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Archive for March, 2016

LMV Day 8: Opening My Eyes to the Mohawk Valley

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

LMV Meeting

I cannot believe how quickly the time at LMV has flown by! This was our second-to-last program day! The topic was Economic Development. The highlight of the day for me was our tour of the Griffiss Business & Technology Park. I had not been to “The Base” since I was a little girl. There is so much great stuff happening!

We toured the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS), and one of our very own LMV classmates gave us a briefing before our tour. EADS is instrumental in protecting our air space. They monitor all flights for the eastern half of the country. We learned how their mission changed dramatically after the September 11th attacks, and they shared actual recordings of EADS personnel from that very day. It was extremely moving. It’s a very serious operation under high security, and was eye-opening for me. These immensely important jobs for national security are handled right in our backyard. I found this part of the tour very inspiring. I have always been drawn to elements of strong self-discipline and purpose. I like the idea of dedicating oneself to a noble purpose. Maybe I was a monk in a past life! I learned other things throughout the day, but this part was what stuck with me the most. Our tour continued to the Griffiss International Airport. I had no idea it was still active, and that private airlines routinely use the airstrip.

My second-favorite part of the day was a panel titled, “Economic Development. Another Perspective.” It was really cool to see how economic development can happen through unconventional methods, like hiring people struggling to find employment to create artistic trash receptacles for the community, which creates jobs and beautifies neighborhoods at the same time. Also, creating channels for promoting young entrepreneurial talent in our area; giving them a place to vet their ideas in a real-world setting with mentors to coach them along the way, growing young minds, and aiding in their confidence to be heard.

We also learned about Upstate Venture Connect, a company focused on creating a local environment ripe for innovation, by connecting local innovators with other thinkers and players in their markets, to bring their solutions to life.

Our Leadership Theme was, “Encourage the Heart,” but since we are nearly at the end of our program year, the group leadership exercise focused on all the leadership qualities we’ve studied over the course of the year in our readings. It was a fun and engaging competition to identify well-known people who really embody each set of important leadership qualities.

I am very close to the end of my LMV journey, and I can actually see and feel positive changes in myself through this process. I have always been a person of focus, preferring to do a few things really well rather than dabble in many. I prefer to connect with fewer people on a deeper level, and am generally more comfortable with a smaller circle. But through LMV, I feel much more engaged and connected with my local community. My eyes have been opened to the great changes happening in our area. This has sparked a more pronounced love of my community. It’s an interesting dichotomy; I feel that my community is smaller because so much seems closer and more accessible than ever before. However, I also feel like it’s much bigger because there is so much going on that I was simply unaware of.

A quick update on our Children’s Museum project: We met with Elizabeth and shared our ideas. Chris Henry, a Landscape Architect, has become an honorary member of our team. We are grateful for the help he has provided in getting our ideas down on paper. We created several schematics of what the outdoor space could look like with the ideas presented. Concepts include a sound garden, a green space sensory garden, and a creative free-play space. Our next step is polishing the vision, getting a cost estimate for the project, and preparing for our presentation on graduation day.

A Place of Learning: Donating a Multi-Purpose Classroom to The Root Farm

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

First Source staff dedicated the new multi-purpose room at The Root Farm
Dedicating the new multi-purpose training room at The Root Farm, from left to right: Kristy Nole, AVP Marketing and Communications First Source FCU; Gary Heenan, First Source FCU Board Member; John Calabrese, First Source FCU Board Member; Robert Nole, First Source FCU Board Member; Jeremy Earl, Executive Director, The Root Farm; Dean Kelly, First Source FCU Board Member; Bob Jubenville, First Source FCU Board Member; Mike Parsons, President and CEO, First Source FCU; Kathy Hartnett, Executive Director, Cerebral Palsy Association; Liz Crane, Executive Assistant, First Source FCU; Tom Neumann, EVP and COO, First Source FCU.

First Source donated a multi-purpose classroom at The Root Farm in Sauquoit, and attended the official opening ceremony. The Root Farm, in collaboration with Upstate Cerebral Palsy, recently opened a new, expanded facility, of which the classroom is a central part. Using space from Camp Ronald McDonald—and generous community support—the farm offers 112 acres for therapeutic and equine assisted activities, agriculture programs, and arts activities, along with vocational and recreational opportunities for children and adults of all abilities.

The equine program includes integrated, adaptive horseback riding lessons, hippotherapy, vaulting, and private horseback riding lessons. The agriculture program includes raising free range chickens, producing maple syrup and other maple products, managing bee hives for honey production, and cultivating more than four acres of property for growing vegetables and flowers within the next few months. Their arts and recreational programming includes day camps, swimming, hiking, camping, orienteering, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and more.

“All that The Root Farm embodies was a perfect fit for First Source,” said Mike Parsons, President and CEO of First Source Federal Credit Union. “With education, therapy, and natural resources, The Root Farm is truly a wonderful community space, fulfilling needs for people of all abilities in a new way. When we heard what was in the works and saw the healing power of equine assisted therapy, we immediately asked how we could help.”

The result: The Root Farm multi-purpose classroom, currently used for meeting, planning, training, and equine program viewing.

“We are grateful to First Source for believing in, and contributing to, our vision for innovative programming at The Root Farm,” said Jeremy Earl, Executive Director of The Root Farm. “First Source was one of our first community partners for the construction of our new equine center, and has continued to support us as we moved our project from a dream to reality.”

To learn more or make a donation to The Root Farm, visit them on the web at www.rootfarm.org.

LMV Day 7: Stay True to Yourself

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Brenda Rogowski at the February LMV Meeting
Our February LMV program was centered around “Media & Promotion Day”. Once again, we were fortunate to engage with many different community leaders.

Kevin Crosley, Executive Director of the Herkimer ARC, started us off. He delivered an empowering message of how important it is to collaborate and think outside the box. He runs a non-profit organization but has found ways to partner with other non-profits, as well as for-profit businesses, to further the goals of his organization. He has been able to create networking, job, and fundraising opportunities through this approach.

In concert, our Leadership Lesson was all about fostering collaboration and strengthening others to act, through building a climate of trust.

We also heard from UC Men’s Hockey Coach Gary Heenan. We learned how important it is to believe in yourself and your idea, especially when you are building it from the ground up. Gary showed that you have to build the “brand of you”. Once people buy into that, see and feel your authenticity, they are more apt to be willing to listen to and support your ideas and goals. Once you have established yourself, you no longer have to start with selling you. You can jump into your concept more quickly. Never underestimate the power of connections. The smallest gesture can have a rippling effect, with a far larger reach than you initially thought.

Ryan Miller of the ThINCubator taught us about leveraging social media to gain support, and how quickly you can connect to pretty much anyone, anywhere in the world. The old “gatekeeper” structure is being broken down by social media. You can find yourself only 2-3 connections away from a CEO you may never have been able to access in the past.

The day was very inspiring for me. I was moved by the idea of putting yourself out there, and making yourself accessible for collaboration. You have to be willing to trust and extend your hand first, and then they will in turn begin to trust you when you exhibit integrity and consistency. Trust others and earn their trust in return. Know yourself. Stay true to yourself. Trust others. Invite others to share in a vision, and it will lead to success and support. All employees are the voice of their company. You are your biggest cheerleader. Get your story heard.

A smaller takeaway, but also important, was a brainstorming exercise on ways to motivate, thank, reward, and recognize people in ways other than just monetarily. We completed an exercise that challenged us to find ways to do this for under $25.

Children’s Museum Update:

We traveled to the Ithaca Community Garden for inspiration, and came back with some amazing ideas for the space we will be creating at the Children’s Museum. They designed interactive areas to feed the senses and promote imaginative free play. We’re now meeting with the Children’s Museum to present our creative thoughts on the space, and we’ll also be engaging with a local landscape architect regarding plan implementation and cost.

– Brenda Rogowski, Loan and Deposit Operations Manager, LMV Participant








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