Building a Culture of Success

From the desk of Sharon A. Burstein, President and CEO, Sharon Burstein International

Here’s a question for you. How would you describe the business culture of your company or organization? Business culture affects internal and external success. Many of you reading this may not even know your business’ culture. This is something vital and yet is often a guarded secret or so unknown that it causes eyes to glaze over.

The culture of a company combines, its communication, collaboration and innovation. It begins with a company mission statement. Should your company not have one, stop right here and work to create one (20 words or less). Your mission is a declaration of your vision, values, and who you are.

Look at successful companies and you will most often find a strong, transparent culture, that everyone knows. It is a first step to building effective teams. Look at the growth of a company and you find a direct correlation to business growth, employee, engagement, employee retention, job satisfaction and work performance.

As you grow your company and department, remember it is not just the skill sets you are looking to fill, it is about how people fit into your company culture, values and visions. Are they dedicated? Are they team players? Do they know and understand your company mission?

Associates in any organization enjoy working in a culture they believe in, respect and trust. Share your visions for now and the future. Looking to build greater success? Begin with a strong company culture at the forefront of where you are today and your visions for tomorrow.

International Women’s Day 2020: Insights And Inspiration From Women Leading The Way

Forbes writer, Moira Forbes writes, “Who inspires today’s most powerful women? As we strive for success in the decade ahead, the community of role models and collaborators around us can be instrumental in shaping new thinking, unlocking opportunity and closing the gap between ambition and reality. 

“On this International Women’s Day, I asked five female leaders who inspire me to share the entrepreneurs and changemakers who’ve been a motivating force in their own lives. Watch Zola’s Shan-Lyn Ma, Holly Ridings of NASA, SAP’s Jennifer Morgan and Katherine Ryder of Maven recount the wisdom they’ve gained from women they admire most, and remind us that when we lift each other, we lift all.”

Click here to watch the quick one minute video.

Happiness and Leadership

From the desk of Sharon Burstein, President and CEO, Sharon Burstein International

Are you a happy person? Do you enjoy being happy and being around happy people?

Happiness is a choice. When you are happy and take care of yourself the more joyful life is!

Think and respond to yourself about the questions below.

Are you happy?

What makes you happy?

What makes YOU great!

What makes you successful?

Here is a question for you.

Does success bring happiness or does happiness bring success? What are your thoughts? Happiness brings about greater opportunity and possibility for success.

Did you know that happy people are more successful across the board of  all aspects of life?

Here is your -21 Day Happiness Expansion plan

Think of 3 Things every day that will grow you, your happiness and success.

            1. 3 things you are grateful for

            2. 10 minutes of exercise every day

            3. 1 or more acts of kindness

Your goal –  To build a happy you. When you are happy you build greater success and happier teams in your career and life. Studies show that happy people are more than 33% effective.

Training your brain is like going to the gym to train your muscles. Your mind will do as you think! It is the Law of Attraction.

Women and Power at Work

You are cordially invited to help begin a new Siena College tradition.

A group of alumni from Siena’s Class of 1968 has generously created an endowment to host an annual community outreach event to promote and celebrate the Franciscan tradition of civil dialogue.

This year, the Spirit of ’68 Endowment is pleased to present “Women and Power at Work: Equality and Leadership, Then and Now” on Friday, March 20.

There will be a networking cocktail reception in Snyder Hall from 5-6 PM, followed by a keynote address by Lois Herr, author, AT&T executive and women’s rights advocate. A panel discussion moderated by HuffPost senior reporter Emily Peck will follow.

Sign up here.

For more information email: Leslie Foster at

WBC Member Spotlight: Miriam Dushane, Alaant Workforce Solutions

Meet Miriam Dushane, Managing Partner of Alaant Workforce Solutions She is currently Board Chair of Albany Can Code. She is also on the board of the Tech Valley High School Foundation and has served the WBC Steering Committee. In 2015, she was recognized as a Woman of Excellence by the Capital Region Chamber and in 2017, she was honored by the Albany Business Review as one of its Women Who Mean Business.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

At the office, I rarely have free time, but when I do, I try to reconnect with my team. I’ll sit down and ask them how their day is going, or talk about weekend plans. Or if I can I will have lunch with them- many times we eat as a group and I love catching up with them on a personal level. It also depends on the time of year- in summer, at work- I use any excuse I can get to get outside and breathe some fresh air. If I’m home you’ll find me walking the dogs (I call them “my girls”), gardening or something like that. In winter, if I’m not “tidying up” the house, I’m hanging with my husband binge watching something on TV.

What do you love most about what you do?

The people and the variety. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to help someone find a new job or improve their career and income. I love being able to help companies find the people they need to complete their mission. I love learning about new companies and what they do as a business, it is truly amazing how much diversity in companies and business that is actually in our region.

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

Wow! I have never really thought about that- I guess I would tell her to follow her gut and instincts and not to worry she will thrive.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Thinking back, I have been blessed to have been surrounded by so many positive influences on my life and career. If I have to pick one- it would be from Susan Hollister, my very first boss who hired me in HR ( with literally NO experience), telling me to pursue a career in recruiting. Well, I took her advice, focused in that area and today I am a partner/owner in a recruiting firm! I think that is the best advice I’ve ever gotten!


From the desk of Sharon Burstein, President and CEO, Sharon Burstein International

Keep moving, keep growing! If you are standing still you are moving backward! Where is it that you want to be? What is it that you want to achieve? What is your plan to give it shape, make it happen and be a success? Do you have a plan? Do you have a timeline? Is this
a dream or is this something you are going to make happen in your life? It all begins and ends with you!

You have the power to make your visions dreams happen, but do you have the strength, and determination and courage to create a plan and most importantly step up and take the first steps? You need to step up, and stand out before you can break through.

Growing you, is something you do consciously. Don’t leave your growth and success to chance. You can and many do, but that is fine ONLY if you wish to be mediocre. Keep taking steps, larger steps and moving faster as you grow. The more you grow, the greater your success. Your personal development is what keeps moving you forward. In order to grow to the next level,
requires a positive mindset. With growth comes change. Yes, change can be uncomfortable, at least initially, but trying new things and discovering that you can achieve them and be successful, builds your confidence, builds your success and a positive can do attitude.

The quicker you wish to grow, the deeper your commitment to you and your personal development. You need to access the areas for growth that expand you as a person and in your career. Confidence is always key, but add communication skills, productivity, energy, time management, and influence. Your growth is not something to treat randomly. If you wish to grow and affect change in your career and life, you need to create a strategic plan, built just for you. It does not need to be complicated, but it will need goals, steps to achieve your goals, a plan of action and timelines
for success. Be strategic, the more defined, the better.

Connect and build your success by surrounding yourself with other successful people above you, who will stretch you, make you think and people who have substance who have walked the path that you have chosen to walk. To be your best, you need to learn from the best.
Let this be your year of Mastery and Success. Begin 2020, this new decade with a clear vision and a fresh mindset.

Make this your year of building you and your Mastery. Ready set 3-2-1 GO!

Busy vs. Productive: 5 things to think about

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

The Capital Region Chamber developed BusinessU to serve as a central source to help businesses with their ongoing professional development needs. BusinessU provides a comprehensive approach to employee development and training that will continually adapt to the needs of our region.

Sharon Phillips, Founder and Chief Relationship Officer (CRO) of Said & Done Solutions LLC led a spectacular class on “Prioritizing- When Everything is a Priority.”

The class touched on points of what ownership of work/life integration and prioritizing responsibilities looks like and why it’s critical. Sharon introduced tools to help us stay focused and on track. All culminating in understanding what is necessary to sustain the path and commitment to success.

Busy vs. Productive- 5 things to think about.

Throughout the course of the class, Sharon talked about busy vs. productive and what each one looks like. Here are 5 take-a-ways from her class:

  1. Are you really too busy or is it not a priority? How often we are asked to do something, and we almost automatically respond with, “I am too busy!”  Take the time to think about what is being asked and respond accordingly. Perhaps, “I would love to do that, but I do not have time in my schedule until after this project is done.”
  2. What does busy look like? This is the million dollar question. Are you trying to do it all? Do you overthink things taking more time than needed to complete the tasks.
  3. What does productive look like? How do you manage your tasks? Do your lists have lists? Results driven productivity can show progress towards completing major goals and moving on to new projects. Check that box!
  4. Are there barriers stopping you from turning busy into productive? Do you need assistance in planning out time for projects? Are you easily knocked off track by interruptions from the office talker, excessive emails, or a jam packed, unrealistic calendar?
  5. Rank what is urgent or important and understand the difference. Time is your friend if used properly. Find a tool that works for you to rank order urgent and important matters and to-do’s. Whether it is an old fashioned paper planner or a high tech automated program, you do you and commit to using whatever it is you have selected.

Our work and our lives intertwine each and every day. This is not a dress rehearsal. Some days, work is the winner and other days, life is the winner. Balancing them is the trick. You do not have to do it alone. Use the resources available to you. Visit Business U on the Capital Region Chamber website to learn more.

Support Your WBC Heroes Hunger Team

2020 is a milestone year for Capital Region CANstruction!  CANstruction is an annual exhibit and design competition/food and fund drive that connects talented architecture, engineering, and contracting (AEC) professionals who build colossal structures out of canned food items, all of which are then used to feed our neighbors struggling with hunger and food insecurity.  Help us celebrate the 10th year of Capital Region CANstruction by supporting your Women’s Business Council Hunger Heroes team. 

We appreciate all donations, but monetary donations make a larger impact.  Every dollar donated will count as 6 pounds of food for the competition.  You can see how the WBC team is performing in the regional competition by clicking on this link:  And, you can solicit support for your team by sharing this donation page:  

5 Reasons to Make a To Do List

Credit: TeroVesalainen from Pixabay 

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, Owner Put Another Way

Funny, this is a post that contains a ‘list’ of reasons why you should make a list. The irony is not lost on me. Like so many of us, January brings feelings of renewal and focus. We want to do so many things that our ambitions can get lost in our mundane daily tasks.

Why should you make a list?

  1. Keeps us on task. When you start your day and boot up your laptop or tablet, do you know what you need to do today? Reaction is different from action. Schedule important tasks and recurring tasks in your calendar. Build that ladder of activity in your day and leave some down time for unexpected events.
  2. Prioritize. Ok so you have you list and schedule in front of you. Have you prioritized your tasks? If billing is not due to your accounting department until the last week of the month, why do it now? Timing is everything.
  3. One thing leads to another. It is like pulling a string. You sit down to write a proposal and you realize you need pricing from a supplier….add that to do item now. You are creating a thank you campaign for your clients and need to purchase coffee shop gift cards…add this action in advance so you can finish that project in one swoop. Check!
  4. Allows the opportunity to punt. No time right now? No problem. Move that to do item to another day, week, or month. You are the boss of your time.
  5. Feeling of accomplishment when completed. At the end of the day when you look at your list and see all that completed activity, you will feel spectacular. The sense of accomplishment is rewarding, embrace it.

Good day or bad day?

Please don’t be discouraged if your list is still fairly large at the end of the day. Some projects take longer and that is ok. Some days you will finish the entire list and you can head out to the gym and take a spin class. Either way, you are better off and so if your business if you make a list.

Add this to your list.

Spend some time with your fellow list builders and come to the WBC luncheon, Your Voice, Your Values, Your Vocation…Doing you authentically; while explaining you succinctly. This marvelous event will be held on January 28th at Albany Marriott Hotel. Click here to register or for more information, email Marna Redding at .

WBC Member Spotlight

Last week we mentioned that the Women in Business Wednesday’s would highlight our own WBC members in a Member Spotlight format.

To further promote women who are leading the way in our community, we are featuring Chamber member businesses who are owned by women.

To help us create the blog post, please answer the questions below and send 1-2 photos that we can include with the spotlight. Please send the completed questions and photos to Kate Renna and Emily Dessingue or simply email them to have them send you a pre-printed form.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

What do you love most about what you do?

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

What is the best advice you have ever received?