Daily News

Ashley Kohl to Be Keynote Speaker at Super 60 Lunch

SPRINGFIELD — Ashley Kohl, owner of Ohana School of Performing Arts and an entrepreneur with an inspiring story to tell, will be the keynote speaker at the Springfield Regional Chamber’s Super 60 lunch on Thursday, Nov. 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield.

The Super 60, a program that traces its roots back to the late ’80s, when it was the Fabulous 50 before being expanded, is being revamped for 2023. In addition to the two traditional categories — Total Revenue and Revenue Growth — there will be three new categories recognizing nonprofits, startups, and giving back to the community. There will be 12 winners in each category.

The nomination deadline has been extended to Friday, Sept. 15, and the nomination process has been simplified, with an online form at springfieldregionalchamber.com/super-60-nomination.

Winners and other guests will gather for the traditional Super 60 lunch, which this year will feature Kohl as keynoter. Her story, one of taking on risk in pursuit of a dream, is known to many, and inspiring on many levels.

The one-time host of the TV show Mass Appeal, she left that secure job to fulfill a long-held desire to own her own business, and the journey was marked by personal upheaval, financial challenges, and the sudden uprooting to a new location when the building where she was leasing space was sold and eventually demolished.

“I knew my job with Mass Appeal was secure, but I wanted to chase my dreams of securing a dance studio,” said Kohl, one of BusinessWest’s Forty Under 40 honorees in 2018, two years after she launched her business, noting that, while doing that, she had to essentially “reinvent my life” by moving on from a bad marriage and deep financial problems.

“I almost lost my house … I was not in a place to start a business,” she recalled. “But I took a chance because I wanted to chase my dreams, and I felt so sure of what I wanted to do.”

She will go into much greater detail at the Super 60 lunch, always a well-attended event that celebrates top-performing companies in the region.

Tickets will be available for purchase at the chamber’s website, springfieldregionalchamber.com. For more information on Super 60, the nomination process, or the Nov. 9 lunch, call (413) 787-1555.