This Diverse Group Finds Ways to Stand Out and Give Back
The ‘club’ has now reached 200 members.
Indeed, with this announcement of the Class of 2011, there are now five groups of 40 Under Forty winners, each one distinct, but with several common denominators that run through all the classes.
The most important of these is a willingness to find the time, energy, and, yes, passion to not simply perform a job or manage a business or nonprofit — but also contribute to the community in some way, or several ways.
Like the groups before it, the Class of 2011 is diverse, with each story unique in some ways. Perhaps the most unique is that of a 16-year-old high-school student who became the youngest winner to date through his work in the community, which ranges from tutoring Somali refugees to work on the Web site for Link to Libraries; from involvement with a teen-philanthropy organization to membership in the aptly-named Don’t Just Sit There, a ‘good-works’ group that assists a number of causes.
Looking over this group of 40 individuals, it would be fair to say that none of them ‘just sit there,’ and most all of them could be considered truly inspirational. Here are some other examples:
• A lawyer who has also served for several years on the board of the Forest Park Zoological Society, but also recently helped initiate a new program to mentor fledgling entrepreneurs, thus improving their odds of survival and staying in Western Mass.;
• A melanoma survivor — and marketing manager for the Food Bank of Western Mass. — who founded SurvivingSkin.org and now actively promotes a message of sun safety while also helping to raise awareness and funds to fight the disease;
• A loan-review officer for a local bank who finds a number of ways to give back to the community, including work as a mentor to young women at the Mass. Career Development Institute;
• The regional director of the Mass. Office of Business Development, who helps area companies secure needed state assistance to grow and add jobs, while also helping young men learn life lessons (and a better jump-shot technique) as a high-school basketball coach; and
• A Web-site designer who has also created a recognition program that is inspiring Springfield-based businesses to become more earth-friendly in everything from how they make their products to how they build out their office space.
There are about three dozen more stories like these in this special section introducing the Class of 2011, which will be honored at BusinessWest’s annual 40 Under Forty Gala on June 23 at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House.
We hope you’ll enjoy these stories and become inspired to find your own ways to stand out in the community and give back to it.
2011 40 Under Forty Winners:
Timothy Van Epps
Photography for this special section by Denise Smith Photography
Meet Our Judges
This year’s nominations were scored by a panel of five judges, who accepted the daunting challenge of reviewing more than 110 nominations, and scoring individuals based on several factors, ranging from achievements in business to work within the community. BusinessWest would like to thank these outstanding members of the Western Mass. business community for volunteering their time to the fifth annual 40 Under Forty competition. They are:
• Diane Fuller Doherty, regional director of the Western Mass. Regional Office of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network. Previously, she founded and served as president and CEO of Doherty-Tzoumas Marketing. She is a founder of the Women’s Fund of Western Mass., and also serves on the boards of the Pioneer Valley Plan for Progress, Bay Path College, and the Community Foundation of Western Mass.
• Eric Gouvin, a professor of Law at the WNEC School of Law and director of WNEC’s Law and Business Center for Entrepreneurship. Previously, he practiced corporate, commercial, and banking law in Portland, Me. He founded the Small Business Clinic at WNEC School of Law, serves on the Board of Editors for the Kauffman Foundation’s eLaw web site, and is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Scibelli Enterprise Center and Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative.
• Hector Toledo, vice president and Retail Sales director for Hampden Bank, and member of BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty class of 2008. He is currently chair of the Board of Trustees at Springfield Technical Community College (from which he graduated), and has long been active with the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Springfield’s libraries, his church, and a host of other nonprofit groups.
• Jeffrey Hayden, director of the Kittrredge Center for Business and Workforce Development at Holyoke Community College, which houses a number of workforce-development programs, the Mass Export Center, and WISER, the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research. Previously, he was director of the Holyoke Office of Planning and Development and the Holyoke Economic Development and Industrial Corp.
• Michael Vann, a principal with The Vann Group, a professional services firm that provides small-to mid-size businesses with solutions such as accounting and bookkeeping, human resources, recruiting and strategic advisory services. He handles day-to-day operations of the group’s strategic advisory services and merger/acquisition activities. He is actively involved in a number of charitable organizations, and is a member of the 40 Under Forty Class of 2007.