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Women’s leadership luncheon is March 18

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The Tri-County Chapter of the Women’s Council of Realtors aims to empower women who wish to step into leadership roles.

Council members hope this will be accomplished after community members attend the group’s annual “Got Leadership?” luncheon and panel discussion, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Italian-American Civic Association, 192 Bellew Ave. Competing with men to gain a leadership position can be tough, but women need to know that it is possible, according to the council’s first male president, Charles F. Ruggiero Jr.

“Our message is, ‘It’s not only possible, it’s reality,’” he said. “You can’t be empowered if you don’t realize the potential that’s there.”

He said that is something that will be discussed among panel members City Manager Sharon A. Addison, Watertown Police Department Capt. Cheryl A. Clark, 2013 Athena Award recipient Margaret B. “Peggy” Coe, Brig. Gen. Miyako Schanely, deputy commander of 412th Theater Engineer Command, headquartered in Vicksburg, Miss., and family law attorney/Brownville town Justice Kathy L. Quencer.

“I believe there still is a glass ceiling up there for women,” Mr. Ruggiero said. “In order for women to have those opportunities they need to be self-actuated.”

The right mentor helps some women get to that point, according to Gen. Schanely. She worked up the ranks in the military reserves, as well as in her civilian job, as she is now the executive director of the SUNY North Country Consortium, a collaboration of seven area colleges.

“The (mentors) who’ve had the most impact (showed) what I’d call life skills and transferable skills,” she said. “I find it incredibly inspiring to be a role model. I’m an engineer in my reserve job; needless to say that’s one of the STEM fields. ... One of the things I try to do is mentor people because so many people mentored me.”

Having someone help women achieve their personal and career goals could mean the difference of whether those women are successful, Gen. Schanely said.

The leadership event is open to the public, but Mr. Ruggiero said he especially hopes young women in their 20s and early 30s attend to learn how to overcome obstacles they may be facing.

“A lot of us experience that, but the neat thing is it’s like physical exercise — the more you do it, the easier it is,” Gen. Schanely said.

Patrick Wolf, Homestead Funding branch manager and loan originator, will moderate the panel. Tickets, including a buffet lunch, are $12 for council members, $15 for non-members. Responses are requested by Friday, by calling 782-1322.

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