Passion Wins Magazine | June 2022, Issue #5

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PASSION WINS June 2022, Issue #5

the rise


What every BUSINESS LEADER SHOULD know about reading



fashion + beauty Get Tips on How to Recycle Your Old Clothes and Make them “Brand New”






Mission Accomplished Transition Services


Coach Carmen Duncan 518-207-0209


Maile Barcelon at MB MEDIA AGENCY 518-376-0645

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Maile Barcelon Vallencia Lloyd Ashley Campusano Andre’ R. Goodbee Betty Wall, P.E. Tony Rivera Tania Fox Areana Thomas-Birmingham Jamil Hood Meaghan Ziemba Zoe Harrison Fatima Bey Rebecca Akinwale Samantha Torres Claire Reid Twilisha Lynn McClelland Kristen Guastella Miranda VonFricken James Mitchell Jermaine Wright Jessica V. Gilbert Jessy Santana Charlene Bradt Ron Quartimon Erica Warner


Coach Carmen Duncan and Maile Barcelon 518-207-0209



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14 Fashion vs. Style 16 Fashion News You Probably Didn’t Know 15 UpCycle Goes Glam - Upcycling Glams Up Your Style and Saves the Planet 20 Data Driven Fashion and the Digital Economy 21 How Beauty Tech Has Driven Social Commerce 23 6 Makeup Artistry Tips and Tricks that will Save Your Shoot 25 A Determined Entrepreneur Inspires More Than He Knows 26 6 Hottest Mens’ Streetwear Trends in 2022 27 Fashion Influencers in the Capital Region 30 #518FASHIONHAPPENING

40 Local Vendor Fairs & Businesses that Promote a Social Economy 42 Social Workers as Entrepreneurs To Advocate for Social, Economic, and Racial Justice 44 It Was All A Dream 46 The Transitioning Workforce and Evolution of Co-Working 52 The Power of Collaboration 54 ALICE and the Pandemic Divide


91 Six Excuses You’re Making That Is StoppingYour Sales From Growing 93 30 Day Social Media Content Calendar Challenge 94 3 Ways To Find The Perfect Copywriter For Your Business 96 Don’t Get Caught In The Free Trap 98 The Power Behind Creating Standard Operating Procedures 100 The Benefits of Outsourcing 101 Laser Focus is Necessary 102 Business Advice: Advice from Small Business Owners 104 10 Good Business Reads 105 What Business Leaders Should Know About Reading 105 7 Content Ideas for Service-Based Businesses

112 6 Scholarship Opportunities for College Students 114 Scholarship Checklist 116 Education Care Package Scholarship Program 118 Top Two College Application Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them


120 Meet the Board of Mission Accomplished Transition Services 122 Changemakers 126 10 Ways to Support Small Non-profit Companies

62 Community Muralists Influence Neighborhood Beautification 66 Apprenticeship Programs with Local Unions List 68 The Rise of an Electrician 72 From Human Services to Construction 73An American (Manufacturing) Dream Come True 76 What Manufacturing of Tomorrow Looks Like



137 Simple Lifestyle Changes That Can Impact You in 2022 138 Top 5 Fitness Tips 140 Gardening Tips For the Soul 142 2022 Carolynisms 143 10 Minute Workout For Beginners 144 I Ran For Office To Win

81 Career Advice 83 Take Initiative, It Will Pay Off In The End 85 The Power of LinkedIn: Profile Tips for New Users 86 You’re Interviewing Them Too 87 How to Strategize Bold Transition Moves from a 9-5 Employee to Full Time Entrepreneur 88 Mentor vs. Sponsor vs. Coach 89 The Power Behind Masterminds

129 Zoë - An Artist on The Rise 130 Rebecca - Creator of @BlAQGRLTV 131 Areana’s Journey -A Rising Nonprofit Founder 133 Sixteen Inspirng Quotes






“#Passionwins every time.”


ello Community, I thank you for picking up this publication to read and experience what is important to us!

As a company we are laser focused on racial, economic and social justice in the workplace while mentoring and coaching young professionals and entrepreneurs as they pursue their wildest career aspirations. Through this publication, we amplify voices and beautiful faces while providing a useful resource that empowers you, the reader, to take action!

The people who have contributed to this publication are fierce advocates for positive change, from the writers to the people in the photos. I strongly encourage you to take mental note of who they are and the positive impact they are making in their lives and the lives of others. As a reader, you are contributing to one of our goals to help individuals who do not always get A LOT of visibility, gain more visibility, have their voices heard and understand their voices are in fact IMPORTANT – THANK YOU! Lastly, I encourage you to take a photo with the publication after you’ve read some or all of it then post on Facebook or Instagram with a comment stating how reading the words or looking at the photos positively changed your mindset, inspired or motivated you. Be sure to tag us at @missac12. With a Smile + Much Gratitude,

Connect with me on LinkedIn at Engage with us on Facebook or Instagram @missacc12 - like, share and follow!


ission Accomplished Transition Services, Inc. is a communitybased organization in NY’s Capital Region. The company was founded in 2011 by “Coach” Carmen Duncan to bridge career transition gaps for rising young professionals and social entrepreneurs aged 13 to 35.

7 orating and mural painting. Partnerships with individuals and companies in the field everyday equips our students with industry specific knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for a successful future.Our programs challenge students to train for success, foster leadership skills to launch their careers or businesses, prepare for life transitions, and find their place in the business world.

Mission Accomplished collaborates with We collaborate with for-profit and non- for-profit and nonprofit companies to profit companies in four key industries: fash- equip our students with the knowledge, ion, construction, interior design and dec- skills, and abilities necessary for a suc-



cessful future. In particular, we focus on 4 industries: fashion, construction, mural painting and interior design/decorating. These are industries and career paths where Black and Brown leaders are underrepresented. We utilize our extensive networks in priority industries and in the Capital Region to identify employer and community needs, and facilitate connections for our students. To date, we have successfully served over 3,000 students. Our students come from low to middle socioeconomic backgrounds, a variety of ethnicities, and some are involved with the juvenile and criminal justice systems, foster care, or are homeless. We believe that there is no barrier to entry when it comes to pursuing a career you are passionate about, and no level of privilege that removes all challenges of these key life transitions for young people, and so our programs are open to all, no matter their background. We deliver our core training programs along two tracks: one for teens and one for early-mid career professionals. The teen track is open to all teens whether in traditional high school or not. The advanced track is for early-mid career young professionals aged 18-35 with 2+ years of experience in their desired industry, are coachable, seeking to help create a healthy community with their peers and have a commitment to advancing their careers within a company or to grow a small business. Photo Credit: Coach Carmen Duncan Education Care Package Winner 2022: Salina Hussain

To prepare rising young professionals and entrepreneurs for the workforce by providing access to industry s pecific coaching, mentoring, and sponsorship.












Photo Credit: Coach Carmen Duncan






vs. style By Maile Barcelon Fashion and Style seem to be the same, and if you ask someone about the concept of the two it is more than likely they would respond as both to be equal. But the truth is, there is a fine line between fashion and style. Personal style belongs to the individual and how they express themselves within it; the way they wear their outfits, shoes, and accessories etc. But fashion on the other hand, is more about the collective of global trends and the business of the industry. The lines of fashion and style continue to overlap so let’s take a deeper dive. A model who is walking the runway at a fashion show is as a part of the fashion industry. The way they dress on their personal time showcases their own style. When that model begins to become an influencer of their style in some kind of way, and it becomes iconic, and they create

a clothing line from it, they are turning their style into fashion. International fashion icons are Rihanna, Jenny Kee AO, and Virgil Abloh just to name a few. Some of the most recent upcoming fashion icons of streetwear have also been highly saught after brands like Supreme, Stussy, Yeezy, Artmon3y and BROKÉ. And there are more on the list that are rising from popular cities of the U.S. to places like the U.K. If you are an aspiring fashion icon,don’t wait to start influencing the industry take action now.





pcycling has become a popular trend where creative seamstresses and designers transform current clothing into glammed up items. Taking this bold approach leads the upcycler to help protect the planet and refrain from buying brand new items like so many of us are conditioned to do. The fashion industry accounts for 8% of air pollution; over 90% of pollution derive from four activities: dyeing and finishing, fabric preparation, yarn preparation, and fiber production.

Upcycling also has a way of reigniting our imagination. I find inspiration for upcycling in these 4 places: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Gardens or other outdoor spaces Pictures of vintage styles Fabric stores (helps me imagine new patterns or embroidery) Unique rooms with stellar interior design

Upcycling Glams Up Your Style and Saves the Planet By Coach Carmen Duncan

Think of that too loose or too tight clothing item you have not worn in a year or more…you can modify the length, silhouette, pant leg or neckline. Let me take you on a journey… if you have a blazer or any type of jacket you no longer wear because the sleeves are too tight or too long or short, take it out of your closet and imagine it without the sleeves. Now cut off the sleeves. If you are not brave enough to do the cutting, take it to a seamstress, tell them your vision then pay them to remove the sleeves.Once the sleeves are gone your blazer will transform into a duster if it is long or a vest if it’s shorter. Vests and dusters are timeless pieces that can complement almost any shirt or dress. Help save the planet while reigniting your imagination by upcycling a few neglected items today!

I purchased 2 men’s blazers from a national thrift store then worked with a designer and creative professional to brainstorm design options. Creative professional, Jasenya, knows my style aspirations and commitment to my brand. Her knowledge of me helped bring this item to life. Upcycle Designer: Va’Ceia Designs IG @vaceia_designs Upcycled Creative Professional: Jasenya McCauley @styld_n_emrgd




Nike released Kobe Bryant’s daughter Mambacita Sweet 16’ shoe to this year to honor Gianna Bryant on her birthday and it sold out in 2 minutes Behind the Look: Sarah Jessica Parker’s Met Gala Dress Referenced Iconic Black Designer Elizabeth Keckley 6 Black Icons of Style are Collaborating with Macy’s: Jerome LaMaar, GooGoo Atkins, Ade Samuel, Areeayl Goodwin, Stella & Blaise Bennett, and Matthew Harris. Vogue states that these are the “Top 8 Senior Style Muses You Need to Follow” - Asian Australian designer Jenny Kee, Igor Govar, Iris Apfel, artist and actress Beatrix Ost, world’s oldest professional model Daphne Selfe, artist and philanthropist Valerie von Sable, Tziporah Salamon, and former model, stylist, fashion editor, and entrepreneur, Linda Rodin. WHO WHAT WEAR reports these trends for women will go viral in 2022: Electric Colors, Micro Skirts, Mexi Hemlines, Dark Denim, Skin-Bearing Everything Wear, Vacation Wear, Luxe Staples, and Everything Y2K In celebration of APAHM (Asian Pacific American Heritage Month), the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) community reports that these are the top AAPI Influencers you should be following right now: Norma Alcalá and Marcela Alcalá, the mother and daughter duo, Jenny Ong, Aimee Song, Rachel Nguyen, Gabs Gibbs, Bretman Rock Hāwane Rios, and Jikaria Sisters. stated that these summer style fashion essentials are being influenced by Hispanic icons: Lightweight Suiting - Honduran-born fashion designer Carlos Campos, Henley Aplenty - Pillar of Latin American style’s actor Antonio Banderas, Monotone - New York’s Giants NFL player Victor Cruz, The Perfect White Tee - Star War’s actor Oscar Isaac, Modern Uniform - Robert Rodriguez, and Pops of Color - Brazilian soccer super star Neymar Jr.



making a fashion statement Fashion Edition Showcase 2021



SEEN ON THE 518 Were You There?

Fashion Showcase Photographers - Janine Alaxanian and Lauren Ramos



Fashion SCENE Fashion Edition Showcase 2021



Image Source: Luxe Digital

Data Driven Fashion & the Digital Economy By Betty Wall, P.E., Founder and President TechEdge Consulting LLC, @Bettytechedge Capital Region, New York


ndustries have benefited from the on-line or “digital economy” gathering information from social media and Internet sales. This information helps spot trends using“data analytics” to gain insight and develop customer loyalty. Banking and consumer products havelead the charge, yet the fashion industry is playing catch up, working to reach a broader, more diverse, stylish and tech-savvy buyer.

Prior to COVID-19, high-end fashion houses were slow to embrace the digital economy and couture brands known for exclusivity, relied on brick and mortar store sales. In-person “Fashion Week” events including mostly celebrities and high earners, have dominated headlines. The tangible aspects of feeling new fabrics and seeing a style in a boutique mirror, was--and is-- an exciting part of shopper experience.

COVID-19 has changed the fashion game to welcome a new group of designers, brands, and entrepreneurs. During Vogue’s Global Conversation webinars in spring 2020, with most participants insweat suitsandyoga pants, elite designer after designer admitted that the fashion industrywas ill equipped for the digital economy, struggling to keep their lines afloat during a new era of remote work and comfy digs. As the world went into lockdown, fashion shows were cancelled, and a new breed of digital show was envisioned ina creative new way.Virtual fashion events were launched and streamed live with tantalizing graphics that rendered new fabrics beautifully, with upbeat music, a fun vibe, and


unique modeling. Today, entrepreneurs don’t require a physical store front to launch new fashions given the power of a digital and social relationship. Rihanna and the late Virgil Abloh showed the world that social media followers could become highly loyal as they each captured the worlds imagination and asked for direct customer feedback. Theiron-line connections created hugely successful brands focused on inclusiveness, appealing to a diverse buyer with exceptional products and a range of prices. As the wealthiest female musician in the world, Rihanna is now working with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, on an IPO for her new Savage x Fenty fashion line,valued at $3 billion. From street wear to customer couture, designers who gather data about prospects, audience and competition are rapidly changing the fashion industry and bringing their own creative visions to our to our digital world. The opportunity is massive and very exciting.

How Beauty Tech Has Driven Social Commerce By Maile Barcelon, CEO & Creative Strategist MB Media Agency Capital Region, New York


ou’ve seen it on Instagram. And you’ve even experienced it in Snapchat. But you probably haven’t noticed how that cute lipstick filter you’ve been trying out is truly impacting the beauty industry. Beauty Tech, is an arising new technology trend that encompasses artificial intelligence and artificial reality powered try-on technologies. Whether from business to consumer, or business to business, today’s Beauty Tech tools are making a huge difference in the shopping experience for beauty

products like cosmetics, skin care, and hair products. Virtual try-on has well proven to be not only popular among platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest, but has also been a powerful sales tool for famous beauty brands like Estee Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, L’Oréal, Sephora and more. Artificial Intelligence, a.k.a. A.I., has changed the way shoppers make buying decisions, and it’s causing a surge in sales. With advancements in A.I. technologies and the influence of the COVID-19 crisis, companies have had to pivot and figure out how to create sales opportunities while practicing social distancing. According to a fashion-industry trade journal, Sephora saw a 70-80% increase of total sales alone after the pandemic. With the ability to generate large amounts of data,


companies are taking advantage of this information and determining their competitive marketing strategies because of it. Additionally, the latest market intelligence research report by InsightAce Analytic shared that the global Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) in Beauty and Cosmetics market size was valued at $2.70 Billion in 2021, and it is expected to reach $3.34 Billion in 2030. This record breaking 19.7% increase speaks volumes and will only demand that companies who haven’t yet explored this trend will definitely want to reconsider their marketing and selling strategy for the future.



INTRODUCING TheFaceGawdess Twilisha McClelland

Editorial Makeup Artists Contact: 518-878-5662 Location: Georgia

Photographer: Essence Todman of Essence Latifah Photography Model: Madison Moules


wilisha, Editorial MakeUp Artist and founder of TheFaceGawdess has a passion for expression through art, beauty and fashion. Her background and training as an artist translates to her clients getting a creative edge on their everyday look. A unique twist on the norm, her visuals… are BLESSED. Based out of the Metro Atlanta Area, TheFaceGawdess has worked with, Dance Companies, Photographers and Fashion Designers, establishing a reputation of being a reliable, effective, and knowledgeable professional in her field of makeup artistry. With her expansion into tutorials she is working with young aspiring MUAs, showing them how to hone their craft.

Follow TheFaceGawdess: IG: @thefacegawdess FB: Photographer: Mahadhi Walker of Wealthy Media Digital Artist: DeSean Moore of Moore Than Vision Photography



Photographer: Essence Todman of Essence Latifah Photography Hair: Jade of Jade’s Hair Envy Model: Arielle Jackson

6 Makeup Artistry Tips & Tricks that will Save Your Shoot By Twilisha (Twi) Lynn McClelland, Owner of The FaceGawdess


o My Fellow Makeup Artists, this is a quick and dirty list of tips I wish someone had shared with me early on in my career. Keep reading to learn from my experiences. Twi did dat, so hopefully you won’t have to go through that! 1. Get Your Kit in Top Condition: No matter where you are in your ca-

reer, or what brands are in your kit, the best thing you can do for yourself and your clients is keep your kit clean, sanitized and organized. I typically group like items together in smaller makeup bags and label them. This cuts down on time spent digging around looking for proucts. Find a system that works for you and watch your shoot day go off without a hitch.

2. What to Pack and What to Put BackBack: Ditch bulky glass foundation bottles and pots, and reach for versatile palettes. You’ll save space and create options by having 3-4 creme palettes and 2-3 powder palettes. Be sure to select a nice mix of warm, neutral, and cool palettes in addition to depth of tone. By walking with palettes as opposed to full bottles, you lighten your load, but not your options. 3. LIGHTS, Camera, Action!: If possible, bring a ring light with you to shoots and jobs. You never know what kind of environment you will be walking into, and in my experience you can not rely on the other creatives you are collaborating with to provide you with adequate lighting.

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4. Quick and Dirty: You’ll want to keep makeup removing face wipes in your kit at all times. They are great for cleaning off old makeup looks, and they are good for refreshing a model’s face if she’s been sweating or has gotten oily before making it to your chair. This will help you start with a fresh clean canvas. In addition to that, they are great for quick under eye fallout clean ups. 5. I’m Jelly Baby: Nothing is a multi-purpose juggernaut quite like some good old petroleum jelly. I keep a small container in my kit at all times. You can use it to clear away excess makeup when creating a cut crease. It can be used in conjunction with pigments and shadows already in your kit to create custom lip shades and glosses on the spot. And it’s great to use to give a wet look to eyes when dabbed lightly on the lids.

Photographer: Essence Todman Model: Teyana Harres

6. Confidence is Key: There will be times when you’ve forgotten that ONE product that you just NEED to have to complete a look, or your model isn’t seeing your vision. Don’t let any of these everyday occurrences shake you or your confidence. KNOW your kit inside and out so if something you rely on is missing or needs replacement, you know what other products can pull double duty and get you through without disrupting your shoot or booking. KNOW you are an artist, a model or anyone else not understanding your vision isn’t an attack, it’s a miscommunication. Communicate your art with confidence! *Bonus tip: When it comes to storage and transportation of your kit, I recommend soft side train cases with drawers in the lower compartment. My first train case was a NIGHTMARE to use on shoots.

Photographer: Essence Todman Styling: Jasenya McCauly

Photographer: Essence Todman Model: Lexus Coleman


Shane Kyiretwie A Determined Fashion Entrepreneur Inspires More Than He Knows By Fatima Bey, Institute Producer Mission Accomplished Transition Services

Shane Kyiretwie LLC

Location: Capital Region, New York Email: IG: @kyiretwieluxury



n high school Shane Kyiretwie was trying to figure out what career path he wanted to take. He joined the Teen Social Entrepreneurship Institute (SEI) with Mission Accomplished from 2018-2019 while in high school and the Fashion Edition Institute in 2021 while in college. The Teen Social Entrepreneurship Institute exposes teens to various careers in business and entrepreneurship, connects them with industry professionals and prepares them to market themselves as future business icons. The Advanced Fashion Edition Institute provides intentional career and small business development coaching for early - mid career fashion professionals. It was during Shane’stime in SEI that he discovered he has a passion for fashion and gained the confidence that he could one day have his own clothing line. Fast forward to 2022 and this young man has started to make this dream official through Shane Kyiretwie LLC. Pictured here are some of his first creations. He is starting off with unique hoodies. Shane has a unique take on the idea behind his fashion line. In his words “Shane Kyiretwie LLC is an American luxury fashion house aimed to bridge popular culture and prideful heritage from underappreciated parts of the world.” The West African print fabric accenting this hoodie is an example of this fashion style.

Follow Shane Kyiretwie: IG: @kyiretwieluxury

While Shane enhanced his understanding of the brand and general business concepts while participating in SEI, he decided to participate in the Alumni Mentorship program in order to stay on course with launching hisclo thing line. He loves the one on one coaching he is receiving through the Alumni program because he is learning to pace himself in order to make wise moves in fully launching his clothing line. Coupled with his strong determination and drive, this young professional is unstoppable!



Photo Credit: SpyderF22

Photo Credit: Jessica Randanavo

Photo Credit: Mikolaj Felinski

Photo Credit: Sinitta Leunen

Photo Credit: H&M

Photo Credit: Fashion Nova Men

6 HOTTEST mens’ STREETWEAR TRENDS IN 2022 By Maile Barcelon Location: Capital Region, New York In a category that seems to continuously distrupt the market, we’ve taken a look at the biggest trends being seen amongst the most recent mens fashion collections to bring you the hottest trends in 2022. GORPCORE Fueled by the pandemic, Gorpcore has proven to be a newfound appreciation by consumers who have committed to incorporating outdoor lifestyles such as nature exploring, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Along with this growing sector, streetwear brands have picked up tech wear and made it popular through different fashion collections that still have us loving windbreakers, gilets, and cargo whether we are enjoying outdoor

activities or not. FLEECE JACKETS With Gorpcore aesthetics being in high demand, fleece jackets have made their way with detailed patch pockets on the front or contrasting designs that make brands a conversational piece. Unique patterns are also gaining momentum and is something to consider adding to your wardrobe. CARGO Another sub-trend of the outdoor look are cargo trousers. Traditional colors like olive and greens are predominantly gaining attention and its functionality designs in the pockets are being foundboth

Photo Credit: Ben Iwara

Photo Credit: Jennifer Maque

on the side leg and on the front. CAMOFLAUGE While cargo trousers remain popular, the camoflauge trend hasn’t stopped gaining attention. Men’s tops and accessories are climbing the charts in most stocked items for the US market, while theh UK has been reporting a high stock in tops and bottoms. . NYLON TRACKSUITS With inspiration of the 90’s and the Y2K resurgence, many labels have been seen teaming up to produce tracksuits that incorporate sporty elements, technical functionality, and gender fluidity. GILET The gilet, a.k.a. puffer vest and sleeveless jackets with utility styles have also become a hot item amongst men. While tech style designs have been the trend, color block patterns and neckless collars have also been a favorite layering piece over hooded sweatshirts and t-shirts.



FASHION INFLUENCERS OF THE CAPITAL REGION Influencer Marketing has become a very important strategy for the fashion industry lately, including the retail sector as a whole. That’s why so many people are discovering that they can now make their love for style and clothing an actual career. Influencers bring a specific audience to a brand and give companies access to followers they once would have not reached. Not only do they bring authenticity to brand collaborations, but if done right, fashion influencers can encourage their followers to purchase. In the long run, companies not only build bigger brand awareness by using influencer marketing, but they also discover new customers that could turn into long term buyers. In the process of building their own personal brands, these fashion influencers also start their own fashion trends too, which end up spurring a consumption of clothing, shoe, or accessory items during a specific period of time. The demand for fashion brands to keep up with forecasts are becoming extremely important just to appease customers. Additionally, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat just to name a few, are leading consumers to adopt fashion trends quicker than before.

Jovar Bell - Jovar is one of New York’s style trend setters. He is the founder of the lifestlye clothing brand, BROKÉ. He says “BROKÉ is your new favorite online retail destination. We are where luxury meets streetwear and strive to bring you the latest styles, from design to concept, and straight to your door.” IG @Broke_insufficientfunds Owner of Broké Clothing


The influencer marketing industry is trending to reach $16.4B this year The Number of Influencer Marketing Related Services/Companies Grew by 26% in 2021 and is still growing • Instagram is the preferred social media channel for brands who engage in Influencer Marketing • Video ads are one of the top performing ad formats on Facebook • Instagram is STILL a viable avenue for users to find new products and Services. *Reference: Influencer Marketing Hub

Mell Meus - Mell discovered his love for the creative world once he entered his professional career as a mortgage loan officer. Between real estate, modeling, and his major involvement in the community, Mell slowly started to grow his footprint here in the Capital Region. Fast forward, a couple years later, he has become a published model, produced very successful fashion shows/events such as the Forever Young Fashion Show, and is now working behind the scenes as creative director on multiple projects. Mell has proven that you don’t have to live in NYC or any other big city to prosper in the fashion industry and that you can level up in your own backyard! IG @Team_mell Michael Barber is a Diversity and Inclusion professional, as well as an advocate for plant-based nutrition and holistic living. He developed his sense of style while living in various parts of New York City and South Beach Florida and being mentored by fashion icons who used their style to unapologetically express themselves. IG @Michaelbarber117








The New York’s Capital Region is home to the creation of many elements of the fashion industry, including the collar. Troy, NY is known as Collar City because the detachable shirt collar industry began in Troy. The detachable collar allowed men to wear a “clean” shirt to after party functions. The growth of the collar led to a shirt industry in the City of Troy. Today, the Capital Region is home to talented fashion event producers, photographers, creative directors, wardrobe stylists, models, make up artists and more. Follow and hire the below magnificently talented fashion and beauty professionals below. Tracy Simone Industry Titles: Actress, Co-Publisher of Capital Woman Online Magazine, Model, Fashion Event Backstage Manager IG: @tracysimone039

Darrell Michael Industry Titles: Master Hairstylist and Hair Care Specialist Services: Creative styling, wig making, and hair classes IG : @_DarrellMichael Photo Credit: Sir Shane miller

Jasenya McCauley Industry Title: Creative Professional Services: Creative Direction, Merchandising and Production Management IG: @styld_n_emrgd Photo Credit: Patti Gibbons


Nykesa Hilts, 2021 alum of the Fashion Edition Institute produced by Mission Accomplished Transition Services.

Kierra Jones of Kierra jones International facilitating the workshop, Your Authentic and Confident Self, for 2019 Fashion Edition Institute students.

Tyrell looking at trimmings for his streetwear line.








3 0 0 D e l awa r e Av e n u e , A l b a n y N Y



Locally - sourced and seasoned We invite ALL diners (including gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan) to come together in celebrating the art of local abundance.

T h e K i tc h e n T a bl e A l b a n y. c o m







Photo Credit: Moore Than Vision



Seen on the social Were You There?

Photo Credit: Jayana Lafotos



Entrepreneur SCENE social entrepreneurship SHOWCASE 2021



Local Vendor Fairs + Small Businesses That Promote a Social Economy

“Social entrepreneurship not only lessens the burden of social injusticies, but it also fosters inclusion, promotoes community change, and helps to protect the environment.”


ocial Entrepreneurship impacts our community and its society in so many ways. As societal problems grow, so does the demand for social entrepreneurship. Most business models focus on maximizing profit, but when influencing social change is the center of attention, social entrepreneurship begins to make a global footprint. Social entrepreneurship not only lessens the burden of poverty, but it also fosters inclusion, promotes community change, and helps to protect the environment. Additionally, statistics show that American consumers are willing to pay higher prices for sustainable products and that they are aware of companies that are making social changes within their communties. This means that businesses serving for the comon good are widely recognized.

Visit your local community markets and support the small businesses that are contributing to social change:

Capital Region Vendor Fairs + Markets South End Night Market May 26, 2022 to November 17, 2022 Every Thursday 5 pm - 8 pm Learn more on Facebook: @ SouthEndNightMarket Ujamaa Market Most Saturdays 1 pm - 6 pm Learn more on Facebook: @UJAMAA.CAPREGION Mind, Body and Soul Expo This group hosts several events throughout the year. Learn more on Facebook: @MINDBODYSOULEXPO

Tri-City Farmer’s Markets Troy Waterfront Farmer’s Market Troy Riverfront Saturdays 9 am - 2 pm Washington Park Farmer’s Market Washington Park, Albany Saturdays, July thru October 10 am - 2 pm Schenectady Green Market Schenectady City Hall Sundays 10 am - 2 pm

Hair + Skin Care Whip My Butta Organics Natural and organic skin care products Facebook: @whipmybuttaorganics Instagram: @whipmybuttaorganics


Phre Restore your natural state with PHREssentials’ Luxere Hair & Body Care Products! Facebook: @stayPHRE Instagram: @stayphre

Grounded Matters All natural, homemade skincare products for your body, mind and soul. Packaged in upcycled containers. Facebook: @groundedmatters Instagram: @groundedmatters

Black Kettle Soap Company Hand crafted products for the bath, body and home. Facebook: @blackkettlesoapcompany Instagram:@blackkettlesoapcompany

Health + Wellness

Rad Soap World’s best bar soap for all skin, handmade in the USA. We use only nutrient dense ingredients. Facebook: @RadSoapCo Instagram: @radsoapco


Root3d We are here to center the liberation, healing, + power of BIPOC by rooting within the 3 dimensions: the mind, body, and spirit. Instagram: @root3dhealing Impeccable Beatz & Spa Strives to be a spa where empowerment is our second language Instagram: @impeccablebeatzandspa




To Advocate for Social, Economic, and Racial Justice


By Coach Carmen Duncan Location: Capital Region , New York

ocial work is a profession created to address social, racial, environmental and economic injustices. Those of us who decide to become social workers innately create solutions to problems and empathize with the struggles of others. When you think of someone who is an entrepreneur you envision someone who identifies a problem, creates a product or service as a solution then monetizes the solution. Therefore if you couple the innate reaction of social workers with the innate reaction of an entrepreneur you are led to a social entrepreneur, an individual who creates a solution to social problems while making a profit; however, their primary motivation is social justice! Most social workers establish businesses because they find the companies they’ve worked for perpetuate prejudice, racism and other isms that do not align with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) code of ethics. The code calls on us to operate based on a core set of ethical principles: •

• •

Social workers’ primary goal is to help people in need and to address social problems. Social workers challenge social injustice. Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.

• •

Social workers recognize the central importance of human relationships. Social workers practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise.

Source: Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English

ers are likely to launch businesses focused on organizing small to medium size groups to address specific cultural, neighborhood or institutional issues. Macro social workers confront systemic injustices such as faulty policies; these social workers may start businesses focused on crafting new laws or policies, organizing large scale activist/advocate groups to address social injustices and more. Because of our innate ability to create solutions, social workers adopt entrepreneurial skills from the onset of stepping into the profession, sometimes without realizing their entrepreneurial talents. Some of our superpower skills include: Fundraising: Social workers frequently are in search of financial and in kind resources to ensure the people they work with have the money and tangible items they need to live comfortably. In kind resources include the recruitment of volunteers.

There are 3 types of social workers: macro, mezzo and micro. Micro social workers work with individuals and small groups; micro social workers are most likely to establish a clinical practice that provides counseling services. Mezzo social workers focus on specific groups of people such as veterans; mezzo social work-

Marketing and brand development: Social workers assist companies with developing and marketing the brand so people want to access their products or services. Persuasive communication and sales: Social workers have to learn how to effectively communicate the services or products they provide so people buy into the mission and purchase the product or service.



Coach Carmen Duncan on a video call at CoLabs in Albany, NY.

Coach Carmen Duncan at a photo shoot for the Fashion Edition Institute Program.

So, if you are a venture capitalist seeking to invest in for profit and nonprofit businesses, I urge you to NOT only look for those with a traditional business background or college education. Consider businesses led by social workers who wake up everyday with the innate mission to address social, racial and economic injustices! One company I shamelessly highly recommend is Mission Accomplished Transition Services. Make your investment today at




Hoods House of Hoops By Jamil Hood Sr. Proprietor, Executive Director Hoods House of Hoops Location: Capital Region, New York


rowing up in multiple neighborhoods, Albany, New York, shaped my life to what it is today. I’m a father of five children, Cedira, Jamil Jr., Jadan. Jordan and Chene (Gary), and Uncle/Coach Hood to thousands. My parents Linda Faye Davis and David Hood are resting in paradise. I’ve always had the courage or know how to ask for help growing up or learn from many others. I was unable to graduate from Albany High School in which I earned my GED from Moriah Shock Incarceration Prison Facility in 1990. After my release, I attended Hudson Valley Community Center, Sage and Grand Canyon University. Unfortunately, growing up I can’t remember getting 7-8 full hours of sleep without waking up for an hour or two to just sit up and dream. I love to dream with my eyes open or shut. I believe that through prayer and visualizing something it will come true. My life of the street activity didn’t stop when I was released from prison, I eventually slowed down but I still had one foot in, one foot out. The foot out got caught again, this time I knew and believed it was over. As I was ushered to my jail cell, a guy in a wheelchair rolled up on me and said, “Hoo, you’re all on the news, bro they’re going to fry you.” I was already depressed and

defeated. That was the final blow for me. As I was sleeping in my cell, laying on the floor, with my head resting on the cell to seek fresh air, I could hear a voice. I looked up and I said, “GOD?” He said, “No, I’m the jail Chaplain.” I told him my story and I asked him to pray for me, and to ask GOD to give me another chance. The Chaplain said, “This is why I’m here. HE sent me to speak to you today.” Attending Church with my Mother every Sunday I loved when the Preacher spoke about Job, someone who did many things and had many tasks. I said that could be me. A year later I was employed at the Urban League. Then I heard about a Charter School opening up. The birth of New Covenant Charter School (NCCS) was created. My first year I was a part time after school worker. And in no time I worked myself up as the Dean of Students Basketball Coach and Student Enrollment Coordinator. Student enrollment was a major factor in the fiscal operations of the school. Everyone in the school knew I knew everyone and everyone knew me. Unfortunately, the doors were to be shut at NCCS for many reasons. In my last year I was asked to work at Green Tech Charter High School for boys (GT). I was given the opportunity to work as the school’s Assistant Dean of Students and to start the school’s high school basketball program.

“Dreams only come true if you believe in them...”

Hoods House of Hoops Location: Albany, New York E:




orking for Green Tech was part of my dream and being there kept me up at night. I had a lot of love and respect from many members in the community at large but heavy in the basketball world. Again, enrollment played a crucial part in our day to day. Seven days a week, I recruited students to Green Tech. Parents would track me down and I would track them down. We were a small school, wore uniforms, mostly young and of color, rigorous academics, longer school days during the year, and a basketball team. GOD couldn’t script a better role for me. I was HIS soldier forever and I promised HIM I wouldn’t let HIM down. My son, Jamil Hood Jr. attended GT along with friends who were students at NCCS. These are the same young men I trained since they were 4-5 years old and I was so looking forward to working with them. Within three years of our inception, we competed for the Section 2 Boys Basketball Championship against Troy High School. We lost in the championship which was a devastating loss. We were so so close. I always spoke to the boys about integrity and never giving up on your dreams. We lost the game on a Saturday. But the whole entire team was back in the gym that Sunday. I couldn’t sleep for days. I was dreaming and visualizing this dream of being champs, especially with my son on my team. The next year we went on to win the Section 2 Title, Regional Champs and NYS Championships. I was so proud of our boys as part of the Coaching staff and the community. We finally had Albany (Public Schools) it’s first NYS Championship. The following season we had an undefeated regular season with a 20-0 record. In the year of 2018, during the winter I remember an unknown lady walking up to me and thanking me for doing a good job at GT and in the community. She posed a question and asked me if I was ready for defeat. I said to her, “I lost a lot to gain what I got. “ She said, “Well, keep doing what you’re doing.” Months later myself and eight other

GT employees were let go from our jobs through budget cuts; that was the hardest moment of my life! I was without a job. I was no longer the coach, and I had nowhere to go. I was angry, depressed and all my beliefs were out of the window. Eventually, my car was repossessed. I was evicted from my apartment and it seemed like no one cared. My children and a few others were my life line. They helped me through some really tough days. The City of Albany was in the midst of high crime rates, major gun violence, senseless killings and then COVID 19 hit the world hard. I myself was trying to figure things out. I lived in a shelter for six months but I continued trekking through the streets teaching basketball, encouraging peace and volunteering. Another opportunity presented itself at the Frank Chapman Memorial Institute (FCMI) located at 340 First Street, in Albany, NY’s West Hill area. Mrs. Norma Chapman graciously allowed my son, Jamil Jr. and I to launch Hood’s House of Hoops in the Center. The partnership was yet another opportunity God sent my way to help one of my many dreams to come true! The FCMI needed some major renovations, I publicly vowed I

would get it done. In only a year and a half, I was able to raise $700,000 to renovate the building and create a beautiful safe place for the community. Currently, we have over 300 youth and families attending our programs on a weekly basis. To put an emphasis on “my dream”, I thought I would borrow the quote from the late rapper Notorious BIG, “IT WAS ALL A DREAM”, and I was able to place those words in 12 inch letters in the gymnasium. Dreams only come true if you believe in them, work hard for them and believe in HIM. Learn more and connect with us at



The Transitioning Workforce and Evolution of Co-working By Jessica Hofmann, Public Relations Account Manager for Buzz Media LOCATION: SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many things are done, including the idea of going into a permanent office space every day. Many companies realized they could save money by utilizing a work from home or hybrid model for their employees. As the trend continues to evolve, many professionals have turned to coworking for the option to utilize a professional workspace at a fraction of the cost. Working from home can be isolating, distracting and can take a toll on mental health. It can be extremely difficult working when it’s done ten feet from where you sleep. Coworking is a new and effective way professionals can do their best work again, at a low cost and risk. One space close to home is Urban Co-works, located in downtown Schenectady, NY. Coworking gives any professional or business an opportunity to save money while being part of an inspiring community and high-end workspace. A company of four full-time people can save over $20,000/year at Urban Co-Works, versus renting a traditional office setting. In addition to a more affordable workplace, Urban Co-works offers flexible memberships and offices on a month-to-month basis. The company provides high speed internet, support staff, conference room time, bottomless coffee and tea, a Snack Shack, super comfortable seating, business mailing address, printing, and more. The space is cleaned every day, and COVID19 protocols are in place to keep the community safe.

those looking for something a little more private, Urban Co-Works also offers office spaces with the same month-month terms. The offices come fully furnished and include signage on top of all other amenities. More and more professionals are turning to coworking spaces as a flexible solution to get out of their house or apartment, boost their mental health and to become more productive. Urban Co-works is frequented by small and large businesses alike and many entrepreneurs, startups, non-profits, consultants, and other business professionals love the space. Not only are they able to be productive on their own, the co-working space provides opportunities for businesses to network and grow. In fact, 64% of Urban Co-works’ members said they have conducted business with other members to help reach business goals. A few people you can find working at Urban Co-Works on any given day are: • • • • • • •

Our all-inclusive environment and wide array of memberships can fit most professionals’ needs and budgets. The Coworking members sit in a shared open seating area. Memberships include high speed internet, a business mailing address, early and late-night access, bottomless coffee, conference room time, private phone booths, a seasonal rooftop and more. For

Sam who owns a real estate brokerage. Genesis who interns with Mission Accomplished Transition Services. Chris who is the Chief Executive Officer of a software company. Clarisa, an attorney. John who works remote and coworks from time to time. Josh who shares content on financial independence to over 100k Instagram followers. Emma and Matt the married couple who didn’t have a home office

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ollaboration between companies and the individuals who run them have the potential to lead positive transformative outcomes. In 2021, the team at Urban Co-Works, a co-working space based in the City of Schenectady, was in search of an intern. Kristen, General Manager of Urban Co-Works states “Urban Co-Works was looking to hire a dedicated, talented young professional for a paid internship position and decided to partner with Mission Accomplished Transition Services for the task. We interviewed three excellent candidates who graduated from Mission Accomplished Transition Services programs and moved forward with Tayla. She has become a rock star employee for us. The hiring process was incredibly seamless and we gained a talented staff member. We look forward to her growing with us long term.” We at Mission Accomplished were so happy they made such a bold decision to work exclusively with the Mission Accomplished Transition Services team to help diversify their workforce. The problem we acknowledged: Lack of paid internship opportunities in New York’s Capital Region.

The solution we created: The Urban Co-Works team made a commitment to investing their time, money and resources in creating a paid internship. The strategy we used: Promotion exclusively to Mission Accomplished Transition Services alumni. The Outcomes: 1. Urban Co-works was connected with a larger and qualified pool of vetted candidates. 2. Weekly financial investment in a current college student. 3. As members of Urban Co-Works we are able to see the impact of our partnership when we see Tayla working. 4. Urban Co-Works has a dedicated, multifaceted young professional with a passion for helping others. 5. Tayla has made valuable connections with professionals from a variety of industries. 6. Tayla has further developed her ability to manage social media for a company and best practices when assisting with the operations of a small business. 7. The co-working members feel more at “home” by making sure their needs are met. 8. Tayla brings a young, vibrant energy

into the space each time she arrives at work which makes the members happy and feel good about sustaining their monthly membership.

“Collaboration between companies and the individuals who run them have the potential to lead positive transformative outcomes.” - Coach Carmen





ALICE and the Pandemic Divide


n the early days of the pandemic, we celebrated – and finally recognized – our essential workforce for their strength, courage, and resilience in keeping our communities afloat. But many of these workers, whom we continue to rely on daily, struggle to afford the basics. They falling into a demographic we call ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE works hard, sometimes at two or three jobs, earns above the poverty level but not earn nearly enough to afford the lowest-cost options for household basics. Still, many continue to risk their health to serve our meals, deliver our online orders, meet community needs, care for our elderly and check out our groceries. As this pandemic drags on, ALICE continues to show up for all of us. In turn, we all need to show up for ALICE. The growing population of ALICE households and those in poverty account for 41 percent of the households in the Capital Region, according to United For ALICE, a research and analysis group that’s been dedicated to strengthening the awareness and understanding of ALICE for over a decade. Within the overall ALICE population, we see stark disparities that long predate the pandemic: In the Capital Region, 66 percent of Black Households, 56 percent of LatinX households, and 74 percent of households headed by single mothers are ALICE. Such disproportionate percentages point to long-standing inequities and injustices and the interconnections between racism, sexism and financial exclusion. We see, for example, percentages of ALICE far above the regional aver-

By Claire Reid United Way of the Capital Region Capital Region, New York

age, some as high as 79 to 84 percent, in areas where redlining was long practiced here. United for ALICE’s latest report confirms that ALICE households and those in poverty were hit hardest during the pandemic. A U.S. Census survey shows nearly 60 percent of these struggling households experienced a loss of income due to the pandemic, compared to 40 percent of households that afforded the basics before COVID-19 hit. ALICE workers were more likely than higher-wage workers to face reduced

hours and employment barriers related to childcare, health concerns and access to reliable transportation, according to United For ALICE surveys of 45,000 individuals across eight states including New York. ALICE households were far more likely to face obstacles related to caregiving for a child, older adult or person with special needs, compared to 20 percent of financially stable households, or to have to quit a job due to a lack of childcare during the pandemic. And 44 percent of those below the ALICE threshold are now experiencing elevated symptoms of anxiety and depression. The stakes are high for all of us, in

particular for ALICE. If ALICE’s recovery falters, so too will the country’s. We invite you to join the United Way of the Greater Capital Region in the ALICE movement, using ALICE research to identify those immediate basic needs and drive the longterm systemic change needed to can thrive advance equity and create the conditions in which everyon . The research is opensource, fully accessible, and actionable. Some examples: If you design action research initiatives or human service programs, drill down by zip code or census tract to better see how disparities and geography align. Strategically design, collaborate, and fund accordingly. If you establish eligibility requirements for funding or social support programs, consider raising your income eligibility beyond the demonstrably too low Federal Poverty Level to include ALICE. If you’ re concerned about work force development consider what an hourly wage must be in this region so that employees can make enough to thrive, not just survive; consider, too, how other workforce supports, such as childcare, transportation, and health insuranc e can help ALICE. If you draft policy or legislation know that financial hardship is in fact much more widespread than is commonly acknowledged or reflected in the design of our social safety net. Let’s all of us pay greater attention to connections and in by working together, we can turn our gratitude into a largeterdependence so that, scale and sustainable effort to lift up ALICE.


Helping social entrepreneurs make an impact in their communities.





Photo Credit: Megan Cooper







Photo Credit: Michaela Vecerkauskas, Carpenter Apprentice Alumna of Construction + Design Institute




SEEN ON THE 518 ARTIST Were You There?

Photo Credit: Adeyemi Adeniyi








ommunity muralists have a way of evoking emotion through the use of paint. They allow their connection to the neighborhoods to inspire their designs and the messages they leave behind. In 2020, I recognized the HUGE impact muralists have on how community members interact with the communities they live in or frequent. I also noticed muralists and other artists are not typically engaged by real estate developers until later in the construction phase. The late engagement limits their ability to engage with the community and get guidance from residents in the neighborhood where the mural will reside. Community engagement is an IMPORTANT component to the design concept and messages. My observations inspired me to work alongside a group of local artists to develop the Artist in Construction program, an intensive career and business development program for early – mid career community muralists seeking mentorship and coaching to advance their careers and/or grow the mural side of their art businesses. The Artist in Construction program does not only unify a class of loyal artists, it will assist artists with better understanding the business behind art from marketing and brand development to accounting. The program was developed specifically to help emerging muralists ages 18 to 35 with two or more years of experience as graphic design-

ers, muralists and/or painters with a desire to activate medium to large scale interior and exterior murals. The two local muralists I worked alongside were Raè Fraiser and Eugene O’Neill. They were co-leads of the program in 2021. Raè Fraiser expressed “What’s brilliant about the Artist in Construction program is that it will expose ALL of the value within the artists, allowing them to fully understand what it means to NOT be one dimensional in their craft. The idea of creating an ongoing partnership between construction companies and artists is innovative and magical.” “The mindset, experience and resources the program provides will allow people to intuitively maneuver their role and value as an artist in community driven collaborations.”, said Eugene O’Neill.

piness and wellbeing” said Susan Ungerman, owner of Ungerman Electric.

The inaugural program was funded by our lead sponsor by The Community Builders (TCB) and co-sponsored by Ungerman Electric. TCB is a nonprofit real estate development organization that provides affordable housing in communities across the country. Their mission is to build and sustain strong communities where all people can thrive. TCB’s mission-driven businesses work with partners to develop, finance and operate residential communities, neighborhood amenities and opportunity programs for families, seniors and adults with disabilities. “Art is tremendously beneficial to one’s mental health-self-expression, it boosts confidence, and enables us to deal with depression and anxiety and contributes to our overall hap-

Artist in Construction students create purpose boards to illustrate their goals and aspirations.


common misconception about the Capital Region is that public art is not an emerging area of business; however, in 2018, 6% of the local creative economy was made up of visual art and handcraft products according to the Center for Economic Growth. Furthermore, in the last year we’ve seen murals reveal themselves throughout the City of Albany and Troy and projects are underway in Schenectady.

Public art continues to be seen in our region. Art is a beautiful form of self and community expression. We want to help artists enhance their ability to market their talent so property owners and construction companies hire them to beautify the inside and outside of buildings. As a result of the Artist in Construction program, four emerging community muralists:

63 •

developed more confidence with requesting payment for their servicessold their artwork at the Artist Showcase in August 2021. (for one student it was her first time being financially compensated for her work.) Secured freelance murals gigs with private clients and local businesses (for profit and nonprofit) which led to thousands of dollars in revenue generated for these local artists gained knowledge of how to create a proposal and pitch themselves and their businesses expanded their comfort identifying as an artpreneur

A 2018 report released by Americans for Arts states “7 in 10 Americans believe the arts unify communities, and 2 in 5 Americans have changed an opinion or perception based on an arts experience.” In addition to creating beauty in neighborhoods, art generates income and increases tourism. According to a 2017 report by


the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis our nation’s arts and cultural industry accounted for 4.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), or $877.8 billion. Learn more about this program at artistinconstruction/

“The mindset, experience and resources the program provides will allow people to intuitively maneuver their role and value as an artist in community driven collaborations.”, said Eugene O’Neill.



Ungerman Electric "delighting" customers for over 50 years

Ungerman Electric has been "delighting" customers for over 50 years. We are a proud womanowned business, built around the principles of quality, responsiveness, and integrity. We provide residential and commercial electrical services including: • Repairs and troubleshooting • Code inspections and corrections • Panel upgrades • Wiring, lighting, and networking • 24/7 emergency services



At Ungerman Electric, we aren't just a business. We're a member of the community. We recognize our responsibility to not only give back but to engage. We support Black Lives Matter. We condemn the racist attacks across the Capital Region and the nation. We stand in solidarity with all of our customers, co-workers, and friends. We stand for what we believe in. We support what we believe in. Ungerman Electric has a proud history of philanthropy. We give to many organizations including YWCA-GCR, Habitat for Humanity, Damien Center, Planned Parenthood, Cong. Ohav Shalom, Our Own Voices, and Black Lives Matter.

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By Andre’ R. Goodbee Goodbee Controls & Electrical Contracting Location: Capital Region, New York My journey to becoming an electrician started in my teenage years. My neighbor, who was a true handyman in every meaning of the word, was my first introduction to learning what it meant to fix things with your own hands. I watched him from my porch; fix cars, renovate his own home, build his family a new porch, roof, etc. I thought to myself “this man has a wealth of knowledge.” So, one day, he said to me, “if you always want to have a way to make money or have a “job” learn a trade, there will always be a need for skilled labor.” After that conversation, I did some research on who made the most money in the trades, and at that point in time it was the electrical trade. So, when it was time to pick my new courses for the next year in high school, I chose electrical. We had the Abrookin Vocational Center at Albany High School, which housed the skilled trades training programs. Taking something completely new excited me from the everyday school day, the course was two periods long, so it was not your normal class. From there I attended Hudson Valley Community College and obtained my A.O.S. in Electrical Construction & Mainte-

nance. Shortly after graduation, I landed a job with the NYS Assembly doing telecommunications, which I worked for a few years. Then I heard about the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and how they are a union and get prevailing wages with benefits. Also, there is a 5-year apprenticeship program where you can work, learn, and make a decent wage. I completed the program and became a certified NYS Journeyman Electrician. I got my entrepreneurial spirit from my mother. Seeing her go through the process of creating a business at an early age. It inspired me to want to do the same. Just like her, I too went to the Chamber of Commerce to seek guidance on how to refine my passion and dreams. Single parent with two kids, full time job, creating inspiration for her kids, the community, and future generations to come.


of an



Goodbee Controls & Electrical Contracting E: P: 518-209-3826 W:

Goodbee Controls & Electrical Contracting, Inc., was founded by Andre R. Goodbee to provide superior electrical services. Goodbee Controls is an electrical contracting company based in Albany, New York, serving the Capital District and beyond. They are proficient in all facets of electrical contract work, specializing in low voltage systems such as fire alarms, and control systems. They are building great client relationships through providing quality electrical services.







FROM HUMAN SERVICES TO CONSTRUCTION By James Mitchell Founder & CEO, Young Futures Company LLC Capital Region, New York


James Mitchell Founder/CEO Young Futures LLC @Youngfuturesinc

rowing up I knew my professional career would lead me to a place where I helped others become their best selves. This passion led me to a career in workforce development, where I connected job seekers to roles they also shared a passion for. My professional reputation in this field led me to a unique opportunity with Mission Accomplished Transition Services. Our innovative work built bridges between the Black community in the City of Albany and the local construction unions.

This role was eye-opening because I had no previous experience in the construction industry. I quickly learned how to navigate and thrive in the Capital Region’s construction industry. It was at this time a new interest emerged and a new passion for construction. I realized the benefits of tangible skills, and I could be gainfully employed anywhere in the world if I desired. I also recognized developing a skill in the industry will provide an opportunity to build a business while helping my family and loved ones in their homes. In my journey in the construction industry, I will become a gatekeeper, and support others that are captivated by this work! I want people to know there is considerable growth with entry-level positions starting at 40k a year, with the potential to bring home up to six figures in your first five years. I truly wish I was exposed to the construction industry at a younger age. Now when I think about construction I remember that my ancestors built this country. I know in my work we will build a better community.

“In my journey in the construction industry, I will become a gatekeeper, and support others that are captivated by this work!” - James



An American Manufacturing Dream Come True By Meaghan Ziemba Z-Ink Solutions - Mavens of Manufacturing Technical Copywriter/Copyeditor


or those of us who have been born and raised in the United States, we sometimes disregard, or take for granted, the many opportunities this nation has to offer. I, personally, was reminded of them after a conversation I had with Prathima Kapa, president of E-Fab, Inc. in Santa Clara, CA.

Prathima was born into a middle-class family in South India. Her father was an ambitious man with a hard childhood and her mother had an elementary level of education. It was important to Prathima’s parents that all their children received a higher education. “My mom was our greatest inspiration and role model,” explains Prathima. “She made sure we had our own identities and encouraged healthy competition among us.” By the time Prathima turned 16-years old, she was due to get married and start a family — a cultural tradition that is still practiced today in India. She explained how her mother convinced her father to allow her the same opportunities as her brothers in terms of education and pursuing her dreams. So, instead of walking down the aisle at 16, she attended and, later, graduated from the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad, India. “Chemical engineering is not a common choice for girl students. We are perceived as delicate creatures within our society, and the overall impression is that we cannot compete with boys or succeed in the harsh work environments pertaining to this field,” says Prathima. “Out of 40 students in my class, only ten were girl students. I am the only girl student left working in my related field. All my other friends shifted to different career options.” After receiving her B.A. in chemical engineering, Prathima realized that opportunities for growth in India for female engineers were slim to none. “There were not many opportunities for women in the chemical engineering field at that time. We were destined to do desk jobs or stay dedicated to the labs. Most of the challenging and in-the-field jobs preferred male candidates. I always wanted to work in an industrial or a manufacturing-type setting, so I started looking for other options,” explains Prathima. Prathima’s brother was able to help her financially and convinced her to go to the United States. At 21, Prathima left India to pursue her dream in America. “It was a BIG culture shock for me, but I stuck to it with the amazing support of my friends,” she says. Her research focused on Molecular Sciences and Nanotechnology at the

Prathima Kapa, president of E-Fab, Inc. Santa Clara, CA

“My advice to any woman considering the manufacturing industry is to keep an open mind and don’t dwell on the negative,” says Prathima. “It’s a fast-paced industry where you can be you, push yourself to great success, and make a monumental impact in everyone’s lives.” - Prathima Continued on Page 74



Institute of MicroManufacturing in Ruston, LA. After two years, she received her master’s and then went on to pursue an internship at Kemac Technology, Inc. in Azusa, CA. Kemac provides photo-etched thin metal components used in medical, electronics, aerospace, and wireless telecommunication devices. “This is where I met my amazing boss who helped me to realize my full potential at work and encouraged me to take up new challenges. His support and encouragement stuck with me for the rest of my life”

the reasons stated above in her personal journey working in manufacturing. “Being a woman in a male-dominated industry caused me to work ten times harder than my male counterparts,” explains Prathima. “I had to prove myself on a daily basis to gain their respect and get to where I am today.”

Prathima explained how 15 to 20% of the men she worked with supported her journey and provided guidance, but a portion of them tried to demoralize her and presented many obstacles. “Women tend to be more After Kemac, Prathima accepted an Associate emotional than men,” says Prathima. “My Scientist position at Acree Technologies, advice: Put in 100% of yourself at work, but Inc., a physical vapor deposition (PVD) coat- leave your emotions out of it, and don’t carry your work home with you.” ing specialist located in Concord, CA. She then became a Process Engineer at Elcon Precision, LLC in San Jose, CA. She was quickly promoted to Production Manager, which laid the pathway to her current position of president at E-FAB, Inc. in Santa Clara, CA. “At Elcon, I was able to bring out my best version,” says Prathima. “I started loving more of the manufacturing challenges, and I was able to bring out my creative side to solve those problems. Wal Disney’s quote: ‘Dare to dream and try to achieve’ is my favorite.”

Standards of performance are believed to be greater for women than men at lower pay rates. PayScale reported that: An uncontrolled gender pay gap, which takes the ratio of the median earnings of women to men without controlling for various compensable factors, has only decreased by $0.07 since 2015. In 2020, women make only $0.81 for every dollar a man makes.”

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Prathima’s story of success did not come shows that women earn about 82 percent of what men do; even less during childwithout its challenges. bearing years (U.S. Labor of Statistics, 2014). Despite the U.S. being considered the “land Other research reports gender wage gaps in of opportunity,” women still face adversity in several manufacturing related roles includmanufacturing regarding career opportuni- ing first-line supervisors of production and operating workers (70 percent wage gap), ties, compensation, and growth. production, planning and expediting clerks A study done by the Manufacturing Institute, (72 percent wage gap), and production APICS (global leader in supply chain certifi- workers/all others (73 percent wage gap) cation), and Deloitte reported that half of its (Sherman 2014). female survey respondents listed the following reasons of why they considered leaving Manufacturers across the nation host facility tours that provide students with an intimate the manufacturing industry: view of the latest technologies and available positions they may not have heard of. • Poor working relationships Such tours help erase the negative stigmas • Work-life balance that depict manufacturing as dirty, dark, • Low income/pay dull, and dangerous. They also help connect • Lack of promotion opportunities • Lack of challenging or interesting female students to women leadership in their communities. assignments Prathima attested to experiencing some of

Manufacturing communities are partnering with their educational institutions to provide academic and career pathways specific to women in an attempt to close the manufacturing skills and gender gaps. Finally, women leaders in manufacturing, such as Prathima, are being more proactive in recruiting efforts by connecting with their communities and speaking to the next generation of manufacturers. She discussed the importance of support groups within the work culture so women could talk to each other and be each other’s mentors. “My advice to any woman considering the manufacturing industry is to keep an open mind and don’t dwell on the negative,” says Prathima. “It’s a fast-paced industry where you can be you, push yourself to great success, and make a monumental impact in everyone’s lives.” Women are the future of U.S. manufacturing. To learn more about Women of Today’s Manufacturing and how to get more involved, visit us at https://wotmrockford. com/.










anufacturing is not what it used to be. Of course it still has its dirty, dark, dull, and dangerous side, but with the consistent advancements in technology, the workforce of tomorrow requires highly skilled individuals with technological literacy. Tomorrow’s manufacturing focuses on digital transformations via automation and software systems involving Artificial

Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Machine learning plays a major role in eliminating manual and repetitive tasks, allowing workers to focus more on value-added processes and cuttingedge innovations. Employees are able to upskill and reskill with the implementation of cobots. Data analytics have been improved through the use of cloud organizations. Business leaders have increased visibility across their entire organizations. They

receive a variety of information in real time to help optimize their business strategies and remain competitive within their markets. Occupations for skilled maintenance and machine technicians are becoming harder to fill. When machines stop working, finding someone to fix it at a moment’s notice can be challenging. IoT and predictive maintenance allow companies to track their machines’ health and get ahead of any breakdowns or malfunctions so they are not as reliant on maintenance workers. As the digital transformation continues to progress within manufacturing, new career opportunities are starting to appear including: Digital Twin Engineers - Proficient in creating virtual replicas of industrial products and helping companies predict and respond to problems using real-time data analysis and other advanced technologies. Predictive Supply Network Analysts - Skilled in data sciences and data modeling techniques. Use digital tools along with their innate human skills, like problem-solving, to move materials and finished goods through

“As the digital transformation continues to progress within manufacturing, new career opportunities are starting to appear” - Meaghan


Manufacturing of Tomorrow Looks Like By: Meaghan Ziemba Z-Ink Solutions - Mavens of Manufacturing Technical Copywriter/Copyeditor

77 a digital supply network (DSN) for justin-time deliveries. Robot Teaming Coordinators - Help enable collaborative human-robot working environments by applying a mix of digital, social, and human skills. Digital Offering Managers - Oversee the entire product development lifecycle and work closely with experts in data science and user interface design to process knowledge about pricing and subscription modeling. Drone Data Coordinators - Work with contracted drone service providers on a project basis to collect and interpret the data that autonomous drones collect. Smart Factory Managers - Wears many hats including production operations and quality responsibilities, DevOps, and IT and cybersecurity. They are in the unique position of integrating advanced manufacturing, secure connectivity, and actionable data analytics together to drive a new level of overall equipment effectiveness. Controls Engineers - Responsible for setup, programming, testing, and implementation of computer control systems used for production automation and industrial equipment design. Cybersecurity Analysts/Managers Responsible for protecting IT infrastructure from a range of criminal activity.

Mavens of Manufacturing is a LIVE video series hosted by Meaghan Ziemba, that celebrates women in manufacturing. From the shop floor to the c-suite, you’ll hear their stories and learn how they are setting the new standards for American manufacturing and chang-

Teen Construction + Design students on Albany High School construction site in Albany, New York




The Construction + Design Institute assists students with exploring or advancing a career or scaling a business in construction, interior design, and mural painting. This program addresses barriers into and lack of interest in the construction industry. Students are exposed to the behind the scene operation of careers in decorative design. Industry professionals facilitate discussions and experiential exercises that provide in-depth conversations and demonstrations on how to increase their visibility and revenue, strengthen and clarify their subject matter expertise, utilize data to understand industry operations, how tools and equipment operate, the process of real estate development and how to work with large construction businesses, individuals and industry related companies as subcontractors.








Everyone wants a career that will give them stability and prosperity, but identifying the job or business that will get them there is easier said than done. Investing in your personal and professional development will help you realize your goals and discover expectations that are necessary to grow. We interviewed local professional influencers and here is what they had to say:


FROM LOCAL INFLUENCERS “If we aim at nothing, that is exactly what we will hit, NOTHING!. At whatever level of career or life stage you are at, set your sights on a goal, begin to understand the steps needed to work toward that goal, and then formulate a plan, with action steps, to begin achieving that goal. If we are not moving forward, then we are standing still; and while we are standing still, opportunities may pass us by. Whether personal, professional, financial or health-wise, being intentional about taking even small steps, as long as they are consistent, can soon become giant leaps”

Jason Benitez - Capital Region Chamber Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Albany, New York Email: Website: LinkedIn: FB: “What’s for you will be for you, and what isn’t, won’t.” The best thing you can be is yourself, and if that isn’t good enough for your employer or client, then that employer or client probably isn’t the right one for you! Don’t allow an employer or client to dim your light, your fashion, your style, your professionalism, your cultural identity and/or expression, your passion for things outside of work, the way you own or manage your position, or who you are during your personal time. No dollar sign is worth giving up who you are, because you were born to shine. Always remember to be bright, be bold, and be YOU!

Jermaine Wright - 8 Count Kitchen Personal Chef, Dance Instructor, Millennial Marketer Capital Region, New York Email: Website: Instagram: @maine_oh Facebook: @8countkitchenTM



There are two pieces of advice that have served me well and I believe have helped me on my journey. The first is your career is not a linear path, life is not linear. Many times we think we are going in one direction and a new and different opportunity appears that we might not have thought of a few years ago but hopefully we learned and grew along the way so an opportunity presented itself. Directions may change and this is ok, in fact it is often a blessing. The second was to find mentors, coaches, and people who you respect and have integrity to learn from. Having someone like that can, of course, help you move along in your career path but also help you learn about life, how you want to be in your career, how you want to show up, and can help provide advice when/if things become challenging. Those people for me made all the difference, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. The last thing I would add is to always be true to who you are, even when it isn’t easy.

Jessica V. Gilbert Senior Operations and Contract Specialist Schenectady, New York Email: Website: “There is a version of you in the future that is waiting for you to catch up!” As long as we are making strides to be better today than we were yesterday, even when something seems insurmountable, it can be achieved, one day. Set your sights, prepare and don’t lose confidence. Sometimes we move sideways before we continue our journey, but everyone has a purpose, you just have to find yours and make it your own.

Jessy Santana The Way We Work Canada

Organizational Culture Strategist Email: Instagram: theway_wework/ LinkedIn:

Goals are important to have so that you know where to direct your energy and efforts. But being successful is more about growth setting than goal setting. Learn through your journey, go at your own pace, and just be a little better each day.

Atena Crain Styled by Atena, Inc. Capital Region, New York Personal Stylist Email: Website: Instagram: atena_crain Facebook: Atena crain LinkedIn: Atena Crain, E.A.



take the initiative, it will pay off in the end By Coach Carmen Duncan


aking initiative is one of the top 5 skill sets I look for in the people seeking to work with Mission Accomplished Transition Services. When people take initiative it demonstrates they move with intention and commitment to their personal growth while helping those around them. Team members who think proactively to solve problems, create opportunities and find answers for themselves allow the full team to think and act 3 steps ahead while minimizing the need for leadership to micromanage. Taking initiative demonstrates you take responsibility for the tasks you are responsible for, have a knack for taking action and are committed to taking ownership of your role! 1. Use YouTube: We are fortunate enough to have access to an online platform where people from all over the world share their expertise. When you DO NOT know how to get something done, I encourage you to go to YouTube and type in how do I…… and I am certain you will gain access to videos that give you all or some of the answers you’re looking for. Once you’ve taught yourself a new skill and information, no one can take this from you! 2. Research: If you’re new within a company, you complete your tasks, take the initiative to research 3 industry counterparts (aka competitors) then follow them on social media. The more you know about your industry and demonstrate you know what’s transpiring in the industry the more of an asset you become while positioning yourself for growth. Get intimately familiar with the information that helps you while helping your team and company. Remember, this process MUST benefit YOU too! 3. Create Instructional Documents: If you’ve been with a company for a while and you notice there’s limited written documents laying out the process of how to achieve certain tasks, consider offering to develop an instructional manual or handbook for team members to use. In

most workplaces,this will show you are seeking to help the company and team become more productive. Once you’ve completed the document, this is a project you can place on your resume and talk about during future interviews, panel discussions and more.



YOU’RE POWERFUL Embrace your amazing potential, and the future belongs to you. Your journey is unique, so make the most of every opportunity. Thank you, Mission Accomplished, for guiding young people in their quest for career success. Supporting each other is what community is all about.

Federally insured by NCUA


The Power of LinkedIn: Profile tips for new users By: Miranda VonFricken Capital Region, New York LinkedIn is the largest professional social site in the world! It’s specifically focused on connecting, educating, and showcasing the talents of its over 500 million members. A professionally written LinkedIn profile allows you to create an online presence and professional brand which can open doors to opportunities and connections that you may not have previously had access to. LinkedIn gives you the ability to showcase your passions, expertise, experience, and recommendations, and is often your first professional impression to hiring managers and future clients. By actively engaging on the platform, you can demonstrate credibility in your industry, enthusiasm for your work, and highlights any achievements. But before you start to connect and engage, you must make sure your profile is the


best representation of who you are and what you want others to see.

resume. Make sure to add your achievements to make each one shine!

Here are my TOP 5 tips to make your profile POP!

5. Recommendations: Get them! Don’t be shy. Ask your teachers, coaches, teammates, and other professional connections to recommend you. Be sure to recommend some of your connections as well. This really helps get you noticed! Your LinkedIn profile is a beautiful way to blend the personal and professional journey your career has taken you on. Creating and expressing your personal brand on LinkedIn is a sure way to be seen and heard by those who make decisions. Make your profile POP then get engaging… your career will thank you!

1. Photos: Both your main image and the background one. These are the first visual expression of you and your work. The main photo should be a headshot of just you. The background (easily created in Canva) can be as creative as you’d like. Think of this photo as a billboard promoting who you are and what you do. If you can, add a call to action for the viewer, too! 2. Your headline: Use the formula I do ______ for _____ by _______. What do you do? Who do you do it for and how? This helps the viewer get a quick snapshot of your abilities. You can also simply list out your title and company, but that’s boring! 3. About: Yo ur about section is all about YOU! Your career journey, your passions, goals, and mission. Feel free to talk about your expertise and skillset as well. Break this section up into little paragraphs or sections to make it easier for the reader. 4. Experience: This can look just like a



You’re Interviewing Them Too By Coach Carmen Duncan Chief Coach + Founder Mission Accomplished Transition Services Career + Small Business Development Coach


hen you make the decision to participate in an interview, YOU are interviewing too. The interview is NOT meant to be ONE sided! You are interviewing the people currently working at the company to find if they are a good fit for your goals, aspirations and ideals of what a healthy work environment is. As an interviewer, I have experienced candidates leaving the interview without asking many questions to help them get to know the people currently working at the company. I STRONGLY recommend that you develop a list of at least 6 questions you will ask your potential future employer:

1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6.

How long have each of you worked with the company? Why do you choose to stay with the company? Can you describe the work culture to me using 3 adjectives? Where do you see the department I’d work in transforming to in the next 3 years? How many people have you interviewed? At the end of the interview ask, what are next steps?

Be sure to write down every step! If the interviewer asks you to complete an exercise, ask if they compensate you for

Interviews are your chance to sell your skills and abilities. Go to your interview prepared with stories that relate to the skills listed in the job description. Be sure to emphasize your: Strengths, Leadership skills, Ability and willingness to learn new things, Your willingness to be flexible

the time you will invest in the exercise. If they say no ask, would you consider compensating me $50-$150 - the amount you ask for will be dependent on the amount of time you expect you will have to invest to complete the exercise. In my personal opinion companies should compensate people for the completion of projects, especially being that once they have the completed project they could use your ideas or information. This is economic justice! Remember you are an asset to the company. They decided to interview you because they believe you have the potential to bring value and solve problems.



How to Strategize Bold Transition Moves from 9-5 Employee to Full Time Entrepreneur By Miranda VonFricken

W Helping those who make our communities great!


ith great freedom comes great responsibility! That’s totally what Uncle Ben would have said to Spiderman had he become an entrepreneur. It’s so true. There are amazing benefits of entrepreneurship like time and location freedom, unlimited financial growth, and of course no one telling you what to do, but those same things we longed for as an employee can become quite the burden while running your own show, especially in the beginning. At first, it’s all “I do what I want” until it quickly becomes “who’s supposed to do all this?” Oh yes, you are. As an entrepreneur, all the business responsibility falls to you: sales, marketing, finance, client experience, fulfillment, administration, HR, and operations. Sounds awesome, and it is, once you go through the initial shock of the transition. Here are a few ways to turn the burden into BOLD moves!

1. Set up a schedule for yourself: It can start and end whenever you want but set it. Getting into the habit of having “office” hours will keep your mind set on business. Then when you’re done, be done! Have a life, too! That’s so important The Charity CFO gives nonprofit 2. Think progress… not perfection: This is all new, organizations the financial no way you’re going to get it all right in the beginning. expertise they need to successfully Allow yourself to make mistakes, enjoy the process, and fulfill their mission. celebrate every little win. 3. Ask for help: This is key! Don’t hold so tightly on having all the answers. There are a lot of people who have been where you are. Find them. Ask them for help. Make it easier on yourself. WWW.THECHARITYCFO.COM 4. Charge what you are worth… then add tax! You may be a newbie entrepreneur, but you’re not new at your craft. Remember that! Own your awesome and charge for it. People will pay. 5. Take risks: BIG success requires BIG decisions and BOLD moves! Don’t let fear hold you back from being who you’re meant to be. Surround yourself with BOLD movers and let their confidence rub off on you. There’s not much to lose in the beginning so bet it all on you! Becoming an entrepreneur is one of THE best decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t take it lightly and I didn’t get here alone. Surround yourself with people who support you and who are making moves just like you. Be a sponge! Take it all in. Learn from those around you. Be the entrepreneur you always dreamed of! You made this decision for a reason, now go prove yourself right!




THE POWER BEHIND MASTERMINDS By Miranda VonFricken CEO, Biz Coach & LinkedIn Strategist @Miranda.VonFricken

“When one person struggled, we listened, when one hit a goal, we celebrated; we did everything as a team.”- Miranda



can’t take all the credit for my success. I owe much of it to those who supported, guided, resourced and loved on me. I will however say, getting them in one room, was my smartest move ever! My first mastermind was a small group. Four entrepreneurial-minded women who were ready for more than their current roles provided. We each had separate passions, visions, goals, and experiences, but the thing we all had, was drive and desire to achieve. We knew two minds were better than one, so four had to be a winning combo! From that moment on, we meet monthly, sharing wins, goals, and resources. A mastermind, in its truest form, is two or more who gather to collaborate, share ideas, and support each other’s growth. It’s that simple. In my group, we each came prepared to share what our goals were and took turns sharing ideas as to how we’d each achieve that goal. We brought resources, names of connections, books to read, moves to make, and wrote everything down. Tracking each member’s progress was key. We would spend time recapping last month’s goals, action items, and wins. When one person struggled, we listened, when one hit a goal, we celebrated; we did everything as a team. This energy kept us moving forward. Knowing we would have another chance to share and brainstorm in a few weeks kept us focused and motivated. Masterminds are a non-negotiable for me and my business. Having a group to go to with questions, concerns, or doubts is priceless. It’s also amazing to have a builtin cheer squad as well! Being able to reciprocate that support is a blessing and the most powerful strategy to success I know.






Your Social Media Management & Marketing Consulting Agency

Social Media Management, Marketing, and Advertising, Content Creation, Website Design, Graphic Design and Branding, Business & Media Consulting

Six Excuses You Are Making that is Stopping Your Sales From Growing By Maile Barcelon


aking risks when advertising your business can be scary. Let’s face it. You may be unsure about how much money to invest, or what kind of strategies will work best for you in your industry. Does this sound familiar? If you recently noticed that your sales have been lagging, switching up your marketing efforts could be the very thing you need to turn things around. Especially with how the impact of COVID has forced change upon consumer behavior for the past two years.

Although thousands of companies have already successfully used the internet and social media to grow their business, there are still some professionals that tend to make excuses as to why they don’t need to market themselves online. For some, online digital marketing and advertising is still a new concept. If you’ve been hesitant in the past about marketing your business on the web, then it is most likely you have made one or more of these excuses: Excuse #1 - I don’t have money and it’s too expensive


If you haven’t already been working on your online presence and ensuring that customers or clients can find you, now is the time to consider changing your thought process as well as your marketing strategy. With the forever changing landscape of the internet and speed of multiple social media platforms, you’ll be glad to know that there are no cost solutions that can help you market your business organically. For beginners, you will want to take advantage of free services such as Google Business Profile - Used for storefront or service businesses that want customers to find them on Google. You can share product photos, your physical map location, including coupon offers, and posts. Facebook Business Page - Share the details of your company socially with your local community. Facebook business pages allow you to share photos, videos, posts, and things like a menu if you own a restaurant. You can also access free Insights on page traffic and other important data on your audience who follow or interact with your content. Instagram for Business - Just like Facebook, Instagram allows you to share photos and videos too. And if you want to create more appealing content, there are tools like filter options, location tagging, and creative video Reels just to name a few. Excuse #2 - I don’t have time Just like in the days of when advertising in the phone book was considered the lifeline of a business, so is your online presence. With the increase of mobile usage and tablets, the population of phone book users have significantly declined. Google alone processes ove 40,000 search inquiries per second. 75% of smartphone owners turn to search first to address their needs. And, 88% of people who conduct a local search visit a related store within a week. If you want to grow your business, and stay Continued on Page 92



in business, making time to work on how people find you on the internet is crucial. Excuse #3 - I am not tech savvy Not tech savvy? No problem! There are tons of free information and resources you can access and learn from to sharpen your digital marketing skills. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram alone provide free education on marketing and advertising for businesses who are interested in improving their skillset in this space. In addition, Youtube has tons of video content on “How to do something”. You may even be surprised to learn that many digital marketing companies also share free information on how online marketing and advertising works and how to get started. In the end, if you don’t desire to become the expert for your marketing strategy, and phone calls are all available at your consider hiring someone to manage your fingertips. If you don’t know how to marketing needs. It will pay off in the end. retrieve your online reporting, do some research on how to do it on your own Excuse #4 - I don’t want to show my face or delegate it to someone on your team that can assist with doing so. If you’ve and am worried about privacy hired a marketing team or digital agenMany people struggle with vulnerability cy, you will want to ensure they provide when it comes to online marketing. But this to you. the truth is, showing your face is one of the fastest ways to gain attention on social Excuse #6 - I don’t want my competition media. The consistent act of your visibility to know what we’re doing builds your brand and can drive sales. It may feel awkward at first, but if you work It’s probably fair to say that if you haven’t on being “you”, your selfies and posts will already researched what your competibuild rapport, likability, and trust between tion is doing, they’ve already attempted to know what you’re doing. And if you you and your customers or clients. are doing nothing, they are more than Excuse #5 - I don’t know if I’ll get a return likely already putting into practice the things you haven’t. Focus on what you on investment want to achieve from your own marketWho wants to throw money away? Not ing and advertising strategies first, then business owners. Thanks to the internet figure out how you may be able to stand and smart technologies out there, your out from your competitors. Know your digital marketing and advertising efforts audience and who you’re targeting. Ask come with reporting and real time data. yourself how you can do the job better If you pursue doing paid advertising or and why you’re worth it. organic marketing, know that depending on what platform you’re on, there is usually a way to gather information on how your campaign is doing. You may need to work on how to understand that data, but for the most part, extracting information such as online traffic, number of engagements, including click thru rates





THREE Ways to

to Find the Perfect Copywriter for Your Business By Ashley Campusano KitCatCopy Copywriting and Email Marketing Services Copy Writer & Email Marketer Location: New Jersey

Meet Ashley! She is a versatile wordsmith and copywriting hero. She helps businesses and organizations grow through her copywriting services for various industries like Healthcare, Beauty & Cosmetics, Apparel & Accessories, Love & Relationships, Home Services, Coaching & Consulting, and so much more. Her services include Website & Digital Copywriting, Email Copywriting, Brand Development, and Copy Coaching & Consulting.


hey say the true strength of a business owner comes from their ability to delegate. But it can be overwhelming to hand over some of the workload to someone else, especially when it comes to writing for your business. Because after all, who knows your business better than you do? But whether you’re considering hiring a copywriter for the first time or have had less-than-great experiences with some in the past, there’s a few ways to make sure your next hire is a great fit for your copywriting needs.

Try Out A Test Project Before jumping in for a big, pricey copywriting project, you might want to try out an assignment on a smaller scale. In the industry, these are called “test projects” or “copy tests”. These tests are usually small and relatively quick to complete and can be either free or paid depending on the copywriter and project. Common copy tests are used for: • • • • • •

Blogs Sales emails Postcards Facebook Ads Product descriptions Social media posts

Copy tests allow you to gauge the expertise of your potential copywriter, observe their working style, and their ability to meet deadlines. It’s also important not to underestimate the importance of compatibility. Just because a copywriter writes great copy and meets deadlines doesn’t mean they’ll pass the vibe check. Book A Consultation Another way to see if a copywriter is right for your business is by talking with them. There’s two main ways you can go about this. You can either book a quick 15-20 minute consultation or schedule what most call a “power hour”.

“They say the true strength of a business owner comes from their ability to delegate.”- Ashley

95 Power hours are a cross between copy tests and consultations as they allow you to experience what it’s like to work with your potential copywriter on a much more valuable scale. Power hours are usually paid and can be used for a variety of valuable services including: • Copy coaching • Strategy development • Brand development • Brainstorming marketing ideas • Tagline, headline, and title development • Going over other marketing needs Consultations are perfect for no-stringsattached conversations if you’re not sure what your copywriting and marketing needs are. Power hours are great for a more donewith-you type of service and as an introductory service for potentially bigger and ongoing projects. Ask To View Their Portfolio Portfolios are a collection of work that many copywriters have. Some copywriters have theirs available on their website or they can be made available upon request through a PDF. You may find that some portfolios are filled with work across various niches and industries while others are geared towards either a specific writing niche or industry niche. These portfolios allow you to see a copywriter’s writing ability, however these are more useful to agencies than they are to solopreneurs and niched business owners as they can cause inadvertent bias. What that means is that if a business owner sees a portfolio without any pieces in their industry, they are more likely to assume that the copywriter is automatically not a good fit. Unless you’re an agency owner who thrives on a copywriter’s ability to write across multiple industries and mediums, it’s best to go with the first two options above for a more accurate assessment when hiring a copywriter. Otherwise you might miss out on an amazing writer and we wouldn’t want that. So there you have 3 ways to help you find that diamond in the rough minus the fear, anxiety and burnout.

If you need help with your brand messaging, writing better copy, or want to hand off your copywriting altogether, visit to learn more.


Follow Ashley on Social Media: IG ashley.kitcatcopy LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin. com/in/ashleycampusano/

“Get words that attract potential buyers and bring home the bacon. If you’re looking to build, grow, or scale your business, this is the place to be. I’m here to bring you copy that hits the emotional mark and sells like there’s no tomorrow.” - Ashley

“Get Words That Work As Hard As You Do”




Caught in the FREE TRAP

By Tania Fox Advisory Brand Advisor & Idea Architect Location: New York, New York

Meet Tania Fox. Tania is a strategist and secret sauce ingredient who inspires and ignites individuals and organizations to foster a better future for other humans. She’s always got her eye out for new opportunities to make happy happen. She is a 3rd generation native New Yorker, a fierce hoarder of green gummy bears and an unabashed critic of bad business practices.


he struggle to get noticed is real. Whether you have a product- or service-based business, there is the temptation - even pressure - to give things away for free to gain exposure, to get testimonials and reviews, even just to friends and family. But free is never FREE. Someone is paying for it and someone is profiting from it. And if the former is you, the latter should be too. Your freebie is money. This means whatever the price you sell it for is, that is what you are spending to achieve the goal. Budget wisely. Just because you

can always make more, get more or do it quickly doesn’t mean you have it to waste. Be strategic about where you put this money to get the highest return on your investment. A free thing must have a specific return goal. And you’ve likely already established a price for it… and it’s not free, so let’s say FREE = $100 for example. With $100 to spend on marketing you want to get minimally $100 worth of something in return. Here are some common situations where you can use your money wisely: 1) Bartering: Everything has a market value. Barter based on price not cost or quantity. If your price is $300, ask for $300 of what you want from them. If one thing is more expensive than the other, bundle offers that add up to equal value.

“The struggle to get noticed is real. Whether you have a product- or service-based business, there is the temptation - even pressure - to give things away for free to gain exposure....” - Tania


Strategy tip: What do you need that you don’t have cash for? What’s something you need off your plate? What will get you ahead? Now find people who need what you sell. Payoff: You have the thing you didn’t have before and a person who has experience with what you have to offer (building word of mouth!) 2) Social Proof: You can do your own version of influencer marketing by offering your product or service in exchange for usable testimonials from people who have the businesses, job descriptions or lifestyles that your target market trusts. Strategy tip: Leverage your network. Do you know anyone personally with the qualities you need to get people to trust your business? Do you know someone who does? Ask on social and be specific about the kind of person you’re looking for. Payoff: Solid testimonials build trust; put them on everything - your site, social media, bios, etc. 3) Friends & Family: The Oooh… can I have one? thing will come up and it can be awkward. But you are trying to build a business and they can help you do that in exchange. They can spread the word to their friends and family, share your posts on their social media, talk about it in their church, school, etc. They can help pack, ship, set up, break down, drive you to places. Do they have a skill they can barter? Strategy tip: Make sure they understand your goals, vision and unique value proposition, so they can be a part of it and communicate it for you. Payoff: Marketing, sales, shipping, transportation, anything that takes things off your plate so you can concentrate on what you do best is worth its weight in swag. Keep records of everything you give away, what its purpose was and what the outcome was. Consult an accountant if you don’t already have one. These offers and exchanges may be accounted for as certain costs of doing business. This can help you come tax time. Make the law protect you against unnecessary charges.


“Strategy tip: What do you need that you don’t have cash for? What’s something you need off your plate? What will get you ahead? Now find people who need what you sell.” - Tania




Of Standard Operating Procedures By Samantha Torres Chief Operations Officer & Founder - Operations Expert Montesi Natural Beauty Products Location: Florida Meet Samantha Torres. She is the Founder and CEO of Montesi Natural Beauty Products. Montesi Natural Beauty Products is a natural skin care line that has high quality ingredients in all its products and are paraben free, vegan and cruelty free. Follow Samantha on social media: IG @skincare_montesi, FB @skincare.montesi


stablishing a Standard Operating Procedures (S.O.P.) Manual that is compliant with federal, state, or company regulation ensures employees have the necessary tools for success. An S.O.P. provides a streamlined step-bystep manual for employees to perform daily tasks. Businesses that function under an established S.O.P. may find as the business needs change, the S.O.P. may need to be amended. Without a proper S.O.P. in place to streamline day-to-day operations and minimize the margin of error, the heightened risk of incompliance, disorganization, and miscommunication can be costly. As an

operations guru in the aviation world, I found repetitive inconsistencies or errors in daily operations could cost the airport fines that range between $1,000 ≤ $10,000. I spent the past 21 years of my career establishing S.O.P. manuals for a wide variety of businesses. Most recently, I developed a S.O.P. manual that streamlined day-to-day operations, increased efficiency, and productivity, and minimized the margin of human error. This manual essentially became the training guide for all personnel. Employees function better when they understand the purpose and/or company policy affiliated with their daily tasks. Having concrete knowledge and understanding of their daily responsibilities leave very little room for redundant error of judge-

ment in daily decision making. For your convenience, the sample outline listed below is an example that may be used to write a Standard Operating Procedure Manual for your company or department. To offer convenience, each topic within the Table Contents would be hyperlinked directly to the corresponding section of the S.O.P.

“Without a proper S.O.P. in place to streamline day-to-day operations and minimize the margin of error, the heightened risk of incompliance, disorganization, and miscommunication can be costly.” -Samantha



STANDARD OPERATIONS MANUAL Your Company Name Purpose: The Purpose of this Standard Operating Procedure is to provide a step-by-step guide on how to conduct day-to-day badging functions that are compliant with COMPANY’S NAME.


PREPARED BY Human Resources




s a leader of a small nonprofit business I’ve found several benefits in hiring skilled independent contractors who specialize in accounting, marketing, graphic design and more to help us meet our goals. The first 4 years of leading Mission Accomplished Transition Services I thought the best way to build a team was by hiring employees. I’ve experienced so many benefits from hiring individuals and companies that specialize in specific areas. The benefits I’ve experienced are:

ous taxes associated with having employees; high insurance fees, fringe benefits such as travel and phone expenses, and much more. Trained Subject Matter Experts: The independent contractors are subject matter experts who bring years of experience and training to the team. Most subject matter experts engage in ongoing professional development and are members of their industry community which makes sure they are always in the know about new tools and resources. If they have access to the new tools and resources, so do you!

Quick Start to Projects: Because the indiReduced Employment Costs and vidual or team is a subject matter expert they Overhead Expenses: Outsourcing relieves will be able to get to work much quicker than the company from having to pay the vari- a new team member you’d need to onboard.

“Outsourcing relieves the company from having to pay the various taxes associated with having employees; high insurance fees, fringe benefits such as travel and phone expenses, and much more.” - Coach Carmen

Adaptable and Flexibile Workers: I’ve found these subject matter experts are highly skilled and adaptable. Most importantly, they address problems quickly because they are so ingrained in their industry and know how to create solutions quickly! Freed Up Time and Energy: Outsourcing to skilled subject matter experts frees up time to focus on your core competences, develop your services or products, give necessary attention and support to your inhouse team and enhance your brand. Hiring Across Country: Outsourcing allows you to search for and hire subject matter across the country. Investment in Community: You get to invest in people doing what they love! So, I say if you’re in need of specialized services and you do not have a BIG budget to hire employees, OUTSOURCE. As a nonprofit leader without expertise in accounting, I decided to hire The Charity CFO to manage our accounting. I highly recommend them!

THE BENEFITS Of Outsourcing By Coach Carmen Duncan



Laser Focus is Necessary! By Coach Carmen Duncan


s a creative thought leader I can easily be distracted by new ideas or opportunities. When I started Mission Accomplished Transition Services in 2012, my focus was to help every rising young professional that called on us for help with their transition into the business world. In 2017, I decided we needed to become subject matter experts in specific industries that intersect. In 2020, I created a curriculum to use in both our teen and advanced institutes to ensure fidelity and establish a culture that will allow team members to cross train across institutes. Today we focus on rising young professionals who are pursuing careers in fashion, construction, interior design/ decorating and have a passion for making a positive impact in their communities through business.

Through experience I learned the best way to start a company is to be laser focused on ONE service or product. Once you’ve mas-

tered how to produce the ONE product or service, it’s generating income without you having to work too hard THEN you can move onto the next idea or opportunity. Laser focus on ONE area in the beginning of starting a business allows you to become a subject matter expert which positions you as a thought leader in a specific industry. While fine tuning your understanding of the one product or service you will learn how to network, manage finances, lead and develop a team, speak industry language,

Through trial and error I found that the more I focused myself on keenly developing my knowledge and skills, the more productive I became and the quality of our services increased IMMENSELY.

I’ll leave you with this one reminder: Balancing 2-3 different projects at the same time can become stressful and has the potential to distract you from creating quality a product or service. My (Un)Solicited Advice is that you become an expert in ONE for 3 years then allow yourself to grow to the next level once you’ve developed a system and a STRONG understanding of what you are offering, who wants to and will pay for your service or product, and how to effectively market it. Then once the product or service is working for you by generating income without you having to work too hard, then advance to the learning about and selling product or service #2. The above book helped me understand the power behind being laser focused on ONE focus area then expanding. I encourage you to invest your time and money into reading this book. Then I’d LOVE to read what you took from it. Email me at to let me know if it was a win or a flop of a book for you and why. I look forward to connecting.



Becoming a business owner is not always easy, but becoming an entrepreneur is definitely exciting and inspiring to say the least. To do what you absolutely love, makes all the risk taking so worth it. However, starting a small business takes more than a dollar and a dream. It takes toughness, discipline, and a sense of leadership to be successful. We take a deep dive into the mindsets of these local business owners right in the backyard of the Capital Region, New York.


So you think you wanna start a business. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of hearts but it can be done and you can be highly successful if you’re consistent with a few things. Being an entrepreneur for 10 years, I’ve learned along the way that there are a few tips that should be a part of your routine. These are things that you should be thinking about and putting into practice: •

Nicole Daly, Master Stylist & Colorist, is the salon owner of Hair Journeys LLC, located in Albany, NY Visit:

Writing your ideas down. You will get lost in the business when it starts running, so writing things down helps you to stay focused when you get distracted. (And you will get distractions) Sales - Marketing and management is important. Understanding who you are serving and why you want to serve them is very important. What are they looking for? Are you meeting the needs of the people you are serving? Customer service - People are very forgiving when your customer service is on point. Being polite and staying professional always keeps you on top and will keep your sales rolling in. Professional Services - Spend the money and get a good lawyer and

accountant. They will give you insights before you find yourself in a bind. They help set you up for success so you don’t have to worry about your business being safe. If you can’t afford one, there are organizations that do probono work to help small businesses. Check with your local small business center. Positive Mindset - This is important because as you grow in Entrepreneurship you will have seasons. Planning these seasons prepares you for the ups and downs of the journey. Staying calm, having faith(spiritual practice) and balance will keep you resilient. Motivation - Why do you want to do this? What drives you to do the business every day? Make sure it’s something you can do for a while because it may not always be easy

If you keep these up, you will see your business grow and have the success you’ve been longing for.

“Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of hearts but it can be done and you can be highly successful if you’re consistent with a few things. “ - Nicole



Support a Small Business & You Support a Dream. Buy or Seek Services From These Local Companies. Over the years when I started my business, one thing that has always remained on my mind is to never stop thinking about how to delight customers. When you wake up, think about it, during the day, think about it, and at night, dream about it. There’s no substitute for hard work. People say there’s luck, but the harder you work the more results you get. As a business owner, you’ll encounter failures and difficulties but you must learn from them and move ahead. Don’t forget to think about your business and how to take it to the next level.

Sandeep Sachdev is the Founder and owner of Appkudos and Menu2Order, a software technology company providing online food ordering solutions for restaurants Visit:

Being an entrepreneur can be a roller coaster ride. You will have great days, not-so-great days, and even awful days! But you must stay focused and keep your feet on the ground. Keep a clear mind about your strategy of why you are different and how you are adding value. Value your relationships and never stop building relationships with customers and other people in the industry. Look at your competitors as potential partners and collaborators who can help positively impact your business. Don’t give up, don’t take anything personally, and don’t take no for an answer. You never know what you’re going to learn along the way. The people who told me “no”, were eventually the people who told me “yes”, so don’t forget it. The final piece of advice is to think honestly about who you are, what you want to achieve, and what mindset you need to have to get there.

Paul Park is the Founder and owner of Bespoki Bowl, a Hawaiian Barbecue and Poke Bowl, and Asian Eatery restaurant located at 122 4th St., Troy New York Visit:

If I could only give one piece of advice to entrepreneurs, it would be to TAKE THE RISK. When I first had the opportunity to start Bespoki Bowl, there were no Hawaiian poke restaurants in the entire Capital Region. Not knowing what the demand was or if people would even like my poke was extremely nerve wracking. But because of my fears and doubts, I did my research and worked on my business plan until I was confident and ready. The “risk” is what instilled a sense of responsibility I didn’t have before. Understand all the risks you’re taking and use it to motivate yourself to do what’s necessary to be successful. Whether you succeed or fail, you will know you did the absolute best you could do, and that’s because you dared to take a risk.

One of the biggest realistic fears most people have about owning a business is failing. More than 20% of businesses fail within the first year of owning a business and about 50% of small startups fail within the first five years of operating. While this fact may sound discouraging, these statistics should inspire you to overcome the risks by understanding why businesses fail to begin with. While you cannot eliminate all risks, having a strategy should phelp prepare you when they arise. Statistics Resource: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021






WHAT BUSINESS LEADERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT READING BY MAILE BARCELON What do all successful business leaders have in common? They all READ BOOKS. And a lot of them. Books can make an impact on your life and in your business. But what you need to know is that reading develops your cognitive skills. Strategic decision-making and intelligent verbal skills are traits that most business leaders do not want to go without. Reading also boosts your brain power, reduces stress, and improves your ability to understand other people’s mental state, including the ability to understand the social perception of others. In reference to the “theory of the mind”, the ability to detect and empathize with other people’s emotions and intentions can go a long way when making business decisions. A business leader that carries a high awareness in the psycology of the needs, desires, and intentions of others can drive profitable results whether it’s building customer relationships or seeking business to business investments. Here are quotes by the successful entrpereneurs and business leaders of Shark Tank, and what they had to say about reading: “Because I’m dyslexic, I’ve had to read books many times,” says Daymond. “That’s why I focus on reading ones that are high-impact and incredibly useful, full of important lessons that I can apply to my life and business.” - Daymond John “I read every book and magazine I could. Heck, three bucks for a magazine, twenty bucks for a book. One good idea would lead to a customer or a solution, and those magazines and books paid for themselves many times over.” – Mark Cuban Resource reference:













SEEN AT THE 2022 Were You There?

Edcuation Care Package Program Photo Credit: Coach Carmen Duncan


Education Care Package Winners










Scholarships Checklist for Students Streamline Communication.

Create a specific email (Gmail Account) for all things scholarship allowing you to stay extremely organized as you interact with multiple organizations and individuals through the preparation process.


Research degree and industry specific or general scholarships one (1) year prior to the needed semester. It is important to organize deadlines, essay, task and document requirements and completion and submission dates. You can use a spreadsheet document to track all specifics, checking off each item as you complete it.

Utilize Google Suite Apps.

The calendar app will allow you to schedule reminders for all important submission dates. The spreadsheet app will provide the platform for your scholarship tracking document + the documents app will give you the space to draft your essay requirement. All apps are accessible at any time by just signing in to your email.

Increase Organization.

Some documents will take longer to arrive than others, give yourself enough time to account for holds or barriers. Prepare to collect up to date transcripts, financial aid information, your resume + CV form, letters of recommendations and any portfolios correlated to the programs mission ahead of time by utilizing the calendar app and scheduling yourself reminders.

Create a Weekly To-Do List.

Create a weekly todo list aligned with your google calendar. On the todo list, break down each assignment with the action steps you will need to complete to align yourself with the submission dates. Remember, give yourself time to review and edit your written assignments. Utilize the S.M.A.R.T Goals framework to work smarter and not harder!

Develop a Resume Form.

Highlight all the amazing work you have done and skills you have developed. This can include school, work, volunteer, research or intramural experiences you have participated in along with any certifications, special training or courses you have taken or any unique opportunities you have participated in. You will use this resource as a building block as you further your educational and professional journey.

Utilize Your Growing Educational + Professional Network.

We all have a network, use them! Determine who you will reach out to for letters of recommendation then reach out to them to schedule a meeting. During this meeting, provide a copy of your most recent resume (!), discuss your educational and professional aspirations with them and explain how this scholarship will impact you. Providing this information will give them the tools to write an authentic and intentional Letter of Recommendation for you.

Craft Your Personal Essays.

Make sure you have read the question multiple times, frame your essay around your main points and have explored creative and expressive language to include for your reader. Finally, and most importantly, PROOFREAD! Give yourself enough time to draft and revise your personal essay with the support of a mentor, teacher or other educational resource.











THE Top two College Application Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them By Tony Rivera, MBA MS CEO\Founder Fostering Minds LLC,


he 2022 college admission has come to an end. After working with over eighty seniors and consulting with admissions professionals, these are my top two tips for 2022.

Pitfall # 1: Not budgeting enough time The application process involves many steps, from writing supplemental essays, requesting recommendation letters, transcripts and sending test scores. Many students failed to plan wisely. Tip: Brainstorm a list of schools and essay topics prior to the end of your junior year and share with your school counselor. Plan to request transcripts, recommendation letters, and submit your test scores (if applicable), two weeks before your deadline. Pitfall #2 Lack of understanding of the term “Holistic” admissions in the eyes of prestigious colleges. “Holistic” has become a buzzword used by many colleges. According to Jeffrey Selingo’s article titled “The College Admission Process Is Completely Broken” from the The Atlantic, defines “Holistic” admissions is an attempt for colleges to

look beyond GPA, test scores, and class rank and measure qualities that are not quantifiable and looks at other factors, such as extracurricular activities, essays, and recommendations. Tip: Research the academic profile for each school on your list. Be realistic and honest with where you stand academically. You may be asking yourself, should I still apply to my dream school, if my GPA is below their academic profile? Of course, but also look beyond the brand named schools and their ranking. Your school counselor can be valuable during this process.

Have Questions? Contact: Fostering Minds, LLC Tony Rivera, MBA MS CEO\Founder Fostering Minds LLC, School Counselor







Philanthropists don’t just give money to charities. They also give their time and their talents to help organizations like Mission Accomplished Transition Services succeed. The Board of Directors is made up of dedicated volunteers with a shared understanding of collective philanthropic support and overall responsibility to Mission Accomplished Transition Services. Our passionate, energetic, and saavy team brings forth creative ideas while also overseeing the governance of the organization. We are committed ambassadors and investors of Mission Accomplished Transition Services. And we are proud to be a part of the Passion that led us here.


OF DIRECTORS who make passion wins happen

Coach Carmen is a social entrepreneur and the Chief Coach + Founder of Mission Accomplished Transition Services (Mission Accomplished). Growing up in the Capital Region, Coach Carmen experienced homelessness, violence, and a hunger to not be statistic. As a young woman she worked to circumvent these adverse circumstances with the help of family, friends, coaches, and mentors who believed in her vision. Her life experiences inspired her to “pay it forward” by launching a career education organization that provides coaches and mentors who recognize the power of all rising young professionals and entrepreneurs, no matter their socioeconomic background. She has happily served as the Chief Coach + Founder of the organization since its inception!







“We continue to pursue opportunities that will allow for rising young professionals and entrepreneurs to receive the coaching, mentoring, and sponsorship guidance they need to enter the workforce and have the confidence necessary to grow their careers successfully, while also promoting a diverse environment.” - Maile VALLENCIA LLOYD CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, RETIRED BOARD MEMBER




e c n a D ERS


More Information on the


Dance-A-Thon Coming Soon

All dancers welcome.

Food + Raffles. Performances. Awards Ceremony. Games.




MEET some of THE LOCAL CHANGE MAKERS “I believe that investment in community-based initiatives focused on social, racial, and economic justice is critical to advancing equity and building healthy, thriving neighborhoods. By making racial equity an explicit goal in community-based initiatives, we can begin to uproot historically oppressive structures and create conditions necessary for lasting systemic change. Supporting initiatives that prioritize social and economic justice is crucial to empowering every human being in our communities with the resources needed to carve out meaningful and sustainable livelihoods. I am a believer in incorporating young people into every aspect of these initiatives — the future of our communities depends on their ability to thrive.”

Charlene “Charlie” Bradt LMSW, MPH Instagram: @charlie_barley84

Ron Quartimon Senior Consultant

Since 2020 Charlie has led a solo bike ride fundraiser to raise awareness about and funds for Mission Accomplished Transition Services during our annual Back 2 School campaign. In 2020 she rode her bike from Rochester, NY to Albany, NY. Our partnership with Charlie inspired us to enhance our annual campaign by inviting others to host private fundraisers in support of our mission, team, alumni and students.

Throughout my life I have been blessed and fortunate to experience different levels of success in various industries and vocations. One might say that I have lived several lifetimes during this single one. Throughout it all, the trial and error, the successes and failures, encountering the different souls along the way from the sideline observers to the “ I’ll support you if you do it the way I think you should do it” encouragers, from the supported prove they have your back, to the ones looking for the first opportunity to stab you in yours, one thing has remained constant for me and that has been to share what I’ve learned in order to help others persevere to achieve their own goals and dreams. It’s just been the right thing to do. I have always said that I don’t have to be the one to do it, as long as what needs to be done, it gets done, because it needs to get done, and if I can help in that process in some way, then I’ve done my job. I’ve always believed that “To whom much is given, much is required” whatever that may look like for an individual, in terms of money, time, or spirit. So, as we have been blessed, I believe it our obligation to pass those blessings on to others. MISSION MESSAGE: Ron has been a consistent support to Mission Accomplished Transition Services. He has invested hundreds of pro bono consultation hours as a proposal writing advisor for rising fashion icons who participate in the Advanced Fashion Edition Institute since 2017 and advisor to our Chief Coach and Founder. We value his dedication to our mission, team, students and alumni. Other organizations Ron supports are: Lincoln Community Center , Hot Warrior Yoga Training, United Capital District Baseball/Softball Association


Erica Warner Stewardship Manager LinkedIn:


Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work for a variety of organizations, from higher education to non-profits. What I found that drove my passions in these organizations was the fact that I was giving back in a variety of ways that made people happy. Whether it was connecting with students on campus and encouraging them to achieve their dreams, or, organizing a volunteer festival that engaged people across the Capital Region, it was making a positive impact in the community. To this day, I truly believe we are all philanthropists at heart!






Connect with us

Our Mission: The mission of Foster Can, Inc. is to bridge current youth in foster care and young adults in transition out of foster care to resources to help them overcome social, academic, vocational, and housing barriers through coaching, mentorship, and charity. Our Vision We envision a time where the academic, career, and housing statistics of current youth in care and alumni tell a story of success and resilience.

Diversity Statement: "THE BEST PART OF US IS YOU!" HONORING DIVERSITY, FOSTERING EQUITY, PROMOTING INCLUSION, ENCOURAGING JUSTICE, AND INSPIRING BELONGING! We believe that a diverse and inclusive work and service environment is just the beginning. It is our goal to foster a community of team members and individuals we serve who feel they belong. Along with diversity, equity, and inclusion; justice and belonging are cornerstones of our mission. We are committed to doing the hard work to ensure that Foster Can, Inc is a safe place for all despite experience, race, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or religion. We embrace collaboration with other organizations doing the same! Dream Bigger is a scholarship program that provides financial support for pursuing higher education and career exploration for qualified students in foster care or transitioning out of foster care. All recipients must be enrolled in a college or vocational trade program, or a recent high school graduate seeking employment. Live Better is a transition program that provides support to young adults, 18 -30 yrs., that no longer have the state and federal resources of the foster care system. The program includes a one-time housing grant for qualified youth transitioning out of foster care, that will support the first month and security deposit for the lease signing of an apartment, as well as other household items. The program also includes a 1-year aftercare program that includes transition and skill-building workshops that will focus on key pillars for a successful transition to independent living such as budgeting, accessing community resources and support, the significance of community connections, employment readiness, higher education, maintaining health and wellness, etc. Join us: Partner with us to make a difference in our community. It truly "takes a village"! Join us for one of our events or volunteer to support our programs. Please contact us at Support: You can make a one-time donation or a recurring donation by mailing us a check or money order to Foster Can Inc. | PO Box 1708 Troy NY, 12181

313 Tenth St. , Troy, NY 12180







NONPROFITS By: Coach Carmen Dunan

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. ...” - Maya Angelou


he nonprofit sector provides an array of services from financial literacy to workforce development to advanced education. The question that comes to mind when I think of this selfless sector is, “what would our country do without nonprofit companies?” Nonprofits are operated by people who intentionally create solutions to our nation’s most pressing social, racial and economic injustices. Small nonprofits with small, mighty teams of 1-15 people do the best they can to develop and provide quality programs and services;

however many of them can use a little help from the people who value them most. Ten ways to help your favorite small nonprofits thrive is by: 1. Invest time by Using Your Influence. You have a level of influence in your immediate networks of family, friends and co-workers. Use your influence to spotlight and hype up the mission, programs, services and the teams of your favorite nonprofit. Your people trust you! Therefore, if they hear you consistently talk about the positive impact of your favorite nonprofit they

may become curious enough to volunteer with you, attend events with or match your financial investments. 2. Invest time through Social Media Engagement. Intentionally follow AND comment AND like posts created on your favorite small nonprofits’ social media pages. Most times the social media page is managed by someone without marketing experience but knows it’s important to use social media to educate, inspire and promote their programs and services. Your comments and interactions will bring a smile to their face.



3. Invest Time by Volunteering. Dedicate at least 10 consistent hours per month to your favorite small nonprofit. Most of these companies have small teams wearing A LOT of hats and could use your help with mailing letters, entering data into excel spreadsheets or specialized skills like graphic design, website development, grant writing, specialized repairs, and more. At times your time and skills are much more valuable than money! These small teams have so many tasks but not enough time or people to do them. Check out Volunteer Match and Catch A Fire for national opportunities. 4. Invest Money. Invest one time or set up monthly investments of $1-$1,000. Any amount your budget can spare will help your cause sustain the important work they are doing. 5. Invest Time in Coordinating and Leading a Drive. Go to your favorite small nonprofits and ask them to make a list of 5 items they need then lead a supply and/or equipment drive to collect the items on their behalf. Many nonprofits have supply and equipment needs they are not able to afford to purchase. From an operations standpoint companies are in need of items like computers and camera equipment to dry erase boards and projectors. From a programmatic standpoint they need items like tampons and socks to food and school supplies to give to the people they serve. 6. Invest Time Coordinating and Executing a Fundraiser. Organize a fundraiser to raise $500 or more for your favorite small nonprofit. Fundraisers take A LOT of time and effort which takes time away from programming or leads to an overworked team. Most small nonprofits do not have a team dedicated to fundraising activities which means they are developing and delivering programs AND coordinating and executing fundraising activities. You could help them by taking this task off their plate. Not only will you raise funds, you will raise awareness within your circle of influ-

Artist in Construction student, Sion, and our community partner, Anthony, doing community outreach to gather mural design recommendations from Hamilton Hill community members in Schenectady, NY

ence (see option #1). Some examples: Your birthday party can be a fundraiser, host a dinner or lunch party, lead a fundraiser on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media platform. 7. Advertise Their Website. You can place the link to your favorite nonprofits’ website in the signature of your email or Instagram bio. 8. Reviews. Submit a positive review about your experience with them on their Google page, webpage, Facebook or other sites that allow you to rave about your experience and their positive impact on your life. 9. Buy Their Merch and Use or Wear It! Many small nonprofits want to get their brand and message out to the world so they sell merchandise. Buy their t-shirts, mugs, stickers, planners, etc and use them or wear them. This is another way to help them advertise, raise funds and awareness – wow, that’s 3 ways in one! 10. Attend their Online and In-Person Events. Your favorite nonprofit teams put their blood, sweat and tears into creating events to bring the community together while raising funds and awareness for their cause. I promise you they want YOU to be there. Buy a ticket and bring 2 friends with you. The team will appreciate you for this.

“Nonprofits are operated by people who intentionally create solutions to our nation’s most pressing social, racial and economic injustices.” - Coach Carmen




Photo Credit: Jayana LaFotos


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By Fatima Bey, Institute Producer, Mission Accomplished Transition Services


oe Harrison joined the Teen Social Entrepreneurship Institute (SEI) with Mission Accomplished while in high school in 2020. When she joined us, she knew she wanted to go places with her art, but she wasn’t sure how to get there. During her time with SEI, some of her art ideas blossomed. Zoe then graduated from high school and SEI, started college, and then decided to join our Alumni Mentorship Program to maintain support for the art business she started back in 2020. She has since produced and sold physical and digital artwork. Zoe is now a full-time college student and has already made the Dean’s list! “I have over 50+ characters that I have had since I was in middle

school, with full on stories.” Zoe says. It is pretty amazing to see how this creative mind produces her characters. When asked how she comes up with her characters, Zoe said “My characters are all created from the things I’m into, interested in, or made by a spark/flow of inspiration I get in that moment. All of my characters have their own stories and live in a universe I created that I hope to make into a comic or animated story one day!” Through the mentoring and coaching she receives from our Alumni Mentorship Program, along with her own drive and discipline, Zoe is on track with achieving this very goal. To see more of her work and character explanations, follow her Instagram page @Art.With.A.Waddle

“A birthday gift for the lovely @photography_isme ...” - Zoe




the CREATOR OF @BlaqkGrlTv

By: Rebecca Akinwale Capital Region, New York

Health Is Wealth: Top 5 Health Tips for Motivation


ne of the best things about Health and Fitness is that there are numerous sources of reliable information online. However, since there is so much information, sometimes it is difficult to find reliable sources among all of it. You may have heard the phrase, “what works for one person may not work for another”. Well, that is prevalent in the fitness industry because, depending on your body composition, you might not achieve the same results following the exact same routine and diet someone else followed. Information is readily available, but you must tailor it to your body type and goals. There are many avenues in fitness to satisfy different needs, so

choose what is right for you. People exercise for different reasons. Some want to build strength and some want to lose weight. While others just want to stay healthy. As the saying goes, “Health is wealth”. Therefore, you must determine the best method for you. My top 5 health tips are: 1. Do the necessary research for your body. Research options based on your body type, underlying conditions, age, sex, etc. 2. Set goals for yourself. I recommend Specific, Measureable, Actionable/ Achievable, Time-bound (SMART) goals, in order to track your progress and have a motivator. For example: “drink at least 64oz/day” or “lose 10-20lbs within 5

months”. 3. Invest in yourself. This is the biggest motivation of all. This may mean investing in a gym membership, at-home workout equipment, a new diet plan, personal trainer, meal kits, etc. 4. Start small and build on that. When dieting, if you’re trying to change your eating habits, complete restriction is not necessary. You just need to have a healthy respect for consumption. 5. Consistency is key. A 30-minute workout five days a week is more beneficial than a 3-hour workout once a week. When implementing anything new, be realistic and consistent in order to see results.

Get in contact with Rebecca: @blaqkgrltv *Rebecca is an alumna of our 2021 Social Entrepreneurship Institute class


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By Areana Thompson-Birmingham Capital Region, New York


he life of a young mother never stops and there is the ability to learn new parenting skills everyday! As a young mother, I faced multiple challenges. I can remember finding out I was pregnant at 15. I had no job and had not finished high school. All I wished for was to have support from my mother and father. In my case, I didn’t have that support. My family believed I should of had an abortion. So I fought the fight with my step mother and my child’s father. When it was close to my due date I remember facing financial hardship, unable to buy my baby the items she needed. I didn’t have a stable place to live and went from place to place. I had run away prior to being pregnant, which left me with nowhere to turn. I can recall my

step mother calling the courts and getting everything situated. Being a mother can be very trying. There were nights I was tired and I couldn’t sleep because my newborn child was well awake. I slipped into postpartum depression. After falling into depression, I was suffering from isolation and started letting myself go. Life became overwhelming. Eventually, I went back to highschool and got a part time job. Some nights I barely saw my baby but I knew I had to do whatever it took to provide a better life for us. There were days where I would get discouraged, but watching my child grow gave me strength. Soon after going back to school and work I was accepted into the Equinox Youth Shelter with my daughter. We were provided with a room for a few months and

“Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible” Marion C. Garretty

Continued on Page 132



then transferred into an apartment. The rent was paid for by Equinox. I was now in a program where they offered help. My case manager helped me secure insurance and food stamps for my baby and I. Life started easing up for us. In 2017, I became pregnant with my second child. I hit a few bumps in the road. I graduated from Equinox, which meant I had to now find my own apartment. This is where things started falling apart again. At that time in my life while being pregnant, my daughter and I were hopping from place to place for months. But eventually, I got my very first apartment on my own and graduated from school. I was in a subsidized apartment, so my rent was very cheap. Things started looking up once again. After I finished school, I secured a full time position earning double the income. It really ended up hurting me. I was cut off off of social services. This meant having to pay out of my own pocket full rent, food, utilities, car and medical bills. Things got rough again. Bills started accumulating. I lost my car, which meant I had to start using public transportation. I now wasn’t making enough money for my monthly expenses.

When I think back to that time, I can recall nights where I was only able to feed my children. I would starve so that they could eat because there was only a little bit of food and it would have to last until the next paycheck. I also remember the times I had to get food from the pantry. There would be moments where I would just think that life couldn’t get any worse and then, boom! It would seem to go down hill. When I was giving up, the only thing that made me fight harder was that I knew I wanted my kids to live a better life than me. There were also times where things were great and I felt as if life couldn’t be any better. I swear! Ultimately, I just keep going. I tackle one problem at a time. As of now, I’m still striving for my kids. My mothering journey still continues! I have a lot more learning to do but I am willing to do anything for my babies. The best advice I can give to a young mother is to pay attention to your mental health. If you see yourself letting go, keep fighting and seek help. Your kids deserve a happy, healthy, and strong mom. When you start feeling like you’re failing at being a mom,

push through it girl! I promise, it’s a beautiful life when you get to the end of the struggle! One of my favorite quotes is by Marion C. Garretty: “Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible”. This quote lives rent free in my mind and I live by it. Lastly, my life experiences have inspired me to take steps toward opening the doors to a nonprofit organization one day. This organization will provide housing for mothers on a mission to make a positive difference in the lives of themselves and their children. I started to work on this dream in 2017 as a student participating in the Power Lunch Program produced by Mission Accomplished Transition Services. Since meeting the Mission Accomplished team they have remained consistent advocates of my mission to be a change agent. One more piece of advice, ask for and accept help along the way!


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BY HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL BLACK LEADERS 1. "Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you." - Oprah Winfrey 2. "Keep going. No matter what." - Reginald Lewis 3. "Many people don't focus enough on execution. If you make a commitment to get something done, you need to follow through on that commitment." - Kenneth Chenault 4. "If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow." - Beyonce Knowles 5. "People from all walks of life and all over the world look at me and know my humble beginnings and know that everything I've done has been through hard work. People respect me as a marketer and brand builder." - Sean Combs 6. "Hold on to your dreams of a better life and stay committed to striving to realize it." - Earl G. Graves, Sr 7. "I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn't happen overnight. It took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It's not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme." - Aliko Dangote 8. "History has always been a series of pendulum swings, but the individual doesn't have to get caught in that." - Robert L. Johnson 9. "One of the challenges associated with a company becoming large is that companies become hierarchical. They become bureaucratic. They become slow. They become risk-averse." - Kenneth C. Frazier 10. "You can and should set your own limits and clearly articulate them. This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect." - Rosalind Brewer 11. "You are where you are today because you stand on somebody's shoulders. And wherever you are heading, you cannot get there by yourself. If you stand on the shoulders of others, you have a reciprocal responsibility to live your life so that others may stand on your shoulders. It's the quid pro quo of life. We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give." - Vernon Jordan 12. "The road back may not be as short as we wish,... But there are solid reasons to feel confident about the future." - Richard Parsons 13. "My Vocation is my Vacation. I love what I do." - Nick Cannon 14. "There is nothing a woman can't do. Men might think they do things all by themselves but a woman is always there guiding them or helping them." - Marjorie Joyner 15. "When I was younger there was something in me. I had passion. I may not have known what I was going to do with that passion, but there was something and I still feel it. It's this little engine that roars inside of me and I just want to keep going and going." - Sheila Johnson 16. "Around every corner, always protect the engine that powers you." - Dwayne Johnson Reference: and



When you’re ready to make a difference, we’re ready to help Merrill is proud to support Mission Accomplished Transition Services. The Clore Kelly Group Georgia Plavocos Kelly, CRPC®, CPFA® Senior Vice President Senior Financial Advisor Portfolio Manager 518.542.8318

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management 69 State Street 15th Floor Albany, NY 12207 518.462.8300 •

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S” or “Merrill”) makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp. Investment products: Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value The Bull Symbol and Merrill are registered trademarks of Bank of America Corporation. The College for Financial Planning Institutes Corp. owns the service marks Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM, CRPC®, and the CRPC® logo, and the certification marks Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor™, CRPC™, and the CRPC™ logo. A Portfolio Manager can help clients pursue their objectives by managing on a discretionary basis her own Personalized or Defined Strategies, which may incorporate individual stocks and bonds, Merrill model portfolios, and third-party investment strategies. © 2022 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. MAP4264782 | AD-04-22-0356 | 470945PM-0322 | 04/2022


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SIMPLE Lifestyle Changes That Can IMPACT YOU IN 2022 By Maile Barcelon


n the beginning of 2022, a lot of us took a deep dive inventory of our lives. With the storm that followed the pandemic of COVID-19, many were left jobless, hopeless, in fear, and even angry. The political divide amongst many regarding simple things like “wearing a mask” and vaccinations have kept both friends and family a part. The mental health for many took a downhill turn resulting in depression, isolation, and anxiety. And even right now, the effects are still lingering. It is without a doubt that the way we live our life and the practices we hold religiously in our every day routine needs a major makeover. Most importantly, improving our lifestyle in a way that changes our mental and physical health for the better is top of mind. So what can we do?

also for your mental health. Here’s a shareable fact that most people aren’t aware of: when we exercise, our body releases a hormone called Endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. It is released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in response to pain or stress. When endorphins are released, we gain a sense of well-being and it relieves pain. There are about twenty types of endorphins that exist, but this one in particular as it relates to physical activity, or often referred to as “runners high” has been known to be the best for releasing endorphins. A moderate to intense pace of movement or any aerobic activity can help release the


endorphin hormone and have you feeling fantastic! We also release endorphins when we laugh, fall in love, have sex, or have a good meal. So do more! You also don’t need money to exercise. If you are someone who can’t afford to pay for online workout subscriptions or can’t pay for gym membership fees, don’t let that discourage you. Today, there are so many resources and workout routines available for free. Find something you can love doing in the space of your home that is most comfortable for you. Or, if taking a speed walk at the park or outside seems to be the best form of physical activity for you at the moment, then go with it. And if you don’t favor workouts like cross-fit or strength training, then consider group fitness classes like Zumba dance or Bollywood Fintess. Participate in some form of physical activity that will get your heart pumping.

Set goals that are realistic and specific. One of the biggest mistakes often made is promising to do or change something that you know you won’t commit to. And that just leaves everyone including yourself disappointed. For example, if eating healthier is something you want to incorporate into your diet, instead of saying, “I’m going to eat healthier.”, commit to adding a new vegetable or fruit to your meals that you never did in the past. Control what is controllable and you’ll start to see significant change. Exercise. If you are that person that absolutely hates physical activity, I highly encourage you to... do it anyway. The countless excuses I’ve heard people make: its inconvenient, too busy, no money, don’t like to get sweaty, don’t want my hair to get ruined, it hurts, I don’t have daycare, blah blah blah. The reality is that exercise is the key to sustaining a healthy and optimal life and your health is so worth it. Exercise is not only beneficial for your physical health, but Continued on Page 139



139 Eat balanced meals. Small to Reasonable sized meals that contain 40 percent biological value protein, 40 percent low/moderate glycemic index carbohydrates, such as peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, straweberries, apples, pears, etc., 20 percent good and clean fats (monosaturated), such as avocados, almonds, etc., and at least a minimum of eight large glasses of water a day will make a huge difference in the way you feel while increasing energy levels. Laugh more. We don’t do it enough. Sometimes we are so caught up in the day to day activities of managing kids and work, that we often don’t take the time to enjoy a funny movie, read a funny article, or make a quick call to a good friend that you know you can count on to make you laugh. If you’re a person that takes everything so seriously 80 percent of your life, take some time to engage in activities that are fun and enjoyable. Chances are, you will get a laugh or two in somewhere. And! Laughing is good for your mental wellness! Get sleep. Sleep is an essential function that everyone needs. It allows us to recharge our bodies and refreshes our minds. Sleep, and how much of it we get impacts our ability to stay alert and also helps our bodies to recover from stress, including staving off disease. Healthy amounts of rest allows us to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories. Without it, we won’t be able to effectively operate in our jobs and businesses. Write down your affirmations and meditate on them. Affirmations are the action or process of affirming positive thoughts to support feeling encouraged. I am enough. I believe in myself. I believe in my dreams and the aspirations I set forth. I love myself for who I am. I create my own happiness. My life is filled with abundance and goodness. My challenges are actually opportunities. I am beautiful just the way I am. The more positivity you can welcome into your life, the better. Post your affirmations

on your mirrors, in your car, in your notebooks, and in your journals. Stick them on your laptops and anywhere where you will be reminded of them. The more you read them, see them, and know them, the more you will feel empowered. Overall, incorporating these simple practices and involving them into your life will not only change the way you think and feel, but you will see the results of change and live life so much happier.





For the Soul

By Vallencia Lloyd, Capital Region New York


ave you ever thought about havinga garden at home, but did not know how to start one? With all of the buzz about how people are starting to grow their own herbs and vegetables at home, you don’t have to be left out. It might seem complicated and even scary to start a project like this. But trust me, you can do it. Though there are so man things to consider when starting a garden, such as right time of the year to start planting, all the way to the type of fertilizer to use, we thought these basic Gardening Tips for Beginners would be helpful to start your Green Thumb adventure:

1. Start with healthy fertilized soil! It can be in a pot, bin or in the ground but fertilize before planting!

2. It may be easier to start with small containers before planting and don’t go too big initially. 3. Make sure the weather is warm and there is no longer going to be a frost. 4. Start with seedlings. It is easier to start with small seedlings bought at garden centers than with seeds! 5. Don’t over or under water! Know when to water and how much to give. 6. Make sure you know how much sun your plants and vegetables need and place them accordingly. 7. Love your garden. Talk, sing, or touch your plants with love and caring. 8. Watch them grow and reap your harvest!



THINKING ABOUT PURCHASING A HOME? Here are some Key Tips to having a seamless stress free experience: A good credit score is essential; the minimum credit score is 580+, and the higher the better! Obtain a Pre-approval/Pre-Qualification letter from your lender prior to seeing any homes. A healthy down payment/ deposit is usually 5-10% of the sale price. Explore possible 1st Time Homebuyer programs available in your area.

Desiree Nix


CALL 518-858-5660

935 New Loudon Road, Latham NY 12110





The World is Expecting You; Your Spot has Been Reserved


By Carolyn McLaughlin – Albany County Legislator – District 1 Capital Region, New York

s I approach my “Third Age” I am ever mindful of the many roads I have traveled and the road(s) that are in front of me. I accept that all are winding roads. With every twist and turn I seek to discern the lesson intended by each experience. I continue to offer the following as “Carolynisms”; words to live by as you seek your place in the world.

Know yourself and deliver the authentic you at all times; You and those you interact with will be the better for it. Practice self-ownership - Learn how to take self-ownership over your vocational lives and your future. Own the importance of identifying your professional strengths, interests and values. Leave nothing to chance, except what you choose for dessert.

The road to your destiny is not a straight line - There will be stops and turns along the way to your final destination. You may even turn some corners. As long as you are prepared and stay focused on the prize, there will be no need to be afraid of the detours.

Life is about relationships - No woman/ man is an island. Good relationship skills will allow you to effectively advocate for yourself and for those you care about. How you manage relationships should make life easier, not a struggle.

Appreciate similarities, and respect the differences - In this new world version of diversity, equity and inclusion, find value in everyone you meet. This may be difficult at times, but never miss the opportunity to level-up.

Keep your distance - Sometimes for the sake of your peace and your destiny, you must distance yourself from people and their expectations of you. You choose the lens through which you see yourself. Let it be a clear lens.

Tell your story - Everyone has a story. Become your own best storyteller - You control your own narrative.

Have the audacity to believe it will happen - Believe in yourself and your dreams before you share them with someone else. Others may or may not see the same thing for you. Make sure you have control of your own vision before sharing it. Celebrate your achievements.

“The road to your destiny is not a straight line There will be stops and turns along the way to your final destination. “



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By Sergio Adams, City of Albany Councilman

Sergion Adams, City of Albany Councilman

Capital Region, New York Follow Sergio on Instagram at: @Councilman_SergioAdams and on Facebook at SergioAdamsforCommonCouncil Website: www.

y name is Sergio Adams. I am 30 years old and have lived in the Capital Region of New York for 15 years. When I decided to run for office I was 25 years old. After graduating from the University at Albany I decided to remain in the City because of the potential I believed Albany had. I was disappointed o see some of the conditions and how certain neighborhoods had declined. I was concerned about the direction Albany seemed to be heading in. I became even more motivated to pursue a seat at the Common Council table when I learned the City of Albany had a high poverty rate, low graduation rate, and rising housing rent. I had lived through those conditions, therefore I understood what people around me were going through. I knew politics was one way to help make positive change in different neighborhoods. Being a Common Council member affords me the opportunity to create changes while still looking out for my community! Campaigning through the pandemic was slightly difficult. However, my team and I knew what we wanted to do. We had been planning, working with, and building relationships with residents in the 7th ward for the last 4 years. Due to COVID, petitioning and fundraising was tough. We started with fun virtual fundraising events and organized meetings outdoors. I utilized social media to get my message

out and build supporters from all over. Social media was a powerful tool that my team and I utilized. Still, when it comes to campaigning, nothing beats speaking to constituents face to face. We continued to hit the pavement, knocking on doors every single day up until Election Day. We recognized barriers that either prevented or discouraged people in the past from voting. We did our best to remove those barriers. We organized transportation to the polls and sent follow up text messages. Having prior experience campaigning along with a strong supportive team made all the difference for me to win.



Artist in Construction Mural Tour, Boston MA