Schenectady County

Schenectady County women form networking group

A women’s networking group is launching in Schenectady County to provide local women with an outlet

A women’s networking group is launching in Schenectady County to provide local women with an outlet to discus their careers and communities.

The Women’s Community Leadership Network is holding its first public meeting on Sept. 11. Any woman who lives in Schenectady County is welcome to attend free of charge.

The mission of the group, which now has six members, is to offer networking, support and mentorship opportunities for women at any point in their career.

“There is a women-in business-organization through the Capital Region Chamber, but we really wanted Schenectady County women coming together as more of a community group,” said Leesa Perazzo, who serves on the Schenectady City Council.

In addition to Perazzo, the group now includes Donna Gigone, Sabrina Heilmann, Maya McNulty, Ruth Schulman and Karen Stratton. Perazzo said she is hopeful the first meeting will bring about 50 people.

The Sept. 11 meeting will be from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. at Proctors’ Fenimore Gallery. The meeting’s guest speaker will be Mary Cheeks, the general manager of the future Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor.

“We thought she would be very exciting and she will be new to our area,” Perazzo said. “It’s our chance for us to welcome her into the community. I know everyone is interested in the casino.”

Cheeks now serves as chief financial officer at Rush Street Gaming’s Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. She has 30 years of experience working in the gaming industry.

She plans to move to Schenectady ahead of the casino opening here at Mohawk Harbor off Erie Boulevard. The casino is expected to be built within the next two years. Rush Street is still waiting for a casino license from the state Gaming Commission.

“We want to hear about her career, how she got here and what her inspirations are,” Perazzo said.

The group’s meetings will be held the first Friday of every month. Guest speakers have already been scheduled for the first four meetings.

“We have been meeting as a committee since March or April tying to decide what we wanted to be and who our audience will be,” Perazzo said. “Our goal was always to start in the fall and it’s an all-volunteer group.”

Rosemary Taylor, executive director of the YWCA, will be the guest speaker Oct. 2. Kim Perrone, who recently opened a life coach business in Schenectady, is the scheduled keynote speaker on Nov. 6.

Also, Mona Golub, Price Chopper’s vice president of public relations and consumer services, will talk to the group on Dec. 4 about volunteerism and philanthropy along with her career path.

To learn more about the Women’s Community Leadership Network visit the group’s Facebook page at

Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, [email protected] or @HRViccaro on Twitter.

Categories: Business, News

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