Difference Makers Nomination Deadline

Dec. 29: Do you know someone who is truly making a difference in the Western Mass. region? BusinessWest invites you to nominate an individual or group for its 13th annual Difference Makers program. Nominations for the class of 2021 must be received by the end of the business day (5 p.m.) on Wednesday, Dec. 29. Difference Makers was launched in 2009 as a way to recognize the contributions of agencies and individuals who are contributing to quality of life in this region. Past honorees have come from dozens of business and nonprofit sectors, proving there’s no limit to the ways people can impact their communities — and the ongoing pandemic has no doubt shed a spotlight on other ways to make a difference. So, let us know who you think deserves to be recognized as a Difference Maker in our upcoming class by completing the nomination form at Honorees will be profiled in an upcoming issue of BusinessWest.


Small Business Legal Clinic Application Deadline

Jan. 1: The Western New England University Small Business Legal Clinic is accepting applications from entrepreneurs and small-business owners seeking legal assistance for the spring semester 2021. Under faculty supervision, law students assist clients with legal issues including choice of entity, employment policies, contract drafting, regulatory compliance, and intellectual-property issues relating to trademark applications and copyright. This is a free service available to local businesses that might not have the resources to obtain such services. The Small Business Clinic has assisted more than 350 small businesses since it opened. The clinic requests that small-business owners submit their applications by Friday, Jan. 1. Applications received after that date will be considered if additional resources are available. Students will begin providing services in late January. For more information, call the Legal Clinic at (413) 782-1469 or e-mail Marie Fletcher, Clinical Programs administrator, at [email protected]. For more information or to complete an online application, visit


Women’s Leadership Training Program

Starting Jan. 6: Building on the success of its popular Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series, Holyoke Community College (HCC) is launching an eight-week training program for women who want to develop and enhance their leadership skills.

For convenience, the program, “Women Leaning Into Leadership 2021: Empowering Your Voice,” is being offered over Zoom in two separate, eight-week sessions. One meets on Wednesdays, Jan. 6 through Feb. 24, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., while the other meets on Thursdays, Jan. 7 through Feb. 25, from noon to 1:30 p.m. The interactive workshops will be facilitated by Annie Shibata, owner of Growth Mindset Leadership and Communication Coaching. Enrollment is limited by design. In addition to weekly 90-minute group seminars, each participant can schedule a private, 30-minute session of personalized coaching with the instructor. During the program sessions, participants will learn to evaluate their communication skills and apply new communication techniques, practice the power of mindfulness, distinguish forms of influence and persuasion to create powerful messages, assess their leadership strengths, and create short- and long-term plans for career development. To register for the Wednesday program, visit To register for the Thursday program, visit


Asnuntuck Super Saturday

Jan. 9: Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) will hold a virtual Super Saturday event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., aimed at helping new and continuing students who have questions about how to apply, would like to speak to an advisor, or have questions regarding financial aid and registering. The college’s spring semester begins on Friday, Jan. 22. New and continuing students are invited to attend the event. Participants will also be able to virtually meet with Asnuntuck’s Manufacturing department, as well as speak with staff from ACC’s Continuing Education and Workforce Development Office to learn about our non-credit certificate options. Anyone who is interested in attending the online event, but has not yet applied, should complete the application ahead of time to maximize their time during the event. Participants may pre-register at if there is a specific department they plan to meet with. If seeking to meet with an advisor during the event, it is strongly encouraged to pre-register ahead of time at to request an appointment.


Healthcare Heroes

Jan. 14: Due to spikes in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. and beyond, BusinessWest and the Healthcare News will celebrate this year’s Healthcare Heroes with a virtual event. They include Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health; Christopher Savino, Emeline Bean, and Lydia Brisson, clinical liaisons for Berkshire Healthcare Systems; Friends of the Homeless; the Nutrition Department at Greater Springfield Senior Services Inc.; the staff at Holyoke Medical Center; the Institute for Applied Life Sciences at UMass Amherst; Rabbi Devorah Jacobson, director of Spiritual Life at JGS Lifecare; Maggie Eboso, Infection Control and Prevention coordinator at Mercy Medical Center; Jennifer Graham, home health aide at O’Connell Care at Home; and Helen Gobeil, staffing supervisor at Visiting Angels West Springfield. The Healthcare Heroes program is sponsored by Elms College (presenting sponsor), Baystate Health and Health New England (presenting sponsor), and partner sponsors Bulkley Richardson, and Trinity Health Of New England/Mercy Medical Center. More details about the event will be announced soon.


Women of Impact

Jan. 28: Due to spikes in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. and beyond, BusinessWest will celebrate this year’s Women of Impact with a virtual event. They include Tania Barber, president and CEO of Caring Health Center; Carol Campbell, president of Chicopee Industrial Contractors; Helen Caulton-Harris, Health and Human Services commissioner for the city of Springfield; Pattie Hallberg, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts; Andrea Harrington, Berkshire County district attorney; Toni Hendrix, director of Human Services at Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing; Christina Royal, president of Holyoke Community College; and Sue Stubbs, president and CEO of ServiceNet. The event is sponsored by Country Bank, Health New England, and TommyCar Auto Group (presenting sponsors), Comcast Business (supporting sponsor), and WWLP 22 News/CW Springfield (media sponsor). More details about the event will be announced soon.