Why Trust Matters

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Trust is essential in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous society. The pandemic has broken the patterns of trust that we have grown accustomed to in order to make decisions. The Edelman Trust Institute has published a collection of essays addressing the multitude of challenges we currently face to balance health care, economic prosperity and personal freedoms as we strive to rebuild for a post-pandemic world.

Main take-aways:

  1. Have a clear mission and set of values
  2. What you say and what you do ought to be aligned
  3. Consistency matters
  4. Transparency matters
  5. Incompetence is a trust destroyer
  6. Be honest about your limitations
  7. Prioritize collaborations with others
  8. Good companies invest in good employees
  9. Emotional intelligence matters
  10. Inclusion matters
  11. Climate change pledges matter
  12. Fighting disinformation is more important than ever
  13. It takes time to build trust
  14. Trust is built when promises are kept
  15. Highlighting solutions not just problems makes for a better world

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, businesses are currently the most trusted institutions in our society. Laszlo Bock, the CEO of Humu, advises though that as employees return to office, employers ought to relax performance standards and allow the employees to re-set their roles in a welcoming environment to avoid burn-out and ensure long-term retention and satisfaction. Employees are looking for confident, competent, and compassionate leaders.

Regarding the crisis in governance, Juha Leppänen from Demos believes that “leadership in the 21st century is not about having all the right answers, but about continuously learning and collaborating rigorously in inventive new ways.” Leppänen believes that by embracing humility governments can cultivate stronger relationships with stakeholders and generate more trust. His advice is to incentivize collaboration and participation.  

Read the full report at edelman.com.

Greater Roxbury Business Association (GRBA) Celebrates Its Seventh Anniversary This Summer

GRBA Seventh Anniversary

This year the Greater Roxbury Business Association (GRBA) celebrates its seventh anniversary. The organization was founded in the summer of 2012 by a group of entrepreneurs who identified the need for the Town of Roxbury to have its own coherent business group to promote local businesses in a cohesive fashion to ensure the economic vibrancy of our communities.

The founding of the organization coincided with the implementation of the Town’s current Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted in May 2013. The Plan identified a number of positive as well as negative elements that characterized the local economic climate.

Strengths included:

  • Small town atmosphere and friendliness;

  • Historic rural environment;

  • Attractive Main Street with distinguished historical architecture;

  • Outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, skiing and golfing;

  • Air and water quality.

Weaknesses included:

  • Hamlets are disconnected;

  • Lack of cohesiveness and coordination;

  • Lack of a common marketing plan for tourism activity, lack of economic development, lack of Main Street businesses;

  • Lack of incentives for retail and restaurants;

  • Not enough hotels.

The Esopus / Delaware Study, which was conducted around the same time, also identified a series of challenges: lack of business training, lack of social media expertise, lack of customer service skills, limited social infrastructure for youth, not enough promotion of cultural activities.

Since its founding in 2012, GRBA has made its mission to capitalize on the Town’s assets while at the same time address some of the shortcomings identified both in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan as well as The Esopus / Delaware Study. The first organizational task we set to accomplish was to increase awareness of existing businesses in the community; afterwards, we worked tirelessly to improve coordination and communication across the board to create a focused agenda and spearhead economic vibrancy within our town and throughout the region.

The overall vision for Roxbury as outlined in The Town’s Comprehensive Plan has been to maintain its historic character, ambiance and quiet lifestyle while expanding economic opportunities and increasing local businesses, particularly those “oriented to tourism so that the town is known as a historical, recreational, and cultural destination.”

The Greater Roxbury Business Association has positioned itself as the Town’s marketing arm while launching Visit Roxbury campaign to promote the Town and support its economic development. Over the past seven years, GRBA has increased the Town’s visibility through a series of initiatives, has provided business training opportunities for local business owners, and has coordinated tourism-related activities that make Roxbury a destination.

As this year marks GRBA’s seventh anniversary, the organization has been awarded a tourism grant that will make possible the acquisition of a new logo, the design and distribution of a rack card with map included, and the production of two guidebooks with itineraries that will help visitors explore the area. These are exciting developments that will make us stronger as a business community.

None of us could imagine Roxbury today without the Greater Roxbury Business Association. We’re looking forward to many more years to come.

Learn more at visitroxbury.com.

Business Workshops for the Greater Roxbury Business Community


  • Run Your Business Smarter Not Harder with Mercedes Gonzalez / January 29, 5:30 – 7 pm;
  • Effective Website and SEO with Susan Aleksejczyk / February 26, 5:30 – 7 pm;
  • How to Leverage Content Marketing to Boost Reputation and Sales with Simona David / March 26, 5:30 – 7 pm;
  • Grant Writing with Peg Ellsworth / April 30, 5:30 – 7 pm;
  • Social Media for Small Business with Becky Tyre / May 28, 5:30 – 7 pm;

All workshops are tailored to small business owners and entrepreneurs who seek to grow their businesses by learning new skills and gaining expertise from leading business professionals in our community.

I. Run Your Business Smarter Not Harder with Mercedes Gonzalez / January 29, 5:30 – 7 pm

You have a business now what? How do you scale, how do you grow and most importantly how can you balance life and work? One of the mantras Mercedes Gonzalez believes in is “how do you work as little as possible for the most amount of money.”

The hour plus workshop will help you put a plan of action together to help you work smarter and not harder.

Mercedes Gonzalez has been considered a retail industry leader for over 20 years – having founded her own strategy and brand developing agency, Global Purchasing Companies, in New York City in 1998. She has traveled to over 50 trade shows every year in eight countries since then, establishing plans and strategies for retailers and emerging designers across the globe. Her debut book, Chronicles of a Fashion Buyer, is currently the number ONE new release on Amazon for fashion and textiles, and it has already sold out four times in the few months since its release. Mercedes is a preferred speaker at a multitude of regional and international fashion events including Miami Fashion Week, Jamaica Fashion Week, Asia Fashion Summit, and the Istanbul Textile Conference thanks to her “no-nonsense” reputation. She owns Just Shop Boutique, a designer discount store located in Arkville, NY.

II. Effective Website and SEO with Susan Aleksejczyk / February 26, 5:30 – 7 pm 

Susan Aleksejczyk, designer and content developer for Catskill Muse, will review the best search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve search engine results for both new or existing websites. Susan will discuss the best website design and hosting options as well as compatibility with top search engines to help you get high rankings based on relevant searches.

Susan Aleksejczyk has built her career in the advertising and marketing industry. She was previously employed at a NYC marketing firm whose clients included big brands. Susan is currently the Sales and Marketing Coordinator for MTC. Her vast experience in various industries has allowed her to provide her clients with a unique perspective on their marketing and website needs. As owner of Catskill Muse, she concentrates her business on website design best practices and the latest in SEO techniques. 

III. How to Leverage Content Marketing to Boost Reputation and Sales with Simona David / March 26, 5:30 – 7 pm

This workshop will expose participants to the benefits of content marketing such as increasing brand awareness and name recognition, attracting new leads and prospects, increasing sales, and retaining and expanding customer base through a series of case studies and best examples from the industry. Rather than making a direct sales pitch, content marketing engages the audience through valuable creative content, and establishes an emotional connection with the followers, who, in the words of Seth Godin, will become your “tribe.” Examples of content marketing include: how to guides, white papers, newsletters, presentations, blog posts, social media posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, product descriptions, reviews, testimonials, and others.

Simona David is a media consultant with over a decade of experience in the publishing and marketing industry. Ms. David has worked with lobbyists, award-winning advertising executives, travel and tourism professionals, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations. Her website is simonadavid.com.

IV. Grant Writing with Peg Ellsworth / April 30, 5:30 – 7 pm

This workshop will help equip participants with the tools needed to search and solicit grants from State, Federal and Local sources. Peg Ellsworth will discuss the basic dos and don’ts in soliciting grants and best practices for developing successful applications. She will also cover resources available from NY State as part of the Consolidated Funding Application for both businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

Peg Ellsworth is the Executive Director of the MARK Project, whose mission is to provide resources and help build the capacity of individuals, organizations, businesses and municipalities in the towns of Andes, Bovina, Middletown, Roxbury and Shandaken, and the Villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville.

V. Social Media for Small Business with Becky Tyre / May 28, 5:30 – 7 pm

In this workshop Becky Tyre will explain the differences in each social media platform and show you some tips to make Facebook and Instagram work for your small business. Specifically, she will address Facebook Events, Page Layout, Hashtags, how frequently to post, how to reach a broader audience and gain more followers.

Becky Tyre is a writer, retail consultant @RetailDetails, contributing editor at Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine and a shop local advocate. She lives in Roxbury, NY.

All workshops will be held at the MTC Building, 61 Academy Street, Margaretville, NY. To register, go to https://www.visitroxbury.com/business-workshops. Class fee is $25 for GRBA’s members, and $35 for non-members. For more information, contact roxburybusinessassociation@gmail.com.

Greater Roxbury Business Association (GRBA) for the Town of Roxbury, NY is a community / grassroots organization comprised of business owners and self-employed individuals working to increase awareness of existing businesses in the community, and to build a more cohesive and prosperous business environment, to serve the hamlets of Roxbury, Grand Gorge and Denver. The GRBA receives technical assistance from the MARK Project — a 501 ( c ) (3) not-for-profit community and economic development organization. For more information, visit roxburybusinessassociation.com.


Business Writing Workshop

Business Writing

Writers in the Mountains (WIM) introduces a six week long Business Writing workshop with Dara Lurie, running from August 11 to September 15, 2016. The class will be held Thursdays from 4 to 6 pm at the Phoenicia Public Library.
This class, dubbed Author Breakthrough, is a program for small business owners, artists and freelance writers who wish to create valuable content and great marketing copy. No one understands the heart and soul of your business better than you do. Now it’s time to communicate your vision using effective stories and expert content. You do not have to be a professional writer to create great content. The most important function of your content – whether it’s a book, blog, story or expert article – is to connect with your core message and bring that message into sharp focus for your audience.
In Author-Breakthrough you’ll have access to the experience of like-minded entrepreneurs who will provide the valuable feedback you need to develop and refine your message. The class includes engaging writing and dialoguing activities, content development sessions, creative think-tank environment to develop and test your ideas. By the end of the program you’ll have ready-to-publish articles, stories, or blogposts, and client-attracting copy for email or social media posts as well as an action-plan for best use of your content and copy.
Dara Lurie is an author, workshop leader and book coach who helps writers of all levels discover their passionate and original voices in stories. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Film & Theater from Vassar College and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hunter College. Her first book, “Great Space of Desire: Writing for Personal Evolution” is a memoir and creative guide for writers. For over twelve years, Dara has facilitated writing workshops and retreats in diverse locations from college classrooms in New York City and the Hudson Valley to an open-air pavilion in the Costa Rican Rainforest. This year, she launched a new online mentorship program for small-business owners who want to create inspired content and marketing copy to grow their business.
To register, call Jean Stone at (607) 326-4802, or e-mail her at jtstone@catskill.net. To register online, visit writersinthemountains.org. Class fee is $100, if you register and pay by July 21, and $125 after that.
Writers in the Mountains is a 501 ( c ) (3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing. Online at writersinthemountains.org.

Lean In: A Must Read

One of the titles on my reading list this past summer was Lean In by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (Knopf 2013). A much acclaimed title, Lean In has also faced a lot of criticism. And, while I don’t agree with everything that is being said in this book, I do believe it had to be written.

The book provides statistical evidence to show how women are underrepresented in leadership positions, despite their skills and ability to perform. As one can imagine, this has a lot to do with tradition and stereotypes. For instance, Sandberg explains how in the workplace men are expected to be competent, while women are expected to be nice – as a result, women who are competent are perceived as being less nice. Being less nice is not a positive social attribute. Nevertheless, Sandberg invites women to be more assertive, and dare to sit at the table. The more women in leadership positions, the better – that seems to be her mantra.

Overall, I do agree with the message of the book. However, coming from a rather different background, my experiences are a bit different; therefore, quite a few references in this book do not resonate with me. For instance, on page 22, Sandberg says that “stereotypically, boys are better at math and science than girls.” I grew up in an environment where boys and girls were equally good at math and science. In fact my first Math teacher as well as my first Physics and Chemistry teachers were all women. Throughout my childhood, while studying in an advanced Math class, I saw girls and boys equally perform. So, this stereotype that boys are better at math and science than girls does not echo at all my experiences and understanding of the world. I did grow up in Eastern Europe though, and the post WWII hardship may have something to do with this: both men and women had to go to college, and work to support their families.

When I went to college, I got a degree in Economics, and then worked as an Economist – about half of my college classmates were women. Once again, Sandberg’s remarks that there aren’t enough women studying Economics do not resonate with me. My initial impression was that Sandberg was referring to women in the workplace exclusively in the U.S. But then she goes on, and quotes studies and gives examples from abroad. Here I think a distinction between the U.S. and other countries, including comparative studies from various parts of the world, would have been more helpful.

I did not pursue a corporate career, but rather chose an entrepreneurial path. And, with regard to this aspect, a lot of criticism has been written about Lean In failing to address the role of women in entrepreneurial positions. Nonetheless, the book is insightful, gives lots of examples, and raises important questions about the role of women in the workplace – it opens up or rather continues a much needed conversation.

References cited in this book include many of my sources to go as a graduate student in Communications: Journal of Social Issues, American Psychologist, Annual Review of Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, along with prestigious economic journals: Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Review, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Journal of Economic Literature, and Handbook of Experimental Economics Results.    

A must read!