For decades, there has been a struggle in the sporting industry that women’s sports do not get the same recognition, funding and respect that men’s sports do, even though they achieve the same if not more, success on the field.
Dick’s Sporting Good, one of the world’s largest sporting goods retailer, recently made an announcement that pledges their support in promoting women’s sports that can change the industry.
From the desk of Susan Zongrone, Chair of the Women’s Business Council and Relationship Manager, VP Key Private Bank
What does it mean to Elevate each other?
Happy New Year!
First, I would like to start out by saying I am honored to be the 2020 Chair for the Women’s Business Council. This organization has been part of my professional growth for well over nine years. I have developed life long friendships over the years. These women are the ones I can count on if I needed anything both personally and professionally. When my co-chair, Emily Light, and I sat down to plan for 2020, we decided to come up with a theme. The theme chosen is simply called Elevate.
This is what Elevate means to me and why it’s important to me. In 2019, I went through a tremendous, personal loss, a loss that will be with me forever, my mom. This was a very difficult time for me and my family. I paused for quite some time. As I reflected back during the two months of my mother being ill and then to her final resting place; I thought about what got me through this. What got me through is how my friends and colleagues elevated me on a daily basis. Without the kindness, words of encouragement, daily check ins, etc. I would not have been able to take the time to grieve. These people were my bright light. Everyone can be a bright light, make the commitment, consciously or not, to everyone you encounter.
This is why I chose Elevate for the Women’s Business Council 2020 theme.
I love to read books, not one particular genre, all types. Here are some things that I have learned from reading that truly embrace the theme to Elevate each other.
Lift while you climb. It’s important to bring people along with you on your career journey and to ask them to do the same.
Be a good listener. Listening is more than the act of not speaking.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. (Maya Angelou)
We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.(J.K. Rowling)
Believe, believe, and believe…….in yourself!
No matter where you are in the organization, you influence the culture. Even if it’s just one person you find who you can regularly speak kindly about, peer coach, help each other get better at your jobs… Whatever it is, whatever form the elevating is going to take, you create the possibility in that organization that this can happen.
The most important role that I have is being a mother. It’s ironic that I opened this blog about the loss of my mom and closing with being a mother. I have two beautiful, grown daughters that I want to be the best role model for. I encourage them to elevate each other, their friends and colleagues! They are my bright light.
Thank you, I look forward to working with all of you throughout the year!
Meet Caroline Bardwell, Proprietor of the Schenectady Trading Company! The Schenectady Trading Company is a store that “residents and visitors can find affordable goods that are created locally and also find items that are inspired by the area and its history – architecture, invention, electricity, locomotives, Erie Canal heritage, Dutch and indigenous origins, and the Mohawk River.”
When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?
This is a rare occasion, but I expect the heart of the question is to gauge where my interests lie. I might try to get out in nature, work on poetry or song lyrics, read some of a book, or try to organize my thoughts to prioritize my time. As a single mom of younger children and a new business owner, I am preoccupied with those demands. So right now, those 30 minutes might be spent scrolling through social media listening to original music from local bands whose albums I might want to carry in my store. Still enjoyable, but with an end goal in mind.
What do you love most about what you do?
Talking to people! I love the sense of community I am fostering here. When you distill the creative economy down to this level of focus – the immediate geography – it is a way to organize the chaos and noise into a more manageable group, where you can then start to see patterns and ultimately, the potential that may otherwise go overlooked. People crave a more personal and authentic experience and I think that is rooted in a sense of place. I have created a space where people can freely celebrate their love for this special city, whether they are born here, relocated here, or are just passing through. I believe that only good things can come out of that environment.
What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
1) That my value is not determined by the acceptance and approval of others; 2) That I don’t have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders; 3) That I don’t have to choose between being a scientist and being an artist; and 4) do not pick up that cigarette; it will take everything you have to quit.
What have you gained from being a member of the Women’s Business Council?
I am inspired and encouraged when I read about or meet other women with a can-do attitude who have the guts to take a chance on themselves and their ideas. Women are unique creatures and wired to be in community. We learn from and build on each other’s experiences.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Pray about it and don’t put limits on what God can accomplish through you.
Now in its 29th year, the Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon honors a select group of women for their success in business and their contributions to the community. If you know a colleague, community leader or friend who stands out for her professional and personal excellence, then nominate her today!
The relationship between the three organizations started when a team from CAP COM and a team from Jahnel met at a networking event and shared the philosophy of engaging their employees in giving back to the community. Both organizations shared insight on a recent business relationship they were both developing with SEAT, so they came together to help the organization in need.
CAP COM and Jahnel adopted 23 students through this collaborative initiative to provide gifts this season to SEAT. The organizations hosted a special holiday celebration on December 20, at SEAT, which included gift deliveries, and an ugly sweater party. (Photos attached). CAP COM Cares Foundation, the Jahnel Group, and SEAT are hoping to turn this into an annual holiday tradition.
“Giving back to our community is at the heart of CAP COM’s mission”, stated Amanda Goyer, Director of Community Engagement at CAP COM. “When we find partners like the Jahnel Group that share in this, we magnify our outreach in the community.”
“Jahnel Group is thrilled to partner with CAP COM and helps Schenectady’s SEAT Center this holiday season,” said James Murphy, Project Manager, from Jahnel Group. “We are extremely thankful for the CAP COM Cares Foundation, for taking the time to provide us valuable information about all of their programs to help us create our own vision for making an impact on the local community.”
“For many of our students, having happy memories of the holiday season may be a challenge. After a while they learn to not have expectations so there’s no disappointment,” said Jennifer Lawrence, Executive Director of Social Enterprise and Training (SEAT). “CAP COM and Jahnel Group’s partnership ensures that our students will have an enjoyable, brighter holiday, with new and lasting memories”.
CAP COM Cares Foundation was established by CAP COM Federal Credit Union in 2003 to nurture the community by supporting health and wellness programs; financial literacy and education initiatives; and causes that assist underprivileged families. Since its inception, the Foundation has donated over $4 million and over 35,000 volunteer hours to hundreds of organizations in the Capital Region. The CAP COM Cares Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
CAP COM Federal Credit Union is a member-owned financial institution based in New York’s Capital Region with more than $1.9 billion in assets and 11 branch locations. The credit union is member-driven and focused on superior service, convenient products and competitive rates that help members save money and make life just a little easier. CAP COM offers all the products and services you’d find at a typical financial institution. Visit http://www.capcomfcu.org to find out more. Federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.