ALBANY — Since starting work at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in 1985, Kim Wallace-Russo has served in numerous CSEA leadership roles.

Throughout her years as a CSEA activist, those roles have included State Department of Taxation and Finance (Albany) Local President, Capital Region Treasurer and Secretary, Board of Directors Representative and chair of CSEA’s Statewide Executive Committee.

As Wallace-Russo now embarks on a new role, as the union’s Statewide PEOPLE Coordinator, she reflected on the roots of her activism.

In this 2016 file photo, CSEA state Department of Taxation and Finance
(Albany) Local President Kim Wallace-Russo, second from right, and local shop stewards pledge to Never Quit our union. From left are Justine Carey, Del Stephens, Wallace-Russo and Felicia McGill.

“I grew up in a close-knit family with a father who was the Chief of Police in our small town. Traditional gender roles was not something I spent much time thinking about,” Wallace-Russo said.

“As an adult, I have come to understand the sheer force of nature that the women in my life truly are. My mother raised a family, took care of things at home and ran a business! She didn’t worry about traditions or inequities; she truly owned her power.”

Her family’s influence has helped Wallace-Russo throughout her years as an activist.

“Having that modeled for me as a child is the foundation of my strength today,” she said. “I am proud of that inherited strength. That strength fuels me, sustains me and empowers me to help others. Living with strong, independent women is a valuable role model for any person.”

— Therese Assalian

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Therese Assalian

Therese has been working as the Capital Region Communications Specialist since 2002 handling all facets of internal and external communications for the region. Therese started her career at a Madison Avenue Public Relations firm and held several positions in public relations, marketing and event planning in corporate and non-profit roles in New York and Pittsburgh prior to moving to the Capital Region in 1999. Therese holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Communication Studies and is also a published freelance writer on travel, food and the arts.

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