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!


Voices in the Crowd – Call for Entries

It takes courage to take a stand. For this year’s Voices in the Crowd, we are Rising Against the Tide. We will hear encouraging stories of people who used their voice to make an impact. Inspired by Moth Radio, the Women’s Business Council invites you to be captivated by true stories of courage that exist in our community.

Hear short, live stories presented by “story tellers” who will connect us through their perseverance and character-building experiences in business. These stories will motivate us to Rise Against the Tide to make a difference.

Submit Your Story! 

In preparation for our Voices in the Crowd event, we want to hear from you! Please share your story and you could be chosen to be featured as a speaker at our event on November 12th. Your story should be told from your heart, in a short concise manner, 2 minutes total. No cliffhangers please! Your story should in some way tie back to business in order to align with the true mission of the Women’s Business Council.

Everyone is welcome to share/pitch a story, not only those who identify as women.

Story Theme: Rising Against the Tide

  • Call our Voices in the Crowd Submission Portal at 518-218-6622
  • Be prepared to share the following via voice message: name, phone number, email address and your story (in a short 2 minute pitch)

Deadline for Submissions: May 15, 2019

Chosen “Voices in the Crowd” will be notified in June, 2019.  

Reference story telling tips and tricks from Moth Radio, our inspiration for this event!

CAP COM Partners with Make-A-Wish Northeast New York For Annual Big Benefit Raffle

From the desk of Amanda Goyer, Director of Community Engagement at CAP COM Federal Credit Union.

CAP COM Federal Credit Union and its charitable giving arm, the CAP COM Cares Foundation, have announced the launch of the 2019 BIG Benefit Raffle. Once a year, the credit union runs a two-month campaign offering a chance to win up to $10,000. Tickets, priced at $25 each, can be purchased by anyone. This year’s raffle will run through May 31st or when tickets sell out. A maximum of 5,000 raffle tickets will be sold.

The BIG Benefit Raffle will raise a grand total of $125,000 and the funds are distributed in three ways. $26,000 will be awarded to nine ticket winners for cash prizes between $1,000 and $10,000; $10,000 will be awarded to the 2019 beneficiary, Make-A-Wish Northeast New York; and the remaining $89,000 will be distributed year-round through CAP COM Cares Foundation’s local non-profit partners.

“Through this collaborative partnership with Make-A-Wish Northeast New York, CAP COM Cares Foundation has granted three children their wishes over the past three years. Avery, Evelyn and Colby (pictured) have all become part of the CAP COM family,” noted Amanda Goyer, Director of Community Engagement, CAP COM. “We can’t wait to help deliver another dream come true with the help of our credit union community through these ticket sales.”

Founded in 1987, Make-A-Wish Northeast New York serves eligible wish kids and their families in the 15-county 518 and 838 area codes by granting their heartfelt wish. These wish experiences can be a game-changer for a child. Wishes are granted based on a referral process followed by a medical eligibility assessment. To receive a wish, the child must be between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18 and have been diagnosed with a critical illness that is progressive, degenerative, or a malignant condition that has placed the child’s life in jeopardy.

“Thanks to corporate sponsors such as CAP COM Federal Credit Union and the CAP COM Cares Foundation, our Chapter is able to grant life-changing wishes that provide a lasting hope, strength and joy,” said William C. Trigg, III, Chief Executive Officer of Make-A-Wish Northeast New York. “And that power of a wish extends beyond the individual wish kids and families: It impacts volunteers, donors, and even whole communities.”

The cash prize drawing will be held June 12 at CAP COM’s Financial Center, located at 4 Winners Circle, Albany. The $10,000 check will also be awarded to Make-A-Wish Northeast New York at this event. The annual BIG Benefit Raffle is one of three large CAP COM Cares fundraisers held annually.

Your tickets can be purchase at any CAP COM location and well as online here.

You May Be Eligible for NO COST Breast, Cervical and Colorectal Screening

From the desk of Susan McAvoy, Public Education & Community Outreach of the Cancer Services Program of the Greater Capital Region.


The Cancer Services Program of the Greater Capital Region would like to remind you about getting screened for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers and share some important information:

  • About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her life.

  • Breast cancer is most often found in women ages 50 and older.

  • Breast cancer may not cause symptoms, especially in early stages. Symptoms of breast cancer can include a lump in the breast or armpit, breast swelling or change of shape, dimples in the skin, itching or redness of the skin or nipple, breast or nipple pain, and discharge other than breast milk.

With regular screening, breast cancer is more likely to be found at an earlier stage when treatment may be most successful.  Simply stated, early detection saves lives and regular screening is the key to early detection.

Women ages 50 to 64 who are not high risk due to personal or family history are likely to be screened every two years.  Women at high risk should discuss with their doctor about risk factors and screening.

Most insurance plans cover the cost of a mammogram—for women who are uninsured the Cancer Services Program provides life-saving mammograms at no-cost to women age 40 + who meet eligibility requirements.   This program can also help eligible women that receive treatment if cancer is found.

Although the Cancer Services Program mission is to help uninsured women get free breast exams, pap/pelvic and mammograms. We encourage men and women 50+ to get colorectal screening and we cover the cost for the uninsured.  Individuals with a personal or family history for colon polyps, colorectal cancer, or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, are at a higher risk for developing colorectal cancer and should speak to their doctor about when to begin screening.  The Cancer Services Program offers a free at home screening test for colorectal cancer (FIT Kit), for people of average risk.

If any woman of any age is symptomatic for breast, cervical or colorectal and needs help, call the Cancer Services Program of the Greater Capital Region at 518-525-8680.

Who Am I And What Am I Doing Here?

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


Wow, that is deep for an early morning breakfast topic for some but not for the Young Professionals! No, we are strong and united and ready to take it on.

Brad Wagner, First Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch/The Wagner Sheffer Group led a phenomenal team who opened up and shared with us insight from networking to sharks (great analogies Jackie!):

  • Laura Petrovic, Director of Sales & Marketing, Renaissance Albany 
  • Peter Gannon, President & CEO, United Way of the Greater Capital Region
  • Ilana Klein, Territory Sales Manager, National General Insurance
  • Jackie Sheffer, AVPSenior Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch- The Wagner Sheffer Group

I settled in over a beautiful cup of coffee with my mentee, Allyson and we were struggling between listening in awe and trying to type into our phones these tidbits of knowledge. Here are a few of the bullets I took:

  • Do you know the thing that needs to be done? Others did it, can you?

  • Everyone has a gift.

  • Give a compliment.

  • Help people, don’t do it just for what’s in it for you.

  • Know who you are.

  • Be clear on the thing that needs to be done.

  • Learn from the sharks.

Confused by these cryptic notes? C’mon and join us next time! YPN is a dynamic and diverse group of young professionals with the desire to build lasting relationships, a willingness to learn and grow, and the enthusiasm and drive to get involved within the community.

Then you too can (Thanks Brad) :

Engage others by appreciating what matters.

Give by connecting others’ needs and talents

Grow by doing the things that need to be done

I think I am a little closer to knowing who I am and what I am doing here. But, I am still a work in progress!

If you are a young professional looking to get involved in your community and develop yourself professionally, e-mail Brandi Landy or call 518.431.1414 to get involved in YPN!

5 Things to Spring Clean your Professional Life

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

Image result for spring cleaning

Technically, we are in the Spring season. Not quite so sure with the rain/snow mix in the forecast but don’t let that get you down. Most of us are ready to take off the flannel sheets, put away the down jackets, and return the snow-brushes to the darkest corner of the garage.

But what about our home away from home and our professional life? Let’s look at these 5 things you can do to spring clean your professional persona:

Clean your desk. C’mon look closely? I am sure you can remove the old coffee cup in the back corner, and maybe a few pair of shoes, ladies, that haven’t seen the light of day since 2001. Old datebooks? Gone. Copies of Excel charts for projects that have long since been implemented? Chuck ‘em.

Revamp your logo/website. If you own your own business, take a look and perhaps get a freshen up tweak. I plan a tune up every spring whether it is a new page, new content…something new. And then tell people about it!

Pack and appointment bag. My Tech Valley Young Professionals Network mentee, Allyson, is pregnant and due in a few weeks. We were talking about the hospital bag ready and waiting to go insuring that you have what you need when you go into labor. Well? Work is labor and wouldn’t it be great to have a small bag or cinch-sack with the staples you may need for a meeting? You could add a phone charger, pad of paper, extra writing utensils, business cards, and maybe a snack. Meetings can make you hungry.

Spruce up your look- Gentlemen, how about a new tie? Ladies, a springtime scarf, or pin can make a difference. You look good, you feel good.

Work on that face! Times can be trying. Family and business present challenges and it is hard. I try to smile a bit more, it is springtime after all.

So, there is it- simple spring (professional) cleaning. Now if you are really feeling engaged, learn more about some of the great classes and events available from the Women’s Business Council , E-mail Marna Redding or call 518.431.1421 to learn more!

Be sure to check out Chamber’s plethora of events:  https://capitalregionchamber.com/events/

RECAP: Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York Confections in Chocolate Gala

From the desk of Kennedy Lawton, Marketing, Communications + Special Events Coordinator for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York.

Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people standing and suit

The Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York held their 31st Annual Confections in Chocolate Gala on March 9, 2019 at Glen Sanders Mansion. The Foundation hosted 265 guests as they honored Albany Med with the prestigious “Flame of Hope” award. The Epilepsy Foundation also introduced their 2019 Winning Kid, Madeline Bargy, of Delanson.

Nearly 20 different restaurants and bakeries donated their chocolate signature desserts to create an impressive display of over 1,300 desserts. From cannoli’s to truffle cakes, there was something for everyone. After dessert, guests danced the night away to the sounds of the Audiostars.  There was much to celebrate as the Foundation raised $74,000 to go towards the services they provide right here in our community.

The foundation would like to thank their top sponsors for making the event possible. Round of applause goes to KeyBank, Albany Med, The Massry Family and Sonic of the Capital Region. It was another successful year of Confections in Chocolate for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York, and we thank everyone for their support.

5 Things You Can Do To Be A Good (Business) Human

Image result for collaborating business

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

This week I took a class at the Capital Region Chamber entitled “Business U: LinkedIn tips and secrets. The presenter, Bill McCormick, Vice President, LinkedIn Strategist, Social Sales Link, was spectacular and he made a simple comment about business not being B2B or B2C but H2H: Human to Human. I found this remarkably interesting and I began to think about human interaction and experiences shared with me by peers, specifically in business.

So, I thought I would share 5 things we can do to be a good (business) human:

Be present. Humans cannot actually multitask. We are not truly doing more than one thing at the same time, as much as we are switching between tasks very quickly. So, you cannot listen and be present and check your email  or cell phone at the same time….effectively. It can wait, usually.

Be thoughtful. In a time when much of our communication is in texts and emails, why not call a client, prospect or vendor and actually talk with them? You may be surprised at the results.

Listen and communicate meaningfully. So many people listen with a partial ear just enough to be able to craft their response back. Listen and spend the time to learn about the person in front of you whether he/she is a client or someone you met at Network by 9! Try it. The difference in the experience is tremendous.

Respect each other’s time and talents. So often we meet people who maybe share our space, our talents and perhaps a client or two. No one can be everything to everyone so respect what the other person does. I think it will come back to you in spades.

Kindness is free. No further explanation is needed.

Ok humans let’s give this another shot and spend our time with each other wisely and with respect at the root. As an ex-New Yorker, I can tell you good human behavior did happen in New York and if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere, it’s up to you…. or so the song goes.

Interested in learning more about some of the great classes and events available from the Women’s Business Council , E-mail Marna Redding or call 518.431.1421 to learn more!

Register Now for Make Your Life an Exclamation! Not an Explanation

Angela S. Beddoe, President and CEO of Beddoe Publishing and Editor-in Chief of Herlife Magazine-New York, will take us through a journey of self- leadership.

On this journey you will focus on who you are, what you can do, and where you are going. Firm in her belief that effective leadership is being aware of your own emotional attribution and of those around you, join us as Ms. Beddoe takes us through the 6 principles of self-leadership.

She will also discuss your ability to influence your communication, emotions, and behaviors to become more effective in your relationships and interactions with others. You will leave with tools to look within and give yourself permission to dream and lead with awareness, control and empathy.

Join the WBC on this journey and the this event on Wednesday, March 13th at the Albany Marriott (189 Wolf Road, Albany) from 11:30am – 1:00pm. Register here.

All genders welcome.

Throughout 2019, the WBC will raise money for its adopted nonprofit, the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York. The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives. Epilepsy can affect anyone with a brain, and anyone with a brain can affect epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation exists to #EndEpilepsy.

Support the Epilepsy Foundation by attending their Confections in Chocolate Gala on March 9.  

Help the WBC raise money for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York. Learn more here