Capital Woman Online May/June 2022

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Learn About:












Kelly Breuer Tracy Simone Kelly Breuer Doug Mitchell Photography Thom Williams Photography M,A,P, Graphics Upstate Candid Photos by JJ Maria Poole Photography Mark Davis Photography ElleSimm Photography Tracy Simone Maya McNulty Amelia Waters Dr. Pam Denton Michaela Raes Vincent DiGiorgio Christine Piaciento Chrsitina Farinacci-Roberts Kate Hockford Kelly Breuer


Network Rochester


Network Rochester

Capital Woman Online magazine is a professional woman’s online publication in the Capital Region and is under the Influential Woman LLC umbrella. Our feature articles address major topics that interest local men and women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local area women. The electronic magazines are distributed freely through ISSUU and will be in your inbox electronically by the third week bi-monthly. The publication is available free of charge. Please feel free to contact publishers Kelly Breuer or Tracy Simone or you can email us at Download our current media kit at The magazine is published 6 times a year by the Influential Woman LLC. Copyright © 2022 Rochester Woman Online LLC and The Influential Woman LLC No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publisher. Capital Woman ONLINE is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of Capital Woman ONLINE and will not be returned.







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une edition { TABLE OF CONTENTS }




BEHIND THE LENS ElleSimm Photography


WOMEN WHO INSPIRE MS.Wheelchair New York










FOR A GOOD CAUSE The Northeast Kidney Foundation


WHAT’S BAKIN IN THE 518 Saratoga Cake Mom










INTRODUCING Saratoga Closet

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READS & WRITES Tricia Pedro

WOMAN ON THE RISE A Touch Above, Inc.








FASHION FORWARD 22 Shades of Gray



KELLY BREUER After huge succes in Western and Central NY with Rochester and Central NY Woman Online magazines, I am so excited to be able to bring this amazing platform for women (and men too) to the Capital Region along with Tracy Simone! We hope you enjoy reading all the inspiring features, shopping the local advertisers, and growing with us. We are truly excited for everything to come and hope you will join us for the ride!

TRACY SIMONE It is a pleasure to be able to bring a platform through which people can lift each other, learn, grow, network, and promote themselves and their businesses. It is exciting to be able to do this right here in the 518, where I grew up. Thank you for joining us. Welcome to Capital Woman Online Magazine!




On the May/June 2022 launch edition of Capital Woman Online, we have the Hon. Mayor Kathy Sheehan photographed by Doug Mitchell Photography on location at the Capital building in Albany, NY. 10






Capital Woman Online: “Thank you. Good morning, Mayor. Thank you so much for having Capital Woman Online here to speak with you this morning. We would just like to learn a little more about the Mayor of Albany. So, could you please tell us a little about your background, and have you always been in Albany?.

was a lifelong Republican. My mother, a Democrat. I’m certainly more associated with my mother’s politics and the fact that her father had been involved in the Democratic party outside of Chicago and how important that was to her. So, it was always a sense of being informed about current affairs, about what was

Mayor Sheehan: “Well, first of all, we are really excited to have you here in this market. It’s wonderful to have something that is empowering for women and, you know, I’ve been in Albany. I moved out here actually after college for a job. So, I’ve been here for my entire adult life, my entire professional career. I started out in Communications. I worked producing a television show. I was the Communications Director for the Catholic Diocese. Then, I decided to go back to school, and I started at Albany Law School and worked in a law firm; worked as ultimately, the vice president in general counsel of a publicly traded company that was based in this area and here I am now. So, really, this is home for me and it has really helped me and allowed me to pursue my hopes, my dreams and achieve things that I never could have imagined. Albany has a very special place in my heart and I’m so grateful that I found it and it found me.” Capital Woman Online: “Thank you. When did you become interested in politics?” Mayor Sheehan: “You know, I think I was always interested in politics. I grew up in a house where my parents always instilled in us the importance of public service, of being aware. I also grew up in a household where my parents joked that they went to the polls every year and cancelled out each other’s vote. My dad 14


happening, about decisions that were being made, whether we agreed with them or disagreed with them…that it was important to be involved. And so, it’s always been a part of my life. I never envisioned that I would be in elective office, but I’ve always been interested in politics and studied political science while I was in college and wanted to cover it as a journalist. So, it’s always been a passion.

Capital Woman Online: “So, what aspects of your job would the public be surprised about? What things would we not know about being the Mayor?” Mayor Sheehan: “You know, I think one of the things that people look to the Mayor to do is potentially solve all problems. And, when you have the title of Mayor and you have the ability to be out there in the public, it is challenging to temper people’s expectations. In the city of Albany, for example, we have an independent school district that’s run by an independently elected board. So, people will call the office and they’ll say. “Why can’t the Mayor just do this?” So, there are challenges. We have to work in partnership with our school district, with county government. The City of Albany doesn’t provide any social services. Those are provided at the county level. So, I think, those are the things that surprise people and it’s not right or wrong; it’s just that a Mayor has to work in collaboration to get things done. There’s no magic wand here in the desk that can solve all problems, and so I think when people come and ask about certain things or they want to see something happen in the city, the complexity of making that happen, I think, is oftentimes surprising to people. Capital Woman Online: “What things do you think the citizens can do to help improve Albany?” Mayor Sheehan: “Well, they can start by being partners with us in trying to keep Albany clean. You know, I know one of the challenges that we have is a growing challenge with litter and we’re seeing not just in the city of Albany, but really, all across the country. I love our tag line for our Rescue Plan funding




COVER STORY } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “Albany has a very special place in my heart and I’m so grateful that I found it and it found me.”

because we’re really promoting Albany for All….Power by Pride and Potential. This is a place we should be proud of. This is an incredibly special place. It is one of the oldest cities in the country. It has incredible architecture. The history here is the history of America and I’d like to see people have that sense of pride and start by recognizing that all of us have a role to play. I often say to the kids, “You know….if my neighbor’s recycling bin blows over in a storm, and their recycling blows over into my yard, what do you think I do? Oftentimes, they think that I call the neighbor and yell at them or I call the city and make them pick it up and I say, “No….I go out and pick it up”. You know, we have to start at home with really caring about our block, and then our broader neighborhood, and then the entire community. So, if people could just use that mindset. I recognize, it’s not necessary to call City Hall every time that there’s a problem. A lot of the challenges can be solved right there at the grass roots level. Capital Woman Online: “What has been the largest challenge that you’ve seen since becoming Mayor?” Mayor Sheehan: “Well, I think right now, our biggest challenge is the proliferation of guns in our community. That was really exacerbated by the pandemic. I mean, certainly, the pandemic is the biggest challenge that I’ve even had to face and it’s not something I ever envisioned or imagined having to manage through when I decided that I wanted to run for Mayor, but it was an incredible learning experience, but through that learning experience, and as we were going through

the pandemic, the human toll that it has taken is something that has weighed very heavily on me because it is so challenging in an environment where you can’t be in community together to provide that support and that outlet for people to talk about the challenges that they’re facing, one on one with other humans….and that, I think, has led to a lot of what we’re seeing with respect to the acting out…..whether it be young people in school, whether it be people having less patience for other drivers on the road or pedestrians to some of the more serious

things that we’re seeing…….which is violence that’s really been driven by social media by just petty disputes that otherwise would be solved by people walking away, hopefully, or exchanging words but not rising to the level that we’re seeing now but seeing people are using guns. That proliferation of guns is plaguing not just the city of Albany, but cities across the country. I talk to other mayors. We need common sense national gun laws that ensure that people who have guns can legally own those guns and that illegal guns don’t make their way into our community and that is one of the biggest

challenges that we’re facing right now.” Capital Woman Online: “During your career, do you think that being a woman has challenged you?” Mayor Sheehan: “You know, I don’t think it’s a challenge for me, right? I am who I am, and I lead the way that I lead, and I don’t think that women should apologize for their leadership style. I think that we need to recognize that others obviously saw in me the ability to do this job because I’ve been elected to it now 3 times and those leadership skills are every bit as important as the types of leadership skills that people with other personalities have. So, I think for me, it is just who I am. From the standpoint of the challenges of being able to work collaboratively to de-escalate situations to connect with those who may have preconceived ideas about me as a woman….yes, I have to be very conscious of that and recognize that when I come into a room, there isn’t necessarily that automatic acceptance….that automatic level of respect that men in this job have enjoyed previously.” Capital Woman Online: “How do you handle work life balance?” Mayor Sheehan: “Work life balance for women……we don’t talk about this with men, right? We don’t ask them, “How do you handle work life balance?” But, we do ask women and we still ask women and I think it’s a question that a lot of women have because for women, it is important to be able to ensure that they are there for their family, whether it be their children, their spouse, an elderly CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


COVER STORY } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “I grew up in a house where my parents always instilled in us the importance of public service, of being aware.”

it is important and I did get really good advice early on in my career, which is you can’t look at the day or the week or even the month. If that’s how you grade yourself, you’ll always have a failing grade, but when you look back over the course of the year, did you mostly get it right? I think that allows us to recognize that there are times when there’s a really important project that you’re working on that’s going to take up a lot of your time and you might miss a softball game or you might miss being home for dinner, but over the course of a year, do your kids remember you being at the table?

sort of, hitting the bar of where I needed to be, and yet my son saw me as a person who was proud of the fact that I worked, and he was ok with that. So, we have to give ourselves a break.

The other thing that I tell women all the time because I was working for a corporation. I loved my job. I loved my corporate job. I was on a great leadership team. It was really an enriching experience for me. I think it made me a better parent but, we were bought out by our biggest customer and so, this company that I worked for became part of this big Dutch conglomerate and I didn’t want to be part of a big bureaucracy. So, I decided you know, I’m going to take a pause. My son was 7 years old at the time and I was not going to rush into my next job. So, I remember driving him home from school and I said, “Hey, guess what? Mommy’s going to leave her job and I’m going to stay home with you for a while” and my son said to me, “Oh Mom, you can’t do that. Aren’t you qualified to work at Red Robin?”.

Mayor Sheehan: “It was a challenge. It was a deliberative process. I think it’s important to discern whether or not something is right for you. I think just because you have the background and experience and skill and ability to do it, doesn’t necessarily mean that that is the right thing for you at that moment in time. So, I had been asked by a group of people to run to be City Treasurer, which is the Comptroller for the City of Albany. Initially, I had said no. I said I love helping candidates, but I don’t want to be the candidate. Ultimately, I realized that when we talk about wanting change, we have to be part of that change, and sitting on the sidelines isn’t necessarily the right answer. So as I thought about the background and experience that I had,

So, here I had all of this guilt, right, about not being home with him but he knew me. He was like, “You can’t be home “. I just thought it was funny because at the time, what kid didn’t like Red Robin? I was driving and I thought….I could probably manage a Red Robin. I tell that story to young working moms as a way of saying that I carried all that guilt. I carried all of these ideas that I was not, 20


Capital Woman Online: “Do you have just the one child or do you have more children?” Mayor Sheehan “ I have one” Capital Woman Online: “How did you present it to your family when you decided to actually run to be Mayor?”

I realized that I could bring a skill set to that office and that’s why I decided to run and won and became the City Treasurer and so, after sitting in that office for a couple of years, I started to realize….I thought that I had the background and the leadership style that would help the city move forward. We were going through some really difficult financial struggles. It appeared as though the Mayor was not going to run for re-election, and so, I thought that it was an opportunity to

be part of that next….you know, what’s the next thing for Albany, right? The next phase of our history, and but it was a discernment process, and it did involve conferring with my family and talking to my family about it and making sure that they knew what it was going to entail and that they were supportive of it.” Capital Woman Online: “It’s a very public position that you have so I’m assuming that you have some challenges with having some private time, and possibly with your family and being home. Mayor Sheehan “I think that’s the thing that surprised me the most. It did surprise me….the lack of privacy and just how public this position is, and it has presented challenges that I did not expect….some of which have given me pause. I will say that I’ve talked to a number of mayors who talk about the impact that it has on their kids; especially, my son was school aged, and it creates a whole new set of challenges. Everything is under a microscope. I expected to be under a microscope, but I didn’t expect it to spin off to my family. Capital Woman Online: “But, they’ve adjusted?” Mayor Sheehan: “They have. You know, my son is 22 now and he’s about to become a parent, so I’m looking forward to what that relationship is going to be like. I hope that he starts to appreciate that it is challenging, but it has been, I think, most challenging as a parent to have a child who really didn’t ask for it, didn’t want it, and probably shouldn’t have been as much in the spotlight as he was and I will always struggle with that. I will always wonder whether a different path might have been a better path.” Capital Woman Online: “New York




COVER STORY } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “I think we’ll keep you busy for a very long time because I stand on the shoulders of women who came before me and there are so many women out there who continue to be supportive of me, to be willing to be mentors to me and so, it’s really going to be exciting for the community to really get to know these women.”

State is such a powerful and influential state and you’re the Mayor of the Capital of New York State. So, I’m assuming that makes your situation even more intense than it might be for a mayor of a different state.” Mayor Sheehan:“Yes, there’s something about capital city mayors. I love my other capital city mayors. We commiserate all the time because it does create challenges. You have people coming here from all over the state and all over the country because New York is so much on the forefront… whether it’s passing groundbreaking legislation to when you look at the demographics of our state. This is a really important place. There are those……I didn’t coin this but there’s a CEO in town who calls Albany the Capitol of the Capitol of the World because we’re the greatest country and this is the greatest state. Other mayors don’t like when I say that, but we are the greatest state in the country and this is the capitol, so a lot of things happen here. So, I feel that in my role as mayor, it’s really important to be welcoming. It’s important to recognize that people will judge a city by how they are received. That’s another thing…..I didn’t make that up…..I was told that by a brilliant city planner. How do we receive our visitors? What is the experience that they have? That matters on our built environment level but it also matters from the standpoint of providing that welcome….making sure that we are here for those who come here. This is a place of free speech. When I think about Albany, I think about all of the demonstrations that have occurred right across the street from my office; some for issues that I agree with and some for issues that I don’t agree with but, I think it’s also important that we recognize that this is a city that really values the freedom of speech, the freedom

to demonstrate, and that that’s a really important part of the culture of our city government, including our public safety.” Capital Woman Online: “So, what advice would you give to someone who would want to join in politics?” Mayor Sheehan: “I think that it’s important to get involved in the community. I volunteered at every level within the community. I was a trustee of my church, I was the commissioner of my son’s Pop Warner football team, my husband coached Albany Youth Soccer. We’ve always been involved. I was the treasurer of the PTA. I would volunteer for committees that the school district would ask to formulate, to help advise. Whether it was hiring a new superintendent or to meet about the budget for the school district, so, I was always involved. I think it is important to do that because you get to see and meet people that you wouldn’t otherwise know, and I think that volunteering is a really great way to learn leadership skills. You start out as a volunteer and then oftentimes, see that you do have leadership abilities and then are able to move up within whatever that organization is that you’re volunteering for. So, I don’t think that there’s any pathway. I mean, you look at my pathway. I was a journalism major in college, I got a law degree, I worked as a labor and employment attorney. Then, I worked for this publicly traded company and then I ended up running for office. So, I don’t think that there’s a pathway to do it, but I will say that what helped me were the relationships that I had developed doing volunteer work.” Capital Woman Online “Of all the people who have helped you in your career, who was the top person?” Mayor Sheehan: “There are so many. I know from the standpoint of being mayor,

I would have to say that Barbara Smith, who was on the council at the time that I was running, has been an incredible mentor. She is so wise. She helped me to know that there were lots of things that I didn’t know that I needed to know, and I am always appreciative…..especially when she calls me and tells me that I’m screwing something up and that I need to go talk to someone or that I need to consider a different perspective and that’s really important because when you’re in a leadership position, you need to be there to lead everyone and that requires a lot of listening and a lot of willingness….. real willingness to continuously learn. I would say other people throughout my life have been those bosses that I’ve had who were also mentors and I’ll never forget. I remember something that happened early on in my career when I worked for the Catholic Diocese, of all places, and the Vicor General at the time was a gentleman named Father Farano, who has since passed. He was my boss and I had messed something up and I thought I was going to get fired. I was convinced I was going to get fired. I’ll never forget. He came to my office, and he said, “Do you know how many mistakes I make in a day?”. He said, “I understand what happened here. I understand why it happened here. I understand that it’s not going to happen again and it’s ok”. I do think that this is something….maybe men experience this, but in my experience, it’s women who talk about it. We have this sense that we can’t mess up anything. If we make a single mistake, that’s it. We’re out the door. To be given that license to recognize that nobody is perfect, and we do all make mistakes and it’s how we respond to that was a very freeing moment for me. It’s something that I’ve tried to give to the women and men who work for me with respect to CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022








{ {SHIFT+CONTROL COVER STORY } } “The lack of privacy and just how public this position is, and it has presented challenges that I did not expect….some of which have given me pause.”

recognizing….we all make mistakes. It’s how do we react to that? We have to make sure we learn from it and move forward.” Capital Woman Online: “Albany has a very rich and longstanding history. Is there any particular monument or ‘thing’ in the city that is your favorite?” Mayor Sheehan: “I think the Stephen and Harriet Myers House. It is a house that figured very much into the Underground Railroad as well as abolition. So, it is a really important part of our history, and the history of the city of Albany. I often talk about Albany telling the story of America, from fur trade to nanotechnology, but there are a lot of things in between there; including slavery, including the Great Migration, including segregation and redlining. So, in order to recognize that there are investments that need to be made and things that we need to do very intentionally in certain neighborhoods in the city in order to ensure that we’re not repeating that history. Capital Woman Online: “What’s your favorite festival?” Mayor Sheehan: “You can’t ask me that” Capital Woman Online: “I know, it’s not fair” Mayor Sheehan: “You know it’s easy to ask me who my favorite child is because I only have one, but I love the fact that we are a place that people from the Capital Region come. We have to lean into that. Oftentimes, that’s the only time that people come into the City of Albany. So I want them to have an experience here and recognize that this is a city of neighborhoods….that the people who live here are proud of our city…..that we are proud of our neighborhoods…..that this 26


isn’t just state government. This isn’t just a place to come and work. This is a place to come and really see that families are growing and thriving here, and they want to live in a safe and vibrant community and so any time we can show off our city and get people to look at it through that lens, I think is an important opportunity. Obviously, Tulip Festival and Jazz Festival and Alive at Five are all ways for us to be able to do that. Capital Woman Online: “Are there any favorite places you like to go….restaurants let’s say?” Mayor Sheehan: “Oh Gosh, see…that’s another one” Capital Woman Online: “Not fair either.” Mayor Sheehan: “Let’s put it this way. I think that I am well known to most of the restaurants in the City of Albany. My husband and I do like to eat out. We actually just ate at the newest restaurant to have a ribbon cutting here…the Skinny Pancake, which came here from Burlington. They make wonderful crepes…sweet and savory and they focus on locally grown….. trying to make sure that they are locally sourcing their food. So, I think that’s an example of the types of places we are able to attract here. I love that we have mostly local restaurants. This isn’t a city of chain restaurants, and it is a place where you have local restaurants with owners who care about the community, who give back to the community. They are the ones that the PTAs go to and say, “Will you donate a gift certificate to our silent auction because we’re trying to raise money for a field trip?”. They’re the ones that are here for us when we are looking to get sponsors for Tulip Festival or for Alive at Five. So, I think that’s one of the great things about the City of Albany. We have great restaurants and

great restaurant owners.” Capital Woman Online: “Albany also is a city that’s quite diverse. There are a lot of pockets of different ethnicities. Opportunities are here for different groups. If someone were new to the area, what would you recommend for them to do to get involved and to learn about what’s available in Albany?” Mayor Sheehan: “There are so many not for profits that operate in the City of Albany. We are rich with service providers and so I think it’s looking at what your passion is. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve got to go cook at the South End Children’s Café, although they would love to have you there cooking. If that’s not your skill, guess what? They also do tutoring there, so if you want to go help young people with homework. Our not for profits are always looking for people who can help with all kinds of different challenges or administrative tasks that they have, advising them on their finances or their legal needs. There are a lot of opportunities. We are a city that is home to hundreds and hundreds of refugee families. This is a refugee resettlement community. A lot of people are surprised to learn that there are more than 40 languages spoken in our teenie tiny school district. Ten thousand students and 40 languages. So, that opens up a whole set of opportunities to help people to navigate to success. You know, all of us have come here from somewhere else unless we are Native American. For my ancestors who came here, I’m 5th generation Irish American and they were helped along the way. Somebody gave them that first job. Somebody helped them learn to navigate how to enroll their kids in school. Somebody helped them and we have the ability to do that for the families that are coming here from war torn countries around the world




COVER STORY } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “Work life balance for women……we don’t talk about this with men, right?”

and put them on a path to success. So, there are many many ways for people to get involved here. You can go to the city website and find information about it. You can google whatever your passion is, and I can guarantee you will find a place to be able to explore that passion here in the City of Albany.” Capital Woman Online: “So, what goals do you have for Albany for the rest of your time as mayor?” Mayor Sheehan: “I really want to create an Albany where every neighborhood works. I know that, for some, that’s not a vision that’s necessarily sexy. Some people want to build a ferris wheel. We have a lot of exciting development happening here and I love being a part of that, but when you think about a concept of a city where every neighborhood works, it’s hard to find a diverse city that has a diversity in income levels where that’s the case, right? That’s not the case here. We still have neighborhoods that experience more violent crime, that have challenges with their infrastructure, have challenges accessing good jobs, and so by focusing on making sure that every neighborhood has the resources that they need…..that we are investing in the infrastructure first. I think that the city: rebuilding our parks, rebuilding our sidewalks, new street lights, new trees. Those are always a signal to the rest of the community that this is a place that you should be looking at. This is a place where people live and everyone wants to live in a neighborhood that’s safe and has access to good jobs and great amenities. So, that’s really what we’re focused on. It’s little things and big things. It’s building a skyway which I think is going to create an incredible

connection to the river for the Arbor Hill neighborhood. It’s also looking at sections of blocks and ripping up asphalt sidewalks and putting down concrete, focusing on absentee landlords, changing our rules of the road so that we make it harder for somebody to be a slumlord in the City of Albany. I hate using that term but sadly, we do have some landlords that take advantage of people who are low income….take advantage of people who are struggling, who don’t speak English as a first language. So, I

buried under the empty lot so I couldn’t grow in the ground, but I have wonderful raised beds and I could spend hours and hours working in my garden. I really enjoy that. I really enjoy being with friends and family. When I was running for mayor the first time, I knocked on a woman’s door and she came into the door and she said, “Oh, I’m so glad that you came by. I’ve been wanting to meet you because I have one question for you.” She said, “Do you have a group of women friends who you can just hang out with, let your hair down and have a glass of wine?” I said, “as a matter of fact, I do”. She said, “Good. Then, I’m going to vote for you because nobody should do this job unless they have the support of a great group of women.” I’ve always remembered that, and I do have a great support system and a group of friends who help to keep me grounded and are there for me when I need them.

want to make it really hard to do that in the city. I think when we do that and we build that pride, block by block, you start to see neighborhoods that really work.” Capital Woman Online: “On a more personal note, what do you like to do for recreation when you have some free time?” Mayor Sheehan: “Well, I used to like to ski, but as mayor, I don’t like snow. Snow is a challenge, but I do still like to sneak in some skiing every once in a while. I love to read. I love to garden. We rehabbed a house in Arbor Hill and there was an empty lot next to it that we were able to acquire. There’s a house

I call myself a frustrated gardener. I try the best that I can. I hope someday to have the time to work with the Cornell cooperative extension and others. You know, there are people who are master gardeners. It’s something that I aspire to at some point in time but, probably not going to happen while I’m mayor.” Capital Woman Online: “Which programs for children need some assistance?” Mayor Sheehan:“There are always opportunities. A lot of moms, in particular, are looking for something that’s right there in their neighborhood. So, we CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


COVER STORY } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “I am who I am, and I lead the way that I lead, and I don’t think that women should apologize for their leadership style.”

City of Albany. We have lots and lots of programs. They’re just not always right where mom needs them to be. So, that’s something that I’m going to be looking at when I review the applications for rescue plan funding. How can we address that issue of the proximity of those services to families and figuring out what really is going to work for a family. The program that I’m probably proudest of is our summer youth employment program because when I became mayor, we really started to focus on that program. We thought instead of looking at this program as a way to reduce violence…..that’s how a lot of summer youth programs came into play……decades ago, it was like “Let’s keep those kids off the street”, which to me just sends the wrong message to our kids. My parents didn’t tell me that I had to get a job when I was 16 to keep me off the street. It was because they wanted to put me on a path to college, to be able to save money for college. So, we started thinking about that as a college going program. How do you ensure that you’re creating a program that helps young people to see themselves in their future? To help them to learn from their work experience as well as from the experiences that we provide them…..we have an entire enrichment program that we built up around the summer employment program so that they understand the importance of saving money, the importance of money management, the importance of knowing what their rights are, the importance of understanding if you want to get to whatever your goal is….I want to be a sound mixer, I want to be a vet, I want to be a doctor….this is what you need to be doing in high school, this is what you need to be doing in college, this is how you put yourself on that path to success. Then, we asked the University of Albany to study the program and they actually 30


took an extra 3 months because they didn’t necessarily believe the results when they first saw them because our summer youth employment program demonstrated that it resulted in children being 60% more likely to graduate from high school. 60%. I mean, they were thinking 20% would be a home run, but we were 60% and we were most successful with kids who are at that lowest 40th percentile of their class. That’s where the magic happens, so we are really looking to make sure that that message is out there because parents have to sign the document. They have to be involved in order for youth to get into that program. So, we’re really trying to get that message out because we’ll hire as many people… budget office always cringes when I say that we’ll hire as many youth as will apply. We’ll figure out a way and we’ll find a way to fund it and to give them work experience. If we can have that impact of keeping someone in high school, getting them to complete, and recognizing that they have value and that they can achieve their hopes and dreams. We have a program, and we really need to make sure that the people in the community recognize that that’s what this is about. It about their kid’s future.” Capital Woman Online: “When you became the mayor, what was the biggest budget challenge?” Mayor Sheehan: “Well, we were broke. When I came into office, I inherited…we were on a calendar year, so I was sworn in on January 1st. The budget that I inherited had been passed the year before and it used the rest of our fund balance. We were not treated fairly by New York State and my predecessor in office knew we weren’t treated fairly, and he was a huge champion for the City of Albany and really fought hard to try to get us the

resources that we needed. It took some time, but we implemented a strategy and we’ve been successful in getting the city additional money….hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of the time that I’ve been mayor that has allowed us to balance our budget, to have some fairness for our city. We were treated like no other city in the state. Basic fairness…. that our residents deserve the resources. We have people who live in some of the poorest census tracts in the region and they subsidize the state government. In any given year, 64 – 67% of our property is not taxable so that puts a huge burden on our homeowners and our small businesses. So, we’ve been successful in rectifying that and we have a governor now who recognizes it and put it in her budget, so we are moving in the right direction. That was so challenging. The needs are so high then to not have the resources to meet those needs was a challenge. I’m not a ‘no’ person. I have a good friend who’s the Dean of Albany Law School and she always talks about “Yes, if”. Not “No, because”, and I would hear that all the time when I became mayor. “No Mayor, we can’t do that because…” I said, “No, no, no, no….yes we can do it IF”. “Tell me what I need to go out and get in order to do it, right?” Bike lanes on Madison Avenue, what do I need? $5 Million? I’ll go find it. Take an exit ramp off of 787? OK, what do we need? I’ll go find it. That is what we need to be doing for our residents and I think it has helped to build this sense of YES, we CAN do these things. It might take longer than we necessarily want it to but, we’re not going to give up just because right at this moment in time, we don’t have the resource. We’ll go find it.” Capital Woman Online: “Do you think you’re hindered at all because we have New York City in New York State?”







COVER STORY } } { {SHIFT+CONTROL “I never envisioned that I would be in elective office, but I’ve always been interested in politics and studied political science while I was in college and wanted to cover it as a journalist. So, it’s always been a passion.”

Mayor Sheehan: “Again, I think it’s important to be strategic. The reality is that we do have as many people in one place as we do in the whole rest of the state so, how do you address that? My way of addressing that is to really get to know the legislators from New York City and tell them about our city. These are people who care. They were elected by people in their community because they believe that they’re here fighting for them. So, when you are able to recognize that this is about how do you widen the circle and how does someone in New York City get us to care about what’s happening in New York City and how do I get someone in New York City to care about what’s happening here? So, that’s about relationship building and I think that’s one thing that women do really well. So, going and building those relationships and demonstrating empathy for the challenges that they’re facing, I would often say, “How can I help YOU?” They live here for half the year. The legislature lives here for a good portion of the year. Many of them didn’t even know that Wolf Road isn’t even in the City of Albany. They’d say, “Well, you get all that tax money from the malls”. I would say, “No, we don’t. They may have an Albany address but that’s not in the city of Albany.” Talking about all the jobs here. Yes, we have all these jobs here but guess what? Thousands and thousands of people come from outside the City of Albany, drive in, they go to their jobs and then they leave. Let me tell you about the people who live here. Let me tell you about the families in Arbor Hill. Let me tell you about what’s happening in West Hill. Let me tell you about what happened in the south end when they built the towers and the impact that that’s continued to have on our community. It’s through creating those relationships that

we’ve been successful in being viewed in a different way and seen not just as this place to come, do some work and go back but as a place that matters to the people who live here.” Capital Woman Online: “I used to work in downtown Albany and there’s a visible effort to have people come back to downtown Albany…..can you speak to that please?” Mayor Sheehan: “I think one of the things that and I think will surprise office goers the most when they do come back, and we’re encouraging everyone to come back, is that an entire neighborhood sprouted up during the pandemic. We were undertaking the renovation of underutilized buildings that had sat vacant for years on North Pearl Street and those were developed and even though the pandemic came, and I was worried that everything would stop, the developer continued and built up those apartments and he has a waiting list. Not only are these conversions happening, but they’re successful and people are living downtown, and it is palpable. You can see it and feel it. It’s really exciting to see that.

together and see one another. So, I’m looking forward to people coming down and saying, “Who are all these people and what are they doing here?” It is becoming a neighborhood and that was very intentional and very strategic and it’s exciting to see happen. Capital Woman Online: “Well, we would like to thank you for taking the time with us this morning to talk to Capital Woman Online Magazine and thank you so much for your hospitality and for agreeing to be our first cover woman.” Mayor Sheehan: “Well, thank you. It’s an honor and I’m really excited to have you here in this market. We have amazing women. I think we’ll keep you busy for a very long time because I stand on the shoulders of women who came before me and there are so many women out there who continue to be supportive of me, to be willing to be mentors to me and so, it’s really going to be exciting for the community to really get to know these women.”

There is construction all over the city. There are new apartments in Pine Hills. I went to the ribbon cutting and I couldn’t see a unit because all of the units are full. I was able to see they have 2 different gyms, they have some great public areas, but I couldn’t see an apartment because they’re all rented. So, it’s really exciting to see that. I moved downtown. We moved in shortly before the pandemic. I love it. It’s walkable, and it’s great to see the vibrancy. Offices will be different and there will be some hybrid arrangements that are made but we’re a social people. I just fundamentally believe that we need to work in spaces CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022






MAYA MCNULTY Welcome Capital Woman Online Magazine to the 518. Spring is the perfect season for rebirth, bloom and growth. For the past two years, there’s been no secret that globally we’ve all been craving normalcy. As we embrace a new spring season, turning the page to put the novel Coronavirus behind us and transition from pandemic to a shadow endemic. I’m embracing love, hope, and longer warmer days. Hello, my name is Maya McNulty, ne of the new columnists at Capital Woman Online Magazine. I’m a Walking Warrior from Schenectady, NY. The Founder of Covid Wellness, LLC., CEO, UpTheBiz Marketing & Branding Agency, three times Best -Selling Author, & Podcaster. I’ve worked with thousands of people for more than two decades creating opportunities for entrepreneurs as one of America’s most respected business branding strategists, marketer and international speaker. I battled Coronavirus March, 2020 one of the first young females infected, hospitalized for 69 days, in a 30 day medically induced coma and ventilator for six weeks. These past two years haven’t been easy. As a Covid long hauler, I had to re-learn how to walk, talk and eat again. I think the worst throughout the entire recovery experience was losing all of my hair and voice for ten months. You will hear me say often, “God’s plan” as I am still recovering steadily.

After two years of therapy, Covid Wellness Clinic Online Program was created to help long haulers from the comfort of their home. Learn More: I was born in Guyana, South America. My parents and my two brothers and I came to America in 1979. I was 6 years old. I can best remember flying on PanAm airlines. It was my first plane ride experience. We landed in New York

City, at JFK airport with our suitcases and a dream for a better life. In 1983 my family and I became American Citizens. My mom worked in a factory and my dad as an Orthopedic Tech. My parents taught my brothers and me about hard work, discipline, and integrity. As a kid, I was often having trouble with running my mouth. My high school guidance counselor suggested I study

Law. I always argued to find solutions even at a young age. It’s no wonder I am an advocate for Long Covid and survivors of Covid-19. I was introduced to Entrepreneurship in 8th grade. Our 8th grade class had an end of year project requirement to raise money for our moving up dance. Our class created a Carnival. We sold popcorn, cotton candy, balloons and handmade crafts. We even had the dreaded parents universally win a gold fish game. This experience taught me about teamwork. I studied fashion in high school through the Vo-tech program at Linton High School. I created my first design portfolio. I had a burning desire to change the fashion industry with sustainable and recycled clothes. In 1991, I studied Fashion Merchandising and Design at Bay State College in Boston, Mass. In 1993, I was privileged to continue my studies of fashion and design in London and Paris. I also had a fashion designer mentor in the North End of Boston, Denise Hajjar. After graduating from College, I returned to Upstate, NY and searched for a real “job” to repay college loans. I worked in insurance for about 18 months and later got fired. After being fired, I desperately tried to find a job in fashion design. With no luck, I was on Unemployment. I took an SBA class with Empire Development, joined SCORE and found a mentor. I opened CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


“I’ve discovered that during my healing pr and sharing my recovery journey has insp saved l

process talking about Long Covid survival pired others to share their stories and even lives.”

SHE HUSTLES TALKS } {{ WALKING WARRIOR “As we embrace a new spring season, turning the page to put the novel Coronavirus behind us and transition from pandemic to a shadow endemic.”

my first business Vintage Boutique in Scotia, NY. The fashion lines included recycled jeans and repurposed clothes. We also sold jewelry and a mix of new fashions. The dress shop changed the name from Vintage Boutique to Village Boutique after 3 months of clients and market not wanting recycled or used clothing. I learned a lot about marketing, customer service and running a business through hands-on experience. I recently traveled to Washington, DC to speak at a press conference with congress and senators about a proposed Bill for Pandemic Prevention Act and Scholarships for the over 220,000 children

in the USA and over 15,000 in New York State who have been orphaned because of Covid.

Please join me and welcome Capital Woman Online Magazine to the Capital Region.

I’m humble to be featured as one of the team members and columnist at Capital Woman. The Walking Warrior column will feature women who have turned their Mess into their Message and their Pain into Potential. I’ve discovered that during my healing process talking about Long Covid survival and sharing my recovery journey has inspired others to share their stories and even saved lives. I’m honored to add value, insight and hope to our readers and community of warriors.

In Celebration of Walking Warriors Everywhere, Maya McNulty Author, Speaker and Columnist PS. Please feel free to email names of warriors in the 518 to be featured in upcoming columns. All ages and genders are welcome. Lastly, let’s connect on LinkedIn: https://









The best thing about having a great professional photographer is the end result. There is nothing like working with someone who knows angles, lighting, and how to edit in a way that can bring out your inner self and tell your story visually in a photograph.

by partnering with the subject and combining images from both the camera lens and post-production work. She has won multiple awards with Portrait Masters and is always using her creative talents. She is not afraid to try something new and she is fun to work with.

Lisa Simmons of ElleSimm Photography has a focus on serving her customers with a quality, professional, comfortable, and enjoyable experience. She has a knack for bringing out the inner essence of the subject. She captures confidence and shows people how to shine their light. Some people tend to be shy in front of the camera. For those folks, Lisa puts them at ease, finds the confidence and radiance, and captures it. She pays attention to detail and has an eye and vision for what is possible.

Lisa Simmons is also all about women helping women. One of the types of shoots that she offers is a glamour boudoir session. She makes a point of making the women she shoots feel

Her clients have included couples, families, high school seniors, models, mother/daughter pairs, and people requesting professional shots for personal branding. She shoots people of all shapes and sizes, age groups, and different tastes and backgrounds. Everyone is unique and everyone is welcomed. Her creativity knows no bounds and her customers are always satisfied. Lisa is a down to earth person with a great sense of humor who, oh by the way, can take incredible photographs. She is also excellent at editing and creating art

good about themselves and helps them build confidence through the images that she captures. She offers a one-on-one experience that is unique, and reasonably priced. She also offers packages and specials. As for wardrobe, she has several items to choose from or you can bring your own pieces. Lisa has a publication called Captured Magazine in which her female clients can see themselves in print. It is a beautiful online publication that highlights the shots and showcases the ladies.

Many of her clients have never seen themselves this way before. Several of them have never been able to see who they are or who they can be. There is a tendency for them to not view themselves as the amazing, lovely women that they are. Lisa is empowering and in high demand with her clients. She goes above and beyond to service her customers. Her female clients also have a private Facebook group that she established so that they can network and share information. ElleSimm Photography boudoir shoots are classy and elegant. Lisa brings grace and style to the experience. Some women book these sessions so that they have pictures to gift to their partners. Some do it to cherish for themselves. Either way, they enjoy the experience. Following the shoot and Lisa’s editing sessions, there is a 1-on-1 meeting to review the pictures and select the final images. For many, this is the first time that they ever recognize themselves as someone who is beautiful.She allows women to see themselves as they have never really seen themselves before.The stunning images show them that she has captured their essence and coaxed it right into the lens of her camera. This is not just a photoshoot with a local photographer. The whole process is an experience that is treasured. She helps people to step out of their comfort zone CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022








{ HEIDI’S LAW } } { { SHIFT+CONTROL BEHIND THE LENS “It is a true collaboration as well as an empowering experience.“

and teams up with them to create memories. Professional hair and makeup are provided along with a 2 – 3 hour photo session. She will pose you ‘from your nose to your toes’, so if you are inexperienced in working with a photographer, that is not an issue. By the end of the session, the subject is having a great time, enjoying herself and really immersed in the activities. Once the shoot is over, the anticipation begins. From start to finish, the whole experience is transforming. 48


ElleSimm Photography is located at 320 Rhule Rd. Ballston Lake, New York 12019, which is right off exit 11 of the Northway. Lisa is booked solid into the near future because her services are very popular. So, contact her, get on the schedule, and become part of the magic. The best way to book is online at “We intend to disrupt & transform the way you see yourself by showing you beautiful, authentic images of you. This is your chance to bring your sexy

back, to be empowered, to be seen!!” You will be able to have a great time, work with a professional, capture a beautiful moment and have a keepsake. It is a true collaboration as well as an empowering experience. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our day-today lives that we lose ourselves and forget our own essence. Well, Lisa reminds us of who we are. She has a way of saying, “Hey you…..wait just a minute…..look over here and see what I see in you”.










{{ SHIFT+CONTROL BEHIND THE LENS } “ You will be able to have a great time, work with a professional, capture a beautiful moment and have a keepsake.”






The Capital District happens to be the home of the 2022 winner of the Ms. Wheelchair New York title. Heather Horwedel was recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair New York 2022 earlier this year. The previous title holder, Lauren Arena, lives in New York City but also has a home right here in the 518. As if that were not enough, the awesome woman who coordinates the organization for the state of New York also happens to reside in the Capital District. I would say that we are very well represented by these amazing young ladies. Capital Woman Online spent some time learning more about this organization, their mission, and even the local individuals who are involved. On occasion, people approach someone whom they see in a wheelchair and feel uncomfortable. They are not quite sure how to address them, they do not want to offend, they do not know much about people with physical disabilities, and they may tend to avoid speaking or even acknowledging them. This is a huge mistake. We think that somehow, we should perhaps treat them differently than we would someone who does not have a disability. Instead, we should be looking at these folks just as we look at anyone else. . People often do not notice when things are not accessible if it does not affect their every day lives. For instance, our current title holder,

Heather Horwedel, recently worked with our very own Crossgates Mall in Albany. She was able to use the ladies room stalls but could not reach the soap dispensers. She said that she would have to sit on the counter in order to be able to reach them. She let the folks at the mall know about this situation and that it was an issue needing attention, taking it in on as one of her projects. Crossgates changed things right away after speaking to her a couple of times. They had a consultant come in to see if it was ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant and found that there

were at least 3 restrooms that needed some work. When Heather went back, the one she had originally reported had been corrected. They had moved a soap dispenser down and put an extra coat hook on the stall door that is now reachable. The hand dryer was in the spot right near the garbage can. This would cause someone in a wheelchair to have to move the garbage can in order to use it. Because of Heather reporting the issue, Crossgates Mall added a new one at the end of the stalls. This was very helpful because some people would not have had the hand or upper body strength to be able to move the can.

These are examples of things that occur daily that most of us fail to notice. Ms. Wheelchair New York is part of the larger Ms. Wheelchair America organization. Ms. Wheelchair America recognizes the accomplishments of women who utilize wheelchairs for mobility. The non-profit program which consists of the State Coordinators and State Titleholders has grown to include programs in more than 30 states including New York and also the District of Columbia. The state programs are staffed and coordinated by volunteers dedicated to increasing public awareness so that all citizens will be afforded the opportunities to be able to lead productive and meaningful lives. The mission of Ms. Wheelchair America is to provide an opportunity of achievement for women who happen to be wheelchair users to successfully educate and advocate for the more than 64 million Americans living with disabilities. Unlike traditional beauty pageants, Ms. Wheelchair America is not a contest to select the most attractive individual. Instead, it is a competition based on advocacy, achievement, communication, and presentation to select the most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman for persons with disabilities. The selected representative must be able to communicate both the needs and the accomplishments of her constituency to the general public, the business community, and the legislature. CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRES { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “Shameka Andrews, the current Coordinator, got involved in 2004 when the national competition was held in Albany.”

Heather shared that she has had to learn how to speak up and promote things for herself. While advocating for her needs, she has also educated others around her. She continues to help them understand that they should treat people with disabilities as they treat others. For instance, she has had to educate employers and schools about reasonable accommodations. She has even had to work with medical staff to help them to understand what she needs and that regardless of their tests and procedures, she knows when something is wrong. Sometimes, healthcare providers also need help understanding the needs of their patients.

of 7 to 21. She has also volunteered there during their Spina Bifida Association of Northeastern NY (SBANENY) family weekends, talking with parents about what it was like for her as a child growing up with Spina Bifida, and how to navigate their child’s needs including school, friends, activities and medical needs. While there, she helped children build their confidence by assuring them that they are great just the way they are and by listening as they talked through different situations and thoughts. It is reassuring, comforting, and encouraging to them to know someone who has lived through the same things that they currently experience.

Heather is also interested in helping people with disabilities themselves learn how to have what they need in order to be successful. She has a desire to help them learn how to become more empowered to educate people in their communities by setting an example and encouraging their participation. She meets with government officials, just as she has with the Spina Bifida Association of Northeastern New York for many years. She works to ensure that the needs of people within the disability community are known, and that appropriate changes are made to better meet their needs. The Crossgates Mall story is just one such example. Kudos to Crossgates for listening and acting quickly.

This lady stays very busy. Heather spent a year and a half as the administrative assistant for SBANENY. She has also chaired their Walk-N-Roll since its inception 12 years ago. She has done advocacy work with them for many years, which has recently resulted in the organization being added to the NYS budget. She also participated on “Teal on the Hill”, which is an advocacy effort at the national level to benefit the needs of people with Spina Bifida through the Spina Bifida Association.

Heather has been working with children since 2005 and currently works in an after-school program with children ages 5 to 10. Heather attended the Double H Ranch each summer between the ages 58


Heather continues to work with others to bring attention to accessibility issues. Whether it is for children who would like to use the playground like everyone else, or older people who want to go grocery shopping or improve their health at the local gym, she takes an active role in trying to help people be able to live their lives to the fullest. She says that her intention will always be to advocate, educate, motivate, and empower others,

and to ensure that everyone’s voice can be heard. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, volunteering, being outside, and staying active. She likes arts and crafts, especially painting and making jewelry, and will use them to raise funds for the Ms. Wheelchair NY program. Heather’s message to the public is that it is ok to step in and help, if it is done the right way. Also, please do not be afraid to approach people with disabilities. A lot of what she finds is that if people do not experience something themselves, they tend to not notice it. She also knows that many of the people who do have these challenges tend to accept the conditions and then figure out workarounds. However, this is not necessary. Just like with Crossgates Mall, positive changes can be made. Sometimes, thing just need to be brought to the attention of others in order to make improvements. To compete for the title, Heather had to fill out an application and provide information. She had to list past achievements and what she would want to accomplish as the winner if she were to get the title. As the winner, she had to pick a platform and identify some specific projects on which she would focus. She works at Kidz Korner after school program in Guilderland. She is teacher there where she assists with homework and plays games with the children. They have different stations that they can go to and do craft activities and things. There is also a playground area






{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRES { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “The fabulous young woman who held the New York State title prior to Heather was Lauren Arena. In fact, she is a competitive award-winning wheelchair dancer as well as a college student at SUNY Adirondack.”

for them as well as a computer room that they can use. So far, as the title holder, Heather has met many people and has been sharing information that can benefit others. Being able to use her platform and reach a larger audience is very important to her. With the title, she can do even more and have more opportunities to be able to help people. The national competition for Ms. Wheelchair America will take place Aug. 15 – 21 and it will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and a couple of friends of hers will drive there together. One of the requirements is to raise $2,000 to even participate in the national competition. That includes the housing, food, etc. The national competition process will include an application, essay, panel interviews and a platform speech. The top 5 named during that Saturday’s crowning ceremony will participate in an on-stage judging session. There will be a week of activities and the actual competition will be on the August 21st. One of the interesting themes for this year’s national event will be ‘Through the Ages’. Heather will have to pick an era and wear something that represents it. When we spoke to her, she was thinking about maybe choosing the 50s or possibly the western era. Whatever she decides, we know that she will look fabulous and will represent not only New York State but also the Capital District very well. There will also be a garden party at the nationals. Each year has different themes. Day 1 of this year’s

national event calls for casual attire. At another point during the week, the theme is ‘Under the Sea’, where she will have to wear something that represents the beauty of the ocean. She will also need a business professional look as well as a semi-formal or formal outfit. Heather shared that part of why she did all of this was that she had made a resolution to step out of her comfort zone. Public speaking has always been a challenge, so she wanted to stretch herself. Throughout her reign as Ms. Wheelchair New York 2022, she will make various appearances. To get to the nationals, she will be responsible for her own transportation. To get around locally, Heather takes the CDTA (Capital District Transportation Authority) Star bus, which is the wheelchair accessible transportation through CDTA. People who need it can make reservations up to a week or two ahead of time. Reservations need to be made at least by 3 or 4 pm the day before it is needed (that’s the latest a spot can be reserved). Some people need to travel with an aid. Heather does not. In looking toward the future, Heather has identified some other projects that interest her. She would like to work with some of her doctors and help obtain updated equipment. Albany Med worked with the Spina Bifida Association of Northeastern NY and re-opened a clinic a few years ago for pediatrics and within the last couple of years, for adults as well. Heather would like to see new equipment for the

clinic. Also, a wheelchair scale would be an asset that is currently unavailable here. This is a typically common piece of equipment, but not available as much locally. So, she would like for some of her local doctors in the 518 to have one. She would also like to see the type of examine tables that raise and lower. She will be looking into potential grants to help figure out a way to get some of this equipment so that more people can access it. Heather has 8 or 9 local doctors. A lot of people tend to go to Boston or Chicago for their medical needs. Those specialized facilities have been around longer than our local ones so, maybe these patients are not aware of the facilities in the area. In Heather’s condition, Spina Bifida, the spinal cord fails to fully form in the first 3 weeks of life, which impacts the entire nervous system. This is known as the snowflake condition. It does not affect any two people the same way in terms of their mobility. Some people need wheelchairs while some can walk, but perhaps with a different gait. There are also secondary conditions that can occur. So far, Heather has really enjoyed her experience as a title holder. She feels that Ms. Wheelchair America and Ms. Wheelchair New York are great organizations that do a lot of excellent work with disability awareness. The fabulous young woman who held the New York State title prior to Heather was Lauren Arena. Channel 10 in Albany did a feature on her where she told her story of being stricken at the CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


{ WOMEN WHO INSPIRES { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “The Capital District happens to be the home of the 2022 winner of the Ms. Wheelchair New York title. Heather Horwedel was recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair New York 2022 earlier this year.”

age of 10 with a very rare condition that ultimately caused her to also need a wheelchair. However, that has never stopped this lady. In fact, she is a competitive award-winning wheelchair dancer as well as a college student at SUNY Adirondack. Today’s iteration of Ms. Wheelchair New York started in 2001. There had been a few starts and stops early on. Shameka Andrews, the current Coordinator, got involved in 2004 when the national competition was held in Albany. At that time, Shameka was volunteering for the convention bureau and would pass out info and work in hospitality at the big events. It was suggested that she run for the title of Ms. Wheelchair New York. Shameka was not a fan of public speaking, but she stepped out and took the challenge. She ran and became the 2nd runner up. In 2006, she ran again and won the title! She served her year and then continued to volunteer. She served as a judge, and as a judge coordinator. In 2013, the then New York State coordinator stepped down and asked Shameka to take over. She has been the coordinator since that time.



When the COVID pandemic occurred, it changed some things and limited the ability to meet in person and have competitions and gatherings the way that had happened in the past. Several of the events were held online. They had not had a competition in a while and Lauren Arena held the title for an extended time while social distancing was required, and live events were not possible. Earlier this year, a live crowning ceremony was held in Saratoga Springs.

information. If you are interested in donating to the organization, volunteering and/or contributing to the title holder’s expenses, please call (518) 603-7941. For applications or to nominate someone, you can email disabilityempowered@ Eventbrite and Paypal pages are also available. If you prefer regular mail, the address to use is 646 South Pearl Street, Albany, New York 12202. Please put any correspondence to the attention of Shameka Andrews, State Coordinator. The Paypal address is disabilityempowered@

At that time, the title passed from Lauren to Heather. New York State also has a Junior Miss program which is for girls that are 13 – 20 years old. The Ms. Wheelchair competition is for women ages 21 and up. To learn more about the New York organization, visit the Facebook page called Ms. Wheelchair New York. You can also call Shameka Andrews for more

York State.

Heather Horwedel has her own page on Facebook and you can visit her there. For info on the national organization, visit mswheelchairamerica. org and click on New

Capital Woman Online would like to congratulate the organization for its great work. We would also like to wish our Capital District winner, Heather Horwedel, good luck at the national competition!

For applications or to nominate someone, you can email






It was a chance conversation that started Melissa Shea on her path to create the first global network for fashion industry professionals. This fortuitous meeting was the spark that launched Fashion Mingle, a fashion tech platform with over 8000 fashion industry entrepreneurs in 120+ categories, connecting apparel and accessory designers with the skilled professionals they need from concept to customer.

fashion designers in the world. Fashion Mingle Cofounders, Beth Smith, Melissa Shea, Sneha Andani After relocating from Austin to Upstate New York in 2011 due to her husband’s new job at Global Foundries, Shea got down to business growing the Fashion Mingle brand, continuing to cover

In 2008 Shea was a freelancer building websites for businesses in Austin, TX when she met an aspiring fashion blogger who explained how hard it was for fashion businesses to survive, and with a few pointed questions, Shea quickly realized that the key to solving this problem was connecting the local fashion industry into a directory. That was the beginning of a journey that has taken her around the world with a home base in the Capital Region for the last 10 years. Always eager to learn about “the next new thing”, Shea immersed herself in the fashion community and instantly fell in love with the wildly creative designers, photographers, makeup artists and hairstylists she met. Realizing this new passion might also be a way to get into New York Fashion Week, she partnered with a blogger and a team of photographers to launch a fashion website and within a year she was an accredited member of the press at NYFW. Shea has led a media team covering fashion week for over 20 seasons, interviewing many of the top

fashion week and the professionals working in the industry behind the scenes. Securing an Angel investor and a partner with previous startup experience in fashion ecommerce, Long Island native Beth Smith came on board in 2015 to help Shea begin the serious work of launching a fashion tech startup, then added Sneha Andani in 2018, who originally hails from

Bangalore, India, as a cofounder to help with business development in NYC and international partnerships. NYFW Networking Party - Fashion Mingle launch party The platform officially launched during New York Fashion Week in September of 2017 with a red carpet event for fashion industry professionals. The global fashion directory now has members in over 40 countries, facilitated by hosting their signature NYFW Networking Party every season of fashion week to connect professionals from around the world to New York’s fashion industry. Shea says, “Covering fashion week with a media team year after year was like being a fly on the wall” and is how a web designer from Texas learned what she needed to know to build a thriving fashion business in New York. Shea discovered that while the global fashion industry is a $2.5 trillion dollar market, it still runs on word of mouth referrals and is slow to adopt technology. With a fast growing gig economy expected to reach $8.4 billion by 2023, connecting this global engine with resources in every corner of the world is critical to providing jobs to skilled fashion professionals not only in the United States, but in rapidly expanding economies desperate to bring more opportunities to their countries. Tommy Hilfiger and Melissa Shea Melissa Shea, Costume Designer Bob CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} } FASHION MINGLE SHIFT+CONTROL “Always eager to learn about “the next new thing”, Shea immersed herself in the fashion community and instantly fell in love with the wildly creative designers, photographers, makeup artists and hairstylists she met.”

Mackey, and Influencer Will Rafeh Sydney Opera House, Sneha Andani, Jude Kingston (Fashion Mingle Australia), Melissa Shea Influencers Unscripted Event (LtoR) Influencer Renee Willett and Ann Caruso, Founders Beth Smith and Melissa Shea, TV personality Daphne Oz & Managing Editor of The Beauty Influencers Christine Schott Shea has managed a New York Fashion Week media team for over 20 seasons, interviewing fashion industry icons such as Tommy Hilfiger, Bob Mackey, Nicole Miller, Jill Stuart, Tadashi Shoji, Naeem Kahn, and more. From 70


Times Square to the Sydney Opera House, Shea is known for creating experiential events in unique venues. Fashion Mingle clients include international trade organizations, fashion designers, and beauty brands for whom Fashion Mingle produces runway shows, fashion industry tours, popups, and more. MELISSA SHEA AND TIMES SQUARE FASHION WEEK TEAM

want access to the New York market but don’t have the team on the ground. From providing fashion week experience for students from India’s Pearl Academy, to producing a concert and fashion show in Times Square for Indonesian designers and music artists, Fashion Mingle prides itself on providing anything their clients need, having the most expansive database of fashion industry professionals at their fingertips, in their very own platform.

Fashion Mingle services include event production for international clients, providing a “team in New York” for brands and trade organizations who

In the coming months Fashion Mingle is launching their latest technology, a career portal that will allow members to post and find jobs, freelance gigs, internships,







{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS}} } SHIFT+CONTROL FASHION MINGLE “The global fashion directory now has members in over 40 countries, facilitated by hosting their signature NYFW Networking Party every season of fashion week to connect professionals from around the world to New York’s fashion industry.”

volunteers, and bartering for services is just as important to corporate brands as it is to a startup, as margins are thin at every level. The Fashion Mingle Career Portal will also solve a huge problem for college students trying to find internships in the fashion industry. After conducting extensive surveys with over 200 fashion school students, Shea was surprised to learn that 57% of students surveyed did not know where to find internships with fashion companies. The new platform will solve that problem by having one

platform where fashion companies can have direct contact with fashion students, eliminating the barriers to finding the right internship match for the student as well as the company. MELISSA SHEA AND TRACY SIMONE Fashion Mingle members from the Albany network include Capital Woman magazine co - founder, model and actress Tracy Simone, event producer Corey Aldrich, designer consultant Christy Hutchins, and more. You can

join Fashion Mingle for free at www. to become a member of the Albany fashion community. As a member of the Fashion Directory, you’ll be able to promote your skills, portfolio, website, and social media networks as well as network with members online and get invitations to special opportunities in NYC exclusively for fashion professionals. The career portal will be launching summer 2022 which will enable members to connect with each other about jobs, internships, and opportunities to grow their careers.








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

or are homeless. We believe that there is no barrier to entry when it comes to pursuing a career you are passionate about, and no level of privilege that removes all challenges of these key life transitions for young people, and so our programs are open to all, no matter their background.

Our mission is to prepare rising young professionals and entrepreneurs for the workforce by providing access to industry specific coaching, mentoring, and sponsorship. Our programs challenge students to train for success, foster leadership skills to launch their careers or businesses, prepare for life transitions, and find their place in the business world.

Key to the Mission Accomplished approach is our effort to help all students develop their social and

Mission Accomplished collaborates with for-profit and nonprofit companies to equip our students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for a successful future. In particular, we focus on 4 industries: fashion, construction, mural painting and interior design/decorating. These are industries and career paths where Black and Brown leaders are underrepresented. We utilize our extensive networks in priority industries and in the Capital Region to identify employer and community needs, and facilitate connections for our students. To date, we have successfully served over 3,000 students. Our students come from low to middle socioeconomic backgrounds, a variety of ethnicities, and some are involved with the juvenile and criminal justice systems, foster care,

emotional intelligence. Through intensive mentorship, we support our students, many of whom lack a source of vital encouragement at home, as they gain confidence, develop their voice and leadership potential, utilize their connections to gain access to opportunities, and unapologetically pursue the careers they are most passionate about. We know that all young people have dreams and, no matter their station in life, they all deserve the support and guidance necessary to realize those dreams through concrete actions; they deserve

caring mentors who will help guide them, celebrate their accomplishments, hold them accountable, and give them the support to face challenges and move past disappointments. This support, in combination with the training curricula we provide, is what drives our outcomes and attracts graduates of our programs back to Mission Accomplished to serve as mentors to peers and provide new connections as leaders in their industries and communities. Overall, our programs empower students to advocate for themselves, solve problems, take initiative, foster a collaborative mindset, and take pride in their work (whether they are pursuing employment or establishing a business)-- skills that will serve them in all areas of their personal and professional lives as they drive towards success. We deliver our core training programs along two tracks: one for teens and one for early-mid career professionals. The teen track is open to all teens whether in traditional high school or not. The advanced track is for early-mid career young professionals aged 18-35 with 2+ years of experience in their desired industry, are coachable, seeking to help create a healthy community with their peers and have a commitment to advancing their careers within a company or to grow a small business. Each track is structured in the following phases: PHASE 1: Mindset - Trauma-informed CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022





{ MISSION ACCOMPLISHED } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “Mission Accomplished Transition Services, Inc. is a community-based organization in NY’s Capital Region.”


We prepare students for the career and business development experience they have agreed to partake in by helping them to identify and address negative self-talk motivated by past traumatic experiences. Helping students address taruma and negative self talk helps set the stage for a successful, transformational learning experience. PHASE 2: Customer/Client Identification Students identify who their customer/ client is, why they are marketing and selling to this customer/client, and their passion behind working with these individuals.

PHASE 3: Behind the Business of the Industry Students learn about many of the administrative and operational responsibilities and knowledge they must have to run a successful small business or be an irreplaceable employee within a company. PHASE 4: Marketing + Brand Development Students further develop their brand as a professional and/or the brand of their company.

business presentations, pitches, and networking. Phase 6: Celebrate + Ignite We celebrate the students for all their hard work through an event showcasing their talent, goals and aspirations. To learn more about our programs, sign up to volunteer, explore becoming an industry advisor who facilitates a session or apply to enroll in our programs visit our website at

PHASE 5: Public Speaking Students develop their skills in creating CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022







Sure, this is a women’s magazine, but we love our men too. We want to take a moment to recognize some of our local male treasures. We found a very special person tucked away in the 518 and we would like to share his story. We all know that we have an amazing collection of people with talent and skill across many industries throughout the Capital District, but we also have some individuals who are highly specialized in their fields and even have the papers to prove it. Enter Nick Frirsz. Nick is not just a great guitarist, and a member of the local band named The Saratoga All Stars, but he is also from a long line of people with a very particular and rare skillset. Not only is he able to play acoustic and electric guitars, but he is even self-taught and quite capable on the steel guitar. Very cool already, we know, but this guy is instrumental (pun intended) in helping to reopen Saratoga Guitar right on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. Everyone was missing this great establishment while it was closed, and it is exciting to have it get back in business. Nick helping to get one of the Capital District’s favorite music stores back up and running makes him cucumber cool. The truth is that this talented man is more accurately ice cube cool because Capital Woman Online also knows another little secret about him. He is a

5th GENERATION instrument maker! That’s right. His great-great grandfather taught his son and so on down the line until Nick came along and did not just learn but mastered the craft.

wash tub into a stand-up bass guitar? Nick Frirsz, that’s who. He has a vivid imagination and an abundance of talent. One day a washboard, a playable guitar the next.

He can not only play these stringed instruments, but he can and does, custom make them by hand! This long-standing art has been passed down from generation to generation with care and precision. He is masterful in creating violins, guitars of all types, and

Nicholas (Miklos) Frirsz was born in January of 1958 and became part of the oldest continuing violin making family in the world. He is a master violin maker and inventor. He never stopped at violins, and he never stopped sharing his gifts with the world. Remember all those guitars that he can play? He recently hand crafted some of the electric guitars that are now available at Saratoga Guitar.

any other type of stringed instrument. He even designs and hand makes some of the tools that he uses to make them! An imaginative lover of music, Nick will make a guitar out of just about anything and he has come up with some very interesting, unique ideas. Who knew that a movie reel could become an electric guitar that lights up? Who would have thought to turn a metal

As a child, his family had a violin studio near Carnegie Hall. He did a formal apprenticeship with his father Max Jr. and went on to earn a Masters in violin making at the Franz List Academy in Hungary. When he was 17 years of age, Nicholas became the youngest violin maker to be awarded the gold medal in international competition. When he was only 22, he took over the violin studio in Manhattan from his father and ran it until moving to his current home in the Capital District. Some fun facts about his work are that sometimes, the wood he uses is over 100 years old! He works on one instrument at a time with a keen eye toward detail on each component. He makes violins, violas and cellos that are custom ordered CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


HUSTLES TALKS} } {{ SHE SHIFT+CONTROL “Some fun facts about his work are that sometimes, the wood he uses is over 100 years old! He works on one instrument at a time with a keen eye toward detail on each component.”

by clients from around the world. Each one takes several months to create, and his customers anxiously await their new amazing handmade instrument. Nick is the last one to carry on with the tradition within his family. He has a daughter who is also a musician, but she does not make stringed instruments. However, do not fret (really? Another pun?) because the skill is not lost. Nick has taken on an apprentice who has been with him for the last several years.

In 1979, Nicholas began development on improvement to the basic design of the viola and developed the concept of the asymmetrical viola. He holds multiple patents for some of his custom designs and along the way, he created a three-dimensional tailpiece. He stores his instruments in a temperature and humidity-controlled room and he still has cherished instruments that were made by previous generations in his family. If you want a custom stringed instrument of your own, visit Saratoga Guitar and

place your order. While you are there, sign up for lessons if you want or buy some of their other amazing items. For a fun night out, look up where the Saratoga All Stars are playing and enjoy some great music! You will find that on top of everything else, Nick is just about the nicest person you could ever meet. Very cool!







Some people like to be different. They just do not like to be like everyone else. Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to clothing and fashion. Who wants to look like all the other people out there? For most women especially, one of the most devastating and even embarrassing things would be to get dressed up to go somewhere just to find that another woman is wearing the same outfit! Oh no! The nerve. How could she? Is there a place to hide?

or tell her what you would like. She can partner with you to design exactly what you imagine. She can help you bring your vision to life. You can also shop for items that are already made. She has a big selection of oneof-a-kind outfits that are reasonably priced. Each of her garments is very

One other thing that is wonderful about 22 Shades of Gray is that some of the garments are made from repurposed fabrics. What once was a pair of jeans may get miraculously transformed into part of a new dress or top. She provides quality that is unrivaled, and she sometimes does special treatments with dyes and bleach that make the fabrics even more interesting. Every item is well made, with durability in mind. Peggy really thinks of everything when she creates her garments. Most items are fully lined, which helps them to retain their shape and to also to wear better over time.

Well, the ladies of the 518 are lucky. They are fortunate to have an amazing original clothing designer right in their midst! They can ensure that for their next event, they can be stylish, comfortable, and will not look like everyone else. In fact, if they want to, they can even custom order garments made specifically for them. Meet Viola Peggy Gray. She is the owner of 22 Shades of Gray. This very talented woman is a master with a sewing machine. She makes clothing for women of all shapes and sizes and she delivers quality products every time. If you are interested in unique items that you are guaranteed to not see anywhere else, contact Peggy. You can either bring her your own fabric 86


kind, wonderful woman who truly loves what she does. She will make you something that works for you, make you look fabulous, will not cost an arm and a leg, and is created with attention to detail. She absolutely loves what she does and to the point that her awesome husband built her a shop from which to run her business.

feminine. They are also all machine washable, comfortable, and very well made. She makes her own patterns, is never afraid to try something new, and works with many different colors, prints and fabrics. Most of her garments even have pockets! Not only is Peggy an amazing designer who can sew ANYTHING, she is also a lovely soul. Peggy is a friendly,

Every so often, a designer or seamstress jumps out above the rest and Peggy is one such artist. When I saw her work myself for the first time, I knew that I had to see even more. Who is this woman? Who created this jacket? I LOVE this jacket! What? It comes in even more fabrics. Count me in. I need to see more. Once someone introduced me to this designer, I was hooked. I am now a customer and very well
















{ {FASHION FORWARD} } SHIFT+CONTROL “If you love clothing and are always looking for something different, but not willing to compromise quality, or style, then 22 Shades of Gray is for you.”

pleased. My daughter seems to be very pleased with my selections from 22 Shades of Gray as well because they somehow seem to go missing from my closet and end up in hers. If you love clothing and are always looking for something different, but not willing to compromise quality, or style, then 22 Shades of Gray is for you. In these days of ‘dress down’ for work and even working from home, fashion seems to have gotten lost. Well, the truth is, it is not lost at all……it is right 92


in the 518 in Buskirk, New York with Peggy at the 22 Shades of Gray location! Not too long ago, many ladies used to have to wear business suits to work. If it wasn’t a suit or a professional dress and nice shoes, it was not acceptable in the office. There was a quality as well as a sense of pride in how people looked and dressed, even at work. Oftentimes, ladies could go directly from work and then out to dinner. It is so refreshing to meet Peggy and shop her garments because she offers classy, stylish, feminine

outfits that can also go from work to dinner. If it is important to you to be able to express yourself stylishly through clothing, visit 22 Shades of Gray and see Peggy. Please call first to make an appointment. To learn more and see additional pictures, visit her on Instagram at @22shadesofgray. You can also view her products from the 22 Shades of Gray page on Facebook. To make an appointment, you can dial (518) 686-4195.









If some people had a hammer, they would quite possibly smash their thumb. Many folks have been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. However, give THIS lady pictured here a hammer and there will be a very different result! Have you ever watched HGTV and drooled over the beautiful results that these television contractors get? There you are, sitting in front of your TV or computer in your perfectly fine home and see all kinds of dreamy designs come to life. Of course, they cost a fortune, are created by these master construction people and designers who are TV worthy, and charge prices that are out of reach for most of us. So, you look around your house feeling that you could never get the kind of things that you just saw on the show. You think you must settle for things the way they are. Well, not so fast, Capital District. We can still aspire to have this level of beautiful work done in our own homes right here in the 518! We too can have someone who is just as TV worthy, just as talented, and just as professional as what we see on TV. By the way, we also do not have to spend a fortune to get quality work done on our homes. Meet Lea Marie! She truly is a model crafts(wo)man. Literally. She

not only can command a hammer and other tools to renovate almost anything, but she is also even a model. This multi-tasker is brains and beauty all in one. She can create your dream renovation at a reasonable price. In one of the pictures shown, she is wearing an awesome custom creation from 22 Shades of Gray. In some of the others, she is hard at work creating a beautiful new

bathroom, a kitchen, and the results of some landscaping work that she had completed. She was formally the owner of Jadas Jumping Beans Daycare, which operated in Albany for 15 years. She then became a fitness instructor, personal trainer, nutrition coach and owner of Downtown Studio FIT. This was a unique Albany-based Fitness and Wellness Studio which provided

a wide variety of daily group exercise classes along with the opportunity for individualized training and nutrition coaching services, at an affordable rate. The landlord of the building closed his business down due to the COVID pandemic and sold the building to a major conglomerate. This made the space no longer available to Lea. However, you can’t keep a good woman down, and especially not this one. As we know, when one door closes, another one opens. Lea Marie’s Custom Creations, Flooring and Designs began last year as ‘side work’ because of the loss of income and businesses closing due to the pandemic. Word got out and it became a full-time business within 2 weeks! Lea is completely self-taught in construction. She worked on her own home for 10 years prior to offering her services to the public. She enjoys what she does, and the results are amazing! She takes pride in giving people quality solutions at an affordable price. She keeps costs down by working alone and not having the overhead of using subcontractors. This mother of 4 does everything from full demos and rebuilds to patio installs and fencing. She meets with her clients to discuss their projects CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


{ CAPITAL WOMAN ENTREPRENEUR } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “This mother of 4 does everything from full demos and rebuilds to patio installs and fencing. She meets with her clients to discuss their projects and then gets right to work.”

Another option for contacting the business is by calling Lea Demonia at (845) 849-4863 to discuss your next home improvement project. She is very easy to work with, keeps her customers informed throughout the process and always brings her professionalism and expertise to the table. As for Downtown Studio FIT, Lea is actively searching for a new location so that she can start that up again too. This lady is a true entrepreneur, never shying away from a challenge, and a great role 98


model. Her journey shows that hard work really pays off and that you can turn your talent into a business. She is an artist, so construction allows her to express her artistic side and to make a living off it at the same time. She feels like it is arts and crafts for adults. It makes her happy and she enjoys making her customers happy. At one point, she had posted some pictures of herself online that her daughter had taken. After being seen online, she was asked to shoot with

other photographers in the industry. Lea enjoys modeling because she feels that it is empowering for herself and for other women. She feels that a woman can do anything but that not all women believe that, nor do they feel secure in that thought. In her free time, she typically spends time with her family, but she also has horses and loves to go riding. This busy lady is quite the inspiration.






Two of my lifelong abiding interests are art and wine. I find them both intriguingly complementary. My love of art did not arise lately. As a college student and young professional, I liked visiting galleries and museums, looking through art books, and buying art pieces that I could afford. Even before establishing a contemporary art gallery in the Capital Region, I found ways of including art venues during holidays, even on business trips. On April 2001, I opened the Martinez Gallery in Troy, N. Y., in that way changing the primary focus of my professional life from higher education to one that now relied on my collector’s instincts to develop an art business. During the past 21 years, wine has been a constant and helpful companion in as many as 100 openings of art exhibitions, usually accompanied by offering wines to visitors and clients. I had always enjoyed the hunt for inexpensive, yet satisfying wines. Now, as the owner of a gallery often giving strangers free wine, this has become a requisite task. But, more than festive occasions, what is it that draws my attention to these two special interests? MARTINEZ 2 Wine and art are both immersive experiences that often alter how people feel. Those changes in feeling are sometimes visible to those around. For example, I have observed gallery goers whose faces have shown obvious fascination with particular paintings and sculptures, sometimes unable to restrain themselves from audible reactions.

I’ve also found touching the look of happiness when someone, smitten by a work of art, acquires it. As a collector, I understand the sense of satisfaction the buyer enjoys as I’ve had similar reactions when buying an art piece I’ve wanted. I recall how, at a business meeting in Washington, D.C., I could not stop thinking of a huge Paloma Cernuda charcoal that I saw earlier in the day during a quick visit to a gallery. It was so gratifying to make arrangements to have

I tell my clients to look for skilled artists of high quality whose work they like. If they find one piece especially appealing, then that is the best value to be had. Developing a relationship with a gallerist is a good way to find out more about artists and talk about how one responds to specific works. After all, buying art is an emotional investment – and that’s the best guide for most non-hedge fund investors, a category that includes most of the art-buying world. Wine, of course, contains alcohol, and that can have a decided physical effect on people. For those who like wine, even the anticipation of certain drinks, such as sparkling wines, MARTINEZ 3 can bring about an expectation of enjoyment. In the world of wine, the colors, the fizz, even the shape of the glasses themselves, are part of their lure and excitement.

it shipped to me; since then, it’s traveled with me to several places. When people ask me if a particular artist represents a good investment, I usually answer that they should buy only what they love. While there are famous, and almost famous, artists whose works increase in monetary value, sometimes dramatically, they represent a smaller portion of the art market.

At one point, when I began to take wine courses, I had to learn how to savor the wine without much drinking. This meant that I had to learn how to spit, in public no less. At wine tastings, a kind of steel spittoon, or spit bucket, is provided so that participants can taste the wine and not be impaired by imbibing too much. Much can be discovered about the personality of a wine by looking at it, inhaling its aroma, and allowing it to fill the mouth, before disposing of much of it in the bucket. Later, when I organized wine programs at two colleges, I wanted students to know that making frequent use of the bucket was a good thing, ensuring everyone remained sober. CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022









{ { SHE HUSTLES TALKS { ART & WINE } }} SHIFT+CONTROL “Let’s take a little bit of time to talk about the art, and the wine that I will likely offer you. We’ll have a good conversation.”


Learning about wine is like learning about art, not only an emotionally immersive experience but also an intellectual one. As one becomes more knowledgeable about each, the involvement becomes deeper and more satisfying.

often display bolder designs in their use of color and images. Winemakers wanting to attract younger wine drinkers know the value of distinctive brand images. Think of Australia’s Yellow Tail and California’s Barefoot wines, among others.

It is in the wine bottle itself that the marriage of art and wine finds visible expression. With branding, most wineries give a great deal of attention to their logo and the image in the wine label, outside of those elements required by law or custom. Older wineries underscore their historic appeal by maintaining classical images in their labels while New World wines



Probably the most famous combination of wine and art is exemplified by France’s Chateau Mouton Rothschild. This extraordinary winery has commissioned a leading artist each year since 1945 to design its label. Among the American artists selected to do labels have been

Andy Warhol, Robert Motherwell, Jeff Koons, and Keith Haring. One can enjoy these labels, and many more, at the winery’s website or in person in Bordeaux at the Chateau’s Paintings for the Labels Room. Quite a treat as well is a tour of their Museum of Wine in Art, which I visited many years ago. Next time you come visit me at Martinez Gallery. Let’s take a little bit of time to talk about the art, and the wine that I’ll will likely offer you. We’ll have a good conversation. And possibly a memorable experience for the palate and the eyes.




Melissa Stephens President & CEO Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and your role with the Northeast Kidney Foundation. I stepped into the role of President & CEO after the former President & CEO of 20+ years passed away unexpectedly. In many ways I feel like my background, skill, and circumstances has aligned me so perfectly for this role. For the last 15 years, I’ve had a successful career in development and fundraising, working for various non-profits. 14 years ago this July, I donated my kidney altruistically to a man who was battling with poly-cystic kidney disease, so the mission and work of the Northeast Kidney Foundation is very close to my heart. What is the Northeast Kidney Foundation? What is it’s mission? Where are the headquarters located? The Northeast Kidney Foundation is a direct lifeline for those battling kidney disease. We provide programs, services, emergency grants, physical and emotional support, as well as work as a network within the kidney community. Our mission to improve the lives of those living with kidney disease is one that we are proud of and we work hard every day to make sure we are providing the best possible services for prevention measures, early detection, intervention, and support. While we service the entire Northeast Region of the country, our main office is located in Albany, NY.

How did you become involved with this organization? My first introduction to the foundation was probably about 7 years ago when I was introduced to Carol LaFleur, the former President & CEO. My boss at the time, who was a kidney recipient, introduced us since I was an altruistic kidney donor. Carol asked me to be a model in the Albany Catwalk for Kidneys charity fundraiser. Years later, Carol reached out to me as she was looking for part-time development support and asked if I could help out.

Why do you do what you do? What is your why? Service and supporting community has always been a huge part of my life; giving back was the way I was raised. So it would only make sense for me to make a career of it. I truly feel called to this organization and this mission specifically – there is so much that we can do to support those living with kidney disease and after learning that it effect 1 in 3 Americans; that much of kidney disease can be slowed or avoided by prevention measures with diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle; that so many people are living with kidney disease and don’t even know it. I feel obligated to spread awareness and

shed light on kidney disease. How long has the NEKF been around and how did it get started? NeKF was formed in 1972 by Ed and Rhoda Sperber. Ed’s young daughter, Barbara, needed a kidney transplant after learning that her’s was failing. During that time, the family learned that there was truly no support for people going through this process and wanted to create an organization that provided support and services. The family knew that needed to change and so the Northeast Kidney Foundation was created. What has your organization accomplished that you feel most proud of? Since stepping into this role in July 2021, I am very proud that we have continued to stay true to our mission of providing direct and immediate support to those living with kidney disease. Between the pandemic shutting us down, losing our longtime, iconic leader, experiencing a reduction in philanthropic giving, and many other internal struggles, we have never wavered in our support of this community. We continue to not only offer existing programs and services, but we are also expanding our reach and getting creative in how we provide care. I am incredibly proud of that. What are the goals for the organization this year? What would happen if your organization was not able to accomplish its goals? This has truly been a rebuilding and revisioning year for the foundation. While losing a long-time leader has been CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } { FOR A GOOD CAUSE “In many ways I feel like my background, skill, and circumstances has aligned me so perfectly for this role.”

incredibly difficult, we’ve really taken this time to evaluate what we have been doing and reexamine what we can be doing better. I’m excited about launching some new, upcoming services including an Online Grant Portal and a Live Help feature on our newly reimagined website. This will help us respond to the needs of those we serve much quicker that we ever have been able to in the past. If our organization was not able to accomplish its goals, thousands of our constituents would not have access, support, grants, resources, or a network to depend on. Our work is critical. Give me your best example of the way you’ve seen your organization’s work make a difference? Whitney, my colleague, always tells this story, but it’s so impactful! We receive emergency grant requests on a daily basis. These requests can range from asking to help purchase groceries to paying utility bills; whatever the kidney patients needs to help them focus on their health. After fulfilling one of these requests, we received a handwritten thank you note on a napkin stating how grateful he was to receive the aid. It was incredibly touching to hear and see just how powerful this work can be. Who is someone that inspires you and why? There are SO many people who inspire me and drive me to be a better person every single day. I am inspired by my own family, namely my mom, who immigrated to this country over 40 years ago. She taught herself to speak English, to read, to cook American foods, to cross stitch and sew anything, including clothes! And she never quits 110


– she is always challenging herself to do more and learn. I am inspired by the bravery of our kidney community – not only the patients, who battle this exhausting disease day in and day out – but also their caregivers and loved ones who also act as advocates for them. Our incredibly loyal volunteers inspire me. The show up to everything with a positive attitude and a feeling of gratitude, ready to make a difference in whatever we are doing. Their drive to make our community a better place is admirable. I am a firm believer in you are who you surround yourself with. Attitudes and habits are contagious. My personal friends, professional colleagues, mentors, and network is very representative of individuals who strive to put their best foot forward every day. They inspire me daily, working towards the goals they want to accomplish. What has been one moment that has impacted your life for the better or worse since working with the NEKF? Losing our long-time President & CEO, Carol LaFleur, has really impacted my life, but also the trajectory of NeKF. It’s difficult to explain because losing Carol was a huge setback to the organization yet is also allowed us to have a fresh start. Carol impacted so many lives throughout her career and filling her shoes has been a challenge to say the least, haha! But at the same time, it really gave me and our Board of Directors the opportunity to throw everything out the window and start fresh with a new perspective in terms of what the kidney

community was asking for in support. We’ve taken this enormous tragedy and worked really hard to refocus and envision how to transform our work. It’s been a long road and there is still so much more to do, but I am very excited about the progress we’ve made so far. What are areas of opportunity for your organization? What could you do better? One of the biggest areas for opportunity is for us to expand our footprint to reach every single corner of the Northeast that we cover. I really believe we can be doing so much better of a job in this area and it’s a key focus of mine. Kidney disease effects 1 in 3 Americans, so there certainly isn’t a shortage of those impacted. Reaching out and educating people on what we do, who we are, what kidney disease in, prevention measures, etc. is something I would like to be better at. What results does your organization achieve? Impacting more lives and educating people are kidney disease prevention is a focus. Right now, we serve about 8,000 people a year. I’d like to see that number increase to 10,000 and then grow by 5-10% each year. Where is your leadership team strong, and where does it need development? Passion, tenacity, and resolve to get things done are strengths of ours. We work hard each day to ensure we are meeting the immediate and urgent needs our those we serve. There are only two of us who work full-time for the Northeast Kidney Foundation, so it’s a lot to cover with a very small team. We have to be creative, focused, and experts


{ SHIFT+CONTROL { FOR A GOOD CAUSE} } “We provide programs, services, emergency grants, physical and emotional support, as well as work as a network within the kidney community.”


Expanding our team so we can have a bigger reach and bringing on others who have different skill sets will be key to our growth and success. What do you, personally, spend most of your time on? My time and focus varies day to day but my biggest efforts are on fund development, advocacy, and education on kidney disease and what we do. What are your goals for the next three to five years? What priorities will help you achieve them? Goal 1: Build a solid foundation of capital that will allow us to achieve

our organizational goals. Goal 2: Expand our reach to cover the entire Northeast Region as we are intended to do.

consistent volunteers who get it all done. Of course, I’d like to expand in so many ways and bringing on more staff will be crucial in that growth plan.

Goal 3: Offer more comprehensive programs and services that are focused on kidney disease prevention measures. Tell us something people may not know about the NEKF. I think people hear that we are a Foundation and assume we are this large entity but in reality, there are 2 full-time staff (myself and Whitney), 8 Board of Directors, and about 10 CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


{ FOR A GOOD CAUSE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “I am an organized person and a task master so it has been a great fit from the beginning. This new role has allowed me to step back and really see the big picture.”

Whitney Malone Director of Operations #1 Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and your role with the Northeast Kidney Foundation. I joined the NEKF family in October of 2019. My initial role with the organization was as an Event Coordinator/Office Manager. Then in June after we lost Carol, our beloved CEO, I stepped into the role of Director of Operations. I am an organized person and a task master so it has been a great fit from the beginning. This new role has allowed me to step back and really see the big picture. I, along with Melissa , our CEO, have really focused on running the organization at maximum efficiency in order to be productive and meet the needs of our kidney community. I have always wanted to have a job that made a difference in people’s lives. Before working for the Northeast Kidney Foundation, I worked at a bank for six years. In many ways, helping people with their financial lives helped me tremendously in being able to meet the expectations of my current position with NEKF. How did you become involved with this organization? I became involved in the organization through a mutual friend of one of the employees at NEKF at the time. I met with Carol and we hit it off almost immediately. I began working for the organization the following week. Why do you do what you do? What is your why? My why is twofold. I lost my father five 114


years ago to pancreatic cancer. I know and can sympathize wholeheartedly with the desperate desire to help your loved one when they are sick. When someone is newly diagnosed with kidney disease, the diagnosis can be incredibly overwhelming for the individual and their family. It truly is a family disease. I know, firsthand, the worry and pain that comes with it and want to offer support wherever I can. My other why are my two daughters. I want to set an example for them. I want them to see that helping others is an extremely rewarding job. What has your organization accomplished that you feel most proud of? Being able to meet people’s immediate needs and having that connection with them has been so rewarding. I am also so proud of the team we have in place. Our Board of Directors, along with Melissa and I share a passion to make a difference. The excitement and energy over the work we are doing is infectious and drives us all to work hard every day to make a difference. Give me your best example of the way you’ve seen your organization’s work make a difference? One of our grant offerings is a transportation subsidy program. We have many people that are struggling one way or another to even get to their doctor and/or dialysis appointments. Dialysis in particular is a life support treatment. These appointments cannot be missed. A little over a month ago, I received a handwritten note from a patient who had received our grant. He was so thankful and appreciative

just to be able to pay for transportation to get to his dialysis appointment. He thanked us profusely. It’s moments like these, when you realize the lifethreatening struggles that people are having and how important it is to be able to offer them some help. Who is someone that inspires you and why? My mother has been a huge inspiration to me. She worked for a nonprofit for years. During her tenure, the organization experienced tremendous growth and was able to support and reach so many people in need. I think about her often when I am making decisions for the Foundation. She led by example, all the while always putting my brother and I first. Any parent knows there is no balance between work and personal life but there is a way to do it all. What has been one moment that has impacted your life for the better or worse since working with the NEKF? I had just started with the Foundation when we had our Catwalk for Kidneys event, our largest community event of the year. The whole day was truly inspiring. The individuals who walked in the show consisted of doctors, nurses, people in the community and patients and their families. Everyone had come together for a common goal: to raise awareness and give support to those with kidney disease. The last models to walk the runway were a couple and their four year old daughter. The dad had donated his kidney to his daughter and the procedure was a success. He had saved her life. The moment was so incredibly moving. There was not




{ SHIFT+CONTROL } } { FOR A GOOD CAUSE “Being able to meet people’s immediate needs and having that connection with them has been so rewarding.”

a dry eye in the house. After the show was over, a member of the wait staff at the venue came up to the Executive Director and I. He was so moved by the event that he wanted to know where he could donate his kidney. It’s moments like these that you hold onto. It makes you want to hit the ground running and work twice as hard to help those in need. What do you, personally, spend most of your time on? 116


My main focus is on making sure the daily operations of the foundation run smoothly. I work very closely with Melissa to meet our daily and long term objectives. More specifically, I handle our grant requests. We have many that come in weekly especially since the onset of the pandemic. Tell us something people may not know about the NEKF. I think people may not know that we offer assistance to those with immediate

needs on a local level. Melissa and I are available 24/7 for anyone who needs support. Northeast Kidney Foundation 22 Colvin Avenue, Albany, NY 12206 800-999-9697 ext.101 | 518-533-7880










In these days of rushing around trying to work, pay bills, maintain a home, maybe walk the dogs and all the other mundane tasks that must be done, many of us do not even think of making dinner, much less a real dessert. So, when it is time to celebrate a birthday or retirement or, in fact, anything, we feel lucky if we can manage to make it to the grocery store to pick up a cake! If we have a little bit of time and a few eggs, we might go get a box of mix and a can of frosting and then think that we actually DID something when we produce our ‘out of the box but I still made it’ excuse for a cake. Well, no more 518! We are done with that. We no longer need to settle for one of those ‘I really meant to make you a nice cake, but I actually didn’t have the time or talent, so I bought one at the store on my way home from work’ kind of situations. Sure, we show up with the celebratory dessert, but the plastic container and price tag give us away every time….. not to mention the now lopsided and messed up overpriced purchase that slid around in the car while we were trying to get it to its destination. This is not what we really wanted. No, no, no! We did not want that frosting all up against the inside of the clear plastic. Darn it…... Many people lack the time or talent to do things from scratch these days. A lot of people do not (or cannot) cook

anymore, let alone BAKE something. Well, Capital Woman Online knows a woman who will have NONE of that! NONE! We all know that every occasion is even better when there is food involved, and especially something sweet. Cupcakes can do the trick sometimes but there is nothing like a cake or other unique

treat. Well, there are cakes and then there are CAKES! There is a very talented lady in the Capital District who may just have magic hands. No one really knows how she does it but time after time, she goes in the kitchen and something fabulous comes out. Every. Single. Time. It may be in the form of an animal; it may look like a chain saw or even a designer handbag. No one

really knows what will come out of the oven next, but we do know that it will be unique. We know that it will look incredible, and it will most certainly be DELICIOUS! This unassuming mother of 3 here in our backyard commands the pots and pans, the butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla extract to do exactly what she tells them. Obey, they do. They come together in whatever formation she had imagined and the end result is creative, interesting, and fun. It is a mystery how she does it, but she never disappoints and always comes up with something that outdoes the last thing that she baked! This lady (let’s call her Michelle), preheats the oven, gets out the whisk, and then instructs the spoons and spatulas to create the next dream cake. No Easy Bake oven here people. No Duncan Hines. Even Betty Crocker knows better than to show up around here. There’s a new cake sheriff in town! After seeing some of her work, we think that Betty Crocker decided that this town isn’t big enough for the two of them. Betty was last seen heading south on the Thruway on her way out of the Capital District with her bowls and apron in tow. We will still have our memories, but no one will truly miss her. We have the real deal now. So, who is this local cake lady? In 2019, she started a new business CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022














{ WHAT’S BAKING IN THE} 518 } { SHIFT+CONTROL “This mom whips up delicious confections that are not only beautiful but unique and delicious.”

and after that, we came to know her as Saratoga Cake Mom! She created a Facebook page called Saratoga Cake Mom and on Instagram, her business page is @cakemom518. She also has a website that can be found at Regardless of how you look her up, please make sure you do because you really need to see how creative this lady is. Some of her designs are whimsical while others have a more traditional feel, depending 128


on what the customer requests. There are so many different cakes on display on her online platforms, that it will be hard for you to choose what you want her to make for your next special occasion. In addition to custom cakes, Saratoga Cake Mom offers cupcakes, cake pops, cookies and other specialty items – for any and all occasions. She chooses her tools……measuring cups and spoons, flour, sugar, vanilla,

and the most important one, her vivid imagination. This mom whips up delicious confections that are not only beautiful but unique and delicious. They look too good to eat, but every bit of them is edible. Her imagination knows no limits. To contact her, you can email directly at saratogacakemom@ You can also call or text inquiries to (908) 510-3603.





for women who are always the

heroes and never the








technique, and studying. It becomes both competitive and rewarding. It transitioned into making a living.

My name is Karim Orange and I am a two-time Emmy nominated ‘clean’ makeup artist and personal care products, expert. As a makeup artist, I’ve beautified everything from bruises and bags, on movie stars and hags. Making gray skies blue was my calling from the time I was a young girl. I was once asked by a teacher what I wanted to be when I grew up. I replied ‘A crayon so I can be in a box full of color. The teacher replied ‘that’s impossible! Wow, how wrong she was!

I was born and raised in New York City, and I began my career as a makeup artist over 20 years ago. I’ve worked on countless music videos with artists such as Lauren Hill, Nas and Dave Mathews Bands. My big break came when I beat out 23 other makeup artists for a spot on the ABC daytime television talk show The View. During that time I had the

I fell in love with makeup early, I just loved how the women in lipstick ads always looked happy. I felt that if I put it on, I would be happy too. That is still my goal, I just want to inspire love and happiness with lead-free lipstick! Long before I was a make-up artist, there a love for makeup. There was lipstick with bright colors, and shadows with shimmer and glitter. There were stores and women with vanity tables that were all filled with make-up. Long before high school crushes and first kisses, there was make-up. Long after high school and the crushes ended, there was still make-up. Make-up was always truth for me, so it seemed natural for me to add artist to the title. Titles almost always demanded some kind of responsibility. It became something to live up to. It required time,

opportunity to work with countless celebrities such as Matt Damon, The BackStreet Boys, Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, and countless others. I’ve even done makeup on a former president of The United States. One day, a lipstick that I wore daily, sent me to the emergency room with a very severe allergic reaction. The doctor simply told me “don’t wear that lipstick

again”. For the next week, every lipstick that I put on sent me to the ER. I didn’t wear lipstick for almost 8 years. During that time, I started to research how a lot of autoimmune diseases stem from something we put into our bodies daily. One day the immune system screams ENOUGH! I was lucky because my symptoms happened on the outside of my body. I’m often asked “When did you find clean beauty?” The answer is this I didn’t seek to find clean beauty. It found me! I remember walking into a small health food store in the early 2000’s. The manager and I started talking and I told her I was a makeup artist. She asked would I be interested in working with some of the natural brands they carried. My response was “natural makeup?” What’s that? Light dirt, dark dirt, medium dirt? Little did I know, that that was the day I found my true calling! I never looked back. I was able to finally wear lipstick again! I have been educating women on the importance of clean beauty since 2003! Elle Magazine called me a “Green Star” in 2007. I have appeared on Good Morning America, and have been featured in countless magazines including Glamour & Allure. I have worked as a consultant with some of the biggest clean beauty brands in the industry including Vapour Beauty, Gabriel Cosmetics, and Jane Iredale. I educate women via corporate workshops, private parties, or one-on-one consultations at my Albany-based makeup studio in CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022



“Long before there was a make-up artist, there was make-up.”

Center Square. I teach women to step out into the world fearlessly, in the power of their own unique beauty, without compromising ingredients. My p a s s i o n a n d q u e s t f o r understanding clean beauty ingredients extend beyond the surface. In 2013 I enrolled in farm school, where I studied urban farming. This led me to spend extensive time in Ecuador studying both biodynamic farming as well as permaculture. I currently grow a great deal of what I eat, in an urban setting. I love to educate others on this also. I have been living in the capital region for 3 years now, and I love it! Looking forward to sharing clean beauty tips, reviews, and more with Women of the Capital District. Until then I wish you Love & Lead-free Lipstick! For more information visit: www. Follow on Instagram: @thatgirlorange My name is Karim Orange and I am a two-time Emmy nominated ‘clean’ makeup artist and personal care products expert. As a makeup artist I’ve beautified everything from bruises and bags, on movie stars and hags. Making gray skies blue was my calling from the time I was a young girl. I was once asked by a teacher what I wanted to be when I grew up. I replied ‘A crayon so I can be in a box full of color. The teacher replied ‘that’s impossible’! Wow, how wrong she was! 136


I fell in love with makeup early, I just loved how the women in lipstick ads always looked happy. I felt that if I put it on I would be happy too. That today is still my goal, I just want to inspire love and happiness with lead-free lipstick! Long before there was a make-up artist, there was make-up. There was lipstick with bright colors, and shadows with shimmer and glitter. There were stores and women with vanity tables that were all filled with make-up. Long before high school crushes and first kisses there was makeup. Long after high school and the crushes ended, there was still make-up. Make-up was always truth for me, so it seemed natural for me to add artist to the title. Titles almost always demanded some kind of responsibility. It became something to live up to. It required time, technique and studying. It becomes both competitive and rewarding. It transitioned into making a living. Born and raised in New York City, I began my career as a makeup artist over 20 years ago. I’ve worked on countless music videos with artists such as Lauren Hill and Dave Mathews Bands. My big break came when I beat out 23 other makeup artists for a spot on the ABC daytime television talk show The View. During that time I had the opportunity to work with countless celebrities such as Mat Damon, The BackStreet Boys, Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin and countless others. I’ve even done makeup on a former president of

The United States. During this time, a lipstick that I wore daily, sent me to the emergency room with a very severe allergic reaction. The doctor simply told me ‘don’t wear that lipstick again. For the next week, every lipstick that I put on sent me to the ER. I haven’t worn lipstick for almost 8 years. During that time, I started to research how a lot of autoimmune diseases stem from something we put into our bodies on a daily basis. One day the immune system screams ENOUGH! I was lucky, because my symptoms happened on the outside of my body. I’m often asked ‘When did you find clean beauty’ The answer is this ‘I didn’t seek to find clean beauty. It found me! I remember walking into a small health food store in the early 2000’s. The manager and I started talking and I told her I was a makeup artist. She asked would I be interested in working with some of the natural brands they carried. My response was ‘natural makeup’? Whats that? Light dirt, dark dirt, medium dirt? Little did I know, that that was the day I found my true calling! I never looked back. I have been educating woman on the importance of clean beauty since 2003! Elle Magazine called me a “Green Star” in 2007. I have appeared on Good Morning America, and have been featured in countless magazines including Glamour & Allure. I have worked as a consultant with some of the biggest clean beauty brands in the industry including Vapour




{{ SHE HUSTLES { CLEAN BEAUTYTALKS QUEEN SHIFT+CONTROL }}} “I have been living in the capital region for 3 years now, and I absolutely love it! Looking forward to sharing clean beauty tips, reviews and more with Women of the Capital District.”

Beauty, Gabriel Cosmetics and Jane Iredale. I educate woman via corporate workshops, private parties or oneon-one consultatations at my Albany based makeup studio in Center Square. I educate women to step out into the world fearlessly, in the power of their own unique beauty, without compromising ingredients.

I love life from the source! My passion and quest for understanding clean beauty ingredients goes beyond the surface. In 2013 I enrolled in ‘farm school’, where I studied urban farming. This led me to spending extensive time in Ecuador studying both biodynamic farming as well as permaculture. I currently grow a great deal of what I eat, in an urban setting. I love to

educate others on this also. I have been living in the capital region for 3 years now, and I absolutely love it! Looking forward to sharing clean beauty tips, reviews and more with Women of the Captital District. Until then I wish you Love & Lead free Lipstick!








The popularity of the social media platform TikTok is no secret. The short video platform made its debut in August of 2019 and skyrocketed with followers during the global shutdown in March of 2020. According to its parent company Bytedance, TikTok currently has one billion users; many of those users are teens. Last year, market research company Forrester found in their “Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics US Youth Survey 2021,” that 63 percent of Americans 12 to 17 years of age used TikTok on a weekly basis, compared to 57 percent for Instagram. Like most social media platforms, TikTok is designed to keep the user engaged for hours. But this addicting platform is greatly affecting our youth, particularly adolescent girls. “We can clearly see that the algorithms used in apps like TikTok are designed to keep the user engaged on a subject or subjects for as long as possible,” says Richard Simmons, M.D., Managing Physician of the Child Neurology Group in Clifton Park, New York. “In the Spring of 2020, I saw the first of what would be about 75 girls (and 1 boy) with new-onset and dramatic tic-like movements. After the first few girls presented, the pattern began to emerge of girls between 12 and 18 years old performing numerous repetitive movements and repeating

phrases that were often similar in their appearance.” Dr. Simmons stated this is not how Tourette’s Syndrome happens, although many girls on the platform who developed tics claim to have Tourette’s, Simmons urged tics from TikTok is not the same as the neurological disorder. After speaking with other colleagues in the child neurology field, Simmons discovered they were seeing

the same issue. “There are hundreds, if not thousands of videos of girls with self-proclaimed Tourette’s Syndrome showing off all their different tics to one another. Initially, we felt the girls presenting to the office were mimicking these videos – likely triggered by the dramatic degree of stress they were under from the isolation of the pandemic.” Simmons went on to say that struggle for “likes” or to be popular on the platform may

have contributed to the number of girls having ticks. “There was a shift, however, when new users began to pop up on TikTok with nearly identical ‘tics’ and videos about the struggles of their diagnosis. Interestingly, when the vaccine became available for the 12-15 age range, and social activity began to pick up, I lost about 90% of these patients (never showed up for follow-up).” But tics aren’t the only way TikTok is affecting our teens, the common struggle to be popular draws teens in, “TikTok is designed to be addictive, and fosters the urge to “fit in” with trends,” said Simmons, “TikTok is rapid-cycling and creates a perpetual FOMO for kids. It started with dances and has devolved into incredibly negative trends – to the point where schools were shut down earlier this year because of coordinated threats of violence shared on TikTok. The repeated exposure to negative trends, misinformation, and “challenges” makes TikTok both alluring and potentially dangerous for teenagers. TikTok can have similar effects on adults but nearly to the same extent. “Most adults have established their identities and have shifted in their developmental goals where fitting in and being up on the newest trend is less important,” said Simmons. “I did have a single parent who had developed the “tics” seen in TikTok videos and they were identical to all the teenagers I had seen.” CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


{ {SHE SHE HUSTLES TALKS HUSTLES }} { HI TECH HEALTH &TALKS WELLNESS } SHIFT+CONTROL “TikTok also fuels fearmongering, “The “Tourette Syndrome” being perpetuated on TikTok is not, in fact, truly Tourette Syndrome.”

Simmons went on to say that most people who came to him with tics were already diagnosed and being treated for things like ADHD, anxiety, and depression. TikTok also fuels fearmongering, “The “Tourette Syndrome” being perpetuated on TikTok is not, in fact, truly Tourette Syndrome. It falls under the category of psychogenic illness and likely amounts to the most widespread case of mass hysteria in human history. It will go away as we have seen most of our patients improve and move forward with life,” said Simmons. 144


Simmons warned parents to keep in mind the financial gain most social media developers have, “App developers have revenue in mind and the mental or physical wellbeing of its users are rarely taken into consideration. We must be aware of trendy apps and use them ourselves to see potential pitfalls. We also need to make our patients aware of the dangers of social media even though it’s just an app on a phone.” Although the phenomenon of TikTok seems to be taking over Gen Z, it’s not quite as popular as Google’s YouTube. In 2021, YouTube was used

weekly by 72 percent of American teens – that’s up from 69 percent in 2020, according to Forrester. Behind YouTube and TikTok is Snapchat, which is used by 54 percent of US Gen Z in 2021 and 2020. Bottom line and this will not be a newsflash to Gen Y and Millennials, put down the phone and do other activities. The good news: most of the crisis around Covid is clearing and life seems to be returning to somewhat normal as it was before the pandemic.



It’s hard enough for many women to love the body they were born into unconditionally. When a breast cancer diagnosis comes along and causes unwanted changes to their bodies, this challenge is significantly amplified for many women. Amongst the numerous hardships and losses brought about by a breast cancer diagnosis/treatment, our confidence should not be another casualty of this battle. Unfortunately, many Rochester women are at risk of experiencing these concerns due to the elevated incidence of breast cancer in our region. In Monroe County, the rate of new breast cancer diagnoses is 1.13 times higher than the national average. With an elevated rate of breast cancer in the area, many women in Rochester have either been personally impacted by the disease, or know someone who has. As a breast cancer survivor, I understand the selfconsciousness that accompanies this disease. With the help of a positive outlook, an incredible support system, and a phenomenal friend and photographer, I developed a sense of security in my changed body, and I want other women to be able to experience this life-changing shift in perspective. For this reason, I partnered with The Photography Experience to create the Breast Cancer Confidence Project, an empowerment campaign and community 146


of support. Our mission is to encourage other women impacted by breast cancer to develop love and appreciation for their bodies. My name is Michaela, and in March 2020 I was diagnosed with a rare and

While survival would seem to be a more pleasant thought to focus on, I often found myself similarly overwhelmed by the unknown physical and emotional challenges that could be awaiting me. Like so many women, I had spent much of my life fighting an uphill battle against my negative self-image, and one of my biggest fears was that my treatments and surgeries would compromise any progress that had been made. I remember worrying that I would never feel sexy or confident in my life – that I would never fully love and embrace my body, all because of my condition. Unfortunately, far too many women face similar challenges to their confidence or sense of self in the aftermath of a breast cancer diagnosis/treatment. As our bodies begin to change and we start to see the consequences of this disease appear on ourselves, the emotional burden can feel devastating and insurmountable. For some, these struggles may be ongoing and reappear throughout life after treatment.

aggressive type of breast cancer. I was just 28 years old when I received this completely unexpected news, and it prompted a surge of complex fears and uncertainties. As one would imagine, there was an overwhelming amount of anxiety that my disease could compromise my chances of having a future at all.

When we get caught up in this false and negative narrative about our bodies, it can make it difficult for us to recognize our strength. Continuously viewing ourselves with the same cracked lens makes it hard to change that script in our minds. Replacing that lens with a new one helps us see our bodies from a different perspective, which in turn can allow us to realign our









{ BREAST CANCER CONFIDENCE TRACY TALKS } } } } { WOMAN WHO INSPIRES { {SHIFT+CONTROL “With the help of a positive outlook, an incredible support system, and a phenomenal friend and photographer, I developed a sense of security in my changed body, and I want other women to be able to experience this life-changing shift in perspective.”

self-image. When we bring our bodies into focus with this more positive and artistic light, we begin to appreciate our true beauty and radiance. This is how boudoir photography helped me to cope with my body image issues after breast cancer; reimagining my scars in this different light helped me appreciate and admire my new body, which propelled me towards a higher state of self-love. It was this very experience that led me to start this project. When I first began this journey, I hadn’t planned on sharing my images for the rest of the world to see – I was still feeling vulnerable at the time, too buried in my self-doubts and insecurities. In fact, my first step towards starting this project was a boudoir photography shoot with Jolana (The Photography Experience), which occurred after my diagnosis, but before treatment had started. My motivations at the time were fear-based – that first session was strictly intended to memorialize my body as I had always known it. I had no intentions of documenting my body any farther – with the unknown changes my body was facing, I was certain at the time that I’d never feel comfortable in my skin. Despite my initial fears, as time went on I was surprised to find myself in awe of 150


the strength of my body. Even though some days were incredibly difficult and painful, every single day I pushed forward. Even though my mirror reflected a different image than I had been used to, I was still standing there fighting

this disease with everything I had in me. With these realizations, I began to see the beauty in every ounce of my being – the scars that were developing on my body marked my resilience, not my weakness.

As I grew more comfortable in my new skin, I reached out to The Photography Experience for more boudoir sessions – now with the more powerful and optimistic intentions of celebrating my body, appreciating the changes, and emotionally healing. For each major milestone of my disease/ treatment, Jolana used her talent to reframe my vulnerabilities as something beautiful and worth appreciating. For someone who had never felt like a strong person, it was cathartic to see myself stripped down by the consequences of this illness, yet still exude the strength of someone who continued to push forward every day. As I began to recover from the disease’s emotional consequences, I recognized the opportunity to help other women through my story. When I first received my diagnosis, I had seen images of women with various types of breast cancer surgeries, but the pictures that I found were very technical and made it difficult to imagine feeling comfortable with any of the potential choices. Those very clinical representations, while helpful, were not so productive when it came to my confidence concerns. But the elegant boudoir portraits showing my body with an array of interventions might be able to help another woman who found herself in the position I had been in months before. This opportunity to illustrate a spectrum of potential interventions to treat breast cancer using one body as a constant variable was unique, and the





{ BREAST CANCER CONFIDENCE TRACY TALKS } } } } { WOMAN WHO INSPIRES { {SHIFT+CONTROL “I remember worrying that I would never feel sexy or confident in my life – that I would never fully love and embrace my body, all because of my condition.”

attention Jolana paid to honoring each surgery and portraying the endurance of beauty throughout the process held the potential to be highly influential for another woman in need of reassurance. And so, in Fall 2020, we launched what was then known as the Breast Cancer Boudoir Project, which initially involved sharing photos from my personal boudoir shoots at each milestone of my disease/ treatment through social media. While I knew that there was value to sharing my own images, I also recognized that there may only be a small group of women who would truly benefit from my personal journey. As I had noticed in my own searches during those early anxiety-filled days, it can be hard to find 152


elegant, non-clinical images that show bodies which look like our own. And while viewing relatable body types cast in such an artistic light can be therapeutic in itself, it’s even more healing to see your own body through the lens of boudoir. For that reason, in October 2020 we started providing opportunities for local breast cancer patients, survivors, and “previvors” to have an affordable and transformative boudoir experience. To date, we have provided 10 local women with the unique opportunity for a “mini” (30 minute) boudoir session, followed by a group photo shoot with other survivors through our annual events. Over time, we have evolved into a support community dedicated to approaching confidence issues after

a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as promoting awareness and early detection techniques. We believe that every warrior and survivor deserves to love and have a healthy relationship with their body. This is why we provide a community of support and events intended to help women impacted by breast cancer to not only feel comfortable, but confident and sexy. This is especially important for women in our region, as Rochester has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in all U.S. cities. To continue promoting our message of self-love, we will be providing monthly columns on Breast Cancer Confidence and related topics for Rochester Woman Online.








Night Out For You (NOFY) is a local non-profit that provides adults, 18+ years old, who are undergoing cancer care a few hours away from their diagnosis to remember who they are. The individual also referred to as the Recipient, can take anyone with them on their Experience - friends, family members - whoever the individual would like to have on their night out. NOFY came about after I met a woman who was undergoing treatment for liver cancer. She was not responding to the treatments and was despondent about how to tell her family. She was confiding in me of her possible treatment options and said that her family was her motivation to live. I had been recently diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic Breast Cancer and still trying to “wrap my head” around what that meant, so I had an inkling of how she was feeling. This conversation laid heavy on my heart, so I sent this woman a gift card to a local restaurant to take her family out. I thought this would provide much needed time away from the stress of cancer-life and give them all a night off. She was so surprised to

be given a night out. And for me, it felt great to spread a little joy. Shortly thereafter, I attended an event for children with cancer where stories of much needed fun resonated with me. This led me to realize that adults need a little light to hold on to during the dark times of cancer

treatment. This is when Night Out For You began to take shape. After doing a little research about non-profits supporting cancer patients, it was clear that the “night out” concept was just what was needed. A simple

night out to look forward to, which does not require a huge commitment of having to go away for a week on vacation nor be terminally ill to receive any type of respite, was the right fit. The paperwork was filed in April 2016 to become a non-profit and by June 2016,Night Out For You was not only approved as a charity but that’s when we hung our shingle up for business. In the past 6 years, we have provided 84 Experiences ranging from a balloon ride, a trip to NYC to meet Hoda Kotb, concerts with meetn-greets with Kenny Rogers, Zac Brown and Melissa Etheridge to a paint-n-sip night with dinner for 50 people! We strive to achieve what someone imagines for a night out and make it happen. An Experience begins with the Recipient sending in a Request Form. The form consists of a person telling what they would like to do including a list of people they would like to share the Experience with. Once we receive the form, a member from the NOFY team will reach out to the Recipient to begin working on the details.



{ { SHE HUSTLES TALKS} } } { 518 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT SHIFT+CONTROL “After doing a little research about non-profits supporting cancer patients, it was clear that the “night out” concept was just what was needed.”

Meanwhile, internally other team members are finalizing the finances and securing little touches to make the Experience extra special, like snacks for a road trip or special towels to use at Great Escape. The only thing we ask is that the Recipient shows up and has fun! We currently consist of 4 Board Members: Kristen Casey, Mary McGarvey, Kristie Tamasi and myself. We did create a Recipient position, where we have a former Recipient add their voice to our future plans. Our current Recipient member is Georgette DeFoe, who received an 156


Experience in 2017. In addition, we have volunteers who received Experiences from us, who are friends of past Recipients of Experiences, as well as, people who resonate with our mission. All of these folks are truly what makes NOFY work and special. The time and energy they provide to make each person we craft an Experience for is outstanding. We are blessed to have them as part of our tribe. Without them we could not achieve as much as we do! We serve the Capital Region, SaratogaNorth Country, Catskill Region, Cobleskill-Oneonta area and more.

If you know someone undergoing cancer and could use a Night Out please reach out to us via our website: or request@







If you asked most people the difference between style and fashion, I think you would get many similar answers. When in actuality, style and fashion could not be more different. Fashion is a business. It changes seasonally to feed the massive amounts of wants in our lives. We want to look good, be validated and to be on trend. This multi billion dollar industry has designers churning out new and innovative ideas that shape what we are supposed to look like this season and every season, every year, infinitum. The fashion industry is all about switching people’s minds at the point of saturation. An example would be shoulder pads in ladies jackets and dresses in the 1980’s. The bigger the better, to the point where everyone looked like football players. Then, once everyone was wearing them, the designers turned around and made shoulderpads a thing of the past. They fell out of favor with designers so you had to either throw all those garments out or get them removed or reduced in size. Every tailor shop from coast to coast was busy removing shoulder pads for the customers that could not afford to just throw everything out and start anew.

made with the finest and long lasting workmanship and materials. Case in point would be the little Black dress or the Navy Blue blazer. Perfectly tailored and fitted to the individual, can be worn for decades and typically change very little in form. Both of these items are simply a perfect background that bring out the colors and the stylings of the accessories you might own. When you think of fashion, names like Versace, Armani and Dolce Gabbana come to mind. With everyone waiting for the next re-invention this upcoming season. When you think of style, names like Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Ferregamo are the brands that come to mind. Each name has a product that is high quality and immediately recognized as the best. The Hermes scarf, Louis Vuitton handbag and Ferragamo shoes. These brands have created a very high quality product that looks very similar year to year without having to reinvent themselves every season. So both fashion and style can be very expensive, but which one is better for you?

So fashion, while innovative and on trend, is an expensive alternative to what we call style.

Believe it or not, it has a lot to do with age. Since both can be expensive, why do younger people gravitate towards fashion and not style? It’s because it is easier to change the mind of a younger person to suggest relevance than it is to convince a more seasoned buyer.

Style is the counterbalance to fashion. It is something that is timeless, is

If you look at most of the brands that are knocked off, it will be easier to



find items that are from style icons like Hermes and Louis Vuitton rather than Armani and Dolce Gabbana. So, why do you think that is? Even the companies that knock off major brands know that fashions are here today and gone tomorrow. Why would they put all their resources into products that are going to be out of vogue by the next season. They choose to recreate knockoffs of brands that are known for their iconic scarves, handbags or shoes. They know that these classic items change very little from year to year and are a good investment that will carry over into the next year with little risk of changing the way fashion items do. Branded, stylized items also have another benefit that fashion items do not. The ability to resell their high quality items in a secondary market. Because they are of higher quality, they are also worth refurbishing when they no longer look as good as they used to. Not to mention, that some items actually gain value over time. An example are Rolex watches. In most cases they are worth more than you paid for them five to ten years ago. This is something that can not be said for most fashion brands. So the next time you consider whether to buy the expensive fashion brands or the equally expensive style brands there is one thing to keep in mind. While fashion is fun, it is fleeting, but good taste never goes out of style.









Ladies, we all need to have ‘go to’ places to find beautiful clothing and accessories. This is especially true if we have a special occasion or even just like to look nice and dress well. The best thing is when we shop for clothing and there is also excellent customer service and a friendly staff to help you. We have just the shops for you, 518!

at 38 Van Dam Street in downtown Saratoga Springs. She called this one “Saratoga Closet”. Saratoga Closet started out by carrying once loved gowns and women’s vintage luxury labels like Jimmy Choo and Prada.

Saratoga Springs has a couple of fabulous boutiques where there is a great selection of items, the prices are reasonable, and the service is great. They are also at the same address physical address, and they are easy to find.

Saratoga Closet opened in 2014 where Eliza carries luxury items new and vintage at “off Broadway” prices. On the second floor, she has a separate boutique which is called Bride and Gown. Well, I can tell you that the quality and great prices follow you right up the stairs!

In fact, my daughter and I were heading home after eating lunch one day and I had commented that I had not ever visited this interesting looking shop. We decided to stop in to see what this Saratoga Closet place was all about. We went in and found an extensive collection of mostly name brand items in great condition! There were new and gently used garments, accessories, and one-of-a-kind items. This was not your average consignment shop. There were luxury vintage bags and clothing. There were high end items and things for everyday wear. Eliza DeRocker opened her first location in Glens Falls in 2013. It was a designer rustic bridal boutique called “Bride and Gown”. Six months later, she opened a second location

one point, she worked as the lead fashion stylist for Lilly Pulitzer at their headquarters, dressing the models for the online website and designing handbags for Wathne Ltd., licensed manufacturers for Chanel and Ralph Lauren handbags. Eliza specializes in bridal gowns and is working on designing her own line.

After leaving Manhattan in 2009, she worked for many designers and also launched her own line of handbags at Henri Bendel. In addition, at

In fact, I purchased a gown the very first time that I set foot there. It was one of those moments when I was browsing to just see what these stores were all about and then, a particular dress caught my eye. It was stunning. My daughter had recently informed me of a formal event for which she would be needing a gown. We were not even out specifically shopping for one, but we found one anyway. We said yes to the dress! It was lovely, and I asked my daughter if she wanted to try it on. It was unique and beautiful, even on the hanger, and it just stood out. The price was fantastic, and the gown came home with us that day. I really could not believe the deal that I got. CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022




{{ SHE HUSTLES TALKS} } {SHIFT+CONTROL INTRODUCING...} “Saratoga Closet started out by carrying once loved gowns and women’s vintage luxury labels like Jimmy Choo and Prada.”

Then, I started looking around at a lot of the other beautiful formal dresses to find that these are the everyday prices. The gown I had selected was not specifically on sale. Rather, the prices are reasonable every day for every item. It needed some slight alterations in order to fit just right. That was no issue because Eliza was there and gave us the name and number of a local seamstress. We made an appointment, and my daughter will look amazing at her upcoming event. Eliza’s staff was extremely friendly and very nice. They were helpful and very knowledgeable about each of the products in both boutiques. I highly 166


recommend visiting these shops the next time you need a beautiful outfit or some nice accessories and find yourself in Saratoga Springs. Eliza has 2 pups named Snowy and Buttons who will most likely be there when you visit. They are very friendly, and they love people.

be present on the day that you come, and you will need an appointment. Eliza will accept non-name brands too, but they must be current fashions. Please bring apparel that is in season. For instance, during April – July, please bring summer items. September – January, please bring fall items.

Also, if you want to clean out your closet and make some extra cash, bring your brand-named items from 2016 or later to see if they can become part of the amazing collection of items in the store. Do this only on a Monday or Tuesday please. If they are accepted, your items will be purchased the day you bring them in. The owner must

Saratoga Closet is open daily from 12 – 4 for walk ins and appointments are not necessary. However, please make an appointment for bridal visits to Bride and Gown so that you can be provided with the appropriate level of time and attention. You will be able to buy gowns off the rack or order new.







The Influential Woman ROAR! It’s time to Empower our Voice, Reclaim Our Body, and Speak our Truth! Who creates life on Earth? Women. Who has reproductive power? Women.

being controlled and denied. When we read history and the facts, we have been abused, hurt, traumatized and DENIED OUR RIGHTS. Some women like it this way. And we are not here to try to convince you otherwise, if you want to be dominated and controlled that is your right. However, the Influential Woman believes this is

Who is controlled and diminished in her power?

Embarrassment Gulit Shame Criticism Judgment Blame FEAR

Who needs to ROAR - Right Now! Women!!!!!!

However, The Influential Woman has hope that when we empower women, there is a potential for radical change. No matter what you believe pro-life or pro-choice, no matter what your political or religous affiliation….when we put all of the dogma aside and look deeply into women and history, our rights are

When a woman is being controlled, when her body is being denied power, why do we silence ourselves in the face of such control? We live in silence because of:


The control of our reproductive rights, this is something we could spend hours trying to understand. And we could also bury our heads right now, in the wake of the intense pandemic, and hide from the facts. And for many of us, I am sure even though we feel “influential” we also feel hopeless in the threat against our bodies and reproductive rights.

people with mass torture and war, we want people to prosper. And we want life on our own terms. This right that we desire is slowly slipping away from our grasp. And freedom is slipping further and further away from all of us.

Many women do not want to feel these feelings so we silence ourselves, bury our head, and retreat from standing our ground.

BS! Enough! We want our rights, our freedoms, and we want control of the choices over our body. We believe in the female voice and female leadership. We believe in uncensored empowerment. And we believe in the female empowered form of leadership. Women, as leaders, naturally have a creative, collaborative and lifegiving approach to her Queendom. We do not want to hurt or injure populations of

And then there are times like these that we choose to harness the power of change and stand together to demand and command a positive shift. The overturn of Roe vs Wade. It’s a threat against, not just our reproductive rights, but our creative power to lead, to have a voice, to govern our body, and to make choices about our children’s bodies. This political decision comes at a time where the world desperately REQUIRES the female form of leadership. says this: CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


{ SACRED O } } { SHIFT+CONTROL “We believe in the female voice and female leadership. We believe in uncensored empowerment. And we believe in the female empowered form of leadership.”

“Whoever you are, wherever you live, you have the right to make these (reproductive) choices without fear, violence or discrimination. Yet all over the world, people are bullied, discriminated against and arrested, simply for making choices about their bodies and their lives. A woman is refused contraception because she doesn’t have her husband’s permission. A teenager is denied a lifesaving termination because abortion is illegal in her country. ” Amnesty reports these facts: 1/10 Girls worldwide aged under 18 have been forced to have sex or perform sexual acts. The true number is likely to be higher. 40 % Of women of childbearing age live in countries where abortion is banned, restricted or not accessible 215M Women are not using contraception, even though they want to stop or delay having children. -Amnesty International Do you care about her right to decide? Do you care that women are being tortured and sold for SEX? Enslaved into torturous sexual acts with NO reproductive rights? Are you willing to stand up for the rights of women? Are you willing to do something right now today to break the silence? To say NO I will not tolerate the control of women’s reproductive rights! We know, We feel you, it feels hopeless….. What can you do? Are you brave enough to stand up and speak about your story? To share your concerns right now when it looks as if the female body is being governed by 172


the government, by men, by marriage, by sex slavery, and prostitution. Are you willing to take your own power back and make yourself as positively powerful and confident so you CAN share your voice? The truth must be revealed. Women, we still carry the scars of the past and we must heal now. The past is still rearing it’s pain in our souls and includes: ● Being hung and burned for being healers, creators, and intuitives. ● Locked up for our hormonal emotions and called crazy, over emotional, and nuts. ● Denied fair wages and this continues today ● Denied access to education. ● Denied access to vote, to lead, to have money, to write a check, to have a bank account and more! These issues are not very long ago and it feels like we might be sinking back into this paradigm. In fact, some of these issues are still not resolved. Doesn’t this make you want to ROAAAARRRR?!!! To get up and scream!!!!!! STOP! To tell your story to the world!!!!! Do you feel your female creative power is the most incredible gift to humanity? We are the life-givers, the care-givers, the peace-makers, and the nurturers…. yet all of this is threatened by force and control. The Influential Woman is a space to

be heard, be seen, be accepted and be uncensored in your female creative power, body, and voice. We believe there is NO holding back. That women must stand up and lead NOW, before we go backward into the dark ages. We also believe the fastest path to power is releasing and resolving these horrible controls and wounds in the safe space of sisterhood. As women in all areas of leadership, business and power, every woman will become more confident and courageous when she reclaims her sexual body and power, heals her emotions, releases and resolves her trauma, and steps fully into controlling her own body. And this is how we will reign from our Queendom once again! We need the Influential Woman Queendom-EMPOWERED! We believe that when you feel empowered in your body, voice, and leadership - then this threat will go away because you will stand up and speak your truth! Stay tuned as we announce our First Influential Women Empowerment Day to Reclaim Your Body & Power. A day for empowering the female form of leadership through Embodiment and Voice. Day Includes: Boudoir Shoot for Embodiment and Self Love Headshots for Leadership Power to say You Mean Business Facebook Lives so your Voice Can Be Heard! ROARing - Radical Opportunity Appearing RightNOW - Expressive






A TOUCH ABOVE, INC. A Touch Above Inc. is a Residential and Commercial Cleaning Service proudly serving Albany County and the surrounding areas. Founded in 2015 by Owner Cortney Roy, the business was built on and continues to grow due to word of mouth, personal referrals, and networking. Cortney quickly realized how great a need there was for the judgment-free service she was offering, and the peace of mind and social interaction it was providing her as well as others in the community. It became very personal, as she was very much a part of the highs and lows in her clients’ lives, by their side through some of the most intimate and stressful moments (and vice versa). Word of mouth can truly make or break a business and it has been and continues to be such a powerful lead source for us. Amid a global pandemic, we’ve not only managed to stay afloat but scale the business by leaps and bounds. We have our amazing clients (turned friends) and teammates to thank for that.

make arrangements for their fur babies for their scheduled appointments. We’re also very flexible and allow team members to create their schedules around what they have going on in their personal lives. We employ mothers, college students, and individuals who have been out of the workforce for quite some time. We pride ourselves on being far different than

We like to think our approach differs from local “competition,” because we’re very selective in our hiring process. We won’t hire just anyone. We’re a very closeknit bunch and we look out for each other. Our team is made up of the most genuine human beings, all of whom are down-to-earth, kind, and super helpful. We’re all animal lovers as well, so we’re extremely comfortable with pets and very pet-savvy. This means that clients don’t have to lock their animals up or

any employer they’ve had previously. We’re constantly changing things and offering new incentives. We want to ensure everyone feels heard, supported, and appreciated. We’re in constant communication with our team to make sure we’re all on the same page and brainstorm regularly to determine ways we can improve. Our team is rock solid and everyone has a stellar work ethic and for that, I am so grateful.

We’re also very selective in the jobs we take on. We provide both residential and commercial cleaning services to the capital district. One-time or recurring, move-in/move-out, Airbnb, apartment and student housing turnovers. We offer free estimates and easy online booking, as well as automated appointment reminders and follow-up emails to gather feedback. We’re big on communication, very flexible when it comes to scheduling and do our best to accommodate everyone’s requests - no matter how last-minute. We have such a great circle of people. We like to build and nurture relationships with clients. We don’t have a cookiecutter approach. Since everyone’s idea of “clean” looks a little different, we listen to clients and find out what their pain points and priorities are, and what’s most important to them. We generate a custom work order for each appointment. We work far past business hours regularly and we also work weekends periodically to fit people in. We take pride in our work and genuinely enjoy helping people in our community. We enjoy giving back. Whether it be participating in fundraising opportunities, donating gift certificates/services to local families in need, hosting drives for various organizations, sponsoring local youth sports teams or adoption fees for local non-profit dog rescues, hosting events in our office - you name it, we’ve CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


{ WOMAN ON THE RISE { SHIFT+CONTROL } } “Amid a global pandemic, we’ve not only managed to stay afloat but scale the business by leaps and bounds. We have our amazing clients (turned friends) and teammates to thank for that.”

done it. Those feel-good moments are something everyone on our team enjoys being a part of, for obvious reasons! While we may not be the cheapest option for cleaning in the capital region, one thing is for sure, we ARE the most dependable. Also, we ARE your pet’s favorite! We are the company people contact when they are stuck. When they’ve been burned or let down. When someone doesn’t show up. When they are left hanging with friends/family 178


on the way or a party right around the corner. When they’ve had a bad experience. When they are scrambling to figure things out, they call us, and that’s a pretty remarkable feeling.

committed to helping the people in our community. We’re a professional, pet-friendly cleaning service you can trust & rely on. We’ll be there when you need us.

We want to be that consistent company that you know has your back. That keeps their word. That shows up. We have been just that for the Capital District since 2015 and look forward to many more years to come! We’re a dedicated team of individuals who are

Owner | A Touch Above, Inc. 518 - 334 - 2234 Facebook: A Touch Above, Inc. Instagram: @A_Touch_Above_Ny







Tricia Pedro is a beautiful West Indian woman who is loved by many. She is originally from Trinidad and lucky for the 518, after her family moved to the states, she relocated from Brooklyn to the Capital District. She was one of four children.

as well as the youth. She was on a mission to find tools and materials that would fill the education void that the kids were experiencing and also provide a method of helping parents better understand the needs of children.

She has children of her own but always still has enough love and energy for others as well. As if that were not enough, she is the life of the party. In fact, she is known as the one who brings the party! She has a party bus for children that is equipped with a ball pit and an obstacle course! Tricia is not only a wonderful nurturing mom, but she makes the time to embrace and provide for other children in her neighborhood. She is truly a blessing to her community, and she consistently gives back.

It was through this journey that she created the character Farley the Penguin. She began a series of children’s books that not only aid the children but

Being an amazing mother, she would do anything in order to help her children thrive. She began to see that her son Marley was showing signs of challenges in pre-school. There was a gap between what he needed and what he was receiving. She investigated and learned as much as she could in order to be able to provide him with some help. Along the way, she met other parents with some of the same concerns for their children. This led her to become an advocate for parents 182


also assist the parents. The first one called “If Farley Only Knew” addresses the adjustment that some children experience when they first attend school. Farley learns to balance fun while learning to listen and follow rules at school. Each installment in the book series will address other child-based obstacles that children may face as they grow up and how adults can provide support along the way. Children adore Farley, and the parents

appreciate the hard work and dedication that Tricia has invested. As a children’s author, she explores Farley’s World. She teaches her own children to help others and to give back. She is an excellent role model and has provided opportunities and events which benefit others. Tricia has been known to have raffled off bicycles for kids. One year, 50 bikes were provided as well as a pony for hire. Each of the events she hosts is free for kids. Tricia lives her life in a way that helps others, and the community is better for it. She gives the neighborhood children things to look forward to and holidays are no exception. At one point for Halloween, she built a haunted house on her lot. This has now become a tradition that is highly anticipated and well attended each year. She is a special person who takes the time to reach out and make a difference in the lives of the youth. For Easter, she hosts the neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. She has held free back to school events where needed services are provided, such as haircuts. Tricia consistently provides a safe play space and support for kids and families. She is lovely inside and out, has a beautiful spirit, and it is easy to see why Tricia Pedro’s part of








READS &TALKS WRITES TRACY } }} } { WOMAN WHO INSPIRES {{ {SHIFT+CONTROL “Children adore Farley, and the parents appreciate the hard work and dedication that Tricia has invested. As a children’s author, she explores Farley’s World.”

the 518 might just be the most fun neighborhood in the Capital District. This lady certainly makes a difference. Where a little bit is needed, much is given. Learn more about Farley, his adventures and more about this fabulous, beautiful woman at Books, plush toys, and children’s apparel are available for sale. From the website, you can also book a children’s party complete with a visit from Farley himself and items from Farley’s world including balloons, cards, books, toys and a cake! You can decide which ‘Farleygram’ package you would like so you and your child(ren) can party like a penguin! Bookings for the party bus can be made via the website as well. This lady thought of everything and from the web, you can access a Farley placemat that can keep a child entertained at the table with things to color as well as a word search game. The website also has a list of the local restaurants have these mats for kids who come to eat. Farley serves the Capital District region of upstate New York. More pictures and information can be found on Instagram at @iffarleyonlyknew There is a Facebook page available called Farley’s World where you can provide feedback on the books, learn about upcoming events or even just reach out to Tricia. She is doing a fantastic job and provides a much-needed service to parents and young people in the region. We need more people in the world like Tricia Pedro and we cannot wait to see where Farley will go next.



READS &TALKS WRITES TRACY } }} } { WOMAN WHO INSPIRES {{ {SHIFT+CONTROL “Tricia is not only a wonderful nurturing mom, but she makes the time to embrace and provide for other children in her neighborhood.”










“An Ode to a Korean Tiger Mom” An excerpt from a future best seller…😉 There is nothing my mother loves- or needs more- than Jesus and food. So I suppose her penchant for grocery store evangelizing was bred from these two extreme delights. On more than one occasion I would accompany my mother to the market, expecting a quick five minute in and out purchase, only to leave an hour later with cucumbers and another Korean lady tailgating me back to our house.

pleas. My mother could not fathom having a heathen child, and she was hell bent on getting me into heaven. Her ultimate mission began before I was even born. My mother loved to remind me of the “miracle” behind my birth (since she had previously endured six miscarriages). And although she always credited God as the source of my safe delivery, she definitely considered herself the “conduit” of His grace through her own attitude and actions.

My mother’s “Koreandar” was generally spot on. Her eagle eye would often target women in the produce section, and after confirming her suspicions, she would begin to speak with these “sisters” from the Land of Morning Calm and eventually befriend themsometimes within minutes, even before leaving the apples and oranges aisle, other times after a simple meal at our house.

My mother would strategically reiterate my “good fortune” in being born to her, usually when she wanted to underscore the importance of children’s obedience to their parents and the irrefutability of an offspring’s eternal indebtedness to their creators. (And since the honoring of parents was explicitly articulated in the 10 Commandments, my mother felt more than righteous in any of her rants.)

Because I couldn’t understand the words my mom was speaking, I never knew exactly what she said that was so persuasive. But I hypothesize that it wasn’t so much her words that convinced people to trust her as much as it was her nature. Perhaps they could sense and were moved by her genuine faith. Or maybe her unabashed audacity, alone, was enough to make these Korean women both listen to my mother’s pitch and concede to her requests.

Whenever she gave me a religious centered spiel, I would often patronizingly nod my head at her (with a “Yeah, yeah lady-that’s great” attitude), mock affirming that I understood the magnitude of her prayers over my life. I definitely didn’t come to a full appreciation of her efforts and faith until much later on in my life. Eventually, I realized that my mother had perceived me as a gift from her Maker and decided that if God honored her petition to have me, she would then offer me back as a gift to the original Giver of my life.

All I do know is that unlike my mother’s potential “converts,” I did not have a choice to engage with her religious

Therefore, from the very beginning,

my mother was committed to instilling in me a heart for the Lord…and she would do so by force and fury, as well as by example and exhortation. “Church” wasn’t something my mother attended; it was what she lived and who she was (is). Lee Lee wasn’t a “consumer” Christian who showed up to service on Sundays in order to check something off of her weekly “To Do ” list. Everyday was God’s day; Sunday was just the one that was exclusively His…and actually the whole weekend had portions devoted solely to growing closer to Him. The simplicity of my mother’s faith, which in many ways and instances could be venerated for its stark beauty and sincere spirit, also frequently caused her to reduce complex theology into a black and white set of principles and “policies” that inadvertently transformed and reduced a glorious Faith into a mere “code of conduct” or a “guidebook” for obliging God to keep you in His good graces. It was when my mother fell into these religious, moralistic traps, that she and I would clash the most. Whether she was intentionally or ignorantly manipulating the tenants of our faith didn’t much matter to me. All I knew (or cared about) at these times was that her dogma was stifling me or preventing my own will. And when it came to obstinacy, I was my mother’s child. My mother’s often passive aggressive remarks forced me to not only take full responsibility for whatever choices I made; it also turned these choices CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


{ FROM A FUTURE BEST SELLER } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “These days I tell and show my 80 year old mother how much I love her much more frequently because my mom was diagnosed with the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s five years ago, and I know our time is limited.”

into a battery of litmus tests that would then measure my personal integrity in relation to my faith. Although there were certainly occasions when I would opt to prioritize my social functions over my religious obligations, in general, my mother’s words prompted me- and to be honest, many times guilted me- to “put Goduh pirstuh [to put God first]”…and I would ultimately fulfill my spiritual duties- go to church, sing in the choir, teach Sunday School, volunteer for something or whatever else I had committed to. I’d like to be able to say that I engaged in all of these virtuous activities with a pure heart. But that would be a lie. There were countless times in which I bitterly and resentfully took on each of these endeavors, secretly cursing my mother’s existence- and God Himself for “sentencing” me to a life with her. But the other truth is that for every “forced” event I attended or task I undertook as a result of her prodding, spiritual seeds were being planted in the bed of my heart. Of course, I didn’t realize it as it was happening. I just thought I was “doing the right thing” or “making my mom happy” (or at the very least avoiding her undesirable consequences). Ironically though, it was actually these cumulative, tumultuous experiences that ultimately established the foundation of my faith and convinced me of God’s real sovereignty. Observing my mother’s sometimes (or often) misguided beliefs and being subjected to her sometimes (or often) inappropriate tactics mimicked and reaffirmed so much of the human 190


brokenness I found in the stories told in the bible. But just like those biblical accounts, characters and parables, God’s grace and accompanying human redemption could always be found. And over time, those sown seeds would form a bud here; a sprout would blossom there… and eventually a whole stunning garden of various wild flowers would bloom and grow inside of me. Although, like any wild patch, it was not without its intermittent weeds strewn about- and indeed, in some ways was not as “wild” as one might think. For the garden of

my heart had a Landscaper all along who was the real tender and cultivator of all that flourished. My mother may have mistakenly taken certain creeds out of context, but the essence still always rang true. Her impression that God gives or withholds to us based on some metric of our selfexerted “goodness” was obviously flawed, but now I no longer deem it malicious. Instead, when I reflect upon all of the

ways I have been “blessed,” I have NO doubts that God has had His hand in everything- from the family I was born into to the lifelong friendships I have developed; from the professional opportunities I was afforded to the life experiences I’ve been able to acquire… God has ordered my steps and brought me to exactly where I needed to be- even when I didn’t always want to be there. I cannot express enough my gratitude for my mother’s instilling of this deep faith I possess. Nevertheless, I also have to admit (and a bit ashamedly) how I have repeatedly failed to demonstrate this to her in the past, particularly because her overbearing parenting style used to irritate me so easily and infuriate me to no end. These days I tell and show my 80 year old mother how much I love her much more frequently because my mom was diagnosed with the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s five years ago, and I know our time is limited. As a result of this, I have to continuously remind myself of my mother’s prayers and petitions to God concerning her stewardship of me. I must acknowledge that almost all of the annoying “demands” she once placed upon me are rooted in the promise she has made to Him. It’s a truth I have to return to when she says or does something that drives me absolutely crazy even now. And pretty much daily, I must consciously recall to myself that despite the frequent irrational behavior and outlandish beliefs my mother once spewed at me (and sometimes still does), beneath all the lunacy I recognize...there is a woman whose love for me knows no limits.






Lately, every time I open Facebook, another family in the Duchenne Community is saying goodbye to their child. Parents dealing with chronic illness, not just Duchenne, shouldn’t outlive their children. It’s not how the universe should work. My son Jonathan is 28 and considered an elder in the Duchenne community. As he gets older, I see his life ticking away. We all experience grief and loss at some point in life. I have said goodbye to my parents and my in-laws. I’ve also realized that everyone deals with grief and loss differently. Grief does become less prominent, but it is always with you. However, I think I’m in a perpetual state of saying goodbye in dealing with Duchenne. It’s not the acute grief; you feel when someone has passed away. It’s a nagging feeling. As the disease progresses, we are saying goodbye to my son’s abilities, Saying goodbye to the activities, muscles, function, and movement, as he loses the ability to do things he once could. As parents of chronically ill children, we tend to become very good at focusing on medical needs and becoming caregivers. We become adept at making constant adjustments and dealing with continuous change due to chronic illness. As a result of this resilience, our focus on mental health gets pushed to the background. Our mental health becomes front and center when grieving the loss of a loved one, totally overwhelmed with caregiving, or in a complete crisis. My preparation to attend Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy’s (PPMD) Power of Us Caregivers Summit has brought my mental health to the forefront. I hope to come away from this summit with tools to make me a better caregiver and cope better with my life’s dynamics.

I also have had conversations recently about “what’s next,” couples learning to be a couple again after losing their child, and how a sibling reacts to the passing of their sibling. We tend to think that these events would occur well into adulthood and not when someone is in their 20s, 30s, or younger. As I thought about these conversations and my mental health, I reached out to my good friend and fellow Duchenne Mom, Lauren McVicker Fritz. She is a licensed therapist in Pennsylvania. Lauren provided some professional insights into what I was thinking. I hope our readers will find our conversation helpful. Tell us about yourself and your background? I am a therapist in private practice who specializes in significant life changes, including grief and loss, trauma and anxiety, and depression-based challenges. I am a licensed professional counselor and a board-certified art therapist. I’ve been practicing for twenty-seven years. I live in nearby Pennsylvania with my husband and our two teenage boys, who, like Jon, also have Duchenne. Other family members include two cats, a service dog, and a spiny-tailed lizard. What made you decide to go into therapy? I always knew that I would be a therapist. I wanted to help others from a pretty young age. I’m a pretty calm and practical person by nature. What’s the difference between a therapist, a psychiatrist, and a psychologist? A psychiatrist is someone who has studied and works with patients to prescribe

medicine. A therapist is typically someone with a master’s degree, like myself, who focuses on the one-to-one counseling or therapy aspect of treatment with a client. A psychologist can be a master’s or doctorate level and may also focus on psychological testing. Do you have any advice on looking for a therapist? Are they specialized? Therapists are specialized. You can often find a synopsis of their specialties through your insurance company or on sites like Psychology Today. Many will provide descriptions of their areas of specialized practice. Some offer the option to have a consult before beginning therapy with them. I encourage people not to be afraid to try out the ‘fit’ of a new relationship with a therapist. It is crucial that you both feel comfortable and that you can imagine working well together. It is perfectly acceptable to try a couple of different therapists if you are not sure if you are satisfied with the first one you meet. When should someone seek out therapy? There are no absolutes about when to seek therapy. It has become something much more widely accepted. My personal view is that it is something that everyone could benefit from at times. Most people can ‘make it through’ without therapy, but having a supportive presence to talk to and offer a resourceful perspective may make it easier to get through challenging times. There are more severe or crucial mental health emergencies when a therapist is imperative. Some people may need a higher level of care than outpatient care can provide. A good rule of thumb is that when a person notices that their support system of family and friends does not seem adequate to support their emotional and CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


SHE HUSTLESMOTHER TALKS }} } } HUSTLES TALKS { {ONE TOUGH {SHE SHIFT+CONTROL “As parents of chronically ill children, we tend to become very good at focusing on medical needs an.becoming caregivers.”

mental health needs, it may be the time to seek therapy as an extra layer of help. What is the best approach to get help if one is in a crisis and needs to keep things from totally spirally out of control? Feeling in crisis is one of the main reasons many people seek help. The level of the situation is essential to discern. If someone is suicidal, they need to go to their local emergency room or talk to a suicide hotline if they are not in therapy. If the crisis is uncomfortable but not life-threatening, a search for a therapist is likely appropriate. Many people also have access to EAP benefits through their work, which can be helpful options. How has social media helped people stay connected in dealing with chronic illness, and how has it hurt? Social media has been a valuable tool in providing online support networks and relationships for otherwise geographically separated and isolated people. We learned how incredibly powerful this was during the most intense times of the pandemic. Social media can be an excellent source of information-sharing and support. But, social media can also be the source of gossip, misinformation, and bullying, so it does have its downside. As a family member dealing with a chronic illness, I feel a constant loss and a change in routine. I feel like I’m constantly adjusting to a new normal. Is this normal for people dealing with other chronic illnesses? Yes, chronic illness inherently involves decline means constant change for the person with the disease, the caregiver, and the whole family. There may be plateau 194


times when things feel calmer, but the sense of upheaval returns when there is a sense of decline. Families may get more used to this routine but never be comfortable with each new loss. It is something new and unwelcome, requiring further energy and adjustment. The adjustments are both emotionally and physically to the new routine. Once a recent change becomes more familiar, a sense of calm may return for a while as that phase might become a new plateau. It almost becomes a dance of this constant adjustment. What is the impact of chronic illness on other family members? Each person deals with the diagnosis and each stage of the disease differently. What are some coping tips that may help in this situation? Living in a family coping with the constant changes brought about by chronic illness brings about both challenges and strengths. When there is constant change and stress, one’s nervous system tries to stay in a place of hypervigilance to the changes that may occur. Family members providing care are susceptible to burnout and exhaustion over long periods. Family members are also dealing with other dynamics, such as how the non-disabled siblings are affected when so much attention is often necessarily focused on a family member with a chronic condition. Guilt, jealousy, deep love and bonding, and resentment. are common responses. Ongoing communication about the reality of the situation and opportunities for people in the family to have time together and as separate relationships is significant. Each individual in the family needs to feel that they can be part of the unit and know who they are as an individual.

How do animals help the families of the chronically ill in therapy sessions? Animals are wonderful companions. They often fill memorable roles when human companionship may be in short supply. Animals have their specific language and gentle nuance that works differently than humans to bring comfort and presence to human beings. It has been enlightening in our own family. Saki, our service dog, initially intended for our younger son with Duchenne, has made it her purpose to comfort a much larger circle of humans. My clients adore her. Since the pandemic, my therapy practice has mainly been virtual. Our service dog, Saki, will often be drawn to the screen when working with clients, insisting that she greet them and say hello before settling down next to me and letting me proceed with the therapy session. How helpful is journaling? Journaling is very effective, and I encourage it for many clients. It provides an excellent means of reflection and self-expression. It can be an enjoyable daily practice and a way of looking back later to see where they have been. Some of my clients prefer to buy journals that have structured prompts that guide them in what to write. Others prefer to write free-form. Some of my clients use their journals to check back to see what they want to focus on with me when they have their sessions. What are some helpful resources? If you have health insurance, inquire with your HR department to see if you have an EAP benefit. The EAP benefit team can help find therapists specializing in the kind of therapy you seek.







SHE HUSTLESMOTHER TALKS}} } } HUSTLES TALKS { {ONE TOUGH {SHE SHIFT+CONTROL “Animals have their specific language and gentle nuance that works differently than humans to bring comfort and presence to human beings.”

You can search for Therapists, Teletherapy, Psychiatrists, Treatment Centers, or Support Groups by zip code or city via this link: therapists/. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is: 1-800-273-8255 New York State Crisis Prevention: crisis.html New York State Mental Health Program

Directory: Compassion Net home-health-care/our-services/maternaland-pediatric/compassionnet CompassionNet is a community-based pediatric and perinatal palliative care program that provides support and care to families caring for a child with a potentially life-threatening illness or families expecting

the birth of a child with a serious medical condition. Journaling App list Day One for Mac and iOS users. Diarium for Windows users. Penzu for secure journaling. Momento for social media power users. Grid Diary for templated journaling. Five Minute Journal for journaling beginners. Dabble Me for journaling over email. Daylio for non-writers











Behind the Scenes... The Mrs. New York America, Mrs. New York American, and Miss New York for America Pageant celebrates women, families, and community service. We empower women and give them the platform to become leaders. The 2022 pageant will be held on Sunday, July 17th starting at 2pm at the Marriott Downtown Syracuse on the 10th floor ballroom. We will have a pre-show vendor pop-up with over 25 amazing vendors to shop and enjoy starting at 11am. We hope to see everyone there. Tickets go on sale June 1! Please welcome our amazing MRS New York for AMerica and Mrs New York American 2022 contestants. Please visit To vote for your favorite contestant from June 15th through July 15th for our 202


annual Fabulous Face and People’s Choice Contests!

Diane Hardgrove Director

Diane Hardgrove has served as the Executive Director for the past twelve years for the Mrs. New York America, Mrs. New York American, and Miss New York for America Strong Pageants. During her reign as Mrs. Arizona 2006, Mrs. America 2006, and Mrs. World 2007, Diane served at over 600 appearances around the world! She studied dance for twenty years in the areas of tap, jazz, ballet, and Polynesian. Diane has worked closely with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for the past eighteen years. She was nominated as the Honorary Chair in 2006 and 2007

for the Southern Arizona Race for the Cure. She now serves as a Team Leader and Committee Member for the North Dallas Making Strides Against Breast Cancer to raise funds for education, research, screening, and treatment. Diane’s highlights include the television commercials for the Race for the Cure, guest on KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles, ringing the bell at NASDAQ on Times Square in New York, traveling to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to speak at the Go Red Heart Disease Gala, presented awards at Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night for Parkinson’s Disease Research in Scottsdale, Arizona, and served as the keynote speaker on leadership at the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photographer: @carlosvelezstudios Make-up Artist: @alileeglam




{{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL FEATURE } “Dr. Jackie is the first person-of-color to graduate with a Cognitive Psychology doctorate from the State University of New York at Albany. Jackie also holds a B.S. and an M.S. in psychology as well as an M.B.A.”


Mrs. Dutchess County

Please read Mrs. Dutchess County’s amazing bio below. We’re so happy for you Jackie and can’t wait to see you shine on stage!

lives and their hearts to be true to themselves. With this platform, Jackie hopes to be the game changer in people’s lives to help them thrive and flourish. Her Find Your Carrot book became a best-seller last year and is also translated into Arabic.

“Dr. Jackie Berry is a Cognitive Scientist who studies learning, expertise and humancomputer interaction. Dr. Ja c k i e i s t h e first person-of-color to graduate with a Cognitive Psychology doctorate from the State University of New York at Albany. Jackie also holds a B.S. and an M.S. in psychology as well as an M.B.A. As a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt, Jackie studied interface switching in Arabic-English bilinguals at the American University in Cairo. While in Egypt, Dr. Berry taught a class about the science of expertise and helped her students achieve outstanding accomplishments such as triathlons, 4-minute planks, learning to play an instrument, and speaking a new language. Her amazement in their progress led her to write FIND YOUR CARROT, a book to help people organize their 204


Jackie very much wants to help people find their true calling. She loves getting “elbows-deep” in helping people set and attain goals.

Visit Jackie’s website for more information on how to obtain a copy of her book. Jackie has since returned to Egypt to teach psychology and to study learning in complex tasks. Dr. Jackie is a founding member of Artificial Intelligence for Africa and has given a number of lectures about the impact of language systems on using technology including before the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Cornell University, West Point, and before the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Jackie has since returned to Egypt to teach psychology and is now studying, learning and Artificial Intelligence using the video game Tetris. Dr. Jack RogueVixen Berry also serves on the Vestry of Christ Church Red Hook Episcopal Church in Red Hook, New York where she resides with husband Christopher, a senior computer Engineer at IBM, and their son Grey.” Photography/ Hair/ Make-up: Fadil Berisha Photography

{{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL FEATURE } “Victoria prides herself on being a lifelong learner, she always takes on new challenges to grow.”


Mrs. Cayuga County

Please help us welcome back and Congratulate our 2022 Mrs. New York Contestant, Mrs. Cayuga C o u n t y, Vi c t o r i a Wejko!!

families who have elementary age children. She holds two master’s degrees in Public Administration (MPA) and Pastoral Studies (Theology).

Victoria is a lifelong New Yorker, Buffalo Bills fan, and wife to her husband, John. They call Weedsport home with their family of rescue cats. They also love spending time with the two-legged members of their family, including John’s 3 grown children.

She is also active in the Junior League of Syracuse where she cochairs the Education and Engagement committee. Fun Fact: While she is a lover of all things pink and girly, she is a former CrossFitter, and loves a good mud obstacle race.

John is an entrepreneur, who currently owns two businesses. Together they are on a mission to become the Fixer Upper couple of the Finger Lakes. John recently completed the “River House” in Auburn, which Vicky oversees as a short-term rental property on the Owasco Outlet. Victoria prides herself on being a lifelong learner, she always takes on new challenges to grow. She spent the majority of her adulthood dedicated to helping families and teens live healthy, happy, and whole lives. She works full time at a nonprofit organization, directly assisting

resiliency, sharing how a child’s past does not have to define their future. She speak regionally on this topic and recently starting a web series sharing resources to help survivors. As a former AmeriCorps Member, she believes in being involved in your community as much as possible. She has been an active volunteer with numerous organizations such as On Point For College, The Food Bank of CNY, CAP of Cayuga County, and through her parish Church of the Transfiguration.

Vicky has a passion for helping survivors of childhood trauma. This is rooted in her personal experiences of growing up around addiction, domestic violence, and hunger. It has fueled her work on childhood CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


FEATURE } {{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL “Passionate about her students and maternal mental health, Kate is focused on sharing her story and impacting change.”

KATE BOYDSTON Mrs. Electric City

Please help us Welcome Back and Congratulate our 2022 Mrs. New York Contestant, Mrs. Electric City, Kate Boydston!!

Kate and her husband started #momsmaketime to give moms a platform to make time for themselves and their health. She is part of MoMMAsVoices, in training to be a patient family partner with MMHLA,



Learn more about MMH and #momsmaketime by visiting Instagram: @Kate.boydston_ny Facebook: Kate Boydston Congratulations Kate! We are so happy for you and can’t wait to see you shine on stage Sunday, July 17th! . . Photography by: BenizoPhoto Sessions @benizophoto Make-up by: @ queenspicyb Bianca Corrales

Kate is an Advocate, Special Education Teacher, Mother of 2, and Wife to her Supportive Hubby, Chris. They have found their forever spot in the Capital District where they are excited to raise their children. As a family, they love finding new food spots and are happy to give you a few recommendations if you visit the area! Passionate about her students and maternal mental health, Kate is focused on sharing her story and impacting change. As one of the 3 in 4 women who go undiagnosed with maternal mental health symptoms after pregnancy, her passion for providing resources and awareness began. It wasn’t until a NY America Pageant Sister provided resources that Kate put a name to what she was going through. She is forever grateful for the sisterhood pageantry has provided.

for her, she has succeeded.

and will be going to Capital Hill as a member of Mom Congress to lobby for MMH improvements. Kate believes if she can help one more mom the way her pageant sister did

{{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL FEATURE } “Kathy believes in sustainable living through reduction of single use plastics and educates others through her community service platform, “Let’s Talk Trash.” ”


Please help us give a Warm Welcome to our new 2022 Mrs. New York Contestant, Kathy McKeever, Mrs. Buffalo!

Talk Trash.” Congratulations Mrs. Buffalo! We’re looking forward to seeing you shine on the Mrs. New York Stage on July 17th!

Kathy graduated from SUNY Brockport with a Bachelor’s of Science in Meteorology in 2012 and met her husband during class! Now married for five years, Kathy and her husband Glenn enjoy weather watching, gardening, working-out, and all things Star Wars. Kathy likes to embrace her creative side, and create costumes, cosplays, and outdoor holiday decorations. Kathy is scheduled to participate in her 10th annual Polar Plunge to benefit the athletes of the Special Olympics and serves as a Better Parks Buffalo committee member. Kathy has also helped raise over $60,000 for the Food Bank of Western New York. Kathy believes in sustainable living through reduction of single use plastics and educates others through her community service platform, “Let’s

Photography by: Julia Spike Make-up by: @jessicaellebeauty Share



{ SPECIAL FEATURE }} SHIFT+CONTROL “Katie loves to participate in musical theatre productions and choirs as often as she can, but in recent years, Katie has traded in singing to audiences for singing lullabies to her children.”


Please help us give a Warm Welcome and Congratulate our new 2022 Mrs. New York America Contestant, Katie Angerbauer Egan, Mrs. Western New York!! Katie graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor degree in Music Education; and a second bachelor degree in Vocal Performance. She has won several Vocal and Operatic Aria competitions, and has been in lead roles in musical theatre productions.

feeling the mist spray over her face at Niagara falls, or taking a walk along Buffalo’s Canalside while enjoying La Nova pizza; Western New York seems to have it all, including a wonderful sense of community.

Katie loves to participate in musical theatre productions and choirs as often as she can, but in recent years, Katie has traded in singing to audiences for singing lullabies to her children. She is grateful for the opportunity to be a mother, and recently welcomed her third child in October 2021. In December, she celebrated 11 years of marriage to her best friend and husband, Jeremy.

Katie’s career also included being a middle music teacher, and was voted “teacher of the year” and was the recipient of the city of West Jordan’s “Hero in Education” award. In 2017, Katie’s husband, Jeremy, received a residency for Cranial Facial Surgery and their family began a new adventure in New York. With it’s breathtaking scenery, inspiring history and diverse culture, Katie has dived in and and has absolutely loved joining the melting pot that makes up Western New York. From tasting the freshly baked rolls in Amish communities, to 208


supports the National Multiple Sclerosis Society; and has a committed passion to volunteer and help raise awareness for research opportunities to find a cure for the debilitating disease that affects over one million Americans.

Katie looks forward to empowering and supporting those affected by Multiple Sclerosis, while celebrating the beauty and unique opportunities that Western New York has to offer.

Katie serves her community by donating to her local homeless shelter, and serves as a youth leader and teacher for young women and children in her church. She

March 13-19 is National Multiple Sclerosis awareness week; and if you would like more information please follow Katie as Mrs. Western New York @mrswny2022 on instagram ; or visit https:// Congratulations Mrs. Western New York! We are thrilled for your exciting year ahead!

{ SPECIAL FEATURE }} SHIFT+CONTROL “After years of graduate degrees, corporate jobs, entrepreneurial pursuits, and mom duties, Bethany started a new venture in 2020 taking others around the globe on unique, soulcentered adventures.”

BETHANY STEVENS Mrs. Greater Rochester

Please help us Welcome our new 2022 Mrs. New York Contestant, Mrs. Greater Rochester, Bethany Stevens!!

Rochester’s premier dog walking and pet sitting business - accumulating 3 dogs, a cat, 5 chickens, and a turtle in the process! Whether volunteering for causes that

see what this new chapter brings. We are thrilled for you Mrs. Greater Rochester! Looking forward to seeing you on stage June 12th!

Bethany is a Rochester native through and through. While wanderlust has taken her across continents, she is always happy to return home and recharge her heart with friends and family nearby. As proud supporters of the community, Bethany, her husband ( Justin) and their young children (Brynne & Caden) are actively involved in a number of service and philanthropic activities, striving each day to leave the world a bit better. After years of graduate degrees, corporate jobs, entrepreneurial pursuits, and mom duties, Bethany started a new venture in 2020 taking others around the globe on unique, soul-centered adventures. A self-proclaimed fanatic of unique and random experiences, Bethany has participated in New Zealand’s Fear Factor, starred in an episode of House Hunters, and created

light up her soul, taking classes that ignite curiosity, or dancing alongside her kids, Bethany believes that each day is an opportunity to write a new page in our story and can’t wait to CAPITAL WOMAN ONLINE :: MAY/JUNE EDITION 2022


{ SPECIAL FEATURE }} SHIFT+CONTROL “An energetic and passionate storyteller, Amanda worked for Mr. Rather in various roles for nearly 11 years traveling the world both domestically and internationally.”


Please help us Welcome Back and Congratulate our Mrs. Syracuse, Amanda Richie Terzian!

her. Both of her parents were diagnosed with heart conditions within about a year of each other and Amanda’s “once a television producer, always a television producer” inquisitive nature prevailed. What began as gathering

Amanda is originally from Dallas, Texas. After completing the Dan and Jean Rather Internship in New York City and graduating from Sam Houston State University, Amanda moved to NY and made NYC her home in 2007.

Amanda serves on the Executive Leadership Team for Go Red for Women (GRFW) in Syracuse and has been nominated to be a 2022 Woman of Impact. She also volunteers with the Junior League of Syracuse where she serves on the Education and Engagement committee and is her neighborhood ambassador.

An energetic and passionate storyteller, Amanda worked for Mr. Rather in various roles for nearly 11 years traveling the world both domestically and internationally. Towards the end of her tenure, Amanda jetsetted across the country producing “Big Interviews” with news and entertainment icons like Dolly Parton, Simon Cowell, and Bryan Adams. Amanda and her husband Jim moved to Syracuse in 2019. Currently she is taking a sabbatical while building the foundation for her next adventure, operating as the household CEO, and raising her incredible three year old son, James. Amanda’s platform, HeART, found 210


As an avid runner, she’s completed 31 half marathons in 12 states, and 6 marathons to date. In January 2017, Amanda completed the Dopey Challenge at Disney World where she ran a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon in four consecutive days. She enjoys delectable culinary experiences, traveling, playing golf, constructing legos, having dance parties with her husband and son, and supporting various artists. One of her favorites, TinyDoorsATL.

Her life reflects both her high school’s and college’s mottos, “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve” and “The measure of a Life is its Service.”

information became a full on quest to engage, educate and encourage everyone to take a proactive approach to his or her own health. Her mission aligns with the American Heart Association’s, to be a relentless force for longer, healthier lives.

Amanda is married to her wonderful husband Jim, mom to their energetic son James and adorable dog Maddie. Congratulations Mrs. Syracuse! We are thrilled for your exciting 2022 journey ahead!

{ SPECIAL FEATURE }} SHIFT+CONTROL “I’ll say this about my pageant process so far: when dreams get taken from you by people with big egos and unbelievable insecurities, it’s important to remind yourself that your dreams are still valid.”

CHLOE ROSEN Mrs. Central Park

Please give a HUGE pageant welcome to Mrs. NY America, Mrs. NY American, and Miss NY for America Strong Pageants contestant Chloe Lewis Rosen! Start spreading the news…I’m competing for the Mrs. New York Pageant this July! (Gosh, been sitting on this for a while! ) Follow my pageant journey @ mrscentralpark for more on my personal platform, #GirlsOnTheRun, and insights on this crazy journey I have taken my friends and family on. I’ll say this about my pageant process so far: when dreams get taken from you by people with big egos and unbelievable insecurities, it’s important to remind yourself that your dreams are still valid. And you are worthy of chasing them, even if it’s 12 years later. #mrsnewyork #mrsamerica #mrscentralpark #writer #actor HMU: @marcus_geeter Headshot: Danny Duverny



{ SPECIAL SHIFT+CONTROL FEATURE }} “Something she lacked growing up was a solid foundation and she found her passion for giving homes while in Trinidad volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.”


truly has an eye for beauty.

We are pleased to announce our very first 2022 Contestant!

Simone recently launch a project very near to her heart with an International Relief Organization to help small artisans grow their business and

Mrs. Hamptons

Please help us Welcome Back and Congratulate our Mrs. Hamptons, Simone Doroski! Simone is a world traveler. She was born in Australia and has lived in over ten countries!



Congratulations Mrs. Hamptons! We are so happy for you and we’re looking forward to following your Mrs. New York Contestant journey ahead! Photographer: Laureleye Imagery Hair Stylist: Myles Sabryna

Simone appreciates the joy of giving someone a home! Something she lacked growing up was a solid foundation and she found her passion for giving homes while in Trinidad volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. During this trip to Trinidad, her team built a horse ranch, community center, and three houses for families in need. The feeling of gratitude she received from a teary-eyed mom, left a distinctive impact on her life. As a real estate agent, Simone’s goal is to help others achieve their goals and find their dream home! Simone has a BA in Mass Communications and Minor in Fashion. She also worked as a Decorator, Event Coordinator, and Florist for over 10 years so she

Simone is a proud mother of two. She has a 14 year old, 9 year old, an Alaskan malamute, and a sweet and supportive husband.

to give back to the country in the process, called “One of 1 Design Fashion.” Simone was just asked to model in New York Fashion Week on February 11th!

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(518) 894-0660 | @markadavisphotography_llc







DISCOVER + ENHANCE YOUR DATING PROFILE + STYLE Ok, let’s be real…the dating scene these days is no easy endeavor to take on. When dating is tough, it can feel like a game that we don’t know how to play. We get caught up in our heads about anything from “What should I say?”, “How should I respond?”, “Is it too soon to respond?”, “Will I seem desperate?”, “Will I scare them away?”, “Why is he/she/they not responding?” to “Do I need to put out on the first date?”, to name a few. Sound familiar??? This can lead to feeling like a fulltime job that is exhausting, daunting, distressing, and maybe even depressing. I always emphasize to my patients + clients, “Don’t play the game or the game will play you!”. When navigating the dating scene, we can get so caught up in our heads that it takes us out of our authentic self and really starts to distort who we truly want to be or show who we are to that person we might be really interested in dating. Furthermore, this can then create pressures within the self and dating dynamic and thus, take away from the pleasures of truly getting to know one another. Early stages of dating are about discovery, education, experiences, and truly building a connection. To help with getting out of your head + enhance dating, I emphasize the 214


importance of activating + engaging in the Power of Play + Pleasure, but first you must know what are YOUR pleasures + playfulness? By focusing on these key areas, we can revel in un-gamified playfulness + pleasure by increasing your awareness + confidence, and hopefully resulting in decreasing the pressures of “Who should I be?” or “What should I do?”. I want you to do YOU by being your authentic self. Some key tips for doing this include: ● Doing some self-reflection prior to getting into the dating scene. Truly knowing who you are + what are your preferences, desires, wants, needs and so on. If you don’t know + love yourself first, you can’t possibly be able to help someone else understand who you are, or truly allow someone to enter into your “personal space” with respect + integrity. ● Do your homework of what might be your preferences with a real + rational potential partner, not your “ideal” fairytale or fantasy partner that might be hindering your dating style with unrealistic expectations. Now, don’t get me wrong, I want you to Do YOU, but you also need to be aware of when you might be “blocking” potential opportunities to get to know someone who might turn out to be a great person + partner because you are too deep in your fantasies or expectations.

● On the flip side of my prior point, you do need to be aware of what you are looking for in a healthy relational dynamic. I always emphasize, “If you don’t know where you are going, any path will do!”. This applies to dating + relationships, too. You don’t want to be in a place of the unknown that could lead you down an unhealthy path or feel like you are settling. This might seem fulfilling in the short term, but can end up leading to an unhealthy sense of self and/or relational space long term. ● Pay attention to the red flags in the beginning. These can be those gut feelings you get when being exposed to something, anywhere from what someone said to how they behave. Remember…when somebody shows you who they are believe them! Those things might not change down the road, so you have to trust your gut feeling or reaction to something and do some self-reflection on why this might be coming up for you. ● Lastly, it’s so, so, so (cannot emphasize enough) important to know YOUR value + worth (and add tax), be able to have your voice, know your limits, and set healthy boundaries from the get go, as well as throughout the relationship. Based on the aforementioned, here are some questions to reflect on to discover + enhance your “dating profile”:




{ SHEBOSS } { SHIFT+CONTROL } “What is your idea of a “perfect” date?”

● How would you describe yourself to a potential date? How would you show your authentic self? ● What do you most enjoy about dating + the beginning of a relationship? ● What do you dread or fear about dating + the beginning of a relationship? ● What is your idea of a “perfect” date? ● What questions would you like to ask your potential partner? What questions might you be afraid to ask? ● What are some “green flags”, 216


“yellow flags”, “red flags” for dating + relationships? ● What are your deal breakers for dating + relationships? For more help with discovering + enhancing your dating profile + style, you can check out my SHE Boss Collection + Coaching Platform at https://power-of-a-she-boss.teachable. com or on IG @shebossdrj. SHE Boss will empower you to be the boss of your own true self + embrace your WHOLE self, mind + body.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do YOU + reflect on your dating profile + style. Stay tuned in, in touch + turned on for more about being the boss of your own true self in dating + relationships, as well as my upcoming article on igniting that spark + turning it into a flame. Love to all my SHE Bosses + Happy Mother’s Day ♡ Xo, Dr. J






The past two years have changed the way that we travel, or even plan for travelling. Restrictions and new rules give us much more to think about and prepare for. Throughout the pandemic, many of us chose to stay closer to home for vacations, rather than travel long-distance. Where we once used to travel to visit family and friends, Zoom and Skype are now used regularly to keep us connected. But now, things globally seem to be opening up and we are travelling once again. Ideally, over the past few years, you have saved up what you would have spent on bigger vacations and can easily finance your next getaway. But what to do if you haven’t been able to save?

to save when you travel, especially on lodging. Options like VRBO, Airbnb, and others, give you more choice and more flexibility beyond hotel walls.

Here are some great tips for financing your next trip of a lifetime:

This is a great way to realistically break your vacation expenditure down so that you can save what you need. Say you are travelling to Italy in November and the cost of airfare and hotel with spending money is going to be about $3,000. There are 7 months between now and when you plan to leave, so you can set aside $430 each month to cover the costs of your trip.

Set a budget. It’s so easy to go overboard when you are planning for, or are on, a vacation, but it’s important to live within your means, wherever you are. Create a trip that fits your budget. Pin down the costs of airfare, hotels, and other costs, and identify potential splurges ahead of time so that you are prepared. There are so many ways 220


Divide your projected vacation budget by the number of months you have until your vacation.

Set up a special savings account.

Setting up a special vacation savings account is a great way to plan financially. You can even have money automatically deposited into this account on a weekly or monthly basis. Cut back on some of your everyday expenses It’s tempting to want to go and grab a coffee every morning on the way to work, but lattes can add up to big $$ that can be put toward your vacation. The price of everything seems to be rising these days. Consider using shopping portals or cash-back apps to make the most of your regular budget. Look for ways to earn some more $$ in the run up to your vacation. This could mean taking a part-time job or grabbing some more hours at a job you currently have. There are so many businesses looking for workers. Now is a great time to take on a fun, part time job and save for that epic vacation! Happy travels! Dawn Kellogg is the Public Relations and Community Engagement Specialist at The Summit Federal Credit Union:





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