Thoughts on joining Note,

My name is Colten Kitcho.

I grew up in Sanborn, New York, a little farm town not far from Niagara Falls. I graduated from Niagara Wheatfield High School and Canisius College earning an BA in Sports Management. After a short break, I continued at Canisius and received my MBA with a finance concentration.

When I first considered a career, I figured I would either work for a large brokerage firm or represent a large insurance company. After further research of the two fields, I had some concerns. 

The first was the requisite chasing of sales goals, something I did not think I would be comfortable doing. My second concern, more an intimidation factor, was the prospect of the customer/client experience. 

Through jobs in high school and college I had developed strong customer service skills. However, I was not familiar or comfortable with the type of “cold call” solicitation required in these businesses, essentially relying on chance to earn a living.

In talking to family and friends, many of them had the same perception of the financial industry. Then someone told me about one of the partners at Note Advisors, Shawn Glogowski. They said he represented a different aspect of the business—something called holistic financial planning— where I could help clients with their money, rather than try to pry it out of their hands. Immediately I knew this was more the career path I wanted to follow.

In the summer of 2020, I got to spend a day with Shawn to see for myself how he and Note, operated. He showed me the different programs he uses in advising clients. I met Note, team members and sat in on a few client meetings. By the end of the day, my idea of the financial advisory industry had definitely changed. So did my employment status, as shortly thereafter Shawn offered me a job. Since then, I have learned more about the company and the people here, which has strengthened my positive opinion of the team at Note, and the work they do.

At the risk of sounding cliche, the advisors at Note, really do care about people. It’s where our “We see you” promise comes from. Whether it’s helping you think through when to start taking social security, creating a family estate plan, or determining your need for life insurance. Everyone at Note, is focused on what is most important for each client at their particular stage of life with their specific life circumstances. A business owner attempting to sell or transition, for example, has very different elements to balance than someone who is building a pension or retirement account. It’s why we say, “What you give your attention to makes all the difference.” No two individuals are identical, though on the surface they may seem to be.

I enjoy sitting in on these meetings and listening to the life scenarios our clients lay out, and then thinking through different ways we can help them. While I’m not fully there yet on offering advice, I am learning by observing and listening to Shawn, Tom, and Angela, as they guide clients through different scenarios, one of which invariably suits the client and their needs.

I look forward to growing to the point where I am one of the team members relaying helpful information comfortably and confidently to clients. This, I’m discovering, is what a great advisor does—help people . 

If a client needs assistance with their taxes, we help them. If they need guidance on getting more life insurance because they’ve recently been diagnosed with an illness, we help them. Whatever it takes for our clients to achieve peace of mind, not just about money but about their lives, we help them.

That’s why I’m thrilled to be here. I can’t wait to see what the future holds, for our clients and for myself.

Local Help for Local Businesses

According to the NYS Department of Labor, more than 1.6 million residents have filed for unemployment benefits since Gov Cuomo’s mid-March COVID-19 order for all non-essential retailers and businesses to close.

This reality has forced business owners to make tough decisions about a broad range of issues including employee and customer safety, changes in supply chains and remote technology capabilities—all the while working to keep their businesses operational and afloat.

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While there is no self-help manual to guide business entrepreneurs through this crisis, a number of Western New Yorkers are turning to The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership(CEL), part of the University at Buffalo School of Management, for support.

For more than 30 years, CEL has provided individualized and interactive education in entrepreneurship through a variety of programs aimed at unlocking leadership potential, creating jobs and invigorating the greater Western New York economy and community.

That longterm purpose led CEL to immediately begin creating virtual programs and support for their entrepreneurs in less than 48 hours following the Governor’s business shut down order. Programming includes weekly Zoom meetings and one-on-one consulting sessions on financials and other COVID-related challenges. As well there are weekly webinars pn a variety of topics such as human resources, operations and overall business strategies.

Note Advisors Principal, Shawn Glogowski, is a graduate of the CEL Program. He notes the immediate response and support offered by the organization as crucial during this pandemic.

“It’s good to see CEL react with such immediacy in helping the Buffalo business community stay the course and meet the many challenges we are all facing. The vital information on programs and next step actions they are providing definitely help to build confidence among business owners in that the decisions they are making in these uncertain times will help them survive and eventually reopen.”

Established in 1987, the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in the University at Buffalo School of Management provides participants with individualized and interactive education in entrepreneurship. More than 1,400 CEL alumni employ more than 23,000 Western New Yorkers, and their businesses are worth more than $2.3 billion to the local economy.

For more information on the variety of programs offered through the CEL, how these programs are providing support for local small to medium-sized businesses and how you can apply for a specific program, visit

Some information in this post was excerpted from an online Business First article written by Tom Ulbrich, an executive in residence for entrepreneurship at the University at Buffalo School of Management, and president/CEO of Goodwill of WNY.

Giving Back Makes A Difference

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From singing on the balcony to community cheers for those on the front lines to young people grocery shopping for elderly neighbors, people around the world are reaching out in support of others during these difficult days. 

From small personal gestures to larger contributions, if you have the desire to give back to your community, now is a perfect time.

Show your appreciation by giving what you can

While many of us stay safely at home, there are others performing extra services. Are you having your groceries delivered? Ordering take-out? Tip generously. Or how about buying gift cards from a small business or restaurant? 

Whatever and however you give, any extra dollars you add will be greatly appreciated—and are well deserved by those out there risking their own safety for the good of others.

The extra money you can afford to give will mean a tremendous amount to the individuals you pay. But don’t overstretch your finances; give only what you can. Even a little can mean a lot. And the fact that you care enough to offer may mean even more. 

Small personal gestures have a big impact

It isn’t always about giving money. Check with older neighbors to see if they need something from the market or the pharmacy and offer to pick it up for them. No matter your age or your need, just knowing that someone else is willing to look out for you can make all the difference.

Supporting your community expands your reach

As incomes are reduced for many people, so are contributions to community charitable organizations like food banks and other services for families in need. If you’re uncertain what exists in your community, do a little local research. 

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Feeding America has a tool for finding your local food bank. Great Nonprofits can help you zero in on organizations in your area, giving you information about what they do and what they need.

Also, think about the skills you have and how you could give of your time. Are you particularly tech savvy? Maybe you could offer assistance to teachers struggling to keep up with offering classes online. 

Are you good with a sewing machine? Sewing masks for friends, extended family or even local merchants could become a new specialty. Or consider reaching out to a local senior community. Helping isolated seniors could be as simple as making a phone call to say hello.

It’s easy to give locally or globally

Many organizations are expanding their programs to meet specific COVID-19 related needs. For example, Boys & Girls Clubs of America(BGCA),supporting families across America, or DonorsChoose is helping teachers provide materials to their students now learning from home. BGCA has created a relief fund to provide meals, offer virtual learning and more. 

Global Giving is a crowdfunding organization currently providing COVID-19 relief. Organizations such as UNICEF and Save the Children focus specifically on helping kids around the world through this crisis, to name just a few.

Do your research before you give and beware of fraudsters

If you’re uncertain where to direct your contributions, want to zero in on a specific charity, or compare charitable organizations, sites such as Charity Navigator or Guidestar are excellent resources. You can get detailed information about the purpose, track record, financials and reliability of hundreds of nonprofits. They also provide advisories about charities that don’t meet specific standards. 

The Federal Trade Commission warns that fake charities and fundraisers use the same tactics to reach donors as legitimate charities, whether face-to-face, by email, phone or social media. It’s especially important to do your research before giving out any personal information or making a donation. 

Make giving a tax-smart part of your financial plan

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Make giving a part of your financial plan. It’s not only a way to share your good fortune, but also can have tax advantages for you and your family.

To encourage giving and make it easier during the pandemic, the CARES Act provides a new “above the line” charitable contribution deduction of up to $300 if you claim the standard deduction in 2020. 

For people who itemize deductions, it expands the limits on charitable contributions from 60 percent up to 100 percent of 2020 adjusted gross income. 

Donor-advised funds are a great way to give today and tomorrow

A donor-advised fund provides another great way to save on taxes at the same time that you contribute to causes you care about. You can donate cash or investment securities (like stocks) and then use the funds to make grants to most 501(c)(3) organizations. Any money not distributed may be invested, potentially increasing the amount available to give. 

While contributions to a donor-advised fund aren’t part of the CARES Act expanded charitable deduction limits, you can typically gift appreciated stock directly to your donor-advised fund without having to pay capital gains taxes.

This can leave you with even more money to direct to your favorite charities. Your tax or financial advisor can help with the details.

This blog was excerpted from an online article by Carrie Schwab Pomerantz,CFP®, Board Chair and President, Charles Schwab Foundation; Senior Vice President, Schwab Community Services, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.; Board Chair, Schwab Charitable