CAP COM partners with YWCA and announces winners for annual BIG Benefit Raffle

From the desk of Kate Fruscione, Public Relations Strategist at CAP COM Federal Credit Union.

From the left: Paula Stopera, President and CEO, CAP COM Federal Credit Union, Paige Rueckert, Community and Youth Advocate, Bonnie Benson, YWCA, Ellen Randolph, YWCA, Jenifer Whiston, YWCA, Starletta Smith, YWCA, Virginia Marinello, YWCA, Daquetta Jones, YWCA, Amanda Goyer, Community Relations Manager, and Edward Gilligan, Chairman of CAP COM Federal Credit Union’s Board of Directors.

CAP COM Federal Credit Union and its charitable giving arm, the CAP COM Cares Foundation, has announced the eight lucky winners of the 2018 spring BIG Benefit Raffle. Twice a year the Credit Union runs a two month campaign where a maximum of 4,000 raffle tickets were sold. Tickets were open to both members and non-members of the Credit Union, and sold for $25 each.

The BIG Benefit Raffle raised a grand total of $100,000 and the funds were distributed in three ways.  $21,000 was awarded to eight community winners for large cash prizes. $10,000 was awarded to the 2018 beneficiary, YWCA of the Greater Capital Region, and the remaining $69,000 is being distributed to year-round foundation funding to CAP COM’s more than 100 community partners.

Picking YWCA-GCR as the 2018 beneficiary helped tell a story with members when they purchased their raffle tickets, while allowing CAP COM to share the great work of some of their community pillars and partners. The $10,000 will support YWCA-GCR’s Centennial Celebration Building Fund “100 Challenge” for their beautiful 100-year-old building to continue to be a source of support, hope and empowerment for women and families in our community.

The 2018 Spring BIG Benefit Raffle Winners are:

  • $10,000: David Koonz, Albany
  • $5,000: Sean Ritter, Ballston Lake
  • $1,000: John Gebhardt, Loudonville
  • $1,000: Ronald Bell Jr., Westerlo
  • $1,000: Bridget Daniels, Schenectady
  • $1,000: Sarah Merlik, Castleton
  • $1,000: Devan Patenaude, Latham
  • $1,000: Noreen Connor, East Greenbush

CAP COM Community Relations Manager, Amanda Goyer said, “We are thrilled to partner with the YWCA-GCR to help them continue to deliver crucial services that are life-changing for individuals in our Region. The YWCA’s programs create impact that last. They help women and children get back on their feet and stay on their feet so they can sustain a productive lifestyle. The longevity of the YWCA’s impact is so important, and one of the reasons why the CAP COM Cares Foundation feels so strongly about getting behind their mission.”


3 Small Changes That’ll Make You Sound Like a More Confident Leader

Having great communication skills, both oral and written, are a must-have skill in the workplace, no matter what industry you may work in.

The Muse has three, easy to pick up on, habits for you to integrate in your conversations at work that will make you a stronger leader.

Read the article here.

Model and Entrepreneur Karlie Kloss Shares the Importance of Always Learning

Did you know Karlie Kloss is not only a high-fashion model, but also an avid computer programmer? For years, there have been discussions on how to encourage young girls to take their interests in STEM and turn it into an eventual career and Karlie is doing her part to make that happen.

In April 2015, she partnered with Flatiron School and to offer a scholarship named Kode with Klossy[68] for young girls interested in computer science and software engineering. Every year, she also holds a two week long summer camp for girls ages 13 to 18 to learn all about software engineering.

Karlie sat down with Entrepreneur to discuss her life, her success, and what advice she would give to someone who is trying to start a business.

Read the article here.

It’s also not too late to buy your ticket to the Women’s Business Council’s next event,  “Taking Risks and Failing Forward.” on Tuesday, May 15th!

Buy your ticket to the program here.

Strategies for Women to Negotiate a Higher Salary

Discussing one’s salary has always been a tricky subject. According to The Payscale, two out of three women (68%) do not negotiate their pay compared to 52% of men.

The latest article from The Balance is giving you the complete rundown, from the gender pay gap, when to negotiate your salary and finally how to determine when a job offer is negotiable.

Read the article here.

On May 15th, the Women’s Business Council will be hosting their next event, titled “Taking Risks and Failing Forward.” This article is very fitting as asking for a raise is definitely a topic that falls under the “taking risks” category. By reading this article and attending the event, you’ll most likely feel more comfortable taking the risk and implementing these concepts into action in your life.

Buy your ticket to the program here.

Meet Angela Dixon, The Chamber’s New VP, Talent and Inclusion

From the desk of Dorothee Racette, Time Management and Productivity Coach for Take Back My Day. 

Interview with Angela S. Dixon, VP Talent & Inclusion – April 18, 2018

I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Angela Dixon, the new VP Talent & Inclusion at the Capital Region Chamber, to find out more about her newly created position and priorities for her first year. Angela is excited to work with the Women’s Business Council and looks forward to being a resource to Chamber members across the spectrum of workforce development and talent acquisition, including in diversity and inclusion initiatives. She previously worked for 11 years at the State Comptroller’s Office in the capacity of Deputy Comptroller of Human Resources and Administration and holds an MBA from the University of Albany.

Q: Can you give us some background about the newly created position of VP Talent & Inclusion?

Angela Dixon: The Capital Region Chamber’s mission is to be a unifying force for change, creating greater influence and opportunities for members and Capital Region communities. As such, the Chamber has both a focus and an interest in assisting its members with talent acquisition and workforce development strategies. Data shows that communities that are more diverse and inclusive have not only a competitive advantage but also are more prosperous, leading to more vibrant communities.  On matters of diversity and inclusion, we want to learn and grow with our members.

This focus shows up in a number of different ways including in the Capital Region Chamber’s 2017-2020 strategic plan.  The Chamber and its members recognize that key to success of the region’s businesses and continued growth is to have a diverse and inclusive workforce and community.

In October 2017, a member survey was conducted to assess what members were thinking and doing as it relates to diversity and inclusion. (See below for further details on the survey outcome). The Chamber also wanted to gauge what role it could take on to support this regional issue.  Based on survey findings, a number of actions were necessary to demonstrate the Chamber’s commitment beyond the survey.  One of those actions was to recruit a staff person dedicated to driving the effort.  This resulted in the Chamber creating the position of Vice President for Talent and Inclusion, signaling the importance of the role to the Chamber, its leadership and board.

In addition to the member survey, research was conducted to assess the business case for diversity.  Cities and regions that embrace diversity tend to do better economically. Companies in the top quartile for diversity are 35% more likely to financially outperform those in the bottom quartile.

Here are a few demographic developments that have a major impact on the call for greater diversity:

According to the latest U.S. census data:  13% of the US population is foreign born.  By 2055, the United States will not have a single racial or ethnic majority.  The 2015 Capital Region Statistical Report states that there was an 18-21% increase in Asian, Native American and Hispanic Origin populations from 2010-2014.

  • The millennial generation is the largest in the workforce
  • The LGBT community has emerged as a critical component to economic success, according to “Diversity and Inclusion for the 21st Century Economy: An Imperative for Chambers of Commerce.”
  • The Silver Tsunami is upon us – The Social Security Administrationestimates that 10,000 Americans are turning 65 every day.
  • The rate of unemployment of individuals with disabilities in our area alone is nearly 70% — these are members of our community who are often overlooked as a viable part of our workforce
  • Veterans who are returning to the workforce following years of military service provide employers access to some of the best trained and developed members of our workforce.

These data points represent opportunities as we attract a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Q:  In your mind, what are the benefits of diversity and inclusion?

Angela Dixon: Diversity and Inclusion is not just a goal or an add-on, it is integral to how we do business. It is about creating a welcoming and growing community, where everyone’s capabilities are recognized and used to the fullest extent. When new community residents who are excited about being here and want to put roots down in the community, we all win. It means that young professionals who want to return to the area or stay in the Capital Region can grow their careers and families. That helps to expand regional opportunities and is expressed in a shared pride in our community.

Q: What will be your highest priorities for the coming year?

Angela Dixon:

  • To be a resource to Chamber members across the spectrum of workforce development and talent acquisition strategies, including diversity and inclusion – identify and share best practices
  • Enhance awareness – provide continued cultural diversity training and implicit bias training for Chamber Staff, Board, Councils; important that we’re all speaking the same language
  • Continue work with various Capital Region communities – we are all in this together; continued outreach
  • Work internally with my colleagues on Chamber programming and activities to achieve greater diversity and inclusion across all programs

Q: What can the members of the Women’s Business Council do to help spread the word?

Angela Dixon:  I am really glad you asked that question. Diversity is not something that can simply be introduced. It is a deliberate effort on everyone’s part to step outside of their comfort zone and reach out to people that are currently not engaged.

Here are a few suggestions I have:

  • Continue your efforts to bring in thought leaders around diversity and inclusion; broaden the conversation and the audience
  • Make a personal commitment to do 1-3 things differently that advance diversity and inclusiveness
  • Understand the business implications and advantages to a more diverse and inclusive community
  • Share best practices – don’t reinvent the wheel; other Chambers and Chamber members have developed a road map for D&I; we have an opportunity to incorporate approaches and strategies that meet our specific needs

Appendix: Summarized outcomes of the diversity survey the Chamber conducted in 2017

  • 249 respondents:
    • 59% have a formal policy or commitment statement about D&I
    • 50% of companies that responded include D&I in their strategic plan
    • 39% have an individual who manages or directs D&I
  • Challenges in advancing D&I:
    • lack of diversity in talent pool (59%);
    • lack of time and resources (52%);
    • lack of training and internal expertise (20%);
    • lack of internal management support (7%).
    • Other issues included: staff retention, low turnover creating minimal opportunities for filling senior positions with diverse candidates; unconscious or implicit bias



Annual Women of Excellence Luncheon



Every year this is such an inspiring event. I personally find it fascinating to listen to the interviews with the person who nominated them.  It always seems that every woman has experienced a climb or pivotal moment in their career.  Get to know these women.

Come hear their stories at the Women of Excellence Luncheon Thursday, May 31Sign up here. 

Distinguished Career
Nancy Martin, GE (retired)

Excellence in the Professions
Gretchel Hathaway, Ph.D., Union College 

Excellence in Management
CMSgt Amy Giaquinto, New York National Guard 

Excellence in Business Development
Rayn Boncie, Things of My Very Own, Inc.  

Excellence in Business
Christina Wolfe Snyder, Wolfes Cleaning Services at The Falls

Emerging Professional
Gretchen Meyer, Gretchen Meyer Financial