04 May Staff Spotlight: Jackie LaChance McKeon
It was the fall of 2014, and Jackie LaChance McKeon had just sent her eldest child off to college in Boston, leaving a half-empty nest with her youngest child in their Chatham village home. “Out of the blue, a friend of mine calls me and says Camphill Ghent is looking for a public relations person and you would be perfect,” Jackie recalls. She applied for the part-time position and started work in January 2015. “Camphill Ghent has since become my extended family, especially my co-workers in the Red Barn,” she said.
A freelance writer by profession, Jackie is responsible for promoting Camphill Ghent through stories, photographs, press releases, newsletters, social media and other creative venues. A longtime contributing writer for the monthly Chatham Press newspaper, Jackie has numerous connections through the local media and uses that to promote Camphill Ghent’s activities, residents and staff whenever possible. “I have gotten close with residents and staff over the years and really feel like we’re a family here,” she said. “It’s a great community that I enjoy promoting.”
As a freelance writer working from her home while raising her children, Jackie was able to keep her hand in the business while also having the flexibility to be there for her kids who were very active in the Chatham Central School District. A resident of Payn Avenue in the village, Jackie has lived in Chatham since 1987 where she is very active in the community. Her daughter, Maura, is graduating this month from Boston College with a degree in political science/international studies while son Jack is finishing up his sophomore year at Bard College where he is a history major.
Freelance writing clients over the years have included the Spencertown Academy, Columbia Economic Development Corporation, Flying Deer Nature Center, Columbia County Agricultural Society, FilmColumbia, Columbia Festival Orchestra and District Attorney Paul Czajka. Freelance writing for businesses, individuals and organizations on a project basis includes the creation of press releases, photographs, newsletters, advertisements, feature stories, brochures, speeches and other outreach and public relations material.
Prior to freelancing, Jackie was the public relations coordinator for Taconic Telephone Corp. (now Consolidated), for 10 years, back when the company was privately owned by the Ackley family. Before her years at Taconic, Jackie was a reporter locally for The Independent, a weekly newspaper owned by Tony Jones and Vicki Simons. She was a reporter for The Register Star for several years starting in April 1985, a job which brought her to the area. Jackie graduated in 1984 from Utica College of Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Born and raised in Middleburgh, Schoharie County, she is an only child and the daughter of the late Owen “Jack” and Nancy LaChance. “I had a typical childhood growing up in a small town in upstate New York,” said Jackie. “Maybe it wasn’t so typical after all. I was really lucky because it was happy.”
When she is not working, Jackie is an avid reader, seasonal knitter, hit-or-miss gardener, lover of travel adventures and all things related to her kids, whom she adores.