The Board of Directors at Starbridge is delighted to announce the hiring of Nikisha Ridgeway, M.A., as the new President/CEO of Starbridge!

Nikisha Ridgeway

Late last year, Colin Garwood, Starbridge’s founding President/CEO, announced his intention to retire this June. The Board’s Search Team led a deliberate, extensive search for qualified candidates. Nikisha emerged as the unanimous choice for the CEO position based on her wide-ranging leadership experience and skills, substantive knowledge of the policies and regulations relevant to Starbridge, and her visible passion and drive when serving individuals with disabilities.

Board Chair Mary Richardson said, “The Board is thrilled to welcome Nikisha into this role and she has our strong support and enthusiasm.”

Nikisha has served over 25 years in the human services field with a focus on individuals with disabilities in agencies from United Cerebral Palsy of WNY (now Aspire), to People Inc., to LDA Life and Learning Services (now part of Starbridge), to Heritage Christian Services. Nikisha returned to Starbridge as Chief Operating Officer, where she oversaw all program operations and community partnerships for the agency.

Nikisha serves as a member of the Developmental Disabilities Giving Circle through the Rochester Area Community Foundation. She serves on the Equity Review Board for the Systems Integration Project, and is a Co-Chair for the Wilmot Cancer Institute’s Community Cancer Action Council. Together with Wilmot’s Community Outreach and Engagement team, the Council is focused on working with underserved and rural communities to lessen the impact of cancer. The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its Women’s Council recognized Nikisha’s leadership, service, and accomplishments with a 2022 ATHENA Finalist Award.

Colin Jan 2020Recently, the Rochester Business Journal highlighted Colin Garwood’s career of leadership in the field of human services. Colin served as Executive Director at The Advocacy Center and at LDA Life and Learning Services, and then, once the agencies merged, as the founding President/CEO of Starbridge.

Stephen Schwarz, Board member, praised Colin’s leadership, saying, “His legacy will live on as he will leave the agency in as strong a position as it has ever been to partner with individuals who have disabilities and their families to help them achieve success in life. This community will miss him, but he will never be forgotten.”

We are grateful to Colin for his leadership and service, and excited to begin this new chapter with Nikisha!


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