Buffalo Boss Babes’ Director, Danielle Pietrocarlo, strives to create a community for women that is genuine and authentic
Five years ago, Carrie Rinehart attended a networking event in Rochester and immediately knew that something similar was needed for women in the Buffalo community. From this, the idea for Buffalo Boss Babes was born. She set out to create a group where women could feel empowered, motivated, and inspired. That vision still holds true with Danielle Pietrocarlo, who currently runs the organization and strives to connect with other women and share ideas – but this community of remarkable women has become so much more than that.
In the Beginning
Buffalo Boss Babes started as a blog and social media feed that featured local women and grew from there. The group now hosts monthly events and quarterly speaker panels where women share their stories with the hopes of inspiring and empowering others. Different from other networking groups and events, there is no membership fee and little to no cost to attend the events.
“We try to build something that is genuine and authentic to help women in Buffalo to connect without judgment or incentive. It takes courage to go somewhere when you don’t know anyone. We don’t want to make it more difficult, so we try to make it a natural environment without a high cost,” shares Danielle.
From Speaker to Director
Boss Babes is a platform where strong, successful women who are doing remarkable things in and out of work are showcased. People from throughout the community nominate someone as a “Boss Babe,” and those who are selected are then featured on the blog, on social media, and often asked to attend or speak at upcoming events, which is how Danielle first got involved.
After being nominated and speaking at an event in 2018, she recalls “it was all very natural from there.” As the owner of Dani-Fit, a gym geared towards women, she, unfortunately, had to make the difficult decision to close during the pandemic. At the same time, Carrie Rinehart was also looking to make a transition and it was a natural fit to hand the reins over to Danielle.
For Danielle, this wasn’t a new endeavor, but rather an extension of what she had already been doing through her studio – working with and hearing the stories of amazing women in the community. Her business had been a platform to do that, and this simply evolved into her next chapter.
A Place to Turn
Whether it is at one of the events or through the organization’s Facebook group, they’ve created a place where women can turn to be vulnerable and ask any question – no matter how big or small it is. “Guests are encouraged to be themselves and come with questions, whether they don’t know how to start something or what to do next… there are no stupid questions because everyone has been there and likely someone else attending has something to offer you,” shares Danielle.
Her favorite stories from the group are of women who come from the corporate world or are moms who are looking to start something but don’t know how. As someone who is a firm believer in doing what makes you happy, she hopes to motivate and inspire women to make the changes in their lives that are needed.
“You have to do what makes you happy. You can’t just keep running on this hamster wheel waiting for the right time – there is no right time. You just have to do it and know that we will be the ones cheering you on, saying ‘Yes, you can,’ and reminding you of who you are, how powerful you are, and what you can do,” she shares. Whether it’s over a quick call, a text, or at a speaking engagement with Danielle, she is a motivational force who helps give women the confidence to follow their dreams.
The most empowering moment she had was when she was asked to speak at her first Buffalo Boss Babes event, sharing it was the first time she really became vulnerable and shared her entire story. Following her remarks, a woman from the audience came up to her and told her she was so inspired by her comments that she was going to quit her job and start her own business. At each step of the way, Danielle was there cheering her on and reminding her that she could do it. That woman is now a successful business owner who still attends the events and is touched by the difference it has made in her life.
A Bright Future
Although there is still so much to be done with Buffalo Boss Babes, Danielle admits she is just taking it one step at a time as she navigates the post-Covid world and evaluates the needs of the community. She hopes to one day turn it into a nonprofit organization that can provide financial support for women to get access to the education and resources they need. For now, she is enjoying connecting with and learning the stories of women throughout the community and finding ways to encourage and support them as they figure out and follow their dreams.
Know a Boss Babe?
Nominate someone by filling out the form on their website: buffalobossbabes.com/nominate.
Get to Know Danielle
Tell me a bit about yourself and your background. I grew up in Buffalo and originally worked for the newspaper. I always knew I wanted to own a business but wasn’t sure what it would be. I started teaching fitness classes and quickly discovered I could use that as a platform to empower and motivate others. I opened my own studio and did that for about 10 years before I took on the role with Buffalo Boss Babes.
What are some of your favorite hobbies and places to explore in the Buffalo area? Chautauqua Lake is my go-to… it is a beautiful and secret getaway. I grew up going there in the summer, and I now own an Airbnb in the area. My favorite thing to do is wake surfing, which is off the back of a boat with no rope. I am also an avid Buffalo Bills fan!
Was there an experience that shaped who you are today? My divorce. I didn’t want to do it for so long because there is such a stigma around it. I have 3 children and didn’t want to ruin their lives, but in reality, I was ruining myself, so I had to make a change. You have to be happy in life.
What is your favorite quote that sums up who you are and what you believe in? “Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right.” I don’t let my kids say they can’t do something. So often we get in our own way of what we can and can’t do. It is usually just that we are stopping ourselves, and we actually are capable of doing anything we believe we can do.
What inspires you most about the Buffalo community? I grew up here and have a great appreciation for all that Buffalo has to offer. I lived in Charlotte, NC, for 4 years and it just wasn’t the same. In Buffalo, you have the history, the Bills, family, and great food. I want my kids to grow up here and would never leave this city again.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a change or start their own business? Just do it. I am here to help you. Ask yourself what is stopping you. Write it down and figure it out. Is it you stopping you or something else? Most of the time it is just yourself, so knowing that you can is half the battle.