A. Rima Dael

Age 34. Program Administrator, Berkshire Bank Foundation of the Pioneer Valley

Rima Dael’s career path was forged early in her life, although she didn’t know it at the time.

When Dael was a child, her mother enrolled her in a dance class because, in her own words, she was born “flat-footed and pigeon-toed.”

“That started a passion for the arts, and I instantly wanted to be a professional dancer,” she said, adding that soon, her interest shifted to acting and, by the time she entered college at Mount Holyoke, to stage management and administration.

That led to positions at the college’s Summer Theatre and at StageWest (now CityStage), and a number of consultancies with various arts agencies in New York, such as Artpark in Lewiston and the Better Brooklyn Community Center.

Her work in the arts pushed her further along that career path, as she developed a passion for the nonprofit sector as a whole. She earned a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from New School University in New York City in 2003, and after returning to Western Mass., put her skills to work as program manager with the Human Service Forum in Springfield.

Now, she’s moved on to serve as administrator with the Berkshire Bank Foundation of the Pioneer Valley, a position that puts her on the giving end.

Dael has become a vocal proponent for non-profit education, serving on the advisory board for Bay Path College’s master’s program, for example. She also remains actively involved with the arts, serving on the board of the UMass Fine Arts Center. “I am so passionate about the arts and education that I want to make sure that I align myself with positions that constantly educate me.”

Looking forward, Dael said her definitions of success are still evolving, and many of them are related directly to the opportunities and challenges that face her own age group.

“I have a lot of philosophical questions for the future,” she said. “Some are related to nonprofit management — what does the emerging leadership vacuum mean for people my age? Also, there’s a lot to be said about this age bracket. There was so much buzz about us being ‘slackers’ when we were in our teens and twenties. We must shrug off that mentality, and at the same time realize that the definitions of success change, constantly.”