Last Saturday, Explore What’s Next had a table under the big vendor tent at the Buffalo Pride Festival. From the moment we drove up to the gate into the Pride Village we were welcomed with open arms. I barely had time to park the car before three Pride volunteers in their green t-shirts popped up out of nowhere and offered to help us unload!

LGBTQ+ empowered Buffalo Pride Festival

The Buffalo Pride Festival! Good Weather, Good Food, and Good People!

The day was blessed with good weather, good food, and good people! I was moved by the range of ages; adults, young adults, grandparents, parents, whole families, children, babies!  Everyone was represented, smiling, laughing, dancing. It truly made me so proud of our Western New York community. The seven hours that we were at the Buffalo Pride Festival flew by! We totally ran out of our giveaways. The Skittles and Starburst went first, of course, and the sprigs of lavender soon followed. Christine Frank, LMSW, and Colleen Conjerti, PsyD, describe perfectly what this magical day was like…

Dr. Colleen Conjerti: Wow! I am still feeling the positive vibes following #BUFFALOPRIDE2018. The atmosphere at the festival was filled with vibrant energy, unconditional positive regard, and love! It was awesome to meet and share information about Explore What’s Next with so many cool people.

I am not sure what I liked the most about the Pride Festival–the music, entertainment, food, and people were all phenomenal! It was inspiring to see such a large and diverse group of humans celebrate together! After spending the day with amazing EWN associates, I appreciated the time to slow down and take it all in, as we ate some magical mango sorbet from the Sweet Melody’s food truck :).

The Buffalo Pride Center of Western New York, Evergreen Health, and M&T Bank were outstanding co-hosts and brought such a safe, supportive and fun event to Buffalo Canalside. I can’t wait for next year! Luckily, we will be starting our new group, LGBTQ+ Empowered soon, so we can keep this electric feeling going strong!!

Buffalo Pride Festival

Christine Frank, LMSW: The Buffalo Pride Festival at Canalside was a whirlwind of fun, excitement, and positivity!  I enjoyed sitting at our vendor table with my colleagues Dr. Elvira Aletta and Dr. Colleen Conjerti, while snacking on Lloyd’s, House of Munch, and other food truck treats.  Promoting the services at our private practice gave me my own sense of pride in my team’s work. Explore What’s Next wanted to foster that we are an LGBTQ+ friendly practice and that we support Buffalo Pride one hundred percent.  We met that goal, but we got so much more in return! The community at Buffalo Pride Festival 2018 embraced us with open arms. It was so valuable to me to be able to talk with the people who stopped by our table and to hear parts of their stories.

I remember one young man who signed up for our email list and expressed to me that he has been looking for LGBTQ+ support after facing massive stress at work.  Several older people stopped by and expressed that the services Explore What’s Next offers weren’t available while they were growing up. One woman told me that years ago, some of her friends who identify as LGBTQ+ had to endure their parents sending them to therapy to be “cured.”  Such stories are heart-wrenching to hear, but it made me feel grateful for how far we have come and hopeful for the continued growth of support for our LGBTQ+ community.

Cynthia Nixon at the Buffalo Pride Festival 2018

One final highlight was when I got to meet Cynthia Nixon, who is running for Governor of New York and has always been a huge advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.  I was a little starstruck as I took my picture with her, but it was very exciting to have her there to support Buffalo Pride 2018. Explore What’s Next will definitely be back next year!

Cynthia Nixon at Buffalo Pride Festival


Colleen Conjerti, PsyD

Children, Adolescents, Young Adults, Assessment, Personal and Life Coaching

Colleen specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children as young as five years old, adolescents and families. She works with various conditions and life circumstances, including learning disabilities, executive functioning deficits, anxiety, depression, interpersonal problems, adjustment issues and loss Colleen also provides personal and life coaching services for adults questioning career decisions, education goals, finances, and relationships. She will guide you through honest and empowering conversations, as you develop goals and carry out plans for achieving your aspirations.

Warm and emphatic, Colleen uses a flexible, creative and collaborative approach to empower and inspire clients to maximize potential and improve their lives. Contact Colleen for more information about how she can help you experience success!

716.864.4938 |

Christine Frank, LMSW

TraumaDepressionAnxietyEating/Weight issuesTweensTeensYoung Adults

Christine understands what it’s like when you’re trying your hardest and an invisible hand is holding you back. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, or stupid, or unworthy of good things—it just means you could use some help. It helps to connect with someone who knows that your stories are worth listening to. Christine will hear your story. She’s a great listener.

Christine is easy-going, friendly, empathetic, non-judgmental. She’s funny and real in a down to earth way. She loves working with pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults to help them move through those difficult life transitions where a person can feel lost.

With Christine’s guidance and encouragement you can take the first step to a happier, healthier life.

716.430.4611  |

Elvira G. Aletta, PhD, Founder & CEO

Executive & Personal CoachingIndividual & Relationship Counseling

Life gave Dr. Aletta the opportunity to know what it’s like to hurt physically and emotionally. After an episode of serious depression in her mid-twenties, Dr. Aletta was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease that relapsed throughout her adulthood. While treatable, the cure was often as hard to bear as the disease. Later she was diagnosed with scleroderma, another chronic illness.

Throughout, Dr. Aletta battled with anxiety. Despite all this, Dr. Aletta wants you to know, you can learn to engage in life again on your terms.

Good therapy helped Dr. Aletta. She knows good therapy can help you. That’s why she created Explore What’s Next.

Today Dr. Aletta enjoys mentoring the EWN therapists, focusing on coaching and psychotherapy clients, writing and speaking. She is proud and confident that Explore What’s Next can provide you with therapists who will help you regain a sense of safety, control and joy.

716.308.6683 |

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