Ever since Michelle Barone-Lepore arrived at Rhinebeck Bank corporate headquarters in February 2016 things haven’t been quite the same. With a resume that includes owning a company that juggled 200 social media accounts and 50 clients by the time she was 29, this marketing professional was hired to shake things up. And she did.
In May 2016, she and co-worker Mark Malone launched an online community-interview show called “Wake Up with Rhinebeck Bank,” that grabs anywhere from 10,000 to 35,000 views per episode. “It’s massive exposure in a very small market,” says Barone-Lepore, who notes that the show is probably a factor in the recent surge of homeowner loans. She also initiated a social media campaign for a Dutchess County Fair ticket giveaway. “We’ve built a fantastic partnership.
“The difference with a community bank and a bigger bank is that you can make a real impact,” says Barone-Lepore. “That’s our competitive edge. We know the intricacies of this market. We know our customers. When we’re out to dinner or hiking at Mount Beacon, our customers are there, too. We are part of the community. We’re doing things that are different and relatable to people, but still within the wheelhouse of finance and banking. And that’s what really moves the needle.”
What was your first job?
“I worked at Sugar and Spice Café in the Marshalls mall (in Poughkeepsie) when I was 16. I loved it there! It was a great family to work for and it taught me how to work with customers.”
Kathleen Bennett MaroldSix years ago, Kathleen Bennett Marold created textiles and interior products for upscale hotel design projects, working with such major design firms as Donghia, Brunschwig & Fils, and Zimmer + Rohde. But work kept her away from home — and her daughters — for 80 percent of the year. So, in 2012, she launched Floor […] Nina SmileyNina Smiley and her husband, Bert, were pursuing successful careers in Washington, D.C., when the forest came knocking in 1990. Mohonk Mountain House, the iconic resort hotel founded by Bert’s great-grand-uncle Albert Smiley, needed someone to take the reins. The couple talked it over, and soon became the only married couple with Princeton PhDs to […] Erin Riley“I’ve never let myself stay within the boundaries of my job description,” says Erin Riley, who started at Scenic Hudson in a junior annual-giving position and, over the course of 20 years, rose to her current post as senior vice president of the nonprofit. “I’ve taken advantage of opportunity for professional growth, acquiring new skills, […] Beth JonesBe bold, be brave, and follow your heart. That’s the advice Beth Jones would give to a young woman starting a business today. In 1991, when Jones founded her award-winning graphic design firm, B. Jones & Co., in Poughkeepsie, graphic design was still a male-dominated field. Yet her firm became known for providing exceptional customer […] Melody Gregory Reflecting on her early days at the law firm she’s been affiliated with for 41 years, Melody Gregory recalls that after graduating high school from Newburgh Free Academy, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and thought law might be something to try.” She took a chance, joined Finkelstein & Partners as a […] Filomena E. FanelliFilomena Fanelli launched her public relations firm with little more than a laptop and her kitchen counter. “When the kids were young, I used to clear Cheerios off the table before a business meeting,” she laughs. Since she formed Impact PR & Communications five years ago, it’s become a go-to agency for clients in the […] Carol GordonAfter more than 30 years as an executive focusing on the “people” aspect of business, Carol Gordon decided to launch her own business as a business management consultant, focusing on employee relations and productive workplaces. “I noticed more people were seeking my input about employee conflicts and career advancement,” she says, and decided to strike […] Leah PennimanTo call Leah Penniman’s work life a career wouldn’t do it justice. The word “mission” is more appropriate; she has a mission to fundamentally change our food systems so that they are more sustainable, healthy, and equitable. Specifically, she is educating and empowering the next generation of activist-farmers to own and farm land, and combating […] Sandra LudlumSandra Ludlum considers her current position and her education her greatest achievements: “Not by virtue of the title, but because of my opportunity to get there,” she says, explaining that she joined Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union with an associate’s degree, and then — through its tuition reimbursement program — went on to receive her […] Kelly MaceAs a healthcare leader, Kelly Mace draws upon her first profession: nursing. “Training as a nurse involves prioritization, time management, the skill to teach, and the ability to direct,” she says. “We learn how to advocate for our patients’ well-being and communicate across all disciplines.” Mace has led several initiatives at CareMount to enhance patient […] Jennifer HowlandGrowing up, Jennifer Howland always had a talent for math and science. But a career in engineering wasn’t her first career choice. “I also considered hotel management, and I loved music. Actually, I wanted to be Julie, the cruise director on The Love Boat,” she laughs. But Howland opted to forgo a career on the […] Kathy MergetAs a child, Kathy Merget aspired to be a gym teacher. Now, as the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, her goal is to heighten the awareness and practice of wellness and self-care for more than 2,200 students, focusing on making a difference […] Suzanne RajcziAs CEO of Ginsberg’s Foods — the Hudson Valley’s largest independent family-owned food service distributor — Suzanne Rajczi is responsible for a company that generates $169 million in annual revenue and sells more than 8,000 products across New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Rajczi attributes the company’s success to the relationships they create with their clients, […]