Free communication workshop for businesses upcoming

SARANAC LAKE — Small business and nonprofit staff are being invited to join a free workshop presented by the Adirondack North Country Association and the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, in partnership with the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Building Welcoming and Belonging in the Workplace” will take place this coming Monday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Dewey Mountain Recreation Center in Saranac Lake. All small business owners, employees, aspiring entrepreneurs and nonprofit personnel in ANCA’s service region are being invited to attend. Registration is open at adirondack.org/welcomingworkshop.

“To create joyful spaces where people want to work and gather, we have to practice communicating with empathy and better stating our needs,” said ADI Scholar Activist David Epstein-HaLevi. “This workshop will give participants a supported environment where they can develop skills to make their business more welcoming to potential colleagues and a wider customer audience.”

Epstein-HaLevi will lead workshop participants through activities and conversations designed to teach skills and methods for communicating needs, requests, boundaries and emotions in a nonviolent way.

The workshop builds on other events offered by the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, a program of ANCA, that aim to promote awareness around equity and inclusion in the workplace. In April 2022, ADI’s Communicating for Change Summit at Paul Smith’s College VIC convened local educators and leaders to gain knowledge and skills for facilitating nonviolent communication.

Principles of welcoming and belonging were also central to ADI and SLACC’s planning of Saranac Lake’s inaugural First Friday, which took place on Sept. 2. The event featured 27 local businesses and organizations who provided opportunities for residents, visitors and college students to share a positive downtown experience.

“I’ve always felt welcome in this area, and it’s hard for me to hear that some people don’t,” said Victoria Vazquez, owner of Main Street Exchange, a consignment shop that helps organize Saranac Lake’s First Fridays. “I try to be as warm and inviting as possible so that people feel they can come in and be themselves in the store. If it takes extra time or effort for me to figure out how to do that, it’s worth it to me because it benefits our whole community.”

For more information on the workshop, visit adirondack.org/welcomingworkshop.


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