SPRINGFIELD — The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM) will host its annual Women Lead Change: A Celebration of the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI) Class of 2018 on June 4 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke.
The event features a keynote address by Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper. The Women’s Fund will present Kasper with the ‘She Changes the World’ award, honoring her exceptional contributions for leading not only her local department, but also leading on a national level with regard to transparent data, hiring practices, and other local initiatives that have shaped community policing for the better.
More than 300 guests are expected at the annual celebration of graduates of the Women’s Fund LIPPI program, the only leadership program of its kind in the Commonwealth. The event recognizes the accomplishments of the 31 graduates of the LIPPI Class of 2018, who have participated in 11 educational sessions over nine months designed to address the shortage of women stepping into public leadership. LIPPI gives women tools and confidence to become more involved civic leaders and to impact policy on the local, state, and national levels. Proceeds for this annual event empower the Women’s Fund’s mission.
“We’re thrilled to host our distinguished awardee and celebrate 31 highly-qualified women into the growing ranks of LIPPI alumnae across the Commonwealth,” said Donna Haghighat, WFWM CEO. “We’re excited to spotlight Chief Kasper as a leader who is breaking barriers and who serves as a great role model for other women and girls. Chief Kasper credits her own participation in the LIPPI program for giving her the confidence to raise her hand and step into her leadership role.”
LIPPI graduates range in age from 18 to over 60 and represent a wide spectrum of backgrounds and ethnic groups. They originate from cities and towns across Massachusetts, from the Berkshires to the Boston area. LIPPI alumnae form a strong cohort of women who support one other when they run for office, meet with policy makers, form coalitions, and lead get-out-the-vote efforts.
Kasper was born and raised in Western Mass. She attended Mohawk Trail Regional High School, Greenfield Community College, and Westfield State University. At Westfield she earned a master’s degree in criminal justice and a second master’s degree in Public Administration.
She began her career with the Northampton Police Department in 1998 as a patrol officer. She was part of the Bike Patrol Unit, was a Field Training Officer, a detective, a sergeant, a lieutenant, the detective lieutenant, the captain of Operations, and was appointed as chief in June 2015.