Leann West Co-Founder
Mrs. West is a founding partner of Strategic Development Specialists, LLC. Her primary focus is the promotion of her clients and their projects to local and state officials. Strong relationships in Albany and at all levels of government throughout the state allow Mrs. West to facilitate face-to-face meetings with key legislative and regulatory principals and staff personnel so that clients may present their needs and concerns directly.
Mrs. West has been in the government relations field since 2010 when she began working at the Wladis Law Firm. Her experience includes working with numerous business, municipal, and not-for-profit clients assisting them with their government relations and economic development needs, including business development, project advocacy, funding acquisition, contract procurement, tracking of legislation, development of and advocacy for or against legislation, and coalition building.
Mrs. West obtained her B.A. in Global Studies and French with honors from St. Lawrence University. Her community involvement includes volunteer work for the American Heart Association, participating in several races benefitting the American Cancer Society and the Jimmy Fund, prior service on the Board of Directors of the Prevention Network, and current service on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Northern New York. She has also served as a delegate to the Social and Economic Justice Conference in Atlanta, Georgia
Diane Wladis Co-Founder
Mrs. Wladis’ primary focus is grant writing, community relations and marketing. As a freelance writer for over twenty five years, working extensively with a wide range of community focused agencies, her experience lends a creative frame of reference in advocating for her clients projects. They rely on her insight and fresh approach as she helps to guide their strategic development plans.
A lifelong community volunteer and activist, she has worked with a diverse group of community agencies including Girl Scouts of America, the Samaritan Center, The Jewish Community Center, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Syracuse Children’s Theatre, and Good Life Youth Foundation. In addition, she co-founded and co-produced the first three seasons of The Syracuse Area Live Theater Youth (SALTY) Awards. She was recognized in 2009 by the United Way with the “Celebrating People In Action” Award. Her tireless devotion to the community is evidenced by the countless volunteer hours she has spent championing the interests of these and other organizations.
Mrs. Wladis is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication and holds a B.S. from Syracuse University where she majored in journalism with a minor in fine arts.
Mrs. Norris is part of Strategic’s growing Government Relations and Economic Development team, providing counsel to economic development organizations, governments, and new and expanding businesses. Mrs. Norris works with clients to develop case-specific strategic plans which best position projects for success. Mrs. Norris’ services at Strategic include identifying funding opportunities for a broad range of clients, preparing and submitting grant applications on behalf of private businesses, municipalities, and not-for-profit organizations, as well as business development assistance including building and strengthening professional relationships, and facilitating business-to-business partnerships and collaborations.
Mrs. Norris’ career evolved from the corporate advertising and marketing sectors in New York City, eventually leading up to several years of account management and international business-building for the fast-moving consumer goods industry. Her focus has continually been client-based - establishing relationships, expanding business models, strategizing growth, and penetrating both North American and international markets. Working from a global perspective and experience set, Mrs. Norris brings a wide range of business aptitude to our clients - facilitating tailored economic development solutions based on extensive industry research and proven applications.
Mrs. Norris obtained her B.A. in Political Science with departmental distinction from Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York in 2004. She was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi Women’s Fraternity and remains an active alumnus today. Since Hartwick, Mrs. Norris has additionally benefited from continuing education in real estate, language studies, business writing, business development, and global-based communicating and negotiating.