Elevate: A Leadership Summit for Leaders & Emerging Leaders

Save the Date Elevate Summit for Leaders and Emerging Leaders; June 22, 2023 at 9 AM at Marist College

Elevate: A Leadership Summit for Leaders & Emerging Leaders


When: June 22, 2023

Time: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Location: Student Center, Marist College


Registration full. Please email Melissa Clark, mclark@uwdor.org, to be placed on the waiting list.

The Elevate conference provides opportunities for Community Leaders and Emerging Leaders to learn from a dynamic, accomplished group of women leaders. The TED (style) Talk speakers have expertise in executive leadership, management, entrepreneurship, mental health, local government, community leadership, human resources, workforce development, veteran's needs and more. We welcome local leaders from ALL experience levels to JOIN US June 22nd and learn from this phenomenal group of local women leaders!



8:30 AM – Breakfast & Registration

9:00 AM – Opening Remarks

9:30 AM – Panelist Presentation


  • Mary Jane Bertram, Workforce Development Institute
  • Jo Ann Brown, NAMI Mid Hudson
  • Cecilia Fiterman-Cook, Smart Staffing
  • Inaudy Gil Esposito, Orange County Government
  • Theresa Giovanniello, Dutchess County
  • Laraine Kautz, SUNY Dutchess
  • Kadiyah Lodge, Lead for Poughkeepsie
  • Louise McLoughlin, Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board
  • Jeannie Montano, UWDOR
  • Sue Serino, Dutchess County
  • Mercy Turugh, Smart Staffing
  • Christie VanHorne, CVH Consulting

12:00 PM – Lunch & Keynote Presentation

Sheila Appel, IBM

1:00 PM – Closing Remarks



Mary Jane Bertram | She is the Workforce Development Institute Regional Director for the Hudson Valley. Prior to joining WDI in 2008, Mary Jane was working with Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  During her time with SEIU, Mary Jane wore a variety of different hats and had the opportunity to develop strategies in forming unions, negotiate contracts, and to participate in a variety of labor management activities and community engagements. Mary Jane currently serves on the Dutchess County WIB Executive Board, the CTE Perkins Local Advisory Council, Selikoff Centers Advisory Board, Orange County Partnership Task Force, the Dutchess ReEntry Task Force and the Mid-Hudson REDC workforce committee.

Cecilia Fiterman-Cook & Mercy Turugh | We met as coworkers in 2007 and immediately recognized the potential for a powerful business partnership. We both immigrated to the United States and dreamed of starting and growing our own businesses, which made this the perfect partnership. Recognizing both shared goals and the shared values of making our community a better place, we teamed up to form SMART Staffing Group, Inc. in 2014. Today, SMART Staffing Group, Inc. serves a variety of industries, is committed to developing the workforce of tomorrow, and serves a diverse client and candidate base in New York State, in the Mid-Hudson Valley area and in the Tri-State area.

Theresa Giovanniello | She has worked in Government for Putnam and Dutchess Counties for approximately 30 years.  She is a Licensed Master Social Worker and a 2020 Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce Athena Award Honoree. She is an active volunteer in her community for various Boards, including the Dutchess County Interfaith Council and the Harvard-Radcliffe Club of the Hudson Valley.  

Laraine Kautz | She strives to achieve harmony and fulfillment in the many roles she fills. Her current professional role is as Workforce Development Liaison for Dutchess Community College.

Kadiyah Lodge | Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, Kadiyah Lodge serves as the Executive Director at Lead For Poughkeepsie (LFPK), a Lead For America (LFA) program that leverages national service opportunities. Kadiyah is an AmeriCorps VISTA alum and, over the last 12 years, has held nonprofit leadership and education positions in the City of Poughkeepsie. Kadiyah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and media and a Master of Science degree in childhood education from Mercy College. In 2021, she earned a Leading in Community Certificate from Adelphi University. She is a proud Board Member of the United Way Dutchess-Orange Region and Community Matters 2.

Louise McLoughlin | She is a former small business owner, is currently the Executive Director of the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board.  In her previous role, Dr. McLoughlin was the Senior Vice President of Workforce Development at the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.  Dr. McLoughlin earned her Doctorate Degree in Public Administration from West Chester University.  Louise serves on several Boards in Dutchess County and adjuncts at Marist College and Adelphi University.

Christie VanHorne |Christie is the founder and president of CVH Consulting, LLC, a public health training firm based here in the Hudson Valley. She works with health organizations to improve educational programs and trains the public health workforce on health equity, the social determinants of health, and the history of health disparities. Christie also teaches at Vassar College.

Jeannie Montano | She comes to the United Way as a senior nonprofit executive with experience in varying leadership roles. She was previously at the Leukemia and Lymphoma society where she was the Executive Director of the Connecticut Chapter and before that she was the Northeast Division Director, and Executive Director of the Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter. She comes with many years of experience in overall management of a nonprofit as well as extensive experience in board development, and donor development. What Jeannie likes most about being in nonprofit is being part of making a positive impact in people’s lives, she also loves working with volunteers and has spent 9 wonderful years leading UWDOR.

Sue Serino |  Senator Sue Serino started working at age 15 and never stopped. She learned early on the value of being able to capitalize on her incredible work ethic and that understanding has served to shape her entire adult life. Sue began as a waitress in a small, local restaurant, quickly working her way up to become a manager. After the birth of her son Anthony, she opened her first successful business as a childcare provider. Having grown up in Dutchess County, Sue developed an district appreciation for the uniqueness of the area and its homes. The daughter of a hardworking immigrant, Sue was taught that homeownership was a critical component of achieving the "American Dream."

Annual Sponsors

Premier Annual Sponsors: Central Hudson Gas & Electric, M&T Bank, Orange & Rockland, Pratt & WhitneyAnnual Sponsors: IBM, Resorts World, RBT, TD Bank, Ulster Savings