President: Lee Coppola has had a distinguished career as an investigative reporter, journalism educator and federal prosecutor. He retired in September 2011 after 15 years as dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University. Previously, he was a newspaper and television investigative reporter for 25 years, 16 years at The Buffalo News, four years at WKBW-TV and five years at WIVB-TV. He won more than 30 journalism awards, including the George Polk Award, National Press Club Consumer Affairs Award and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. Coppola also worked for five years prosecuting drug dealers as an assistant United States attorney.
Vice President/treasurer: Robert Skerker is chairman of Robinson Home Products, which designs and distributes consumer houseware products, and president of Think Solutions Inc., a private investment company. He has an extensive history of community involvement and has served on a number of boards, including the Western New York Public Broadcasting Corp., Library Foundation of Erie County and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Skerker presently serves on the board of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Darwin Martin House, and was co-chairman of the National Preservation Conference held in Buffalo in October 2011.
Secretary: Jody Kleinberg Biehl is director of the Journalism Certificate Program at the University at Buffalo and faculty adviser for the The Spectrum, U.B.’s student newspaper. She has 15 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines and their respective web sites, including Der Spiegel, which is Germany’s leading newsweekly with a track record of investigative reporting, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work has also appeared in USA Today, Newsday, the Boston Globe and the Economist. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and New York University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
At Large: Tom Toles is a Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist. A Hamburg native, he drew for The Buffalo Courier-Express from 1973-82 and Buffalo News the following 20 years, winning the Pulitzer in 1990, before joining The Washington Post in 2002. His cartoons appear in more than 200 newspapers. Toles is the recipient of the Herblock Award, the National Headliners Award, the Overseas Press Club’s Thomas Nast Award, the John Fischetti Award and the H.L Mencken Free Press Award. He also has been honored as Cartoonist of the Year by Editor & Publisher magazine, The National Cartoonists Society and The Week magazine. Toles, a 1973 graduate of the University at Buffalo, maintains a second home in the Buffalo area.
At Large: Catharine Miles-Kania is vice president of organizational advancement for Gateway-Longview, a child and family service organization serving the needs of disadvantaged children and families in Western New York. She advances the agency’s mission by raising funds to support Gateway’s 18 programs through the organization’s foundation. She is the agency’s government relations contact and has expertise in donor development and cultivation. Miles-Kania previously was the finance director for Congressman Brian Higgins and has been a freelance grant writer for the past 10 years. She graduated from the University at Buffalo with honors in 1997 and received her masters in social work from Columbia University in 1999.
At Large: Jim Heaney is editor and executive director of Investigative Post. He was an investigative reporter with The Buffalo News for 25 years whose work focused on urban issues, including housing and education; economic development; and local and state government. He also served as the paper’s computer assisted reporting editor. Heaney has won more than 20 journalism honors and was a finalist for the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. Prior to The News, Heaney worked as a reporter and editor with The Orlando Sentinel, and founded a weekly newspaper that served the Kensington-Bailey neighborhood of Buffalo. He is a graduate of Medaille College, where he majored in communications.