Rochester Chamber presents 2nd IGNITE Award

Messenger Post Media
Monroe County Post

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce recently presented its second annual IGNITE Future Leader's Award to Nicole VanGorder, chief operating officer at Upstate Special Needs Planning.

The award recognizes a young professional, 21 to 40 years old, for leadership, community service, and personal and professional achievements. The goal is to recognize and celebrate Rochester’s future leaders who serve as a positive influence in bettering the community.

USNP is a financial planning group founded by VanGorder and her husband that specializes in working with families who are caring for an individual with developmental disabilities, mental health issues or a traumatic brain injury.  

VanGorder has over 10 years of experience in financial services, including mentoring young people in the industry. Her community involvement includes serving as vice chair for the Mental Health Association of Rochester, a board of trustees member for WXXI Public Media and the Little Theatre, secretary of the Villa of Hope board of directors, YMCA ambassador, and membership committee chair for the Genesee Valley Club.

Along with VanGorder, this year’s IGNITE Award finalists are Christina Barnwell, director of social services for Greater Rochester, The Salvation Army; Jason Barrett, founder and president, Black Button Distilling; Darrell Bell, vice president for institutional advancement, Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary; Andrew Brady, chief evolutionary officer, The XLR8 Team Inc.; Collin Doane, associate attorney, Lacy Katzen LLP; Paul Gebel, director of product innovation, ITX Corp.; Nicholas Grunert, enrollment outreach manager, Roberts Wesleyan College; Nia Jones, director of residential services, East House; Randi Proukou, founding partner, Zea Proukou PLLC; Kristin Purdy, senior associate/project architect/sustainable design manager, SWBR; Joseph Sayre, associate director of recruitment, Simon Business School; Jason Streb, architect/associate, CPL Architecture – Engineering – Planning; Audrey Wackerman, VP, employee benefits, USI Insurance Services Inc.; Jessica Wade, associate/project architect, SWBR; and Kiara Warren, executive assistant to the commissioner, city of Rochester Department of Recreation and Youth Services. 

A selection committee consisting of professional leaders from the Rochester and Finger Lakes business community determined the finalists and winner through submitted nominations.

Nicole VanGorder receives the IGNITE Future Leader’s Award from the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.