What’s Happening: ’20 Year End

Newsletter sponsored by: TD Bank
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Construction, Real Estate and Development Council (CRED) & Green Council Joint Meetings 

Hospitality & Tourism Alliance & Economic Development Government Affairs

HR Connexions

Professional Marketing Council

Rockland Emerging Business Owners and Professionals

Technology Initiative

Women’s Leadership Council




Joint Meetings:

Construction, Real Estate and Development Council (CRED)

Green Council

For over a decade the RBA’s Green Council has been advocating and educating the business community the benefits of adopting sustainable strategies.  Many of the Green Councils programs are also very valuable to the RBA Construction, Real Estate and Development Council (CRED)

The RBA’s Construction Real Estate and Development Council has touched on some of the most pressing issues facing the industry during its recent meetings. 

During the joint meeting with the Green Council in October, Paul Adler, of Rand Commercial (the council’s sponsor) shared an update on the commercial market.  He pointed to increased activity in the warehouse and industrial market and reported on prospects for the retail and office market.  Joseph Rand, of Howard Hanna Rand Realty gave us a update on what was happening in the residential market.

In November, the CRED and Green Councils held a round table discussion which allowed members to update each other on what was happening in their industry. 

In January, the councils heard from Peggy Kurtz regarding the Rockland community power program and co-chair, Judith Bachman, Esq. shared insights on COVID eviction moratoriums with a focus on silver linings for landlords. 

As always, we at CRED and Green are looking to provide programs that are timely and valuable to our members.  If you think of a program or service that would benefit you, please reach out to us and we will work to deliver a presentation on the topic.




The Hospitality & Tourism Alliance had an extraordinarily active year in 2020 due to the many critical issues brought about by the Covid 19 crisis.  The industry sectors comprising the HTA community were among the hardest hit last year and our programs were designed to bring helpful information and support to the businesses in this sector. Rockland lost far too many restaurants in 2020 and much of it was due to regulations that were too challenging to meet.

Much of the RBA’s advocacy, last year, was generated by concerns about our leisure and hospitality businesses as discussed in our Economic Development/Government Affairs’ meetings.  Working with groups like the Chamber Alliance of NYS and the State Business Council, we advocated for more practical approaches to allowing these businesses to operate while still adhering to appropriate medical/scientific safety guidelines.

Both of these subsidiary groups worked closely with Rockland’s Office of Economic Development & Tourism and were privileged to have Jeremy Schulman as a frequent speaker and participant. In fact, the relationship between the RBA and the County’s Economic Development team has never been stronger. Jeremy and Al Samuels meet frequently to discuss projects and policy matters and we look forward to some very positive developments in 2021, despite the continuing issues presented by the pandemic. One of these is an initiative of the County Executive’s ROCK COMM committee to formulate a new 21st century tourism model which will involve participation by HTA.

We look forward to having you participate with these groups and helping to advance Rockland’s economic development and tourism objectives.



Our last meeting, November 2020, was a timely meeting on Diversity & Inclusion – this meeting was open to all members of RBA. Our presenter Mecca Mitchell, Senior Vice President Diversity Inclusion and Community Engagement at Westchester Medical Center Health Network, brought a lot of thoughtful points to the conversation around race and diversity and general perceptions and biases that we may often be unaware of. We were very lucky to have Ms. Mitchell speak at our event – she started her career as Ass’t D.A. in Manhattan prior to joining the Cuomo Administration as Executive Director of Diversity and Equal Opportunity and then appointed as Chief Diversity Officer.

2020 has been a challenging year for HR professionals and 2021 will continue to be the same as we navigate all the legal changes and changes due to COVID in the workplace and in employees’ personal lives and we hope to bring pertinent information to the HR community as we all navigate this very different landscape than what we have been accustomed to.   

Our next ZOOM meeting for HR Connexions will be on February 26, 2021 as we meet every other month five times a year.

If you are responsible for the HR function at your company or have an HR staff member – this group is for you! We started HR Connexions in 2013 and would love to see the group continue to grow… Since this is an invitation only group please reach out to Doreen or Lena to be added to our invitation list.

Doreen:  db@rocklandbusiness.org

Lena:  lena@4prs.com

Liz:  ohalloranl@coned.com


Liz O’Halloran & Lena Bodin





The RBA Professional Marketing Council (PMC) continues to be a vital meeting place for our marketers. Of course we all miss our in person conversations but have continued to successfully meet virtually.

In our November meeting Keri Cunningham, Palisades Center Marketing Director led an interactive discussion on how we’ve all had to adjust our marketing based on the current situation. Keri shared her wealth of knowledge and experiences as well as tips that have worked for her organization. We are thrilled to announce that The Palisades Center became our group’s sponsor.

In January, we met for a check-in and roundtable discussion where members were able to bring any questions, issues or possible solutions to share with the group. In this ever-changing world, as marketers, we need to be willing to pivot and adapt to new ways of thinking. By having this group to brainstorm with, we are finding it easier to navigate marketing and communications in the Covid-19 era.

Pictured below, the PMC discussing ways to help the RBA reach new customers.





We want to cultivate ambition and passion and create a comfortable, educational environment to help guide younger business professionals get acquainted with reality, and onto the proper path to success.
Chaired by David Palma, Payed Processing, Jason Horowitz, Triforce Commercial Real Estate LLC, and Michael Khekoian, Computuners

REBOP has held monthly Zoom calls to network and connect with our peers. 

For our next meeting on February 17th, REBOP is proud the announce its “May The Best Drink Win Happy Hour Event”.  Come network with Young Professionals and Business Owners. Bring your best drink, wine, beer or liquor! Network in breakout rooms and exchange laughs and good times. 

To learn more about REBOP visit the REBOP Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/reboprba/




Educational and interactive discussions addressing the ever-changing business needs – for those with a technology background, and those without.

The RBA Technology Initiative has brought our members timely topics via zoom:

  • Prepare, Connect, Adapt – October 14, 2020
  • Changing Trends From On Premise To Cloud Technology -December 17, 2020
  • An Interactive & Fun Look At Reinventing & Reimagining Virtual EventsJanuary 14, 2021

As the COVID-19 crisis forces our members, their customers, employees, and supply chains into digital channels and new ways of working.

In 2021, The RBA Technology Initiative will be presenting themes:

What are the bold digital actions we’ve hesitated to pursue in the past, even as we’ve known they would eventually be required?

Data security. Security has also been in the news, whether it’s the security of people themselves or that of goods and data. Zoom managed to successfully navigate the rapid scaling of its usage volume, but it also ran into security gaps that needed immediate address. Many organizations are experiencing similar, painful lessons during this time of crisis.

Remote workforces and automation. Another common theme emerging is the widely held desire to build on the flexibility and diversity brought through remote working. Learning how to maintain productivity—even as we return to office buildings after the lockdown ends, and even as companies continue to automate activities—will be critical to capturing the most value from this real-world experiment that is occurring. In retail, for example, there has been widespread use of in-store robots to take over more transactional tasks like checking inventory in store aisles and remote order fulfillment. These investments won’t be undone post crisis, and those that have done so will find themselves in advantaged cost structure during the recovery.

Moving boldly doesn’t mean moving thoughtlessly, however. Bold action and the ability to learn are highly interrelated. The real-time ability to learn during a crisis is in fact the one ingredient that can turbocharge your ability to scale quickly.

It’s often the case in human affairs that the greatest lessons emerge from the most devastating times of crises. The RBA Technology Initiative believes that companies that can simultaneously attend to and rise above the critical and day-to-day demands of their crisis response can gain unique insights to both inform their response and help ensure that their digital future is more robust coming out of COVID-19 than it was coming in.


The RBA Technology Initiative Council presents educational and interactive discussions addressing the ever-changing business needs in the technology and computer industries.

The Hudson Valley P-TECH is working to develop the high-skilled, well-educated workforce our region needs to support long-term economic growth.




Fuel your business aspirations with the help of Women’s Leadership Council.

Designed for female business owners and professional women.  WLC provides networking, inspiration and resources.  Zoom presentations are scheduled to provide information and stimulate discussions about topics that especially now, impact women in business.

“The Power of Choice – Visioning Your Way to Success” kicked off WLC’s Fall Zoom Program Series in September.  Anna Gibbs, a certified business coach and consultant from Keller Williams Hudson Valley Realty, led our members in an engaging workshop on how to create your own vision board to pave your way towards your business and personal goals.

October’s meeting was titled: “Fuel Your Career: Nutrition Tips to Help You Power Through”. Speaker Marianne Colucci, Director of Nutrition and Food Services at Meals on Wheels, presented a veritable tome of information on the foods and vitamins that best increase energy, lessen stress and promote good health, along with helpful snack and meal tips. Gitty Blackman, nutrition educator, then guided us in a meditation exercise that is easy to practice during the workday to achieve maximum productivity while minimizing stress and anxiety.

In November we found a fun way to keep up with tradition and hold our annual evening networking program via Zoom!  First, Chef Marcello and his daughter Nicole guided us through the making of a mouth-watering mushroom polenta appetizer and apple pie martini we could all easily make at home. Following the demonstration, your WLC co-chairs posed off-beat questions to kick-off what proved to be a lively and spirited networking session. 

On January 28th, WLC welcomed back noted communications and media training expert and tv/radio host, Patricia Stark, in a program on emotional intelligence – how we can use and understand emotions and the signals conveyed by emotions to facilitate thinking and attain specific goals. And on February 25th Ann Marie DiSiena from Dominican College will lead us in our inaugural group discussion of the book Dare to Lead by Brene’ Brown, named to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal’s Best Seller’s List. 


Marian Rokeach, mrokeach@fountainview.org

Robin Rosenberg, robin@garnervillearts.com

Liz Benuscak, lizbrealestate@gmail.com