Wonder Woman Wednesday: What’s the Good News, Ladies?

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This is a special edition of “What’s the Good News, Ladies?” because I get to toot my horn a little and highlight some great women!  Last month, I mentioned I was getting ready to go to the Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) National Conference and I’m ecstatic to report that I was awarded the organization’s highest honor: the Woman of the Year award!  I was beyond thrilled and honored to be selected by my peers for this prestigious award from an organization that’s mission is to attract, develop and advance women in our industry.

While I was there, I got to meet Christine, Claudia and Kate. These fine women were the three finalists for the WIFS Fast & Furious session, where they are given 45 seconds to share their best business practice that has helped take their business to the next level.  Click here to continue reading and to be inspired!


WIFS LeadHER Blog – Finding Your Tribe


Growing up in a town of fewer than 1,000 people in the northwest corner of Missouri I always had a sense of who I was and where I was from. Yet, when I moved to New York City, fresh-faced and fancy free right out of college, the realization that there were more people on my subway train each morning on my way to work than in King City, Missouri was a little daunting at times.

My father encouraged me to “find my tribe” and look up the University of Missouri Alumni Chapter in NYC after getting settled. He explained to me that I would have an instant connection with these people as we had a common bond of the University, and that we would just “get” each other without having to explain a whole lot. And they would also know that Missouri is in the center of the US, something that New Yorkers still seem to have trouble locating when I tell them where I’m from.

Fast forward about five years when I became fully immersed in the insurance and financial services industry, one that I feel has incredible opportunities for women, yet we still hover around 14 percent of the industry. It was very apparent that I needed to find a new “tribe,” one that would just “get” me in this aspect of my life. I found this with WIFS.


Click Here to read the rest of the story!

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Charity Profile – Girls Inc

Combs & Co Logo 11-16 (2)Combs & Company’s last charity shout out of the season for 2017 is for Girls Inc!  The network of local Girls Inc. nonprofit organizations serves girls ages 6-18 at more than 1,400 sites in 400 cities across the United States and Canada. Their research-based programming is delivered by trained professionals who focus on the development of the whole girl, supporting, mentoring, and guiding girls in an affirming, pro-girl environment.  There, girls learn to value their whole selves, discover and develop their inherent strengths, and receive the support they need to navigate the challenges they face.

Girls Inc. girls live healthy and active lifestyles and are less likely to engage in risky behavior; they are eager to learn, successful in school, and more likely to graduate from post-secondary education; and they display diligence, perseverance and resilience.

Charity Profile – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Combs & Co Logo 11-16 (2)St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has always been very near and dear to my heart.  In 1989, my brother, Matthew Combs, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and was treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.  Matt is the longest surviving male bone marrow transplant to have been performed at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, dated June, 19th, 1991.  He is now an oncology nurse giving back to critical care patients and paying forward his gift of life.

During this time of year my family is reminded of the true holiday spirit and what a blessing St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been to so many through the years.

Happy Holidays!



Charity Profile – BeadforLife

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Combs & Company has been a supporter of BeadforLife for the past 3 years and continues to be fascinated at all they do!

Check out an excerpt from their website as they tell their story best!

“Paper bead jewelry was only the beginning. We could have stayed the course, working with one group of women to create fair trade products that we could sell for them in the U.S. market – but we had bigger dreams. We created an entrepreneurial business training program, giving women living in poverty the skills and confidence they need to go out and create their own local businesses before they graduate. Salons, shoe stores, and produce stands are cropping up in Uganda and women are making money and living out their dreams. Not only do they have income, but now they have the confidence to be sustainable business women – meeting their own needs and creating a generation of confident and capable children.

But we haven’t stopped there. We’ve taken the best parts of that original business program and created The Street Business School. These savvy women don’t make products (for us), they make progress! They are women who have dreamed of running successful businesses, and that’s exactly what they do when they graduate, only six months later! See the impact.

Now we’re taking this proven poverty eradication program to the world! We will partner with organizations around the globe to share our program, so that we can ignite the lives of one million women!”

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Charity Profile – iMentor

Combs & Co Logo 11-16 (2)Mentorship is very near and dear to our hearts at Combs & Company, that’s why we are supporting iMentor this holiday season.  iMentor builds mentoring relationships that empower first-generation students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions.

Looking to give some love?  There’s a lot to love with iMentor!

New York Paid Family Leave – What you Need to Know!

FamilyWe have been getting a lot of questions on this so thought I’d give you a breakdown of how it works and what to expect for January 1, 2018 with New York Paid Family Leave.

What is it?

As of January 1, 2018, most employees who work in New York State will be eligible for Paid Family Leave.  This is leave not for yourself, this is leave to take care of others which include:  spouse, domestic partner, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, in-laws, grandparent or grandchild.  This is also available due to Active Military Duty Deployment.  They are not including siblings at this time, so keep that in mind.

Who is eligible?

  • Full-time employees: If you work a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week, you are eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment.*
  • Part-time employees: If you work a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week, you are eligible after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive.*
  • You are eligible regardless of your citizenship and/or immigration status.

*These weekly counts look back at 2017.  What this means is if you have been a full-time employee for 2017 and been working over 20 hours per week for the 26 weeks leading up to January 1, 2018 – you would be eligible to go out on claim January 1, 2018.

How much is taken out of my paycheck?

  • This is a prorated amount (no more than $1.65 per week) depending on how the company does payroll, but it is basically capped around $85 FOR THE YEAR, so you won’t even notice it coming out of your check! Here is the deductions calculator if you want to know exactly!

How much do I get?

  • This is going to be a 4-year phase in and you are going to start seeing these acronyms a lot: AWW and SAWW.  AWW stands for Average Weekly Wage and SAWW stands for State Average Weekly Wage.  The SAWW they are using for 2018 is $1305.92, which translates into the Max Weekly Benefit you can get is $652.96 for 8 weeks.
  • Here is a grid showing the phase in numbers from state website!

Benefits Increase Through 2021

Year Weeks of Leave Benefit
2018 8 weeks 50% of employee’s AWW, up to 50% of SAWW
2019 10 weeks 55% of employee’s AWW, up to 55% of SAWW
2020 10 weeks 60% of employee’s AWW, up to 60% of SAWW
2021 12 weeks 67% of employee’s AWW, up to 67% of SAWW
  • Example: An employee who makes $1,000 a week would receive a benefit of $500 a week (50% of $1,000). Another employee who makes $2,000 a week would receive a benefit of $652.96, because this employee is capped at one-half of New York State’s Average Weekly Wage —currently $1,305.92. Half of that amount is $652.96.
  • Leave can be taken either all at once or in full-day increments. You may take the maximum time-off benefit in any given 52-week period. The 52-week clock starts on the first day you take Paid Family Leave.

As an Employee, what do you need to do if you need to go out on claim?

  1. Notify your employer. You need to do this at least 30 days before you want your leave to start (if possible).  For example, if you are due with a baby 2/1, you can plan ahead, but if the baby comes 4 weeks early, you need to notify your employer as soon as possible.
  2. Submit a claim form. You’ll need to ask your employer or the employer’s insurance company what forms you should complete and get the supporting documentation that is requested.  Make sure to keep a copy for your records.  You can actually submit your claim form 30 days before or 30 days after the event and then the carrier has 18 days to respond to your claim.

Click here for the Employee Fact Sheet by New York State!

As an Employer, what do you need to do?

  1. If you have State Mandated Disability, your carrier will most likely offer the Paid Family Leave coverage. If you haven’t received an email or a letter from your carrier, you need to reach out to them ASAP.
  2. As this is an Employee Paid benefit, Employees will have deductions taken out of their paychecks for this. If your payroll company hasn’t reached out to you about this, check with them before your first January 2018 payroll run.
  3. You also must Post a Workforce Notice, which you should also be getting in the mail from your carrier.
  4. If you currently Self Insure your Disability, here’s a list of carriers that you can get this coverage from!
  5. Update your handbook to include the new policy if you have one!

Click here for the Employer Fact Sheet by New York State!

I know this doesn’t cover absolutely everything you might have a question on, but if you read and understand this, you’ll be more equipped than 99% of New Yorkers out there!