What’s Happening: 1st Quarter 2021

Newsletter sponsored by: TD Bank
TD Bank logo


Construction, Real Estate and Development Council (CRED) & Green Council Joint Meetings 

Economic Development Government Affairs

Hospitality and Tourism Alliance

HR Connexions

Professional Marketing Council

Technology Initiative

Women’s Leadership Council




Joint Meetings:

Construction, Real Estate and Development Council (CRED)

Green Council

In January, the CRED and Green Councils met jointly and heard presentations from Peggy Kurtz, Community Coordinator, Rockland Community Power, on “New Green Energy” and Judith Bachman, Esq., The Bachman Law Firm PLLC on “COVID Eviction Moratoriums: Silver Linings for Landlords with Rent Relief and Liability Protections.”

In February, the CRED and Green Councils met jointly again and held a networking roundtable.

In March, CRED presented “Women in the Field” with a dynamic panel discussion moderated by Judith Bachman, Esq., The Bachman Law Firm PLLC, with panelistsEllie Kassner, President, W. H. Kassner, Inc., Jane Slavin, Architect, AI, owner of JSA Architecture and Design Group, LLC and Director, Orangetown Office of Building, Zoning, Planning, Administration & Enforcement, Debbie Binstok, Commercial Real Estate Broker, Rand Commercial, and Blythe Yost, Landscape Architect, Yost Design and Co-Founder, Tilly Design.




Economic Development / Government Affairs

EDGA: An Outstanding Quarter
The Economic Development/Government Affairs Council continued to enjoy exceptional participation.  We are grateful for the interest and input we received from members.
In first quarter 2021 there was considerable conversation and concern expressed for a variety of issues that were being discussed in Albany relative to the state budget. Among these matters was the prospect for an increase in the corporate franchise tax, capping the profits of nursing homes, increasing taxes on high-income earners, $2.1-$3.5 billion to be set aside for undocumented workers  and more.
To gain perspectives on these matters and to give our members the opportunity to meet Rockland’s new state legislators, we had meetings with Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick and Assemblyman Michael Lawler. Both gentleman shared their visions and goals in their new assignments and welcomed questions from members. Their responses were direct and illuminating.
We also were fortunate to meet with Orangetown Supervisor Teresa Kenny, who spoke about the town’s involvement in the potential disposition of the HNA Palisades Premier Conference Center.  The town has taken a pro-active role in determining the best uses for the site and sought expressions of interest from developers. (Since our meeting with the Supervisor, the town has received nine proposals, six of which are moving forward for further discussion with three or four considered especially interesting).




Hospitality and Tourism Alliance

HTA: The New Hotel Nyack and Rockland Tourism Department
The Hospitality & Tourism Alliance kicked-off the year with a visioning session featuring Jeremy Schulman, Rockland’s Director of Economic Development and Tourism. Jeremy shared goals and plans from the County’s perspective and engaged in conversation with members anxious to share their thoughts regarding the County’s tourism efforts. In fact, Jeremy has become a “regular” at our HTA meetings, using them as sounding boards for new initiatives and getting feedback from the businesses that make-up our diversified H&T industry. We welcome Jeremy as a partner and a friend.
We also had a great session with the management team from the new Hotel Nyack.  Anthony Damiano, General Manager and Chloe Petretti, Sales Manager, filled us in on the vision and operating goals for this first Hyatt Hotel in Rockland. They emphasized the importance of the local community and highlighted amenities like the new “Grille at Nyack” steak and seafood restaurant. A nice addition to our already wonderful mix of hotels.      




HR Connexions Group

We Continue To Meet Virtually …

Even as the country is starting up again, so to speak, The RBA and its HR Connexions Group continue to  be cautious. We will probably continue to meet virtually at least until the summer…

Our February meeting was on “Covid-19 and Its Impact on the Workplace” which is very relevant to the HR community as companies start bringing their workers back into the workplace. Kevin Dougherty, Esq. from Greenwald Dougherty was the presenter.

The Coronavirus pandemic has made companies rethink their workplace strategies and more and more we will see a lot of telecommuting and less real estate when it comes to office space for many of the smaller employers. We will also start seeing more fluidity in where employees live and where they work and platforms such as ZOOM, WebEx, MS Teams has broken down the barriers of needing to live within a commutable distance from home for many industries. 

Our next ZOOM meeting for HR Connexions will be in June 2021, and as always, it will be our Legal Update with Michael Hekle, Esq. from Jackson Lewis. We meet every other months 5x a year so the June meeting will be the last meeting until after the summer…

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

Doreen:  db@rocklandbusiness.org

Lena:  lena@4prs.com

Liz:  ohalloranl@coned.com


Liz O’Halloran & Lena Bodin





Professional Marketing Council

The last few months have been very busy for the RBA Professional Marketing Council, as we grapple with the rapidly changing scene of marketing. In February we learned some great tips on “How To Use The Power And The Secrets of LinkedIn To Grow Your Network” led by Risa Hoag.

In March our speaker, Loretta Volpe, Chairperson of Direct & Interactive Marketing at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and Partner at GMLV shared her vast knowledge about media planning on any budget.

Just one year ago we were planning a joint event with The Women’s Leadership Council which had to be canceled due to the lockdown. We are excited to bring the subject back to life with our upcoming joint event on April 29th, this time on zoom. The title, Should Gender Identity Drive Your Marketing Strategies will be a lively discussion with our panelists as we learn best practices and newest trends for reaching our different target audiences as it pertains to gender. More relevant than ever, it’s surprising how in one year opinions have changed in how we approach this subject.

We are still on the lookout for more leadership in our council, please reach out to Doreen if you are interested. Have a wonderful Spring!




Technology Initiative

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:

  • Business Industry Challenges via virtual platforms Presentation by Allison Paul and the PTECH Students – February 18, 2021
  • New Trends in Security Technology Presentation by David Antar President / CEO A+ Technologies – March 18, 2021
  • Bridges Bridging the Gap with a unique web Technology application presentation by Carlos Martinez, Executive Director of Bridges and by Allison Paul and the PTECH Students– April 15, 2021

As the COVID-19 crisis forces our members, their customers, employees, and supply chains into digital channels and new ways of working, how can technology help companies worldwide return to work safely when lockdown ends?

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

The RBA Technology Initiative wants to present technologies that have business and employees “Return with Confidence” to create safe and healthy indoor office environments.

We will have upcoming zoom presentations that addresses everything from elevators where you don’t have to touch the buttons, touchless interactions throughout the building or management of meeting rooms and desks around social distancing.

The RBA Technology Initiative will be exploring and demostrating creative and new technologies, looking at what’s available in tech and giving our members the confidence to return to the office.


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.




Women’s Leadership Council

Find 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.

For this quarter, the topics have been ‘Emotional Intelligence’, presented by Patricia Stark, communications and media training expert: a book review based on, ‘Dare to Lead’ Bene Brown led by Ann Marie Disiena, professor from Dominican College and ‘Mentoring’ with a panel of three women: Debra Boening, Oak Beverage, Nicole Laible, Environmental Program Manager at Rockland County Division of Environmental Resources and Lugene Maher, Head of Business Operations, Planning and Strategy at Pearl River Laboratories             .

The joint April zoom meeting with the Professional Marketing Council Ann Byne, co-chair is featuring a panel.  The topic is ‘Should Gender Identity Drive Your Marketing Strategies’.  Learn best practices and newest trends for reaching different target audiences.  Participants include Jenny Mirmelstein, Rockland BOCES, Chelsea Wulff, Senior Conservation Program Specialist at Suez and Robert Genovesi, Genovesi Web Design and Marketing 

Next meeting: May 27, 2021, with Donna Johnson-Klonsky with a discussion on ‘Core Topic’.  Please register and see you on Zoom.


Marian Rokeach, mrokeach@fountainview.org

Robin Rosenberg, robin@garnervillearts.com