Stacey Trapani-Barber is busy. Not only is she a licensed mental health counselor and board certified behavior analyst, she also serves on the board of directors for the Autism Society of America and has recently designed and released an app called ABA Tutor, which aids in speech development. This West Saugerties resident also started her own business, Traber LLC, which provides training and counseling for those with developmental disabilities, and will eventually provide business consulting as well. She is also working on a PhD and writing a book.
What makes Saugerties unique?
I think Saugerties is a hidden gem, even though we did get some recognition a while back. I think people don’t realize how big we are as a community. We have so many different little communities. There’s Glasco, the Heights, Mount Marion. I live in West Camp. There’s so many little places. We have everything, from culture, antique stores, so much history, a lot of awesome small businesses. There’s cool places in town like Rockstar Rodeo and Slices Pizza. People that started out as young entrepreneurs and made this place their home. It’s hard to go anywhere and not see a friendly, familiar face. Even if you live here it’s an awesome place to vacation. We are the best town ever.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I tell people all the time I would be in the food industry. I’m food obsessed. I don’t know if this is the Italian side of me, but my mom and dad sort of ingrained this in me. I’m a really good host, and when you come to my house you’re not leaving hungry. I always joke that when I get my doctorate and if things don’t work out with the app and the business I’m going to open up a food truck. If I could handle it, I’d do it all, provide therapy out one side of the window and tacos out of the other.
Do you have any heroes?
First and foremost my husband, being an entrepreneur and taking a chance, leaving a well-paying job to pursue something that he absolutely loves, and the immense amount of support he’s given to me over the years. My parents, for doing such a wonderful job supporting me as I’ve grown. They’ve always had dreams of being entrepreneurs but never really went that route because they were just too busy. I think they made me a good parent. I’ve had plenty of professors that have made an impact on me. A big one was Elizabeth Teed Quinn from Marist. She is smart, beautiful, accomplished, and she always treated me as an equal, rather than a student. It made me feel like I could accomplish what she had accomplished. One of my favorite people in the field of ABA is Vincent Carbone. He gives his psychology away. He has a true community psychology model. It never ceased to amaze me how much Vince was willing to give of himself.
What qualities do you most admire in others?
People who are direct and honest. I have a lot of difficulty navigating people who don’t say what they mean or mean what they say. I don’t like wasting time.
What is your idea of happiness?
A life filled with love and the freedom to do what I want to do. I have that. I’m surrounded by amazing friends, family, and professionals in the field who are also passionate about what they do. And that enables me the financial independence to do some fun things in life.
What is your main fault?
Being a perfectionist, because there is no such thing as perfection. I have a very critical eye and I can always see where there’s room for improvement. I always have so many ideas for how to make things better, but the person I am always the hardest on is myself. Even cooking a meal, I always think “oh, that could have used a little more of this.” I’m always striving to make everything better. I think you have to find a healthy balance between making it an obsession and not caring about it all.
What is your present state of mind?
I’m going in a zillion different directions. I’m definitely an idea person, which is how I knew I had to go out on my own. I see myself lighting the professional menorah. I don’t see myself as lighting the candle on both ends because I’m not stressed, but I have a lot of ideas I’m trying to light on fire all at the same time. I don’t know that I’ll ever slow down unless I have to.
A version of this story originally appeared in the May 28, 2015 edition of Saugerties Times.