Member Spotlight: Megan Baker, Founder, CEO & President of Baker Public Relations

To further promote women, minorities, and veterans who are leading the way in our community, we are featuring Chamber member businesses that fall under these categories.

This week, meet Megan Baker, Founder, President & CEO of Baker Public Relations. “Located in Albany, New York and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Baker Public Relations, a New York State Certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE), is committed to providing the highest level of personalized service to its clients since its inception in 2007.” Their creative public relations and marketing campaigns tackle the challenges of an ever-changing media and social landscape.

Megan herself has been a communicator for more than 20 years and specializes in developing and leading media training programs for high level CEOs and executives, using her skills honed as a reporter to prepare clients for live events and aggressive media questioning

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

“Self-care is most important. When I have 30 minutes of free time, which is usually early morning before my kids wake, I meditate outside in my backyard next to my Koi pond. The sound of the waterfalls soothes me and helps to set the tone for the day. During the winter months, I make use of my sunroom where I can sit and focus on breathing and do some light stretching.”

What do you love most about what you do?

“I am a people person. What I love most about being an entrepreneur and communications professional is nurturing and growing a team, working with organizations and brands to help meet business goals and objectives, building long-term relationships in the community and mentoring young women. I also enjoy supporting my team professionally and personally. When they’re happy and find what they do meaningful, it brings me great satisfaction. I also enjoy sharing individual stories and am happy to be doing this through a video podcast series we launched over a year ago at Baker Public Relations called InfluenceHER. It’s a platform for women in our local communities to share stories about success, failure, overcoming obstacles, etc.”

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

“What I would most like to tell myself at the age of 13 is to have confidence in who you are. I have four beautiful daughters and a son and I worry so much about what we/society are exposing them to at such a young age. In other words, don’t get wrapped up in what you look like, your shape or what you have, but build strong relationships and enjoy being a kid. Get dirty, feel the earth beneath your feet and don’t sweat the small stuff. Laugh and explore as much as possible.”

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is to never take no for an answer. This advice came from my mom who spent years in sales in a male-dominated industry. It’s something that helped me as a young broadcast news reporter and anchor and translated to private business. Persistence is important and there’s always a way to reframe what you’re asking for. Sure, I’ve failed, but it made me work harder. Rejection happens and not everyone is going to cheer you on and that’s quite alright. It provides you a new opportunity to refocus on moving toward your goals.”

Member Spotlight: Jennifer Hendricks-Fogg of Aflac NY & the Logan Strong Foundation

To further promote women, minorities, and veterans who are leading the way in our community, we are featuring Chamber member businesses that fall under these categories.

This week, meet Jennifer Hendricks-Fogg, a Benefits Consultant at AFLAC NY and President of the Logan Strong Foundation, an organization with a mission to raise childhood cancer awareness and provide items of comfort and support for children and families while they are fighting cancer in and out of the hospital.

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

“Between working full time, having a special needs toddler, President of the Logan Strong Foundation and a Rotarian, I don’t get free time very often. So when I do, I like to do NOTHING! Sit on the couch or the deck with a nice glass of wine and just relax, or at least try to!”

What do you love most about what you do?

“Helping people! My entire life has been about helping people and paying it forward and now I get paid to do that. It’s a cliche but it’s true….do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. I LOVE my “job!” I get to meet new people all the time and help protect them from life’s mishaps!”

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

“The two biggest things I would tell my 13-year-old self is to worry about yourself and be kind! It sounds like a contradiction but if you think about it; it means to worry about what’s important to you and focus on your life AND be kind to others and respect and appreciate our differences.”

What have you gained from being a member of the Women’s Business Council?

“Mentors, friendships, support! Women helping women is AMAZING!!!”

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“‘Make a change or make a change!’ Basically, get out of your own way. If something isn’t working, change it….it’s not going to correct itself.”

Member Spotlight: Nicole Snow, Darn Good Yarn

To further promote women, minorities, and veterans who are leading the way in our community, we are featuring Chamber member businesses that fall under these categories.

This week, meet Nicole Snow, Founder & CEO of Darn Good Yarn. Nicole “founded Darn Good Yarn in 2008 when she wanted to combine her passion for creating, and her dedication to helping others. Nicole has brought Darn Good Yarn from being a company run out of a small basement in Maine, to #599 on Inc. Magazines Top 5,000 Fastest Growing Companies of 2017.” Darn Good Yarn serves the $44B craft market by providing beautiful, lustrous handmade yarns and clothing to the creative lifestyle community.

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

“I like to paint with my daughter or make massively awesome tents with her. I also have a little bit of an obsession with online art classes.”

What do you love most about what you do?

“I love that I get to use my artistic creativity to solve complex problems that incorporate helping people and the environment while aiming for profitability. I also love tying systems together to create efficiencies or creative uses for them.”

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

“Save and invest your money like crazy. Do not try to fit in. Just aim to get great grades.”

What have you gained from being a member of the Women’s Business Council?

“Insight and commonality amongst members. Authenticity is critical and experience shares are vital for personal development!”

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“‘It’s going to be survival of the fittest’. Told to me by my CFO, it was a call back to basics. Trimming fat in the business and being much more tactical as we traverse into the future.”

Member Spotlight: Catherine Hover, Founder of Palette Cafe

To further promote women, minorities, and veterans who are leading the way in our community, we are featuring Chamber member businesses that fall under these categories.

This week, meet Catherine Hover, Founder of Palette Cafe. Palette Cafe is “more than a cafe. It’s a place that celebrates culture, shared ideas, and connections. Palette Cafe is a space where everyone in the community is welcome. It’s a hospitable place to grab a great cup of coffee, a quick lunch, or a cocktail. We aim to inspire everyone who joins us through our well-designed space and local artist gallery wall. It’s a comfortable place to get work done, escape from the challenges of home, or connect and meet with a group of friends.”

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

“When I have 30 minutes of free time, I love to call my girlfriends or mom back home in New Orleans and catch up on life, it’s so therapeutic. I also like to catch up on my reading. I’m currently reading The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch and I am getting some really good stuff from it!”

What do you love most about what you do?

“I love meeting new people who have different experiences under their belt. Hearing stories and helping business owners get out of their own way to ultimately reach their business and life goals and become the best version of themselves is what I love to see. That’s what Palette is about, after all, leveling up in life and in career!”

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

“I would tell myself that other people’s opinions of you are none of your business. Stay the course and keep doing what you feel is right and fun to do!”

What have you gained from being a member of the Women’s Business Council?

“I have learned so much about other women in business in the area. At Palette, we’re all about coming together and building a community of strong women leaders. The Women’s Business Council has opened my eyes to so many other kickass women in the region who I would love to get to know more.”

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“The best advice I have ever received, and something I often tell others, is to invest in yourself before you ever pour your time and energy into someone or something else. You are always your best work and should be valued and held as the highest priority in your life. Only then can you be of service to anyone else.”

10 best business books written by women

From the desk of Hannah Stenzel of Godfrey Financial Associates, Inc.

At the time of writing, only three of the top 20 on Amazon’s business books bestseller list were authored by females

It’s no secret that the people we spend time with affect how we perceive the world around us. A piece of advice I hear frequently is to take a look at the 5 people you spend the most time with, and it will show you a lot about yourself. This idea is exciting to me because it means that we have the power to change our lives by getting to know people who inspire us. In everyday life, we don’t have access to highly successful people (I’ve tried to find Oprah’s phone number, but it’s unlisted). But what we can do is read about their lives and how they got to live their dreams.

I found this article to be a fresh list of successful women business owners, and I hope you find it as inspiring as I did. Read it here.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Just Made Two Big Steps That Prove Its Women’s Business Is a Top Priority

Dick's Sporting Goods in Danvers, Massachusetts, USA, 28 February 2018. The company announced on 28 February 2018, two weeks after the shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that they would no longer sell assault rifles and will raise the minimum age requirement to 21 for all gun purchases.Dick's Sporting Goods no longer sell assault rifles, Danvers, USA - 28 Feb 2018

For decades, there has been a struggle in the sporting industry that women’s sports do not get the same recognition, funding and respect that men’s sports do, even though they achieve the same if not more, success on the field.

Dick’s Sporting Good, one of the world’s largest sporting goods retailer, recently made an announcement that pledges their support in promoting women’s sports that can change the industry.

Read about their recent commitment here.

WBC Member Spotlight: Rita Cox, Cox Marketing Solutions, LLC

Meet Rita Cox, Founder of Cox Marketing Solutions, LLC! Founded in 2017, Cox Marketing Solutions helps businesses make sense of today’s complicated marketing options with strategic plans, detailed execution, and most importantly – measurable results. https://www.coxmarketingsolutions.com

Read about what inspires her, how she spends her free time and what she has gained from being a member of the Capital Region Chamber’s Women Business Council.

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

Walking our two rescued pit bulls. They never get enough attention and it’s a great break for all of us!

What do you love most about what you do? 

I absolutely love working with a wide range of clients and finding new ways to grow their businesses.  The greatest reward is a client who says that their business is up!

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

I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t doing a lot of listening at 13, but I wish I had understood that doing homework was important.  

What is the best advice you have ever received? 

My dad always said two things “If you’re going to do it, do it 100%” and “Things don’t get done by themselves.”  He’s still one of the smartest guys I know.

Women in Business Wednesdays: A world run by women…

From the desk of Hannah Stenzel of Godfrey Financial Associates, Inc.

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Reading this recent article was like receiving an early holiday present. 

Two days ago, former President Barak Obama said that women are better leaders than men. “I’m absolutely confident that for two years if every nation on Earth was run by women, you would see significant improvement across the board on just about everything … living standards and outcomes,” he said.

Every nation on Earth run by women? Now that’s a goal to work towards in 2020. What would that look like for you?

Women In Business Wednesdays: Work-Life Balance

From the desk of Hannah Stenzel of Godfrey Financial Associates, Inc.

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It never fails- At every event with a businesswoman in the spotlight, the question is always asked, “How do you maintain a work-life balance?” I find this question so interesting because it acknowledges that careers are the opposite of our personal lives. It acknowledges that women are still frustrated, trying to find an illusory balance between two competing commitments- their lives, and their jobs.

Moving forward, I think employers and businesswomen should rethink the way we frame this problem. Instead of striving for unattainable balance, we can explore what it would look like to have work-life integration.

Brianne Garret, of ForbesWomen, touched on this subject in her article, here. “Professionals in what’s been called the “always-on” work culture—especially women—often find it difficult to achieve work-life equilibrium…Now the idea of “work-life integration” is gaining currency, as more and more people concede the idea of “balance” may just be an unattainable goal,” Garret explains.

As many studies have shown, more women in leadership roles make a company more profitable and sustainable. Companies need to value their women and demonstrate that value to them by creating more inclusive and responsive cultures.

This isn’t something that anyone woman (or person) can do on their own. We do it as a community. We do it by having more women in leadership positions. We do it by listening to each other and lifting each other up. Be a part of this change, join the Women’s Business Council today.