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Women of Influence 2019

WOMEN of Influence 2019 Saratoga County

Complimentary


Women of Influence 2019

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Congratulations to the WOMEN of

Influence 2019

Maggie Fronk

Bo Goliber

Megan Harris-Pero

o d u o y all ! y t i n u m m o c r in ou

Dr. Renee Rodriguez-Goodemote

from

Elizabeth Sobol

T hank r o f u Yo

SARATOGA TODAY


Women of Influence 2019

WOMEN of Influence 2019 Brought to you by

PUBLISHER/EDITOR Chad Beatty GENERAL MANAGER Robin Mitchell MARKETING DIRECTOR Chris Bushee ADVERTISING Jim Daley Cindy Durfey

PUBLISHER OF: Simply Saratoga • Saratoga BRIDE Saratoga Family • Healthy Saratoga Welcome Home • Equicurean • Saratoga Christmas and of course... Saratoga TODAY Newspaper Five Case Street Saratoga Springs, New York 12866 Phone: 518-581-2480 Fax: 518-581-2487 saratogaTODAYnewspaper.com

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DISTRIBUTION Kim Beatty Carolina Mitchell GRAPHIC DESIGN Kacie Cotter-Sacala ADVERTISING DESIGN Morgan Rook ARTICLES WRITTEN BY Theresa St. John PHOTOGRAPHY Lindsey Fish of SuperSource Media, LLC.

3 Maggie Fronk pg. 4

Bo Goliber pg. 11 Megan Harris-Pero pg. 18 Dr. Renee Rodriguez-Goodemote

pg. 25 Elizabeth Sobol pg. 32


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Women of Influence 2019

Maggie Fronk

written by: Theresa St. John Photos by: Lindsey Fish of SuperSource Media, LLC.


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n Saratoga County alone, it’s believed over 300 sexual assaults occur every year, with only a small portion ever reported to authorities. Because domestic violence and sexual assault crimes often happen behind closed doors, out of the open view of members in the community, most people aren’t aware of how widespread the problem truly is. Many are shocked to learn that domestic violence is the #2 violent crime in Saratoga County and the primary cause of homelessness. For nearly 40 years, Wellspring has been helping the community by providing crisis and support services to survivors of both domestic violence and sexual assault. “ Our mission is to help educate people on the many facets of these crimes. It isn’t just about physical violence either. It’s about the subtleties, those underlying nuances of control, orchestrated by the perpetrator” states Maggie Fronk, executive director of Wellspring since 2002.


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Women of Influence 2019

“This could include isolating the victim from friends and family, preventing a person from having a job that might make them financially independent, or undermining their self-worth through verbal abuse.” Maggie is a local gal, born and raised in Latham. She lived in Clifton Park for 34 years and has two grown sons and a daughterin-law she’s very close to. She’s worked her whole life in human services, initially with people suffering from serious mental illness. She’s also been active with HIV/AIDS patients and the homeless. Cindy Phillips, a woman of influence herself in 2018, worked with Maggie for many years at City Hall. “During that time, she never wavered from wanting to help empower those in need,” Cindy explains. “It didn’t matter who they were, or what they needed. She always held her hands out, helping people up so they could stand on their own two feet. I couldn’t help but nominate her.” Promoting safety for all family members is a priority for Wellspring. “We offer counseling, education, and support groups for young people who may have experienced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault. Intervention can help children make their way through, even overcome the lasting effects of trauma.” Maggie advocates change. “We need to look at the social norms as a community, creating conversations before domestic violence or sexual abuse even happens,” she says.”One of our programs, Coaching Boys Into Men, is a violence prevention program created by Futures Without Violence. It’s designed to inspire athletic coaches to teach young male athletes about the importance of respect – not only for themselves and others – but particularly for women and girls.”


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In 2017, Wellspring partnered with Ballston and Shenendehowa High Schools to implement the program. The coaches receive a set of twelve cards. Each card covers a different topic. The team meets once a week for 10-15 minutes and has an open, honest conversation about that one subject. “Sometimes a coach is one of the most powerful influences in a young athlete's life. They see that coach every day in practice week after week, maybe year after year,” states Maggie. “It’s about the men in their lives, men they respect, teaching them how to be men, too. The results of this proactive approach are inspiring.” Wellspring offers many other programs and resources just as important to the community. “Our goal is to foster social change. We offer crisis intervention, emergency shelter, advocacy and case management, financial empowerment through Project Hope and Power, to name a few.”


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Women of Influence 2019

“What I choose to do might not be someone else’s idea of R & R...”

When asked what she does in her free time, she grins. “What I choose to do might not be someone else’s idea of R&R. For instance, last year, when my youngest son was on an epic 2,700-mile hike from Canada to Mexico, I joined him on the trail for 150 miles in the High Sierras. This year I’ve planned a solo kayaking challenge – 500-plus miles along the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany – plus a few other lakes, for the fun of it.” “Being nominated for this award is humbling,” states Maggie. “It’s an honor to have my name among so many other amazing women. I believe each one of us can be a positive influence in our communities though. Every one of us can be a champion for change, ending both relationship and sexual abuse for good. That’s the goal.” It’s no wonder Maggie Fronk is one of 2019’s Women of Influence.


Women of Influence 2019

“Every one of us can be a champion for change...”

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Women of Influence 2019


Women of Influence 2019

Bo Goliber

written by: Theresa St. John Photos by: Lindsey Fish of SuperSource Media, LLC.

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ingerpaint was named Agency of the Year at the 2019 Manny Awards in New York City this Spring. Perhaps winning such a prestigious award had something to do with the principles of putting employees first, confident they’ll produce their very best work, benefiting clients, the company, and each other as a result. Such is the case with Bo Goliber, head of philanthropy at Fingerpaint here in Saratoga. Ask anyone about this woman – they’ll tell you the same thing. She’s an excellent example of Fingerpaint’s mission. It shines through in her work ethic, her attention to detail, her care for the community. Before coming to Fingerpaint, Bo spent several years (2004-2013) at Franklin Community Center as their Coordinator of Development and Volunteers. "I've always been passionate about community work. I knew very early in my career that I wouldn't love my daily work if it didn't involve helping others in some way."


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She talks about helping build the vision of what philanthropy should (and does) look like at Fingerpaint, cultivating a safe place to give back to the community, maybe even other parts of the world. Born and raised locally, she’s lived in Saratoga County nearly all of her life. Most of her family still resides here. Bo states she's grateful, that she feels fortunate they're close-by. “I’ve known Bo for years,” says Natalie Sillery, the woman who nominated Bo as one of the 2019 Women of influence. “We met while I was working on a fashion show at the Ronald McDonald House. She’s a dynamo, let me tell you. Her spirit of giving is authentic, engaging those around her. When Bo presents a ‘Call to Action,’ people listen and respond in a big way. They can’t help it – her innate generosity rubs off on you.” She’s also enjoyed singing from as far back as she can remember. Her days are busy now, which means she doesn't get to perform as often as she'd like to. "It's been tough, trying to fit public gigs into my life right now. I've been lucky to connect with some local musicians recently, so I’m hoping that changes things.”


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"We do so much as a company to benefit our clients and their customers, but we've also shaped a strong philanthropic team here on staff. Every one of us is passionate about making a lasting impact in the world." Fingerpaint just announced a five-year partnership with Saratoga Hospital to help fund its nourishment center, a family-focused section of the maternity wing. “We also made a three-year commitment to Kupona Foundation, one of Saratoga’s non-profits dedicated to providing high-quality healthcare in Tanzania.” Bo shakes her head in amazement. “Imagine that – Tanzania!” Saratoga is still in dire need of a Code Blue Shelter. “This past winter we partnered with Karen Gregory, the new leader of Shelters of Saratoga. She’d heard about a similar roll-out in another part of the country,” says Bo when talking about the free coat program near the front door of Fingerpaint during the cold months in Upstate New York. "Even if it's a temporary band-aid for a much larger problem, it helps show we care, the community cares."


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"Spending time with

my 'people'

makes me the happiest. I've

been so blessed

to have such an

amazing group in my corner.

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Bo is excited about working with interns at Fingerpaint. “We offer hands-on working opportunities to young people here in our office. It could be in any number of departments. When the intern leaves, several weeks later, they walk away with a top-notch portfolio to present to future employers. Sometimes they get to stay.” She grins at the last words. "Spending time with my 'people' makes me the happiest. I've been so blessed to have such an amazing group in my corner. I wouldn't be where I am today - the person I am today - without their support." “I’m in a good place right now. Looking back, I think I used to do a lot of box-checking in my personal and professional life,” states Bo, a faroff look in her eye. “Now, I try to do more gutchecking. You know, does it feel right? If it does, I run with it. If it doesn’t, I walk away.” We can’t wait to see what she does next.


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Women of Influence 2019

Megan Harris-Pero written by: Theresa St. John Photos by: Lindsey Fish of SuperSource Media, LLC.


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hinking about things like Estate Planning, Power of Attorney, HealthCare Proxy, Living Wills, Guardianship Designation if minor children are involved, can be quite mind-boggling. The topics are overwhelming when families only want to think about life – not illness, end of life, death. “The truth is that we all go through many of the same life transitions, “ states Megan Harris-Pero, an estate planning, elder law, and small business lawyer here in Saratoga. “The goal of planning for both unexpected and inevitable events is to provide peace of mind to our clients.” Megan is no stranger to life-altering events in her own life. When her sister was just 16, she was involved in a horrific accident which changed the family dynamic in drastic ways. “I realized at a very young age how quickly things can change. There was no way we could undo the accident. We had to deal with the present and future without the tools that might have helped, had we been prepared.”


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Some of the words clients have used to describe working with Megan are “easy to understand,” caring, hard-working, attentive, clear, prompt, and professional.” “The areas of what I call life transition planning estates, trusts, elder law, Medicaid, and business law – require a depth of knowledge. There’s always more to learn. There are some sweet spots – where I know I have knowledge in areas most people don’t. I also realize I don’t know everything, but can identify specifics to verify or look into further. No client presents the exact same life situation or stays static in that life situation.” Megan feels this is her purpose, part of her mission statement, to protect their legacy, family, and small business.” She also specializes in Farm & Food Business Law, helping farmers navigate through both legal and other considerations for their business, such as succession, not just stages of life.


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Megan has taken part in agricultural tours across the country, Canada, and Vietnam, comparing each business model, finding what works and what doesn’t, intent on developing leaders in the field of agriculture. She’s also participated in several speaking engagements, sharing what she knows in specialized law with others. She says she enjoys having a smaller law practice where she can put people first and is welcoming a 2nd lawyer to join the firm, Jessica Botelho, who feels the same. “I’m honored to be the only lawyer on the board of a wonderful non-profit organization that provides emotional support and educational services to people living with chronic illnesses and disabilities,” she shares. Established in response to a need the public has in approaching and perceiving life affected by illness or disability with mindfulness, Beyond My Battle works hard to transform the mental and physical well-being of those in need. Admittedly, it’s a daunting task to understand, manage, and reduce the emotional stress that comes with any diagnosis. Beyond My Battle, though only a year old, has received tremendous support from the community, donors, and sponsors.


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“I believe every person has someone who inspires them to be a better human being in life,” Megan explains. “I can think of several, right away; My mom, Peggy Harris, had to learn how to be a parent of a daughter with disabilities; My step-mom, Jill, who showed me that many doors could open through my commitment to studies; Kathryn (“Chubby”) Peddrew, an elderly neighbor and close friend in Hampton, Virginia whose nickname came from her petite frame. She taught us a lot about bringing up daughters, mainly encouraging them to do anything and everything they wanted; Kim Beekman, a yoga instructor at the Wilton YMCA, who spreads messages of self-care and living from the heart; Last, but not least, Jessica R. Botelho, Esq. has been a great influence in my life, an attorney whose focus is in areas of estates, trusts, elder law, just like me. She’s a joy to know, a super-hero in my book.”


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“I believe every person has someone who inspires them to be a better human being in life...” Photos provided.

At home, Megan’s husband and children support her fully and share pride in her accomplishments. They share responsibilities and enjoy each other’s company when they have time to be together as a family. Megan was nominated for the 2019 Women of influence award by Erin Santspree, a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch. When we look at her list of accomplishments, we can certainly understand why.


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Women of Influence 2019


Women of Influence 2019

written by: Theresa St. John Photos by: Lindsey Fish of SuperSource Media, LLC.

Dr. Renee

RodriguezGoodemote

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aratoga Community Health Center is the only one of its kind in the greater Saratoga region. Not only does it provide highquality health services to members of the community – regardless of insurance status or the ability to pay, but its made up of health providers and staff committed to the patient’s health and well-being over and above everything else. Renee is the medical director of Saratoga Community Health Center, a service of Saratoga Hospital and she describes it best. “We are your medical home here at the center,” she says. “Our unique model of care is designed with you in mind. We’re more than just an office where patients come to see a doctor. Our approach is team-based. There’s no single driver here. Our goal is to meet most, if not all of your healthcare needs during your lifetime.”


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Renee can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be in the medical field. “I’m not sure how the idea got planted in my head. I only know that I couldn’t concentrate on anything other than becoming the health-care professional I am today.” She laughs at her next sentence. “Once I turned 12, I became a candy-striper at St.Claire’s Hospital in Schenectady.” Imagine that. The center offers primary physicians, dentists, addiction and behavioral counselors, social workers, and case management, among other services. “Think of it this way – we truly are greater collectively than any of our singular efforts in helping people become healthy.”


28 “It’s hard to describe Dr. Rodriguez in a few short words, but I’ll try,” states Katherine McNeice, program manager for Saratoga Community Health Center. “She approaches her patient care as well as her commitment to our community with a passion that’s unparalleled. She’s a grass-roots visionary with a dedication to service at the forefront of all she does each day. We’re incredibly honored to work alongside her as we continue to support the well-being of our entire community.” Katherine, along with the hospital foundation department, nominated Dr. Rodriguez for the Woman of Influence award. “When you think of the words ‘Be well,’ what comes to mind?” Renee asks this question all the time. “The phrase starts a conversation about what well-being means to each of us.” Pitney Meadows has launched an exciting new partnership with Saratoga Community Health Center. Their farmer, Aliza Pickering, is co-teaching a Horticultural Therapy Program with Dr. Rodriguez. The program uses seeds and seedlings to symbolize healthcare and nurturing healthy relationships.

Women of Influence 2019


Women of Influence 2019

“There’s something about digging in the dirt, planting a seed, caring for it, watching it grow,” Renee says. “It’s purposeful work that gets a result, just like in life.” She shares how some patients were so excited about the program they decided to stay on and volunteer at the farm. “At various times during the year, 14-31 percent of people report food access as their #1 need. Patients say over and over again that they enjoy the taste of fresh food, but can’t afford it. Being part of the horticultural program at Pitney Meadows means they can become more mindful about where their food comes from and even what they choose to eat.” Renee’s twin sister, Raina, is a civil engineer. She also has a younger brother, Adam, who works in the world of finance. She’s very close to both siblings and her parents. “My husband Andrew holds down the fort,” she announces. “He’s a wonderful man – very supportive in everything I do here. I have a daughter Ava, who’s 11 and a son, Eli. He’s nine. Every time I look at my family I know I am blessed.”

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“There’s something about digging in the dirt, planting a seed, caring for it, watching it grow...”

When she has time to indulge in her hobbies, Dr. Rodriguez loves running, slalom waterskiing and gardening. She also enjoys boating on the lake with her family and just playing outside in the fresh air. “I’m incredibly honored to be nominated as a woman of influence this year. I hope our programs and services invite neighborhoods to learn about who we are and what we do here in Saratoga County. Every day is rewarding. We’re helping people learn about wellness – not only physical health but mental and emotional health as well. You’re not just a number. We truly care.” Dr. Rodriguez is a shining example of what healthcare means and her nomination is well-deserved.


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Women of Influence 2019

Elizabeth Sobol written by: Theresa St. John Photos by: Lindsey Fish of SuperSource Media, LLC.


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he Saratoga Performing Arts Center lovingly referred to as SPAC by locals, is one of America’s most prestigious venues. The setting is tranquil, found in the middle of an impressive 2,400-acre park preserve filled with hiking trails, mineral springs, and unique geysers. It draws both vacation crowds and lovers of the arts each year for performances by The New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Opera Saratoga, Live Nation, and more. SPAC also hosts the annual Saratoga Food and Wine Festival. Elizabeth Sobol is a veteran of the classical music and recording industry. She spent three decades in management at IMG Artists, where she was instrumental in guiding the careers of some pretty impressive stars such as Joshua Bell, Renee Fleming, Itzhak Perlman, to name a few. She has also worked with artists from other fields, most notably dance. At IMG she established a dance division with both ballet and modern dance companies among its catalog of talent.


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When the call came telling her that SPAC was searching for a new president, Elizabeth was at home on Miami Beach. She smiles at the memory. “Here I was, standing out on my balcony, looking out over the ocean. The weather was perfect. I fell asleep every night to the sound of the waves making their way to the shore. Why on earth would I want to leave this for Upstate New York, where the winters were brutal?” She decided to fly up for a few days for an interview. “Within 24 hours, I was in love with Saratoga,” she explains. “I remember walking downtown, stepping into all of these little restaurants, boutiques, two incredible book shops. I was entranced!” If there was any doubt in her mind about moving here from beautiful Miami, touring SPAC ended that. “The venue excited me. Everything I learned during those few initial days in Saratoga convinced me it was rock solid. I could imagine forming new collaborations with organizations, both in and outside of Saratoga, so that SPAC would become a stronger player on national and international stages.” Elizabeth moved to Saratoga with her husband, Cuban Jazz Pianist Jorge Gomez, who promptly fell in love with the area too.


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One of her favorite free events for the community is the Festival of Young Artists, which celebrates the creative collaboration of more than 400 of the Capital Region’s brightest young dancers, singers, musicians, poets, and visual artists. The event’s culmination showcases the talent of hundreds of young artists presenting a one-hour concert on SPAC’s main stage. “Can you just imagine it?” Elizabeth asks. “We’re thrilled to foster this collaboration and to offer free access like this throughout the community.” SPAC recently worked with the entire 5th-grade class at Malta Avenue Elementary School. The public school residency program spent five weeks guiding students through the evolution of Rock and Roll. The youngsters took dance lessons twice a week, not only from SPAC artists but also from Alicia Albright, from the Broadway musical Frozen. “By the end of those five weeks, you can understand why students were sad it had ended. They loved being able to perform a recital for their friends and family. I can only imagine the memories they took away.”


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Women of Influence 2019

The Summer Nights at SPAC program provides transportation, meals, and free amphitheater seating to hundreds of children and their families so they can attend select classical performances during the warmer months of summer. Through the generous support of The Wright Foundation, The Mercer Foundation and Bank of America, SPAC and other organizations offer memorable first-time experiences to those who might not be able to afford them otherwise.


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“We have a vision here... to be accessible to everyone, sharing culture, education, joy in the arts...”

Elizabeth speaks highly of her entire staff, crediting them with helping inspire growth at SPAC. “We have a vision here,” she states. “SPAC needs to be accessible to everyone, sharing culture, education, joy in the arts. We want SPAC to be here for future generations – our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren need to enjoy the beauty of this venue.” Although she’s not certain who nominated her for the 2019 Women of Influence award, we think it’s safe to say the nomination is well-deserved.


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Profile for Saratoga TODAY

Women of Influence 2019  

Supplement of Saratoga TODAY commemorating 5 Women of Influence in Saratoga County.

Women of Influence 2019  

Supplement of Saratoga TODAY commemorating 5 Women of Influence in Saratoga County.