Stephanie Donaldson


To best describe Stephanie Donaldson’s experience you would use the words organizer, teacher and mentor. From the start of her professional career as the Director of Continuing Education and Conference Services at Paul Smith ’s College she moved to North Country Community College to direct the school’s Center for Lifelong Learning. Then it was back to Paul Smith’s to teach a variety of subjects from Corporate Finance to Management to Marketing and Advertising. Today Donaldson is using her varied experience counseling clients of the New York State Entrepreneur Assistance Program at the AEDC.

Current Business & Job Title: Adirondack Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), Business Counselor
Hometown: Ogdensburg, NY
Age: 50
Education: MBA Clarkson University, BA St. Lawrence University
Community Involvement: Odyssey of the Mind Coach, Girl Scout Volunteer, Lake Clear School Volunteer, Saranac Lake Central School Volunteer

What are you doing to make a difference in your community?
Through my work with AEDC, I assist people who want to start a business or are interested in expanding their business.

What’s the single most important characteristic for success?
Hard work.

What’s your biggest professional success?
Organizing over 100 successful conferences.

What’s your dream job?
Running a food bank or summer camp for kids.

What important lesson have you learned in your career?
You never know what’s going to happen and you have to be flexible enough to change.

How has COVID-19 impacted you professionally and personally? What are you doing differently?
Many of my current clients have been negatively affected during COVID- 19, so I’ve been spending a great deal of time assisting them in making the necessary adjustments for their businesses. Personally, I’ve been social-distancing by staying home with my husband and two daughters while working remotely. My younger daughter is normally in college, but she has been home doing her coursework online.

What can the North Country do to make this region more appealing to a younger generation?
A strong economy with thriving businesses to support a young workforce is the most important factor in keeping our young people in the North Country.

How do you contribute to the culture of your company?
I try to always be positive and promote a respectful, motivating environment for my clients and coworkers.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I quit a job where I was very comfortable and took a leap of faith towards a higher position at another organization. It worked out well.

What is something that no one would guess about you?
I grew up on the banks of the St. Lawrence River and obtained my boating license as soon as I was old enough to do so. My parents bought me an orange boat with an open bow that I drove up and down the river, making frequent excursions to Brockville, Ontario.

Write a note to your younger self…
You’re going on a wild rollercoaster ride but the experience you’ll gain will serve you well throughout your career.