Nurturing and encouraging a community

Rande Richardson

Over the last several years, the Northern New York Community Foundation has continually looked for ways to extend its reach and scope to fulfill the true spirit and mission by which it was established in 1929. Moving beyond being a transactional grantmaker is a path we believe we should pursue, as making investments through grants and scholarships is really only part of the story. Those efforts have been well received, as the diversity and number of charitable funds and legacies administered on behalf of individuals, families, organizations and businesses has grown significantly. Also during this time, our service area extended to include St. Lawrence County, whose residents have responded positively, with many establishing permanent funds and others supporting the Foundation’s overall efforts to enhance the region’s quality of life. The experience of philanthropy should not belong to any one group or demographic and the options for expressing it should be as diverse as the community itself.

   The Foundation, through the support of its donors, past and present, has been able to implement new programs which encourage and nurture community awareness, leadership and instill the interest and desire to give back across generations. This is most evident in our Youth Philanthropy and Next Generation LEAD Councils. We have also have been steadfast in our belief that one of the most important responsibilities we have is to be a resource to nonprofit organizations that provide both basic services and quality of life enhancements by offering additional tools to ensure their ability to fulfill their mission for the long term. This has included helping build partnership endowments that serve to both diversify revenue streams in good times and bad and also provide donors with a heightened level of structure and long-term stewardship when they choose to support the charitable interests they are most passionate about. This is powerful!

   Because of these things, the Community Foundation reached a crossroads. Over a year ago, thoughtful discussion began regarding how to accommodate the increased reach and scope and ensure that we were properly positioned to continue to diversify the way we serve our community, the donors who support it and the organizations we are able to invest in. Moving simply to provide more office space was not reason nor visionary enough.

   We continually ask organizations we serve to find ways to minimize duplication, find efficiencies of scale, and look for opportunities to share and collaborate when it makes sense. We needed to do the same. We looked inward and asked: “is this an opportunity for us to do better, in a more collaborative way, doing more, for our community, its organizations, donors and all those we strive to serve?”

   The alignment of stars and months of due diligence provided even greater clarity on how to best enter the next chapter.

Following the lead of other community foundations across the state and country, we embraced the philanthropy center concept as a way to:

  • Create a sustainable model that will enable sharing and consolidation of resources (space, services, staff, ideas, technology) with other nonprofits in a synergistic setting while reducing operational costs for up to seven charitable organizations under one roof, including our own.
  • Provide convening and collaboration space for nonprofit organizations and community groups.
  • Provide additional space to expand and grow Youth Philanthropy, Next Generation LEAD and educational internship programs.
  • Offer additional ways to tangibly celebrate, recognize and honor north country philanthropy, and those who have made, and are making, it possible, with the hope that others will be moved and inspired to perpetuate it.

   The new space that we will share with others must be for and about our community. It will open the door to convenings and leadership opportunities and serve as a catalyst for specific and broad philanthropic activities.  

   The third floor will provide organizations the ability to develop a shared services model. All will benefit from the synergy of being united in a facility that promotes new thinking in regards to all ways that allow more charitable resources to go further. The Center itself will be both efficient and sustainable, as up to seven organizations (including the Community Foundation) share one home.

   With the help of Purcell Construction, an historically significant building was preserved, restored and returned to community use, enhancing the other investments being made in the Downtown area. With over $2 million raised, the community expressed its will to make it happen, sharing the vision for the space and its potential to broadly support all charitable organizations with contributions of various sizes.

In the end, the Philanthropy Center is a tool and will only be as valuable as the way it is used. We take this responsibility seriously. We hope you share with us in celebrating this next chapter in community philanthropy that this collaborative venture represents, while honoring the past, celebrating the present and preparing for the future. It is the natural next step in realizing and building upon the same bold vision and mission that the founders of your community foundation had 88 years ago that you continue to embrace, and that enhances the quality of life for us, and those who will come after us.


Don’t forget Facebook in media mix

Jennifer McCluskey

Jennifer McCluskey

As you are planning out your business’s advertising budget for next year, you may want to consider adding targeted Facebook ads if you have not done so already.

Being able to be very specific in defining a target audience is one of the reasons many businesses are turning to Facebook for advertising in addition to their more traditional advertising methods. For example, you can set up an audience of men ages 18 to 22 who like snowmobiling and live within either a 10 mile radius of Gouverneur or a 20-mile radius of Watertown. You can be as specific or as broad as you like, depending on the certain type of customer you are trying to reach.

If you’ve never set up a targeted audience for your Facebook ads before, here’s how you do it. At the lower-left corner of your Facebook page, there should be a blue button that says “Promote.” Facebook likes to move stuff around regularly, so if it’s not there, it will be somewhere on the page. Click it, click “see all promotions,” go to the bottom of the screen and click “Go to Ads Manager.” The dropdown menu in the upper left hand corner of your Ads Manager should give you a link to set up an audience. If it does not, click “Create Ad,” and choose an objective to be able to see the audience creator.

There are several ways to develop an audience. One way is to upload information about customers, and Facebook will match that to other people who share the same demographics and interest. Alternatively, you can create an audience of people who have interacted with your Facebook page, mobile app, or visited your website. Beyond those criteria, you can target customers based on their age, gender, and location. You can also use the detailed targeting search bar to find people that match certain interests. This is where the fun part begins. Start typing a phrase and see what comes up. Some examples are parents of teenagers age 13 to 18, people who are interested in magnum ice cream, people who are interested in handmade jewelry, people whose home value is more than $200,000, and people who are credit card “high spenders.” Yes, it is pretty scary how much information Facebook has about us. The list goes on and on, so you can craft an audience that is detailed as much as you want.

You can also choose to include or exclude people who like your page, or send the ad to friends of people who like your page. You can choose to have your ad or boosted post come up within your audience’s newsfeed (it will say “sponsored” above the ad) or in the sidebar. Ads in the newsfeed are a little more subtle, but it might be worth trying both to see which is most effective. You can also choose to have your ads show up on Instagram as well.

Once you have created an audience you can save it for future use. It can be useful to test several different audiences to see which works best to meet your goal. Continue to add audiences for variety, so you won’t be showing the ad to the same people every time.

Finally, and most importantly, you want to make sure you have a measurable goal to know if your marketing is effective. Your goal may be to get more clicks through to your website, to get more emails or calls from customers, and of course to make more sales. You will want to track the results from your ad campaign. Facebook has some insights in the ads manager, but you can also use website analyzers like Google Analytics to track clicks to your website from Facebook. You can also include a coupon code with your ad so that you will know how many actual customers come in because of it. It is also good to test two different ads, audiences, etc. to find out what works the best to bring in more customers.

Feel free to get in touch with us at the SBDC if you want help designing your Facebook ads or if you want any other assistance for your business. We are always here to help. The Small Business Development Center has offices at SUNY Canton (315) 386-7312 and at JCC in Watertown (315) 782-9262.

Working to change the culture of care

Bob Gorman

Bob Gorman

Fort Drum is full of acronyms, but the two most recent acronyms to come to the north country are courtesy of civilians: DSRIP and ALICE.

The state’s Delivery System Reform Initiative Payment (DSRIP) program is a short but tongue-twisting way of saying that too much money is being spent on people after they are sick and not enough is being spent on keeping people from getting sick.

ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, which is another tongue-twisting way of referring to the working poor.

The DSRIP punchline is this: The region wants to reduce hospital use by 25 percent within five years

The ALICE punchline is this: The state is getting dangerously close to having 50 percent of its households unable to generate enough income to cover the basic costs of living, let alone save for the future.

But first, DSRIP. Changing the culture of treatment to a culture of prevention is going to be difficult, especially when too many of us overdose on opiates, alcohol, tobacco, sugar, etc. Too many of us also suffer from mental, emotional and behavioral health issues. The easy thing to do is put off addressing a health issue in hopes it will go away. If we are wrong, well, there is an emergency room nearby.

Everyone in health care agrees with the direction, although hospitals are quietly trying to figure out how to eventually retool their budgets, staffs, etc., if one quarter of their patient load no longer shows up.

Leading that conversation is the North Country Initiative, which is operated out of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. The Initiative has already secured $3 million to help the region’s hospitals with this transition, while identifying key targets such as suicide prevention, smoking cessation and diabetes reduction.

Also facing the change in direction is our nonprofit community, which is now expected to become part of a health care provider system. That sounds nice on paper, but it is requiring a complete turning of the ship for agencies that have historically operated as individual organizations.

“(DSRIP) is extremely relevant and is actually what I spend most of my days, and sleepless nights, working on,” said Korin Scheible, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Jefferson County.

“DSRIP is the main reason for our name change” from the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council of Jefferson County to Pivot, said Executive Director William Bowman. That’s because Pivot is looking at the entire health care of an individual, not simply guiding people away from addictions.

“Currently the impact to our agency is mainly administrative, but there will be some programmatic aspects that will become part of our services as time goes on,” said Bowman. “We are looking at how our services impact the DSRIP goals of reducing unnecessary hospital admissions by 25 percent, and aligning our outcome measures to help determine that.”

Access Care and Resources for Health recently hired a staff person specifically to guide its agency through DSRIP. But it wasn’t easy. In a press release the agency noted: “ACR Health recognized the magnitude of DSRIP and made the difficult decision to take on a full-time DSRIP Coordinator, Poonam Patel. The lack of supporting funds to manage infrastructure and hire staff poses challenges as individuals in their full-time roles take on newly incorporated DSRIP responsibilities.”

Yet, all nonprofits that provides any health care services — such as behavioral health and opioid addiction — understand that treating an individual individually by each agency and health center or hospital is not always in the best interest of the person.

“We are trying to help treat the overall health — mind, body and spirit,” said Jim Scordo, executive director of Credo, which several years added a mental health clinic to its role in helping people end their drug addictions.

To better understand how DISRIP will affect the north country, please see this 20-minute tutorial at:

As for ALICE, a statewide United Way report released in November shows that 44 percent of the state’s households are generating incomes below the threshold needed to provide rent, food, medical care, educational opportunities for children and saving for the future.

In Watertown, the percentage is 57 percent. That number is in part the reason the state this year awarded a $1 million anti-poverty grant to the city, which has asked the United Way of NNY to administer. We have asked former Watertown Y executive director Peter Schmitt to lead this effort to help us better understand how we can help people receive services more promptly, and fund programs that help more citizens become self-sufficient.

DSRIP and ALICE alone won’t solve all the issues facing our community. But they are good starts and will be acronyms worth knowing about in the years to come.

Ag a major driver for regional tourism


Jay Matteson

Jay Matteson

The Thousand Islands International Tourism Council recently hosted a bi-national tourism summit at the Clayton Harbor Hotel. With more than 100 people attending from both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, and great discussions generated from the day’s presentations, the summit was very successful. I was excited when Gary DeYoung, director of tourism for the Thousand Islands International Tourism Council, asked me to present about the role that agriculture plays in tourism and some of the changes we’ve seen. Over the past few decades, agriculture has emerged as a major driver in tourism in the Thousand Islands region.
Since 1986, we have benefited from the creation of “destinations” based on farming. The “Mother of Ag Tourism in Jefferson County,” Nancy Robbins, started Old McDonald’s Farm near Sackets Harbor. Old McDonald’s farm, according to Nancy, started because she found that friends wanted to bring their children to see farm animals and learn about farming. Nancy capitalized on that interest and built one of the foremost agricultural destinations in New York, this year educating nearly 40,000 about farming.
Another development that spiked our region’s tourism opportunities is the development of a farm based craft beverage industry. In the early 2000’s a Fort Drum officer was retiring from the Army and fell in love with the St. Lawrence River and how it reminded him of German river valleys he saw while traveling in Europe. Steve Conaway found cold hardy species of grapes that could grow in our frigid climate and began making wine in a garage on a farm he purchased. This was the beginning of Thousand Islands Winery, the largest farm winery in Northern New York. Steve was quickly joined by fellow visionaries Phil Randazzo, Nick Surdo, and Kyle and Rick Hafemann who recognized the potential for a northern wine industry based in the Thousand Islands. Their wineries, Coyote Moon Vineyards, Yellow Barn Winery and Otter Creek Winery quickly inspired others. Today we have 16 farm-based wineries, distilleries, and breweries drawing people to our shores, year-round.
Unfortunately the industry is growing faster than we are attracting people from outside our area. During the summit I described our tourist base as a pie. Right now we are in a transition time where we haven’t reached a critical mass of destinations to become a huge draw similar to the Finger Lakes. Every new farm-based craft beverage facility divides the “pie” of customers into thinner slices. This is not a suggestion that entrepreneurs shouldn’t go into the craft beverage industry. But, everyone should realize the challenge we face of trying to expand our customer base.
One barrier that hurts the Thousand Islands region is the “tariff wall” placed by Canada on their citizens that severely limits Canadians from purchasing our alcohol based craft beverages. With major metropolitan areas within a few hours’ drive to our area from Canada, we could increase our customer base for our craft beverage industry. It is very expensive for Canadians to cross the border to visit our craft beverage facilities, purchase our products and bring them back into Canada.
The Tariff Wall is far more severe than any placed on U.S. citizens visiting Canada. Phil Randazzo, owner of Coyote Moon Vineyard, has suggested previously, and I reiterated during my presentation at the Tourism Summit, that possibly we should consider working with our friends across the River to create an International Farm Beverage trail that accomplishes two key things. The first is two create a unique device to market our international region to attract an increasing number of visitors. Second, as I proposed during my presentation, create a tariff-free zone starting at a westerly line from Kingston, Ont., to Sackets Harbor and proceeding east to the Ogdensburg International Bridge. The tariff free zone would extend 25 miles inland from those points and the St. Lawrence River. Any farm based beverage produced within that region could receive a special label that exempts the product from being charged with tariffs when transported across the border. Obviously there are many details that would need to be worked out, but it is worth considering.
It is exciting to witness the growth of an industry from its infancy that serves both agriculture and tourism. Our work should be to do everything we can to attract more people to our area and remove barriers that inhibit our growth.

Jay M. Matteson is agricultural coordinator for the Jefferson County Local Development Corp. He is a lifelong Northern New York resident who lives in Lorraine. Contact him at His column appears monthly in NNY Business.

Go digital for lasting improvements

Jill Van Hoesen

Jill Van Hoesen

As we move into 2017 the lines between the varying sectors of industries and businesses will become even more blurred and each and every company or organization will need to begin to become just a little more of a technology company.
You will hear about this craze throughout 2017, as the omnipresent quest to “go digital” will continue. Your digital transformation will equate into numerous opportunities for empowering your employees and enhancing customer engagement through new services and product offerings. Your keys to success will be different for each of you but you can begin to reconcile your existing technologies with the new digital offerings by taking the advice of Bill Briggs, chief technology officer, for Deloitte Consulting LLP, “Think big, start small, fail fast and keep moving”.
As you begin your digital innovation and investment strategy you must understand the impact the latest emerging technology trends will have on your business. This understanding needs to be translated into a strategic plan inclusive of these new emerging technologies and the understanding of how these latest kinds of changes will drive your business model and market. Each of you will approach this with your own unique set of perspectives, goals, opportunities and challenges. You will find as the boundaries blur commonality will emerge that can provide you some powerful opportunities to share ideas and strategies among entities which you may have been previously disconnected. Your technical and business leaders need to get on the same page to jumpstart your organization’s digital transformation and the magnitude of opportunities a digital transformation can mean. The harder part will be translating this “digital transformation” into viable opportunities for customer engagement, employee empowerment and new products and services that will enhance your bottom line.
Your tech leaders will embrace this as it will give them dispensation in their roles of strategist and change catalyst. You should look to your tech leaders to first evaluate the possibility of extracting more value from your present legacy systems. This could mean a full upgrade to a new platform or possibly only replacing outdated components with some newer tools driven by the latest technology. I am sure you have a sufficient investment in your core system(s) so core modernization needs to be done at a granular level taking into account your present budget, architecture, security, scalability and life cycle of the system. If you plan carefully and keep these changes manageable it will go a long way in helping your business meet its needs today while creating a roadmap for the future.
You and your organization are not alone in this digital transformation struggle. To some degree, most organizations are facing many of the same digital challenges. Technical debt is a real challenge in many organizations, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that legacy systems have no life left in them, maintaining core operations and keeping the lights on still matter greatly for most of us. A critical part of any effort to digitally modernize your business is to shore up your core information technology foundation. If your core is solid and running well you will have the foundation to begin to build your digital transformation on. Strategy is the key here, as digital transformation is as much about your tactics as your mind-set. If your business is in order you can begin to evaluate the pieces of digital transformation like integration, design and architecture. You will find the transition will be easiest on all when it can be focused on creating a specific product, service or customer experience. This provides the buy in you need from your stakeholders and the effort becomes bound to a precise not abstract goal. This should be your first step in your much broader effort toward digitally transforming your enterprise.
In 2017 and beyond successful companies will most likely be those that can live up to the mandate of being a tech company. Analytics and digital are the new currency on which all competition is being waged. Your challenge is determining how your company will compete in this digital environment and this challenge is not a luxury and it is not an option. If you are not exploiting the latest digital technologies and analytics to drive new offerings and customer experiences don’t worry your competition will.

Jill Van Hoesen is chief information officer for Johnson Newspapers and a 25-year IT veteran. Contact her at Her column appears monthly in NNY Business.

Take steps to retain young leaders

Brooke Rouse

Brooke Rouse

Some say leadership is learned, others say leadership is an inherent trait. Either way, if a young leader is identified in your hiring process or in your company, you certainly want to keep them around.

Young leaders have a desire to continue growing and learning, are looking for new opportunities and a feeling of value, and want to enjoy their work environment. Paying attention to and fulfilling these professional desires will help you to keep the best and brightest working for you.

Goals & vision

Keep your young leaders informed of the goals and vision of the company and how their work contributes to moving the company forward. Providing the individual with the guidance to work productively, without micromanaging their work, will ensure they stay motivated. Recognize their efforts in terms of the overall success of the organization, welcome their opinions and allow them to be a part of understanding the risks associated with business.

Face time

I’m not talking about the video function on an iPhone … provide your leaders with the opportunity to represent the company on committees, in presentations, at public charity events — in any way that they know you trust them to be the face of the company in the public eye.


Young leaders enjoy being on a team, having responsibility to lead people and be led. The people and culture of the workplace are important to keeping them coming back and looking forward to work every day. Hiring people for personality that fits with the team can make or break the long-term possibility of employment. Instilling a culture of hard work balanced with a lighthearted and social atmosphere are important, too.

Community connection

Finally, young leaders who are new to the area will also be seeking a connection to the community. Beyond work life, social life and civic engagement are a big part of what will connect a person to a community. Meeting people, expanding social networks and contributing to a cause or the community at large adds value to a young leader and fulfills other needs outside of the office.

Developing leaders is not an individual event. It must be an ongoing process, which may include casual mentorship, participation on a team and a company culture that is aware and responsive to the role of young leaders.

LinkedIn is a professional nerowrking site that many businesses employ as a means to connect with customers and market services. Later this month, the Potsdam Public Library will offer a free class designed to introduce users to the business networking platform. Here’s some more information:

                Sunday, Dec. 11, LinkedIn, 12:30 p.m., Potsdam Public Library, 2 Parks St. #1, Potsdam. This class will provide information on how to create and effectively use a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is a business-0oriented social networking tool to find useful for anyone seeking work or those looking for employees. The event covers how to connect with people, how to input your information and create a profile. Bring a laptop and a professional photo of yourself saved on the computer. New users welcome. Cost: Free. Information/registration: Potsdam Public Library, (315) 265-7230.


Brooke Rouse is executive director of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Promotion Agent. She is a business owner, holds a master’s degree in tourism and is a former SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center Advisor. Contact her at or 386-4000.

Breaking the rules of writing with style

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

I’ve been writing professionally and as a journalist for 15 years.

My accolades include three published books, hundreds of published news and human interest stories, a successful blog, two award-winning investigative television series and a comedic stage play that made its debut in 2014.

I have learned how to write from the best and the worst.

I have been told to write at least 1,500 words a day.

Or 3,000 a day.

Or whatever the hell I want every other day.

I’ve been advised not to use semicolons; that they are insignificant.

It has been suggested that I swear by the Associated Press Stylebook.

The next day I’m told to burn that book and worship The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Authors and Publishers.

Never use slang.

Use slang whenever I want.

And dammit, Aaron Sorkin says I shouldn’t start a sentence with dammit or and. Ever. (He wrote “Newsroom,” which you should watch.)

Stephen King writes 3,000 words or more every day, even on holidays.

J.K. Rowling writes up to 11 hours most days.

Margaret Atwood writes between 1,000 and 2,000 a day.

Enter contests. Don’t enter contests.

Go to writer’s retreats and workshops. Don’t go.

Take an online course. Don’t take an online course.

I could go on and on with examples that so many offer on the rules of writing. But I won’t because despite all of the rules and suggestions, the best thing you can do for yourself is to DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

Does this mean you should disregard what seasoned writers and screenwriters say? No, not at all. Listen. Implement. But trust your gut, too.

I wrote a screenplay last year that I pitched to a production company in February. They requested it to read, getting back to me 4 weeks later to tell me the screenplay was overwritten and a slog to get through.

At the same time, a producer that thought my script was a hoot asked my permission to pass it on to Cobie Smulders’ agent.

In both instances, my writing had a different impact on two different parties based on their rules of writing.


Some will love you, some won’t. We know that. So why do we continue to try and conform to the rules of others, even when our gut screams at us to follow our own?

Look, I love to write. I do it almost every day. There are some days I don’t really want to, but because I make a living with my pen, I kind of have to. For the longest time, I thought the Writing Gods would come down from the Script Heavens and destroy me if I skipped a day.

“You’re never going to be successful if you don’t write every day,” they would say. “Because you skipped Sunday and Monday (and used a semicolon yesterday), we’re going to punish you by seeing to it that that production company doesn’t choose you. Tsk, tsk.”

I worked with a business coach once that said, “You are responsible for the box you put yourself in. If you live by the rules and beliefs of others, you will never experience true freedom. Break the rules. As long as no one gets hurt, break the rules all day long.”

So this post is your permission slip to do just that.

You may be torn on whether or not you should move a scene to the top of your script because someone very seasoned suggested it. You’re allowed to be torn.

You may be torn on whether or not you should change the title of your book because a very seasoned publisher suggested it. Again, you’re allowed to be torn.

What you’re NOT allowed to do is doubt yourself. (I know, I know, we all struggle with this…)

Believe it or not, there is an Inner Knowing within you that really needs to be trusted. That, coupled with the knowledge and experience that seasoned writers offer, is what makes a really good writer an amazing writer.

Having said all of this, make your own rules. Take pieces of what he said and she said and what you feel, and make your own. Want to use a semicolon? Use it. Want to swear and cuss and use big words? Use ‘em. Want to keep that scene intact? Keep it.

In the end, don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously (Quote: Lev Grossman).  Just because you’re “not there” yet doesn’t mean you don’t know well enough to get there. It just means, well, that you’re not there yet. Keep learning, keep growing, keep believing, and you will be.

All my best to you.


Joleene moody is a freelance writer, blogger and speaker who lives in Oswego County with her husband and daughter. Learn more at Her column appears monthly in NNY Business. Visit to read past columns online.

Leveraging non-positional authority

Columnist Tracy Leonard

Tracy Leonard

Entering the workforce as a young professional may sometimes cause one to doubt. Perhaps thoughts or feelings may surface suggesting that you cannot lead because of your youth or limited tenure in your position or company. I encourage you to stop and think again. In fact, youth and limited tenure may be exactly what makes you an asset!

Young professionals may not necessarily bring years of experience or significant expertise at the onset, but they can bring energy, new ideas, fresh education or academic principles, a knowledge and understanding of new and advancing technology, and a renewed perspective.

Being a leader doesn’t mean you have to be in a position of power or have an executive-level title. In fact, if you exercise your leadership skills as a young professional with genuine care, respect and passion, your self-fulfillment and contributions to others or a cause are likely to be much more desirable, effective and valuable. Your positional power does not determine your ability to be successful and happy.

Here are several ways that anyone can cultivate and exercising his or her leadership skills:

Lead by example. Do the best you can do, ask questions and try to achieve or succeed expectations. Those who give it their best and seek quality are seen as leaders.

Find a mentor. This trusted advisor can teach and guide you in a constructive partnership. Watch, listen and learn. You, as their protégé, learn from your mentor’s experience, while your mentor can also grow, learn and benefit from your fresh perspective, new ideas, knowledge and exuberance. If your organization doesn’t have a formal mentoring program, take the initiative to seek and find one on your own — choose wisely.

Step up to take on an initiative or lead a project. Some leadership opportunities, such as facilitating a committee, are engrained into the organization’s governance structure, while other organizations may require you to step up and volunteer for this role. Leading a group through a project can increase your exposure to other leaders and managers both in and outside your organization. Networking, collaboration, and two-way communication are all benefits of this type of work. While leading or facilitating an initiative may require you to come out of your comfort zone, it almost always results in some type of growth.

Speak or write about your work. Nothing establishes you as a trusted expert on a subject faster than communicating about it in a public forum. Seek out opportunities to speak at conventions, conferences or symposiums. In the office, host an educational session over lunch for your co-workers about your area of expertise. You can also share your expertise and good work by writing articles for a business magazine or journal, or even your company newsletter. Do your research, frame your presentation appropriately for your audience and be confident yet humble. This extra effort can provide a lot of extra career mileage and it will also help you grow in many ways.

Be humble, kind, honest and credible. Nothing will undermine your leadership efforts more than being a source of gossip or negative talk. Rather than complaining or pulling others down with you, step up your efforts to lead. Handle the situation in a focused and professional manner which will in turn have a positive ripple effect with those around you. Genuine positive energy yields greater productivity, increased satisfaction and improved overall morale.

Recognize, respect and show appreciation for those around you. While it may not always be easy to share the spotlight, it is important and necessary. As the common cliché goes, “there is no ‘I’ in team.” The skills, abilities and accomplishments of those working with you ultimately contribute to your success. Leverage this and help maximize their potential for the greater good. Recognize and seek to understand what it is that others have done to achieve or accomplish greatness. Thank and respect them. Show them that you care and try to emulate the positive qualities they possess.

Ask for advancement opportunities.Once you identify your passion, skills and desires regarding the next logical step for your career advancement, make it known to your supervisor. Your supervisor’s success is directly and positively affected by your success, so in most cases, your supervisor will be receptive and want to help you be successful. Work with him or her to assess your situation, identify goals and determine what you can do to position yourself for success.

These are only a few examples of things you can do to lead without positional power, but if you cultivate and exercise these things, you may find your co-workers, your supervisor and your community responding to you as a leader.

As you move up the career ladder, don’t forget to continue practicing these things. Pass them on to your coworkers, your peers and to other young professionals. After all, successful leaders are committed to the success of the people around them.

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

Do you love going to work?

I’m going to guess no, because you’re reading this right now. You want out, but you don’t know how to do it. You have bills to pay and mouths to feed. It’s not like you can just give a two-week notice and walk out of hell and into your dream job, right? I mean, who does that?

Thousands of people do that every day.

Droves of unhappy workers trade in their desk and stapler for a shiny new career all the time. We just don’t see it because we’re too busy suffering eight to 10 hours a day at a job we don’t love, compromising ourselves spiritually, financially, and emotionally.

A Gallop poll revealed that 70 percent of U.S. employees are unhappy at work. Seventy percent is a lot of unhappy faces.

When you’re unhappy at work, you start a chain of events that become progressively worse the longer you stay behind the desk. Your life becomes miserable. And the misery doesn’t go away. You wait for it to, but it won’t. Not until you walk out the door.

Here are five things that happen when you stay in a job you don’t love, and the remedy of what to do to rid yourself of the misery
so you can live a genuinely happy life.

Your heart breaks
It’s a thin line between love and hate. When you have to wake up every day and go to a job you don’t love, that line between love and hate grows smaller. You start to question what life is all about. Is this it? Is this all there is; just a commute and a paycheck? This is what I signed up for?

Your relationships suffer
As you question life and your place in it, you become angry. Who do you take your anger out on? The ones you love. You’re not nice. You lash out at those closest to you because they’re standing right there. They take the brunt of your anger, until one by one your loved ones fall away and you find yourself alone.

You become mean and bitter
You’ve seen mean and bitter people out there. They hate the world and everyone in it. Now you’re mean and bitter. You snap at others and become hateful. When you see happy people you secretly plot their demise. It’s a horrible place to be.

You slowly die inside
You’re awake and you’re breathing. You put one foot in front of the other every day, but that doesn’t mean you’re living. Your suffering is causing you so much pain that you’re actually dying inside. Your joy is gone. But instead of taking actions to get out, you take actions that keep you stuck right where you are.

You blame everyone around you for your pain
When you’re stuck in a situation that makes you mean and bitter, you blame others for putting you there. But they didn’t put you there. You put yourself there. You made a series of choices that landed you where you are. If you want out, you have to take responsibility for yourself and take action to get out, bottom line. End of story.

You might be reading this thinking, ‘Working somewhere I hate isn’t ruining my life. That’s ridiculous.’ Perhaps, but here’s the deal: Human psychology says that we need to experience and fill six specific human needs in positive ways in order to feel fulfilled and purposeful. One of those needs is growth. Without growth, we die inside; just like I said. We walk around numb and uncertain. We just exist. Our lives become a circle of frustration. We go to work, come home, pay bills, go back to work, come home, pay more bills … and the cycle continues.

When the weekend comes, we think. “I’m saved!” When Monday comes, we think, “This sucks.” Where’s the joy? If we have to wait for the weekend to experience joy, what kind of life are we really living?

You have a right to love what you do and get paid for it. You don’t have to suffer working a job you don’t love. You tell yourself you do because the bills are piling up and your friends tell you it’s impossible to go after a passion or dream. Everyone else has to work a job they don’t love, so why should you be any different?

They must be right.

You’re scared, too. If you leave your job, you’re ditching your favorite security blanket. Plus there’s that whole, “How am I supposed to support myself and my family if I leave my job to go chase a dream?”

Have faith, baby; just a little faith. If you don’t have a drop of faith, you’ll always be stuck. You’ll always blame others. If you think faith isn’t part of the equation here, stop reading. This isn’t for you. This is only for those who are ready to reclaim their lives.

The remedy

You want out; really and truly? Decide to get out. No more fluctuating back and forth, telling yourself horror stories of what might happen when you quit. No more telling yourself that what you have is “enough” when you know darn well it isn’t.

This isn’t going to be easy. Nothing ever is. But you have a choice right here and now: You can continue to feel the pain of doing what you don’t love, or you can move forward feeling the joy-filled pain of doing something you actually do love.

Either way, it’s going to be uncomfortable. Either way, it’s going to be uncertain. But it’s worth every single awkward twitch and burn. Decide. Only you can put yourself where you truly want to be, no one else.

Be brave. Take the leap. You’ll land on your feet. You always have.

A natural way of life: Adirondack beef Co. started to provide healthy food for family

From left, Adirondack Beef Co. owners and operators, Michele Ledoux, son, Jake, 20, a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, studying international agriculture and rural development; daughter, Camille, 17, a student at Beaver River High School and a member of the FFA, and husband Steve, co-owner.

From left, Adirondack Beef Co. owners and operators, Michele Ledoux, son, Jake, 20, a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, studying international agriculture and rural development; daughter, Camille, 17, a student at Beaver River High School and a member of the FFA, and husband Steve, co-owner.

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