Skip to content


Browse the latest People Inc. and affiliate news, updates and press releases.

Weather-related or other closing updates for programs/services are available. Learn more

People Inc. Employee Rick Banner Honored for DEI Advocacy

Feb 16, 2024

Buffalo Business First named Richard (Rick) Banner, People Inc. Associate Vice President of Advocacy one of the IDEA Award recipients.

He was recognized for being a tireless champion helping people to find and utilize their voices for more than 20 years. He is responsible for developing and directing all advocacy initiatives in the agency, which includes promoting the idea that people have rights and can determine for themselves how to live as independently as possible.

Rick leads a team of people tasked with supporting self-advocacy and educating others about advocacy. His work is unique and highly respected throughout Western New York, and includes networking, collaborating with and training staff at other agencies to strengthen the quality of advocacy programs and person-centered planning regionally, statewide, and nationally. He assures advocate perspectives and person-centered-thinking is integral throughout the agency. 

Rick is actively involved in supporting the establishment and on-going work of several Advocacy groups and has put People Inc’s Advocacy Team on the map both locally and statewide. He not only supports, trains and guides others in facilitating communication and independence, but through his relationships and leadership he advises the entire agency on respectful and accepted language and practices, enhancing the execution of our mission. Rick does this through building relationships and then escalating questions and concerns to leadership, making true change that affects both employees and people served by People Inc. His groundbreaking work is the very definition of inclusivity.

Rick shared his advice on making the workplace more inclusive, "Recognize that every employee has value in an organization and be mindful of a workplace that stives toward universal design."

Buffalo Business First celebrates the people and companies around Western New York who make inclusivity, diversity and equity pillars of their business.