2023 Third Age Achievement Award Honorees





The College of Saint Rose

Founder & Partner
Brown Road Racing, LLC

Old Tavern Farm, LLC

Michelle Cuozzo Borisenok is an esteemed entrepreneur, philanthropist, and advocate for women’s leadership in the Capital Region. She has made a significant impact on countless lives through education, mentorship, and the arts.

As the founder of Brown Road Racing LLC, Michelle combines her passion for equestrianism with her mission to promote women’s leadership by creating opportunities for women and families to learn about thoroughbred racing and build meaningful partnerships centered around horse ownership. Additionally, she is a co-owner of Old Tavern Farm, a boutique thoroughbred-breeding farm established with her husband.

Michelle’s dedication to women’s leadership is demonstrated through her involvement with The College of Saint Rose, where she and her husband donated funds to renovate the living-learning center, now known as the Michelle Cuozzo Borisenok ‘80 Building. The building houses the Women’s Leadership Institute and the senior cohort of BOLD Women’s Leadership Network Scholars. She was also named an honorary member of the Women’s Leadership Institute’s Advisory Board in 2019.

Michelle serves as First Vice Chair for The College of Saint Rose and is a board member for the Alzheimer & Parkinson Association of Indian River County Inc. in Florida and the Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga. She previously served on the board of Senior Services of Albany and was a corporate board member for Big Brother Big Sisters of St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee counties in Florida. Michelle owned and operated Capital Business Services in the late 1980s and held the position of district service representative for Western Union in the early 1980s.

Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The College of Saint Rose in 1980. She resides in Saratoga with her husband and has two married children and two grandchildren. Michelle’s unwavering commitment to women’s leadership, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship continues to inspire and impact the lives of many.


Esperance Consulting

Former Director of Operations
City of Cohoes

Theresa Bourgeois is a seasoned professional with over 40 years of experience in strategic communications and public policy. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with leaders in government, business, higher education, and not-for-profit sectors to shape policies and programs on a range of issues such as health, education, energy, the environment, public safety, and economic security.

Theresa has played an integral role in many successful campaigns at the national, state, and local levels, including serving as Communications Director for U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman of the Labor & Human Resources Committee. In this role, she was actively involved in enacting benchmark health care, education, and minimum wage legislation. She has also worked for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, NY State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson, and others.

Most recently, Theresa served as the Director of Operations for her hometown of Cohoes. In this capacity, she collaborated with colleagues and others to secure over $26 million in grant funding to restore historic municipal buildings, transform them to carbon-neutral, revitalize aging infrastructure, and to launch a national model municipally-owned-and-operated Floating Solar array on the city’s water reservoir. She also led the City’s successful 2020 Census count, fostered HBO’s The Gilded Age filming in the historic city, and initiated other projects that brought in resources and raised the positive profile of the community.

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Theresa worked closely with the staff and management at LifePath who manage the Cohoes Senior Center and the Albany County Department for Aging to expand access to Meals-on-Wheels for vulnerable seniors. She also connected with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York to help meet the emergency food needs of elders and others across the city.

Theresa is a panelist on WAMC’s Roundtable program and operates Esperance Consulting, a strategic communications firm she founded in 2014. Her extensive experience and dedication to making a positive impact on communities continue to make a difference in the lives of those she touches.


Community Activist

Former Member
City of Albany Common Council

Executive Director, Retired
NYS Assembly on Health

Richard Conti served as a Common Council Member for six terms, representing Albany’s 6th Ward. Throughout his time in office, Richard prioritized neighborhood quality of life, human rights, public safety, effective code enforcement, and fiscal management. He was first elected in 1997 and became the President Pro Tem of the Council from 2004 through 2019. During his tenure, Richard streamlined Council operations and reduced costs.

Originally from Staten Island, Richard graduated with an undergraduate degree in political science from Fordham University at Lincoln Center. He then relocated to Albany to pursue a career in government relations with the Healthcare Association of New York State. Later, he served as Albany Chief of Staff for NYS Assemblymember Dick Gottfried and as Executive Director of the Assembly Health Committee. In his role as Executive Director, Richard worked on a range of health policy and finance issues, including expanding health care coverage to working families and strengthening access to primary care services.

As a member of the Common Council, Richard focused on strengthening enforcement of vacant building maintenance standards, investigating the “Ghost Ticket” scandal, and establishing the City of Albany Human Rights Commission. He also spearheaded the Park South neighborhood revitalization process and authored Albany’s Demolition Review Ordinance. Richard was the lead sponsor of the 2000 local law creating the Community Police Review Board and the 2021 local law enacting significant reforms to the CPRB.

Richard has also volunteered with several organizations, including the Pride Center of the Capital Region, the Welcome Table at St. John’s/St. Ann’s Center in the South End, the Buddy Program of the AIDS Council of Northeastern NY, and as Vice Chair of the Albany Community Police Relations Board.

Richard’s impressive career and dedication to serving the community demonstrate his commitment to improving the lives of others. His work has left a lasting impact on the City of Albany, and his legacy will continue to inspire and influence future leaders in the years to come.


Chairman and Chief Economist
Hugh Johnson Economics

Chairman Emeritus
Graypoint, LLC | Hugh Johnson

Hugh A. Johnson is a prominent economist and financial expert who currently serves as the Chairman and Chief Economist of Hugh Johnson Economics. He previously served as Chairman and Chief Economist for Graypoint LLC for two years, during which time he also served as Chairman and Chief Economist of Hugh Johnson Advisors, a division of Graypoint. He continues to serve as Chairman Emeritus for Graypoint. Hugh’s expertise in financial markets and economic history, combined with his understanding of market cycles, allows him to formulate a broader outlook for the stock and bond markets. 

After receiving his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, Hugh served as an officer in the United States Navy and went on to earn a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University. He later served as Executive Vice-President and a Member of the New York Stock Exchange for Hugh Johnson & Company, Director and Chief Investment Officer for First Albany Companies, and Chairman and President of First Albany Asset Management Company.

In 2005, Hugh and other employees of First Albany Asset Management Company and Illington Fund Management purchased First Albany Asset Management and founded Johnson Illington Advisors. In 2010, Hugh and other employees purchased a substantial percentage of the ownership of Johnson Illington from ThomasLloyd Global Asset Management (Americas) and renamed the firm Hugh Johnson Advisors.

Hugh’s work has been published in major newspapers and periodicals around the world, including the New York Times, USA Today, and BusinessWeek. He has appeared as a regular guest on CNBC, Bloomberg Radio, and other major news outlets, and has been a special guest on Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser. Hugh has also made appearances on NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, The News Hour, and Nightly Business Report.

In addition to his work in finance, Hugh serves as an advisor to the Chairman of the New York State Assembly Committee on Ways and Means. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Clarkson University and has served in the same capacity at Union Graduate College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Hugh holds Board positions with Security Mutual Life, Pursuit (formerly New York Business Development Corporation), and the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Finance Council. He has also been appointed by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to the Investment Advisory Committee to the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Hugh has received two degrees of Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and enjoys playing golf and dreaming of playing in the National Hockey League in his spare time.


Interfaith Advocate

Albany County Long-Term Care Council

Substitute Teacher (retired) | Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District

Joan Lipscomb is a compassionate and dedicated individual whose motto is “Live with and for the people.” Her life’s work has been centered around her faith, her family, and her commitment to service for those in need. Born in Albany and raised in Ravena, she chose to raise her family of four children there. After receiving training as a teacher at what is now SUNY Plattsburgh, she embarked on a long career working for New York State Government. Her extensive experience in education, her understanding of how government operates, and her exceptional people skills have been valuable tools in her service to others, enabling her to make the world a kinder, more compassionate place. Joan’s guiding principle is to treat all people with respect, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Joan has served on numerous commissions and boards throughout the years. Some of her notable contributions include her work with The Capital District Saratoga Park Commission, the Community Board of the Albany Guardian Society, and the Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. She was also a member of the Interfaith/Intergroup Committee of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany. Additionally, Joan served as past President of the Albany Area Council of Churches. Her approach is to connect with people where they are and help them build bridges, find common ground, and work towards shared goals.

Joan’s devotion to faith and family is evident in all her interactions. She listens attentively and is always ready to offer a small act of kindness, a listening ear, or a dose of wisdom when needed. As a parishioner of St. Patrick’s Church in Ravena, she served as sacristan for 35 years. Though she still maintains strong ties to her hometown, Joan returned to Albany a few years ago, where she continues to reach out to her neighbors and the broader community to offer assistance in any way she can. As one of the very first Albany Mercy Associates, Joan has actively demonstrated the principles of Mercy for decades by helping the hungry, the homeless, and the hopeless. She does so with great respect and dignity for all those she encounters.

Currently, Joan volunteers at the Convent of Mercy in Albany and enjoys spending time with her children, grandchildren, loved ones, and friends. She continues to inspire us all by building bridges and breaking down barriers, listening to and learning from others, and always showing kindness. Joan’s life is a testament to the power of compassion and dedication, and she is a role model for all who aspire to make the world a better place.


Senior Rabbi
Congregation Beth Emeth

Rabbi Scott L. Shpeen is a highly respected Senior Rabbi with over 35 years of experience serving Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany. He has established himself as a dedicated and compassionate leader within the congregation and the wider community. Born and raised in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Rabbi Shpeen was deeply immersed in the Reform Movement from a young age. He obtained a Certificate in Jewish Education from Gratz College in Philadelphia and earned a master’s degree in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati. In addition to his rabbinic ordination, he completed the St. Peter’s Hospital Program in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in Albany, NY, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from HUC-JIR.

Rabbi Shpeen is a lifelong learner and serves on the HUC-JIR President’s Rabbinic Council. He has also served on the boards of organizations such as the United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Center, and the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless. He is a dedicated educator, having served as an Adjunct Professor at the College of St. Rose in Albany, where he taught a course on the Holocaust, and is a regular commentator on WMHT Public Television.

Rabbi Shpeen’s contributions to the community have been recognized through numerous awards and honors, including the 2016 Rev. Dr. Carlyle Adams Ecumenical/Interfaith Award from the Capital Area Council of Churches. He is the first and only rabbi to be invited as the keynote speaker at the Annual Albany Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Service.

Rabbi Shpeen is a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He was married to his beloved wife, the late Susan Balan, for 31 years, and together they have two adult married children and five grandchildren.


Chairman/Executive Director
ALERT Partnership, Inc.

Pastor & Co-Founder
New Horizons Christian Church

Pastor David F. Traynham is a highly respected advocate for social justice and peace in Albany. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Albany Law Enforcement Resolution Team (ALERT), an organization that promotes dialogue and cooperation between law enforcement and the community. In addition to his work at ALERT, Pastor David serves on the Board of Commissioners for the Albany Housing Authority, the Albany County Threat Assessment Committee Team (AC-TACT), and Senior Hope Counseling. He was also the Vice Chairman for the Board of Directors for the Albany County Land Bank Corporation from 2015 to 2020.

Throughout his career, Pastor David has been actively involved in numerous community organizations and initiatives, including the Alpha Pregnancy Center, the Capital District Ministers Fellowship, and the CURE Violence (SNUG) advisory committee. He also served as the President of the Albany, New York Chapter of the NAACP in 2017/2018.

Pastor David is a former local chaplain for the New York Football Giants and has been recognized for his exceptional public service by several organizations, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Capital District Transportation Authority. He is also the recipient of the 2017 Trinity Alliance Community Service Award and the Jefferson Award Medalist and National Finalist in 2018.

In addition to his extensive community involvement, Pastor David is also a co-founder of the New Horizons Christian Church in Albany, NY, where he served as a pastor for thirty years before retiring from his daily responsibilities in January 2020. He is a lifelong resident of Albany’s South End and has been happily married to Brenda Pope Traynham since 1984. Together, they have two daughters and five grandchildren.