Our Mission

Be Your Own Hero, Inc. 501(c)(3) is a non-profit organization whose headquarters are in Western New York. Our mission is to serve as the bridge between education and employment for young adults.

Through our founders’ years of experience matching people with careers, we uncovered a prevalent need among our youth to understand the opportunities before them, based not only on what they study, but also by uncovering the demands of tomorrow’s career.

In 2018, the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook highlighted the challenges faced by employers and the current workforce: the disconnect between the skills employers are searching for compared to the level of competency within their employees and current job candidates (NACE Job Outlook Survey, 2018).

Be Your Own Hero’s curriculum is designed to change the mindset and career approach of job seekers everywhere, changing the pipeline of professionals entering the workforce.

We have had remarkable success in educating job seekers in the nuances of the new economy, as well as in viewing their careers as the adventure they own – hence the name “Be Your Own Hero.”

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Our Values

Every young adult should receive equal opportunity to pursue the career of their dreams.

Meet Our Team

Matthew Cook

Matthew Cook

Executive Director • matthew.cook@beyourownherous.com

Matt was born and raised in Rochester, NY, and graduated from Wheatland-Chili High School. After high school, Matt attended SUNY Geneseo, where he graduated with degrees in History and Political Science. During his junior year at Geneseo, Matt ran for and was elected to the Village of Geneseo Board of Trustees, serving two years as a Trustee and 2 years as the Deputy Mayor of Geneseo. It was during this time that Matt discovered his love for local government, civic engagement, and using his position to positively impact others and his community. Though becoming a lawyer was always his career goal, Matt declined that career option and instead joined the Be Your Own Hero Board of Directors in July 2020. After the first wave of the pandemic, Matt was asked to step in as the Interim Director of Be Your Own Hero in September 2020. He was voted in as Be Your Own Hero’s Executive Director in June 2022.

Meet Our Board of Directors

JOAN GRACI
President, Co-Founder

JEAN FILIPIAK
Vice President, Co-Founder

JIM BRAWDY
Director, Co-Founder

TODD GRACI
Director

ABBY HOPKINS
Director

CAITLIN SCHNEIDER
Director

KRISTINA HOGENMILLER
Director

Make a Donation

Together, we really can make a difference!

At Be Your Own Hero, our mission is to serve as the bridge to employment for young adults.

Please help us ensure that our vision comes to fruition by donating and helping the workforce of today AND tomorrow get the head-start they deserve.

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