5 Things About Chaos

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

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On Tuesday, I attended the Women’s Business Council program, If You Don’t Manage Your Chaos, Your Chaos Will Manage You with Melissa Cook, Catharine Potvin, Tracy Slocum & Matt Phelps.  It was informative, eye opening and prompted some serious soul searching.

I feverishly took notes on my phone and I would like to share 5 quick thoughts on chaos, managing chaos, and living with chaos in your life.

Ask the question: Are you productive busy or chaos busy?

Great question because there is a difference. Productive busy is not always a bad thing and often times is short lived. Chaos busy? Not so much. Answer the question first and then look to examine the ways to manage or lessen your chaos. Great quote from the speakers: Every hour of planning saves 4 hours of execution. Write it down! Too much in your head? Prioritize it.

Delegation: Friend or foe?

Delegation can be a fruitful tool to manage chaos and allow you to be more productive. The speakers and the audience’s questions addressed delegation and empowerment. Many of us, myself included, are control people, (note I did not say freaks), and know we need to get things done via delegation…but for some reason, we need to get it done our way. That’s not a good thing and we know it. Teach. Empower. Let go. Try it, it can be cathartic and remember most times there is a better way.

Just say no.

Why is that so difficult? We take on more than we can do; we promise to get it done in warp speed; oh, and we charge what we think the client wants to pay. Just this morning, I had a friend say, it is only a good deal if it is good for both of you, not just the client. Just say no or maybe often an alternative.


Yes, I know, we all agree we need to communicate effectively but communication crosses multiple channels such as email, text, and face to face discussions. Communication should be consistent and simple. Focus on the topic at hand and do not creep into other topics or issues. Schedule another time for those topics.

Lists and wine.

Two great tools that do not necessarily go hand in hand. Make lists in whatever method you choose whether it is paper or electronic. There is a great deal of satisfaction that occurs when you cross off or check off a completed task.

If all else fails and you have tried everything imaginable, turn to a temporary vice such as a glass of wine. This option was quite popular during the luncheon! Vices come in many forms and afford us the luxury of shutting off while we heal our chaotic brains. I prefer a beautifully crafted cappuccino in the afternoon. Do you believe that? Nah! Wine is good.

Happy organizing!

The WBC events are very informative, empowering, and collaborative. Don’t miss out on these events.


MARNA S. REDDING | Vice President, Member Services | mredding@capitalregionchamber.com



Paula Stopera, Women of Excellence, Distinguished Career

Paula Stopera is a Woman of Excellence on Thursday, March 7, 2019, at CAP COM headquarters in Colonie, N.Y. (Cindy Schultz for the Times Union)

What is one thing that has inspired you in life that you think might have led you to be named a Women of Excellence?

One of the things that has inspired me in my career is my passion for people.  I am one of those people that love people from all walks of life and I enjoy getting to know people and then finding something out about them that I can help to become a reality for them.  I have loved mentoring young adults and helping them to build guiding principles for their own success.  Helping young women in the workplace to find the balance between work, relationships and raising our families.  I have loved finding the best in people and then helping them find success…I think my passion and connections with people have allowed for dreams to come true, people to succeed and business to reach levels others only read about in books.  I dreamed and delivered!

Sign up for the 28th annual Women of Excellence luncheon on May 30th here.

For more information:

Email Debbie: derck@capitalregionchamber.com 

Christopher McKenna Becomes Cap Com’s President/CEO

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

CAP COM Federal Credit Union announced earlier this year that Paula Stopera, the credit union’s longstanding President/CEO, would retire this spring. Christopher McKenna, a member of the credit union’s leadership team, was named her successor. He has assumed the role of President/CEO.

Most recently, Chris served as Executive Vice President for the organization. Prior to that, he was Chief Lending Officer of its mortgage subsidiary, Homeowners Advantage.

“The future looks bright and under Chris’ leadership, we will continue to make service to members and outreach to the community hallmarks of our credit union. We are grateful to Paula for devoting her 39-year career to serving others, while overseeing a period of tremendous growth at CAP COM,” said Board Chairman, Ed Gilligan. “We know Chris will lead us forward by reinforcing the importance of superior service. Helping members flourish with a blend of human interaction and technology will continue to be top priorities.”

Chris McKenna grew up in Peekskill, NY and attended the University at Albany. After graduating, he worked in New York City then returned to the Capital Region to continue his career. Since 1990, Chris has been active in financial services. Prior to coming to CAP COM, he was 50% owner in a mortgage company that served credit union members across New York and Florida.

Chris joined CAP COM in 2010, when the credit union acquired his mortgage company. Under Chris’s leadership as Chief Lending Officer, CAP COM’s mortgage subsidiary, Homeowners Advantage, has written $2.5 billion in mortgage loans. It is now the fourth largest residential mortgage provider in the Capital Region.

In January of 2018, Chris was promoted to Executive Vice President. Under Chris’s leadership in that role, CAP COM implemented its largest technology transformation in 20 years. The credit union’s core system was rebuilt to improve efficiency and position CAP COM to provide new services in the future. This major, year-long undertaking involved virtually every department, and is one of the credit union’s notable successes.

Kat Koppett – Woman of Excellence, Excellence in Business

Kat Koppett is a Woman of Excellence on Thursday, March 7, 2019, at CAP COM headquarters in Colonie, N.Y. (Cindy Schultz for the Times Union)

Kat Koppett talks about the turning point for her in her life that lead her to be named a 2019 Woman of Excellence:

In my early 20’s, I was temporarily paralyzed. Rather than pounding the pavement looking for work in New York, I found myself back in California at my parent’s house re-learning how to walk. Voices warred inside my head. I needed to get back! I was missing my life! I was an actor; I loved NY. I had been defined in my own mind – and the mind of most of the people I knew  – by that place and that vocation – for as long as I could remember. 
But secretly, in my heart, something else whispered. I was relieved. I had an out. Now, all I had to do was learn to walk. No need to audition. No need to find a crappy day job. No need to send out hundreds of pictures and resumes no one would ever open. Or to do free jobs in terrible shows to be maybe “seen”. 
Secretly, I hated auditioning. I wasn’t even sure I liked acting. I loved being part of a community that valued intimacy and expressiveness and collaboration and human connection. I loved telling stories and commanding attention. But I hated being judged on my looks, and being told I wasn’t … pretty enough, tall enough, old enough, blond enough, dark enough, ethnic enough. I hated spending 90% of my time competing for jobs so someone else could give me permission to do what I loved doing. I didn’t love being physically uncomfortable on location in service of selling insurance. 
I didn’t quit then. I wasn’t courageous enough. But the seed was planted. My illness literally forced me to stop and assess at a time when my impulse would have been double-down full speed ahead and ignore my inner voices.  Eventually, I chose to go to graduate school in Organizational Psychology and grow the applied side of my theatre and improv work, which is what led me here today. 
In improv, we talk about “Mistakes as gifts” I suppose you could say I could attribute being named a Woman of Excellence today to gifts I was given in the “mistake” of my illness.

Sign up for the 28th annual Women of Excellence luncheon on May 30th here.

For more information:

Email Debbie: derck@capitalregionchamber.com 

Experience American Milestones with the Albany Symphony

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Experience the beauty and artistry of the Albany Symphony at the American Music Festival: Sing Out! New York, a bold weekend-long festival of innovative concerts, NEW music, and artistic happenings around Troy, NY.

Sing Out! New York embodies a “revolutionary spirit.” while celebrating and exploring key American milestones —the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment, celebrating the passage of women’s right to vote and the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a definitive moment in the LGBTQ rights movement.

Hear thrilling new works come to life and witness for yourself how the Albany Symphony and Grammy®-winning Maestro David Alan Miller are reshaping America’s musical landscape.

The Festival runs from May 30th to June 2nd in Troy, NY. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony will also be featured during our Sing Out! New York Tour: June 6 – June 9 (multiple locations).

Get more information on this FREE event here.


Janine Robitaille – Woman of Excellence, Excellence in Management

Janine Robitaille is a Woman of Excellence on Thursday, March 7, 2019, at CAP COM headquarters in Colonie, N.Y. (Cindy Schultz for the Times Union)

What is one thing that has inspired you in life that you think might have led you to be named a Women of Excellence?

“When I first started as Executive Director at IPH, we were a small organization with limited staff.  There was much to learn, but my biggest lesson was in humility.  The organization needed help, and I quickly learned that there were many people available for support if I just reached out.  Over the years, I have remained humble and honest with funders, the community, and my staff.  Recognizing limitations is just as important as recognizing strengths, and doing both has allowed me to establish and nurture supportive professional relationships that have helped my agency and myself, as an individual, continue to grow and achieve great success.”

Sign up for the 28th annual Women of Excellence luncheon on May 30th here.

For more information:

Email Debbie: derck@capitalregionchamber.com 

5 Things or Reasons For Coffee

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

People who know me know that I love coffee to a fault, and I will meet with anyone over a cup of it. Why? Because coffee is a binding agent even if you don’t drink it. OK, you’re a tea person. I don’t judge but meet for 30 minutes and let’s chat…and collaborate.

Here are 5 reasons why you should meet over a cup of Joe:

Coffee is great. Nothing more to add.

Coffee meetings are minimally invasive. Yet, you would be surprised what you can learn about someone or their business over a piping hot cappuccino. The world is small and sitting with someone face-to-face engages something in us that sparks the formation of a relationship.

Coffee is not intimidating or threatening. Years ago, when I was in sales and I would take a client to lunch, I always waited until coffee and dessert were served before talking about business. After a spectacular NYC lunch, we were ready to chat over coffee. Even billing discussions seemed less intimidating over coffee.

Coffee is for learning. Use coffee time to train someone on your new product or meet and discuss a new project. Collaborate!

Coffee is soothing. Whether iced or hot, mocha or doppio, I have done my best thinking over coffee. Truth be told, I bring coffee to the gym at 5am to kick start the process!

Let’s make a deal. Why don’t we all reach out to someone that we have wanted to learn more about or do business with and invite them for coffee. Rest assured it is worth your time and hey, you never know what it will bring!