Chair Chat- Jackie’s Last Post – Lessons Learned from Great White Sharks

From the desk of Jackie Sheffer, 2018 Chair of the Women’s Business Council.

First and foremost I would like to thank my Vice Chair, Amanda Goyer, for standing with me over the past year to lead an amazing group of Women. Thank you to all of the committee co-chairs and committee members for all that you do to make the WBC a powerhouse of support for women in business in the Capital Region.

The mission the Women’s Business Council is to promote the role of women in the workplace at all levels, as business and community leaders and as team members, while providing support for those challenges and issues which are unique to women in business.

While the challenges in the workplace are different for each of us, what is more important to recognize is we can solve the challenges when we honor each and every one of us as the unique individuals we are.

I have spent the last year focusing inward and will continue this journey into next year. When starting this journey I was looking to fix myself. I will be ending the year and starting 2019 with focusing on my own uniqueness, focusing on supporting and nurturing it.

The things that have helped me move forward this year:

Getting a coach – life is hard, personal and business all run together, sometimes you need an outside voice to keep you out of your own head and see reality.

Dropping the ball – I have dropped the ball when it comes to reading books; I listen to books instead. For the past couple of years, I have had piles of books on my bedroom floor glaring at me each morning and evening reminding me of all that I have not accomplished. Since l started to listen, I have read six books and have taken action on what I have learned.

Finding a partner – finding someone who is not a co-worker, business partner or life partner to be an accountability partner. I recently spent a day with my partner working on our life plans for 2019, we have scheduled quarterly meetings to keep each other on track. It needs to be someone you can talk openly with, someone that has your back but will push you.

Turning it off – turning off the negative messages in my life that do not support my uniqueness.  This also means dealing with and working through FOMO (the fear of missing out). I just deleted all social media from my phone and will be signing off of Facebook tonight. I have faith that the things and people I need to know and be a part of will come to me or I will go to them.

What is up for 2019: I am looking to live a year of gratitude and peace. I have started a gratitude journal and look forward to working on my life plan.

I would like to leave you with a little of my uniqueness to start off your New Year.

The 5 life lessons I have learned from Great White Sharks:great-white-shark-wallpaper-6

Great Whites have to keep moving – always be looking forward to the next opportunity

Great Whites cannot swim backward – stay out of the past, be present

Great Whites take sample bites – try everything in life at least once

Great Whites typically hunt 1st thing in the morning or late afternoon – get the hard sh*t done first

Great Whites are always Great Whites – believe in who you are and always show the world the REAL YOU!

Thank you all for being a part of my life in 2018, I look forward to seeing you all next year.


Who Will the Storytellers Be?


At the next WBC event, Voices in the Crowd on Tuesday, November 13th at 11:15 am four individuals will be doing a story slam. They will stand up on stage and tell their stories unscripted.  Come to this unique and fun event to network with your peers and experience a lively, finger snapping, story slam.  All genders welcome.

The storytellers will share their captivating stories about:

  • Hitting the glass ceiling and pushing through to success
  • Turning a personal story of abuse into an opportunity to help others tell their stories and build an innovative and successful organization
  • Transforming a struggle to find meaning in life into a successful career opportunity 
  • Using challenges and insight to pave the way for an entirely new model for thinking about education

For more information, please contact Marna Redding, Vice President of Member Services at the Capital Region Chamber, at or reach out to us via the blog or Facebook.

Announcing This Year’s Woman of Inspiration, Resourceful Women Honorees and the Young Girl On A Mission

From the desk of Brooklyn Esposito, Interim Development & Marketing Director at the YWCA of the Greater Capital Region, the 2018 Adopted Nonprofit.
Women and girls will be recognized under the categories of Education, Emerging Professional, Entrepreneur, Management, Public Service, Women In Tech and Young Girls On A Mission. Those being honored include:
Woman of Inwinniespiration:  
Sandra Winnie, Graduate of the Jamison-Rounds Ready For Work Program Woman of Inspiration
YWCA of the Greater Capital Region, Inc. is proud to recognize Sandra Winnie for her accomplishments through the Jamison-Rounds Ready for Work Program.
Sandra currently works for YWCA-GCR as a front desk support team member, providing support to overall operations of the organization.
Kathleen Skeals, North Colonie Central Schools
Tamara Thorpe Odom, SCSD Central Park Middle School
Emerging Professional:
Elissa Prout, BeechNut Nutrition Corporation
Mary Darcy, Founder – Uptown/Downtown Media & All Over Albany
Jordan Glindmyer, Pinup Jordan’s Mermaid Lounge
Heidi Knoblauch, Plumb Oyster Bar
Erin Boggan – Berkshire Bank
Jennifer Lawrence – SEAT Center
Sherain Rivera – RainDrops Closet for Homeless Families
Public Service:
Deborah McKenzie Fowlers, Eyes Wide Open NENY, Inc.
Michaelle Mugisha, United Way of the Greater Capital Region
Tabetha Wilson – Albany School Board
Women In Tech:
Frederika Edinton-Giordano, Tech Valley Game Space
Young Girls On A Mission:
Carli O’Hara – Real Kids Wear Pink of the Capital Region
The event takes place on Monday, November 19th. Purchase your tickets here!
For questions or more information, please contact Brooklyn Esposito
at or call 518-274-7100.

Story Slam – Voices in the Crowd

The hippest event of the year is coming up in November!

Come to Voices in the Crowd on November 13th to hear our fellow WBC members story slam.  The women will be telling their unique stories on stage at this one of a kind WBC event.


This event is inspired by the Moth podcast and the On the Fly Story Slam in Hudson, NY created by Christina Thyssen.   I had a chance to speak with Christina a few weeks ago about the Story Slam and our own Voices in the Crowd event, she said, “this is a good opportunity particularly for women in business who are discouraged from telling their stories- they kind of hide who they are at work.  Women don’t talk about their personal lives because it isn’t valued in the workplace but we all have these experiences.  We are asked to be tough and be like men but it doesn’t feel right.”

Come experience the sense of community that this event will evoke! Sign up here for this lunch-time event.

For more information, please contact Marna Redding, Vice President of Member Services at the Capital Region Chamber, at or reach out to us via the blog or Facebook.

5 Things: It’s Time to Vote

From the desk of Karen Lombardo, President of Put Another Way.

With the elections just around the corner, and campaign signs donning every lawn you pass, it is time to think about voting. What does it mean to vote?

Voting is “The action or process of indicating choice, opinion, or will on a question, such as the choosing of a candidate, by or as if by some recognized means, such as a ballot.” (

It is surprising how many people do not know the facts about how and where to vote. Here are five (5) fun facts and thoughts about voting.

I want to vote; how do I find out where to vote?

The U.S. government has a site and page dedicated to voter information. Visit to find out more.

How do I register to vote in New York State?

The rules vary from state to state and are run by the states themselves. Some can vary by county or town within a state. Ironically, no two states are the same. In New York, you can register online at .

Where do I go to get an absentee ballot in New York State?

The New York State Board of Elections has a web-page to address absentee ballots: . Please use this link to complete the application for a New York Absentee ballot.

Will the polling centers be accessible if I am handicapped, hearing impaired, or blind?

New York State’s Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs offers a list of resources available for special needs and disabilities. Visit for more information.

5. Is voting a right, a responsibility, or a privilege?

You decide. Many articles have been written this subject and indeed the answer lies within each American. The right to vote is inherent but not specified in the Constitution. The 15th Amendment stated, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” But it was not until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote.

The 19th Amendment reads, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

The birthplace of the women’s rights movement in the United States was held July 19–20, 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York. The principal organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and abolitionist Lucretia Mott. These women fought for the right for women to vote. Please vote this election and use the links provided if you need help. Become active in groups, associations, and campaigns to make a change. Find your passion!

The Women’s Business Council provides many avenues to be active in your community. For more information on joining the WBC and/or a WBC Committee, please contact Marna Redding, Vice President of Member Services at the Capital Region Chamber, at or reach out to us via the blog or Facebook.

Tiffany Dufu – Voices in the Crowd


 Shakeema Harris, Purchasing Manager, Automate

My biggest take away is that “Dropping the Ball” is a phrase that generally has a negative connotation, but allowing yourself to “drop the ball”  has its benefits.  We hold on to things that are not as important as we perceive them, and such things can hinder us from achieving something greater.


Gemma Allen, Senior Engineer, GE Power (Last person to stand and ask a question.)
My question to Tiffany: How to prioritize and work out what to ‘drop’ when there are so many things you’re excited about doing/being involved in?

I work 4-days a week at GE Power as a Senior Engineer focused on power plant value pricing.  I have 3 young kids aged 9, 7 & 4. I teach Nia dance and meditation, which I adore and keeps me sane 😊 I sit on the Boards for some of my favorite local organizations… the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Girls Inc of the Capital District, and Women@Work magazine… all organizations doing good, impactful work in our community.  My days are full, but I struggle with where I can ‘drop the ball’ when there is so much I would like to do!

Tiffany advised going through the exercise of assessing what activities give the most value to the world. By reflecting on what is the “highest and best use” of your time, you can be sure to align your values with your impact. If we make a list of everything we would like to achieve in a 24-hour cycle, the chances are it sums up to more than 24 hours of activity. It is only through getting clear and specific on your values, and prioritizing your activities, that you can ensure you are making the greatest impact on your life mission.

Don’t miss the upcoming WBC event: “Voices in the Crowd” on November 13th at 11:30 at the Century House. Women will be telling their own personal stories of triumph live on stage, without notes.  You don’t want to miss it! Sign up here.

For more information on the WBC, please contact Marna Redding, V.P. Member Services, Capital Region Chamber at

Kudos to Angela Dixon



Angela Dixon, Vice President, Talent and Inclusion at the Capital Region Chamber, has been chosen to the Inaugural class of the Business Leads Fellowship Program.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently launched the new premier business leadership program to help address the most pressing education and workforce issues.

Dixon was chosen as one of 35 following a competitive application and selection process with more than 140 total applicants.

Read more about the program here.