Growing up in Buffalo, Ezra Staley (JD/MBA '09) heard a distant song. "The siren call of other places," he calls it.
Some days it was hauntingly seductive. Far-flung cities seemed exotic and sometimes enticing.
It wasn’t the call of the sirens that cast a spell over the lanky youth; it was the closer sound of familiar voices. Though the smart and charismatic Staley could have realized his dreams anywhere he chose to pursue them, he stayed in Buffalo to pursue a college degree and launch his career because this is the city he knows best—and the city that knows him.
Having connections helps.
“I can get hold of people,” he says. “You can’t take that for granted.”
With a communications degree from Buffalo State College and a dual JD-MBA degree from UB, Staley was recruited out of college into M&T Bank’s exclusive executive development program. He has been with M&T ever since, rising through the ranks in a variety of important positions, including, most recently, that of vice president.
Success, Staley knows, begins with getting in the door. That he’s a Buffalonian and a UB alum has helped him to a fast start in the city where he grew up. But where success leads ultimately is anybody’s guess. You pursue a career where it takes you. If that means leaving Buffalo someday, he’ll simply take his hometown with him, in his heart.
“I will always be a Buffalo guy," Staley says. "This is my home."