Assemblyman Santabarbara Hosts Women of Distinction Awards to Honor Women in the Community

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) announced he hosted a “Women of Distinction” awards ceremony on Friday, May 9. The event was held in coordination with Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region to recognize outstanding women in the community and included a panel discussion to address the issues impacting women today.

“I’m honored to have been in the same room as the amazing women who were recognized at this event,” said Assemblyman Santabarbara. “Their hard work and dedication is immeasurable and has gone a long way in improving our community. They’re an inspiration to us all.”

Eleven local women were recognized for making a difference in our community. Award winners included:

  • Nancy Carr, Executive Director of the Amsterdam Family YMCA;
  • Ginger Cato, Community Educator for Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties;
  • Patricia Dowse, Chief Operating Officer of the New York State Rehabilitation Association;
  • Kathryn Fortune, Ambassador Girl Scout and Senior at the Academy of the Holy Names;
  • Teri Gallucci, Independent Businesswoman who has worked on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society;
  • Suzanne Hagadorn, Health Education & Promotion Coordinator of the New York State Cancer Services Program of Fulton, Montgomery & Schenectady Counties;
  • Sara Mae Hickey, Founder of the Autism Initiative and Owner of Puzzles Bakery & Café;
  • Karen McLane, Volunteer Coordinator of Habitat For Humanity of Schenectady County, Inc.;
  • Julie Rouse, Program Director of the Rotterdam Clubhouse of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady;
  • Sister Betsy Van Deusen, Director of Community Partnerships in Albany and the Director of the St. Joseph Worker Program in Schenectady;
  • Victoria Wise, Junior Staff Member of Rotterdam Clubhouse of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady.

“Girls Inc. is proud to have partnered with Assemblyman Santabarbara to recognize the accomplished women in our community,” said Ashley Jeffrey, Executive Director of Girls Inc. and panelist at the event. “It’s incredibly important that young women are provided with support and resources so that they can build life skills to become confident and successful. Events like this one help do that and bring much-needed awareness to the issues women face.”

Girls Inc. is committed to helping young girls succeed and become strong women. They provide access to a variety of programs, including STEM education, pregnancy and drug use prevention, health and nutrition awareness and job preparation.

The event also included a panel discussion that centered on these issues, focusing on how to empower women and provide the resources they need to excel. Panelists, along with Ashley Jeffrey, included Colleen Merays, Assistant Director for the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation (DSIC), Schenectady City Councilwoman Marion Porterfield, Dr. Martha J. Asselin, Acting President of Schenectady County Community College (SCCC) and Amy Amoroso, NYS Program Coordinator for Veteran Business Outreach.