Lisa Coppola

On Target with Penny Wolfgang
Sunday, June 11th

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This is on target with penny Wolfgang a program that takes an inside look at what is happening in Western New York with the news features and special guests. Now here's your host honey Wolfgang. Everybody thank you so much for joining us today and on target and your host penny Wolfgang. And we hope you listen every week because we try to talk rest subjects that we think are interest staying in educational we try to introduce you to. Guests who are making a difference here in Western New York who are either in professions that we think our. Important enlightening and educational. Or who are entertaining my the Shaw festival I was just talked to director from the Shia festival. And down our park which was going to be discussing in summer activities but sometimes we yet we try to get serious and educational. And as you know on interest in the law yes we do talk about the law now and then and we do talk to lawyers and we hope. If you listen Alessio we've spoken to many. Lawyers who are making a difference here in Western New York in who are practicing in different fields that. It's special relations that might be extinct healing today of course I'm putting two of my favorite things together law and women. So there you go or not it's my programs so as you know I try to talk to people and I'm in sitting and penicillin this story. Recently. And it in the newspaper and the headlines said. Helping women owned businesses dry. And it turned out that the person who was doing this worthwhile activity was a friend of mine as well some DNA known for awhile. A very well known respected attorney here in Western New York Lisa eight polar. And this story says that attorney to polar. Refer is to the buffalo and angry chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. As a best kept secret. Which I totally agree with because I myself had really not even heard of it initially I kinda know a little bit about what's going on so. Attorney Apolo Lisa is in the studio assists today in not only is she going to discuss that at best but. Found some areas of the law that she specialized in that I think might be kind of unique an interest in TU such as. Employment law. And down his charter schools. And this area of women's businesses of business in general so thank you so much for joining us today and delighted to be here if you catch. And dad you have. Not only this vast experience so going to be talking about. But you have the pleasure and honor of working with Kevin who is whenever our favorite people a future attorney to be who we will be interviewing soon on this program probably. And after graduation becomes a well known attorney. In whatever field he chooses criminal look. Maybe but he can do anything to cut anyway in the studio with test is mr. Poland and first of all as they said I have no idea. And I'm not sure if Ellison is due that there is such a thing as the National Association of Women Business Owners. Which I am guessing. It says nationals so we have a chapter here in buffalo but obviously there's many chapters all over the country. There are there are practically sixty chapters across the United States originally founded in the Washington DC area. In 1970. Sex. And it's a great story yes a great story back in. The seventies and before and then women who owned businesses. Could not get funding couldn't get a bank loan without having on me now relative cosigned for them. We Albert call that there earlier years I have friends there are some women in the DC area who felt. That was profoundly unfair and today of course you and I would with think about the added this is something from the dark ages right. Anachronistic yes yes yes absolutely absolutely and so they lobby congress and federal law was enacted. To assure that women who owned businesses were treated the same as man who owned businesses. With respect to bank finance. And it's up again and have him probably. That was step one but from there it probably progressed to. Well well I can see from the story here that it says it's fifty foot chapters in a pass to 100 member mark writes. As strainer or chapter just past the hundred member mark and we have banned for the past year the fastest growing chapter in the country which says a lot about Western New York. And what is summon the examples of women owned businesses that would be participating. Almost. Any kind of business that happens to be owned by old woman. Can easily be a member of now though we cut an album. And our business members range from. Individual solo for a new horrors or sole practitioners in the case of architects or engineers or accountants. To multinational. Businesses. That happened to be headquartered here and awful I have a board member for example. Who's company does a considerable amount of its business in Asia. And they just so happened to be located here in the Western New York area in the north towns it's it's a delightful support. I'm organizations. That. The goal of which is to promote women. In two spheres of economics social and political influence. So we're talking about women who are entrepreneurs women who on their business summer second third or fourth generation owners. Summer new owners. And it's a terrific opportunity to collaborate with each other and also support. Other individuals in the community. You know I think when people are our first listening in here that. They are assuming the businesses are like I reached a retail we think of women O'Neill this don't you think of a retail. Or the store or you think is thinking of a I hate them like that shares fell on our I mean it instead of like you just pointed out international businesses and death technical businesses and. At all that kind of thing that's right that's right so. Stereotyped ideas are. I row did you strong stereotypes are wrong and that's not to say now vote doesn't welcome. Women who owned retail businesses and other. Primarily female focused businesses. But we all need to remember all of us men and women need to remember that women. Are fully capable and competent of operating running owning businesses across all spheres all industries. In. I think that one of the idea is about women not being able to notre having trouble goes back to what you just said. Of the economic part begged when you said oh. Originally they could you could get a loan to start a business until Sony in less serenity and hand cosigned or. Missed. A loan from bank or the the business plan Nora would be the economic summit. Right right that's a huge part of even today women owned businesses we see across our country. The statistics. That suggest while women are starting businesses at a much faster rate. Then man. Their businesses don't grow as quickly. As men owned businesses and the reason for that is financing. Dennis and I was thinking. Oh of course it's true with men to. Starting businesses economics of financing are having business plan. Is always the biggest issue was the hardest issue they you know small businesses. Face the same mission and you without a doubt I I was reading about you would that you work for it you know several big firms a lawyer like hats and Russ which is. A large firm. Wrap something something something event. But then. And some have you decided that you could. To your own thing and launch your own firm. And I think that's fascinating. Apps are our listeners would like to know that that. So starting or running any sort of business. Combines a leap of faith went. An awful lot of logic and hard work and that's something that. I topped not only to women in nobilo about but also to my small and medium sized business clients so. Whether it's a law firm. Which I've. Had the great honor an opportunity to own and be partners. In. A couple of different law firms in the western new York community or any other sort of business I happen to of the great. Great pleasure of coal owning western New York's premier garden designing construction company the English Gartner as well. And so along with my partner Joseph ton. We. And key for the past twenty years has designed absolutely exquisite. I'm magical actors' faces across western new York and and I'm sure your community my community. And across the Coughlin Angkor region so what is delayed as a small business person. To both have a service oriented. Profession the law. But also a service oriented industry garden design and garden construction. Well as they're not related so I think people are listening and saying next that's unusual combination you know we're we're talking to lease a couple of and it who is attorney Lisa a couple of I'm down. The the different areas of special relation that she had a sudden hush of the gardening came up but he. We're tagging that business ownership that basically was how we started but then. Or moving along to you know being in being an attorney in counseling people. And what which you what would you say is the most serious eye issue or that you deal with I think. I read something about employment and issues of employment she. Or while the employment laws are always changing and employment is an area where. We are guided both by federal United States law as well as state lines here where we are in New York State and so. Fur for any business owners or managers of business for that. For that. Way we've got to think about what he employment laws say. In terms of how we treat their employees how we on board we hire employees. How they're managed appropriately. And then in certain circumstances. How the the ending the final chapter whether it's a voluntary or involuntary termination works and so we always have the government and the agencies that oversee. Employee rights. To consider. When we're growing our businesses because most businesses in order to grow. Must take nine employees right. And and as any of us know who read the newspapers or bill fishing newspapers or. Who do an online Nauru have social media anything the biggest issue in employment discrimination now is. I think I don't know what had a frame it but you know the Bill O'Reilly. The Bill O'Reilly issues you know harassment and chiller sexual harassment and I'm sure that is something. That you half to. Like maybe train employees not to. Not to do a horn oh what they can can and cannot do and dealing I don't know if you dealing with employers and employees serve both. Typically I work with employers although for the time to time and also work with employee east. And one of the hallmarks. Of a strong business. Is ensuring that it. Looks at these areas of risk when I called risk. As you well now and for. That employer. Where the business owner. Tries to minimize or even eliminate risk in an area of employment law we looking at how can we train. Our. Workforce. She ensure that they remain compliant with the law compliance that you know 25 cent lawyer word that says Obey what the law and say. In the workplace and so a lot of that work is. Preventative. So just like you and I go to the dentist in getter cleaning up. We should as employers as business owners do a little bit of preventative Madison to make sure that we remain compliant with the law. That we do things right in the first instance so we don't find ourselves in those risk. Focused areas where claim might be brought. So many companies now so many government. The groups that the courts need at that I've dealt with the court officer is the and I'm sure. Private employers they have like mandatory. Sessions or less lessons. What he called his people who. Read the companies that are in charge of sudden. It of what employees can and can't do also human resource anchor a national alert and they have to. Be sure and it. That that just what you just said to preventive aspect be educational aspect. That's out of some actions that might seem just ordinary or that they might think twice about. Angst. He'll let your smiling did you know AM getting at. That can be interpreted zero Whelan that are not acceptable. That's right that's right what. In years or decades past we might have considered acceptable conduct in the work place. No longer illness and frankly it's not about political correctness it's about respect. Across the board for all employees and particularly. Remaining aware of what the law calls protected classes. So we need to be cognizant of in the same way you said we like to to to eradicate. Gender stereotypes. With women who owned businesses. We also want to be sure and our workplaces that we're not stereotyping. Individuals on the basis of their race for their religion or. In New York State. Their status perhaps as a domestic. Violence victim that's a protected class in New York so that. If in individual man or woman needs to take time off from work to go to court because here she has done in an abusive. Family or domestic situation. The employer cannot hold that against the individual and our employers. Need to be educated about that because. All of the employers I can tell you I work with want to do the right thing they want to do the responsible thing by way of their workforce. They simply need to be educated about what they added it's and so that's a real. Not only challenge but it's a real joy for lawyers like me who work with businesses to educate and then empowered though is. Employers so that they know they're doing the right thing they know they don't have to be concerned. And they're they're being humane and generous in their treatment of their employees while running their business in a businesslike fashion. Well because I was gonna say businesses. Are obviously concerned with being profitable no matter what the businesses a successful. And then has to be some concern win if they're going to do something wrong and you know unknowingly they have to be worried about. Legal costs or that country you know lawsuits all of that and that would be very difficult for them to deal with. That's all part of that risk continuum so if the businesses. Runs into trouble with employees of the business runs into trouble with. The way it's premises. Are where it's. It's storefront is doesn't clear the snow in the ice and someone slips and falls in that could create a liability that. Not only is costly but also distracting from the business so. It's so important. Working with some businesses around our community to make sure that we. Provide them with information we lawyers provide them with usable practical information. Near other issues too I'm sure that you have to journalists like. Iron ten years like age discrimination. Like when weighing in for what reason a person can be and I had when he uses the word was terminated. Right I mean they had at that employers have to worry. About. What what reasons they give and how they go about it no justifying M sure. Under the law absolutely so New York is what's called an amp will state meaning that unless an employee. Is working under a contract in employment contract. In employee can be terminated at any time. For what I like to say to my clients for any reason or no reason at all I often use the example. If Kevin walked into the office tomorrow and wears a purple shirt and I decide I don't like purple. I could of course I would never do the app but I could terminate heaven on account of that purple shirt that's okay. Or it could have no reason the womb any time. I can't as an employer terminate an employee. Is if the reason is based on discrimination. For one of those protect tech classifications. Age race that satcher. So this is just takes a lot of education I think on on your part or on the part of I'm assuming that may be as an attorney you advised them to tell them anything in certain things I was thinking also maternity leave that kind of thing. Maternity leave paternity leave all of these. They probably have to be told the employee has to be told what their what their rights are in advance correct and if I went there hired. And down. Seem the employers have to know how to go about it. That's right and often employers. Can do the app by having a well written employee handbook. And so I promise not a contract and it sets forth the policies the procedures of the business. And as long as there there wise enough to have an attorney review that for them then they've got compliance. Policies and procedures in place. One of that conundrum as we run into with employment line is it is quickly changing. There hasn't really. That hasn't changed the fast moving nature unemployment line hasn't changed in the 25 plus years I've been in practice. For some reason this area of the law does not stayed. Status quo we see bill laws being modified being tweaked. Almost every single year in New York for example. Starting January 1 of 2818. There's going to be a paid family. Leave law that goes into effect. And so on that law affects employers of any size. Must now against starting January 1 of when he eighteen. Must give employees. Paid family leave some employee who needs leave too. Maybe have a baby or adopted China or for another health related reasons perhaps. Will now have the opportunity in New York State to have leave where as under federal law. The employer. Would only be bound to provide family medical leave is that a player hit fifty or more employees. The New York claws are more expansive. And will apply to even a one employ the company missed. In this is very important. Because what we talked no way at the top of the program. Who not just women owned business but but small businesses in you know independent businesses have to be aware of this because as you said. And it deemed to be business might have like just to employees or or or if as a retail store they might just have. You know part time help or whatever so this would affect their business their operations there economics. Yes it absolutely can and and while there are certain criteria. For the paid family leave law generally speaking. Any sorts of businesses need to need to become educated need to find ways. To have at least a baseline of knowledge about employment line and what's what's particularly challenging for small businesses is they don't have the means typically. To have a human resources department and pray that that they have to know themselves well as I always say you know chief cook and bottle washer. And employment compliance officer as well if you're the owner of a small business and so that's where. Relationships. With attorneys make such great sense to have. Have. What might be those. Well educated and accessible. Advisors available in the finance area your banker. In the legal higher risk area your insurance broker and your lawyer. And those are all the professionals that a small business needs to have around it to help. I in fact I often suggested my clients that they called what I call a fire drill once a year now we all know from being in school break. Or you being at the courthouse pentagon and my answer yes and more to consider allowing access. And why do we do then we do get to make sure we're prepared. And in the business context how I define a fire drill is. You sit down with your advisors. Once a year casually. For ninety minutes over coffee and it's. And and practiced perhaps and you talk about what are the opportunities in the challenges facing your business. Oftentimes. Just in that short period of time when you have your banker there your insurance broker. Your lawyer chatting about all your challenges and opportunities. It helps you to develop. All hands further tweak your long term plans. It makes great sense to have an annual fire drill if you're a bit. This it reminds me of when you going to cruise in the first before they. Leave the is it that act they have the drill. And they make you this is with a lifeboats are and this is where you know it's kind of the same theory it after seeing if it is an apparent death. We all need to think about you know the one of the challenges of business owners says. Business moves quickly and more often working. In our business getting things done responding to clients or customers. We need to take this step back and as a lawyer I counsel my clients. Don't only work in your business but occasionally step back and work on in your business. Don't think about all those things for the moment that are burning. You know the fires that you need to put out. Those are the things that get your attention in the short term. Step back from time to time work on your business meaning look at your short. Medium and long term plan so that you can be strategic about your growth. Like don't wait till last minute till plays and that an expansion outside theater did you hang out at Tilley is an emergency they are at it right and yeah. This this really dig I said you have given and give your clients this probably is says that you know you've helped a lot of women owned businesses thrive. And you have this group. Today the other group don't they talking about the beginning which she's an abbreviated Denton Meebo now now about sir I did they have meetings and get together and and talk about issues like you just things. Pulling out for us. Yes it exactly so now vote meets in Western New York typically the second Wednesday of every month and there is a component of camaraderie and networking there's a dinner and typically there is an educational piece so. Most recently. On the second Wednesday of may we had a panel discussion we called women at the table and we discussed. The notion of how do we get more women involved in he did boards of directors. Around the buffalo and Angkor region. Something that our region made that quite a few years well we we lag behind it in national averages and so. Often times in now though we talk about some of that educational areas that are women business owners are looking to. To improve on and whether it's community service whether it's employment law finance. Strategic planning growth there's always a portion of our monthly meetings we devote to education. That's so that we're not only getting to know each other networking becoming each other's collaborators. But there's a professional development component which makes it incredibly. Useful. Lisa how do people find you and kind of people find a group. So it's two different things tour. So the way women business owners find nobilo is they go to not vote WNY duck or and that's an AWT. Bo. WNY got to work her webs it has all of the information available on the organization and we would love to welcome new members to try this out. And define me. It has simply visit my website which is Lisa dash a couple of duck come makes it pretty easy. Or give a call at 8399700. As have my Lisa. In DelHomme found guilt by exactly what you just said on the website says thank you so much for joining us think it's been. Very enlightening talking to appreciate all the information. That you have given us and on target. Please join us again next week same time same station have a really good week thanks for listening in to buy it depends. You've been listening to one target with penny Wolfgang. A program that takes an inside look at Western New York in our community. If you have any comments or suggestions. Please rate depending Wolfgang at 500 corporate parkway suite 200 Amherst New York. 114 to six.