Michelle Urbanczyk, President of EPIC, to Receive Award

Buffalo, September 11, 2017 – EPIC- Every Person Influences Children – is pleased to announce that Michelle Urbanczyk, President of EPIC, will be one of Business First’s Women of Influence award recipients on Tuesday, September 19.


When Michelle Urbanczyk began her position at EPIC in January 2015 the organization faced a $1.2-million-dollar deficit. EPIC owned and managed its building that required staff time and resources, which took away from EPIC focusing on its mission – helping families, schools and communities raise children to become responsible and successful adults.


Michelle, with the help of EPICs Board of Directors and staff, developed a new strategic plan and short term objectives focusing on Financial Stability and Growth, Revenue Diversity, Development, Program Enhancement, and Data Integrity. 


Financially, Michelle led EPIC through a financially tenuous time and very quickly turned it around in 2016 when EPIC recorded a substantial increase in net assets and was removed as a Going Concern. Under her leadership, the building was sold November 5, 2015 allowing the agency to not only reduce costs but shift all focus to its mission, not on building management. The building sale allowed EPIC to pay down its debt and improve its balance sheet but Michelle’s leadership was the reason for the substantial increase net assets and the drop in administrative expenses from 22.3% in 2014 to 16.8% in 2015 and 2016. Her financial accountability continues in 2017 as the March year to date increase in net assets is $23K better than the break-even budget and $16K better than 2016.


Michelle values her employees, providing them the guidance and resources they need to be successful in their positions. They in turn love and respect her. She does not ask her employees to do anything she wouldn’t do herself. Her positive energy and drive is infectious among the staff. Employees love coming to work and do not complain when asked to work an evening or weekend at a community event.


Over the past couple years, EPIC has become a major player in a number of coalitions to help children and families in our community, and across the state. Michelle is committed to partnering with any and every agency that will allow EPIC to serve as many families as possible. She is constantly sought after to sit on a committee or coalition, where she doesn’t “sit” but acts.


Michelle is a family person. With so much time invested in her job and her community involvement, she puts her family first. She has a wonderful relationship with her parents and in-laws and has a beautiful 16-year old daughter who is successful in school.


Finally, Michelle is very involved in the community, with a lot of focus on child development and strengthening families. Her involvement includes:


  • Care Management Coalition of WNY
    Human Service Collaborative
  • Birth to 8 Coalition
  • Help Me Grow WNY
  • West Side Promise Neighborhood
  • New York State Family Engagement Coalition-Executive Committee
  • Buffalo Half-Way House - Board President
  • EOC Vocational Technical Advisory Board, McGowan Youth Advisory Board
  • UCAWD/SUNY Grant Writer Academy
  • CGCF Certified Global Career Facilitator
  • Leadership Buffalo, Class of 2011
  • Lackawanna Community Fun Days Planning Committee


Some EPIC staff member in the Buffalo office would like to add this:


Jennifer Majeski, VP of Finance - Michelle leads EPIC by doing the right thing, at the right time, the right way. She leads her employees with trust, and empowerment. She cares personally and professionally for the people and community that she serves. In the two and a half years that she has served as EPIC President she has collaboratively led the agency to update program curriculum; secure funding to update all of the IT equipment; expand EPIC’s reach in the community; implement new programming; grow and develop the Board; increase individual, corporate and unrestricted giving; and substantially grow EPIC’s financial position. Michelle is an extremely deserving candidate of the Women of Influence not-for-profit leadership award.

Shelley Richards, VP of NYS Programs - Michelle assumed the presidency of our organization in 2015 at a very critical time from a financial and personnel perspective. Michelle has re-energized and refocused EPIC and helped us to gain a key place in the western New York service community. In two years, as a result of her spirited leadership EPIC is on sound financial and programmatic ground. EPIC has new partners and new respect in Buffalo and she is the main reason!


Kristin Scholz, Director of Development – I worked for Michelle prior to EPIC and was ecstatic at the opportunity to work for her again. Joining her shortly after she started at EPIC, I was a little nervous at the state of affairs of the organization. But I watched Michelle work endlessly to get EPIC back on track, focusing on our mission to help families, schools, and communities raise children to become responsible and successful adults. The mission of EPIC, and helping as many families as we can, is the driving force behind everything Michelle does.  Within less than two years, Michelle has lead EPIC to financial stability, positioned EPIC as a strong collaborative partner amongst several other social service agencies throughout WNY, and has grown and altered EPIC programs to meet the needs of the families we serve.


As an employer, she is very insightful of her staff’s strengths and trusts in their expertise to do their jobs. Her door is always open and Michelle is always receptive to new ideas that will further the EPIC mission.


Miranda Riexinger - Michelle is understanding, supportive, caring outgoing and friendly. She makes employees feel comfortable when asking for guidance and help when needed, and is always willing to listen and help. She is hardworking and energetic which raises the bar for everyone around her. Michelle is the perfect role model for what I hope to aspire to as a professional woman in today’s world, no matter where I end up in my career. 


Nooshin Shafaei, Family in Transition Coordinator - I cannot begin to express the many ways Michelle has inspired me and the many things she has done for me. She is a true leader, and in my opinion, that means not only someone who can lead, but someone people want to follow. She inspires me by her strength, her dedication, and her vision for EPIC. She knows the best way to approach any person, and has a wonderful sense of humor. What I appreciate the most about her leadership is that she is feels connected to all her employees on an individual level, and cares personally for them and their issues, and that is what has touched me the most in my time with her.


Marvel Miller, Administrative Assistant – Michelle’s greatest quality is the ability to make everyone feel valued and included. Now that is WONDERFUL!


For more information about EPIC, please go to www.epicforchildren.org or call 716-332-4130.