President and Chief Executive Officer
Having exemplary leadership is important for a non-profit’s success. This is apparent in People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick – her compassion, energy and focus has been evident throughout her career journey. Rhonda began at People Inc. in 1980 in an entry-level direct support position, working in both group homes and day habilitation programs. She steadily moved up the ladder over the years, a rise culminating in her being appointed president and CEO of Western New York's largest human service provider in the fall of 2014. Rhonda is forging the way for People Inc. as government mandates call for a managed care model and innovative ventures are created to diversify the organization.
Prior to becoming CEO, Rhonda served as chief operating officer for People Inc. and had oversight of residential, day services, service coordination, in-home supports, senior services and health-related services, along with administrative oversight of quality improvement, government relations, program development and legal.
As COO, she served as the agency’s lead relationship builder and liaison with important regulatory and funding agencies such as the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Developmental Disabilities Regional Office (DDRO), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), NYS Homes and Community Renewal, NYS Department of Health and NYS Office for the Aging.
Rhonda was instrumental in starting People Inc. Senior Living, working with HUD and expanding into numerous locations to create affordable, safe and enjoyable apartments for older adults who meet federally-mandated income guidelines. The agency now has 20 apartment buildings throughout Western New York.
Highly committed to continuous improvement, Rhonda currently serves as president of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY), an organization that fosters collaboration among agencies who support people with developmental disabilities and gives them a single voice in Albany. In this role since 2010, she has previously served as DDAWNY’s treasurer and secretary.
Active in the community, Rhonda is part of the steering committee for WNY iCan Bike (formerly Lose The Training Wheels), which provides unique learning opportunities in recreational activities for people with disabilities. She is the Board Chair for Person Centered Services (PCS) and currently serves on the Boards of Hilbert College, New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSIDD), Special Olympics NY, Amherst Meals on Wheels, and Accountable Health Community Inc. She also sits on the Board of Regents for Canisius College and the Executive Committee of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.
Rhonda is passionate about encouraging businesses year-round to hire people with disabilities. In 2015, she presented at TEDxBuffalo about the benefits of employing people with disabilities.
In 2022, Rhonda earned recognition from multiple entities, including: The Amherst Chamber of Commerce Woman of Distinction Award; Buffalo Business First Hall of Fame induction and from Canisius College Wehle School of Business, the Dr. Bernard L. Martin Award. In 2019, the Human Services Council of New York chose Rhonda for the Notable Women in Human Services Hall of Fame. In 2018 she was awarded the Sarah G. Metzger Human Rights Award from Housing Opportunities Made Equal. She was recognized as a Distinguished Alumni by Canisius College in 2017 and the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2018. Since 2009, she has been recognized by Buffalo Business First repeatedly among their Women of Influence, Health Care 50, Power 100 Women, Power 200 Women and the Power 250 in Western New York. She earned the 2016 Professional of the Year Award from LeadingAge New York. In 2003, Rhonda received the Dr. Evan Calkins Award for Meritorious Service from the Network in Aging of Western New York for her significant contributions to her field.
Rhonda earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in public administration from Canisius College. She resides in Amherst, NY. Rhonda loves what she does and all the opportunities available through People Inc.