Confections in Chocolate Gala Gets Going

The Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York’s 31st Annual Confections in Chocolate Gala will be held on Saturday, March 9, at Glen Sanders Mansion. Over the past five years, the event has hosted over 1,500 guests.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York will celebrate its 31st annual Chocolate fundraising gala form 5:30-11 p.m. on Saturday (3/9). This year’s theme is “The Enchanted Garden, Where Hope Grows.”

A highlight of the event is the arrangement of chocolate desserts donated by local executive and pastry chefs. There are over 10 different bakeries committed to bringing the Capital Region the best of the best chocolate desserts. They range from Chocolate Chip Bundt Cakes to Gluten Free Mousse Cakes. The black-tie-optional gala attracts more than 300 people annually and affords chefs an opportunity to showcase their talents.

Proceeds from the event are used to support the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York’s program and services including educational programs, advocacy, support networks and counseling. Tickets are available online here.

To contact the agency for more information about being a part of the chocolate dessert display, contact Kennedy at

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects one in fifty children and one in one hundred adults and is defined as having two or more recurring seizures; it can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time. Epilepsy is more common than Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease combined. Services provided by the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York include education and training of school personnel and students, public education and awareness, service coordination, advocacy, counseling and first aid training.

About the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York, Inc: We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization  that provides direct assistance to thousands of people with epilepsy each year in twenty-two counties across the  Capital Region, North Country, and the Upper Hudson Valley. Other services include public education and training, school education programs, service coordination, advocacy and counseling. Your support of the Foundation allows us to continue our important work on behalf of the more than 45,000 people affected by epilepsy in our area.


WIBW: The Love Story Behind the Brooklyn Bridge

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which feels like the right time for a love story. And when that love story features a remarkable woman who taught herself civil engineering in order to complete the construction of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, it only seems right that we share it for this week’s Women in Business Wednesday!

This ForbesWomen profile tells the story of Emily Warren Roebling, her husband Washington Roebling, and the product of their love — the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a story rich with history, tragedy, inspiration, and of course, love.

It was two young lovers who eventually enabled the bridge to be completed, and the love of one woman, in particular, who devoted herself to finishing the project after her husband fell ill.

Read the whole thing and share it with your valentine! Here’s to all the women out there leading with love, just like Emily Warren Roebling!

Brooklyn Bridge at night

2019 Women of Excellence Announced


Six women who have achieved success in their professional careers and dedicated themselves to community service will join the prestigious ranks of the Capital Region Chamber’s “Women of Excellence” at the 28th annual luncheon on Thursday, May 30.

The Women’s Business Council (WBC) of the Chamber received many outstanding nominations from throughout our region. The selection committee is different each year and is comprised of prior Women of Excellence award recipients. This year’s honorees are:

Distinguished Career
Paula Stopera,
CAP COM Federal Credit Union

Excellence in the Professions
Sujata Chaudhry,
Tangible Development 

Excellence in Management
Janine Robitaille, Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless

Excellence in Business Development
Daquetta Jones,
YWCA of the Greater Capital Region 

Excellence in Business
Kat Koppett,
Koppett & Company/MopCo Improv Theatre

Emerging Professional
Victoria Baecker,

“This year’s Women of Excellence Award honorees demonstrate strong commitment to work, community service and their families,” said Mark Eagan, Chamber CEO. “They have distinguished themselves among their peers and are setting an example for everyone in business by enjoying professional success and personal fulfillment. We are proud to honor them as Women of Excellence.”

The event’s presenting sponsors are CAP COM Federal Credit Union, GE, MVP Health Care and Rivers Casino & Resort. The media partner is the Times Union’s Capital Region Women@Work.

5 Things We Love About Winter Living in the Capital Region

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner, Put Another Way, LLC

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This time of year, when memories of boating on Adirondack lakes and poolside cookouts are a distant memory, we need to find solace in our living environment.

I am an Ambassador with the Capital Region Chamber. I have not been doing this long but I have had such fun learning about businesses in this area. I witnessed first-hand how pools are made, and this week stepped on the ice to learn curling, yes curling!

Being an Ambassador, I have welcomed new businesses, shared a few cups of coffee, and spoke of the grace of living here, in the winter. So here are 5 things I love about winter living in the Capital Region.

It is beautiful. Season change is a benefit of northeast living and winter is spectacular. Yes, it can be cold and dark but when it snows and the flakes fall to their own rhythm, it is magic.

There is a lot to do. Really. There is! There are food festivals, craft fairs, hikes in the woods and the Women’s Business Council is full of fun. Check out this one: Make Your Life an Exclamation! Not an Explanation.

Meeting up with someone you have not seen in a while. Everyone loves a good hot cup of Joe or tea! Reach out to a new business or a friend that maybe you can collaborate with and share some good old tea time!

Trying something new. Specifically, the Women’s Business Council has committees for everyone. It lets you stretch your legs and use your skills to so something great! E-mail Marna Redding or call 518.431.1421 to learn more!

Getting to know your community. Social media has events listed, college games posted, and local traditions available for all. Volunteer with a local charity. Our 2019 adopted nonprofit, The Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York is looking for raffle prices for the luncheon.  Read more and help us out!

So, are you feeling the Capital Region (winter) love? I knew you would.

Have a great day!

WIBW: Revisiting Rosa Parks

How much do you really know about Rosa Parks? Dolly Chugh is a contributor to Forbes who writes about race, gender, diversity, and inclusion, and her latest post – published on what have been Rosa Parks’ 106th birthday – reveals some fascinating truths about the story most of us (think we) know…

Photo: Associated Press

According to common knowledge, “Rosa Parks was an elderly black seamstress on her way home from work in 1955, who declined to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama because her feet were tired. This spontaneous action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the civil rights movement, giving this usually docile woman an accidental place in history.”

But in Parks’ own words:

“I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day … No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

Read more of the truth about Rosa Parks – and why it matters for women in business today – here.

Chair Chat – It’s a Must Read

From the desk of Amanda Goyer, WBC Chair and the Director of Community Engagement, CAP COM Federal Credit Union.


Photo by Nadi Whatisdelirium on Unsplash

Navigating Through Unplanned Change

In January, the WBC kicked off our annual programming with a panel discussion surrounding change management and leading through transition. Our expert panelists provided great insight into how they have led their organizations through vast facets of change with stride. We heard about understanding the “why” behind change and how that makes the biggest impact across the organization, we talked about planning for change, growth, rebranding, new partnerships, collaborations, and integrations. What we didn’t get to speak about was unplanned change and how you navigate unchartered waters that you never thought you’d be swimming in.

My personal and professional goal for 2019 is to take risks and be unapologetically authentic. In doing so I will share a story with you that I have not shared publically. I’ll share a story of the biggest unplanned change in my life and how that has impacted me professionally. These impacts will be shared by others who have transitioned through unplanned changes but also may be relevant for those that haven’t as well.

March 13, 2016, my parents arrived at my house unannounced. My husband and I were in our kitchen feeding our 2-month-old son Roen. My parents walked in and they didn’t have to say anything, I knew right then that my brother was gone. The words they said “Al’s gone” are all I remember from that morning and seeing my baby boy Roen looking up at me with those big eyes and smile, not knowing the devastation that had just walked through the door. I try to paint the picture of that moment for a symbolic reason. As a leader, even when your world crumbles with unplanned change, what remains constant is the people looking up to you. I didn’t make the choice that day, but I eventually made the choice to pick myself up, and I’ve been living each day since with a new perspective, zest for life and a purpose that would make Al proud.

This unplanned change has made me a different person, I could have chosen to go one of two ways. I’m grateful I had the strength to choose the path I did, a path that has led to great personal and professional growth as a result of the pain my family and I endured and still carry each day.

Here’s What I Learned from Unplanned Change:


Today in the workplace, I frequently find myself taking a step back to look at the big picture. I focus more on the “why” behind what I do and that provides me with great perspective on the direction I need to follow. Prior in my professional life, I use to get hung up on the details, details that did not matter. “Did my voice shake during those welcome remarks? OMG, I haven’t replied to that email from so and so in 2 weeks, surely they think I’m a failure! My baby is sick again from daycare and I’m going to miss another day of work, I’m going to get fired! I can’t tell my coworker “that”, it will hurt their feelings…” and the list goes on.

Today in my professional world, I realize that I’m not a surgeon. The work I do, although meaningful, is not life or death. One of the wisest mentors I’ve ever known once said the most insulting thing to me, “You’re not as important as you think you are.” Although I was initially insulted, it’s something that always says with me and reminds me to be more gentle to myself, a little kinder, and a little looser on the reins. I know my worth, as does my mentor so she was not trying to diminish me as a person, she was simply saying, IT WILL BE OK, you don’t have to be everything to everyone.


What I’ve found, like many people I’m sure who have lost someone or gone through something significant, health diagnosis, etc. is that many people that have not been there don’t know how to talk to you! Suddenly, you’re being avoided like the plague, people are looking at you like you just walked out of the bathroom with your dress tucked into your underwear all the time!

Through this transition, I’m proud to say I’ve become an Empathetic Leader. I lead heart first, then head. I have the ability to put myself in the shoes of others because I’ve been through something so significant and I’m still standing. I have always been driven by my heart, but honestly tried to block that and instead solely focus on data to make decisions because that was “easier” to justify. Today, I’m more proud than ever to lead with my heart first in my decision-making processes. This does not mean that I’m only driven by emotion, it simply means I understand humans, I understand when we fall when we rise and the journey in between. This wisdom gained through this transition in my life, I believe has vastly expedited my professional trajectory.


Everyone has probably heard of the term “YOLO,” and it’s true, You Only Live Once. There is nothing like loss that makes the people left behind think about their purpose in life. I spent a lot of time reflecting on what I want to do and where I want to be. I feel a sense of focus and purpose. I have clear set goals in my mind for where I want to be in a year, and in five years. I’m not like some that write their goals in a journal or share them with too many others, but I can see those goals actualizing in my head when I think about them, I can see my future success because I’m purposeful with every big decision I make while allowing the little things to fade into the background. I tell my team all the time, let’s focus on the BIG ROCKS, these are what we need to move forward to make an impact, don’t get hung up on the little stuff and don’t deter from the path that leads to our purpose together. This focus enables our team to hit and exceed our goals time and again.


I know today, there is no time left to be afraid to take risks and harness your power (hence my 2019 goal to take risks and be unapologetically authentic)! It has taken time but I’m ready after 3 years to make good on a promise I’ve made to my brother and myself. The only direction is forward, no going back, no regrets. I’ve learned in my career so far that there is power in taking risks, and risks I’ve taken in my career have led to the greatest reward. Today my inner power both personally and professionally is fueled by the constant reminder that I got through the worst time of my life, I CAN DO ANYTHING. At work, I take risks in the fact that I’m not afraid to fail, and I have great leadership that believes in me. My team and I take risks every year when we develop new programs that have never been done before, programs that have given us both great local and national recognition and awards. My point is simple, you can’t be afraid to take risks, because if you don’t you may never reach your potential. If it’s not going to harm someone, tarnish you or your company’s reputation, or bring your budget into the red, TAKE THE RISK and REAP the REWARD.

As I conclude writing this, I can say, I’m living life the way Al would have wanted me to, glass half full. I try to remember from all the bad, comes a lot of good too. This unplanned change was the worst moment of my life, yet, what I’m realizing today, nearly 3 years later is how this transition has led me on a very focused path in this journey called life, a journey that is uniquely my own.


 Self-Assessment Questions:

  1. PERSPECTIVE: What is one thing you are consistently holding yourself accountable for? Is that “weight” worth it?
  2. EMPATHY: In working with people, do you commonly put yourself in their shoes? If not, consider the power of being an empathetic leader. (LINK HERE:
  3. PURPOSE: Do you feel like your job aligns with your purpose? If not, what is the step you are going to take to realign?
  4. POWER: What is the biggest planned or unplanned challenge you ever overcame? Celebrate that, and don’t forget it. Use that moment will power you through.

Voices in the Crowd- Successfully Managing Change in the Workplace

In Susan’s closing remarks for the event, she mentioned some takeaways that she had.  We need to take the wins we have when we can, embrace the why and celebrate change. Was there anything that struck you as applicable to your work or your experiences?


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Lauren Axford, Executive Director at the Pine Hollow Arboretum

So much of what was said at today’s event really resonated with me, but there were 2  comments that I really identified with.  First, that change doesn’t happen overnight and that to get from point A to point Z, there may be several phases along the way.  The Pine Hollow Arboretum is 1 year deep into a major transition after losing our founder last January.  We have come a long way and there are many accomplishments to celebrate, but we still have a lot of work to do.  The second is that change in one’s personal life often prompts change in one’s professional life.  As a mother of 3 young children who works full-time, I am constantly trying to maintain that delicate balance between family life and professional life.  It was encouraging to me to realize that the equilibrium between my 2 worlds will be ever evolving and that down the road, new doors might open when the time is right.


Adam Migirditch, Membership Executive, Capital Region Chamber

The WBC event had a lot in it that I found applicable, both from a business and personal standpoint. With having started a new position here at the Capital Region Chamber and moving from Troy to Schenectady all in a matter of weeks, I’ve been dealing with plenty of change lately. I found the panel very insightful and the idea about celebrating change is something that really resonated with me. Overall great event.

Mark your calendars for the next event on March 13: Make Your Life an Exclamation! Not an Explanation- Sign up here.

epilepsy foundation

Throughout 2019, the WBC will raise money for its adopted nonprofit, Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York. The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives. Epilepsy can affect anyone with a brain, and anyone with a brain can affect epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation exists to #EndEpilepsy.
Help the WBC raise money for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York. Learn more here