Date: August 10, 2023
Contact: Audrey Schwartzberg, ANCA Communications Officer,, 518.891.6200

ANCA Annual Meeting Focuses on Building Belonging
North Country businesses share stories and benefits of creating welcoming spaces

LOWVILLE, N.Y. The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) invites community members, small business owners and employees, nonprofit professionals and others interested in building welcoming and belonging in New York’s North Country to attend its 2023 Annual Meeting, entitled “Building Belonging in the New Economy.” The afternoon meeting will focus on belonging, what it is, what it looks and feels like, and how creating welcoming spaces directly benefits businesses, communities and the people they serve. 

The meeting builds on the economic development organization’s vision — “a New Economy that Works for All” — and recent collaborative efforts to increase awareness and skills related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) in North Country businesses and communities. The meeting and reception will take place at the Tug Hill Estate in Lowville, N.Y. on Friday, September 8, 2023 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend. 

“Over the last several years, our board and staff have been mindful and intentional about centering diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in our work,” said ANCA Executive Director Elizabeth Cooper. “Building belonging is integral to ANCA’s New Economy approach which focuses on growing an economy that provides equitable access and opportunity for people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. Our annual meeting will help people better understand the importance of creating welcoming spaces and center these concepts when developing policies and practices in our workplaces and communities.”

Meeting attendees will be invited to take part in a community conversation facilitated by Adirondack Diversity Initiative Director Tiffany Rea-Fisher and featuring a lineup of dynamic speakers with different perspectives on belonging. Speakers will share personal and professional stories before welcoming questions from audience members and opening a discussion about what belonging means to them. ANCA would like all attendees to leave with actionable ideas to incorporate principles of belonging in their businesses, organizations and communities.

“Belonging goes hand in hand with safety, and exploring the multitude of ways that people can feel unsafe in our communities is a worthwhile venture,” said Rea-Fisher. “We who call this region home have so much to offer, and it is important that we are generous with those assets and not work from a place of scarcity or fear.”

Meeting participants will also hear updates from ANCA leadership, including directors of the organization’s small business, food systems, clean energy, and Adirondack Diversity Initiative programs. Attendees are invited to continue conversations over local refreshments and craft beverages following the meeting.

The annual meeting’s focus on belonging follows a series of programs delivered to small businesses, organizations and individuals on workplace communication and DEIB practices. Through virtual and in-person events, ANCA aims to demonstrate how welcoming and belonging can help businesses retain existing and gain new clientele, improve their bottom line and build resilience for the future.

Tug Hill Estate is a dynamic business, farm winery, distillery and event venue that successfully transitioned to new owners Jonathan and Taren Beller in 2021 with support from ANCA’s Center for Businesses in Transition (CBIT) and local assistance from CBIT partner Naturally Lewis. The Tug Hill Estate invites all attendees to stay after the meeting for its popular Wine Down event, which offers a full dinner menu and live music.

ANCA’s Annual Meeting will take place at Tug Hill Estate at 4051 Yancey Road in Lowville, N.Y. on Friday, September 8, 2023 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. and will be followed by a community reception until 5:00 p.m. The $35 registration fee includes presentations and discussions led by ANCA facilitators and North Country business owners, and a casual reception with refreshments. Participants who feel the cost is a barrier to attending are invited to contact ANCA at for a discount code. Registration is open at

ANCA is an independent, nonprofit corporation with a transformational approach to building prosperity across northern New York. Using innovative strategies for food systems, clean energy, small businesses, and equity and inclusion, ANCA delivers targeted interventions that create and sustain wealth and value in local communities. 

Photo courtesy of Tug Hill Estate: ANCA’s 2023 Annual Meeting, entitled “Building Belonging in the New Economy,” will take place on Friday, September 8, 2023, 1:00-5:00 p.m. at Tug Hill Estate in Lowville, N.Y.