Page 1

INSIDE: Don't miss our W@W Connect event at Rumors Salon & Spa! pg. 52


A Times Union Publication

November/December 2012

The Rud Value minimof Volunteering velenissis accum Help yourself, your Ecte dipisi exer at utpat community AND your career incipsu msandre

New Boss? No Problem!

Staying on Your Game Smart tips for monitoring the competition

Make Confrontation

Your Friend

Catherine McCann CEO, Best Cleaners

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Publisher George Hearst III Editorial Janet Reynolds, Executive Editor Brianna Snyder, Associate Editor Design Tony Pallone, Design Director Colleen Ingerto, Emily Jahn, Designers Contributing Writers Kristi Barlette, Molly Belmont, Laurie Lynn Fischer, Mary Malone McCarthy, Jennifer E. O’Brien, Stacey Morris, Anne Saile, Cari Scribner Contributing Photographers Colleen Ingerto, Emily Jahn, Suzanne Kawola, Tyler Murphy Sales Kathleen Hallion, Vice President, Advertising Tom Eason, Manager, Display Advertising Craig Eustace, Retail Sales Manager Jeff Kiley, Magazine Sales Manager Circulation Dan Denault, Home Delivery Manager Business Ray Koupal, Chief Financial Officer Paul Block, Executive Producer Women@Work Founding Advisory Board: Anne Saile, chair; Marri Aviza, Kristen Berdar, Debra Best, Nancy Carey-Cassidy, Karin Carr, Andrea CrisafulliRusso, Heather Ford, Kathleen Godfrey, Lakia Green, Ann Hughes, Theresa Marangas, Lydia Rollins, Curran Street, Gail Wilson-Giarratano Capital Region Women@Work is published six times per year. If you are interested in receiving home delivery of Capital Region Women@Work magazine, please call (518) 454-5768 or visit capregionwomenatwork. com. For advertising information, please call (518) 454-5358. Capital Region Women@Work is published by Capital Newspapers and Times Union 645 Albany Shaker Road, Albany, NY 12212 518.454.5694 The entire contents of this magazine are copyright 2012 by Capital Newspapers. No portion may be reproduced in any means without written permission of the publisher. Capital Newspapers is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hearst Corporation.




A LL N EW 2 0 1 3 I N F I N I T I J X




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Contents November/December 2012

pg 28

@ WORK 10 Bitstream

34 I Did It

Business tidbits for all

Christel MacLean takes on Saratoga Springs

14 Tips from the Top Anne Saile on 10 ways to keep your career on track

16 On the Cover Catherine McCann on doing her best

18 Under New Management Coping with a new boss or owner

41 The Others Empathy is the great enemy of xenophobia

43 Stand Your Ground Get what you want and need

66 The Last Word How to handle social media at work

20 Apps Attack Applications to better organize your day


24 Staying on Your Game Smart tips for managing the competition

45 Moms@Work Making new New Year’s resolutions

26 Make Confrontation Your Friend Your career will go a lot smoother

28 Click and Learn The Web can be a virtual training ground for your employees

46 The Greater Good How volunteering can help your personal outlook and career

50 Meals on the Go Megan Affonso’s 30-minute meal

54 Getting Away What’s up in San Antonio

32 The Power of the Written Word Books for Troops helps our men and women serving overseas

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it. ”

— Margaret Fuller journalist, critic, and women’s rights advocate

  ON THE COVER: Catherine McCann, CEO of Best Cleaners. Photo by Suzanne Kawola.

6 | women@work

Is your company in this issue? A. Hedges Photography..................................24 Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce...................................................24 American Cancer Society................................46 Best Cleaners .................................................16 Books for Troops.............................................32 Capital Regional Human Resource Association.................................................66 Careers in Transition........................................18 Circus Cafe......................................................34 Custom Resume and Writing Service...............46 Deb Best Practices...........................................26 Deily, Mooney and Glastetter..........................28 Delaney Vero, PLLC ........................................26 Fluffalicious Bakery.........................................24 Hattie’s Chicken Shack....................................34 Integrated Management and Staff Consulting...................................................18 Meditation Matters.........................................26 Meg’s Love at First Bite...................................50 New York State Dispute Resolution Association.................................................26 Pinnacle Human Resources.............................66 Profitable Speech............................................26 Realty Saratoga...............................................34 Rensselaer County Humane Society................46 S&B Staffing....................................................18 Saile Groupe, LLC............................................14 Siena College..................................................26 Skidmore College............................................24 Sperry’s Restaurant.........................................34 Sunmark Federal Credit Union........................66 TL Metzger and Associates ............................66 Waggin’ Tails Pet Rescue.................................46

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editor's note

Conflicting Ideas I

once worked for a man who was simultaneously savvy and crazy. While his business acumen was impressive, he also made everything personal, an absolutely unacceptable strategy in business. Because he was crazy, I often ignored some of his actually good advice — it all got lumped into “just another rant by Soand-So” in my head (another downside of making things personal — your employees are so scarred that they don’t actually follow your good ideas or advice). But after he left the company and I took his place as publisher — that’s a very long story for another time — I realized that one piece of advice he gave me was actually quite good. By nature, I don’t like conflict. I’m a fixer, a peacemaker, a person — and employee — who doesn’t like to upset any-

one. So when he told me to “make confrontation my friend,” I lumped it into the crazy file and continued to avoid confrontation at every possible turn. He was right and I was wrong. By making confrontation my friend (and also making sure to keep it all impersonal), I have actually made my work life less stressful. I have avoided real conflict by not allowing the little things to escalate. Ironically, by making confrontation my friend, I’ve had to deal with less confrontation. If you want ideas about how to add this strategy to your work toolbox, we’ve got a story on page 26 that can help. There’s a good tie-in here to the new boss story as well on page 18. Understanding how a new boss operates — and how he/she deals with conflict — is always smart business.  W 

Janet Reynolds Executive Editor

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Having It All others who work full-time are healthier by the time they reach 40 than moms who stay home or only work part-time, according to Medical News Today. The University of Akron study looked at about 2,500 women who became mothers between 1978 and 1995. Women who went back to work shortly after having children had better physical and mental health. Mothers who stayed home struggled with feelings of social isolation and difficulty re-entering the workforce when their children got older. source:

The Working-Mother Conflict(s) A

ForbesWoman and The Bump poll of 1,000 women found that working mothers deal with all sorts of stresses. Sixty-seven percent of women polled were working away from the home, while the other 33 percent stayed home with the kids. source: nov12poll

10 | women@work


69% 69% say they feel pressure to work because their family can’t survive without the added income

52% More than half (52%) of the women surveyed say their partners or others sometimes make them feel as if they aren’t devoting enough time to their child/children

44% of stay-at-home moms say their partner or others sometimes make them feel as if they’re not pulling their own financial weight

36% More than a third of working moms (36%) agree that sometimes they resent their partner for not making enough money for them to stay home with the baby/kids

Photos: © Woman, © Courtney Keating; Chairs, © Stefano Alberti. Illustration by Emily Jahn.


Pay Scales 29% 71%


f you’re working for one of the many companies still struggling to bounce back from the recession, you’ve likely been denied a raise because business is slow and money’s tight. According to the New York Times, which reported on a study of 184 male and female managers, 71 percent of available money for raises went to men while only 29 percent to women. Why such an egregious disparity? Women are often seen as likely to accept a raise denial when it’s denied on the grounds that the company is dealing with financial woes. Results were consistent among male and female managers in the study, which was a simulation of a workplace scenario in which the managers had to dispense raises with limited funds. source:

Progressive Works C

ompanies with women on their boards have done better in challenging markets than companies with all-male boards, according to a report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute. Bloomberg News reports that over a period of six years, “shares of

companies with a market capitalization of more than $10 billion and with women board members outperformed comparable businesses with all-male boards by 26 percent worldwide.” source:

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

– Alice Walker continued on page 12 | 11


continued from page 11

Help Me A

recent study by Catalyst, a research organization for women and business, suggests that one more way of furthering yourself in your career is to take on a protégé. “High potentials who were developing a protégé had $25,075 greater compensation growth from 2008 to 2010,” according to the study. Forbes reports the study also demonstrated that taking on mentoring is a “significant predictor of career advancement.” Why is this the case? According to the study, “(D)eveloping other talent creates more visibility and a following within the organization for the highpotentials who are doing the developing, which leads to greater reward and recognition for the extra effort.” This is a counter effect to the “Queen Bee syndrome,” in which women don’t help other women in their workplace in order to advance themselves. But the study found women are mentoring women at higher rates than men who mentor men. Catalyst CEO and president Ilene H. Lang told Forbes, “This report dispels the misconception that women’s career advancement lags behind men’s because they don’t pay it forward to other women. It shows that women are in fact actively helping each other succeed.”

Disgruntled Workers Context Median Earning 50k 48k




12 | women@work

” - Amelia Earhart

Low wages

Women 14%


Men 8%



women 1973*





Job not in chosen career

*Adjusted for inflation

Change Between 2011 & 2012

Women 11%

Fear of being laid off/fired

Men 5%

2011 9% 2012 4%

Fear of low paychecks 2011 14%


The most effective way to do it is to do it.

Stress Women vs Men

2012 11%


ork can be stressful in any number of ways. According to CNN Money (and Fortune Magazine), a recent poll of what American workers feared most in their jobs is no longer being laid off, but that their pay has stagnated. Eleven percent of those polled said flat paychecks are their primary source of workplace anxiety. Nine percent said their workloads had become unbearable and 11 percent said not working in their dream jobs was their most profound stressor. source:

Photo: Women Stretching, © cervo. Disgruntled workers chart by Emily Jahn.

Help You

Work Workout S

itting is killing us! But for those of us spending upward of 10 hours a day at the office, it’s tough to avoid sitting at your desk lest your boss accuse you of messing around. Here are some fun, easy, subtle exercises you can do around the office to keep your body moving: 1. Calf raises: whenever you get up to fetch supplies, a fax or a printout, lift your heels off the ground and do a few reps as you wait for whatever you’re waiting for. 2. Clench your muscles: This works best for your butt and your tummy, but is totally discreet. Just squeeze your lowerabdomen muscles and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Do the same with your bottom. 3. Sit up straight: Good posture — keeping your back straight — can be a workout. Just try it and you’ll notice it. source:

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

– Maya Angelou | 13

tips from the top

10 Ways to Keep

Your Career on Track

Anne Saile is an award winning CEO, entrepreneur, executive coach, author and owner of the Saile Group LLC, a leadership and business consulting company. For more information, visit Photo by Joan Heffler.

By Anne Saile


ave you ever known a woman with enormous potential who inadvertently derailed her career? We are making great strides in the business world, but career advancement can be a tricky journey. It is important that we tread carefully when making decisions that will affect our career; oftentimes, the smallest choices have the biggest impact, and those choices can be the difference between professional success and demise. Here are 10 ways to help you keep your career on the right track: 1. Honesty Make honesty a priority in your career. Being honest demonstrates moral character and integrity. Practicing honesty with yourself and your employees can help keep you grounded and ensure that you are making the best decisions for your company. 2. Power in Silence It can be easy to forget the power of silence, but talking just to fill pauses in conversation can lead you to say too much and lose your edge in negotiations. Saying your piece and then being silent can give your words more authority, while giving the other person more time to think about what you said. Also, don’t feel as if you have to give a direct “yes” or “no” answer — sometimes ambiguity invites the other party to come up with a better offer to seal the deal. 3. Ask for Help Successful women often feel as though they have to do everything themselves in order to maintain their authority. 14 | women@work

Remember: Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; rather it shows that you are a team player and not a solo act. Collaborating with those around you and drawing upon everyone’s strengths not only builds morale, but also ensures that you have a strong professional support system. 4. Don’t Be Invisible It’s unfortunate but true that as women we need to work harder than men to assert our presence in the workplace. Too often women hang back and do not speak up first in meetings. Take credit for what is yours! Be assertive and do not be afraid to make the first move. Make yourself visible and you will earn the respect you deserve. 5. Take Responsibility Do your best to take complete responsibility for all of your decisions and actions and to not make excuses for mistakes. Right or wrong, it is better to own up to your choices than to pass off the responsibility to someone else. This reflects on the strength of your character and upholds your reputation no matter the gravity of the situation. 6. Clear Vision Come up with a clear vision for where you want to take your career. If that is difficult for you, identify someone who has a job that you would like to have. Whether it is a high-profile CEO or a successful friend, having someone to emulate when making business decisions will give your career focus and direction.

7. Time Out Take 15 minutes each day to think strategically. Working in such a fast-paced world, we fail to see the magic in taking time to just think. Deliberate actions are more effective than ones made on the fly. 8. Know What You Know It can be tempting to feel pressure to have an answer for everything. Often we find ourselves answering questions because we feel we need to impress those around us. A good rule of thumb is to only respond if you are 100 percent sure of the answer. No one expects you to know everything, and it is better to acknowledge what you do not know than to give an answer you are not confident in. 9. Encourage with Language Make sure that the way you communicate with people is encouraging. Words like “no,” “but,” and “however” are limiting. It leads people to believe that their ideas will be discounted and can make you think less of your own ideas. Even if they seem far-out or implausible, use positive language to foster open communication and promote creative solutions. 10. Believe in Yourself This sounds cliché, but it is a real problem among women in business. You cannot expect people to see things in you that you do not see in yourself. Have confidence in your abilities and surround yourselves with people that support you and can supplement your skills with their own talent. Take some time each day to remind yourself of your strengths. Repeat it as a mantra.  W 

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on the cover

 At Her Best Dry-cleaning CEO broke through in a man’s world By Brianna Snyder  |  Photos by Suzanne Kawola


est Cleaners CEO Catherine McCann knows firsthand how tough it can be to break through in a field typically dominated by male managers. When she first began her career after graduating with a degree in economics from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, McCann got a job at AT&T. She worked there for the next 18 years in nearly every facet of the business, although she spent most of it in sales management. When she first arrived at NCR, as it was called before being bought by AT&T, the company was run and managed by older white men. “It was always a struggle,” she says. “Your managers and their managers were always men, all the way up the chain.” But McCann didn’t let that bother her. “I’m a very strong, confident woman. I believe, in some situations, that may be intimidating to some men that I have worked for or with,” she says, “but I don’t know if it’s ever worked against me. And I would never change that because that is who I am.” McCann saw change during the years she spent climbing the ranks of the company, as more women became “active in all levels of management.” “What I learned is that women are amazing employees,” she says. “A woman will walk into a conversation that is emotionally based, where the instinct of most men is to walk away from that 16 | women@work

because they don’t have the same set of skills we do to embrace that situation.” And the workplace offers plenty of opportunities for emotional conversations, McCann says. “Your life doesn’t stop when you come to work. Your kids get sick and you have to stay late and the babysitter’s not showing up and you have to go to the vet. … It all resides with you and it needs to be talked through and worked through.”


hat working through the personal details has an additional component in McCann’s workplace today because she literally shares duties with her spouse, Tim McCann. The couple, married for 12 years, co-own Best Companies, or Best Cleaners, a local dry-cleaning chain, and regularly swap titles and responsibilities at work and home, where they have two young daughters. “We’ve been in these roles for three or four years now,” Catherine says of her

The Download on

Catherine McCann Title: CEO, Best Companies (Best Cleaners) Age: 46 Hometown: Strathroy, Ontario, Canada Family: Tim, husband; daughters Grace, 9, and Emily, 8 Lives In: downtown Delmar Guilty Pleasure: Spending the summer on my dock (at my summer house) with a vodka and tonic.” Surprising Fact: “I’m Canadian. People assume I’m not.” A mistake she wouldn’t make again: “Undervaluing (myself) in a promotion or compensation conversation.” What excites her about her job: “The coordination of great ideas into a moving plan and all the people I get to interact with daily.”

CEO position and his president role. “It seems to have settled. We’re in a good spot. I keep everyone accountable, while Tim makes great plans.” The McCanns met while working at AT&T in San Francisco and then moved to Washington, D.C., to be closer to family and explore purchasing their own business. Tim, Catherine says, had “always wanted to be an entrepreneur. His family has a history of that.” It took about a year and a half of searching before they landed on something they felt was worth the investment. They looked at ski resorts, art galleries, bakeries, chain franchises such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway, even a farm-machinery rental company in New Hampshire. “We looked everywhere from Baltimore up through Maine,” McCann says. In 2005, they purchased Roxy United Cleaners. “A friend of a friend mentioned this company Roxy was for sale and we drove up and saw it was a very good opportunity,” she says. “We saw some clear avenues for improvement and we saw ways we could provide a better experience for the clients.” They renamed the company “Best Cleaners”; Tim’s uncle owns a chain of local dry-cleaners by the

McCann’s top tips: • Be yourself. • Be heard! “I’m not one to speak up or fade into the back corner. I’m going to be at the table, going to state my opinions and state them clearly.” • Listen. “It’s important to not only listen to what everyone is saying but to acknowledge the value of what they’re saying. I call it ‘active listening.’ It’s very important.”

same name in Connecticut. Though the two companies are unrelated, they do share a name. Today, Best Cleaners, which employs 85 employees in 11 different locations in the Capital Region, has bounced back from the darker days of the recession, when business lagged as people, struggling to make ends meet, cut dry-cleaning from their budgets. Business has especially picked up since 2009, when the company started incorporating textile-restoration services into its offerings. Customers with sheets, upholstery, curtains or clothes that have been damaged in a fire, flood or because of mold can bring their damaged fabrics to Best for restoration, repair and cleaning. “(Tim and I) certainly don’t agree on everything. I would suggest we disagree more than we agree, but we’re skilled at coming to a compromise. We’re also very open with each other and with our leadership team. … Everything is very open so you come to a decision quicker that meets the goals of the company and not (the goals) of Tim and me.”  W | 17

Under New Management How to cope with a new boss or company owner

By Laurie Lynn Fischer

Change is often scary. In the workplace, the natural anxiety about a new manager or new owners is heightened by worries over downsizing and losing a paycheck. Here are war stories about these transitional situations and tips for handling them from four Capital Region employment experts.

Regina Sheber Regina Sheber of Colonie ran a staffing business for 27 years. Before that, she had one boss who was so awful she wanted to quit and start job hunting. “He brought me into his office and said, ‘Don’t do that. There are going to be some changes.’ He was selling out,” she remembers. “He wanted to have a whole staff in place when the new owners came in. I was absolutely thrilled to death.” Many of her coworkers did not feel the 18 | women@work

same about the changeover, however. “It was amazing,” she remembers. “They’d still rather stay with the devil known. I think very often, people are just afraid of the unknown.” Her advice: Be prepared to like the person. A lot of people resent it when somebody new comes in. If they’re prepared not to like the person, they most likely won’t. Be nice to the person coming in without being phony or insincere.

Denise Horan Denise Horan of Clifton Park once had a new manager who was such an incompetent bully that she finally went over his head. “With hindsight I probably should have had a heart-to-heart conversation with him before doing that,” she says. “I guess I wasn’t the only one. He lost the

position. They moved him into a different role. The owners were very understanding, but not all owners are. He could have fired me.” Today, she is principal of Integrated Management and Sales Consulting. Whenever clients bring in a new manager or get purchased or merged, she walks them through three steps: 1. Identify all stakeholders involved in the change. 2. Communicate clearly your vision, expectations and goals. 3. Encourage questions. Be ready to be transparent and answer them. “The real success of having a change like this is in the communication going both ways,” Horan says. Her advice: Don’t gossip. Do not assume you know their expectations. The worst thing you can do is speak poorly

You’re dancing with somebody you don’t really know.

of the new management. If you feel you have to go over someone’s head, give your input from the owner’s perspective – why you care about their business. Stick to the facts. Do not be emotional. Your goal isn’t to make trouble; it’s to ensure that the business is running smoothly and the customers are being taken care of. That’s what the owner really cares about.

Photos: Chair, © Janis Litavnieks; Meet and Greet, © Neustockimages.

Patricia Blais Patricia Blais of Halfmoon worked seven years for a large Capital Region insurance company. Then it merged, her workload doubled and she had to travel downstate regularly. “All of a sudden, they said, ‘Your new boss is so-and-so out of New York City,” she recalls. “Everything had to change to mirror the policies and procedures of the company that purchased us. It was the attitude that we in Albany were not doing anything right. It was frustrating because they didn’t tell us everything up front. It was piece by piece. We didn’t have a clear vision of what they wanted us to do. I didn’t like the people I was reporting to. There were a lot of people who ended up leaving, and one of them was me.” She quit and cofounded S & B Staffing in Albany. Now, more than 20 years later, she and her business partner are handing over day-to-day operations to a longtime employee. They reassured the other senior employee that she could always come to them if there was a problem with the new manager. They asked the new manager how she thought the staff would react. They let everyone know there would be a new hire, so no one would worry that the vacancy created by the promotion would mean more work. They announced in a meeting how their plan would be implemented and what changes to expect. They invited each worker to share questions or concerns in

– TOM DENHAM, Careers in Transition, LLC

one-on-one meetings. “It went really well, because we were prepared,” Blais says. “You need to anticipate what the fears of the employees will be.” Her advice: Be as professional as possible and look for ways to showcase your ability beyond your job description. Offer to assist them in the transition by providing extra help, background materials or special reports.

Tom Denham Tom Denham is principal of Careers in Transition, LLC, in Colonie. One of his clients — who had 15 years with her firm — recently got a new supervisor from outside the company who gave her a less important job title and stripped her of responsibility. “They’ve kind of sidelined her,” he says. “She feels like this boss is unpredictable. The supervisor called her into a meeting at the last minute that she wasn’t prepared for and embarrassed her in

the meeting. This new supervisor is not proactive, but reactive.” Getting a new superior is like dating, Denham says. “You’re dancing with somebody you don’t really know,” he says. “There’s a high probability that someone coming into an organization is going to feel insecure. They may not express it, but they don’t know who their allies are, who to trust and how things get done. If the person is insecure to begin with, it may manifest in anger, frustration and bossiness.” His advice: If it’s somebody you’re going to be reporting directly to, shortly after they come on board, you may want to have a thorough conversation about goals, objectives, short- and long-term plans. Maybe it has to be an ongoing conversation. Be proactive. Have your resume updated all the time. Ask yourself, “Where am I? Where am I going? Can I put up with this or is it time for me to find a better fit?”  W | 19

Apps Attack Applications to help you better manage your day


hen you log into the app store, the selection of download options can be overwhelming. Three hundred apps — costing anywhere from zero to $3 to $90 — can claim to do the same thing. Who has the time to figure all that out? But shaking your head and running to your notepad and pencil isn’t necessarily the best decision. Tons of apps are super useful, helping users to consolidate tasks, organize their day, keep on schedule, and make their work look sleek and handsome. To spare you the headache of digging through CNET app reviews, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites. And not one of them costs a dime. See our selections on page 22

20 | women@work

Illustration: © Marcello Bortolino.

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This gorgeously-interfaced to-do-list app is wonderfully efficient at keeping home and work tasks organized and sortable. It includes an errands list, a high-priority tracker-reminder option and — genius! — an “unassigned” list to remind you of the things you need to get other people to do.

2. FAST KEYBOARD COST: free FOR: iPhone and iPad

One of the complaints about iPhones and iPads is that the keyboard is tough to manage. Not being able to feel each discrete key can be a hindrance for speedy typists, and needing to swap keyboards for symbols and characters slows everyone down. Fast Keyboard’s setup solves many of these problems by adding the characters and numbers to a scrollable bar over the top of the main keys. It also offers a cut-andpaste option — something you maybe never realized you missed until you get it back. 22 | women@work






Many Droid phones have that little pullout keyboard, a compromise between smartphones and Blackberrys. But sometimes the keyboard isn’t worth the three seconds it takes to pull it out and fuss with. The problem, though, is that you’re so accustomed to the keyboard that the screen keyboard is too squashed to be usable. It’s a pain. Siine Keyboard offers a series of programmable, customizable macros. Presets include “can’t text now,” What’s up?” and “Leaving in five,” but you can add other frequently used phrases to clip text times and skip keyboard fussing.

4. S QUARE COST: free FOR: iPad and Android tablets (coming

soon to smartphones, PC, Mac and TVs) I’m a big fan of Google Docs and the Google cloud, but because of some longstanding Apple-Google business rivalry, Google-produced apps are few and far between for many of its services.




(There is Gmail and a Google search app, but many other apps are thirdparty-produced, and unreliable.) But what you can get is OnLive Desktop, an accessible desktop stored in the cloud. It’s Microsoft-powered so you can use it to work on Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, easily transferring them from your iPad to your PC or other devices. Think of it as cloud computing meets remote desktop. Very useful for those working 80-hour work weeks.

5. E VERNOTE COST: free FOR: iPhone, iPad and Android

phones and tablets Evernote is the ultimate datebook/ scheduler/task manager/cloud. Using your phone or iPad to take pictures and notes, Evernote grabs all your data and organizes it within one place — there are maps here, documents, new tasks, notes, pictures of places, receipts for expense reports and interesting meals. This is an award-winning app (seriously!) and on the New York Times’ list of apps everyone should have. We promise you: Life will never be the same.  W 

Photos/logos: 1, courtesy Yoctoville; 3, courtesy OnLive Desktop; 4, courtesy Square; 5, courtesy Evernote.


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Staying on Your Game Smart tips for managing the competition

24 | women@work

to become complacent if the small-business owner doesn’t keep abreast of current changes in the field and learn more about what other companies are doing. This complacency can be very costly … since it’s extremely difficult to get customers to return once they’ve lost their trust.” Different practices work for different business owners. But, for Christina Haas, owner of Fluffalicious bakery in Albany, listening to customers is key. With so many dessert options available in the area, customers like to shop around, says Haas, who opened the sweet treats business three years ago. She now has about 25 different cupcake flavors available daily, as well as cookies, eclairs, brownies and cakes. But, while she listens to what her customers love about her business, and what they find attractive at similar shops, she

knows staying focused on remaining an individual, with her own ideas, is critical. A certain cupcake flavor or frosting-cake combination could be a hit for one bakery but not hers, and she knows that copying others is not the way to get ahead. “We all have our own recipes and do things differently,” says the business owner. “That is what makes us all who we are.” The one area where Haas pays close attention to her competitors is price. She checks the websites or Facebook pages of similar businesses to make sure she remains competitive and on-point.


aas is doing exactly what the experts advise. “The key to market share is to differentiate your business. Whoever your key prospect is, how can your product be more desirable than the competition,” says Mark Eagan, presi-

Photo: © Popov.


ompetition is a fact of business life. It’s the rare business that is the only one of its kind in an area — and even rarer still for it to remain so once people see its success. Staying on top of the competition — from industry trends to literally what your local competitor is charging for similar products — is critical for any business owner’s success but especially strategic for smaller businesses where the margin between success and failure can be quite slim. The question is how to do it without seeming like a stalker or — potentially — creating bad feelings in the community. “As a small business, it’s important to continually be evaluating what are the steps in making a business successful,” says Penny Loretto, associate director with the Skidmore College Career Development Center in Saratoga Springs. “It’s easy

By Kristi Barlette

dent of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce. “You want to be focused on your business; you don’t want to focus on someone else.” But, of course, to be different, and financially successful, you need to be aware of what others are doing. Awareness and fixation are different, though, and it’s important to be in the former class, not the latter. Eagan is also a fan of word-of-mouth. He says going into a business, and experiencing it as if you were a customer, is key, especially in retail. “Oftentimes, it’s not just the product,” says Eagan. “It’s the emotional feel, the customer service, the personalities.” Amy Hedges, the photographer/owner of A. Hedges Photography in Delmar, manages her competitions similarly to Haas. Hedges, who is part of one of the more robust small-business genres in the area, avoids paying attention to her immediate competition — to a degree. Photography, while a business, is still an art form, Hedges says. “I actually actively follow very few photographers from this area for that reason. I want to grow as an artist from within, not (be) influenced by what others are doing, locations they’re going to, poses they use, techniques, etc.,” says Hedges, who just had her three-year anniversary as a business owner. “While it’s hard to live completely in a bubble, I find the less aware I am about what others are doing, the happier I am with my business and my art. I’m very competitive (by) nature so if I’m always seeing how others are excelling, I tend to get upset if I’m not doing the same in my business.” That doesn’t mean Hedges doesn’t know how to keep up with others when the mood strikes. Almost every photographer shares his or her work on a Facebook page or website, she says, and photographers bump into one another at events where there are two shooters. Hedges finds these inadvertent meet-ups helpful. She can get some tips, and share a few of her own, even check out their work style, their method. She can also collaborate with other local photographers — ones she’s established relationships with either online or in person. Being friendly with fellow shooters, rather than acting aloof or disinterested, has led to opportunities for Hedges to be the second shooter, or get referrals for a wedding or similar event if the other photographer is already booked. Personal relationships with others in the industry, then, are key, and allow Hedges to stay abreast of what fellow photographers are doing naturally, without becoming so engrossed in what they’re doing that she loses focus. And that’s the perfect approach, says Loretto. “As a smallbusiness owner, you can’t live in a vacuum. There are so many little things that can make or break a company, especially if you are small and you don’t have a lot of capital to fall back on,” says the career counselor. Professional organizations and following local, industry-focused blogs can help. “Changes in the industry or the economy can pose serious consequences for a company that fails to stay on top of their game.”  W 

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26 | women@work

Making waves with co-workers is difficult because no matter what the outcome, you have to continue to work together. “You’re not sure what the reaction of that person is going to be, and you have to interact with that person every day,” says Annette Parisi, assistant director for employer relations and a career counselor at Siena College in Loudonville. Sweeping the issue aside might be easier in the short-term, but it doesn’t produce the outcome we’re ultimately looking for — a solution everyone can live with. “If you don’t address it, it’s never going to get solved,” says Parisi. So how do you decide whether the issue warrants confrontation? “Appraise the situation. Is it about you or is it about them?” asks Parisi. If you have a tendency to nitpick or if you have a lot going on at home that’s contributing to your stress level, you may want to stand down. “I definitely advocate for picking your battles.”

Likewise, if you are ultra-competitive and you realize you’re in a contest of wills, you may want to withdraw. “If you realize you’re in it because it is win/ lose and you want to win, let it go,” says Klein. The desire to come out on top isn’t a good reason to confront someone. Similarly, if it’s about hurt feelings, get over the hurt and move on. Professionals would do well to heed the oft-quoted adage from The Godfather: “It’s not personal. It’s business.” “I think people often mistake being in a large group for being in a family,” Best says. “It’s not your family; it’s your job.” Instead of thinking of your team as a family, Best advises, think of them as a tribe of warriors that goes out and hunts together. If the issue is taking up energy, affecting your demeanor with co-workers or customers, or affecting your productivity, Klein says these are “tell-tale signs” that the issue merits discussion. This kind of issue is getting in the way of your company’s success — and yours. Done right, confrontations are simply constructive conversations. Here’s how to do confrontations right:

Plan ahead. Don’t act impulsively. Consult employer handbooks and personnel policies to see if there’s an appropriate avenue for complaints, says Sarah Delaney Vero, attorney and owner at Delaney Vero, PLLC, in Albany.

Photo: © Matthew Ennis.


our co-worker is taking credit for your ideas again. Your supervisor is complaining about you behind your back. Your cube-mate is talking so loudly on the phone you can’t think straight. You tell yourself if it happens one more time you’re going to say something. But it keeps happening, and you say nothing. Why? “When we think about having difficult conversations, it triggers a primitive instinct, a primal fear,” says Dale Klein, a corporate communication and speech specialist and the owner of Profitable Speech in Albany. People are afraid to confront colleagues because they’re afraid they’re going to lose face, lose their position on the team, or even lose their jobs. These concerns keep many from speaking up, and that’s often to their detriment, says Klein. Most of these conflicts — from squabbles over public spaces to larger issues such as how decisions are made — are about needs met and unmet, says Debra Best, principal for Deb Best Practices, a human resources and strategic planning services firm in Albany. Best is also a trained mediator who advocates using mediation strategies to handle conflicts productively. (See sidebar for tips.) Often, resolving the conflict can be as simple as asking a coworker for what you need. “Having it out in the workplace is healthy, but you have to do it in a respectful way,” Best says.

Vero is also a trained mediator who has helped clients put together alternative dispute resolution programs for the workplace. Most employers have a protocol for dealing with disputes, Vero says. Abide by these policies. You don’t want to lose out on any of the rights you have.

Rehearse. Before you speak to the person, collect your thoughts and write down what you want to say, says Klein. Rehearse your delivery until you can speak without sounding angry, nervous, or whiny. “The stronger you sound vocally … then you’re taken more seriously, and your credibility is amazing at that point,” says Klein.

Be professional. Be respectful of the other person’s needs and work style, says Parisi. Pick a time that is convenient and consider scheduling the conversation like any meeting, so the other person has time to prepare. Don’t bring other people into it; this makes people feel like they’re being cornered and they’ll react accordingly.

Start with the facts. Leave emotions out of it. Stating the facts establishes a safe space for discussion. “It’s so tempting to start out with our interpretation of things,” says Klein. For instance, in a situation where a coworker is making decisions you don’t agree with it’s tempting to begin with your reading of the situation: “What you’re doing doesn’t make sense.” Instead, share your beliefs about the situation, personalized with lots of “I” statements, and back it up with facts. For instance, “I disagree with you and this is why.”

Ask questions. “Making assumptions is a major roadblock to resolutions,” says Vero. For example, when an employee’s reports are consistently late, the supervisor may be tempted to think the employee is lazy. Check your judgments at the door, and

instead address it from an issues standpoint. In this case, the issue is that the reports are late. Don’t assume you know why, says Vero. Ask. The supervisor may discover the reports are late because the employee doesn’t have adequate instructions, or, perhaps, the employee reports to multiple managers and has too much on her plate. Once you know the reasons behind behavior, you can more effectively resolve the issue, says Vero.

Stick to the subject. If you tend to be the kind of person who stockpiles issues, your confrontation could quickly become overwhelming to your co-worker. “All of the sudden it’s like you unplug the dam, and you can’t stop the water from coming out,” says Klein. Don’t use this time to bring up every slight you’ve suffered. Instead, talk about the issue at hand, and move toward a swift and mutually agreeable compromise.

Mediation for Managers Typical confrontations involve a lot of talking followed by less-than-ideal compromises. “You talk over the issues, and talk and talk and talk,” says Sarah Delaney Vero, attorney and owner of Delaney Vero, PLLC and a trained mediator. “Then the manager comes in and splits the baby.” Mediation, with its emphasis on collaborative problemsolving, offers a higher standard for conflict resolution, says Vero. While an increasing number of workplaces have adopted alternative dispute-resolution programs, and HR professionals are adding it to their toolkits, managers could benefit from this type of training, too. “It would be great if managers had this skill, and they would not have to outsource it to HR,” says Debra Best, principal for Deb Best Practices, a human resources and strategic

Reach a resolution. Confrontations are an opportunity to get needs met — on both sides. “Don’t be afraid if someone’s upset. What they’re really telling you is what they need,” Best says. “I find that even in the hottest situation, asking, ‘What do you need?’ will help diffuse the situation and get to the bottom of the conflict.”  W 

For more information on mediation training or to get help finding a trained mediator, contact: New York State Dispute Resolution Association, Inc. (518) 687-2240 Mediation Matters (518) 446-0356

planning services firm in Albany. Best is also a trained mediator, who helps clients resolve conflicts using mediation techniques. Here’s a primer on mediation for managers: 1. The manager or HR professional remains neutral. She is hosting the conversation between two parties but does not take sides. 2. Begin by asking questions. “What’s going on here?” “What is the source of the conflict?” 3. Give both parties the opportunity to speak. 4. Identify their specific interests without judgment. 5. Ask the parties to brainstorm creative solutions that benefit both sides. “The same strategies are used in peace negotiations,” Best says. “It’s not as easy, I’ll grant you that, but they’re the same strategies.” | 27

Click &



The Web can be a virtual training ground for all your employees’ needs

n an economy in which businesses are constantly looking to cut costs, employee training can be one of the first perks to get the axe. This despite the fact that offering employees additional training — i.e. showing them that you want to invest in them and their future, ideally at your company — can be a great way to show them you want them to stay, especially in an environment where raises can feel like a distant memory. But here’s the good news: You can still offer your employees additional resources and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Thanks to the wonders of the Web, plenty of free or inexpensive courses exist online, any one of which can be a great way to enhance your employees’ (or your own) job experience and skills. Stacy Redd, of, spoke to Women@Work recently from 28 | women@work

Mountain View, Calif., about the many opportunities for online learning on the Internet. Education Portal, which began as a kind of aggregator for free education resources on the Web, has in the past year started to offer its own courses. They started to do this, she says, because though many big universities were putting their coursework online for everyone to access, actually learning from these materials was sort of difficult. “You really couldn’t learn anything from these courses,” Redd says. “They’re not designed for an online learner. Some are just a video of a professor, which isn’t very (interactive). We started creating our own courses.” After consulting experts in different fields, Education Portal put together a variety of programs, including dozens of classes on finance, administration,

marketing, sales, economics and more. All are free. If you are willing to spend a little bit of money, however, Lois Smith, director of human resources and marketing at Deily, Mooney and Glastetter in Albany, says the local community colleges are a great resource for women looking to expand their knowledge in their fields. “Community colleges are a real affordable way to improve on existing skills,” Smith says. “In addition to their degree programs, they have certificate programs and individual programs.” We rounded up some of our favorite free education sites — ones we vetted and loved. We like their full platters of business-course offerings, as well as their style. Some sites are harder than others — requiring more effort on the part of the student — but all are worth checking out. continued on page 30

Photo: © Barbalata.

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continued from page 28 The U.S. Small Business Association is an excellent resource for small businesses. A provider of loans, counseling and consulting services and other assistance programs for entrepreneurs, it offers a number of free online classes at its website. Classes includes starting a business, managing a business, financing, contracting and more. Most are offered as podcasts, transcripts and recordings of various authorities in business speaking on a number of subjects within the topics listed above.

TED Talks You’ve likely come across TEDs before: Malcolm Gladwell’s big spaghetti-sauce 30 | women@work

talk, Jennifer 8 Lee on fortune cookies, Elizabeth Gilbert on creativity. TED began in the 1990s as an exclusive international conference of the world’s leading thinkers — TED stands for technology, entertainment, design — but today, TED makes all of its speakers’ talks available online. Hundreds of videos are available in dozens of different categories. Business talks range from Richard St. John’s “Success is a Continuous Journey” to Lisa Gansky’s “The Future of Business is ‘The Mesh,’ about how best business practices are heading toward big-scale peer-to-peer sharing, to Margaret Heffernan’s “Dare to Disagree.” Really, the gems are just waiting here to be dug up. And because each video is less than 20 minutes long, they’re easy to take in. Coursera is an incredible collection of free online courses designed for online learners, with videos, discussion panels and forums, lectures, homework(!), a learning track (classes usually run over 8 to 12 weeks), and real-time classes on many subjects. The interface is intuitive and the structure of the classes is motivating, interactive and effective. Organizational analysis classes are available here, as well as smart growth practices for private businesses, finance, health care and more. Really worth checking out. Ten years ago, Education Portal began as a blog aggregating the good free education available on the Web. Today, it’s a fully-functioning education operation, manufacturing courses that can be taken for free and, with some fees, even college credit. These classes are, as Coursera’s, designed for the virtual learner, with course framework including interactive components, such as video, discussion boards and assignments. Students can e-mail the professor with questions. Education Portal has an entire business section that includes courses in finance, sales, management, marketing, human resources and administration (and more).  W 

Photo: © Nieves.

r e ff o l il t s n a c u o *Y your employees ces additional resour e and it doesn’t hav ot cost a fortune.

For the very disciplined — and we know there are lots of you — the Sloan School of Management at MIT has put all of its course materials up at MIT OpenCourseWare for anyone to look at, download or read. This is the most advanced kind of online learning — taking materials from a course already taught and pulling from it what you can — but this is also some of the most valuable education in the country available to literally anyone who wants it. You can find undergraduate and graduate courses on topics such as managerial psychology, economic analysis, real estate, data mining, communications and many more.


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The Power of the

Written Word Books for Troops helps our men and women serving overseas By Jennifer E. O’Brien  |  Photos by Emily Jahn


llen Keegan, founder and director of Books for Troops, understands firsthand the power books have to transport the reader to another time and place. A retired 4th-grade teacher, Keegan had extensive surgery several years ago and spent about a year bedridden and recuperating. It was during this time, when she was unable to watch anything in motion — no TV, no computer — that she read “unbelievable amounts.” “If I had not been able to read, I do not know what I would have done. It really saved my sanity. I was very scared. I was very lonely. I was very depressed. … When I opened the book I wasn’t there anymore. I was in the book,” Keegan says. During her recovery period, Keegan says she thought of the troops overseas and the situations they faced. It seemed to her that 32 | women@work

if ever a group of people needed a means of escape from their everyday reality, it was certainly the men and women serving away from home. When she was able to get around again, Keegan began volunteering with several nonprofit groups that send care packages to the troops. She noticed that books were often donated but not included in the care packages. When Keegan inquired why the books were left out, she was told they were not a priority, that the troops did not read. After attending several packing sessions, she asked if she could send books to the troops and was told that she could but she’d have to get the books and pay for the shipping — which is exactly what she did. “From my own personal experience, from my background as a teacher, from

my love of books, I wanted to provide an escape just to release them from the boredom and homesickness and loneliness and remind them of home,” Keegan says.


ppealing to friends and family for book and monetary donations, Keegan sent her first shipment of books to troops in 2010. Since then, Books for Troops has grown. Garage and office space have been donated for storage space for the many book donations they must sort and organize. Books for Troops now has 14 full-time members and frequently receives assistance from students earning community service hours. Shipping a box of about 30 books costs $12.50 and Keegan estimates that they have shipped 20,000 books over the course of the last 2 years.

W@W: Since forming Books for Troops, have you been surprised by people’s reactions? Keegan: The outpouring of books and of messages of goodwill that I get for the troops from the community has been overwhelming. People really care. You mention troops and people will do almost anything to help. I think everyone wants to help but does not know what to do. We survive on donations and fundraisers and we’re surviving and keeping the books going. W@W: Do you have any family military connection? Keegan: No, not now. My father was in the Navy in World War II. It was just that I felt something for these troops that I have never felt before, a real sense of wanting to take care of them. It’s a real fear for them. W@W: How do you know where to send the books? Keegan: We go to two websites and we just fill their requests. Also, in every book we have a bookmark thanking the troops for protecting us and listing my website and my personal e-mail. A lot of the troops write to me directly. I get a lot of referrals that way. W@W: What types of books are in high demand? Keegan: Well, we can’t get enough comics! Crime thrillers like Tom Clancy, Stephen King and Clive Cussler are our biggest requests. We also get requests for a lot of sci-fi, too. The women enjoy popular fiction, not necessarily specific authors. W@W: What do you get out of this organization? Keegan: I get so much out of it. It’s being able to give them something to thank them. I can’t believe the sacrifices they are making. I get the sense that I am somehow giving back or making their life a little bit nicer.

The Download on Ellen Keegan Title: Director/Founder of Books for Troops Family: Single Hometown: Green Island Current Home: Clifton Park First Job: Clerk for Grant’s department store

Get Involved If you have books, time or money to donate to Books for Troops, you can get in touch with them at booksfortroopscp. There you will find letters

Toughest Job: Teaching Guilty Pleasure: “I love decorating and flower arranging. That is one thing I kind of miss because I have been so busy with this.” Favorite Book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Favorite Authors: I love Pat Conroy, Anita Shreve. I love so many. from recipients, as well as contact and mailing information. Please note that Books for Troops is currently only using two drop-off locations: Halfmoon and Clifton Park town halls. Keegan says they are currently in need of book donations. | 33


Crystal Clear I Did It is a regular feature about a local entrepreneur who took the leap to create her own company. If you would like to be considered or know a company that would be profile-worthy, send an e-mail to


Christel MacLean takes on Saratoga Springs By Cari Scribner  |  Photos by Colleen Ingerto

f there’s one word to describe Christel MacLean of Saratoga Springs, it’s vibrant. From her light-up-the-room smile, to her unfaltering optimism, to the new life she’s brought to mainstay Saratoga dining establishments such as Hattie’s and Sperry’s, MacLean is an entrepreneurial whirlwind. Along with husband Colin MacLean, Christel owns two Saratoga Springs restaurants, the Circus Café and Sperry’s. She also runs a residential and commercial real estate company called Realty Saratoga, catering to private clients. MacLean is also a key player in

promoting the city of Saratoga Springs and its businesses, as a member of the Downtown Business Association Board of Directors and co-vice president with Colin of the Saratoga Arts Festival Board of Directors. In one of her most important roles, MacLean is also mom to 8-year-old Lucy, and maintains active involvement in her daughter’s school, Division Street Elementary. “I enjoy the adrenaline of having new ventures and keeping life exciting,” MacLean says. “I believe we control our own destiny, and I want to always make the most of the opportunities out there.” continued on page 36

34 | women@work

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continued from page 34

MacLean’s background includes earning an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, an internship in development for the Joffrey Ballet Co., and taking on Wall Street working in corporate finance for Solomon Brothers. She then segued her career toward real estate, and after handling many hotel financing deals — one of which required her to live in London for six months — MacLean received her real estate broker’s license in 1989. MacLean describes her company, Realty Saratoga, as a “boutique” realty firm. “We keep it small by design,” she says. “We have five or six deals going at a time. We don’t advertise; people seek us out. Helping people find a home or sell one is all about connections and relationships. I also infuse socializing as part of every venture.” For instance, rather than holding a typical afternoon open house for her recent listing, a $2.5 million sprawling estate on Clinton Street in Saratoga Springs, MacLean orchestrated an elaborate party with live jazz and servers in black-tie attire. “Real estate is an event,” MacLean says. “You have to make it special. You can really impact people’s lives by being involved in the process.”

What says “CIRCUS” MORE than cotton candy? The MacLeans’ fun-spirited café serves it in huge clouds as a dessert.


he story of how the city of Saratoga Springs was lucky enough to attract MacLean as a new business owner and resident begins in 1993. Christel and Colin MacLean, who lived in New York City, were at their weekend home in Greenwich. A friend took Christel to lunch at the iconic Hattie’s Chicken Shack on Phila Street, known in Saratoga Springs and across the greater Capital Region for its Southern-style fried chicken and its 36 | women@work

revered owner, Hattie, who was 92 years old at the time. Christel sat down with Hattie and had a heart-to-heart about the future of the restaurant, one of the gems of the local area. After watching Hattie’s health decline over the next year, Christel decided to buy the restaurant, despite living in New York City and working on

Wall Street. “I have a deep commitment to maintaining continuity of places like Hattie’s that meant so much to the city for so many years,” MacLean says. “It’s the kind of place you’d hate to see close or re-opened as something entirely different.” Christel and Colin MacLean moved

Christel Maclean’s

Top 10 Tips for Success: 1. Be organized. Find a system that works for you and do your best to keep your promises and fulfill your obligations. Make it a habit! 2. When interviewing or looking forward to an important meeting: Be prepared: make notes and memorize the key points you want to get across. 3. Keep an open mind. You never know what opportunities are around the corner. 4. Keep a positive frame of mind. Avoid naysayers. 5. Focus on improving your business and not on who you perceive to be your competition. 6. Listen to advice from others but ultimately trust your instincts. 7. Read as much as possible! Stay abreast of current events and industry trends by reading local/national newspapers and business/trade publications. 8. Give back! Mentor or volunteer to help those who can benefit from your experience. 9. Set goals and actively monitor your progress. Don’t accept mediocrity. 10. Create quiet time to free-associate and brainstorm new ideas and improvements.

to Saratoga Springs and not only maintained but also brought new life to Hattie’s, which they ran until it was sold in 2001. The couple then headed back to New York City for two years, but returned to start a family and launch a new restaurant. In 2004, on their daughter Lucy’s first birthday, the MacLeans held the grand opening of their Circus Café in the former Margarita’s restaurant on Broadway. Sitting in a comfortable booth inside the café, MacLean seems well-suited to running a fun, festive, family-oriented restaurant. The walls are cheerful orange and shades of blue, huge chandeliers and silver ornaments hang from the ceiling, vintage Ringling Bros. posters decorate the walls, and framed T-shirts offer sayings such as “I Tame Lions,” “Trapeze is my Art,” and “I Work for

Candy.” The café is known for its fabulous food and events such as karaoke and open mic nights. “We go down to (New York City) frequently, and I love to look around and see what’s popular,” MacLean says. “We could bop into 20 places in one night. I realized what was missing here was a really fun place with a kid’s atmosphere, but where adults could get a drink and good food. This was a completely new concept for Saratoga. After the first year, it really took off.” Today, Lucy delights in bringing friends and classmates to Circus Café, something MacLean applauds. “It’s a positive thing for her to identify what her parents do for work,” MacLean says. “I want her to see us as working hard but also being involved with her.” continued on page 39 | 37


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In 2010, the owner of Sperry’s Restaurant, another landmark in Saratoga Springs, contacted MacLean to list the property through Saratoga Realty. “I showed it to people who said they wanted to turn it into a pizza place, or some other kind of restaurant, and I really felt it should remain Sperry’s, which has a name for itself and a reputation in town,” MacLean says. “We bought it and put in red leather booths and paneling. Colin worked all summer on a new courtyard patio and a dining tent with chandeliers. We’ve done the place justice.” A firm believer in encouraging others to reach their potential, MacLean is part of the Skidmore College Mentoring Project, and teaches a class on entrepreneurship for the college’s management and business department. “I show students how to look at busi-

nesses and opportunity, to know the competition and the assets,” MacLean says. “My advice is to always do your homework. Know your audience. Learn everything you can in advance. Be prepared!” Animated, articulate and energetic, MacLean says she limits herself to two cups of coffee a day, sleeps about six hours, and relaxes by reading mysteries and biographies of successful people. She also does pilates and collects etiquette books and cookbooks, although she has little time for gourmet cooking these days. When asked about her next business venture, MacLean gives a wide smile. “I decided I needed to be in charge and be self-supporting, and live the lifestyle I wanted,” MacLean says. “There’s more than one track to get where you want to be. Look at things with a positive attitude and anything can happen.”  W 

“I realized what was missing here was a really fun place with a kid’s atmosphere, but where adults could get a drink and good food,” says MacLean. Her idea for Circus Café was a completely new concept for Saratoga.

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book review

Read this book if… You’re interested in broadening your awareness of and sensitivity to people who aren’t quite like you.

The Others

Empathy is the great enemy of xenophobia By Brianna Snyder

OtherWise: The Wisdom You Need to Succeed in a Diverse and Divisive World, by Dick Martin, Amacom, 288 pp, $24.95


e’ve been taught since childhood that people are different, and that we should all be nice to one another, no matter what. But despite all those episodes of Sesame Street, school bullying persists, as does xenophobia in general and in the workplace in particular. In his book OtherWise, Dick Martin attempts to educate the reader about the ways we need to pay attention to the “other.” “Many people live outside the mainstream of American society and are clearly the subject of othering — Native Americans, the elderly, the disabled, fat people, mentally challenged people, militant atheists, and little people, to name just a few,” writes Martin. “Too many of us are so blinded by our differences that we can’t see our commonalities.” OtherWise is less a how-to-be-moreaware book than a kind of quick cultural history of immigration, racism and the struggles for equality faced by anyone not male and white. Martin discusses the controversial anti-immi-

gration laws in Arizona, the fight for LGBTQ equality and the bogus psychology of “color blindness,” in which the subject of race and ethnicity is ignored or purposely overlooked. These lessons are uniquely pertinent to people in business, where white men not only dominate various industries but are also paid more than their Other colleagues. And Otherness doesn’t stop at race, weight and age: “While only 15 percent of the male population is six feet tall or more, 58 percent of corporate CEOs are that tall. In fact, multiple studies have concluded that an extra inch of height is worth an additional $1,000 a year in salary.” These are “subtle, unconscious biases,” Martin says. And the effects can be devastating: “the deeper the otherness, the greater their pain and despair.” How to overcome this? Become “Other wise,” instead of “Other dumb.” Martin quotes Barack Obama in his advice to becoming Other wise: “Make a habit of empathy — to recognize ourselves in each other.”  W 

Notable Quote:

Instant Recall:  Suspect you might be guilty of Other biases? Martin says being Other wise isn’t just an intellectual exercise: “It means seeing the world through the Other’s eyes and feeling what they feel.”  Martin stresses that you don’t need to know another language to become Other wise, but you’re bound to learn quite a bit about another culture by committing to learning its actual language. “People who only know one language live in a one-dimensional space,” he says. “Worse, they are unaware of it.” Read! Think! Expand your worldview to include news of other countries; challenge your biases and assumptions about the Others in your life. And engage with people who aren’t just like you.

“‘Honor differences.’ Consider them an opportunity to discover something new about the world and about yourself.” | 41




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Read this book if… You’re a businesswoman whose needs and desires in her career aren’t being met.

Stand Your Ground By Brianna Snyder

Learn to get not just what you need, but what you want

Pushback: How Smart Women Ask — and Stand Up — for What They Want, by Selena Rezvani, Jossey-Bass, 209 pp, $26.95


f there was ever a time for women to push back, it’s now,” writes Selena Rezvani in Pushback: How Smart Women Ask — and Stand Up — for What They Want. Rezvani, a business columnist, commentator and writer for the Washington Post, NPR and Forbes, gives it to us straight: Women are too nice, and nice girls finish last. “We’re the largest, most bankable talent pipeline: women make up more than half of the U.S. labor force,” she writes. But, “Despite some of our gains, women continue to make up a meager portion of senior leaders in government, business, and even in those fields that are female dominated.” Why and how can this be? Rezvani notes women have finely honed negotiation skills in all domestic areas of our lives — bill-paying, child-rearing, husband-handling — but when it comes time to assert ourselves in our jobs, we

balk. We’ve been socialized to wait for our good work to be recognized of its own virtue, rather than tapping our bosses on the shoulder and letting them know about our successes. At a speaking engagement for women in business, Rezvani asked who in the room counteroffered when negotiating their current salaries; only about 10 percent raised their hands. Pushback aims to be both a guide and a tool of advocacy for women in the workplace. It includes grids, guides and bullet points for women unsure of how to market themselves competitively, especially among men. “There are circumstances nearly every day, in every area of life, where we can and need to push back — to articulate, advocate for, and hold out for what we want and what is ours,” she writes. “This ability is the foundation for professional success and fulfillment.”  W 

Notable Quote: “Come be a part of asking for what you want and need — in fact, be a leader.”

Instant Recall:  Take risks. You can’t please everyone all the time, so don’t even try. It might make your pulse race, but stand up for the thing you believe in, even when no one else is backing you.  Know your power. “Before any negotiation, ask yourself where and how you have leverage. Whether your leverage is your experience, tenure, skills, book of business or client base, education, or a combination of these factors, you can’t convey confidence without knowing your power.”  Sometimes you’ll lose a negotiation. Grow a thick skin, and think of that thick skin “in terms of adaptability.” “Adaptability means putting your attention where it’s needed — on what you can influence — rather than wasting time stuck in the past.” | 43





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moms @ work

Kicking off the

New Year

Resolving to make new resolutions

By Mary Malone McCarthy


ES! it’s that time of year again when we eat endless delectable holiday treats, toast the closing year and dream of the year to come. Every conversation seems to revolve around fresh plans as we anticipate a triumphant new year ahead. New Year’s resolutions, whether in your professional or personal life, come with the very best of intentions and are set with such conviction. Typically, by January 2, our office is organized, planner set, gym bag packed and latest fad diet posted to the refrigerator. The University of Scranton Journal of Psychology recently conducted a study that showed the most common New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, getting organized, saving money, exercising and enjoying life. Sound familiar? Interestingly, the same study also revealed that only 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their goals. How could that be!? After much contemplation, I have decided to shake things up a bit and create my top-five New Year’s resolution list as a “Working Mom.” Instead of being just about me, my exercise regimen and time management skills, this year’s plan focuses on actions that will have longterm benefits on those most important to me — my children. • Act Rather Than Speak: I would be embarrassed if I counted the times I tell my kids to talk rather than yell across the house, pack a healthy snack or turn off the technology. I simply hit replay each day with the same insanity and perhaps a bit of profanity! I do this even as I do precisely the opposite of what I’m preaching to them. While I know actions speak louder than words, I don’t model what I am asking my

kids to do. In 2013, that’s changing. In the chaos of the morning routine, my mantra will be peace versus panic, talk versus tantrums. I will pack my fruit along with the kids and I will turn off — yes really! —the technology when I expect our kids to do the same. • Listen: It sounds so simple and yet it is a constant struggle to master, especially for a quintessential multitasker like me who thrives on seeing how many things I can check off on my “to do” list a day. Yet when you genuinely stop, slow down and look your child in the eye as he or she tells you a story, whether it’s about the boy who only eats pickle sandwiches at lunch, a new friend on the bus or the tough day at practice, the result is extraordinary. We move at lightning speed when in reality we should be preserving this important time. I will have countless years to multi-task but only a few brief years when our kids want to talk endlessly on just about anything. Listen! • Make Time: An oft-quoted phrase: “if I just had more time.” I am committed to creating more time by being conscious of what is taking away my time. I will say no to commitments I really don’t want to take on, work functions that someone else can attend. I will leave the office on time and refuse to get caught up in that one last e-mail before I head home. The to-do list truly can be simplified but I

will need to be conscious and persevere. • Laugh More: This year was personally challenging for me. I realized that I went days without laughing and, conversely, I remembered how fabulous it felt when I did laugh! Watching our kids laugh until they could explode over the silliest things is priceless. Why not start to laugh along with them and watch their joy soar to new levels? • Make an impact on someone else: In a society so focused on “me” I want our children to be mindful of the impact they can have on others. This mantra is one of the most important to me as a mother, leader and a person. Our family goal is to have a positive effect on another person’s life each day. I have already put this in practice by asking our children this question while driving to sports or at the dinner table: “Tell me something great you did for someone else today.” Try it; it leads to terrific conversation. My 2013 list is one with a twist and about more than just me and my success as a professional. As you begin to ponder your 2013 resolutions, consider creating a list that combines every part of your life. Keep track of my progress on our blog ( and feel free to join in with your resolutions, pointers or new-year debacles!  W 

Working can be challenging for any woman. Add children into the mix, though, and the formula changes again. In Moms@Work, authors Megan Willis and Mary Malone McCarthy share their insights on working and raising a family. They will alternate column duties, and you can find them in between issues blogging at | 45

The Greater Good

How volunteering can help your career and your personal outlook

By Kristi Barlette


or 10 hours a week, Ryann Acton writes press releases, organizes the schedule for workers, designs flyers and markets the upcoming Pups & Pits, and she doesn’t get paid. Acton makes up 27 percent of the adult population in America who volunteer outside of work for a nonprofit organization, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not only is she doing good for her community, and for herself, but she’s likely to benefit professionally as well. “Someone who is charity-minded or has a mind toward generosity and seeing 46 | women@work

what others need can make a better employee,” says Ron Renaud, a professional coach out of Rotterdam. “They look at ‘What does the team need, what does the company need?’ Even on a more personal level, they can look at their employees and see what others may need.” Acton, a 30-year-old Albany resident, works in sales for a Fortune 500 company in the Capital Region, says volunteering outside the office helps her be more effective inside the workplace. “I don’t know if it has helped me grow professionally, but I think it makes me a more balanced, happier person, which

probably makes me a more effective sales person,” she says. The Syracuse University grad started on this volunteer work path about three years ago after she had euthanize her dog, Nigel, due to severe aggression. The aggression was a result of irresponsible, backyard breeding, says Acton. While she couldn’t save Nigel, she could help other dogs in similar situations. She turned heartbreak around and, over the course of the next year, educated herself on responsible dog breeding and animal adoption. She hired a dog trainer to guide her through the process of

adopting the right dog for her, and soon took home Henry from Waggin’ Tails Pet Rescue in Rotterdam. Nigel and Henry inspired Acton to teach others about irresponsible, abusive breeding practices, and encourage people to adopt their pets rather than shop for them, and help out animals in need. Once she felt she had a strong knowledge base about dogs and dog breeding, she started volunteering with the Rennselaer County Humane Society. Her work got noticed and now she sits on the board of the RCHS where she‘s the lead organizer on the organization‘s first fundraiser.

Photos: © Woman and Girl, © Steve Debenport; Family, © Steve Debenport.


arning a spot on the board the way Acton did is not uncommon, says John Fernia, owner of Custom Resume & Writing Service in Schenectady. Board seats are offered to people who are viewed as hard workers and concerned citizens. Having a multitude of contacts, a strong professional ethic and a varied background also helps get appointed to a seat on the board of a not-for-profit, says Fernia. That seat — and the volunteer work that surrounds it — can be good for your resume. “I encourage clients to put volunteering on their resume,” Fernia says. “It shows the depth of a candidate’s character. It shows they are a person who is interested in giving back and doing good quality work and their paycheck isn’t always the top priority.” Volunteering falls into two categories, say experts: groups or organizations associated with your job and those that aren’t. Fernia uses a hospital staffer working diligently with the American Cancer Society as an example of a link between career and volunteer work. What Acton does falls in the second group: helping out because it’s an area of interest and not because it has a direct tie to her day job. Activities that are directly associated with your field go under the “professional experience” portion of your

resume, while something that wasn’t related would fall under “civic activities” or “additional experience.” Both are equally beneficial and both are likely to make future employers take notice. “Volunteering is a good strategy to use to network your way to a job,” Fernia says. “It gives you an opportunity to get out of the house, to meet people, to meet the right people. The more people you meet the more chances of landing a job.” While Acton has met dozens of people during her time with RCHS, she’s working with the group because she loves animals and loves helping others. It gives her a chance to see the world and, more specifically, her community, from

a different perspective. But those aren’t the only reasons. “Society is structured to breed narcissism. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own life — career, house, running your 10th marathon, whatever — that it’s very easy to forget the world outside of yourself,” Acton says. “After dealing with myself for 8 to 10 hours during the work day, I am ready to check me at the door. Volunteering allows me to forget about all of that, and focus on a cause that is bigger than me. When you focus on something other than yourself, you grow. You become a better person because you have a purpose outside of yourself.”  W 

Listing volunteer work on your resumé can show more about who you are. | 47


Have you heard about this new technology that is FDA cleared, and non-surgical treatment for back pain?

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Non-surgical spinal decompression may be the last back pain treatment you will ever need. And you may be able to forget the pills, getting endless shots, struggling through exercise programs...and...risky surgery...because with this amazing new technology...if you are a candidate... they may be a thing of the past. You’re about to discover a powerful state-of-the-art technology available for: Back pain, Sciatica, Herniated and/or Bulging discs (single or multiple), Degenerative Disc Disease, a relapse or failure following surgery or Facet syndromes. Best of all -- you can check it out yourself for FREE! CALL 518-300-1212


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How Science Helps Back Pain The lower back is a series of bones separated by shock absorbers called “discs”. When these discs go bad because of age or injury you can have pain. For some the pain is just annoying, but for others it can be life changing...and not in a good way. It has long been thought that if these discs could be helped in a natural and noninvasive way, lots of people with back and leg pain could lower the amount of pain medication they take, be given fewer epidural injections for the pain and have less surgery.

Recent medical breakthroughs have led to the development of advanced technologies to help back and leg pain suffers!

Through the work of a specialized team of physicians and medical engineers, a medical manufacturing company, now offers this space age technology in its incredible DRX 9000 Spinal Decompression equipment.

The DRX 9000 is FDA cleared to use with the pain and symptoms associated with herniated and/or bulging discs. . . even after failed surgery. What Conditions Has The DRX 9000 Successfully Treated And Will It Help YOU? The main conditions the DRX 9000 has success with are: • • • •

Back pain Sciatica Spinal Stenosis Herniated and/or bulging discs (single or multiple) • Degenerative disc disease • A relapse or failure following surgery • Facet syndromes A very important note: The DRX 9000 has been successful even when NOTHING else has worked. Even after failed surgery. What Are Treatments On The DRX 9000 Like?

After being fitted with an automatic shoulder support system, you simply lie face up on the DRX 9000’s comfortable bed and the advanced computer system does the rest. Patients describe the treatment as a gentle, soothing, intermittent pulling of your back. Many patients actually fall asleep during treatment. The really good news IS... this is not something you have to continue to do for the rest of your life. So it is not a big commitment. Since offering the DRX 9000 in my Colonie office, I have seen nothing short of miracles for back pain sufferers who had tried everything else. . . with little or no result. Many had lost all hope. Had herniated disk operation 8 years ago another disc became herniated. Doctor wanted to operate have arthritis from 1st one (did not want to go under knife again) very grateful to DRX9000 (thank you Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC) Very happy camper. Raymond F Niskayuna, NY Age 55 This treatment was a miracle for my cervical disk herniations. Only other alternative was surgery, which I no longer have to face. William I Schenectady, NY Age 63

I was told by a doctor I wouldn’t be able to work. I cannot afford to not work so I tried Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC, and not only did the pain go away but I never missed a day at work. Rick S Clifton Park, NY Age 42 I would love to shake the hand of the person who invented this machine. It was a life saver for me and a lot better than going under the knife. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone with chronic back pain. Dawn H Colonie, NY Age 49 Before the DRX 9000 treatment. I had no quality of life. Couldn’t do anything for myself. Thank God for Dr. and the DRX machine. I can live again. Yvette K Schenectady, NY Age 47 I suffered for three years, before I received treatment on the DRX 9000. Today, I can sleep and get out of bed like a normal human being. Before, I couldn’t even drive my car because the pain in my hips, legs and feet were so bad from the sciatica nerve being pinched by my Herniated Disc L4 and L5, which also prevented me from sitting in a chair or even using my computer lap top at any time. Today things have changed due to advance technology therapy on the DRX 9000. They always try

A DV E R T I S E M E N T I would definitely refer people to your office. Dr. Guerra and his staff have made this experience a pleasure. Ed H Hoosick Falls, NY Age 70 Pain free, numbness in the left foot is gone. DRX 9000 is GREAT and does work. Sal L Niskayuna, NY Age 50

Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC demonstrates the DRX 9000 to a patient

to regulate the treatments that work. What is up with this taught process???? The world is changing and so have I. Frank A Troy, NY Age 52 Before receiving the DRX treatments, my quality of life was very poor. I could hardly do anything other than going to work and going to bed. After the DRX treatments my quality of life has improved 90% which has resulted in me being able to go for long walks without a cane and go shopping. Anne P Burnt Hills, NY Age 70 I am so appreciative of this method of therapy because when I came to the office I had to use a cane and had muscle pain in walking. After 2nd treatment sciatica nerve pain was gone in my left leg. Judith W Albany, NY Age 64 Prior to this treatment my only options appeared to be invasive pain management, or surgery. After receiving 24 sessions on the DRX, I am markedly improved, relatively pain free and am able to function as I had in previous years. Highly recommend to anyone with disc issues. Alan P Scotia, NY Age 53 I would choose this therapy again! Painless treatment that gets your life back to

normal. Stick with it-it works! Linda G Broadalben, NY Age 53 I am so happy I came to Dr. Guerra. I was in a lot of pain and after being on the DRX I tell you I do not have pain. I feel wonderful and the staff are very nice. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is wonderful. If you are in pain try the DRX it really helps. Edith C Schenectady, NY Age 71 I think more people should know about this procedure before considering any surgery. Medications help the pain but they don’t cure the cause. I am back to my old self again. Lorraine B Scotia, NY Age 78 I highly recommend this machine. I had my doubts but it really and truly works. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is a wonderful doctor and his staff is great too. Linda D Clifton Park, NY Age 46 I was extremely skeptical at the beginning of treatments - Progress was slow in coming - But... then it worked! What a relief!!! Joan K Delmar, NY Age 71 I had no where else to go with this problem. The DRX 9000 was just what I needed. Many thanks! Burton S Mechanicville, NY Age 50

I’m able to go on long walks and get all night sleep (I’ve had 3 surgeries since 2006) Without the DRX I would be in for a 4th back surgery. I’m getting back to doing activities with my 10 year old son. Lisa V Catskill, NY Age 45 I wish to thank you very much for all the help I received with the spinal decompression therapy. Your entire office was very helpful and compassionate. No longer do I sit at night with my heating pads, moving them from sore spot to sore spot. My knees are no longer on fire and I’m able to go up and down the stairs much easier than before. Mable D Ballston Lake, NY Age 68

SPECIAL OFFER Call Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC’s office at 518-300-1212 and mention to my assistants that you want a FREE back pain/DRX9000 qualification

consultation. It’s absolutely free with no strings attached. There is nothing to pay for and you will NOT be pressured to become a patient.

Here is what you will receive: • A consultation with me, Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC to discuss your problem and answer the questions you may have about back pain and the DRX9000 • A DRX9000 demonstration so you see for yourself how it works! Due to current demand for this technology, I suggest calling today to make your appointment. The consultation is free. We are staffed 24-hoursa-day, 7-days-a-week. Call 518-300-1212 right now!

It’s absolutely FREE with no strings attached. There is ONE Big Problem: My busy office schedule will limit how many people I’m able to personally meet with... so you will need to act fast. Call 518-300-1212 right now... to be sure you are among the first callers and we will set up your free consultation today. We have the phones answered 7 days a week 24 hours a day so call now... 518-300-1212. (Free consultation is good for 45 days) 2016 Central Ave., Colonie or

meals on the go Endive Salad with Crisp Fall Apples, Roquefort Cheese, and Pecans: Find this recipe online at

Meet Personal


Megan Affonso By Brianna Snyder  |  Photos by Tyler Murphy


egan Affonso is a theatrical kind of cook. And that makes sense, because before Affonso began her personal-chef business, Meg’s Love at First Bite, she lived in New York City, where she pursued acting before discovering her flare for cooking. “I used to bartend in New York City,” says Affonso, who lives in Cohoes with her husband and daughter. “And I started out working as a cook at a finedining restaurant.” About a year ago, Affonso started Meg’s Love at First Bite, a personal-chef service also offering specialties such as “date nights.” More recently, Affonso started to focus more on the specialtyoccasion cooking, including everything from brunches and parties to retreats and romantic evenings. “I just decided to narrow down my business to this one thing I really enjoy,” she says. “I like helping (people) throw parties, baby showers, things like that. I enjoy the fun aspect of it. I enjoy the entertainment aspect of it. I think that might be because I was into theater.” Affonso is also a yoga instructor, and her connection to her culinary craft is 50 | women@work

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Megan’s Must-Have Pantry Items ƒƒ Olive Oil. “I always need olive oil. That’s very important.” ƒƒ Ghee (clarified butter). ƒƒ SESAME OIL. “I love.” ƒƒ SALT. “I have to have good salt. I only cook with a coarse kosher salt. I won’t cook with any other.” ƒƒ FRESH HERBS. “Always have fresh herbs in the fridge. Rosemary and thyme, those are essential. And garlic.”

spiritual. When she makes food for a couple on a date, she offers an “Aphrodisiac Menu,” with, she says, “foods that stimulate sexuality.” “There are specific foods that are said to cause that reaction,” Affonso says, listing oysters, honey, asparagus, pine nuts and, of course, chocolate. She shops and cooks for date nights, but she also does interactive dinners with couples. “They cook with me and I teach them things and it’s fun,” she says. “You know, it’s hands-on.” Affonso, who’s 28, says she’s been cooking since she was 9 years old. “I’ve learned about different foods all through my life,” she says. She cooked with her mother and grandmother, learning their tricks and developing her own style. “I really like ethnic food,” she says. “My style is ethnic cooking. But I pretty much have a wide range of different types of food that I can cook.” see recipe on page 53

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Dinner in 30 minutes continued from page 51

Quick Italian Bolognese over Eggplant and Polenta Makes 6 servings For the Bolognese Sauce: 1/2 white onion, small, diced 5 cloves garlic, smashed/then minced 1/6 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/8 pound pancetta, chopped fine 1/2 pound ground veal 1/2 pound ground pork 1 16-ounce can of crushed tomatoes 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1/2 cup whole milk 1/2 cup red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Chianti) 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed from stems 2 tablespoons parsley Kosher salt and pepper to taste (I add about 2 tablespoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper) Place a large sauce pot on the stove and heat the pan on medium. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Allow the olive oil to warm for about 30 seconds and then add the garlic. Allow the garlic to

impart flavor for 1 minute and then add the onion and pancetta. Cook the onion, pancetta and garlic together for about 2 minutes and then add the ground meat. Allow the meat to brown, adding salt and pepper. Once the meat is browned, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and herbs. Bring to a gentle boil, add wine. Cook for 2 minutes and then add milk. Taste and then adjust flavors to fit your personal taste. Allow sauce to simmer on medium-low heat while you are finishing the rest of the food. You will have leftover bolognese sauce to use for other meals, so you can either freeze it or use it again within the next 3 days. For the Eggplant: 2 egg whites 2 tablespoons milk 1/4 cup unbleached, non-bromated allpurpose flour Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper 1/4 cup olive oil 1 eggplant, peeled and sliced thin Mix egg whites and milk in a shallow bowl. Combine flour and salt/pepper in another shallow bowl. Place sauté pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium

high. Once the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Dip the eggplant in the egg mixture and then lightly dredge with flour. Cook eggplant until it is lightly golden brown and tender. Set aside. For the Polenta: 6 cups of water 1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal 2 teaspoons salt (when cooking) 1/2 cup asiago cheese 3 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley Salt andpepper to taste Bring water to boil in a sauce pot on the stove with salt, slowly add in cornmeal and whisk it to make sure that there are no lumps. Turn heat to low, allow it to thicken, stirring often. This takes about 10-15 minutes. Add in butter, herbs, spices and cheese. On an entree plate, spoon about 1/2 cup of the polenta, place 2-3 slices of eggplant over that, and spoon the bolognese sauce on top. Garnish with cheese and extra herbs.  W | 53

Getting Away:

San Antonio


ven to those who’ve never been, the Lone Star state often brings to mind Wild West images of dusty cattle ranches and 10-gallon hats. And while Texas still has plenty of both, it’s wise to check your stereotypical expectations at the door when visiting San Antonio. The largest city in south Texas is an urban landscape brimming with modernism even as it pays homage to an ancient heritage. You’ll find no shortage of galleries, high-end shopping, and fine dining, as well as plenty of pre-colonial history to be culled from museums and famous sites such as The Alamo, the state’s literal shrine to liberty and martyrdom. Throughout San Antonio are tributes to both proud patriotism and the region’s reverence of Mexican culture, whose influences are vibrantly woven into everything from Tejano music to Missionstyle hotels to the aromatic tamales sold

54 | women@work

By Stacey Morris  |  Photo courtesy San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau from sidewalk pushcarts. San Antonio experienced a significant growth spurt when it hosted the World’s Fair in 1968, and a fleet of new hotels were built along the River Walk. Since then, the River Walk has become one of the top attractions in the state. An added bonus: San Antonio is surrounded by the pastoral setting of the Texas Hill Country, a serene region dotted with small towns that exude a Mayberry-like tranquility and welcome visitors with open arms. With outdoor parks including Sea World, Six Flags Fiesta, and Morgan’s Wonderland, San Antonio is a bona fide family destination. The luxury spas, five-star restaurants, and cozy Hill Country B&Bs also make it an alluring couples getaway. Summers are known to push the mercury (and humidity) off the charts, but San Antonio winters and springs are balmy and pleas-

ant, with temperatures averaging in the 50s and 60s during January and February. Here are some of the best reasons it’s a bucket-list-worthy vacation spot:

Must-Sees The River Walk 849 East Commerce St., San Antonio (210) 227-4262 This colorful and famous network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River is lined with hotels, galleries and restaurants galore. The paved walkways stretch on both sides of the river for approximately five miles and connect major tourist draws such as the Alamo, Arneson River Theater, La Villita, Pearl Brewery and the San Antonio Museum of Art. One popular focal point along the way is the Rivercenter Mall, which

contains department stores, boutiques, restaurants, a comedy club and an IMAX theater. This urban riverside city park is so unique, couples flock on a regular basis to tie the knot on the River Walk’s Marriage Island. For more information on booking a wedding on the island, call (210) 207-7275. Pearl Brewery (210) 212 7260 200 East Grayson, San Antonio This 22-acre jewel in the center of the city could arguably be the most creative use of an empty factory ever. The brewery was in operation (under several different owners) since 1881. When production stopped permanently in 2001, the facility wasn’t dormant for long. That same year an investment company purchased the plant and surrounding buildings to create a multi-sensory experience for residents and tourists that’s both a culinary and cultural destination. After an extensive renovation, Pearl’s first tenant, the Aveda Institute, opened its doors in 2006, followed by restaurants, a year-round farmers market on Saturdays, and the nation’s third campus of the Culinary Institute of America. The CIA San Antonio Branch offers culinary arts programs that center around traditional Latin American cuisine, with a special focus on the region’s cultural heritage. But you don’t have to be an

Pearl Brewery

aspiring chef to take classes. Foodies and weekend gourmets can enroll in the Food Enthusiast programs and study a theme (comfort foods, desserts, wine lovers) for an afternoon or weekend. Chefs and students at the CIA also do weekly cooking demonstrations at the Saturday farmers market. New to the CIA is the studentoperated NAO restaurant, whose menu weaves traditional Latin flavors with the latest culinary trends. The property features five other restaurants, including an upscale oyster bar, five-star Italian restaurant, and a bakery. Also on the Pearl Brewery campus: Pearl Stable, a venue hall at the grand stables that once housed the brewery’s draft horses; Synergy Studio, a yoga and fitness center; a book store; sporting goods store; and Melissa Guerra, the popular kitchen retail store named after its owner who is also a celebrated cookbook author. Her latest release, Dishes From the Wild Horse Desert, was nominated for a James Beard award. Throughout the year are annual food festivals and cook-offs, including the Paella Challenge, slated for March. Check website for dates: The Alamo 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio (210) 225-1391 History buffs will love stepping back in time at the world-famous mission where

a band of Texans held out for 13 days against the Centralist Army. The deaths of the defenders on March 6, 1836, has become a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice for liberty. Located on Alamo Plaza not far from the River Walk, the four-acre complex is the site of a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution and is visited by thousands each year. The campus includes the mission-shrine, Long Barrack Museum, and gift museum, as well as gardens.

Best Family Attractions Sea World 10500 Sea World Drive, San Antonio (800) 700-7786 seaworld-sanantonio The place where penguins, sea lions, Beluga whales and dolphins can be viewed in surroundings that mimic their natural habitat. There are also special exhibits such as Alligator Alley, Penguin Encounter, and Sharks and Coral Reefs. Sea World also offers educational programs, live shows like Sesame Street’s Lights, Camera, Imagination, and amusement rides including Journey to Atlantis, Shamu Express, and Steel Eel. The park is closed in January and reopens weekends only February through Memorial Day. After Memorial Day, Sea World is open seven days a week through Labor Day. The San Antonio Children’s Museum 305 East Houston St., San Antonio (210) 212-4453 The museum has three floors of interactive exhibits for ages two through 10, designed to spark children’s imaginations and engage them in the creative arts and early literacy. Along with revolving exhibits, the museum has three permanent exhibits: the Kids’ Market, an interactive grocery store where kids can learn about food and nutrition; Powerball Hall, a gravity-defying ball exhibit where colored balls, pulleys, gears, and launchers teach kids science principles in a fun way; and The Tot Spot, a soft play zone for visitors up to 36 months. continued on page 56 | 55

continued from page 55

Morgan’s Wonderland 5223 David Edwards Drive, San Antonio (877) 495-5888 This family-style amusement park opened nearly three years ago and was designed to accommodate those with special needs, as well as their families, friends and caretakers. Founder and San Antonio native Gordon Hartman designed the park with one specific mission: that all who enter enjoy the common element of play in an atmosphere of inclusion. Attractions include wheelchairaccessible swings, Pirate Island Playground and Garden, the Starlight Amphitheater, Off-Road Adventure Track, a fishing wharf, and wheelchair-accommodating rides such as the carousel and the Wonderland Express and Depot. Closed January and February.

Best Places for Couples Second Saturday Art & Wine Boerne, Texas (888) 842-842-8080 Just a 20-minute drive from San Antonio, Boerne is a laid-back historic community settled by German immigrants in 1849. It sits in the middle of Texas Hill Country at a slightly higher elevation than San Antonio, so temperatures are a few degrees cooler and life is lived at a more relaxed pace. You can still find upscale shopping, fine dining, and a vibrant arts scene, the

Majestic Theatre

centerpiece of which are Boerne’s Second Saturday Art & Wine nights. The town’s eclectic collection of galleries roll out the red carpet for art lovers, with complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres.

conducted in quiet, catacomb-like rooms glowing with candlelight. Spa visitors are encouraged to arrive early to indulge in the sauna, whirlpool, or darkened relaxation room prior to their services.

The Majestic Theater 224 East Houston St., San Antonio (210) 226-3333


This multi-purpose performing arts theater in the heart of downtown was built in 1929 and is said to be one of the most ornate performance spaces in the country. The Majestic hosts everything from The San Antonio Symphony to Comedy Central comedians to revered crooners such as Tony Bennett. Upcoming events include Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It on Jan. 9; the San Antonio Symphony performing throughout January and February; and Memphis — The Musical in February. Castle Rock Spa at The Westin La Cantera The Westin La Cantera Hotel and Resort 16641 La Cantera Parkway, San Antonio (210) 558-6500 You don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy this world-class pampering emporium where services such as massage therapy, reflexology, aromatherapy, hydrating facials, warm oil scalp massage, citrus body scrubs, manicures and pedicures, and herbal body wraps are

The Westin La Cantera Hotel and Resort 16641 La Cantera Parkway, San Antonio (210) 558-6500 This hilltop resort just outside the city is almost a destination in itself with a newly renovated campus that includes seven restaurants, a spa, fitness center, hiking trails, par-72 golf course, and five pools. The resort’s main building contains more than 500 guest rooms and suites, and is constructed of stone from a limestone quarry at the edge of the Texas Hill Country. The property also has ten private “casitas,” secluded villas with their own pool and hot tub, fireplaces, and extra guest rooms. Just a shuttle ride away is The Shops at La Cantera (, a retail Mecca that includes Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Nordstrom, Burberry, and Hugo Boss, among others. . Omni La Mansion del Rio Hotel 112 College St., San Antonio (210) 518-1000 SanAntonioLaMansionDelRio.aspx Located on the historic River Walk, it offers proximity to the Alamo, El Mercado, and the Spanish Governor’s Palace. The three-story, four-diamond hotel blends Spanish Colonial architecture with European style. The hotel is 100 percent non-smoking and is said to have the best handcrafted margaritas on the River Walk.

Dining Francesca’s at Sunset The Westin La Cantera Resort (210) 558-6500 Fine dining South Texas-style. The resort’s most elegant restaurant gets its name from the swath of plate-glass windows facing west that offer diners an

Creating a healthier, happier Capital Region St. Peter’s Church in Boerne eagle-eye vista of the sun setting over San Antonio. Chef Todd Berry works with the nearby Uncertain Farms to tailor an everchanging farm-to-table menu such as the Corn Crepe Lobster Enchilada and the Texas Boar with Caramelized Pumpkin, paired with Francesca’s award-winning wine list. Il Sogno Osteria 200 East Grayson St., Pearl Brewery, San Antonio (210) 223-3900 The brainchild of Chef Andrew Weissman, a four-time James Beard Award nominee, this restaurant is anything but just another italian restaurant. Located on the Pearl Brewery campus, Weissman turns out classic fare usually found at trattorias in Rome and Florence. Favorites include Penne Arrabiata e Calemare and White Bean Puree with Focaccia. Try Weissman’s famous chocolate-hazelnut creation, the Tortino alla Nutella for dessert. La Gloria 100 East Grayson, Pearl Brewery, San Antonio (210) 267-9040 A wonderland of Mexican cuisine that overlooks the San Antonio River, the restaurant was designed to resemble the brewery’s original ice house. Chef Johnny Hernandez presides over a menu that celebrates the earthy and diverse street foods of Mexico with creations like Torta Ahogado de Carnitas (slowcooked pork in chipotle) and Ceviche Estilo Nayarit (cucumbers, onions, and Serrano chiles).

When to Visit


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13 North Concourse of the Empire State Plaza Albany, NY • 9 am - 3 pm

Take FREE health screenings Get your health questions answered Sample and purchase the latest products Get tips and information to start living a healthier life

Try to avoid: Visiting San Antonio in June through August, when temperatures average in the mid to high 90s. Best time to visit: Spring and fall are ideal climate-wise, with temperatures averaging in the 70s.  W 


For exhibitor information call your Times Union representative or Jeff Kiley at 518.454.5358. all exhibitors are subject to approval

the last word

What are your company’s policies for social media use by employees during the work day? Do you prefer to keep it out of the office or do you think your staff should engage with sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter? Compiled by Brianna Snyder


nowing what to do in sticky situations is one of the hardest part of being a manager. Each issue of W@W we’ll feature a tricky issue with answers from area HR professionals, managers and business owners. If you have a question you’d like answered, drop us a line on Facebook, capregionwomenatwork, or send an e-mail to Your question will be kept confidential.

In our business of real estate brokerage, it is so important that we stay in front of our network while growing it at the same time. I encourage the use of all social media outlets professionally while keeping separate accounts for personal use. – Tracy Metzger, president, TL Metzger and Associates 58 | women@work

“Staff participation in social media offers great positive potential as well as downside risks. The greatest benefits include the ability for the community to communicate with the Credit Union, and for our staff to respond to questions, keep readers aware of special events or activities in the area, as well as to network with professional contacts and effectively keep in touch with important connections. That being said, Sunmark does have specific social media guidelines that staff follow to assure that the information shared is accurate and consistent with Sunmark’s business and mission. Overall, at Sunmark we feel that our involvement in social media has helped us to enhance our brand, strengthen member communication and service, and supports two-way communication with consumer and business connections.” – Rachel A Zimolka, MPA, community development manager, Sunmark Federal Credit Union

– Rose Miller, SPHR, president, Pinnacle Human Resources, LLC ”(In a survey of local businesses), 42 percent of companies said they allow access to social media. Most companies are debating that decision, while nearly 50 percent don’t allow any access. ... The biggest challenge that businesses face is how to manage the use during worktime, when all I have to do is pull out my smartphone or anything else for that matter and very easily utilize any social media I want. … For managers, don’t pretend as though you’re going to stop the use. But you might be able to build policies around how it’s used. Tell employees what’s acceptable and not acceptable. (But because of various legal roadblocks), my overall suggestion would be if you are going to consider a social media policy, you certainly should check with an HR consultant or an employment lawyer. It’s not black and white. You need to be careful how you develop those policies.” – Debra Antonelli, SPHR, president and human resources consultant, Delark HR Solutions

Illustration: ©


"Employers need to take as much charge as possible in setting limits and guidelines for employees regarding the use of social media. Some of the guidelines should address: • Who in the company is specifically allowed to use social media sites as a part of the company's communications and marketing. • Company media sites are the property of the company. • Recommendations on former employees must be approved prior to posting. • The company's policies regarding discrimination, harassment, violence, confidentiality, misrepresentation and conflict of interest apply to all texts, posts and e-mails regardless of whether they are done on company or personal devices. • There is no expectation of privacy — all texts and posts are recorded somewhere and may be used against them. These policies need to be carefully written. A company would want them reviewed by legal counsel too."

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Women@Work November/December 2012  

Capital Region Women@Work is a bimonthly magazine devoted to helping women managers and executives navigate the world of work. Let us help y...

Women@Work November/December 2012  

Capital Region Women@Work is a bimonthly magazine devoted to helping women managers and executives navigate the world of work. Let us help y...