Agenda Departments


CPE Forum
April 21 to June 2: The Continuing Professional Education Forum, held at the Westfield Athenaeum, has announced its seven-week spring series. All programs are three hours in length and start at 3 p.m. on the following Tuesdays:
• April 21: “The Dollars and Cents of Divorce,” Attorney Julie Dialessi-Lafley, Bacon Wilson;
• April 28: “Social Security Questions Answered,” Tim Flynn, Edward Jones;
• May 5: “Dealing with IRS Collection Division,” Attorney Eric Green, Green & Sklarz;
• May 12: “Income T’s: Today, Tomorrow, and Taxes,” Garry Heiney, Income & Wealth Advisors;
• May 19: “Why Are We Afraid to Invest?” Michael Callahan, Retirement Plan Advisory Services;
• May 26: “Exchange-traded Funds in Retirement Planning,” Michael Callahan, Retirement Advisory Plan Services; and
• June 2: “Massachusetts Employment-law Update,” Attorney Karina Schrengohost, Royal LLP.
The CPE Forum was established in 1980 by Josephine Sarnelli, CPA. She continues to volunteer her services in organizing 40 hours of educational programming each year. “The CPE Forum’s mission is to provide high-quality educational programs at a low cost to business professionals, including certified public accountants, enrolled agents, and others seeking continuing professional educational credits for licensing purposes,” she said. “It is also open to the general community.” The cost of attending the entire series is $50, which provides 21 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) credits. “Besides being an incredible value, the CPE Forum offers a place for business professionals to meet, exchange ideas, and network,” Sarnelli added. All sessions are held at Lang Auditorium at the Westfield Athenaeum, 6 Elm St., Westfield. Payment is due at the time of attending. For more information, visit or call (413) 746-9067.

Elevator-pitch Contest
April 22: Six local community banks will sponsor a live elevator-pitch competition at the 12th annual awards banquet for the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. Representatives from each institution — Berkshire Bank, Country Bank for Savings, First Niagara Bank, PeoplesBank, United Bank, and Westfield Bank — will also serve as judges at the annual event at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. An elevator pitch is an overview of an idea for a new business. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride. The term is used when an entrepreneur pitches an idea to a venture capitalist to receive funding. The competition will feature a student representative from each of the participating local colleges: American International College, Amherst College, Bay Path University, Elms College, Greenfield Community College, Hampshire College, Holyoke Community College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Springfield College, Springfield Technical Community College, UMass Amherst, Western New England University, and Westfield State University. The judges will pick the top three students, who will receive cash awards, with the winner receiving $1,000. Other features of the banquet include keynote speaker Aaron St. John, co-founder and CEO of Springfield-based HitPoint; entrepreneur and awardee exhibits featuring 76 student entrepreneurs from area colleges; and recognition of the Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Alumni Award winner, Bill Goldfarb of Lefty’s Brewery. For more information about the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, visit or contact Cari Carpenter at (413) 335-3535 or [email protected].

Springfield Restaurant Week
April 23 to May 2: The Springfield City Council’s young professionals subcommittee, partnered with the Springfield Business Improvement District (BID), will serve up mouth-watering meals during Springfield Restaurant Week 2015. Many downtown and riverfront restaurants are featured in this event, including Chef Wayne’s Big Mamou, Currents (Marriott), Champions (Marriott), Luxe Burger Bar, Nadim’s Mediterranean, Panjabi Tadka, PICKS/MVP (Sheraton), Plan B Burger, the Fort/Student Prince, Theodore’s, Pizzeria Uno, Adolfo’s, McCaffrey’s Public House, Blackjack Steakhouse, and Shakago. Each restaurant will offer a special two- or three-course dinner menu for a set price of $20.15 per person. Further details and menus will be posted on Event sponsors include Baystate Health, Williams Distributing, White Lion Brewing Co., Garten, LLC Landscaping and Services, Farmington Bank, MassLive, and Inspired Marketing Inc.

Breast Cancer Survivors’ Day 
April 25: Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a professional ballroom dancer who lost her lower left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, will be the keynote speaker at the 18th annual Rays of Hope Breast Cancer Survivors’ Day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the MassMutual Center. “I refuse to be called a victim. I am not defined by what happened in my life. I am a survivor, defined by how I live my life,” said Haslet-Davis. The former corporate manager recently returned to the dance floor after having to relearn her craft. Through her appearances on CNN, Dancing with the Stars, The View, and other television shows — as well as at personal appearances before corporate and private audiences both large and small — she hopes her emotional honesty has served as an example to others looking to overcome adversity in their lives. Haslet-Davis has been honored with the 2013 Med Star Gala Victory Award and was recognized along with first responders from the bombing scene at the 2013 Schwartz Center Gala in Boston. She has also been honored with an On Cue Tribute Award and was named one of Cosmo’s Most Powerful Women of 2013. A CNN documentary detailing her first year after the marathon bombing, The Survivor Diaries, with Anderson Cooper, was recently nominated for an Emmy Award. In addition to the keynote address by Haslet-Davis, participants will be able to select from two workshops on a number of topics, including “Breast Reconstruction,” “Hormone Therapy and Sexuality after Breast Cancer,” “Tai Chi – Regain 8 Years of Youth,” Safe and Effective Skin Care Products after Treatment,” “Why Laughter is the Best Medicine,” and others. There will also be two sessions offered in Spanish only: “Yoga en Movimiento” and “Cómo Enfrentar los Efectos Psicológicos y Emocionales del Cancer.” This year’s event will again include an art display from the Rays of Hope-sponsored Art from the Heart program facilitated by Pat Hayes. Participants will also be able to choose from two interactive stations during the day. In “Paint Social Art!” a local artist will guide painters — no experience necessary — in creating their own mini-painting which they can display at home. At the “Creative Card Bar,” women from Life’s Memories and More will assist participants in a do-it-yourself card-making session. There will also be networking opportunities throughout the day and the chance to visit with several exhibitors selling a variety of breast-related products and more. A continental breakfast and buffet luncheon will be served. Registration is required. The cost is $35 per person, with the remaining expenses underwritten by Rays of Hope. Parking will be validated for the Civic Center Parking Garage only. For those unable to afford the fee, a limited number of scholarships are available for breast-cancer survivors by calling Sandra Hubbard at the Rays of Hope Outreach Office at (413) 794-9556. For more information on the 18th annual Breast Cancer Survivors’ Day, or to request a registration form, call (413) 794-9556. For more information on Rays of Hope, visit

Family Craft Day
April 25: Forastiere Family Funeral & Cremation, which has served the Greater Springfield community since 1905, announced its first ever Family Craft Day, to be held from 9 a.m. to noon at Captain Charles Leonard House on Main Street in Agawam. “This is the time of year when we are celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. As part of our commitment to our community, we wanted to offer families a fun and creative way to mark those holidays, regardless of whether or not they have lost a loved one,” said Frank Forastiere, president and funeral director of Forastiere Family Funeral & Cremation. All are invited to create gifts for Mother’s and Father’s Day, for teachers and grandparents, as a remembrance of a lost loved one, or as a simple thank you. The Family Craft Day is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. To reserve a spot, call (413) 525-2800. For information about Forastiere Family Funeral & Cremation, visit

Military Ball & Gala
April 25: The Pioneer Valley USO announced that the fifth annual Military Ball & Gala Honoring Our Troops will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Presenting sponsors include Steve Lewis Subaru and 1812 Auto Body, and the Purple Heart sponsor is Bay Path University. Music will be provided by the Bronx Wanderers. Tickets are available by calling the USO office in Chicopee at (413) 557-3290. The Military Ball & Gala is the largest fund-raising effort of the year and funds many of the Pioneer Valley USO’s programs and services. It was designed in keeping with the long-standing traditions of formal military balls while allowing the public to attend and participate in a gala evening. Military formal and business dress is required. The Pioneer Valley USO serves the needs of active military and their families through the individual efforts of the volunteers, board of directors, and the public.

VVM Awards Ceremony
April 30: Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) will host its inaugural Accelerator Awards event at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The event will honor recent graduates of its new Accelerator Program, which is currently grooming 29 startup teams from across the Pioneer Valley for success by imparting meaningful business knowledge, structure, and tools. During the awards ceremony, the organization will award grants of up to $50,000 each to startup teams selected as finalists. The event runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and will include a lively networking reception as well as a dinner and awards program, featuring startup teams and an address by John Harthorne, founder and CEO of MassChallenge. This year’s Accelerator Program is funded by MassMutual, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, with the mission to support an entrepreneurial renaissance in Springfield and the Pioneer Valley. During the four-month Accelerator Program, each team is assigned to a peer-supported group, introduced to VVM advisors, and provided free co-working space in downtown Springfield. The teams engage in investment-readiness boot camps with hands-on training, expert-led lectures, peer collaboration, advisor meetings, and practice judging rounds. Teams also participate in VVM’s ongoing weekly workshops that cover strategy, innovation, marketing, sales, team building/dynamics, best practices, fund-raising, and introductions to term-sheet and valuation processes. The positive, rigorous training program is structured around the Lean LaunchPad curriculum, which emphasizes achieving the highest possible investment-readiness level and overcoming the three main causes of startup death: failing to achieve product-market fit, premature scaling, and team-member dynamics.

Not Just Business as Usual
April 30: The Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) Foundation’s Not Just Business as Usual (NJBAU) event is one of the premiere networking events for business leaders in Western Mass. This annual celebration, in its sixth year, is a celebration of innovative thinking which gives participants the opportunity to learn from business experts while raising significant funding for the STCC WORKS scholarship program. The event will be held at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. A cocktail and networking reception will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m., with dinner and the keynote speaker, Google Engineering Director Steve Vinter, to follow from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Vinter has overseen the growth of Google’s Cambridge site from 15 software engineers in 2007 to more than 900 today. He is responsible for developing digital-publishing products such as Google eBooks, Google Play Newsstand, and Play for Education, and has over 20 years of industry experience working in the Boston area, focusing on building products and services for hundreds of millions of users of mobile and cloud computing. He also is the co-founder of MassCAN, a partnership of organizations which collaborate to inspire and educate students in Massachusetts to learn computing and prepare them to lead and innovate the future economy, which will be driven by computer technology. This year, NJBAU will feature interactive workstations featuring the STCC Mobile SIM and Engineering program. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are now available. Tickets are $100 each, and sponsorships begin at $1,500. For additional information or to become a sponsor, contact Christina Tuohey, STCC director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations, at (413) 755-4475 or [email protected]. To purchase tickets online, visit

May 12-14: With manufacturing a driving force of economic growth in the Northeast, as well as across the U.S., more than 12,000 business owners, engineers, designers, production managers, and purchasing executives will gather at EASTEC, the East Coast’s premier manufacturing event. Produced by SME, the biennial event takes place at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield and features more than 650 exhibitors and three days of complimentary educational sessions. In its 34th year, the event showcases the latest manufacturing technologies from additive manufacturing/3D printing to waterjet cutting, and provides access to industry experts sharing insights on how to foster innovation, increase productivity, and improve profits. This year, attendees will also get to see more than 300 new products being highlighted at the show. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with resources, research and purchase the latest technologies, and discover ways to improve productivity and increase profits. Meanwhile, the complimentary educational sessions will address trending topics such as automation innovations and Lean creativity, along with other major advancements in manufacturing. New features in 2015 will include keynote presentations from Carl Palme, applications product manager, Rethink Robotics; and Jason Prater, vice president of Development, Plex Systems. To learn more about EASTEC, view full conference and exhibit details, or register, visit

40 Under Forty
June 18: The ninth annual 40 Under Forty award program, staged by BusinessWest, will be held at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House. The event honors the region’s most accomplished and civic-minded professionals under age 40, whose stories are told in this issue. Tickets to the event cost $65, and tables of 10 are still available. Order by calling (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or by visiting HERE. Sponsors include Northwestern Mutual (presenting sponsor), Fathers & Sons, the Isenberg School of Mamagement at UMass Amherst, Moriarty & Primack, Paragus Strategic IT, and United Bank.

Western Mass. Business Expo
Nov. 4: Comcast Business will present the fifth annual Western Mass. Business Expo at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield, produced by BusinessWest and the Healthcare News in partnership with Go Graphix and Rider Productions. The business-to-business show will feature more than 100 booths, seminars and Show Floor Theater presentations, breakfast and lunch programs, and a day-capping Expo Social and the return of the Valley Venture Mentors Pitch Contest. Details about specific events, programs, and featured speakers will be printed in future issues of BusinessWest. Current sponsors include MGM Springfield, Expo Social sponsor; the Isenberg School of Business at UMass Amherst, education sponsor; DIF Design, silver sponsor; and 94.7 WMAS, media sponsor. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Exhibitor spaces are also available, with booth prices starting at $750. For more information on sponsorships or booth purchase, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100.

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