Session 1 – Thursday, September 24th

13th Annual
Meeting of the Minds
Session #1 - Recording

Session Agenda

WELCOME:  Pat Standish, Founder/Coordinator, Community Action Angels New York

Manuel Rosa, Director, Division of Community Services, NYS Department of State



Presenter:  Lindsey Zajac, PRINCIPAL, Ahern, Murphy & Associates

It is often said that leadership of others begins with leadership of self. In order to lead ourselves well we need to cultivate an intentional, positive, and growth minded attitude. We also need to be committed to improving our emotional intelligence skills which starts with self-awareness. With an improvement to our attitudes and emotional intelligence, we as leaders can serve more effectively on high performance teams and create lasting results at home, at work, and in our communities. 


LINDSEY A. ZAJAC PRINCIPAL, Ahern, Murphy & Associates

Lindsey A. Zajac is an experienced, Human Resources professional with a demonstrated history of excelling in fast-paced organizations including PepsiCo, Eaton Corporation, Saab Sensis and Next Jump. Training and Development, Talent Management, Employee Relations, Recruiting, and Succession Planning are Lindsey’s areas of expertise. Most recently, Lindsey was employed with PepsiCo as a Senior Human Resources Manager in Buffalo, NY supporting the largest market in the country. In this role, Lindsey was responsible for providing strategic Human Resources support for 1,100 union & non-union frontline associates and managers across nine Upstate NY locations. Lindsey is a proud recipient of PepsiCo’s most prestigious “You Excel” Award as well as multiple “Way to Go” Awards for delivering exceptional results.

In 2018, Lindsey joined Ahern, Murphy & Associates, a leadership development firm serving Central and Western NY. In this role, Lindsey is able to leverage her passion for leadership development and coaching to help organizations develop and retain their employees while improving their overall performance. Lindsey holds an Advanced Coaching Certification from the Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership as well as an Executive Leadership Certificate from Cornell University. Lindsey is an authorized Everything DiSC partner and uses the assessments as a way to improve the leadership capabilities of her clients. Lindsey graduated cum laude from Providence College where she earned a BA in Political Science and a Minor in Women’s Studies.

Currently, Lindsey serves on the Board of Journey’s End as well as the Board of the Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives (BNSME). Lindsey is also a newly appointed facilitator for one of the Leader Exchange programs with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.


Presented by: Doctor Laura V. González-Murphy, Director of Immigration Policy and Research at the NY State Department of State

I will speak to the evolution of the Office for New Americans and thus the State’s immigration policy. I will specifically address some of the reasons (state, national, and demographic) for the scope of our programming and what the goals are.  

Most importantly to this forum, I will address the ONA-CAA relationship and our policy of collaboration, which has entailed outreach and training (webinars, Qualitas for Life to hosting an ONA Navigator, etc.)

Director, NYS Immigration Policy and Research at NYS Department of State

Doctor Laura V. González-Murphy, has recently been appointed Director of Immigration Policy and Research at the NY State Department of State, serving as lead policy advisor in the State’s response to federal immigration policies. Prior to this position she served as Director of the Agency’s State Office for New Americans (ONA). In this capacity she oversaw the operation of the Office’s 27 Opportunity Centers across the state, a model of immigrant integration in the country and the Liberty Defense Project, which provides legal services to the immigrant community. In response to immigrations trends, she led the implementation of NaturalizeNY, the first public-private partnership of its kind, aimed at lifting the financial barrier to citizenship faced by New Yorkers and other service oriented projects such as Golden Door, which aims at providing immigrant families with mental health support and, most recently, the Disabilities Navigator, a project geared at building statewide capacity in the delivery of services to immigrants with disabilities. Before joining the Department of State, she was a Research Assistant Professor at Rockefeller College, SUNY at Albany, where continues to teach on a variety of issues, from foreign policy, immigration, human rights, and immigration and Latin American politics. She was assistant director of the project “The International Context of Immigration: US, Mexico and Beyond,” examining the politics of changing immigration policies and in the US and Mexico and under this project served as consultant to the Mexican Government in the development of their Migration Law of 2014.  She has continued her role as consultant on the international stage as a participant in various international forums, such as the United Nation’s Mayoral Forum on Migration and Welcoming America/International. In 2018 Dr. González-Murphy was recognized by Mexico’s Foreign Ministry as a Mexican American Leader and most recently the Society of Foreign Counsels recognized her contributions to community empowerment in commemoration of International Women’s Day 2019. In 2016 she received El Diario’s Mujeres Destacadas Award.

González-Murphy earned her PhD in comparative politics and in international relations from SUNY at Albany. She holds an MS in urban planning and environmental studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a BS in political science from Elmira College, graduating suma cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She has authored several chapters, articles and her book Protecting Immigrant Rights in Mexico: Understanding the State–Civil Society Nexus, was re-published by Routledge (June, 2015).


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