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Kristy Kennedy talks about being chosen as the Champlain Valley Business and Professional Women-s 2008 Virginia Allan Young Careerist. Her essay on the prospects of a woman president helped her win the honor.

PLATTSBURGH -- Kristy Kennedy is the Champlain Valley Business and Professional Women's 2008 Virginia Allan Young Careerist.

She was a bit shocked when she was chosen from a field of four candidates.

"I thought there was one girl who was going to win," said Kennedy, who is front-office manager at Fesette Realty. "Then it clicked in they called my name."

ESSAYS, SPEECH

The contestants were required to write three essays as part of the application process. They were also judged on a personal interview and a four-minute speech on one of several topics selected by the national BPW.

Kennedy chose the topic: "Is the United States ready for a female president: why or why not?"

"My speech evolved as I wrote it," she said.

It ended up being about her personal journey and about how women have affected history, such as when many women entered the manufacturing workforce during World War II.

She also talked about how the traits of men and women could lead to different performances as president.

"I tried to make it a fun speech," Kennedy said. "You should never take yourself too seriously."

The contest was judged by Clinton County Senior Citizens Council Executive Director Kathleen Hazel, Maureen Carlo of Wells Communications and Naromie Ganesh of the Plattsburgh College Foundation.

Carlo and Ganesh are former Young Careerist winners, while Hazel is a past Champlain Valley BPW Woman of the Year.

TIMELY TOPICS

With no opposition in the regional round of the competition, which will take place Saturday in Lake Placid, Kennedy is also headed to the state competition May 30 on Staten Island.

The local winner has a choice of a U.S. savings bond or a one-year membership in the club. Kennedy said she chose the membership.

The discussions she heard at the awards dinner made her want to join the group. The topics focused on areas she believes in and supports, such as equality in the workplace.

The Young Careerist program is open to all women and men from the surrounding area who are between 21 and 35 years of age. They must have been employed full time at a business or profession for at least one year.

The applicant must be living, working, training or continuing their education in the state of New York and must support the BPW's goals and legislative platform.

rewarding work

Kennedy said her parents are originally from Plattsburgh. Her family moved back here from Vermont when she was 9.

She attended Plattsburgh High School and Plattsburgh State, where she graduated with a degree in mass communications in 2005.

After college, Kennedy worked in radio sales at 95XXX and WVMT in Vermont. She became interested in real estate when she bought a house and applied for and landed her current job after that.

Kennedy got her real-estate license in March 2007. She said the business is exciting and that seeing someone make an investment or purchase a home is very rewarding.

"My job as front-office manager is a great profession because I am never doing the same thing twice. Each day is different, challenging and rewarding.

"I learn something new every day, and I believe that if you are not learning in a career, then it is not the career for you."

dheath@pressrepublican.com

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