The Young Business and Community Leaders of Western Massachusetts
In 2007, BusinessWest introduced a new recognition program called 40 Under Forty. It wasn’t unique — business journals across the country have similar initiatives — but it was new to this region.
It was designed to enlighten the region and introduce it to 40 rising stars in the realms of business, nonprofit management, and community service. It was also created to inspire others to become leaders and find their own ways to join the ranks of 40 Under Forty winners. Five years later, the program continues to succeed on all levels, and a 40 Under Forty plaque has become a coveted prize across the four counties of Western Mass.
It has become a symbol of excellence, an honor that speaks to the energy, drive, passion, and commitment to help others that all the winners share.
With that, we introduce the Class of 2012, a diverse group that includes entrepreneurs, professionals, nonprofit managers, a state senator, and a police sergeant. The stories are all different, but the common denominator is that these young men and women possess that most important of qualities: leadership.
2012 40 Under Forty Winners:
Dr. Ronald Laprise
Kelli Ann Nielsen
Dr. Nate Somers
Sen. James Welch
Photography for this special section by Denise Smith Photography
Meet Our Judges
This year’s nominations were scored by a panel of five judges, who accepted the daunting challenge of reviewing more than 110 nominations, and scoring individuals based on several factors, ranging from achievements in business to work within the community. BusinessWest would like to thank these outstanding members of the Western Mass. business community for volunteering their time to the sixth annual 40 Under Forty competition. They are:
• Scott Foster, partner in the Business & Finance Department of the law firm Bulkley Richardson, develops practical, cost-effective legal strategies that complement the goals of the business and the business owner. His clients range from startups seeking venture capital to established businesses preparing for a transition to the next generation or a transfer to new owners. Foster, a member of the 40 Under Forty Class of 2011, is the co-founder of Valley Venture Mentors, an organization that provides critical mentoring to early-stage, pre-seed companies. He also serves on committees of local organizations focused on growing the business and entrepreneurial community in the Pioneer Valley.
• Jaimye Hebert is currently a vice president of Commercial Lending at Monson Savings Bank. Previously she worked for People’s United Bank (formerly known as the Bank of Western Massachusetts) as a vice president of Commercial Lending and various other positions, including credit officer and portfolio manager. A graduate of Springfield Technical Community College and Western New England University and a 40 Under Forty honoree in 2011, Hebert is a lifelong resident of Western Mass. and serves on the STCC Foundation board of directors. She is also actively involved with local organizations, including the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and the Pioneer Valley Junior Soccer League.
• Lynn Ostrowski is the director of Brand & Corporate Relations at Health New England. Her role includes oversight of brand, marketing and advertising, graphic design, communications, community relations, sponsorships, public relations, and government affairs. She recently joined the faculty of Elms College, appointed program coordinator for the Health Services Administration undergraduate degree. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Health Fitness and her master’s degree in Health Promotion & Wellness Management from Springfield College, and her doctorate in Health Psychology from Capella University.
• Kirk Smith is president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, a position he took just over a year ago. He has been an operator of residential facilities and a nonprofit executive, minister, and motivational speaker for more than 17 years in Ohio, Florida, and Massachusetts. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in Science of Human Services and a master’s in Organizational Management and Leadership from Springfield College. Smith has been featured on several national and local television shows and in news publications and magazines discussing YMCA work in urban communities and professional staff development.
• Jim Theroux is the Flavin Professor of Entrepreneurship at UMass Amherst. He had a business career in the cable-TV industry that began with Time-Warner Cable. After several years there, he went out on his own by raising $20 million in venture capital to start a new cable company. That company was sold in 1991, at which time Theroux joined the faculty at UMass Amherst. There, Theroux has partnered with scientists to form new companies. He is a co-founder of two biotech ventures and a food-science company. In addition to angel investing, Theroux is an advisor to many area businesses. He received his MBA at Harvard University and his doctorate in Educational Technology at UMass.