“A woman baked cookies. She didn’t run marathons.”

No piece of modern health advice for both men and women is complete without the admonition to stay physically active. Experts now recommend 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activity for optimal health. Images of women in exercise gear are everywhere, and entire clothing lines and stores are dedicated to women’s exercise fashion.

A look at women’s history shows that this is a fairly recent development.

When Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb requested a spot to run in the 1966 Boston Marathon, her application was denied with a terse letter. “Women aren’t allowed, and furthermore are not physiologically able,” the director of the race informed her.

Gibb ended up running the race as an unregistered entrant and finished the marathon in a time of 3:21:40. A historic picture shows her running in a swimsuit and shorts. She wore boys running shoes because no commercial women’s running gear was available.

Gibb 1966 Boston Marathon Getty Images
Getty Images: Roberta Gibb in the 1966 Boston Marathon

“People don’t really understand it now,” Gibb said in an interview in 2016. “It was so unbelievable that a woman could run the Boston marathon. A woman baked cookies. She didn’t run marathons.”

Following the introduction of Title IX in 1972, a larger portion of athletic budgets on college campuses was spent on female sports. The policy change would eventually lead to a 600% increase in the number of women playing college sports.

With spring just around the corner, many more runners are hitting the streets for their spring training. As women of all ages put on sports gear tailored for our bodies, special exercise bras, and properly fitting shoes, we have a lot to be thankful for. Not just for our health and strength, but also for those who took down barriers and dared to be different.

Be A Part Of Whitney Young Health’s Legacy

Legacy Event Custom Logo

Every year, Whitney Young Health throws a fundraising dinner called the “Legacy Event.” It’s a chance for us to celebrate those who are making a positive impact on our community and it is also an opportunity to fundraise in support of our medical, dental and behavioral health services throughout the Capital Region.

This year’s Legacy Event will take place on Thursday, September 14th Revolution Hall in Troy from 5:30-8:30PM. Whitney Young Health wants this year to be our best year yet – so people have a fantastic time while raising more money than we have ever before, and we need your help!

We are looking to form an Event Committee – a group of professionals dedicated to Whitney Young Health’s mission who can collectively help us put on a successful Legacy Event. The Women’s Business Council is full of intelligent, hard-working, and dedicated women who we believe would be assets to our event. We are seeking an Event Committee Chair as well as 8-10 members to be a part of the committee.

Below are job descriptions for both. If you’re interested, please contact Kate Renna at krenna@wmyhealth.org or (518) 591-4472.

Event Committee Chair Job Description here

Event Committee Member Job Description here

Navigating Work-Life Integration as a First-Time Mom

Many of you know me as Ashley Jeffrey, or as of October 4, 2014 Ashley Jeffrey Bouck. I have been the Executive Director of Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region since 2012, and I love what I do! Besides adding on a new last name in the past few years, I proudly have added the title of  2017 WBC Chair.

I kicked off my year as WBC Chair a little bit differently than most chairs. I had my first child on November 27, 2016, so I was on maternity leave when my chairwomanship started. When I was asked by our previous Chair, Jen Regan, to be her Vice Chair last year, I told her my husband and I would be trying to get pregnant that year. But in true Lean In fashion, I didn’t want to count myself out of an amazing opportunity for something that hadn’t happened yet. The WBC was the first volunteer and networking council I joined when I became Executive Director of Girls Inc. It has given me so many opportunities to meet other like-minded professional women, provided countless resources and knowledge from our monthly programs, and introduced me to some of my now closest friends. The WBC has helped me grow not only professionally, but personally, too.

Now as I have added the title, and best job ever – MOM – I have new challenges that I know I can rely on the WBC to help me solve. The theme of Work-Life Balance is a constant topic for many events and programs, not only at the WBC, but all over the Capital Region and beyond. We have had panelists, like our most recent program in February, who share their wisdom of “how do you do it all”? We eagerly sit on the edges of our seats in anticipation that one of these times we will hear the most well kept secret, the silver bullet, on how to achieve Work-Life Balance. After all, before I had my daughter, I still could not figure it out! This is something that regardless if you are married, single, parent to human children or furry children, we all struggle with it. Then I heard a more realistic idea, and it’s what has helped relieve some of the stress of trying to achieve balance: Work-Life Integration.

The concept of Work-Life Integration was shared with me over lunch by my Board Chair when we were talking about the unattainable goal of Work-Life Balance. She had said to me, “With Work-Life Integration, you understand that there are some times that work may take up more hours of your day, and other times life may take up more hours of your day.” In a way, Work-Life Integration gave me permission to work long hours when we were busy with event season, and also permission to leave work for a few hours for a doctor appointment so I didn’t push it back. It allowed me to not feel guilty checking my email towards the end of my maternity leave to delete junk email, and also not feel guilty I can continue to work hard and also take care of me, which is what we all really want at the end of the day.

I’ve only been back to work for 3 weeks, and I wouldn’t have survived these three weeks without keeping this mindset of Work-Life Integration. I am also blessed to have a Mom Squad, many of whom I met through the WBC, who have given me the most invaluable mom hacks and are always there when I need to vent. Plus, they’ll go pump with you after our monthly programs in an empty room at the Desmond 😉

My daughter, Carmela Rose, and me the day of our last WBC Program, which was also Valentine’s Day.


Voices in the Crowd- Evolution of Women in Business- Advice from the Moderator and Panelists



Alissa M. Quinn- Moderator
Senior Vice President – Wealth Management
The Quinn Wealth Management Group at UBS Financial Services 

“My favorite question that the panel answered was how they balanced activism/feminism in helping create social equity. They shared how they have ‘earned the right to be at the table,’ and now ‘make sure their voices are heard,’ promoting equity for all.  The panelists stressed the importance of being good listeners and skillful negotiators, knowing your worth and not being afraid to ask for what you deserve.  Some pieces of advice that stood out most to me were ‘follow your passion,’ and ‘find something you love to do and do it!’ The panel suggested, don’t be afraid to try new roles, utilize your strengths, talents, and skills & continue professional training to make yourself more valuable.”

“The most important advice I would give to women in business is to set goals for yourself, write them down, have a plan, work hard, have the highest level of integrity, surround yourself with like-minded professionals, focus on your family and friends, stay connected, take care of yourself, give back to the community, have gratitude, be willing to ask for help, mentor others, and most of all, be your ‘authentic self.'”

“I have always lived by the motto, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’  I believe in developing personal and professional relationships, one at a time, and cherishing those relationships over time.  On our business team, our role is to learn how we can best help others actively plan for their entire lives.  What helps our team succeed is spending quality time understanding our clients’ concerns, hopes and dreams and partnering with them to develop customized plans to help them achieve their goals and objectives.”


The Panelists:

Paula Stopera – President & CEO of CAP COM Federal Credit Union

“‘Success doesn’t happen by chance, it happens by choice.’  This statement should be very thought provoking for all of us.  How do we define success and how do we achieve it?”

“The simple truth is that success does need to be defined for you to realize what it will mean to you.  There will be times when success may be starting a family while continuing your career.  It may be working towards a specific promotion.  Or it may be finding more time to spend with loved ones.  All of this requires one of the most important skills in your life and that is planning.  Nothing will happen without a well thought out plan.

“Be careful of allowing fear to cloud your path.  When you are facing fear in moving forward with your goals, list on a piece of paper the pros and cons of the decision or choice you are trying to make.  Many times the fears we terrorize ourselves with are self-imposed.  Think about that for a minute.  Setting realistic outcomes and time frames are also critical.  Planning for career and personal success is one of the most important things you can do to achieve success.  I wish you luck!”

“Find an organization that you have an interest and a passion for and get involved.  Learn about what they do in our communities and find one that will allow you to contribute to meaningful change.  This will help you to learn what is really of importance in your life and allow you to grow as a professional.  People that are passionate get noticed.  Don’t get involved in just anything and spread yourself too thin for a resume builder.  Find programs or organizations that allow for real and meaningful change and then get involved with your body, mind, and spirit.  This will help you to find a real and meaningful career!”

Marcia White – Former President and Executive Director of SPAC

“Learn when to jump in, and when to jump out. Learn to say ‘no’ more often, so you can be present in the moment as often as possible.”

“Don’t take negotiations personally. Focus on the goal, and be willing to be the last person standing. But if you want to be the only winner, you’re not going to win.”

“Have the courage to decide whether or not your current professional situation is something you want to do. If you’re not in a position you’re passionate about, you shouldn’t be there. Life is too short.”

“Realize your strengths. Find out who you are. Develop your own leadership style. You are not like anyone else.”

Joanne Kugler – Senior Executive, Global Operations and Integration at GE

“My career in IT helped me get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This really served me in both my professional and personal lives, because it helped me understand what I love, and what I don’t. So get comfortable with being uncomfortable: know what you love to do, and also know what you don’t love to do.”

“Influence a decision that you can walk out of there and support. The decision that prevails isn’t always going to be the decision you absolutely want.”

“When you’re feeling like you’re in survival mode, step back, think, and talk about what’s really important to you. Take a time out, make a list, and study where you’re spending your time.”

“Early in my career at GE, I thought I had to wear a tie to work because that’s what everyone else did. In a way, we all have ‘ties’ we think we need to wear in our professional lives. But that can be so limiting. Never stop growing your skills, your network, or your experiences. If you do that, then by default, you’re going to grow your courage. Don’t be afraid to ‘take your tie off.’”






Don’t Miss Out on the “Inclusion Revolution”

The Inclusion Revolution presenter, Sujata N. Chaudhry, Founder and Principal, Tangible Development LLC

Diversity inspires creativity.  Is it time for change in your workplace or organization? 

Join guest presenter, Sujata N. Chaudhry, Founder and Principal, Tangible Development LLC on March 14, 2017 from 11:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. as she discusses cognitive inclusion and diversity (CID).

What is cognitive inclusion and diversity? CID, or cognitive inclusion and diversity, goes beyond such visible aspects as race, ethnicity, gender, age and sexual orientation (compositional diversity).  It encompasses the diversity of thought and perspective each individual brings to the workplace (cognitive diversity).

Why is CID important? CID is important because Millennials are now the largest labor force and view cognitive inclusion and diversity as a necessary element for innovation and  71% more likely to focus on teamwork.

What are the benefits of CID? Embracing diversity and promoting inclusion in all its forms allows us to:

  •  Attract and retain top talent
  •  Better understand our clients
  •  Collaborate and perform at our highest levels, and
  •  Deliver the innovative solutions and value necessary to succeed in a complex interconnected world

How does the definition and implementation of CID differ between generations and business types? Older generations view diversity as a representation of fairness and protection  to all, regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation (the traditional view of diversity). Compared to the older generations, Millennials feel it’s unnecessary to downplay their differences but embrace them as a strategy for value creation and innovation. The implementation of CID can be unifying for all generations by retiring the generation gap.

Learn more about CID and how it can help you and your business at the WBC’s  March 14, 2017 program from 11:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Don’t miss out -register for the program today!

4 Best Things to Do With Your Tax Return

by Claudia Esguerra, CAP COM Federal Credit Union

For many of us who have recently graduated school (hooray for student loans) or are still in school (enjoy that deferment), tax season can be a happy time financially. Many people will get a substantial tax refund from the IRS. And more will squander that money before it has a chance to make it through one statement. Now I’m not saying stick it all under your mattress, but here are some ways to spend it responsibly and feel good about it.

1. Let it grow

Consider putting all of that money or part of it into a high-yield savings account. Instead of just holding on to it, why not let it grow while it’s sitting in your savings? Talk to us about the right fit for your financial situation.

2. Invest

If you’ve been waiting on an injection of extra cash to take the first step, consider this your investment window. Finding the right investment opportunity for you and your financial outlook is much easier to do if you’ve got the cash on hand. We can give you advice for starting your portfolio.

3. Pay it off

This one ties in closely to suggestion No. 1. If you’ve got a credit card or loan accruing more interest monthly than you would gain in a CD or similar account, consider paying that off. Take a look at your obligations, maybe one of them can be knocked out all at once with a portion of that tax refund. You’ll stop paying just to have that loan every month and will gain peace of mind.

4. Treat yo’ self

Seriously. While I don’t suggest you spend ALL of your extra money on a new wardrobe, you should spend some of it on yourself. You work hard on your budget, and (hopefully) by this point, have figured out a financially responsible way to spend a good chunk of that refund money. You’ll avoid budget burnout, and let’s face it, enjoy yourself.

Happy tax-refund season! Spend responsibly.

The Changing Face of the Workplace – Part One

Me and my son, Tyler, volunteering at YWCA-GCR during the 2016 Victorian Stroll

If you missed the February 14, 2017 WBC program, The Evolution of Women in Business, then you missed a good one. Moderated by Alissa QuinnSenior Vice President, UBS Financial Services, The Quinn Wealth Management Group, the three panelists, Joanne KuglerSenior Executive, Global Operations and Integration, GE, Paula A. StoperaPresident and CEO, CAP COM Federal Credit Union, and Marcia WhiteFormer  President, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Inc. each shared words of wisdom and advice from their many successes and illustrious careers. I left feeling empowered, bold, and ready to take on the world. Peppered throughout the conversation were statistics about working women in America. For me, one of the most thought-provoking topics that arose was the idea of job-hopping. It’s estimated that forty percent of America’s Baby Boomers will stay with their employer for more than 20 years, while ninety-one percent of Millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years – meaning they would hold 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their working lives.

The workforce is changing – younger and older generations (I happen to fall right in the middle as a Gen X) are facing new challenges and demands. We are all being asked to do more with less; needing to be adaptable, technologically savvy, and driven. But, it’s not just the workforce that is changing; businesses and organizations need to change as well to keep up with this new reality and to meet the needs of their employees. Research continues to show that money is not the number one motivating factor for happiness in employees (especially Millennials); instead, people want to know they are making a difference and are looking for creativity and flexibility in their workplaces. Companies and organizations that understand this will be able to recruit top-rate talent and keep them. Those that are not changing with the times are suffering and shuttering their doors.

Me and my two children, Riley (L) and Tyler (R), at YWCA-GCR Annual Resident Holiday Party

I learned this first-hand almost four years ago, when I began working at YWCA of the Greater Capital Region, Inc. My son was just barely two-months old when I received a job offer to become their new Director of Development and Marketing. I was eight-months pregnant when my position at a small, private school in the area was eliminated. I was undecided about returning to work as I was a typical nervous new mother and couldn’t imagine leaving him so soon. Every daycare I visited felt wrong and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Would I be like the forty-three percent of women leaving their careers (at least temporarily) when they realize that their old jobs do not allow them the flexibility to create true work-life-balance?

After receiving an offer from YWCA-GCR at the interview, I asked for some time to consider it, when the former Executive Director said to me offhandedly as I was leaving,

“You can bring your baby with you.”

“I can bring my what, where?” I stuttered.

“Here, you can bring your baby here. Your predecessor did so. In fact her office is still set-up. Check it out,” she said.

And I did. When I walked into the office, I saw a pack ‘n play, baby swing, high chair, and about a million toys. I called up my predecessor and off-the-record asked her about bringing the baby into work. The first question I asked her, which is by far-and-away the question I get asked the most was,

“So, can you actually get anything done with your baby there?”

She laughed and then assured me that she never had any trouble getting her work done. After asking her a million questions and stealing a precious hour out of her Saturday morning, I called YWCA-GCR back and accepted the position – and it was by and far the best decision I have ever made for myself personally or professionally. It turns out you really can get a lot done with an infant at work. I have learned to prioritize in a way that I never had before, and procrastination is no longer a word in my vocabulary. I now know how to delegate, and have finally learned that done is better than perfect, and sometimes good enough is good enough. Plus when it comes to fundraising, bringing a baby to a meeting is a sure-fire way to get a yes, just ask some of our sponsors. My son is now three-and-a-half and is happy in full-time preschool and my infant daughter has taken over his position in my office.

YWCA-GCR gets it, especially as a nonprofit. They cannot afford to pay huge salaries, but they more than make up for it with flexibility and some of the most progressive family-friendly policies around. They are consistently able to attract top talent, and are asked to let people know when they have an opening – which happens very rarely as staff is so happy, there is extremely low turnover. Besides happiness, their policies allow their staff to be more productive as well. This week is winter break for most of the local schools. I am sure that many offices in the area are partially empty because their employees had to take the week off from work or are frazzled and stressed after cobbling together last-minute childcare. In contrast, my office is full, not just with workers, but with children playing in the computer lab and concocting elaborate games of hide and seek throughout the building. While I know that bringing children into the office is not an option for all workplaces, I think many more could make this option a reality if they were willing to let go of the notion of the old traditional workplace and worker.

Be sure to check out part two on starting your own business and working from home of this three part series which will be posted soon. And stay tuned for part three on the skills students need to learn today to succeed in the nontraditional workplaces of the future.