In honor of Women’s History Month, The Casandra Properties Podcast pays tribute once again to women leaders in business on Staten Island. On this episode, CEO and Host James Prendamano is joined by his everpopular co-host Rebecca Matulonis, a business leader in her own right, along with Pamela Columbia of Statewide Fire Corp. and Kimberly Althoff of Santander (once known here on the Island as Staten Island Savings Bank).
Both women are on the Board of Directors of the SIEDC, whose mission is to enhance the economy of Staten Island and encourage responsible and sustainable development here, aimed to improve quality of life. The SIEDC also provides diverse and broad employment opportunities throughout the community of Staten Island. Each year, the SIEDC sponsors various community events such as its Health & Wellness Expos and Annual Business Conference, which is free and open to the public. In addition, the organization serves small entrepreneurs and local business owners and has created over 3,500 jobs here on Staten Island.
Not Your Typical Company
Pamela Columbia is the Founder and President of Statewide Fire Corp. A native Staten Islander, she attended Wagner College and founded Statewide fire nearly 20 years ago in 2002. The company, now going into its 20th year of operation, had met all the incredibly stringent requirements to become one of the select few central stations in the entire country to be approved by the NYC Fire Department to handle commercial fire alarms within the City of New York.
Statewide Fire is actually able to monitor all emergency conditions throughout out the United States, and offers other services, including Remote Video Monitoring w/ 2-way voice, Digital Burglar Systems, just to name a few. They are on the forefront of technology and have high level staff for customized support. Statewide Fire has a NICET level IV Certification. Despite the company’s rapid growth, it is still known for providing each alarm dealer the highest level of personal, customized attention and service; that is something Pamela Columbia is especially proud of.
Banking for the Staten Island Community
Kimberly Althoff is the Vice President and District Executive at Santander Bank. She is also a native Staten Islander who loves her community, and has worked for Santander for 19 years, as well. Kimberly actually started off her career as a hairdresser. And while the connection between salons and banks doesn’t seem especially strong, to the contrary, it was for Kimberly. She mentions how she loved being a hair stylist because of the connections and strong relationships she was able to make with her clients. This translated well to her eventual banking career, in which she states that the ‘connections you make with people in banking’ are what motivates her and what makes a bank successful. It’s about the personalization, and not feeling like your just a number at Santander. Kimberly doesn’t oversee one location here on the Island, but 18, which is incredibly impressive.
Santander started in Spain but has been serving customers in the Northeast since 2013, places like Staten Island. Formerly SI Bank & Trust here on the Island and of course, Staten Island Savings Bank prior to that. They have over 500 branches and more than 2,000 Santander ATMs across the Northeast and in Florida.
Rebecca Matulonis congratulates the women on their respective success in business, noting how the playing field isn’t exactly level in business for women. However, that didn’t stop Pamela, Kim, or Rebecca from achieving success in business. These tenacious women worked diligently to get to where they are today and should be an inspiration to all of us. Not only have the led in business, but both have emerged as community leaders on Staten Island.
Be sure to tune in to the Casandra Properties free podcast each week to gain valuable insights from both local and national business leaders.