Connecting professionals to the community

Santabarbara shares Leadership Tech Valley experience

To become a better leader, first you must know your community.

The Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Chamber of Schenectady County combined their leadership programs in 2006 to form Leadership Tech Valley. Through the program, 40 professionals from various backgrounds come together to learn more about themselves and how to better serve their organization a community.

The recent Class of 2011 raised $25,500 and purchased a new Honda Odyssey minivan for Equinox to use for their youth services. Mohawk Honda also sold the vehicle at dealer cost to the group. The van will be used to shuttle young adults to appointments, job interviews and field trips.

Engineer and County Legislator Angelo Santabarbara was one of the participants in this year's program and it was an experience he encourages others to pursue.

The program exposes you to issues and components of the community that honestly you don't really think about too much, said Santabarbara. "I grew up here and I know a lot about Schenectady County, but there are pieces that I didn't really know a lot about."

Starting the program is a two-day overnight opening retreat in the fall and there nine sessions held on the second Friday of each month from October through June. The monthly sessions each have a different theme, which include economic development, diversity, media, education, government and politics, health care and quality of life and community service.

For the community service day, Santabarbara said the group visited the City Mission of Schenectady.

"They are right across from Proctors and I guarantee people don't know that," he said. "What this program does is it exposes you to these various components that make up our community."

The program, he said, allows people to take time out of their busy lives to see and experience such facets of the community first hand.

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