Home Articles posted by BusinessWest Staff
Daily News

CHICOPEE — Elms College announced the hiring of Deirdre Griffin, SSJ as director of International Programs. She will be responsible for supporting the college’s international students, growing traditional and faculty-led study-abroad programs, and developing a vibrant community of global learning that celebrates diverse cultures and explores current issues.

“I am very pleased to have Sr. Deirdre Griffin take the lead in International Programs,” said Joyce Hampton, associate vice president of Academic Affairs for Strategic and Global Initiatives. “She brings a wealth of experience to this position and is deeply committed to the core values and mission of Elms College.” 

Griffin is a graduate of Boston College Law School and Bowdoin College. She has worked at Jewish Family Service and the Gray House in Springfield, providing a variety of transitional and support services to diverse, global populations. 

She entered the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield in 2017 and made her initial profession of vows in July. During her 20-year career as an immigration attorney, she has worked in private practice, managed interpreter services in Massachusetts courts, and coordinated refugee-resettlement services. In 2014, she spent three months on staff at the Centre Internationale of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Le Puy, France, and this summer lived with a family in Guatemala.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with our international students and our globally minded students,” Griffin said. “I look forward to sharing the charism of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the mission of the college through a global lens. ‘Connecting neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God’ is a universal and a unifying stance toward life.”

Within the current student body, Elms College has enrolled students from 14 countries, representing five continents. The college also has a thriving International Club.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County is holding an All Ideas Pitch Contest on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The program will be held at the Green at 85 Main St., Suite 105, North Adams from 6 to 8 p.m. 

EforAll’s first Pitch Contest at the Berkshire Museum in October created a lot of community buzz, with more than 100 attendees and 11 companies competing. The big winner that night was Kaitlyn Pierce of Binka Bear.

Described as “Shark Tank without the teeth,” EforAll’s friendly, free event features a business showcase and then pitches from six pre-selected contestants and two more that are added the night of the event. 

Each participant is given two and a half minutes to pitch a business or nonprofit idea to a panel of judges and the audience. At the end of it, EforAll gives away seed money to help launch these ideas. The first-place finisher wins $1,000, second place gets $750, third place wins $500, and the audience favorite also wins $500. Applications and audience registration are both available online at www.eforall.org/berkshire-county.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Are you ready to become a certified project-management professional (PMP)? Forbes.com lists a PMP certificate as the second-highest-paying IT certification for 2019, and the Project Management Institute (PMI) states that, through 2020, 1.57 million new project-management jobs will be created each year.

To help prepare community members to begin the certification process, Bay Path University’s Strategic Alliances division is hosting a three-day workshop on Jan. 6-8 that will prepare participants to take the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Exam.

The CAPM workshop, led by IT consultant and project manager Rick DeJohn from Camus Consulting Inc., combines lectures, discussions, case studies, and in-class practice testing with a review of test results. Project-management experience is not required, and anyone interested in demonstrating to employers that they have the skill set to become a project manager is encouraged to attend. 

Participants who complete the program will be awarded a certificate of completion and will earn the required 23 education hours to sit for the CAPM examination. Per the Project Management Institute, a high-school diploma, associate degree, or global equivalent is required as an exam prerequisite.

This workshop will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day on the Bay Path campus, 588 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow. To register, visit capm2020.eventbrite.com. For additional information, contact Briana Sitler at [email protected] or (413) 565-1066.

Daily News

HARTFORD, Conn. — NBT Bank Connecticut Regional President Andreas Kapetanopoulos announced that M. Kate Van Valkenburg has joined NBT’s expanding team in Connecticut. Van Valkenburg will serve as senior vice president and senior commercial banking relationship manager.

“We’re rapidly building a respected local team and are excited to welcome Kate and her wealth of commercial-banking expertise,” Kapetanopoulos said.

Van Valkenburg has more than 18 years of commercial-banking experience, including underwriting, management, and lending. Most recently, she served as commercial loan officer for ION Bank in Farmington, Conn. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from UMass. She serves the community as a board member for Gifts of Love in Avon and Neighborhood Housing Services of New Britain.

Last month, NBT Bank announced the addition of Regional Commercial Banking Manager Steve Angeletti and Senior Credit Analyst Elizabeth Hayden. The bank expects to reveal the location for its regional headquarters in the first quarter of 2020.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELDBusinessWest will honor its second annual Women of Impact today, Dec. 5, from 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the Sheraton Springfield, One Monarch Place, Springfield. The event is sold out, and media coverage is welcome.

This year’s honorees are:

• Tricia Canavan, president of United Personnel, is a highly successful businesswoman, but she has an impact in many ways, especially in her various efforts to help ensure that individuals possess the skills they need to succeed in the workplace;

• Carol Moore Cutting, president, CEO, and general manager of Cutting Edge Broadcasting, is a successful businesswoman and a role model for women of color across the region. She also epitomizes the hard work, sacrifice, and ability to overcome adversity that is necessary to succeed in business — and in life;

• Jean Deliso, principal with Deliso Financial Services, is also a successful business owner and has spent her career helping individuals, and especially women, become empowered when it comes to financial planning and securing a solid future;

• Ellen Freyman is an accomplished business lawyer, but she would be the first to say the biggest impact she is making concerns helping others, especially women and minorities, get involved in their communities and make an impact themselves.

• Mary Hurley has been a life-long public servant and has made an impact at every stop in her career — as a lawyer, a Springfield city councilor, mayor of the city, District Court judge, and, most recently, as governor’s councilor. At each stop, she has impacted lives in countless ways;

• Lydia Martinez-Alvarez, assistant superintendent of schools in Springfield and the first Hispanic woman to hold that post, is being impactful in many ways, from helping to ensure students can succeed in the workplace after they accept their diplomas to serving as a role model for young women, and especially Hispanic women;

• Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc., has transformed that agency into a powerful force when it comes to empowering young women and enabling them to seize career opportunities. As a mother and master of the art of balancing life and work, she is also a role model to those girls across the region; and

• Kate Putnam, managing director of Golden Seeds and a successful businesswomen in her own right, is making an impact in several ways, but especially in her efforts to mentor entrepreneurs, and especially women entrepreneurs, helping them attain much-needed capital and grow this region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The Women of Impact Awards Luncheon welcomes Lisa Tanzer, president of Life is Good, as keynote speaker. The Women of Impact program is sponsored by TommyCar Auto Group and Country Bank (presenting sponsors), Comcast Business and Granite State Development (supporting sponsors), New Valley Bank & Trust (speaker sponsor), and WWLP 22 News/CW Springfield (exclusive media sponsor).

Daily News

FLORENCE — Florence Bank has promoted Cynthia Malinowski to the position of vice president and branch manager of the downtown Northampton office.

Malinowski brings extensive knowledge and skills to her new role. Prior to her recent promotion, she was the assistant vice president and branch manager at the downtown Northampton office. During her tenure at the bank, she has been the recipient of the President’s Club Award, which is awarded to employees who demonstrate superior levels of performance, customer service, and overall contribution to the bank. She has also completed various professional banking series course studies, including America’s Community Bankers Training Series.

Malinowski serves her community as an active member of Easthampton’s Helping Hand Society and is a member of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce.

“We are thrilled to see Cindy’s career progress with the bank as she begins her new role as vice president,” said John Heaps, Jr., bank president and CEO. “Her consistent performance, dependability, and expert knowledge have made her an integral asset. We look forward to watching her demonstrate her impeccable skills in the years to come.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Michael Ostrowski, president and CEO of Arrha Credit Union, has received the honor of a third reappointment to the World Affairs Committee of the Credit Union National Assoc. (CUNA). This committee reports to the CUNA board of directors with respect to matters related to the World Council of Credit Unions and international policy matters. The World Affairs Committee serves as a focal point for developing policies, strategies, leadership, education, and resources for credit unions throughout the world.

Ostrowski has been assisting in overcoming challenges and capitalizing on opportunities between and among the U.S. and international credit-union activities to expand credit-union access throughout the world. He traveled to Cuba to engage its government on establishing credit unions and to Poland to assist its credit unions in regulatory advocacy with the Polish government. He also serves as a connection between CUNA and the World Council of Credit Unions, where he provided financial education, assistance, and guidance to Puerto Rico’s credit unions in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

“It continues to be an honor to serve, identify issues, serve as a connection, develop plans, and make recommendations to help organize individuals towards development and functioning of credit unions worldwide,” Ostrowski said.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Members of the Holyoke Community College (HCC) community will help spread some holiday cheer on Thursday, Dec. 12, as they deliver piles of wrapped, donated gifts to representatives from four local charities at the closing reception for the college’s 20th annual Giving Tree campaign.

This year, the HCC community will fulfill the holiday wishes of a nearly 400 clients from Homework House, WestMass ElderCare, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

The Giving Tree closing reception will run from 10 a.m. until noon in the PeoplesBank Conference Center on the third floor of the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development on the main HCC campus, 303 Homestead Ave. Refreshments will be served. 

Each year during the annual campaign, trees are set up in designated areas around campus. Participants choose colored-coded tags from one of the nonprofit agencies based on the age of the recipient and their wish for a gift. The wrapped gifts are then piled on tables for the closing celebration, when HCC faculty, staff, and students join with representatives from the agencies to distribute the gifts and share food, stories, and joy. 

“This is an amazing tradition and always brings out the best of HCC,” college President Christina Royal said. “The need is so great, as evidenced by the number of gift tags on these trees. Every year, I am really blown away by the generosity of our community here at the college.”

Daily News

WESTFIELD — The Westfield Starfires of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) have named Hunter Golden director of Player Personnel.

“Hunter has a proven track record of building championship teams in summer collegiate baseball. He has tremendous relationships with college programs across the country, and I have given him carte blanche to construct the Starfires roster moving forward,” said Starfires owner and co-founder Chris Thompson.

Golden will be responsible for recruiting talent from colleges across the U.S. and Puerto Rico and transition them into summer baseball in New England. Players will live with host families in Western Mass. and become involved with many community initiatives each summer.

“I’m excited to be working with Chris and Donnie and helping to put together a winning ballclub that fans can be proud of and excited to see every summer,” Golden said. “Westfield is a great baseball community that deserves a winning team. We’re already focused on assembling a group of players who won’t just be successful this season, but that is the kind of team that sets the tone for a culture of sustained success that we hope to build on year after year.

“We’re in a fortunate position to have a lot of trust placed in us by ownership, and have been granted a lot of freedom and latitude in terms of using whatever resources we need in order to build a great roster and provide as good a player experience as we possibly can,” he went on. “The framework already exists here for a winning program, and we’re extremely optimistic that, with a little work, we’ll have a chance to be competitive right off the bat.” 

The Starfires signed a 15-year lease with the city of Westfield for Bullens Field in 2019. The FCBL is a wood-bat, collegiate summer league. Each team plays a 56-game schedule from May through the beginning of August. The Futures League has added a new team to its league in 2020, with the New Britain Bees coming over from the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

Starfires 2020 season memberships are now on sale at westfieldstarfires.com.

Daily News

AMHERST — Hampshire College kicked off a major capital campaign, announcing it has already raised $11.2 million in gifts toward its campaign goal of $60 million by 2024. The campaign will help launch Hampshire’s second half-century as an independent college, as Hampshire prepares to ring in its 50th anniversary year in 2020.

“Change in the Making: A Campaign for Hampshire” will harness the outpouring of alumni and community support for the college this year and couple it with a bold new framework for the Hampshire curriculum and student experience. Its accreditation maintained last month, Hampshire is now actively reinventing its academic program with innovations aimed at recruiting students, making its program more sustainable financially, and transforming higher education following the college’s mission.

The campaign is currently led by four alumni co-chairs: Ken Burns (’71), award-winning documentary filmmaker; Gail Caulkins (’73), president of the Greenacre Foundation and former Hampshire College trustee; Lucy Ann McFadden (’70), retired astrophysicist, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, and a member of the Hampshire board of trustees and chair of its advancement committee; and Julie Schecter (’71), director and trustee of numerous organizations, including the SHIFT Foundation, co-founder of Hampshire’s Ethics and the Common Good program, vice chair of Hampshire’s board of trustees, and chair of its trusteeship and governance committee.

The co-chairs are working actively to secure additional major gifts, supported by a campaign council, a diverse group of volunteers that represents the board of trustees, major donors, college leaders, faculty, staff, students, and parents. The campaign is administered by Chief Advancement Officer Jennifer Chrisler and the college’s Advancement Division staff.

Hampshire seeks to secure an additional $3 million in commitments before the end of 2019, toward the campaign goal of $60 million in unrestricted operating support by June 30, 2024.

“We are creating a big tent for multiple constituencies to participate, engage, and connect more deeply with Hampshire,” Chrisler said. “Our goal is to foster a genuine culture of philanthropy to secure a long future for Hampshire.”