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The Importance of Empathy

Date: Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Time: 8:00AM – 5:00PM

Location: The Century House, Latham, New York




Breakfast – a full, warm breakfast will be served, so bring your appetite! Coffee, drinks, and snacks will be available throughout the day


Session 1a: A Trauma Informed Framework for Leadership

Invited Presenter: Mike Saccocio, 
Executive Director / CEO City Mission of Schenectady


Lunch - a buffet-style lunch will be provided by the Century House


Session 1b: The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Invited Presenter: Tracy Solarek,
Founder and Chief Inspirer Optymum Potential

More about our invited presenters:


Mike Saccocio is the Executive Director of City Mission of Schenectady (NY). Over the course of his leadership, the Mission has added several new programs and engaged in an $8 million capital expansion and neighborhood revitalization effort. Mike is a graduate of Union College and has a Master’s Degree from Regent University in Virginia. In June he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Union Graduate College. 

Tracy April 2022.webp

Tracy Solarek helps leaders achieve their full potential and civic and business

organizations achieve their goals. A solutions-oriented professional, she is certified in

Emotional Intelligence® and 360®. In 2021, Tracy joined the Dale Carnegie Team as a

producer and is a Trainer Candidate. Tracy is an engaging presenter and has been

invited to speak at several events on the topic of Emotional Intelligence. Previously

Tracy worked as a marketing executive with government, non-profit and corporations of all sizes. She is a lifelong Catholic and a part of pastoral council and music ministry at Corpus Christi in Round Lake, NY. You can learn more about Tracy by visiting

Post Session One

Please click on photographs to enlarge


The importance of empathy allowed us to engage in an emotionally and intellectually challenging day at the Century House. In the morning, Mike Saccocio and his team from the City Mission of Schenectady (Gary, Robin and Chris) shared their perspectives on leadership from a trauma-informed perspective. We explored some of the challenges associated with seeing others from their perspective rather than our own perspective, we discussed how to better engage and connect with the people we are serving, and we explored how to take care of ourselves as we serve those experiencing trauma. Many thanks to Mike and his team for sharing their experience with the group.


In the afternoon, Tracy Solarek dug deeper into the exceptionally important concept of emotional intelligence (EI). We saw how much better high EI leaders performed and we explored way to build our own individual and team EI. There was a tremendous amount of information provided in our individual Leadership Reports – way to much to digest in the few hours we had to explore this topic – and we committed to more fully reviewing the reports and making progress on our team and individual goals over the next six weeks. By developing greater emotional intelligence, we will be better prepared to lead in our organization and serve our community.


Important Covid Note:

We are requiring all participants to be fully vaccinated or to wear masks for all sessions. Masking may be required as Covid infection rates warrant it. Please bring a copy of your vaccination card to these events to show during registration.

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