Empower Erie Board Members

Empower Erie is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, headed by Atty. Ronald A. DiNicola. The goal of Empower Erie is to establish a Community College in Erie County as a way to improve the overall educational attainment and household income of Erie County Residents, meet employer’s current and future needs for skilled workers, make Erie a more attractive place for businesses, and create more family sustaining jobs.

Our volunteer Board of Directors is comprised of a dedicated team, with unique expertise and experience, to support the establishment of a Community College in Erie County.

Linda Stevenson

Retired - VP PNC Financial Services, Chair Erie Athena PowerLink

Linda Stevenson is the founder of and chair for Erie ATHENA PowerLink. and the ATHENA Leadership programs. She is retired from her position as Senior Vice President, PNC’s Women’s Business Development Program. Prior to her position with PNC she was named the director of National City Corporation initiative for Women Business Owners in 2002. Under her leadership, National City was recognized in a national study funded by the prestigious Ewing Marion Foundation as one of three banks demonstrating “best practices” in providing access to capital to women-owned businesses.

Linda is known for work with women who own businesses and for her support of female entrepreneurs and professionals. She founded and trademarked the Women’s Economic Development Outreach Tour (WEDO); expanding it to nine states reaching over 11,000 professional women and women in business, to bring information and focused resources to them. Her greatest pride is the success of the ATHENA PowerLink program which she has introduced and developed in 30 communities throughout the nation. She has leveraged her position in banking to enable her to seek and establish relationships with organizations whose mission is to improve the economic status of women business owners.

Linda serves on the advisory boards of the ATHENA International, National Women’s Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC), Pennsylvania State Small Business Development Centers Advocacy & Resource Development Board, Western Pennsylvania SBA Small Business Resource Partners, SCORE, appointed by Governor Edward G. Rendell and Governor Tom Corbett to the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, Chairs the Governing Body for the Erie Athena PowerLink® Program, serves on the National ATHENA International Board, ATHENA PowerLink Council, founded and directed the highly successful Women's Economic Development Outreach Tour (WEDO) in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Florida and Ohio.

In recognition of her accomplishments and dedication to small business, Linda has won the following awards:- Erie County Council Citation for National Business Women’s Week

- Erie County Council Citation for National Business Women’s Week
- Mercy Center for Women, Women Making History Award
- Seton Hill University Entrepreneurial Excellence Award
- National City Community Service Excellence Award
- SBA Financial Service Advocate
- Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business
- Gannon University Small Business Development Small Business Advocate of the Year
- Small Business Administration SBA Lender of the Year
- Boys & Girls of Erie, Mary Selden Award
- ATHENA Award
- Women’s Round Table Woman of the Year
- Girl Scouts Northwest Pennsylvania Women of Distinction
- Disrupt Erie 2015 Entrepreneurial Champion




Washington state’s lauded co...

Posted on April 3rd, 2017 at 12:21 PM

Fifty years ago on April 3, the state created a system of community colleges that ushered in dramatic growth in the network of schools that now enroll 300,000 students.


WVU Study: Pierpont Community ...

Posted on March 29th, 2017 at 8:58 AM

Community colleges are beginning to receive more attention as students realize they are able to receive certification and degrees in a shorter period of time for less money.


Survey finds support for Erie-...

Posted on March 26th, 2017 at 9:03 AM

The survey of 500 randomly-selected Erie County residents was conducted in late February and early March as part a state-required feasibility study.


Community college could help m...

Posted on February 10th, 2017 at 2:59 PM

Recently I read that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged to cover tuition costs at state colleges for hundreds of thousands of middle- and low-income New Yorkers.


Nonprofit hosts information se...

Posted on February 2nd, 2017 at 2:54 PM

Thursday evening event gives business, community leaders an opportunity to learn more about the community college proposal.


Most colleges enroll many stud...

Posted on January 30th, 2017 at 3:03 PM

At more than 200 campuses, more than half of incoming students must take remedial courses.


Erie community college backer ...

Posted on January 8th, 2017 at 5:33 PM

Empower Erie officials believe there could be opportunities to work with the rural college if the local community college happens.


Year in Review: Where does Eri...

Posted on December 30th, 2016 at 5:03 PM

As our community prepares for a pivotal 2017, including the election of a new mayor, here's a look back at 2016 through the lens of Erie Next.


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