Posted by Sue Jones on Sep 30, 2019
Picture (l to r):  Donna Flinchbaugh, Trina Burruss, President Cheri Krull, Joelle Washer, Jennifer Gibson, and Michelle Jones
Joelle Washer introduced the speaker Trina Burruss who is a dynamic leader, experienced banking professional, community advocate and a true Buffalo booster!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Trina was named Regional Vice President and Community Relationship Officer of Northwest Bank in 2017. In her role, Trina develops relationships with community organizations, small businesses and local cultural groups to help Northwest reach the diverse group of communities that Northwest serves across New York State. At Northwest, Trina is responsible for driving business results, fostering relationships within the community, overseeing the philanthropic endeavors as well as the $102 million community benefits agreement, signed in 2017. Trina worked tirelessly to bring a full service bank branch to Jefferson Avenue; the first on the east side in decades. Currently she is focused on the new Financial Education Center in partnership with Belmont Housing which will open in 2020. Both of these projects are a major part of the revitalization efforts on Buffalo’s east side.
Throughout her career, she has been heavily involved in the Buffalo community, have served on many boards. Today, Trina is on the Board of Directors for Buffalo Urban Development Corp (appointed by Mayor Byron Brown), Say Yes to Education Buffalo, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, First Shiloh Housing Corp, and Chair of the Foundry on Northhampton Street. Trina is also a member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Diversity Council, East Side Funders Advisory Council and Leadership Buffalo. Trina is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and First Shiloh Baptist Church, where she serves as Treasurer and Budget Committee Chair.
During her 30 year banking career, Trina has received numerous awards and accolades, including Branch and Branch Manager of the Year, Black Achiever Award, Community Service Banker, Diversity Award, Sales Excellence Club, Community Service Award (Emmanuel Temple), Purposeful Women of Faith (First Shiloh) and Roses for Outstanding Women.
Trina received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Medaille College and her master’s degree in executive leadership and change from Daemen College.
Trina lives in Buffalo with her husband of 32 years, Cedric. They have four children and are also proud grandparents.
Trina introduced us to Northwest Engage a financial education program and community development strategy. The program is designed to encourage education and youth empowerment through financial education, scholarship and cultural enrichment and economic empowerment through home ownerships and workforce development. Northwest employees are truly committed to the communities they serve and wish to share their knowledge and teach their customers financial skills to last their lifetimes.
The importance of this education is that financial issues and health outcomes are intertwined. 44% of Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency; 43% of student loans aren’t being paid; 38% of Americans have credit debt; 33% have no retirement savings; 2/3 of adults can’t pass a basic finance test; employers and insurance companies are using credit to determine job offers and premium payments.
Northwest Vault is a program for grade school students. The educational presentation involves bankers teaching financial skills through activities, interaction and sharing real-life experiences. The lessons cover the basics of saving, how interest makes money grow, how to create a budget and how to distinguish needs from wants.
Northwest Scholars are older students who are exposed to financial literacy and again helps the students develop lifelong saving habits.
Northwest also partners with community organizations such as CHRIC and CODEI to help improve the community. Workshops are held in personal finance, home ownership and small business.  Senior citizen’s learn fundamentals of banking and technology with classes at the local library or assisted living facilities. All of the workshops are taught by Northwest employees in 45-60 minutes.
Financial education is a life long journey. The team at Northwest is standing at the ready to help, no matter what stage of life we are in.