CNI College Co-Owner Recognized as Large Business Leader of the Year with the 2020 Difference Maker Award

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Colleen Buffington was awarded the 2020 Difference Maker Award Large Business Leader of the Year from the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce

Santa Ana, CA-based CNI College Co-owner Colleen Buffington was one of seven awarded the 2020 Difference Maker Award Large Business Leader of the Year from the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce. Mrs. Buffington was also recognized for this award by the Orange County Board of Supervisors and California State Assemblyman Tyler Diep of the 72nd District.

The distinguished designation of “Difference Maker” is awarded to leaders who impact the community through their actions and qualities. They think of others first beyond their self-interest and build a culture of passion and compassion. They are positive, optimistic, and spread this attitude to their community. Difference Makers are active in and stand out by serving their communities. These leaders are grateful for the opportunity to make a difference, and sincerely receive joy from seeing others succeed. They truly have giving in their heart and are always there for those who need them.

Colleen embodies all these qualities and has made a difference in the community throughout her extensive career in higher education. According to Deborah Olgive, CNI College Vice President of Government Relations and Community Partnerships, “Colleen is always there for family, friends, community, and even those whom she doesn’t know, but need her help. I’ve seen first-hand how she handles adversity with hope and goodness. When her son was in the hospital with leukemia, Colleen and family was by his side every day, filling his life with love and positive healing energy. In addition to that, she also made sure that the medical staff that worked with her son, had their own healing by creating and building wellness centers in the hospital, giving them therapeutic chair massages on their breaks. Colleen truly believes in giving something every day to make other’s lives better.

In founding CNI College, Colleen and Jim Buffington had a vision to provide excellence at every opportunity within their community and made this a foundation of the institution, instilling this core value in each student. The Buffington’s wanted to make a difference in Orange County by educating and preparing their students and graduates with the knowledge and skills they will need for their careers to bring healing, wholeness and compassion to the patients and their entire families throughout the healthcare industry.

According to Mrs. Buffington, the most fulfilling aspect of what she does is “watching a student have a dream and come into the college to be guided and with an opportunity to study something they love. We know that if they have a passion and our college can contribute to that journey in education, we’ll have the advantage to see them graduate. We will know we’ve made a tremendous impact in their life and we see their families and hear the testimonies of the sacrifices they’ve made, and we want to be part of their life forever. That is the most fabulous feeling in the world – if you can go to work every day and change people’s lives. I am honored to be presented with the Difference Maker Award and extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Santa Ana Chamber for the great work they do in the community every day. Congratulations to all of the Large Business Leaders recognized for their leadership and contributions to society.”

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Patrick O’Hara
CNI College
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