Women In Power

Women In Power: Karina Saslow

Throughout the month of March, NYPA will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Karina works in NYPA’s White Plains Office as the Director of Total Compensation and Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS).

When you mentor people, what do you try to accomplish? What is the most important part of being a mentor?

In mentoring others, the accomplishment is not what I want but what the other person wants. Mentoring is being there for the other person. To advocate for them, to provide different perspectives they may not have had opportunity to explore, to make connections.

Mentoring provides an opportunity for someone to explore ideas and test discussions before taking them out in the ‘real’ world.

The most important part of being a mentor is listening to what the other person is looking for and making connections for them. I might not be the right person to help them, but I may know someone who has experience with what they are looking to learn.

What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?

As a working mom, it’s all about teamwork, communication, calendars and flexibility with my family, friends and my work. Just because I do something one week or month, doesn’t mean my husband won’t take that responsibility next time around. I try to be as available as I can be for work, and balance out times I need to be at the school play or Girl Scout meeting. But that may mean some late nights or bringing work home other times.

What do you enjoy most about working at NYPA?

The people I work with here are great and know they are doing something important. They take pride in their work and want to share it with others. In my roles here the last five years I really enjoy the ability to see across all the business segments, how they interact and the role they play in the larger strategy.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be afraid to talk to people; I had been terribly shy. You miss out on so many connections by not finding out about others but, don’t lose the ability to sit back and observe interactions as well, a skill I honed in my silence.

What are, from your perspective, the biggest challenges for women in leadership roles?

Finding your voice and staying true to yourself. Interpretation of styles/personalities/emotions can derail communications and get the message lost. Be aware of others styles as well as your own.

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Women In Power

Women In Power: Teresa Martinez

Throughout the month of March, NYPA will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Teresa works at NYPA’s Niagara Power Project Visitor Center. She is the Manager of Community Affairs.

When you mentor people, what do you try to accomplish? What is the most important part of being a mentor?

Gain a clear understanding of the individual’s goals and how you can help while relaying your own thoughts and expectations. Share schedules and be accessible, even when you are busy, which emphasizes the importance placed on the relationship.

Always communicate consistently – if not in person than using other means, and follow through on your commitments. Share the knowledge and successes you’ve gained through experience and include any ‘failures’ – as failures are the foundation of success. Always be ready to absorb knowledge from those in any position that you come into contact with. Understand that as the mentor, you will gain much from the experience too.

What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?

Create a weekly priority list merging home and work schedules, planning ahead while simultaneously expecting the unexpected. Know what, if any, flexibility you can weave into your work schedule to meet any unanticipated personal responsibilities.

Attempt to create an outside support system to assist you with childcare, medical appointments, transportation issues, etc. Communicate with your superior(s) about what outside commitments you have coming up and offer assurances and plans on how you will fulfill your work responsibilities. Be creative and resourceful!

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NYPA Staff, Women In Power

Women In Power: Anne Kress

Throughout the month of March, NYPA will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Dr. Anne Kress is a NYPA Trustee and the President of Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. She also serves on Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council and has helped draft higher education policy in both New York and Florida. She has been honored several times, including recognition by the New York State Senate as a Woman of Distinction, receiving the Athena Award from the Rochester Business Alliance as well as the Empowering Women Award from the Rochester YWCA.

How would you describe your experience so far as a NYPA trustee?

I have been very impressed with the level of engagement of the trustees and the quality and depth of information shared by NYPA leadership. Something that most of us take for granted every day—accessible, ready power—has been made visible to me: the visioning, research, planning, execution, coordination, assessment and resources that are required to keep this all-important system working effectively. I have also had the opportunity to visit the Frederick R. Clark Energy Center, tour the facility, and meet with NYPA staff there. Their commitment to their responsibilities, respect for the history and role of NYPA, and dedication to building a strong, innovative future was clear. There’s much to learn, and I am honored to sit at this table.

Were you aware that the Energy Industry had a “women problem” when you joined NYPA’s Board?

Honestly, I just assumed it. My appointment to the Board was based on my experience at Monroe Community College (Rochester) in strengthening workforce development and career pathway programming, so I am all too aware of the talent and skilled workforce challenges in technical fields. Attracting women to these fields is a particular difficulty whether the industry is energy or optics or advanced manufacturing.

The irony is that—because they are so underrepresented—women will find extraordinary career opportunities in these fields, but too often, they lack role models, encouragement, and consistent support to pursue and stay the course in what are (surprisingly) still nontraditional fields for women.

Do you think there is a role for our trustees in increasing and cultivating a workforce with diverse backgrounds?

NYPA Trustees play a significant leadership role in setting, supporting, and growing a culture at NYPA that values diversity in the workplace. Excuse the pun, but there is true power in diversity: it brings new ideas and new ways of thinking.
A few years back, a leader in health care spoke to me about the enormous changes coming in his field. He used a phrase that has stuck with me: “What brought us here won’t get us there.” Around the NYPA Board, we see the same thing in the energy industry: what brought us here won’t get us there. Adding new voices to the discussion means adding new solutions.

Do you mentor people? If yes, what do you feel is most important about that relationship?

Throughout my life, I have been privileged to have many mentors, and the lessons I learned from them prove invaluable each day. I don’t pretend for a moment to be as smart as most of my mentors, but I do think my obligation for their support is to pay it forward and mentor others.

In any mentor relationship, honesty is key. My mentors were generous in praising what I did well and honest in telling me what I needed to do better. That last part is never easy or fun to hear (or to have to share), but in the end, it always turned out to be more important and more helpful to build future success.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Up through my first years of graduate school, I was terribly shy. Though my grades were always good, I passed through my classes silently and invisibly. As research shows, this is not uncommon for young women, and our lack of voice has a negative impact on our future success—in school, in life, in work.

With some stern mentoring from one of my favorite faculty (the fearsome English department chair), I finally found my voice. So, I would tell my younger self to speak up, to put my ideas out there to be challenged and made stronger.

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NYPA Staff, Women In Power

Women In Power: Patricia Lombardi

Throughout the month of March, NYPA will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Patricia works out of the White Plains Office as a Project Engineer. She has worked on a number of projects since coming to NYPA in 2008, including the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant Life Extension & Modernization Program, the Ice Boom Storage Relocation Project, and miscellaneous equipment and infrastructure upgrades at the Niagara Power Project.

When you mentor people, what do you try to accomplish? What is the most important part of being a mentor?
To me, a good mentor is one that is willing and open to sharing their knowledge, skills, expertise, as well as their personal and professional experiences.
Two of the most important aspects of being a good mentor are the understanding of where your mentee is in terms of their career and professional development, and also having the ability to relate and speak on a professional and personal level.

What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?
Maintaining a work/life balance can be challenging, but it’s important to really sort out your priorities and understand what truly matters most to you. Everyone needs to have some hobbies or interests outside of work that they can turn their attention to. It’s also important to realize that it is okay to take a break once in a while.

In your opinion, what is the key to your success?
The key to success is to continuously strive to do better, to never become complacent in your personal or professional life, and to always remember the priorities you have set out for yourself.

What do you enjoy most about working at NYPA?
Part of the reason I enjoy working for NYPA is the variety of different assignments I get to work on from operational, to environmental, to projects supporting economic development.

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NYPA Staff, Women In Power

Women In Power: Pat Arcana

Throughout the month of March, NYPA will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Pat works as an Executive Assistant at NYPA’s Clark Energy Center (CEC).

What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?
Work/life issues are rarely in total balance. The key is to “adjust the scale” regularly when one or the other tilts too heavily on your daily life. Minor adjustments are easier to make than major ones.

In your opinion, what is the key to your success?
Having a positive attitude towards people and change has helped me in the workforce. If a business is staying current and progressive, new endeavors and processes are inevitable – actually, they are essential.
I try to maintain a positive relationship with everyone I work with. I expect the best from others and support them while they learn.
More often than not, they reciprocate when the tables are turned. Also, I try to be a “go to” person. I certainly don’t know everything, but I share what I do know or direct questions to the right people when I don’t.

What do you think of the following statement: Around the globe, more women than men are graduating from college, yet the employment-to-population ratio was 49% for women versus 74% for men.

I think that statement reflects the support that is given to men vs. women. In countries where affordable, quality day care and extended maternity leave are the norm, the disparity is greatly diminished. Women more often than men take on the majority of home, child, and eldercare responsibilities.

What do you enjoy most about working at NYPA?

I enjoy the generous benefits as well as a stable career. The work is interesting and my co-workers are smart, accomplished, and supportive.

What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say: be brave, and say ‘yes’ more – you are stronger than you know.

What are, from your perspective, the biggest challenges for women in leadership roles?
• Work/life pressures continue to affect women more.
• Accomplishments which are overlooked.
• Reluctance of women to promote their own accomplishments.

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NYPA Staff, Women In Power

Women In Power: Ruth Noemí Colón

Throughout the month of March, NYPA will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Ruth works in the Community Relations Department as Director of Administration and Environmental Justice in White Plains. She has worked closely with NYPA’s Executive Committee, as well as the Three Year Plan for Environmental Justice and the Governor’s Energy Highway initiative.

When you mentor people, what do you try to accomplish? What is the most important part of being a mentor?

I try to support the professional development of the person that I am mentoring. I encourage the person to open his or her mind and explore what routes he/she can take in their career. I also encourage the mentee to develop his or her talents.

In my view, the most important thing to do for a mentee is having an open, professional and honest relationship, and to respect the confidentiality of that relationship. If the mentee does not feel that they can trust you, he or she will not discuss their real concerns with you. That makes it almost impossible for you to help them reach his or her potential.

This honesty and openness will allow for the mentee to establish his/her goals and be clear with the mentor. This will be key to develop strategies that will be helpful in reaching those goals.

What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?

Sometimes it’s not easy maintaining a balance with work and life. Both family and work are very important: family is central in your life, but you spend most of your time in your office. At some point you need to determine if one is interfering with the other, and if that is the case, re-think your priorities. The definition of what is work/life balance is particular for each individual, the priorities that a person may have are different from others depending of his/her circumstances and experiences.

Very important for me: do not bring your personal problems to the office, and vice versa. When you are with your family, pay attention to them, be present with them; and when working, focus on your job.

What is the key to your success?

I am true to my word. I make every effort to do what I say I will do, and people see me as a reliable person. I work very hard and do not ask from others what I cannot do myself. And I always treat all people with respect and with impartiality.

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NYPA Staff, Women In Power

Women In Power: Mary Cahill

Throughout the month of March, NYPA will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Mary is the manager of Energy Services Events and Communication in the Energy Services Marketing Group, working out of the White Plains office.

When you mentor people, what do you try to accomplish?

Mentoring is a wonderful opportunity to help others see gifts and talents that they may not have seen in themselves – and then help them establish goals and accomplish dreams that initially appeared out of reach. I hope to give support and insight and guide them on their journey.

What is the most important part of being a mentor?

I truly enjoy helping others, but being vulnerable, honest, and having a belief in the mentee’s hidden talents are key. A sense of fun doesn’t hurt!

What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?

Unlike my heroic colleagues who juggle both children and work, I don’t have that difficult a challenge. However, my personal life is quite full, so it is important to plan and be realistic about what can be accomplished in a day – but I always include an activity that brings joy.

In your opinion, what is the key to your success?

Gratitude, being intuitive, hard work and strong relationships.

What do you think of the following statement? Around the globe, more women than men are graduating from college, yet the employment-to-population ratio was 49% for women versus 74% for men.

Totally unacceptable! Each generation and gender has an obligation to help change the culture and foster true equal opportunities for all, and this forum is a great step in that direction.

What do you enjoy most about working at NYPA?

Besides the talented, diverse and bright colleagues that make up “one NYPA,” this is simply an exciting place to be. The energy industry is rapidly transforming, providing many opportunities to grow, learn and contribute in non-traditional ways.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Get to truly know yourself – be authentic. Fear is okay, complacency is not. Take risks – ask for what you want and deserve…be assertive!

How would you describe your leadership style?

I enjoy a “roll-up your sleeves,” collaborative atmosphere, providing motivation and encouragement toward common goals. There must be open, honest communication, in a fun yet productive and accountable environment.

What are, from your perspective, the biggest challenges for women in leadership roles?

Work/life integration is particularly challenging for women with children or other family obligations in any work role. But I think the biggest challenge for many women is their own limited belief in their talents and capabilities.

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