Briefcase Departments


Leadership Pioneer Valley Campaign Kicks Off

SPRINGFIELD — Leadership Pioneer Valley’s leadership campaign committee gathered last week to announce outreach efforts for LPV’s class of 2018. The committee includes emerging leaders in education, banking, insurance, healthcare, local government, and nonprofit management. In small teams, they plan to connect with employers, community leaders, and prospective class participants throughout the region. They’ll work through June to identify the most promising applicants. Only 40 spots are available for the class of 2018, which begins in September. LPV’s 10-month regional leadership-development program engages the Pioneer Valley’s up-and-coming emerging leaders through learning and exploration. Participants are trained in leadership skills by experts in a classroom setting. They also attend in-depth field experiences across the region, where they meet with local leaders and explore the region’s economy and culture. Applied leadership experience is developed through work on projects for local nonprofits and government agencies. To date, more than 200 individuals representing more than 90 companies, organizations, and municipalities have participated. “Leadership Pioneer Valley made me a better collaborator, and it’s exciting to revisit that skill in partnership with other alums as we seek out new LPV participants who can help the Pioneer Valley succeed,” said Pat Gagnon of Baystate Health and LPV’s class of 2015. The campaign committee will seek out individuals in all sectors and focus on recruiting those committed to growing their personal, professional, and civic leadership. Applicants will be considered in a competitive application process that prioritizes diversity by employment sector, geography, race, gender, and sexual orientation. Emerging leaders, mid-career professionals with leadership potential, and those looking to better the Pioneer Valley should consider applying. Now entering its seventh class cycle, LPV alumni are leading in many ways throughout the region. Graduates are receiving promotions, growing businesses, running for elected office, and governing nonprofit boards. Together, the group represents a regionally unique leadership network reaching into every community. The deadline for LPV class of 2018 applications is July 3. Applications and further information can be found at

Unemployment Up in February

BOSTON — Local unemployment rates increased in 22 labor-market areas, remained the same in one area, and dropped in one area in the state during the month of February, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported. Compared to February 2016, the rates were down in 23 areas and remained the same in one area. Six of the 15 areas for which job estimates are published recorded seasonal job gains in February. Gains occurred in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Springfield, Worcester, Peabody-Salem-Beverly, Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, and New Bedford areas. From February 2016 to February 2017, 13 of the 15 areas added jobs, with the largest percentage gains in the New Bedford, Barnstable, Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Taunton-Middleborough-Norton, and Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford areas. In order to compare the statewide rate to local unemployment rates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the statewide unadjusted unemployment rate for February was 4.2%. Last week, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 3.4% in the month of February. The statewide seasonally adjusted jobs estimate showed a 10,100-job gain in February, and an over-the-year gain of 57,700 jobs.

Speaker Sisterhood Adds Two Public-speaking Clubs

NORTHAMPTON — The Speaker Sisterhood, a network of public-speaking clubs for women with clubs in Springfield, Amherst, Northampton, and South Hadley, is adding two new clubs, one in Greenfield and a second Northampton club, for women who want to become more confident speakers. Both new clubs scheduled open houses. The Northampton open house was held on April 6 at Click Workspace at 9 1/2 Market St., and was be led by Cathy McNally, a corporate communication trainer with a background in stand-up and improv comedy. The Greenfield open house will take place on Tuesday, April 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 170 Main St., and will be led by documentarian and communication coach Carlyn Saltman, innovator of the coaching method known as Video Mirror Feedback. Angela Lussier, CEO of Speaker Sisterhood, says that the mission of the clubs is to provide a community for “women who want to increase confidence, boost public-speaking skills, have fun, and maybe even change the world.” Lussier, a well-known public speaker and author of three books, added that “each Speaker Sisterhood club is more than just a place to practice speaking in front of a group. It’s a tribe of women who are supporting and empowering each other to follow their dreams by building confidence in their voice.” According to McNally, who is also the Speaker Sisterhood program development director, the program uses interactive activities, humor, and other tools that engage women at all skill levels. “We draw on fun exercises from the comedy world to make sure women have a blast at our meetings. At our open houses, guests can get a sense right away of the lively and supportive atmosphere we create together.” According to Saltman, women can attend two club meetings for free before deciding to join. “We want to give every woman who visits a chance to see if the club is a good match for them.” Saltman said the group covers the topics that meet the needs of most public speakers: storytelling, persuasion, humor, body language, and thinking on one’s feet. “Women are a powerful force in our world, and we want to bring them together to help them better articulate their ideas, stories, and views. We believe that is exactly what the world needs right now,” said Lussier of the Speaker Sisterhood, which formed in 2016, has several clubs in Western Mass., and is expected to expand nationwide in 2017.

Single-family Home Sales Down in February

SPRINGFIELD — Single-family home sales were down 23.3% in the Pioneer Valley in February compared to the same time last year, while the median price was up 3.2% to $180,000, according to the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley. In Franklin County, sales were down 31.3%, while the median price fell 25.4% from a year earlier. In Hampden County, sales were down 21.9%, while the median price was up 3.8%. And in Hampshire County, sales fell 13.0% from February 2016, while the median price was down 4.7%.

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