Monday, June 20, 2011

Welcoming people to our area … They do want to come here!

Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey”. – Vera Nazarian

Last week, I wrote that we really cannot be termed Smallbany anymore as we are on the world map and a location desirable for many to relocate to. Brought quite a few comments directly to me by email and through; I appreciate that. A few told me I was crazy and one person thought my article was a farce – it wasn’t.

I wanted to follow up and “meet” a family that came to the region to understand their experience in relocating here. They say it best and know all we have offer as region. They see our region differently and offer a new perspective. Take Kelly Keating for example. I met Kelly through my friends at Tech Valley Connect , a one-of –a kind innovative program ( the only in the nation) focused on helping families relocating here acclimate to the community, find jobs for trailing spouses and being a resource. Kelly told me her story this past week, and it is a shining example of looking at the glass half full vs. half empty. I want to share my talk with her and her thoughts on the region and how to best handle a relocation.

Kelly – when you first learned that you were going to relocate to this region, as you have done many times before, what were your thoughts?

I looked at the positives of the move and not the negatives around relocating the kids from their school, losing our network of friends and contacts we had in Champaign, Il where we move from. I reached out to my friends – many around the nation – told them where we were going and asked for their feedback. What I learned is that this region has an excellent reputation as a great place to live and raise a family, and that was so comforting.

How did you happen to come to the area?

My husband accepted a position at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Once he accepted, the wheels of motion began to attend to our needs from Human Resources and also from Julie Hansen of Tech Valley Connect (

What did you see as the positives with our region?

Maybe not the weather at first! We experienced our first Upstate NY winter - but we got through it. We came from a smaller, culturally rich university community (pop. 150,000) where there was one major employer, to a larger community with many employment and cultural options. We learned very quickly – the positives about the area are its people, culture, employment opportunities, communities , education resources and beauty of the geography with the mountains and views (our home overlooks the Berkshires), so unlike Illinois where it is flat – forever.

You found a job rather quickly … how did that happen?
Yes, I found a job in just a few months and it was through networking and I cannot emphasize this enough to someone coming to a new community. I conducted informational interviews with anyone I could and if they could not be of direct assistance to me, I asked if they know someone who could. I was amazed at how helpful people were. Before we had unpacked, which wasn’t my plan, I began working for the Albany College of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Research Institute and I really enjoy what I do.

What recommendations would you give to those relocating here?
* Network – and continually network – it is a great way to find out about opportunities and as well, to get connected to the community on all levels.
* Do your research and connect before you move – I used the Internet for information about the region, communities, groups for our family, and more. I signed up for email updates and began connecting with people. It was so helpful.
* Focus on the positives – Moving is tough: prepare and focus on the positives, and it will be a less stressful and a better experience.

I have heard folks in our own region greet a newcomer with “… you came here, why” in an off handed comment? Did you hear that?
No – it was quite the opposite welcoming. Neighbors came over with wine – we were invited to parties – they helped us feel comfortable. We could not have felt more welcomed and comfortable.

Anything quirky that confused you when you arrived?
It takes awhile to realize that the Northway is I-87 – I couldn’t find the Northway on any map! Also, we live in the Hamlet of Loudonville, in the Village or Town of Colonie but when you put our address in GPS, it says Albany, NY. As long as you send your taxes to the right people, I guess it is okay.

Your plans?
Explore the region, visit the beautiful places I have read about, meet more people and enjoy our first summer in the region. We are looking forward to it – we love this area.

Great advice from a new family to our region. Please help and be welcoming, engaging and know – we are not Smallbany anymore – we have “arrived”.

And thank you for reading this. - Dan

Dan Moran

President & Founder


Career Management & Transition Specialists

125 Wolf Road, Suite #128

Albany, NY 12205

Office: 518-261-4212

Cell: 518-641-8968

eFax: 586-279-4212

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