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image of a compass Trailblazing Women of 2013

At the sixth Trailblazers Awards Luncheon, on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, the Women's Fund of the Capital Region will honor two outstanding Trailblazing Women of 2013: Elizabeth Coco, Entrepreneur in Residence, University at Albany; and Christine Standish, President, the Standish Family Foundation

These women were selected for this award because they provide leadership in philanthropy that challenges and inspires others to support efforts focused on women and girls; contribute substantial time, money and vision to issues affecting women and girls; demonstrate a long standing commitment and involvement in community initiatives; and act as a role model for women and girls.

Elizabeth Coco
Entrepreneur in Residence, University at Albany;

Photo of Elizabeth Coco

Elizabeth (Beth) Coco is currently the Entrepreneur in Residence working at the University at Albany with the Small Business Development Center. Beth founded MicroKnowledge, Inc. in 1986 as a company with 50 customers and has grown it to serve more than 30,000 customers nationwide. Beth is an entrepreneurial executive with more than 26 years of experience managing sales, marketing, and operations in the information technology education industry.

A graduate of State University of New York, Empire State College, Beth earned a master’s degree in adult workforce education and career development and holds a bachelor’s degree in business, economics and entrepreneurial management ,as well as a certificate from Cornell University.

Beth served as a member of the board of directors of Capital Bank and Trust for 15 years and now is a member of the Advisory Council of Capital Bank. She is a member of the SUNY Empire State College Graduate Advisory Council, Forum for Executive Women, YWCA of Greater Capital Region Advisory Council, and both the Rensselaer County and Albany-Colonie Regional Chambers of Commerce. Beth has devoted significant time to non-profit organizations, including as a founding director of Circles of Mercy, which serves the needs of women and women with children in Rensselaer.

Among the many honors Beth has received are the Best Technology Executive award from the Alliance of Technology & Women and a 100 Women of Excellence award from the Albany-Colonie Chamber. Under her leadership, MicroKnowledge was named a Best Place to Work by the Business Review for six years.

Christine Standish
President, the Standish Family Foundation

Photo of Christine Standish

Christine Standish is a director of Albany International Corp., the world’s leading manufacturer of paper machine clothing and advanced textiles. She was elected to the Albany International Board of Directors in 1997 and currently chairs the Governance Committee. Standish serves on the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and Albany Symphony Orchestra and as a Trustee of Siena College.

Standish is also president of the Standish Family Foundation, where she works with three generations of her family to strengthen the region that they have called home for many decades. The Fund focuses on education and youth, two areas they believe have the greatest potential to shape the future of the Capital Region. Since its inception in 2004, the Standish Family Foundation has distributed more than $2 million in grants to local nonprofit organizations.

She holds a bachelor's degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is married to Christopher Wilk and has two grown children, Spencer and Hope.