Grateful Thanks, Trudy

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” Shakespeare

I have an announcement! Many, actually, but this comes first: After 10 years as Vice President of Laible & Fitzsimmons Inc, Trudy is retiring.  I feel a bit like Dumbo without his feather. Even more, I am grateful for Trudy’s friendship, support and more as we’ve worked together in one capacity and another for over 20 years “to serve and celebrate folks who care for Art, Science and the Common Good on LI and Beyond.”

As Founder Emeritus of the Synchronicity Network Newsletter, Trudy will be the first member of an honorary advisory board that we look forward to inviting others into soon. For now, though, let us focus on Trudy.

She will tell you that since coming into this world in 1952 she “has done every crazy job that was legal and moral.” In the last 20 years I’ve known her to serve as a field manager, a seamstress, an architectural assistant, interior designer, bus driver, snowplow operator, cleaning lady, and a receptionist. She has worked with microchips and in product testing. She often serves as a poll worker during election season. In 2009, she informed me that she “wanted to volunteer somewhere she was really appreciated.” She then proceeded to become a nanny that gave Mary Poppins a run for her money, magic carpet bag and all. It was around then that she also became my business partner.

That story actually begins in 1997, three years before I met her when Charles Agius of Cablevision went through Long Island’s only community leadership program, Leadership Huntington. As he was her employer, Trudy ended up learning a lot as she assisted his participation. The nine-month intensive program was designed to Develop, Connect and Engage diverse community leaders using the Town of Huntington as a living laboratory, fostering stewardship across diverse perspectives. Once graduated, Charlie came back to Trudy – who was already an entrenched volunteer in her church, for local theater and in organizations surrounding her children — and said he would nominate her to go through the young program.

She did it, while at the same time fighting cancer.

Trudy became an ardent volunteer for Leadership. She attended in her own way to every class, save a few when she was caring for her mother and after completing her service in 2014. She was a board member for years. In 2010, when Leadership was suffering the Great Recession, she found herself almost single-handedly coordinating the program. She and Dianne Parker pulled me in. Trudy and I quickly ended up becoming Program and Acting Director together. She got to know many graduates of classes she’d missed and for a long time also volunteered in diverse capacities for the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce whose Chamber Foundation founded the organization. In 2015 the Chamber bestowed upon Trudy its prestigious “Klaber Award” to honor her deep and enduring service to the Town.

Through Leadership, Trudy became involved in Vision Long Island, a regional force for Smart Growth with a particular focus on down towns and local endeavors, and a champion of education and relationship development across interests. One of her Class of 1999 fellows, Ron Stein, was planting the seeds of this organization that first germinated as Vision Huntington. As a founding Vision Board Member, Trudy tended to every Board and Huntington Smart Growth Steering Committee meeting and did a lot of the organization’s early videography. I myself became involved when they hired me in 2000. Trudy played a meaningful role in early community planning processes and provided thoughtful, practical support to the development of the Smart Growth Awards and Summit. Since Vision’s maturation as a regional force for smart growth planning and policy, Trudy has served Vice President, Treasurer, and now Co-Chair. The role she really plays, tho, and probably always will, is deeper…

Trudy also served as Chair of the Ladies Auxiliary of both the Huntington and Suffolk County VFWs. In addition to much basic support to both bodies, she played a key but quiet role in securing State funding for much needed roof, electrical and other repairs to her local VFW Hall. She then served on the board of the Huntington Township Housing Coalition, as well as the Huntington Housing Authority. She was also an early board member of The Moonjumpers Charitable Foundation, which was founded by Larry Kushnick, Robert Benson and Peter Mazzeo.

In the worst of circumstances, Trudy has been there for her community with soup, a blanket and informed guidance. FEMA certified, she served Suffolk Country Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), acting as both a trainer and a support provider in times of local crisis, as well as assisting in the creation of the organization’s Standard Operating Procedures. While Superstorm Sandy came the same day as her latest grandchild, she still did not hesitate to also lend a hand to that monumental cleanup effort.

Trudy Fitzsimmons is a loving mother, grandmother and an extraordinary friend. She has been a dearly appreciated sounding board and guide to countless folks who have endeavored to make a positive difference on Long Island. I am grateful for this opportunity to celebrate her, and look forward to great things going forward. I love you, Trudy.

The Servant Leader

Photo of Dave Vollmer

I’ve had the fortune to experience leadership from both sides of the fence, both effective and ineffective. In today’s world, so many claim to be good leaders or declare others to be good leaders, but how do we know if that’s true? Do we ask their bosses? Their subordinates? Do we compare them to history’s great leaders? Or do we judge them by their actions?

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Folio Awards Video, Fast Chats with the Fair Media Council

Fair Media Council Logo

We are grateful to all who are carrying on virtually! Here’s some incredibly touching and informative video from The Folio Awards.

While nothing replaces getting to connect with the folks that our sponsor The Fair Media Council normally brings together to highlight the best in local media, the online event was time well spent and we appreciated the virtual networking session held afterward.

Did you know WLIW now has a radio station? That’s how we learned! That and a whole lot more!!!

We are further excited by FMC’s endeavors to adapt and excited about their virtual event lineup featuring notables in news, media and business.

“FMC Fast Chat” is a live talk show on Zoom where the audience drives the conversation by asking questions in advance (during registration) or during the show via the Q&A box. The recorded version becomes a podcast available on the C-Suite Radio Network, as well as iTunes, Google Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher and TuneIn.

Expect real, powerful and relevant conversations with notables in news, media and business that put you in the know in just 30 minutes.

The events are free to attend, but preregistration is necessary to ensure a seat for the live shows.

October 6th: This already occurred but you can sign up for the podcast on The FMC Website: America’s Growing Need for Public Service & Volunteerism with RITA COSBY, Emmy-Winning TV Host, Female Legend of the Year in Radio, Best-Selling Author & Chair, Global Service Institute at LIU

October 27th: GARY VAYNERCHUK, chairman of VaynerX and CEO of VaynerMedia on how to do business right, right now.

November 10th: How did the media cover the Election? That’s the focus of this Fast Chat with BRIAN LEHRER of The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC.

December 8th: Get the inside skinny on how to get your opinion heard on CNN, directly from CNN Opinion Editor RICHARD GALANT.

To register for any of these shows, please visit www.fairmediacouncil.org

More Fast Chats are continuously added. The best way to stay up-to-date is to sign up for the Fair Media Council’s weekly newsletter, The Latest, which comes out on Thursdays (Be sure to whitelist it).

Subscribe to FMC Fast Chat and you can also hear past episodes featuring Jeffrey Hayzlett, Chair and CEO, C-Suite Network, on how to do business during COVID19; Allison Gilbert, journalist and grief expert, on how to deal with loss and find comfort, and Ben Smith, media columnist, The New York Times, on the state of the news media today.

Firefly Lights November 2020: Welcome New Fireflies! Classes, Shows

The Firefly Artists Logo

Our community-oriented gallery created by local artists continues to be a light in our lives. Our main Firefly Artists gallery at 162 Main St, Northport is open Tuesday through Thursday 11am-6pm (closed for Thanksgiving), Fri and Sat 11am-8pm and Sunday 11-5pm. Send Katie an email if you’d like to meet up down there!

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Beth Fiteni Wants Folks to Understand the Current Administration’s Track Record on The Environment

In a recent blog post, Environmentalist Beth Fiteni of Green Inside & Out, offers, “important facts about changes to federal environmental laws and policies that the mainstream press does not typically cover.

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Community Leadership, Chapter 4: Leadership and the Dianne Parker Direction

Dianne Parker, the original Executive Director of Leadership and the Huntington Township Chamber Foundation with an early dedicated sponsor, Robert Scheiner of H2M Architects & Engineers. Photo by Katheryn Laible

Diversity.

This concept of developing leaders from all groups in a community certainly influenced Dianne Parker’s thinking. Dianne Parker was Executive Director of Leadership Huntington. We must say Dianne is a serious, intelligent business entrepreneur with a love of nature and art. She also has an earnest interest in people and all their cultural diversity.

Over the last 20 years, we have developed a great appreciation of how she crafted the Leadership Program and what she brought to it. One of her most important tenets being diversity of class member’s may lead you to ask, “Why?”

The answer is because it is important to bring people together so they may learn from each other and cross economic, cultural, gender, and educational lines. Many class members have expressed revelations and new understanding of other people and their circumstances while they were in the diversity rich environment of Leadership Huntington. Libby Hubbard, past Chamber Foundation President, commented that the class mix leads to a broader view of the community.

People have at times had an opinion that only those in positions of authority or higher status should go through the program. Those opinions ring hollow in my experience. That limiting concept would hamper the effect of experiential leadership. Many Leadership Huntington graduates have gone on to help build organizations and create non- profits that benefit many folks.

 

Why is diversity important? The answer is because it is important to bring people together so they may learn from each other and cross economic, cultural, gender, and educational lines. Many class members have expressed revelations and new understanding of other people and their circumstances while they were in the diversity rich environment of Leadership Huntington. Libby Hubbard, past Chamber Foundation President, commented that the class mix leads to a broader view of the community.

Larry Kushnick, Esq. Class of ’97, God rest his soul, said Leadership Huntington gave him the confidence to start his own law practice. He also helped get many local organizations started. Another young woman found her own voice and advanced in her family’s business because she now had the confidence to articulate her own worth. She, too, became instrumental to many positive community endeavors. Sometimes, the impact is very personal, which is good because community leadership starts at home. One gentleman in my class remarked, after going through temperament exercises, that he now understood why his wife was so different. Awe, clarification and understanding.

The notion that leaders can be developed, who as a direct result transform communities to be stronger and more effective, is a concept derived from the exploration, experiences and observations of community organizations like the Chamber Foundation and that group of committed individuals. To quote Ken Christensen, past Chamber Foundation member, “everywhere he goes there is a Leadership Huntington grad involved.”

This is very good. Community leadership is critical to building effective, inclusive communities which work for all citizens. It is hard to imagine an effective community which isn’t full of committed, engaged, involved and evolving volunteer leaders, servant leaders, and community trustees.

Change is everywhere. Communities change, issues change, circumstances change, demographics change. Leadership programs must change, too. The program that seems to work today won’t tomorrow. Community education isn’t enough. We must endeavor in an ongoing fashion to equip leaders with skills and processes that will serve them when and wherever they encounter a leadership challenge.

One class a year isn’t enough to create leaderful communities. One format does not fit all. We encourage all with experience and insight to think of yourselves as leadership development arms of your community, and of all the implications for change that concept implies.

Diversity is very important concept, and not an easy one to accomplish, but it makes such a rich learning environment. We have separated ourselves so much over the years we have missed the richness of diversity. One can only hope we may work toward that concept for a rich future.

We hope you can take away some bits of wisdom from the idea of diversity and the concepts that are suggested. Stay tuned, Chapter 5 is next!

Thanks for reading.
Trudy & Craig

This is very good. Community leadership is critical to building effective, inclusive communities which work for all citizens. It is hard to imagine an effective community which isn’t full of committed, engaged, involved and evolving volunteer leaders, servant leaders, and community trustees.

Halloween

Photo of Jack O’ Lanterns by Katheryn Laible

Katie’s mom always felt a main point of All Hallow’s Eve was to scare bad spirits away before winter gave them too many opportunities to wreak havoc. Given 2020, we’re all for doing anything we can!

We are thankful for all who care to take the threat this virus poses seriously while also forging creative ways forward. Halloween is a huge examples of this. Much is going on!

Some great local events are featured in this recent Main Street News (as well as other important items) including endeavors by the Greenport BID, “Nightmare on Main St.” in Huntington, and a “Trunk or Treat” in Kings Park. Their verymost recent edition also has NYS Guidelines for safe Halloweening, more great events and, we can NEVER say it enough, LOTS of other valuable information!

Mommy Poppins offers a family guide to Halloween 2020

Places perhaps a bit spookier are on LIHauntedHouses.com

We are intrigued by the History of Halloweenon History.com

Here is a brief exploration of the connection (or maybe not) between All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, and Samhain. from the BBC.

Here’s a History of the Celtic holiday Samhain from Time Magazine. Which, due to it’s being an Irish word is, in fact, pronounced SAW-in.

However you choose to celebrate (or not!), we wish you all the best! Be safe, be smart, and enjoy!!!

Down to Earth with the Synchronicity Network – Thanks for Great Resources!

Photo of Bee on Aster by Katheryn Laible

Here at home, one way Katie’s been overcoming pandemic poos is through her garden. It works!!! She’s been weeding, mostly, identifying local and invasive species with apps like PlantNet and iNaturalist, and then wrestling those who’d best go out of the Earth until she’s too tired to do it anymore.

The reward has not only been a tremendous amount fresh air and healthy stress sublimation, but a yard full of gorgeous asters, goldenrod, wild raspberries and delighted pollinators! In recent week, the birds have started coming. It seems her yard is well rated on the Zagats Migration Edition!

She’s been grateful for the Huntington Gardeners and the Long Island Native Plant Gardening Group on Facebook as she’s overcome her well-earned terror of poison ivy and endeavored to cultivate and better understand her own hyper-local ecology. They are wonderful!!!

You can find others in our ever-evolving Down to Earth with the Synchronicity Network (submissions welcome!). Soon, we will add KMS Native Plants LLC, one of a growing number of sources for local plants and an excellent resource itself!

Autumn is a great time for planting. There are still a few weeks to take advantage of it! Katie has been transplanting volunteer native trees and plans to purchase native plants this weekend! Her gardening grand finale for 2020 will be the Winter Solstice, when she will honor a tradition started when her first child was tiny: Planting bulbs as a rite of faith that spring will dawn again.

This helps, too! Brain Pickings, we love you! Speaking of well-known appreciators of Long Island and human nature, Maria Popovich recently resurfaced this lovely meditation on Long Island’s own “Walt Whitman on Democracy and Optimism as a Mighty Form of Resistance” Read it, and carry on with whatever great mission you are on!