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October 2016

From the President


We have a long newsletter this month with lots to share with you, so please take a few moments to scroll down and catch up on the chapter news. This is always such an invigorating time of year. The board and chapter volunteers are doing so many things to keep NAPO-NY expanding and a vital part of your growing your business.

Most importantly, the NAPO-NY board needs to learn from you. A link to the member survey was e-mailed to you on October 14. It is short…just 19 questions and takes just 8-10 minutes to complete (we promise)! Please take the time to answer the survey. This is the only way the NAPO-NY board can decide how best to deliver outstanding membership benefits to you. Your opinion matters and it will drive our efforts and finances over the next few years.  

NAPO-NY is sponsoring an exciting mini-workshop, “Small Business, Big Online Presence,” on Wednesday, October 26. As small business owners we can frequently get caught up in the day-to-day of running our businesses. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to take a couple of hours and examine my marketing strategies and see where I can smartly inject new efforts and energy.

Speaking of learning, I recently spoke to the president of NAPO-CT. You may remember their chapter is sponsoring the Northeast Regional Conference for Professional Organizers (NERCPO) on Saturday, November 5. One fun aspect to this conference is the Appraisal Roadshow: you can bring in a valuable or send in a picture and Paradigm Experts will appraise your item. What a fun way to wrap up a full day!

Thank you for participating.

Collette Shine, NAPO-NY President

From the Board

The Nominating Committee has officially launched the process of recruiting candidates for the 2016-17 Board of Directors of NAPO-NY.  Although the new board will not take office until May 15 of next year, we are getting started early because we’re anticipating more openings than usual.

If you are already a chapter volunteer, you know what a growth experience it is and how rewarding it is to volunteer. Being on the board is a great way to develop your leadership skills and to build life-long relationships with your colleagues.

If you would like to know more about what it means to be on the board and what the responsibilities of each position are, please reach out to a member of the Nominating Committee: Sharon Lowenheim (Chair), Audrey Lavine, Sandra Schustack or Collette Shine. Please note that Provisional Members cannot serve on the board, but if you plan to move from Provisional to Professional Member by next May, then don’t hesitate to have a conversation with us if you are interested.

Meetings and Events

Mini-Workshop: Small Business, Big Online Presence
Wednesday, October 26, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
WeWork, 205 East 42nd Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues
Cost: $28.00

Join NAPO-NY for a unique evening of online marketing tips, tricks and strategies every small business should focus on to attract new customers and increase revenue. Speakers include Michael McKay, digital entrepreneur; Susanne Schropp, owner of Diva Design; Paige Wilhide, owner of Paige Media; and Mona Sharaf, personal shopper and image consultant.

This event is open to the public and space is limited. All attendees MUST pre-register online no later than Friday, October 21.

November Chapter Meeting: Organizing from a Therapeutic Perspective
Monday, November 2, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Cicatelli Associates, 505 Eighth Avenue, between 35th and 36th Streets, 20th floor

Have you ever encountered a client who has emotional challenges and had no clue what to do? Do you avoid working with this type of client because you feel ill-equipped to do so? Would you like to add to your toolbox of organizing tricks to be better prepared for any emotional situations that may arise?

Presenter Rachel Sager will focus on what to be aware of when working with emotionally affected clients, some useful therapeutic techniques to guide your work and some helpful tips to use during the organization process.

North East Regional Conference for Professional Organizers (NERCPO)
Saturday, November 5, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
University of Connecticut, 1 University Place, Stamford, CT 06901
Cost: $79.00 (includes breakfast and lunch)

NAPO-CT invites you to a special opportunity: a one-day fall conference for professional organizers from the Northeast region. We will be gathering in Stamford, CT for a day of professional development, networking, and fun. Come and learn about managing in a digital world, independent contracting, productivity and more. Connecting with colleagues in this region will sharpen your skills and strengthen your business offering, so plan now to attend this unique event. Click here for more details and to register.

First Step Organizing Workshop
Thursday, November 17, 1:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
129 Fulton Street

First Step is a job training program for women reentering the workforce. (To learn more about the program and NAPO-NY’s involvement, read the article at the end of this newsletter!) NAPO-NY presents organizing workshops 6 times a year as part of the program. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Dorothy McNeill.

October Meeting Recap: The Impact of Global Trends on Your Business
The member spotlight this month was on Lisa Engstrom of LME Organizing. Lisa worked in human resources for 20 years before deciding to embark on a career change as a professional organizer. Her advice is to play to your strengths and find your perfect clients – that’s when you get rave reviews and clients you enjoy working with.

The product spotlight this month was on This service helps clients create a plan for their digital assets and accounts (such as e-mail, banking, and more) after their death.

This month’s program was presented by Sue Pine, VP of Professional Development at Association Headquarters. Sue showed the chapter a method for brainstorming trends in different areas (Social, Technology, Environmental, Economic, Political & Demographic) that could potentially affect the clients we serve and the services we offer. The full meeting minutes can be found in the Document Library, accessed from the Members Only menu on the NAPO-NY website. You must be logged in for Members Only access.

Welcome New Members

Amanda Walker
Jessica Watson

Member Media Mentions

Leslie Josel wrote “How to Deal with Procrastination Pushback” in the October issue of Family Circle.

Sharon Lowenheim was featured in “What’s the Haps Wednesday: Dot Org” on the Babesta blog.

Katie McCann was featured in “Make Magic Happen: Home Staging Ideas for the Bedroom” and “Home Staging Ideas to Take Your Basement to the Top” on

Collette Shine was featured in “11 Things in Your Home that Are Making You Unhappy” on the House Beautiful website.

Member Benefits

Volunteer Opportunities
The spotlight this month is on the Programming Committee, which reports to the Director of Professional Development. The Programming Committee brainstorms topics and speakers for upcoming chapter meetings. A lead team member is assigned to each meeting. There is one position available on this dynamic team.

This is a great position for someone who enjoys working with a team and loves seeing through a project from start to finish.

Other open positions:

  • Media Liaison
  • Press Release Distributor
  • Golden Circle Liaison
  • Professional Development Seminar team member
  • Webinar Planner
  • AV Tech Assistant

To learn more about any of these positions, please contact NAPO-NY’s Volunteer Coordinator, Sharon Lowenheim.

Research Study Participation Opportunity
Are you interested in getting feedback on your work as a professional organizer, while assisting Fordham University students at the same time? A group of Masters of Intelligent Marketing students at Fordham University are studying the professional organizing profession. Their goal is to analyze the tangible and intangible values of organizing and productivity services for residential clients.

The students are looking for assistance with the following aspects of their study:

  • Interviewing or job-shadowing organizers before November 1
  • Distributing a survey to organizing clients. Survey will be available starting November 1 and must be completed by December

If you are interested in assisting with either aspect of the study, please reach out to Lace Abel-Bey and she will let you know next steps.

HomeZada Webinar Available
HomeZada is a cloud-based digital solution to track information about your home, including a home inventory, finance tracking, and maintenance schedules. Co-founder Elizabeth Dodson has provided NAPO-NY members with free access to a recorded webinar on using HomeZada for digital home management. Click here to access the recording.

So you want to be more involved in NAPO-NY and give back, too? Volunteer for First Step!

The First Step Job Training Program is a program offered by the Coalition for the Homeless that prepares women to enter the workforce and earn a living wage. “Each and every one of them wants to make their lives better,” says Donna Goldberg, owner of The Organized Student. “They are so happy to be there. There isn’t a woman in the room that isn’t fully engaged. They’re just like all our other clients.”

First Step is a 14-week program. NAPO-NY's involvement with First Step began in 2000 as a one-day project to organize their offices, clothing donation storage room and supply room. Over the years, it has evolved into a program of bi-monthly workshops and is the centerpiece of our chapter's community service program. NAPO-NY contributes to two aspects of the program: presenting an organizing workshop and assisting with the clothing boutique. The organizing workshop is divided into three segments: half an hour on general organizing, one hour on time management, and one hour on paper management, with a 15-minute break between time and paper. Usually, each section is taught by a different member of NAPO-NY. The workshops are held six times a year, on a Thursday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

“The women are all ages, from high school and college age to older women who are getting into the workforce after having kids,” says Dorothy McNeill, owner of MAKE ROOM Organizing and our First Step Liaison. “They are in all different situations – there’s no blanket reason they’re in the program. Some were housewives that never had jobs, some are from abusive relationships. All are curious, bright, lively, and wonderful to be around.”

Dorothy just started volunteering as a speaker this year. She coordinates the organizing workshops. “To become a presenter, you simply have to go to one of the workshops. Then you can be a speaker. I observed my first workshop in June, and I did my first presentation in August on paper management. I studied Barbara Hemphill beforehand and did index cards, but I lost them and ended up having to do it from memory! Luckily, I was helped along by Lisa and other organizers present.”

Donna agrees that presenting at the workshop is something anyone can do. “The first few times I presented, I lectured. I was horrific! You’re not going to be perfect the first time. If you are afraid to speak, starting at First Step is the best because they have a script available, so you don’t have to come up with it yourself. It’s the perfect place to hone your skills as a speaker.” The script includes an outline, questions to ask attendees and answers to guide them. However, NAPO-NY members are encouraged to add their own expertise and make the presentation their own.

Lisa Engstrom, owner of LME Organizing and former First Step Liaison, adds, “In terms of being a speaker, it’s a very low-pressure situation. People are very appreciative. You’re not going to lose work if the presentation doesn’t go well. They are really grateful for any advice or information you can give them. The maximum class size is around 20 people – it’s usually 15-20 people.”

What makes a great presentation? Donna, who was a teacher for 12 years before she became an organizer, shares her top tips: “The best classes are when you have students dialoguing and working with each other. A straight lecture doesn’t teach as much. I present on time management, because that’s my focus in my business. I think everything starts with time management. And some of the women already have great time management skills, and if they do, I encourage them to share. As soon as the program is over, they’ll be placed in a job, so we talk about the time management of that. How do you make sure you aren’t late with train issues? If you can make it as real as possible, and talk about things going on in the city and their lives, that makes it helpful for them.” She also suggests bringing a friend and asking them to take notes on your speaking, so you can improve the next time you present.

Lisa coordinates the clothing boutique and styling workshop aspects of the program. “The last week of the First Step program, I give a presentation with Pat Steele (sister of NAPO-NY member Wendy Samuels) on looking and feeling your best for the interview. After the presentation, the women choose an outfit from the boutique and NAPO-NY members style them.” NAPO-NY also helps sort clothing donations and keep the clothing boutique organized. “Members should come help with the sorting first if they’d like to volunteer with the styling,” says Lisa.

NAPO-NY holds a yearly accessories drive for First Step (the next one will be in the new year). However, any time you have clients that would like to donate professional clothing or accessories, you can contact Lisa directly.

Dorothy encourages every NAPO-NY member to attend the organizing workshop. “Attending gives you an awareness of how great the volunteer program is! We can always learn from each other, whether it’s a turn of phrase, a metaphor, or seeing what the audience responds to. And we’re supporting each other as chapter members by showing up.”

“Every time I do it, I feel like I’ve gotten a gift,” says Donna. “I feel like I’ve done something that’s better than what I do for money.”

Upcoming volunteer opportunities:

Donation Sorting
Friday, October 21, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Professional Dress Workshop and Stying
Friday October 28, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Organizing Workshop
Thursday, November 17, 1:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Speakers are still needed for this workshop!

Contact Dorothy McNeill for information on volunteering for or observing the organizing workshop.
Contact Lisa Engstrom for information on volunteering for donation sorting or the styling workshop.