Top Mayor Award 2016 Mayor Joanne Dittes Yepsen

We are very pleased and honored to mention Mayor Joanne Dittes Yepsen. Mayor of Saratoga Springs, NY. As Biz Ni Com Magazine top mayor of 2016. Mayor Yepson endless community involvement. Is what separated her from her peers nation wide. Her one on one approach with the motto of “There Is No I In Team”. Is how we recognized her as the top mayor of 2016. The criteria for our selection included the following: Total Community Involvement, Amount of start up programs, total number of years served. Face to Face interaction with citizens as well as interaction through social media. Response time to solve issues. These are just a few. Here is Mayor Yepson Bio:


Joanne Dittes Yepsen

Mayor, Saratoga Springs, New York

Former Saratoga County Supervisor for Saratoga Springs

Principal of Critical Needs Now


Joanne Dittes Yepsen was re-elected Mayor of Saratoga Springs, New York on November 3, 2015.  She is serving her second term as Mayor after four consecutive terms as County Supervsior for Saratoga Springs. Her priorities include open transparent government, sustainable comprehensive growth,  racing industry and jobs, builidng public-private partnerships, economic development initiatives, and constituency service to all residents.


Joanne has been working in the area of development and marketing with nonprofits for 30 years.  She served as Director of Public Events and the Director of Trustee Affairs and College Events in the Development Office and, subsequently in the Office of the President at Skidmore College from 1985 – 2001.


In the spring of 2001, Joanne launched her own business, COLTIVARE, to assist non-profit organizations in the areas of capital and annual campaign planning, board development, internal and external assessment, strategic planning and event fund raising.  Some clients include the Saratoga Hospital Foundation, Lake George Opera Company, the Saratoga Independent School, and Association for Retarded Citizens (Saratoga Bridges), YADDO, Lake George Land Conservancy, the Prevention Council of Saratoga County and Buxton School in Williamstown, Mass.


In 2011, Joanne merged forces with business partner Ruth Fein to create Critical Needs Now, best known for producing a state-wide annual International Women’s Day on March 8 and completion of the Wakonda Lodge restoration at Wiawaka on Lake George, the oldest women’s retreat center in the country and asssisting IREC, a national firm, with strategic planning, board training, and corporate fundraising.


Practicing what she preaches, Joanne has held extensive leadership volunteer positions in the community. She served as Vice President of Saratoga PLAN (Preserving Land and Nature), formerly the Open Space Project of Saratoga; on the Board of the Saratoga County Arts Council, where she served two years as President of the Board; the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church; and the Saratoga Care Foundation.  She also served as President of the Women’s Press Club of New York State and taught a curriculum that Joanne designed at the Adirondack Community College entitled Stimulating Growth for Non-Profit Organizations.  She is a 1980 graduate of Hartwick College, and is a proud member of the 1993 graduating class of the Saratoga Leadership Program.


Yepsen was endorsed by three political parties and ran for her first elected official position in the fall of 2005. She was re-elected as County Supervisor for Saratoga Springs successfully in 2007, 2009, and 2011, serving four complete terms. People in Saratoga Springs desribe Joanne as a bi-partisan tireless problem solver, being out all the time with the people, and genuinely caring about making their lives better.


Running on an open inclusive government platform, Joanne hosts regular open meetings for her constituents, reports to members of the public and City Council, sought after and secured grant money to sponsor Sunshine Week programs to educate and entice more members of the public to get involved and participate in the governmental process, has mailed electronic newsletters –The Yepsen Report — to thousands of people in the region, and co-founded several citizen organizations to advance issues important to residents and visitors.


Joanne co-founded Sustainable Saratoga, a grassroots volunteer task force now effectively impacting policy on the City level, taking care of our veterans by ending Veterans’ homelessness in Saratoga Springs, restoring a Veterans War Memorial in Congress Park, leading the Guardian House for Homeless Women Veterans effort, starting the New York Coalition for Women Veterans and securing funding for veterans programs and additional services as well as a key participant in the Saratoga County Veterans Committee and Affairs.  In addition to keeping military personnel at the top of her list, Joanne advocated for the preservation of the Saratoga Racetrack and assisted in starting two organizations affiliated with the Race Track – Saratoga Race Track Preservation Coalition and Thorofan, an organization giving the fans a voice has been a priority.


Yepsen is also known for bringing in new funding support for our community through the first Grants-to-You eastern chapter; striving for an appropriate balance of open space and smart growth through the County Green Infrastructure planning; working with small businesses; and many other programs dealing with cultural organizations, seniors and youth.


She resides in Saratoga Springs and has three children who all attended public schools in Saratoga Springs:  Emma 29, a University of Vermont Public Communications graduate currently employed as On-line Content News Manager for WFLA in Tampa; Laura 26, a graduate from Bryant University employeed at Target headquarters in Minneapolis, and Cole 20, an accomplished musican, rower and an Audio Engineering major sophomore at Belmont University in Nashville.

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