Recognition and evolution

Recognition and evolution

A few weeks ago I received a call from an ambassador with the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce, letting me know that I’ve been nominated as Independent Small Business of the Year. Whoa! I’ve been more than happy with my daily recognition that comes in the form of more and more clients, thank-you emails out of the blue from folks I’ve done business with, a constant shower of blushworthy compliments and support from the Advokate community — and let’s not forget the fact that I can do what I love every day and actually pay the bills that way! To think that I now have this nomination as a feather in my cap too just might send my ego over the edge into big-head territory. I’m incredibly honored. Part of the nomination process was an interview with two ARCC ambassadors. I set it up at Rock Hill Bakehouse Cafe in Glens Falls, where I usually hold my meetings. As if on cue, Beth who works there came over to drop some compliments my way. Beth is a big part of why I like to have meetings at Rock Hill. It went well, despite the fact that this was the only meeting I’ve ever forgotten about until 15 minutes beforehand – of course – so I was rushing to put myself together thanks to my husband Cory who reminded me about it in the nick of time. In talking about Advokate and running through my involvements in the community and what I do and what Advokate does to try and make the world a better place I got to feeling pretty great. Often I’m so busy with my nose in my work that those moments when I stop and reflect on the evolution of my life really hit me hard. I wasn’t always this great, you know. I’ve been a college dropout, a mall janitor, gotten by on $5/hour and foodstamps, had times where I was working five jobs… And beyond that, there were times that I felt so low. So low. Hit-the-bottom nobody-likes-me-and-I-don’t-either low. There was a period of transition in Plattsburgh and Hudson Falls between my rotten life in Rutland and my magical life in Glens Falls. The ladder years, if you will.

And I moved to Glens Falls only about six years ago, and with hardly any knowledge or understanding of the city itself. Only about six years ago I declared myself an artist and started having shows. I met my wonderful husband who introduced me to my wonderful friends. I went to art receptions, I joined clubs, I explored Glens Falls and I got involved. I learned. I soaked it up like a sponge. One thing after another clicked into place as windows of opportunity opened and I climbed through, coming closer and closer to the sunshine. Realizing who and where and what I really am along the way. And here I find myself on the top of the world. Wow. You’ve heard me talk before about how I think Glens Falls is magical. I’m not kidding! And I do feel that I owe a lot to this magical city, and that it’s my life’s work to help other folks find those windows of opportunity to climb through into their own sunshine. That’s what Advokate is. A belief that dreams come true, and a guide to help you get there too.

"Sunshine through the Window" photo by James Hedley

“Sunshine through the Window” photo by James Hedley

Kate Austin-Avon

Kate E. Austin is known for her creative advocacy. She is a regular speaker on branding and social media with educational institutions and Chambers of Commerce. She owns and operates Advokate, LLC. Currently she serves on the boards of the Glens Falls Business Improvement District, is on the World Awareness Children’s Museum’s Advisory Council, and is involved in the Jackson Heights PTA. Originally from Killington, Vermont, she studied art at Hartwick College and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Art from Empire State College. She is a mother of three.