March 23, 2016

Over 50 people joined the Women's Fund of the Capital Region for our 10th Anniversary Celebration at The State Room in Albany.

March is Women's History Month and we recognized these distinguished women in government and public service.

Master Sergeant Jennifer E. Dippo
Medical Service Instructor and Program Manager, 109 Airlift Wing Base Honor Guard
Stratton Air National Guard Base, Scotia, NY

dippoMaster Sergeant Jennifer E. Dippo is a Medical Service Instructor assigned to the 109 Airlift Wing Base Honor Guard as the Program Manager, Stratton Air National Guard Base, Scotia, NY. She is 35 years old.

Sergeant Dippo was born at RAF Lakenheath on 24 July 1980. She attended Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, graduating in June 1998. After graduation, she enlisted in the Air Force at Stratton ANGB and attended basic training in December 1998. She completed her formal medical training at Sheppard AFB and was awarded her Enlisted Aircrew Wings in August of 1999. She continued her education at State University of New York at Plattsburgh studying Secondary Education and Mathematics.

Her first assignment as an Aeromedical Evacuation Technician was in the Medical Readiness. Sergeant Dippo has since gone on to be the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of, first, Aircrew Training and, now, Standardization and Evaluations. In 2012, MSgt was able to join the Base Honor Guard team as a volunteer. She has subsequently completed hundreds of details and progressed from volunteer, then to member, finally to manager. Her dedication to the program is paramount as she has continued to work as a leader in Honor Guard organizations while deployed to forward locations.

During her career, she has had numerous deployments to Qatar, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Germany and Antarctica. MSgt Dippo’s military awards include the Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and many others. She is most proud, however, of her supportive family- her husband, James and two children, Elizabeth and Ethan. She is currently exploring returning to school to pursue her Nursing Degree.

Kathleen M. Jimino
Rensselaer County Executive

jiminoKathleen Jimino was the fourth of six children born to Sophia and John Madden. Raised on the east side of Troy, she currently lives in Lansingburgh with husband Vince. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Kathy was educated at Catholic Central High School, and Siena College, from where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. Additionally, she received her Master’s degree in Social Policy from SUNY Empire State College.

After graduating from Siena, Kathy went to work for Rensselaer County in the information technology department where she held several positions prior to being named commissioner of that department.

Soon thereafter, she served as the City of Troy’s Budget Director and later City Manager. In acknowledgement of her service during her tenure, she was awarded the Frank C. Moore Award for her “…leadership and dedication in managing the City of Troy during a period of major fiscal crisis.”

Beginning in 1996 Kathy served as a Principal Analyst for the New York State Senate Finance Committee, and later was named Assistant Director of the Office of Budget Studies.

In 1997, she accepted an appointment and was subsequently elected to the Rensselaer County Legislature. She quickly made her mark in the Legislature, as she chaired the Aging Committee as well as a special committee that targeted the tobacco prevention funding in the County.

In 2001, Kathleen Jimino was appointed County Executive. Six months later the voters of Rensselaer County approved her appointment by electing her by the largest margin ever afforded any Rensselaer County Executive in history! Unopposed, Kathy was subsequently reelected in 2005, 2009 and 2013.

Her administration is known for its consistent drive to assure that County residents benefit from the streamlining of services while at the same time emphasizing that departments adhere to her strict budgetary standards, standards which have accounted for over 42 million in tax dollars saved by paring down departmental spending requests during her ten years as County Executive. Additionally, the County administration under her guidance is steadfastly dedicated to the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse. Kathy is also noted for her aggressiveness in advocating new businesses in the County, and encouraging expansion for the ones who already call the County their home, being convinced that community-sensitive economic growth is the proper path for success.

Among other governmental and community responsibilities, Kathy currently serves as Co-Chair of the Center for Economic Growth’s Local Government Council and is on the board of the Commission on Economic Opportunity, as well as serving on the Community Advisory Board of the Sage Colleges Academy for Character Education.

Kathy M. Sheehan
Mayor of Albany, NY

sheehanOn January 1st, 2014, Kathy Moran Sheehan became Albany, New York’s 75th mayor. Mayor Sheehan has dedicated her administration to unleashing Albany’s full potential, leading with a commitment to community, equity, and opportunity. She is an energetic champion of the renaissance now underway in Albany, and is working to revitalize all of the City’s neighborhoods.

Mayor Sheehan is committed to efficient and responsive government that includes diverse community voices. In her first year in office, she initiated major changes, including common sense budget savings, the launch of an overhaul to the City’s outdated zoning code, a renewal of Albany’s parks, traffic calming initiatives to make Albany’s streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, and the steady transformation of the City’s downtown into a new urban neighborhood.

In 2010, after winning a city-wide election, Mayor Sheehan became Albany’s Treasurer and Chief Fiscal Officer, implementing changes to improve the City’s fiscal policies and overhauling the City’s parking ticket system. She is also a founding member of the Albany Promise, a coalition of community members, educators, service providers and business leaders working to ensure that every child in Albany succeeds academically.

Growing up in a large family that valued hard work and community service, Kathy put herself through college, earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism. After a five-year career in communications, Kathy attended Albany Law School on an academic scholarship, graduating magna cum laude in 1994.

After working for a highly regarded law firm, she went on to become vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Intermagnetics General Corporation, a leading medical device manufacturer based in Latham.

Kathy and her husband Bob are committed community members, having served on the boards of a number of community-based organizations. They live in the City’s 8th ward with their teenage son.

Dina Refki, Emcee
Executive Director, Center for Women in Government & Civil Society
Rockefeller College, University at Albany

refkiDina Refki, D.A., is the Executive Director of CWGCS. She oversees implementation of the Center’s mission, vision and objectives. Dr. Refki provides leadership in developing the Center’s strategic planning, and in preparing operational and financial plans. She establishes partnerships with stakeholders, including: community groups, nonprofits, state agencies and regional businesses to advance the Center's goals. She represents the Center and its programs with agencies, organizations and the general public.

She received a doctorate in Humanistic Studies and a Master of Arts in Africana Studies from the University at Albany. She is an adjunct faculty, teaching world history, women's studies and immigration studies. Her research is focused on advancing gender equity in leadership positions and facilitating the integration of immigrant women. Dr. Refki is a 2000 Fellow on Women & Public Policy.

We were inspired to hear how their education and career opportunities helped to bring about: personal empowerment and leadership; financial and economic success; and opportunities to give back to their community.

10th Anniversary Celebration - March 2016

Photos by Just Picture It