Lifetime Service – Joanne Kud


A native of the Western New York area, Joanne and her husband, Tim, moved to Grand Island 39 years ago. They have two sons, Derek and Kevin.  As her children attended elementary, middle school and high school on the Island, she enjoyed her involvement in their schools’ PTA activities; i.e. bazaar, book fair, ” reading-is-fundamental,” room mom, baked goods sales, scholarships.

Joanne enjoyed a 25-year career in the hospitality industry, where she was able to employ her passion for hotel sales and meeting new people. In particular, she enjoyed working as the sales manager for the Holiday Inn Grand Island, while also supporting the Holiday Inn and the Holiday Inn Select hotels in Niagara Falls.

Joanne’s career took a brief change in direction when she left to work in public relations for the Grand Island School District and Erie County Legislative Offices. However, she quickly returned to what she enjoyed doing most: working in the hotel industry. Because of her passion, she became the Director of Sales and Marketing at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center near the University at Buffalo’s North Campus.

Outside of her career, Joanne served on the board of directors for the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce for over 10 years, and was then selected 2nd Vice President, 1st Vice President and President respectively.  During these years of volunteering with the Chamber, she worked on several committees which included developing our town’s street maps, marketing materials, Grand Island phone book, and the Citizen of the Year event.  Along with other Chamber members, Joanne would be seen each year working on a variety of our town’s outdoor activities: “Island Happenings”, Relay for Life, the 4th of July parade float and “KidBiz.”  Joanne was honored to receive an award for “Outstanding Leadership” from the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce.

During her tenure with the Chamber, Joanne was instrumental in further developing many youth programs in our community that not only recognized academic achievement, but also provided opportunities for youth development; and for 4 years I was on the Board of Directors of the Grand Island School and Business Alliance (GISBA).  For those students interested in a career in the hospitality industry, Joanne was a mentor for the high school’s “Shadow Day” and the “School-to-Work” programs.  Whenever she received a phone call from the high school asking if a student could intern at the hotel, Joanne would not hesitate to help.

As chairperson for the Youth Ambassador Program, Joanne worked with many high school students, personally accompanying them to many business and social events.  These experiences helped foster their poise and confidence, while having the opportunity to meet and speak with many government officials and business leaders. Joanne was also the chairperson of the chambers’ scholarship committee.  To sustain both of these programs, she was responsible for many fundraisers throughout the year.

While actively involved with the Grand Island Chamber, Joanne was recognized by numerous government officials for her work in creating one of Grand Island’s most memorable events, the Grand Island Sesquicentennial Ball.

She was instrumental in establishing the Grand Island High School Alumni Award.  This award is presented each year to graduates of the high school who have distinguished themselves in their profession/or community.

As its vice-president, Joanne, along with several other Island residents, established the Grand Island Chapter of Dollars for Scholars. This program helps hometown students achieve their educational goals by raising scholarship funds and establishing endowments.

She is currently a director for the Grand Island Chapter of Zonta International, an organization whose motto is: “Empowering women through service and advocacy.”  In addition to working on the organization’s many committees, Joanne recently has been assisting with Meals on Wheels to Grand Island residents.
Joanne and her family volunteer yearly for fundraisers benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  Her most successful effort raised over $10,000 for a 50-mile walk culminating on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.

Last spring, Joanne began working with Girl Scouts Alumni; a group of women that shares their love of scouting with a new generation of young Girl Scouts.  The alumni group holds multiple charitable events throughout the year.  Each year during the holidays, 6,000 new pajamas and books are collected and distributed to homeless children and families in need.