People On the Move

Marie Lafortune

Marie Lafortune

Natalya Riberdy

Natalya Riberdy

Haley Pedruczny

Haley Pedruczny

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. recently welcomed Marie Lafortune, Natalya Riberdy, and Haley Pedruczny to the firm. Lafortune comes to MBK as a first-year audit associate. She is currently focused on pension and 401(k) plans, HUD engagements, and compliance testing for nonprofits. She also assists with tax preparation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and healthcare management from Elms College and is pursuing her master’s of accountancy at Westfield State University. Riberdy is a new associate focusing on the service and construction industries. Before joining MBK, she gained experience as intern at a regional firm and as a billing, AR, and AP associate in private accounting. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Bridgewater State University and is on track to complete her MSA, with a concentration in forensic accounting, from Western New England University. She will then begin studying for the CPA exams. Pedruczny comes to the firm with accounting experience across the real estate, manufacturing, and consumer-product fields. As an associate at MBK, she works primarily on nonprofit clients and employee benefit plans, from small companies and schools to large corporations. She graduated from the Isenberg School of Management with a BBA in accounting and is currently pursuing her CPA license. “Each of these women represent the wellspring of young business and accounting talent we have right here in Western Massachusetts,” said MBK Partner Howard Cheney. “At MBK, we consider ourselves fortunate to tap into the vital resources of the next generation and bring them into the fold to grow and thrive along with the firm and our clients.”

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Jeremy Lajoie

Jeremy Lajoie

Charmaine Ramirez

Charmaine Ramirez

Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Greenfield Co-operative Bank, announced the promotions of Jeremy Lajoie and Charmaine Ramirez to assistant vice president. Lajoie works in mortgage operations. He started with the bank in July 2015 and has been working as the loan processing supervisor, and is responsible for managing the loan-processing workflow within the bank. Prior to joining Greenfield Co-operative Bank, he worked for five years at another financial institution in the loan servicing/processing area. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from UMass Amherst. Ramirez works in mortgage operations. She started at Northampton Cooperative Bank in 2012 as a teller/customer service representative and was promoted to loan underwriter and processor in 2013. After Northampton Cooperative merged into Greenfield Co-operative Bank, she became lead underwriter and was most recently mortgage operations supervisor. She is a 2017 graduate from the New England School for Financial Studies and is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in business management from Western Governor’s University.

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Howard Sienkiewicz

Howard Sienkiewicz

Zasco Productions, LLC, an event-planning and production company, hired Howard Sienkiewicz as its new vice president and general manager, according to Zasco founder, president, and owner, Michael Zaskey. Sienkiewicz returns to Western Mass. after spending two decades as technical director for the international event-planning and production company Ellen Michaels Presents. “We’re so pleased that Howard Sienkiewicz agreed to return to Western Massachusetts to join the Zasco team,” Zaskey said. “His experience working globally in theatres, concert halls, convention centers, hotels, and non-traditional venues will help Zasco Productions and our other brand, Big Video Screen, to enhance the level of service we provide our customers throughout the region.” Sienkiewicz began his career in Springfield as production stage manager of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, coordinating production for its classical and pop-music series, operas, and dance programs at Springfield Symphony Hall, at the Summer Pops at Stanley Park, the Berkshire Choral Festival, and Springfield Symphony New England Tours, under the auspices of New England Presentors. He became technical director for Springfield Civic Center and Symphony Hall and general manager for Snow Sound, as well as owner of HCS Productions. At Ellen Michaels Presents, he traveled the globe working on events for CA Technologies, Oracle, Intuit, and many others. “Years ago, when Michael has getting Zasco started, we had crossed paths while I worked at Springfield Symphony Hall,” Sienkiewicz said. “Years later, when I needed a company to support a large corporate event in Boston, I was given his name. He and the company really impressed me. Going forward, I would use Zasco Productions for all our shows in the Northeast. I even brought them to Las Vegas, Chicago, and North Carolina to support various shows. When I decided to get off the road, Michael offered me this position, and I am thrilled to be returning to my hometown and have the opportunity to work with a great company like Zasco locally and nationally.”

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Jessica Picard

Jessica Picard

The Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce bestowed its Chamber Ambassador of the Year Award to Jessica Picard, marketing director at Loomis House Retirement Community, a position she has held since 2012. Previous to that, she was the marketing and admissions liaison for Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing in Springfield. She graduated from Westfield State University with a degree in business management and a minor in marketing. “Our ambassadors play a pivotal role in allowing the Greater Holyoke Chamber to be able to execute on our programs and events. Jessica Picard has been a champion of the Greater Holyoke Chamber for several years, and her service as an ambassador to our chamber members is irreplaceable,” said Wanda Zabawa, events manager and ambassador leader. Chamber ambassadors are volunteers who make a commitment to help new members feel welcome and demonstrate to all members how to make the most of their chamber benefits. They also gather feedback from members to help the chamber improve its services. Other members of the chamber ambassador committee include Wendy Palmer of PeoplesBank, Julie Rochefort of United Personnel, Paula Auclair and Harry Montalvo of bankESB, Kate Buckley of Goss & McLain Insurance, Susan Concepcion of Homewood Suites, Molly Desrocher of United Personnel, Pauline Gove of deRenzy Document Solutions, James Brunault of Massachusetts Rehabilitation, Daniel Couchon of Fairfield Inn, and Tom Thacher of CareerPoint. “Jessica truly deserves the Ambassador of the Year award. Jessica has gone above and beyond her responsibilities as an ambassador toward our members and has demonstrated extraordinary dedication, involvement, and initiative to enhancing the partnership between the chamber and our members,” said Kathleen Anderson, chamber president. Picard was chosen for the award after receiving the most ambassador points in 2017. Ambassadors earn points by calling and visiting chamber members, attending monthly meetings and ribbon cuttings, recruiting other ambassadors, and participating in chamber events. Picard and her manager, Margaret Mantoni, will be honored at the chamber’s holiday business breakfast and pop-up retail event on Wednesday, Dec. 13 at the Log Cabin. The public is welcome to attend.

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Tony Sanches

Tony Sanches

Michael Ostrowski, president and CEO of Arrha Credit Union, announced the promotion of Tony Sanches from branch manager and Business Development officer to assistant vice president of Retail Operations. “We are so pleased to promote Tony, who has always gone above and beyond the call of duty of taking care of his members and staff,” Ostrowski said. “He will continue to be located at the West Springfield branch location at 63 Park Ave. He will also continue to look for ways to serve our members and communities so we may provide additional conveniences and help people reach their financial goals in a meaningful way.” Sanches has more than 15 years of experience in the local financial industry and 10 years in residential lending. He began his banking career as a teller at Westbank, then moved to Country Bank as a head teller and worked his way up to customer service manager, assistant branch manager, and loan originator. He then moved to Florence Savings Bank as a loan originator at its multiple offices. He finished his career at Florence as assistant vice president of Lending before moving to Freedom Credit Union as a loan officer. Sanches has extensive knowledge of portfolio lending and secondary-market lending, including conventional loans, MHP, USDA, FHA, and MassHousing loans. He is fluent in Portuguese and English, a member of the Rotary Club of Ludlow, corporator at the Ludlow Boys and Girls Club, and a member of the Ludlow Youth Soccer Assoc., where he coaches youth soccer.

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Jamie Convery

Jamie Convery

Stacey Pinardi

Stacey Pinardi

Glenn Welch, president and CEO of Freedom Credit Union, announced the promotion of Jamie Convery to branch officer of Freedom’s Sixteen Acres Branch, and the appointment of Stacey Pinardi as mortgage loan originator in Franklin and Hampshire counties. In her new position, Convery oversees the financial and lending operations of the branch, develops new business opportunities with individuals and businesses, and promotes financial literacy at area schools. She has been employed at Freedom for seven years and has 15 years of experience in the banking and financial-services industries. Prior to joining Freedom, she was a teller supervisor at PeoplesBank. Convery earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Westfield State University, and she currently serves on the membership committee of the Professional Women’s Chamber. Pinardi is responsible for real-estate origination throughout Franklin and Hampshire counties. As she helps expand Freedom’s mortgage services throughout that region, she will offer her expertise in conventional, MassHousing, MHP ONE Mortgage, FHA, USDA, and VA loans. She has more than 22 years of experience in the finance industry, including expertise in residential mortgage origination, first-time-homebuyer assistance, and secondary market sales. Most recently, she was a mortgage planner at Regency Mortgage. Currently, Pinardi is an affiliate member of the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley. She works at the Freedom branch at 191 Ave. A in Turners Falls.

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Allison Gearing-Kalill, a fund-raiser and development professional, has been named vice president for Development and Planned Giving at Bay Path University, as announced by President Carol Leary. “I am delighted that Allison Gearing-Kalill is joining our leadership team,” Leary said. “She brings tremendous development and planned-giving experience to the position, and as vice president she will partner with areas across the university to support and advance our philanthropic culture that has been an important driver to the success of our students and academic programs. I look forward to working closely with Allison in the coming months.” At Bay Path, Gearing-Kalill will serve as a member of the executive staff. In this new role, she will manage a comprehensive planned-giving program, and also provide leadership in the areas of annual giving, alumni relations, stewardship, special events, advancement services, and major gifts. “It will be a privilege to work alongside the academic and staff leadership, as well as the alumni and friends of the university, to continue the fund-raising momentum that is already in place,” she said. “President Leary has brought Bay Path to new heights with her remarkable vision and energy, and I am thrilled to be part of that transformation.” Prior to joining Bay Path, Gearing-Kalill served as vice president of Fund Development at Sisters of Providence Health System and Mercy Medical Center, where she oversaw the areas of fund-raising and special events. Previously, she was the vice president of Community Development at Baystate Noble Hospital. Widely recognized for her fund-raising expertise, she received the 2017 Assoc. for Healthcare Philanthropy Higher Performers Award. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business with a specialization in marketing from UMass Amherst.

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Frances Gomes Marthone

Frances Gomes Marthone

Frances Gomes Marthone has been named chief Nursing officer (vice president of Patient Care Services) for Mercy Medical Center. In this role, she is responsible for ensuring compliance with patient-care quality standards and ensuring that clinical and staffing standards are met, promoting best practices in nursing and patient care, and serving as a liaison for communication between leadership and the nursing staff. With more than 25 years of nursing-leadership experience, Marthone most recently served as chief Nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services at Piedmont Henry Hospital, a 215-bed facility in Stockbridge, Ga., where she was responsible for the coordination and monitoring of all nursing standards. Prior to that role, she served as vice president of Medical Services at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Ga., where she provided leadership in recruitment, retention, development, and continuing education for all units within the medical division. She also has experience as an administrative supervisor, as well as a background in the management of oncology-nursing services. Marthone holds a Ph.D. in nursing philosophy from Georgia State University in Atlanta, a master’s degree in nursing administration from Albany State University in Albany, Ga., and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Simmons College in Boston. She also holds a quality and process improvement certification in Black Belt from the Stetson School of Business and Economics at Mercer University in Georgia. She is a member the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the American Nurses Assoc., the Georgia Nurses Assoc., and the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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The Markens Group Inc., a Springfield-based association-management and business-consulting firm, recently welcomed Wil Rodriguez as director of Sales and Business Development. Rodriguez has more than 15 years of experience building relationships, cultivating target audiences, and managing accounts. He has worked for firms in Florida, Connecticut, and Western Mass., serving most recently as an account executive for Full Power Radio. He also has sales experience in the energy, job-placement, and graphic-arts industries. A longtime community steward, Rodriguez served as president of the Westfield Spanish American Assoc. from 2011 to 2016, leading the organization’s efforts to empower Latinos in the Greater Westfield area to create a visible presence in their local community. Under his leadership, the organization spearheaded several community projects, including the construction of a $50,000 playscape at Westfield’s Whitney Playground. He has also served on the board of directors of the Amelia Park Children’s Museum and has volunteered as a diversity consultant for the Massachusetts chapter of the Alzheimer’s Assoc. “I’m thrilled to begin my work with the Markens Group,” said Rodriguez. “I’m already getting a feel for the trade-association industry, and I have some great ideas for moving forward.” In his new role, Rodriguez will lead efforts to grow the Markens Group’s association-management business. The firm provides outsourced management services like strategic planning, marketing, and administration to national, regional, and local trade associations and professional societies. “Wil is an excellent addition to the team,” said Ben Markens, president and CEO of the Markens Group. “He not only has the right experience, he also champions community. At the end of the day, that’s what we foster in our association clients. We help communities of like-minded individuals make a real difference in their industries and broader society.”

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The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM) named database expert Jorene Lomenzo as the foundation’s new development associate. Lomenzo comes to WFWM with more than 13 years of experience in nonprofit and higher-education development-database management. She has extensive knowledge around reconciling finances, assigning gift-crediting protocols, analyzing data for finance reports, preparing donor campaigns, supporting internal data evaluation, and more. Her most recent position was Advancement Services manager for American International College. Previous roles include Development and Marketing coordinator at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Conn. “I am very excited to join the Women’s Fund in the new role of Development associate,” Lomenzo said. “I look forward to working with the staff and volunteers to expand fund-raising efforts and broaden connections with supporters.” Prior to working in development, she worked with local communities in Georgia to preserve historic properties by writing grant applications, training volunteers, assessing historic resources, and advocating for preservation. She has a master’s degree in historic preservation. Lomenzo will work closely with WFWM Director of Philanthropy Monica Borgatti, maintaining donor and gift information, identifying new donor prospects, cultivating and stewarding WFWM program alumnae, and helping the fund analyze and manage next steps in successful fund-raising campaigns.

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Lisa Palumbo, a Realtor in the Valley since March 2005, joined Delap Real Estate on Nov. 20 and will work as a buyer’s and seller’s agent, covering Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden counties. A resident of Northampton for 25 years, Palumbo most recently worked as the top-selling agent at the Coldwell Banker office in Northampton from 2006 to 2017. In the past year, she sold more than $15 million in real-estate transactions in the tri-county region. In 2017, she was ranked among the top 10 Realtors for sales in Hampshire County. From 2006 to 2017, she has been presented annually with the President’s Platinum and Gold Awards from the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley in recognition of superior sales and service. “I work with clients ranging from first-time home buyers to those who are looking to downsize following retirement,” Palumbo said. “Some of my clients come from out of state and are relocating to the Pioneer Valley. I work to make the process smooth and stress-free. Giving honest advice for making sound real-estate choices is what I strive to do.” Palumbo holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with a concentration in philosophy, religion, and Asian studies from Colgate University and a master’s degree in music and music education from Columbia University. Before working as a realtor, she was a music teacher at Granby High School in Connecticut and White Brook Middle School in Easthampton. Fascinated with homes and interested in working with people, she became a Realtor after poring over the real-estate study guide while on a maternity leave. “Being a realtor is being part lawyer, part negotiator and strategist, part photographer, part copy editor, part marketing manager, part teacher, and even, sometimes, part therapist,” she said. “Every day is different and challenging.”

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At Freedom Credit Union’s annual holiday dinner at the Log Cabin, David Chase, vice president of Business Lending, was presented with this year’s President’s Award. A colleague nominated Chase for the award, which recognizes a Freedom employee for his or her commitment to professional excellence. The employee said Chase “has reinvented our Commercial Lending department to what it is today and is continuing to grow this sector of our business.” During the evening, several employees were recognized for their years of service. In addition, 11 employees were recognized for receiving a GEM Award as part of Freedom’s new GEM (Going the Extra Mile) program. C. Melin Menas and Lynne Wallace were honored for being named Credit Union Heroes by Banker and Tradesman magazine.

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Enchanted Circle, a multi-service arts organization dedicated to engaging, enhancing, and inspiring learning through the arts, announced the appointment of Andrea Spak as director of Development. “We are absolutely thrilled to have Andrea join our creative education team,” said Priscilla Kane Hellweg, executive director of Enchanted Circle. “Her expertise and professionalism will enable us to expand our reach and deepen our impact as we serve the most vulnerable children and youth in the region.” Spak has dedicated the past 30 years of her professional life and volunteerism to the non-profit sector, supporting education, civil rights, and social-justice issues to improve the lives of children and families. She has raised millions of dollars from individuals, corporations, foundations, and public funding sources to support children’s rights, educational programs, historic preservation, legal advocacy, training and services, community development, and affordable housing. Most recently, she was director of Development at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Conn., where she successfully created, directed, and implemented multi-faceted strategies for comprehensive programs of philanthropy, sponsorship, special events, and membership to foster donor engagement and support mission delivery, resulting in organizational transformation. “I am excited to join Enchanted Circle and contribute to their work to improve the lives of children and families throughout the greater community,” Spak said. “Enchanted Circle offers the perfect opportunity to address ongoing community challenges and to apply my experience to expand Enchanted’s impact and support organizational growth.” Enchanted Circle works in partnership with public schools, on the professional stage, and with social-service agencies, providing programs that bridge arts, education, and human services for people of all ages and abilities.

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Caroline Gear, executive director of the Northampton-based International Language Institute (ILI) of Massachusetts, was recently elected to the Greenfield Community College Foundation Inc. board of directors. Gear has been at ILI since 1986 as a Spanish teacher, ESOL teacher, teacher trainer, and administrator. She has published articles in the field of assessment and evaluation and presents on teacher training and the administration of programs both regionally and nationally. “Caroline’s passion for the mission of access to education is evident, and she brings a wealth of knowledge about the challenges facing those who struggle to change their lives through education,” said Michael Davey, GCC Foundation board president and vice president/commercial loan officer at Florence Bank. “As Greenfield Community College expands its programming into Hampshire County, we welcome the addition of this outstanding new member to our board.” Added Greenfield Community College President Bob Pura, “Caroline Gear is a longtime partner of the college. She has shared GCC’s passion for access and excellence in education. Her commitment to economic and social mobility for all in our community is a perfect fit for the work of the GCC Foundation. I welcome her heart, intelligence, and fierce courage to an outstanding board in service to students, college, and community.” The following individuals were elected as officers of the GCC Foundation board of directors for the coming year: Michael Davey, president, Leigh Rae, vice president, Nancy Fournier, treasurer, Katherine Cole, secretary, and Marina Goldman, member at large. Other members of the board are Carmen Bassett, Sharon Meyers, Mitch Anthony, Patricia Coffin, Charles Conant, Rich Fahey, Michael Smith, faculty representative Mary Phillips, student representative Maya Kazinskas, and GCC trustee representative Dylan Korpita. Board members emeriti are Robert Cohn, William Freeman, Lorna Peterson, and Robert Mugar Yacubian.

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