University at Buffalo Associate Vice President for Economic Development, will be our guest speaker.
The intimate evening will include a conversation with Christina about her career in economic development, including invaluable insight into how she balances her career and personal life, while continuing to excel in a male dominated field.
The mission of ULI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative is to raise the visibility and number of women leaders in ULI and the real estate industry.
Christina Orsi | Associate Vice President for Economic Development | University at Buffalo
Christina Orsi serves at the Associate Vice President for Economic Development at the University at Buffalo (UB). UB is among the largest and most comprehensive research Universities in New York State. Bringing strong leadership skills and more than two decades of experience, she guides university-wide economic development efforts. Orsi oversees the Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships office, to help businesses connect with UB researchers and resources and leads UB’s technology commercialization, all with a goal of having a positive impact on the region’s innovation economy. Her portfolio at UB includes: leading technology transfer, entrepreneur support services, including an investment fund and incubators as well as several technology centers focused on academic-industry collaboration. The Centers include Buffalo Institute for Genomics and Data Analytics, New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics.
Prior to joining UB, she provided strategic direction for the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and played an integral role in NYS State Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development plan. Both initiatives focused on building Western New York’s economy in three targeted industry sectors advanced manufacturing, life sciences through strategic investments in workforce development, smart growth and entrepreneurship.
Her leadership as Regional Director of WNY Empire State Development was instrumental in attracting new businesses, encouraging entrepreneurial ventures, focusing job training and transforming the region by capitalizing on its assets. During her tenure at Empire State Development, she oversaw more than $1 billion in New York State financial assistance to leverage $8 billion in private investment and help create and retain more than 12,000 jobs. Notable projects include the launch of 43 North, the nation’s largest business plan competition, and Buffalo Manufacturing Works, a one-stop shop to help manufacturers grow through innovation, process improvement and launching the Better Buffalo Fund to support revitalization in distressed areas.
Prior to Empire State Development, Orsi was part of the leadership team at Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, a regional business attraction development organization, where she helped companies including GEICO, Yahoo, Fed Ex Trade Networks, New Era Cap Company and Citicorp to invest and grow in Western New York.
Buffalo Business First has recognized Orsi as a “Woman of Influence” in the public policy category and, for the past four years, also has named her to its Power 250 list, an annual ranking of influential people who live and work in Western New York.
Orsi serves on the boards of 43 North, Excelsior Growth Fund, Evans Bank, Invest Buffalo/Niagara and The Racial Equity Roundtable. She holds an MS in public affairs and urban planning from the University at Buffalo and a BA in political science from Fredonia.
Elizabeth Colvin | Project Manager | Wendel
Elizabeth Colvin is a Project Manager at Wendel, an architecture, engineering, energy efficiency, and construction management firm headquartered in Buffalo, New York. In her 12 years with the firm, Liz has worked on a very diverse project portfolio, spanning the public transit, private, healthcare, and transportation/civil client sectors.
Highlights of Liz’s projects include the 56 million dollar new build of a bus maintenance garage for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, a project that earned LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council for its sustainability; along with the current 330,000 SF renovation within Seneca One Tower for M&T Bank’s new Tech Hub space. Liz is also actively involved in the business development of private development projects and public transit throughout New York State.
Beyond her project work, Liz is the 2020 Executive Chair of our ULI WNY Women’s Leadership Initiative. Since joining the group in 2016, Liz has held several positions within the committee as well as chairing several events which align with our WLI mission: promoting the advancement and visibility of women through their careers and as leaders in the real estate industry. She is also a member of PMI’s Buffalo Chapter, NYPTA (New York Public Transit Association), and Leadership Niagara’s Class of 2020. Liz is heavily involved in her community, and she devotes her free time to groups such as the Food Bank of WNY and St. Peter’s Roman Catholic School and Parish.