Over the past year, we have all endured some level of crisis as we contended with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, we remain inspired by the way our community has rallied to support one another throughout these challenges.
United Way gives every individual in our community the power to make a difference, making philanthropy accessible to everybody. When we harness the power of the community for good, we can work to unlock everyone’s potential, no matter what.
FROM THE COMMUNITY, FOR THE COMMUNITY.
United Way of the Greater Capital Region’s Emerging Leaders is a diverse group of engaged young professionals working to drive impact in the Capital Region. Members use their unique skills, passion, and creativity to dive into social issue areas facing our community and create sustainable change. Emerging Leaders leverage the power of United Way to show the strength and collective impact of the next generation of philanthropists.
The CARES Act allows taxpayers who give by December 31, 2021, and do not itemize to deduct up to $300 in charitable contributions.
Meet the 2021 Next Generation of Philanthropists
Hamad is a queer-millennial global citizen, educational leader, and multilingual consultant who spent the last decade working in the Middle East, South America, and North America. They thrive by working with purpose-driven organizations to build human capacity to help people and organizations fulfill their missions. They build capacity through amplifying humanistic leadership, education, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
They invested the harvest of their diverse life and work experiences to start their own consulting practice (hey Hamad) in Albany NY to provide research-based consulting, training, and coaching services. Hamad’s work, expertise, and research interests center on continuous quality improvement of workplace culture, and policies to empower marginalized identities. Hamad is currently working on writing a book to shed more light on intersectional lives.
Hamad is a member/alum of local and global schools, organizations, and programs, including The College of Saint Rose, New York Institute of Technology, University of Bahrain, University of Cambridge, AIESEC, Fulbright Scholar, Department of State Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), National Society of Leadership & Success, New Leaders Council Fellow. Hamad’s current focus is to actively serve on the board of directors of GLSEN Upstate NY and AIESEC Alumni Association.
I care about my local community because people like me can’t survive without a community. - Hamad Alghareeb
CeliaMarie is a student at the University at Albany studying Business Administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship, in pursuit of being a future entrepreneur. She currently works as a manager of The Cuckoo’s Nest in Albany while also assisting local entrepreneurs across several industries to grow their companies while learning the most effective ways of running a business.
Working with and in the community has been something that CeliaMarie’s parents have always instilled in her. Prior to the pandemic, CeliaMarie organized a charity flag football tournament when someone she was very close with passed away because of breast cancer; through this event, CeliaMarie was able to bring together students, athletes, teachers, faculty, and her local community for a good cause and a way to celebrate a special life.
CeliaMarie cares about her local community because she believes that when we work together, we can make real, impactful change.
Lizzie Schlegel has been part of the Finance Team at Fingerpaint since 2013. At Fingerpaint, she oversees the financial planning and analysis team. She also is the lead of the Fingerpaint Saratoga Philanthropy committee. In addition to her work, Lizzie is passionate about making a difference in her community. She is currently a board member for Community Center, the President of the American Cancer Society Board of Ambassadors, and was previously a board member for the March of Dimes. Lizzie resides in Saratoga Springs with her partner Travis and their two rescue cats, Shadow and Milo.
She holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Accounting from Siena College, where she also coaches cheerleading. She has been recognized as a Future Famer by the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, a Siena G.O.L.D (Graduates of the Last Decade) Standard award winner, and was named one of Saratoga County's Women of Influence.
Seeing all the positive changes that our local philanthropists have been able to make has inspired me to get involved and make a difference. - Lizzie Schlegel
Lucas Sestito is a Capital Region native who earned his bachelor's degree in Management from Siena College in 2016. He began his career with Callanan Industries, Inc. shortly after while also pursuing his master's degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University online.
Lucas heads up marketing and communications at Albany-based Callanan Industries, which despite its size, has long flown under the radar and kept out of public view. In his role, Lucas has worked to change that by building relationships with other local organizations and increasing the company’s engagement with the community as a whole.
Through his position at Callanan and the relationships he has helped to cultivate, Lucas has been able to merge his career with his passion for helping people. He is excited to continue working with United Way and the many other organizations in the Capital Region and beyond.
I love seeing the passion that people have for helping our community, it inspires me to do everything that I can to make a difference in any way. - Lucas Sestito
Sam Trimboli is a marketing and business strategist who draws on his experience in consumer and market research, analytics, retail management, and digital marketing to drive results. He currently holds the position of Project Manager, Consumer Insights at Price Chopper Supermarkets/Market 32, where he focuses on turning data into actionable insights and creating strategies to support the continued success of the brand.
While he didn’t know it at the time, Sam’s career would actually begin at 15 years old when he landed his first job as a cashier at his neighborhood Price Chopper in Guilderland, New York. At a young age, he realized that interacting with people in a retail environment was something that he enjoyed and came naturally to him. These early experiences sparked his interest in marketing and consumer behavior, which would become guiding themes throughout his career.
During college, Sam held managerial roles in-store operations before eventually joining the corporate marketing team at Price Chopper/Market 32. Since then, some of Sam’s accomplishments have included the facilitation of a major transition toward a data-driven research and insights program, oversight of the company’s digital marketing efforts with a specific focus on expanding the retailer’s eCommerce segment, development of new KPIs, and accompanying internal communication strategies to provide meaningful strategic direction, and the continued evolution of all consumer and market research initiatives. Sam is also an inaugural member of the company’s Inclusion Council, which focuses on initiatives that foster a safe, fair, and engaged workplace culture for all Price Chopper and Market 32 teammates.
Since 2018, Sam has also been teaching at SUNY Albany as an adjunct professor of marketing. He teaches a digital marketing course at the undergraduate level during the spring, and at the graduate level as part of the evening MBA program during the fall.
Sam currently serves on the board of directors for United Way of the Greater Capital Region and is a steering committee member of the Capital Region Chamber’s Leadership Tech Valley program.
Sam holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, and an MBA from Clarkson University in Schenectady, New York.
I see the Capital Region as a place with a lot of potential. It’s where I grew up, so in a way, the success of the community is also my success. As emerging leaders, we have an opportunity to drive that success by rethinking and reshaping what philanthropy means. To me, this starts with finding new and innovative ways to get involved and give back to the community. I’m glad to be able to play a small part in that. - Sam Trimboli
Lauren Valentine is a Talent Acquisition Manager with Alaant Workforce Solutions. For more than a decade, she has worked closely with business owners and leaders, helping them to develop and grow high-performance sales teams that drive revenue and deliver results. This includes providing critical support during the hiring process to help identify and qualify “right fit” candidates, an experience she is excited to build on in her role with Alaant.
After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany, Lauren discovered her passion for working with people while pursuing a career in sales. As a sales consultant and manager with Sandler, she enjoyed working with highly successful business owners, managers, and professionals across a wide variety of companies and industries. It was in this role that she realized attracting and retaining top talent is one of the most difficult challenges faced by businesses.
Lauren serves on the board of directors of the University at Albany Alumni Association, where she focuses on assisting current students and recent graduates in pursuing career development opportunities and polishing networking skills. In 2019, she was recognized as “Woman of the Year” by the Upstate New York and Vermont chapters of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and through associated fundraising efforts, was proud to be able to donate a research grant in honor of a Capital Region family. In addition, Lauren previously served on the board of directors of the Southern Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, now part of the Capital Region Chamber.
When she’s not working, Lauren loves to work out, spend time with her friends and family, and spoil her fur child, Kale.
I think the Capital Region is a great place to live and work. However, I also recognize that we have a lot of inequity in this Region that we must work to address to improve the quality of life for everyone. - Lauren Valentine
William VonAtzingen currently works as a Financial Advisor with Cetera Investors, in their Latham, NY office. Will holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oneonta in Business Economics He was recognized as one of SUNY Oneonta’s Top 30 Under 30 Influential Young Alumni.
Being raised in Greenville, NY from a family that believes strongly in community service and giving back to their community set him on a path of service to the greater New York and Capital District areas. Outside of his official role, Will has spearheaded several service projects to improve everyday life for local and capital district residents including the organization of three separate backpack drives for two schools in Greene County, NY as well as writing a grant that funded personal hygiene kits for the Albany Damien Center to support individuals affected by HIV/AIDS as well as three additional hygiene kit drives for Greene County schools and food pantries. Will has also worked with Kaboom to build a “dream playground” for the Schenectady Boys and Girls Club. When Will isn’t organizing or applying for funding for his own community events, he enjoys working with his parents and their organization Greenville Community Partners.
A lot of great experiences I’ve had were from others donating their time, if I want these experiences to continue in my community I need to donate my time to help make them happen. - William VonAtzingen