Buffalo Boss Babes Emily Burns Perryman and Samantha Sowah
Today's Buffalo Boss Babes are Emily Burns Perryman and Samantha Sowah (In photos: Emily is the brunette, Sam is the blonde) They are co-founders of a non profit organization called Unite by Night! Unite by Night is a group of passionate individuals looking for civic involvement and engagement. Knowing that amazing work was already being done around Buffalo, the group proposed to help fill in holes, address any pain points, and provide a fresh perspective and connection to young professionals and other new audiences, to help nonprofits achieve their goals and fulfill their missions.
What made you start or brought you to where you are today? Tell us your story and what makes you a Buffalo Boss Babe?
In 2016 specifically, currents events, new stories and happenings in the U.S. prompted Sam and I to have very different conversations than we typically had in the past. Now instead of chats about reality TV, celebrity gossip or sports, our dialogue consisted of our thoughts, fears and concerns about issues such as racism, bias, discrimination and divisiveness. We realized then that we shared specific critical concerns, and felt passionately about mobilizing to create positive change and work towards greater good starting right in our community.
In January of 2017, Sam and I attended the Women's March on Washington. It was during this road trip and very personal, life changing experience, that the idea of civic involvement, engagement and service became even more important, and the idea of creating a small, nonprofit startup here in Buffalo came to life. We banded together with two of our friends (one being Sam’s husband Nii Sowah, and our friend James Neiler), and created our nonprofit startup Unite By Night<http://www.unitebynight.com/>.
Meeting in the evenings after kids were in bed and work and life slowed down a bit, our group strategized and determined a one year of service model, to be dedicated to the local nonprofits that align with our values. Knowing that amazing work was already being done around Buffalo, our group proposes to help fill in holes, address any pain points, and provide a fresh perspective and connection to young professionals and other new audiences, to help local nonprofits achieve their goals and fulfill their missions.
Our first community partner was the National Federation for Just Communities of WNY (nfjcwny.org<http://nfjcwny.org/>), and we look forward to a new year of service in 2018.
What does being a Buffalo Boss Babe mean to you?
Everyone needs a bit of inspiration and motivation in their life to be great and to do great things. While we don’t think that anything that we do is unusual or special, we hope that we inspire others to use their skills, education, creativity and experience to support social justice-oriented activities locally. Change starts right here in our own backyard and we are proud to be supportive of diversity, have frank but respectful discussions about powerful and divisive topics, and work to fight against racism, bias and discrimination. We hope to influence our children, friends, family and neighbors to be people who stand up for others, especially for those in vulnerable populations. I believe being a boss babe means being well aware of injustice and current events, and doing what you can to work towards positive change.
Boss Babes are fierce women supporting other women. They are inspired by an opportunity to influence a better future.
Who are your favorite people to follow?
Preet Bharara, Michelle Obama, Emma Gonzalez, Kate Middleton, Adam Zyglis, Sting, Lauren Duca, Ellen, Justin Trudeau, Jimmy Fallon, and my Grandma (95 and Sassy)!
What are your favorite things to do in the area (Buffalo and greater WNY)?
Neighborhood walks on and around Hertel Ave with my family in North Buffalo, family pancake breakfasts, beach time in Angola or Canada, and trying all the new restaurants and ethnic food available locally. I also really enjoy exploring new activities with my children as my husband and I love seeing them try or experience new things for the very first time.
Hiking at Devil's Hole, Letchworth, Allegany, or Chestnut Ridge. Biking along the Niagara Wine Trail. Picking apples in the Fall. Brewery Tours. Skiing in the Winter. Paddle boarding in the Niagara River. Kayaking in Ellicott Creek. Catching the sunset at Hoyt Lake. The Turkey Trot. Participating in the many races, stair climbs, and scavenger hunts held in Buffalo.
Tell me about your favorite collaborations or a dream collaboration?
The students of Parkland inspire me so much and give me so much hope about the future and our country. I would love to collaborate with them or other inspiring students and young people on activities that foster social justice and nonviolence in schools.
Unite by Night has been one of my favorite collaborations with my husband and (2) dear friends. It has taken us to friendship driven by the passion to promote a diverse and inclusive community. I would dream to collaborate to create a City of Good Neighbors Day. A yearly celebration of Our Neighbors. Each suburb/district would partner with a local non-profit for the day, and then celebrate in the city with music and food in the evening!
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world who would it be?
Queen Elizabeth (tea obviously). Ginni Rometty.
What are your hopes, dreams, goals? Big or Small.
I’m excited to complete graduate school with a MS, Social and Public Policy degree next year. I also hope to grow Unite By Night and extend it to chapters within various K-12 and higher education institutions and across the country. I also hope to raise caring, considerate and socially conscious kids.
I plan to go on to pursue my PMP, while obtaining my MBA. I hope to continue to pursue a position of leadership that will promote a proactive and passionate culture. Have a couple kids, travel, and GIVE often. Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Tell us about your family (2 Legged , 4 Legged) ?
Emily- My husband Matt and I have two children: Gerry is 4 and Lulu is 2, they are everything! We have been married for almost seven years and live in North Buffalo. We also have a dachshund named Rhue and I run the Buffalo Dachshund Club!
Sam- My husband is Nii. We were married last June. We have 1 rescue dog, Morgan.
Feel Good Five :)
Color: Black/ Black
Food: Indian or Sushi./ Lebanese.
Super Power: healing./ Omnilingualism.
Animal: corgi. /Puppies!
Season of the year: Summer. /Summer.
Favorite thing about Buffalo: it’s where the people I love live, it’s home.
The people and the passion.
You can get involved or learn more about the group on their website at www.unitebynight.com. We are excited to have such an inclusive group making positive change in buffalo and shout our to the ladies that made it all happen on the way to the women's march!
Until next time babes!
Buffalo Boss Babes is a woman run blog series featuring women in and around the city of Buffalo N.Y.
If you know someone doing amazing things for our community, past and present, young and old..... send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be kind to everyone you meet.
Here's to strong women! May we know them. May we be them