Gabby Lichtenberg is a perfect example of the power of the CapNY network.
And that network is open to anyone, whether you’re a lifetime resident or find your way here as a transplant.
Making the Move
Lichtenberg, 37, and her husband moved to CapNY in 2017 from Westchester. They were spending enough hours a week commuting to consider it a part-time job. With the desire to start a family, have a home of their own, and time to enjoy both, they targeted CapNY as their next step. With her family in Syracuse and his in Poughkeepsie, it was a perfect central location and offered a cost of living that would help their salaries go a bit further.
In 2018, they bought a home in Clifton Park. Six months ago, they welcomed their first child.
“It’s so much more affordable living and you can get more for what you’re working for,” she said. “We’re able to have a great family life in the region simply because of the cost of living and because of accessibility to everything. And that was a big drawing point for us.”
Upon arrival to CapNY, Lichtenberg got involved with the Capital Region Chamber’s Young Professionals Network. Right away, she found a supportive network of people quickly.
“I would say what I really appreciate about the people and the culture of the area is when you connect and you do make your circle of friends and they’re just so warm and welcoming, they become like a second family to you,” she said. “People here are very authentic.”
Those connections have helped her career grow in the few years she has been a CapNY transplant. When she first moved here she was working in higher education and through connections, transitioned into an account executive role at the Albany Business Review and later, a commercial real estate advisor position.
“It’s all who I’ve worked with. As in, those who are my clients or whoever I partnered up with, and they see the work ethic or the relationship that’s been built with them personally and then being asked to join the team from there, which is a different approach. But I was really able to hit the ground running and building up those relationships. And then it just kind of created a bunch of endless different opportunities that I didn’t even know existed.”
She’s gearing up to take on a new challenge as director of membership recruitment with the Business Council of New York State.
“Ultimately, I will be someone with feet on the ground, listening to what businesses need or where they’re having issues and then advocating on their behalf,” she said. “This aligns with the mission of work that really matters to me. I’ve worked in sales and marketing for a number of years but primarily within small businesses.They are the heart of a community and what makes it special.”
Lichtenberg and her family love to go to concerts at Saratoga Performing Arts Center or spend a morning at the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market and subsequent small business browsing. They are also big fans of Thacher Park in Voorheesville.
“One of the cool things about the Capital Region is that you can drive 30 minutes and you can go to green pastures or you can go into a different city. There are a lot of aspects of nature that you get to enjoy,” she said. “And from where I live in Clifton Park, we can get to Saratoga or Lake George and visit an amusement park or go hiking. We’re lucky to have the accessibility to that diversity in landscape and topography.”
Lichtenberg advocates for small businesses and she is also a top supporter of many here in CapNY. Some of her favorites are in Schenectady, including the Whistling Kettle, Grounded Goddess, and Bluebird Home Decor.
Closer to her Saratoga County home, she is a big fan of Artique, a co-op of nearly 100 small artisan vendors all in one place.
“They all have the most unique things,” she said. “I love those types of businesses and finding unusual things.”
And in addition to her professional networking, she got involved with the Albany Barn and the Albany Center Gallery. While she was working closer to the city, one of her positions was with an art gallery, and the passion for art has stuck with her. Looking ahead, she hopes CapNY can continue to bolster the arts scene and create more and more ways to support creatives. And there’s room there for everyone, she says.
“To live here now, it means that you get to be part of something bigger than yourself. And you can get involved more easily. It’s small enough here that you can make an impact and make change quickly. And while you’re making this impact, you’re becoming part of something bigger than yourself. That, in a sense, allows you to create a legacy for yourself if you wanted to. So if that’s something that’s important to you or matters to you, that’s the great thing about living here, is that you can have those opportunities. You can create that for yourself.”