COVID-19 Resources

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With the rapidly changing situation surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and, most specifically, its implications for business, the Capital Region Chamber is committed to keeping you informed, sharing resources for managing the situation and, as importantly, soliciting your ongoing feedback.

**Send us your best practices and/or tips to share with other members to membernews@capitalregionchamber.com.**

We also encourage you to visit our resource and information page, which is being updated daily with links to local, state and federal resources along with timely and relevant webinars being offered by our members. capitalregionchamber.com/coronavirus-covid-19-information-…/

Please share this post so as many people as possible have the information they need! #CapitalRegionUnited

Meet the 2020 Women of Excellence Honorees

Please join us in congratulating this year’s Women of Excellence honorees!

Now in its 29th year, the Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon honors a select group of women for their success in business and their contributions to the community. Six women who have achieved success in their professional careers and dedicated themselves to community service will join the prestigious ranks of the Chamber’s Women of Excellence on Thursday, May 28.

You won’t want to miss this moving program, hosted by Benita Zahn, co-anchor for NewsChannel 13.

11:15 – 11:45 a.m. – Check-in and Networking
11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Lunch and Program

Register for the event HERE!

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

Women of Excellence Nominations Due January 29!

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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.

Dogs in the Workplace- Friend or Foe?

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

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“Please take me with you.”

My company has a firm ‘Dogs are Welcome’ policy. Many of us are remote so the bring your dog to work day is an everyday occurrence. In the U.S., companies are beginning to allow dogs in the workplace to create a more serene and comforting environment.

There are a few drawbacks to this:

  1. People could be afraid of dogs
  2. People could be allergic to dogs
  3. People do not think having a dog in the office lends to a professional environment.

All valid points. However, numerous studies have proven that the effects of dogs in the workplace have an impact on employee satisfaction, output of work and overall morale. Some supporting evidence:

1. The Alliance of Therapy Dogs states, “It is nearly impossible to look at a picture of a dog and not smile or laugh. Laughter is the best medicine and a therapy dog adds just the right amount of humor to boost employee morale and increase workplace productivity. Therapy dogs can lift moods, improve happiness, and reduce stress. All the benefits of owning a dog at home translate to the workplace with a therapy dog by their side.”

2. There is an actual “Take Your Dog to Work Day.” According to Psychology Today posted on June 16, 2011, “Perhaps one major indicator of society’s more relaxed attitude toward the presence of dogs is the fact that this year on Friday, June 24, will mark the 13th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day. The first Take Your Dog to Work Day was held in 1999, and it was meant to be both a celebration of our companionship with dogs and also designed to encourage the adoptionof dogs from humane societies, animal shelters, and rescue organizations. This first event involved only 300 businesses, while this year more than 5000 businesses in the U.S. have expressed their interest in participating.”

3. Dogs can relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and create a calming environment which can lead to open creativity, dialogue, and communication. (no source, just opinion) I have a Pug named Izzy. She makes my day and when it is stressful or in a time crunch, her serenity has an impact on me and my performance. She makes me better.

My daughter is a senior at RIT in Rochester, NY. They have ‘Bow Wow Wellness’ days where the students can go and hang out with dogs, and a turtle (don’t ask) and feel a little love and stress relief. She told me during exam time, the place is packed! All I know is she feels better, the dogs get extra love, and, in her case, the GPA reflects the impact that Bow Wow Wellness has had on her peace of mind at test time.

Keep an open mind and if there are no health reasons not to have a dog around, give it a shot. Outside of a few sloppy kisses and some puppy snoring, your life and business might be just a little better.

“What do you think? Should employees be allowed to bring their dog into work?”

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Announcing the 2018 Women of Excellence

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

Distinguished Career
Nancy Martin
GE

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!

Harassment and discrimination in the workplace – what to do?

We sometimes hear the claim that women have achieved full equality in U.S. society and that hence, the problem of gender disparity has been resolved.

The sheer numbers of participants in the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, “likely the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history” tell a different story. Despite vigorous claims that the gender pay gap is a “myth”, female representation in political and commercial leadership positions has clearly not reached a point of equality.

The heightened awareness of persisting discrimination may have contributed to the astonishing rash of men who lost their prominent positions in entertainment, media and politics in 2017 because of alleged or documented sexual transgressions. Instead of whispering about “open secrets” – such as egregious sexual harassment or grossly unfair treatment of female job applicants – women began to share their stories in public. No matter which industry was being discussed, the stories were depressingly similar, revealing a pattern of stalled careers.

The public discussion documents a change in attitudes. “Young professionals are pretty much fearless, and their fearlessness is driving a lot of long-overdue change,” wrote Rose Miller, President of Pinnacle Human Resources, LLC, in her “Work Matters” column in the Albany Times Union on December 6, 2017. According to Miller, a new generation of well-educated female workers is less inclined to “keep quiet and endure” harassment. As a result, HR departments are seeing larger numbers of complaints and must sort out the resulting procedures.

Here are a few questions women in the workplace are asking:

  1. What is the best approach for an employee in case of unwanted sexual approaches by a coworker or superior?

The first step is to stop suffering in silence and speak up.

“In many sexual harassment cases, […], the responsible parties may not realize that their conduct is offensive. If you are a victim of harassment, your first step toward resolving the problem should be to let the offending party know that you find their conduct offensive.” – (Sexual Harassment: Actions You Can Take)

If that does not stop the offensive behavior, it’s time to investigate your employer’s existing procedures. These can be found in the employee handbook, online, or requested from the HR department. Carefully follow the procedures outlined for reporting harassment claims.

If you haven’t already, start a detailed record of harassment episodes, along with dates, times, the involved people, and what exactly was said.

  1. What are some of the remedies you can take if you think you’ve been unfairly overlooked for a promotion or other leadership opportunity?

As the Lean In Women in the Workplace report pointed out in 2017, gender bias remains a forceful factor in in the workplace: “Entry-level women are 18% less likely to be promoted than their male peers.”

Steps to take if you have leadership ambitions:

– Seek a mentor in the company

– Be clear about your aspirations and take responsibility

– Step up your networking

Classy Career Girl has put together a few useful steps to consider: Get Promoted in 6 Simple Steps

  1. How can you respond, particularly in non-traditional work environments for women, when there is “guy talk/locker room talk” or you can’t help but overhear disparaging language about women in general?

An excellent article on the topic appeared in the Harvard Business Review in February 2017: How to Respond to an Offensive Comment at Work.  It points out the pros and cons of speaking up and particularly highlights the role of managers: “Recognize that if you are in a position of power, you have a responsibility to address offensive comments.”