Aspire of WNY Searches for New Chief Operating Officer as Current COO Departs and Becomes Director with New York State’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)

JANUARY 20th, 2023, GETZVILLE, NY | The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Aspire of WNY, Maria Torgalski, has submitted her resignation to Aspire of WNY’s President and CEO, Renee Filip. Maria was offered an opportunity with New York State’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) as Region 1 Director and her last day at Aspire of WNY will be January 27th, 2023. Leadership at Aspire of WNY, though saddened by Maria’s departure, is excited for the next steps in Maria’s future in the intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) community. The new vacancy also means that Aspire of WNY will launch an external search for a new COO, beginning as soon as the end of January, utilizing the efforts of Catapult Executive Counseling of Buffalo, NY.

“Maria has been an outstanding, inspirational, strategic, and tactical leader here at Aspire of WNY,” said Renee. “This opportunity at OPWDD has her name written all over it. I know everyone at our organization will miss her greatly, including the individuals we support who Maria has worked with for years. Personally, I will miss Maria’s dedication, energy, and passion.”

Prior to serving as the COO at Aspire of WNY, Maria was the Vice President of Quality Assurance, as well as Aspire of WNY’s Corporate Compliance Officer. Additionally, she served as Co-Chair of both the Cerebral Palsy (CP) State and the Developmental Disability Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY) Quality Committees. She is currently a member of OPWDD’s Statewide Committee on Incident Review, Regulatory Reform Committee, and Levels of Supervision Workgroup. Maria also Co-Chairs, the IDD sub-committee of Erie County’s Mental Hygiene Community Services Board.

Maria has over 20 years of experience supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2021, Maria received her master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Buffalo. Maria is also a 2022 graduate of Leadership Buffalo.

“Aspire was my first job when I moved to Buffalo in 1999 and the foundation for what has been an amazing and rewarding career,” said Maria. “I am honored and excited for my new role and I look forward to collaborating with all stakeholders in finding solutions that will help people with disabilities “live richer lives.”[1] As I leave Aspire of WNY, I know I have the full support of the agency behind me in pursuing this new opportunity.”

Maria was a resource for many families, individuals, and associates at Aspire of WNY. With her last day at Aspire of WNY being January 27th, 2023, we encourage you to reach out to our Central Intake & Outreach team with questions or concerns, and they will direct you to the appropriate party. They can be reached at or call Aspire of WNY’s main number at: 716.838.0047

We wish Maria nothing but the best in her future endeavors and can’t wait to see the impact she has on the IDD community in her new role!

[1] OPWDD Mission Statement, abbreviated