Women Volunteers Rock!

April 7th marks the start of National Volunteer Week, and here at the WBC, we simply want to shout out all the incredible women in business who are also making a difference by volunteering in our community!

Global estimates put the count of volunteers worldwide at over 970 million, and considering the hours that they contribute, we are talking about the equivalent of over 125 million full-time workers!! According to numerous reports, around the world and in the U.S., more volunteering is undertaken by women than by men. In fact, a survey conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) found that American volunteers tend to be female and married. The largest age group for volunteers was 35-44 and the volunteers surveyed were most likely to be parents with children under 18.

Think about that for a second — women with spouses and children to take care of are still volunteering more than most other groups of Americans. When you factor in the demands of jobs, kids, and other commitments, knowing that so many women still find time to give back to their communities is pretty awe-inspiring!

If you’re one of those female volunteers making a difference in the Capital Region, we’d love to hear more about how you’re involved and why you love it! If you’re looking for new ways to give back, consider one of these opportunities from our 2019 Adopted Nonprofit – The Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York.

Here are some Epilepsy Foundation NENY opportunities:

Looking for a Few Good Men and Women to Join Our Walk to End Epilepsy Committee

  1. The Epilepsy Foundation will soon begin planning our 11th Annual Walk at Saratoga Spa State Park which will be held on Sunday, September 8th.  The “Walk to End Epilepsy” attracts over 500 participants annually.  Our volunteer committee meets once a month from April-September to plan for this event.  Volunteers are needed to secure raffle prizes, corporate sponsors and assist with day of logistics.  Our volunteers also help us spread the word to friends, colleagues and businesses to introduce new participants to the Walk.  The day includes lunch, children’s activities and much more!!  We are pleased to welcome our Event Partner, Fingerpaint, to our 2019 Walk to End Epilepsy.

To join the committee, or learn more, please contact Jeannine Garab, Executive Director, at (518)456-7501 or jgarab@epilepsyneny.org

2. Looking for a Few Good Men and Women to Join the Epilepsy Golf Tournament Committee

The Epilepsy Foundation will soon begin planning our Annual Epilepsy Golf Tournament which will be held on Monday, September 23rd at Wolferts Roost Country Club.  The Golf Tournament attracts over 150 participants annually.  Our unique format features fivesomes and nine Par 3 holes, each offering significant prizes including $10,000 cash.  Our volunteer committee meets once a month from April-September to plan for this event.  Volunteers recruit new fivesomes, secure raffle prizes, corporate sponsors and assist with day of logistics.  The event includes a premium giveaway, food and wine tastings on the course, silent and live auction, in addition to lunch, dinner and an awards reception.

To join the committee, or learn more, please contact Jeannine Garab, Executive Director, at (518)456-7501 or jgarab@epilepsyneny.org

WIBW: Period. End of Sentence.

A 26-minute documentary about periods won an Oscar on Sunday. That’s pretty cool.

According to this brief profile from Glamour, Period. End of Sentence. is a short film which tackles the stigma around menstruation in rural India. It’s currently streaming on Netflix and it just won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 2019 Oscars.

Rayka Zehtabchi, the 25-year-old Iranian-American director of the doc, talked with Glamour about how making this film changed her life, and what she hopes other people get out of watching it:

“Empowering women worldwide really starts with beginning, with opening up the conversation around menstruation. We can implement feminine hygiene, but first we have to break the taboo. I also want people to realize this isn’t just a film for women, it’s for men too. They’re 50 percent of the population, and men need to be having these conversations and championing the film just as much as women are.”

Speaking of breaking taboos, Zehtabchi is one of very few female directors nominated by the Academy – a point of frequent discussion when the Oscars roll around – but we love her take on the question of how it feels to be in this rare field:

“Why does it have to be so amazing? Why does this have to be shocking that I’m a female director and that I’ve made a film about a women’s issue, in a country we don’t think much about, and that the film is getting attention?”

That’s the voice of a woman we can all get behind on this Women in Business Wednesday! Take 26 minutes this week and check out Period. End of Sentence. Then leave a comment below to let us know what you think!

WIBW: Walking in Harriet Tubman’s Footsteps

T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison are the co-founders of GirlTrek – the largest public health nonprofit for African-American women and girls in the United States. Their mission:

“To pioneer a health movement for African American women and girls grounded in civil rights history and principles through walking campaigns, community leadership and health advocacy.”

Last year, they planned a walk retracing Harriet Tubman’s path, hiking the path of the Underground Railroad over a five day period in March, covering around 20 miles on foot each day! In this recent post from ideas.ted.com, they share some of the lessons they learned along the way.

Our favorite on this Women in Business Wednesday:

When women stand together, they can accomplish anything.

The GirlTrek team at the conclusion of their walk on March 10, 2018, including cofounders T. Morgan Dixon (top row, far right) and Vanessa Garrison (bottom right, far right). Photo from ideas.ted.com, courtesy of GirlTrek.

Check out all the lessons and learn more about this inspiring organization here.

WIBW: The Love Story Behind the Brooklyn Bridge

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which feels like the right time for a love story. And when that love story features a remarkable woman who taught herself civil engineering in order to complete the construction of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, it only seems right that we share it for this week’s Women in Business Wednesday!

This ForbesWomen profile tells the story of Emily Warren Roebling, her husband Washington Roebling, and the product of their love — the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a story rich with history, tragedy, inspiration, and of course, love.

It was two young lovers who eventually enabled the bridge to be completed, and the love of one woman, in particular, who devoted herself to finishing the project after her husband fell ill.

Read the whole thing and share it with your valentine! Here’s to all the women out there leading with love, just like Emily Warren Roebling!

Brooklyn Bridge at night

WIBW: Revisiting Rosa Parks

How much do you really know about Rosa Parks? Dolly Chugh is a contributor to Forbes who writes about race, gender, diversity, and inclusion, and her latest post – published on what have been Rosa Parks’ 106th birthday – reveals some fascinating truths about the story most of us (think we) know…

Photo: Associated Press

According to common knowledge, “Rosa Parks was an elderly black seamstress on her way home from work in 1955, who declined to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama because her feet were tired. This spontaneous action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the civil rights movement, giving this usually docile woman an accidental place in history.”

But in Parks’ own words:

“I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day … No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

Read more of the truth about Rosa Parks – and why it matters for women in business today – here.

Women of Excellence Nominations Due January 29!


If you’ve been thinking about nominating someone for a 2019 Women of Excellence Award, now is the time to do it!

The WBC’s Women of Excellence Awards honor a select group of women whose personal and professional character, conduct, service, leadership and achievements have contributed positively to the Capital Region. To get a better understanding of what these awards mean to the women who receive them, jump back to this post from 2015 WOE – Emerging Professional award recipient Kelsey Carr.

Our driving force in the WBC is to inspire excellence together. Help us recognize the women in the Capital Region who bring these words to life with their personal and professional contributions to our community!

Nominations must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29, 2019. Click here to submit yours, and save the date for the Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon on May 30, 2019 at the Albany Marriott.

Announcing the 2018 Women of Excellence

WOE header

We are thrilled to announce the recipients of our 2018 Women of Excellence Awards! Congratulation to this year’s honorees:

Distinguished Career
Nancy Martin

Excellence in the Professions
Gretchel Hathaway, Ph.D.
Union College

Excellence in Management
CMSgt Amy Giaquinto
New York National Guard

Excellence in Business Development
Rayn Boncie
Things of My Very Own, Inc.

Excellence in Business
Christina Wolfe Snyder
Wolfes Cleaning Services at The Falls

Emerging Professional
Gretchen Meyer
Gretchen Meyer Financial

These six amazing women will be honored at the 27th annual Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon on Thursday, May 31, 2018. Click here to reserve your tickets now.

Read more about the Women of Excellence selection process in last month’s blog post featuring Kelsey Carr, a 2015 Woman of Excellence and current co-chair of the Women’s Business Council’s Women of Excellence Committee. Stay tuned to the WBC Voice Blog to learn more about the women joining the prestigious ranks of the Chamber’s Women of Excellence this year!