Member Spotlight: Renee Purcell, True Synergy Coaching

To further promote women, minorities, and veterans who are leading the way in our community, we are featuring Chamber member businesses that fall under these categories. This week, meet Renee Purcell of True Synergy Coaching and see how she responds to our Member Spotlight questions.

Renee started True Synergy Coaching in 2016 after many years of hard-earned success in her career as a nurse and educator. She had been pursuing a PhD in nursing while juggling the demands of two small children and a busy husband when she started to wonder if she was on the right path.

Renee was feeling burnt-out and unfulfilled, and she realized that what she was doing in the world was very different than who she was as a person. She had a breakthrough through the most surprising of places—the hula hoop.

The fun and child-like play of the hula hoop allowed Renee to release mental layers and tap into her true inner-self. In this way, the hula hoop became a tool for empowerment and a way to harness the immense amount of energy that comes with living an authentic life.

Renee has crafted a specific technique for harnessing this empowering, freeing energy of the hula hoop, which she calls “Synergy Tools.” In each coaching session, Renee uses these Synergy Tools to lead individuals or groups through a 90-minute exploration of joy and physicality, leading you to access your own power.

Renee specializes in working with ambitious, successful women who have given everything to their careers and families, but are still left feeling unsatisfied in some way. What truly makes Renee stand out from others is her heart-centered approach; she says that love is the most important part of her work. By infusing every aspect of her business with love, Renee is able to guide her clients in a safe and impactful way.

Read Renee’s responses to our Member Spotlight Questions below:

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

I lay down! I take a nap and try to sleep. Too often we don’t allow ourselves to just take a break and enjoy rest. The glorification of busy-ness takes a toll on our health.

What do you love most about what you do?

Seeing people have their “aha” moment of connection. I get to watch someone’s awareness shift right before my eyes, and all because I held a space for them, gave love, and offered an insight. Watching you become you is very spiritual, profound, and beautiful. It’s watching life unfold.

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

I want to say so many things. First, love yourself. You’re beautiful, you’re worthy. I would also say to the 13 year old me to live boldly. We only get to live once, make it count. Shine your beautiful light for all to see. Live authentically and without regret.

What have you gained from being a member of the Women’s Business Council?

Being a member of the Women’s Business Council has been an inspiration for me. In this group, we let other peoples’ success be our empowerment. We celebrate each other and lift each other up.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

The best advice I ever received was from my father-in-law. He told me to find what makes you happy and do that. Then, if possible, make money from it. But first, be happy.

You can find more information about Renee and True Synergy Coaching at: https://truesynergycoaching.com/

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

From the desk of Tabetha Zostant, Project Manager and Business Development of Northern Rivers Family of Services

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Throughout this month and all year long, be an ally by believing supporters and spreading awareness. Domestic Violence is prevalent in every community and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. 

Raising awareness about domestic violence is vital, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. While social distancing may prevent the spread of COVID-19, staying home may not be the safest option for many. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic devastation, disconnected many from community resources and support systems, and created widespread uncertainty.  These conditions may stimulate violence in families where it didn’t exist before, and worsen situations in homes where mistreatment and violence have been a problem.

Preventive measures used to control COVID-19 may limit access to resources and connections that one used to rely on for support or provide a healthy outlet to decompress.

Here’s how COVID-19 could uniquely impact intimate partner violence survivors:

  • Abusive partners may withhold necessary items, such as hand sanitizer or disinfectants.
  • Abusive partners may share misinformation about the pandemic to control or frighten survivors, or to prevent them from seeking appropriate medical attention if they have symptoms.
  • Abusive partners may withhold insurance cards, threaten to cancel insurance, or prevent survivors from seeking medical attention if they need it.
  • Programs that serve survivors may be significantly impacted –- shelters may be full or may even stop intakes altogether. Survivors may also fear entering shelter because of being in close quarters with groups of people.
  • Survivors who are older or have chronic heart or lung conditions may be at increased risk in public places where they would typically get support, like shelters, counseling centers, or courthouses.
  • Travel restrictions may impact a survivor’s escape or safety plan – it may not be safe for them to use public transportation or fly.
  • An abusive partner may feel more justified and escalate their isolation tactics.

If any of the above sounds like they may be happening to you or someone you love, here are a few suggestions for survivors that may make this uncertain time feel a little bit safer:

  • Create a safety Plan
  • Practice Self-Care
  • Reach out for help
  • Stay Connected with friends and families
  • Get help in an emergency

Support Options

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7  
    • Call: 1-800-799-7233
    • Text: LOVEIS to 22522
    • Or  Chat
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline
    • 1-800-656-4673
    • or Chat
  • StrongHearts Native Helpline
    • Call: 844-762-8483
    • or Chat
  • New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    • Hotline NYS: 1 (800) 942-6906
    • Hotline NYC: 1 (800) 621-4673
    • Website: www.nyscadv.org

CAP COM Cares Foundation Thanks Members and Sponsors for Participation in “Golfing Alone Together” Fundraiser

From the desk of Kate Fruscione, Public Relations Strategist at Cap Com Federal Credit Union

Golf Sponsorship

We here at CAP COM Federal Credit Union would like to share the happy news that our charitable giving arm, the CAP COM Cares Foundation, has successfully concluded a reimagined fundraiser in lieu of our annual in-person charity golf tournament.

“Golfing Alone Together” sponsors participated in special outings on their own, all while pledging to financially support the cancelled in person tournament, previously scheduled for early June at Saratoga National Golf Club. The campaign raised over $60,000 for the CAP COM Cares Foundation, to support the Foundations year-round giving to more than 100 local organizations.

CAP COM extends an enormous “Thank You” to top sponsors, CUNA Mutual Group, Harland Clarke, Lecce & Arcodia, attorneys at law, and WorldPay.

The Credit Union received additional sponsorship support from Accent Commercial Furniture, BBL, Bond Schoeneck & King, Brown & Brown of New York, Bruno Associates, CDPHP, Commission on Economic Opportunity, Elite Capital Management Group, Fidelity National Title Group, Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp., HVCC Foundation, Kerr DeVoe, Northeast Health Foundation, Overit Media, PNJ Technology Partners, Trinity Realty Group, Universal Sharing Network, WCGS Architects, Whittaker Appraisal Group, PLLC.

These sponsors and more are recognized on tee-signs outside CAP COM FCU Headquarters (4 Winners Circle, Albany 12205) through October 13, 2020. 

“The CAP COM Family of Companies offers their sincere gratitude to the 2020 sponsors, for their commitment to the CAP COM Cares Foundation and the community”, stated Chris McKenna, President and CEO, CAP COM. “Now more than ever, especially during these times of uncertainty and mid-pandemic, we thank all our partners who make it possible for the Foundation to continue to improve the lives of families in the Capital Region.”

“The virtual outing helped make a difference for the lives of many families in the Capital Region”, stated Jeff Koss, Vice President, Sales, CUNA Mutual Group. “The support the CAP COM Cares Foundation provides makes a big difference and it was rewarding to contribute to an event that support programs like Coats for Kids, Backpacks and Thanksgiving ‘Sharing The Harvest’. We’re proud to support CAP COM’s efforts.”

To learn more about the CAP COM Cares Foundation, visit: https://www.capcomfcu.org/community/ .

Five Civic-Minded Things You Can Easily Do

By: Karen Lombardo

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Time is such a relative term. Time can pass so quickly when you are having fun, and so slowly when waiting for a change. It has been 194 days since the March 11th announcement and national declaration of the pandemic. Depending on your situation, this time has been challenging. I volunteered to quarantine for two weeks after driving my son to the University of Alabama. Two weeks is a long time, and, in that period, I was the fortunate recipient of many acts of kindness from a late afternoon coffee run to the delivery of much-needed groceries. Do we realize we have a civic duty? The consensus defines civic-minded as “A person interested and cares about what is happening in their community. A person who carries out this concern for the betterment of the community public.” Think about it for just a second and ask yourself, am I a good member of my community? Do I think about others and honestly assess if I could be giving back to build a more vital home and neighborhood for my family and friends? Have I sat down and created a goal for community involvement? 

Suppose your answers are predominantly ‘no.’ No worries. We have some thoughts to send you on your way to being civic-minded. 

Five civic-minded things you can easily do for your community: 

  1. Register to vote.
    The U.S. government has a site and page dedicated to voter information. Visit https://www.usa.gov/election-day to find out more. The rules vary from state to state and are run by the states themselves. Some can vary by county or town within a state. Ironically, no two states are the same. In New York, you can register online at https://www.ny.gov/services/register-vote . The New York State Board of Elections has a webpage to address absentee ballots: https://www.elections.ny.gov/votingabsentee.html . Please use this link to complete the application for a New York Absentee ballot.
  2. Visit your local farmer’s market.
    Cool spring Saturday’s turn into warm summer morning at the local farmer’s market. As summer turns to fall, we visit the local markets a little less, and winter rarely gets us out. Our local farmers continue to provide fresh produce, meats, eggs, cheeses, and spectacular baked goods for any sized family. Continue to support your local farmer’s markets. The USDA keeps a self-reported, searchable database of farmer’s markets that allows people to search by zip code/state, products available, payment accepted, and type of area.
  3. Support a local nonprofit.
    There are numerous nonprofits in the capital region and surrounding counties. The WBC Adopted Nonprofit for 2020 is The Food Pantries for the Capital District. In a spirit of cooperation, The Food Pantries for the Capital District believes we can do more together than any one of us can alone. The Food Pantries is a coalition of more than 65 food pantries in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties. The Food Pantries’ vision is to end hunger in the Capital Region. Last year, their member pantries provided approximately 57,853 individuals with enough food for more than 3.2 million meals. Yet with more than 89,000 people (including 27,000 children) affected by food insecurity in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties, there is more work to be done.
  4. Help a neighbor.
    As simple as this sounds, reach out and help a neighbor. The leaves will soon be falling, and some elderly homeowners struggle with the clean-up. Grab a leaf blower or an old-fashioned rake and lend a hand!
  5. Volunteer for holiday duty.
    The nonprofit organizations are hurting. They are stretched to the end with funds and resources. With the holidays quickly approaching, the need will be more significant for food, supplies, and holiday gifts. Donate your time to serve holiday meals, volunteer at a shelter, and of course, donations are always accepted. 

How can you help? 
Commuting time has been reduced or eliminated, and the absence of an abundance of social engagements affords us some time to investigate being a little more civic-minded. Give a try. Start slowly, and you will be hooked. Supporting your community is inspiring! 

Interested in learning more about the Women’s Business Council and volunteer opportunities, E-mail Marna Redding mredding@capitalregionchamber.com or call 518.431.1421 to learn more!

Sign-Up for the September Virtual Event Featuring Past Women of Excellence Honorees

Success through Perseverance: Learning from Women of Excellence Honorees

Event: Success through Perseverance: Learning from Women of Excellence Honorees

When: Tuesday, September 15th from 11:30am – 1:00pm

The road to success is filled with distractions, difficulties, obstacles, and discouragements. Learn from Women of Excellence recipients about how they persevered to their successes.

Join our moderator Dawn Abbuhl, President, Repeat Business Systems as she engages Daquetta Jones, Deputy Commissioner for Administration, NYS Department of Civil Service; Suzie Mookherjee, Cardiologist, Albany Medical Center, and Sabrina Mosseau, Executive Director, New York Oncology Hematology for an armchair discussion that will reinforce the concept that nothing in life is a straight line.

P.S. Please note, the $15 fee for this event is for all members, regardless of your membership level in light of COVID-19. We appreciate your understanding.

To register, please visit HERE!

Member Spotlight: Amy Aldrich, State Farm Insurance Agent

To further promote women, minorities, and veterans who are leading the way in our community, we are featuring Chamber member businesses that fall under these categories. This week, meet Amy Aldrich, an Insurance Agent through State Farm.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

“With a very active 19 and 17 year old, I haven’t had many 30 minute blocks of free, me time in decades. When I do occasionally find that window, I am overwhelmed with the conundrum of choosing between so many great options: do I watch a movie, do I exercise, do I take a nap, do I meditate, do I eat ice cream???? What should I do???? It takes me 12 minutes to decide. Then I thoroughly enjoy the other 18.”

What do you love most about what you do?

“I love helping customers and community members find solutions to their needs, whether it is protecting their family, or meeting someone who can help them achieve their goals. I love getting to know people; their joys and their struggles. I thoroughly enjoy connecting dots – whether matching needs to solutions, finding out who is related to whom, or learning something new from my last conversation with someone.”

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

“Don’t look too hard for your passion. It will find you, its due time, if you are open to it. Always conduct yourself with Grace. Always treat others with respect and kindness, and meet them where they are. You never know what is going on behind their scenes.”

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“The best advice I ever received was how to shake hands from my dad. I can’t tell you how many people have commented on my handshake over the years. Many people – especially men, give you instant respect when you shake their hand firmly and look them in the eye. Hopefully, we will get to do this again soon.”

Virtually Attend Bold in Business 2020

We invite you to join the Women’s Business Council for Bold in Business on October 2, which is going virtual this year!

Our featured speaker is Beth Comstock, author of Imagine it Forward, a candid and personal book that details lessons from her nearly thirty-year career at GE.

Comstock will offer practical advice about how to find the courage to defy convention (and company gatekeepers), the resilience to overcome failure, and the creativity to reinvent what is possible. All participants will also receive a copy of the book!

To register, please visit https://lnkd.in/eWbzj2y#wbcvoice#womeninbusiness#imagineitforward

5 things I learned from my (home) office mate

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner Put Another Way

If you are like most people, the pandemic has skewed your sense of date and time. WebMD posted an article on May 7, 2020, titled, Today is Blursday: How Lockdown Warps Time. The author, Brenda Goodman, MA, hits the nail on the head:

If it feels like all your internal clocks are melting as your stay-at-home days drone on, you are not alone. Researchers say that people in various levels of COVID-19 lockdown around the world are reporting a distorted sense of time.

Some people say they feel as if their days are sped up and flying by, while others sense that time has slowed to a crawl. An event that happened just weeks ago feels like something that happened years ago. Read more

It doesn’t seem to affect my (home) office mate.

I think we could all use a little bit of levity. In full disclosure, Izzy is my 13-year-old Pug. She is deaf and blind, yet loyal and loving. Zoom is our meeting place of choice, and I am one of those people who thoroughly enjoy seeing my clients and colleagues in their home, with a droopy dog’s face on the desk, a naked little boy streaking past an office door (true story), and a Roll Tide banner in the background.

Izzy is unfazed by this change in our work and social lives. She is teaching me a lesson without saying a word. Here are 5 things I learned from my (home) office mate Izzy:

  1. Keep a schedule. Izzy has a plan, ok, it is an eating schedule none-the-less. She is religious about snack time, lunchtime, and dinner/quitting time. We should do the same. If you were at work, you would eat lunch at the same time, take a walk. Please do it. What’s stopping you?
  2. Order, not chaos. Pugs are very peaceful but creatures of habit. Izzy fluffs her blankets in the morning and settles in for a good day’s ‘work.’ Enter your home working space as if you just arrived at your ‘normal’ office. Set yourself up for the day and begin. Don’t overthink it, just be.

Are you getting the message?

  • Take a break. Nature calls, and Izzy soaks up the sun for a few extra minutes. She senses a nearby bunny rabbit but dismisses the thought of expending the energy. Izzy need creates a break for me too. The weather is lovely here in the Capital District, so take that extra moment to get some sunshine. You don’t need Izzy to enjoy the fresh air.
  • Huddle up. Izzy is my only office mate, but years ago, I had two poodles, Nikki and Sukki. They were buds, and after they ‘did their thing’ separately, they huddled up and together found peace and relaxation in that small dog bed. My version? I have a squad. Yup, Rita, Sabrina, and Lauren. We keep each other up and running, virtual hugging when needed, and a lifeline when things get crazy. Find your squad and huddle up. You will be better for it.
  • Take a vacation/staycation. Izzy is retired, so the vacation option does not apply, but I am telling you, time off comes in many shapes and is beneficial. As mentioned before, take a walk. Read a good book on your front porch, deck, or lazy chair and choose a book that will ‘take you away’ for a while. Email me, and I will share some great titles with you.

I hope this post made you smile. The picture you see is Izzy in all her glory. Let’s be a little more like an office mate some days, and the boss will be happier, healthier, and more productive.

Karen Lombardo is the founder of Put Another Way LLC. Karen has been creating websites and relevant content for businesses for over a decade. The company culture is relaxed, our office mate is an old Pug named Izzy, and our philosophy is to listen first, create later.

Member Spotlight: Becky Daniels, Director of Community Engagement of CAP COM Federal Credit Union

Becky Daniels recently joined the team at CAP COM Federal Credit Union as the Director of Community Engagement, overseeing the areas of community impact, public relations and business development. Prior to CAP COM, Becky served as the first Executive Director of Discover Schenectady, the tourism promotion agency for Schenectady County, founded in 2016.

Outside of work, Becky is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Schenectady City School District Education Foundation, a member of the NextGen Committee for the Albany Symphony Orchestra, serves on event committees for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Ellis Hospital and is a proud founding member of the Palette Café community and sustaining member of the Junior League of Albany. She currently lives in Schenectady with her beloved rescue dog, Izzie.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

When the weather is nice, I like to take my dog for a walk and soak up some sunshine. If outdoors isn’t in the cards, though, I often opt for a quick yoga flow. And if I’m craving some stillness, I’ll grab a book or take a mental break with an episode of Friends or Schitt’s Creek. 

What do you love most about what you do?

While I’m only about a month in to my new role at CAP COM, I can already tell you that I love the people I work with! The teamwork and collaboration that I get to be a part of is absolutely amazing – particularly in the age we’re in of working remotely. No matter the project, it has been amazing to see how our people and teams come together for the benefit of our members and our community. 

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

I would tell myself to trust the process and your experiences! I could never have imagined the twists and turns of my life, but each one of them, happy or sad, has led me to a really wonderful place. At the time, I’m sure I would have fast-forwarded through some of the tougher times, but they have made me who I am today, and I would not trade any of it. I would also add to slow down and savor the journey- the older I get, the faster time seems to move!

What have you gained from being a member of the Women’s Business Council?

I love connecting with other women! I am a firm believer that we learn best from the experiences of others and I have gained so much great knowledge, insight and confidence from many of the women I’ve connected with or seen present at WBC programming. It’s vital, as women, that we all take time to learn from each other and lift one another up– and the WBC is a fantastic outlet for that! 

What is the best advice you have ever received?

You cannot pour from an empty cup! I have re-learned this lesson time and again, but it is so important to ensure we are confident stewards of our own mental and physical health. Weathering the tough times that life throws at all of us is so much easier when we have a good relationship with ourselves and cultivate the tools we need to overcome challenges.

Member Spotlight: Megan Baker, Founder, CEO & President of Baker Public Relations

To further promote women, minorities, and veterans who are leading the way in our community, we are featuring Chamber member businesses that fall under these categories.

This week, meet Megan Baker, Founder, President & CEO of Baker Public Relations. “Located in Albany, New York and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Baker Public Relations, a New York State Certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE), is committed to providing the highest level of personalized service to its clients since its inception in 2007.” Their creative public relations and marketing campaigns tackle the challenges of an ever-changing media and social landscape.

Megan herself has been a communicator for more than 20 years and specializes in developing and leading media training programs for high level CEOs and executives, using her skills honed as a reporter to prepare clients for live events and aggressive media questioning

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

“Self-care is most important. When I have 30 minutes of free time, which is usually early morning before my kids wake, I meditate outside in my backyard next to my Koi pond. The sound of the waterfalls soothes me and helps to set the tone for the day. During the winter months, I make use of my sunroom where I can sit and focus on breathing and do some light stretching.”

What do you love most about what you do?

“I am a people person. What I love most about being an entrepreneur and communications professional is nurturing and growing a team, working with organizations and brands to help meet business goals and objectives, building long-term relationships in the community and mentoring young women. I also enjoy supporting my team professionally and personally. When they’re happy and find what they do meaningful, it brings me great satisfaction. I also enjoy sharing individual stories and am happy to be doing this through a video podcast series we launched over a year ago at Baker Public Relations called InfluenceHER. It’s a platform for women in our local communities to share stories about success, failure, overcoming obstacles, etc.”

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

“What I would most like to tell myself at the age of 13 is to have confidence in who you are. I have four beautiful daughters and a son and I worry so much about what we/society are exposing them to at such a young age. In other words, don’t get wrapped up in what you look like, your shape or what you have, but build strong relationships and enjoy being a kid. Get dirty, feel the earth beneath your feet and don’t sweat the small stuff. Laugh and explore as much as possible.”

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is to never take no for an answer. This advice came from my mom who spent years in sales in a male-dominated industry. It’s something that helped me as a young broadcast news reporter and anchor and translated to private business. Persistence is important and there’s always a way to reframe what you’re asking for. Sure, I’ve failed, but it made me work harder. Rejection happens and not everyone is going to cheer you on and that’s quite alright. It provides you a new opportunity to refocus on moving toward your goals.”