2019 Slate of Candidates

YWCA NORTHEASTERN NY (NENY) 2019 OFFICIAL BALLOT

The YWCA NENY’s Elected Nominating Committee submits the following slate of candidates to stand for election by the voting membership. The committee sought community women who represent diversity and commitment to our Mission. As required in accordance with the YWCA Bylaws (Article XII, Sec. 1), you are asked to vote for the single slate of nominees for the Board of Directors and the Elected Nominating Committee.

The link to vote is at the bottom of this page.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS – ALL TERMS BEGINNING June 1, 2019

For an Initial Three-Year Term: VOTE FOR FIVE

Walda Chestnut: She has over 20 years in the field working in various roles including caseworker, certified social worker, school social worker & clinician/psychotherapist, with diverse populations of children and adults presenting with a variety of mental, physical, emotional/psychological and developmental issues. Chestnut currently works as a Licensed Master’s Social Worker for the Capital District Psychiatric Center in Schenectady.

Sandra Goldmeer: Working at Susan G. Komen, where they are committed to ensuring access to care for all women, especially those un- and under- insured as well as from all ethnic demographics, has helped her become more aware of the great need to ensure ALL women have a say in their health, as well as in all aspects of their life, both personally and professionally. Sandra would love to bring that energy and dedication to YWCA NENY! She also wants to bring her past experience in event management as well as present work in development and community engagement to YWCA NENY.

Imelda Lane: She has been the Business Development Officer for the Bank of Coxsackie since February of 2019. Lane has had extensive experience in the banking profession working for Berkshire Bank, Pioneer, Bank and Citizens Bank and First Teachers Federal Credit Union, just to name a few. Lane holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of the East, Manila.

Katrina Middleton: Katrina feels that as a provider to the veteran homeless population for the past five years, and as a US Army veteran, a woman, and a woman of color, she can provide a different perspective to YWCA NENY’s Board of Directors. The mission of Soldier On and the mission of YWCA NENY are both about stabilization, empowerment and community. Katrina feels that it is important that whenever possible the leadership reflects the population that they serve, and to always seek ways of staying true to the YWCA’s mission but flexible enough to recognize when the community changes, the organization understands that they must change as well, in order to continue to meet the needs of the community.

Jennifer Zhao: Jennifer has a B.S. Material Science Engineering M.Eng. Microsystems Engineering, Smartly EMBA and is an independent educational consultant. She has been a member of the Niskayuna Board of Education from 2017-present. She is interested in working on the advocacy committee to organize events that promote inclusion and women’s empowerment and would also like to help with fundraising efforts for a Capital Project and YWCA’s long term financial needs.

For an Initial Two-Year Term: VOTE FOR ONE

Dr. Anne Fernandez: Anne is the Vice President for Behavioral Health and Medical Integration at Capital District Physicians Health Plan (CDPHP) since July of 2018. She provides physician leadership for administration of plan benefits, including both commercial and government programs lines of business, to ensure that both mental and physical health needs of the CDPHP membership are addressed. She has been awarded with the Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and has been appointed to the Governor’s NYS OASAS Insurance Workgroup from 2014-present.

For an Initial One-Year Term: VOTE FOR ONE

Crystal Bedard: For the past 18 years she has been a Business Analyst for Ameritas. She has lived in Schenectady for 20 years. Her son attends Brown School, where she is the chairperson for their volunteer parent organization (PALS) and in 2018 she was one of the co‐chairs. She organized several school events, including their float in the Schenectady Holiday parade. Crystal is an avid supporter of early childhood education, as she believes that is the key to the future. To have a future of empowered women we need to teach girls from a young age how important education is, how to make good choices for themselves and how to be independent. The early childhood years lay the foundation for the path into adulthood.

For an additional One-Year Term: VOTE FOR TWO

Susan Marlette: Susan Marlette is currently an Account Manager for commercial accounts at Cool Insuring Agency in Latham. She has been a board member with the YWCA of NENY since the beginning of 2018, and comes to the position after years serving on the boards of other organizations including the Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties. Susan graduated with her BA in Music Industry from SUNY Oneonta in 2002.

Nikita Hardy: She is currently the Affirmative Action Manager for Schenectady County. Nikita has over eight years of extensive experience ranging from legislative relations, operations, program development, administration, research and policy analysis. She holds a Master of Public Administration from the Austin Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College. Nikita is passionate about women’s issues, health care policy and eradicating socio-economic barriers. She strongly believes in giving back and ‘paying it forward’. Amongst her professional roles, she has held various community leadership positions. She founded the Capital Region Black Breastfeeding Empowerment Network. She has a passion for community service that has spanned her lifetime and looks forward to continue supporting the YWCA NENY’s mission and efforts in our community. She is a proud active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Incorporated, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and the Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga.

For A Renewal Three-Year Term: VOTE FOR ONE

Katherine Stephens: She is the School Programs Director for the School of the Performing Arts at Proctors Collaborative where she works directly with more than ten local school districts to deliver meaningful arts programming and curriculum to the students of the Capital Region. She serves on the boards of the Capital District chapter of New Leaders Council and is the Vice President of the Schenectady City School District Board of Education.


ELECTED NOMINATING COMMITTEE – TERM: JUNE 2019 TO MAY 2020

From the Community: VOTE FOR SIX

Rosemarie Perez Jaquith: Rosemarie is Director of Administration and Administrative Counsel to the New York Legislative Bill Drafting Commission. She is also a member of the Niskayuna Central School District Board of Education and is currently their Board President.

Denise Murphy McGraw: A recipient of the 2009 YWCA President’s Circle Award and received the 2011 Katherine S. Rozendaal Award. She is a partner at Hill, Gosdeck & McGraw, LLC, an Albany-based government relations firm. In addition, she is a member of the Niskayuna Town Board, co-leader of Girl Scout Troop 2383, a member of The 50 Group, and many other local not-for-profits. She has been a member of the Elected Nominating Committee for the YWCA multiple times over the past 15 years. She is very supportive of the YWCA’s mission and is committed to working on women’s issues.

Deneen Palmateer: Deneen is the Director of Philanthropy at Living Resource Corporation. She is a longtime member of the Schenectady Rotary Club, currently serving as Immediate Past President. She has supported the YWCA NENY during many of their events, most recently in coordinating their Silent Auction at the Women of Achievement Event 2018. Deneen Palmateer is currently serving as Membership Director and has been a member of the Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties (JLSS) since 2003.

Julie Panke: Julie directs the Capital Community Voices, a 60-voice mixed chorus based in East Greenbush. She is a member of the American Choral Directors Association. Until recently, she was the Choir Director for the First Reformed Church in Schenectady for 17 years. Ms. Panke has also directed the Thursday Musical Club since 2003, and in 2015 was named a Woman of Achievement by the YWCA NENY.

Leesa Perazzo: Currently is a member of the Schenectady City Council, is the Human Resources Manager at Proctor’s Theater. She is a member of the Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties, the Rotary Club of Schenectady, the League of Women Voters and is a current member of the Board of Directors of the Schenectady Greenmarket and the Heritage Home for Women. In 2009, the NAACP presented her with a Community Service Award. In 2013, the Schenectady Business and Professional Women’s Club, Inc. honored her with their Woman of the Year Award and in 2015, YWCA NorthEastern NY inducted her into the Academy of Achievement and honored her with a Woman of Achievement Award.

Donna Tessitore: Donna is the Executive Director of the Faculty Student Association at SUNY Schenectady (SCCC) and since 1992 and has worked very closely with the YWCA’s Children’s Center that is located on the SUNY Schenectady campus. She was also a YWCA NENY board member for multiple years and was a non-board member of the Finance Committee.

From the Board of Directors: VOTE FOR TWO

Nikita Hardy: She is currently the Affirmative Action Manager for Schenectady County. Nikita has over eight years of extensive experience ranging from legislative relations, operations, program development, administration, research and policy analysis. She holds a Master of Public Administration from the Austin Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College. Nikita is passionate about women’s issues, health care policy and eradicating socio-economic barriers. She strongly believes in giving back and ‘paying it forward’. Among her professional roles, she has held various community leadership positions. She founded the Capital Region Black Breastfeeding Empowerment Network. She has a passion for community service that has spanned her lifetime and looks forward to continue supporting the YWCA NENY’s mission and efforts in our community. She is a proud active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Incorporated, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and the Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties.

Pam Carter: A current volunteer at SICM Food Pantry in Schenectady, the Editor for Miracle On Craig Street News, Vice Chair of the Women’s Ministry at Mt. Olivet Missionary Baptist Church in Schenectady, and a Muse for the Working Group on Girls at Central Park & Oneida Middle Schools, Pam is extremely engaged in her community. She is also a board member at Safe, Inc. She spent most of her career at the New York State Department of Public Service in Albany, NY before she retired in 2016.


Please click on the image above to be taken to the page to cast your vote.

Voter Eligibility: In accordance with YWCA Bylaws (Article II, Sec. 1, a.), any woman or girl twelve (12) years of age or over may join the Association, therefore becoming a member. In accordance with YWCA Bylaws (Article II, Sec. 1, d.), in any proceeding in which voting by members is called for, each member fifteen (15) years of age or older, in good standing, shall be entitled to cast one (1) vote.

Questions or issues? Please contact Kerrie Wolf-Piechota.