This is the second class of Women of Impact, a new recognition program created by BusinessWest to recognize individuals who are making a difference in this community and tell stories that need to be told.
This is a diverse class of winners, in every sense of that phrase, but especially when it comes to the manner in which they’re making an impact, whether it’s through public service, turning around a nonprofit, connecting individuals with opportunities to serve their communities, managing a school system, mentoring entrepreneurs, helping individuals and families find financial security, running a successful business, or donating time and talent to area nonprofits and institutions.
Join us as we celebrate them on Dec. 5 at the Sheraton Springfield. We invite you to come and applaud these truly impactful women.
Date: Thursday, December 5, 2019 Time: 11 a.m.-1:45 p.m. Tickets: ON SALE NOW $65/person; $650/table of 10 Location: Sheraton Springfield, One, Monarch Place, Springfield, MA 01144 For more information: Call (413) 781-8600 x100 or email at [email protected]
THE 2019 WOMEN OF IMPACT AWARDS LUNCHEON IS SOLD OUT
Lisa Tanzer, president of Life is Good, has over 25 years of consumer brand experience. Prior to becoming president, Lisa served as the company’s head of Marketing after spending over 20 years on the board of directors of the Life is Good Kids Foundation. She’s held executive positions in the entertainment, ecommerce, and education sectors. Earlier in her career, Lisa held marketing and strategy roles at Hasbro, Staples, The Gillette Company, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. She received her BA from Tufts University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Taylor Knight joined 22News in July of 2018 as a multimedia journalist. Currently, Taylor is the co-anchor of the 22News weekday morning newscasts and a reporter for the 22News I-Team. Before arriving in Springfield, Taylor was a reporter for FiOS1 News in New Jersey. Taylor began her career as a multimedia journalist in Connecticut, covering news and sports in Fairfield County. Taylor earned her B.A. in broadcast journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia. During college, she interned at WFSB in Connecticut and NBC Sports Philadelphia. In her free time, Taylor enjoys spending time with her dog, running, and watching the Philadelphia Eagles. She is excited to now be “Working for You!”
More than 400 people turned out at the Sheraton Springfield on Dec. 6 for BusinessWest’s inaugural Women of Impact luncheon. Eight women were honored for their achievements in business and with giving back to the community. Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito attended and offered remarks on subjects ranging from advancements in STEM education to a host of bipartisan efforts at the State House. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno also offered remarks. The keynote speaker was Lei Wang, the first Asian woman to complete the Explorers Grand Slam.
The first Asian woman to complete the Explorers Grand Slam. Lei Wang’s journey redefined success in her own terms, and today, she is challenging individuals around the world to do the same.
In 2004, Lei, who grew up as a Beijing city girl who had no athletic training, set out to climb Mount Everest. She was on a promising career trek in finance with an MBA from Wharton. But she was excited about proving that an ordinary person could climb Everest. That excitement empowered her to not only climb Everest, but to become the first Asian woman to complete a journey to the summits of the highest mountains on each of the 7 continents and to the north and south pole, a feat called the Explorer’s Grand Slam. As she endured outstanding hardships and overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles, she made an astonishing discovery. She discovered that excitement is the driving force motivates and empowers every one of us and the secret to innovation, peak performance and extraordinary achievement. Today as a speaker, author and adventurer she travels the world to ascend new summits and empower individuals and organizations to dream big, take a leap of faith and to tap into the power of excitement to realize their potential and reach the heights of success. Read more about Lei here.
Meet the Judges
Samalid Hogan is the regional director for the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network’s Western Regional Office. In that role, she has built partnerships across public, private, and civic sectors to achieve economic-development goals for the Pioneer Valley region. In 2014, Hogan founded CoWork Springfield, the city’s first co-working space, which focuses on serving women and minority-owned businesses. In addition, she was appointed to the Governor’s Latino Advisory Commission in 2017, and serves on the boards of several organizations, including Common Capital, the New England Public Radio Foundation, the Minority Business Alliance, and National Junior Tennis and Learning of Greater Springfield. A BusinessWest 40 Under Forty honoree in 2013 and winner of the Continued Excellence Award in 2018, she was also awarded the Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award in 2017 and was recognized as a Woman Trailblazer and Trendsetter by the Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce in 2016.
Susan Jaye-Kaplan is the founder of the Pioneer Valley Women’s Running Club and Go FIT Inc., and co-founder of Link to Libraries Inc., an organization whose mission is to collect and distribute books to public elementary schools and nonprofit organizations in Western Mass. and Connecticut. She is also the co-founder of the Women’s Leadership Network and founder of the Pioneer Valley Women’s Running Club of Western Mass., as well as an advisory board member and fundraiser for Square One. She has received one of the nation’s Daily Point of Light Awards, the President’s Citation Award at Western New England College, Elms College’s Step Forward/Step Ahead Woman of Vision Award, Reminder Publications’ Hometown Hero Award, the Mass. Commission on the Status of Women Unsung Heroines Award, the New England Patriots’ International Charitable Foundation Community MVP Award (the only person to receive this award two times), and the Girl Scouts of Pioneer Valley’s Women of Distinction Award. She was chosen one of BusinessWest’s Difference Makers in 2009. She has also received the National Conference on Community Justice Award, the Springfield Pynchon Award, and the Holyoke Rotary’s Paul Harris Award.
Dora Robinson has served as a nonprofit leader and practitioner for more than 35 years. She recently retired from the United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) after serving for more than eight years as president and CEO. Previously, she served as the first full-time president and CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services for 19 years. The foundation for these leadership roles is based on previous experiences as corporate director and vice president for the Center for Human Development and vice president of Education at the Urban League of Springfield. Her earlier professional experiences included social work with adolescents and families, community outreach, and program planning and management. She is currently an adjunct professor at Springfield College School for Social Work and the School for Professional Studies. Dora has received much recognition for her work as a nonprofit executive leader and her work in social justice. Most recently, she was elected to serve on the board of directors for the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts and is serving as a steering committee member to establish a neighborhood-based library in East Forest Park.
Passion is the word that defines these heroes. And it was on clear display Oct. 25 at the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden, site of the Healthcare Heroes Gala.
This was the second such gala. The event was a huge success, not because of the venue (although that was a factor) or the views (although they certainly helped), but because of the accomplishments, the dedication, and, yes, the passion being relayed from the podium.
There are seven winners in all, in categories chosen to reflect the broad scope of the health and wellness sector in Western Mass., and the incredible work being done within it. Go HERE to view the 2018 Healthcare Heroes Program Guide
There were more than 70 nominations across seven categories for the Healthcare Heroes Class of 2018. Scoring these nominations was a difficult task that fell to three individuals, including two members of the Class of 2017, with extensive backgrounds in health and wellness. They are:
Dr. Michael Willers:
Holly Chaffee, MSN, BSN, RN: Winner in the Healthcare Heroes Health/Wellness Administrator/Administration category in 2107, Chaffee is president and CEO of VNA Care, a subsidiary of Atrius Health. Formerly (and when she was named a Healthcare Hero) she was the president and CEO of Porchlight VNA/Homecare, based in Lee.
Dexter Johnson: A long-time administrator with the Greater Springfield YMCA, Johnson was named president and CEO of that Y, one of the oldest in the country, in the fall of 2017. He started his career at the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, and, after a stint at YMCA of the USA, he came to the Springfield Y earlier this decade as senior vice president and chief operating officer.
Dr. Michael Willers: Winner in the Patient/Resident/Client-care Provider category in 2017, Willers is co-owner of the Children’s Heart Center of Western Mass. Formerly a pediatric cardiologist with Baystate Children’s Hospital, he founded the Children’s Heart Center of Western Mass. in 2012.
More than 375 people turned out at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House on March 22 to honor BusinessWest’s 2018 Difference Makers. Launched in 2009, the program recognizes groups and individuals across the region that are making a difference in their community. The honorees this year were: Bob Bolduc, CEO of Pride Stores; Bob ‘the Bike Man’ Charland, founder of Pedal Thru Youth; Girls Inc. of Holyoke; Evan Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin; Crystal Senter-Brown, author and adjunct faculty member at Bay Path University; and the WillPower Foundation.
From event sponsor Burkhart Pizzanelli, P.C., from left: Adam Kuzdzal, Deborah Penzias, Josh Messer, Julie Quink, Tom Pratt, Carol LaCour, Rebecca Connolly, Stephanie Tobin, and Sarah Lapolice.
From event sponsor Health New England, from left: Peggy Garand, Vivian Williams, Brendaliz Torres, Sandra Ruiz, Ashley Allen, Matt Sturgis (guest of HNE), and Jessica Dupont.
Gina Kos (left) and Michelle Depelteau from event sponsor Sunshine Village.
Sr. Kathleen Popko (left) and Sr. Mary Caritas from the Sisters of Providence, a 2013 Difference Maker.
Bob Bolduc, founder of Pride Stores and a 2018 Difference Maker.
From 2018 Difference Maker the WillPower Foundation, from left: Sabrina Aasheim, Jeff Palm, and Maria Burke.
From left: Kate Kane of Northwestern Mutual, a 2009 Difference Maker, with Nick LaPier, CPA and BusinessWest Associate Publisher Kate Campiti.
Bill Ward, a 2009 Difference Maker, with Joanne Lyons of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County.
Bay Path University President Carol Leary, a 2016 Difference Maker, with 2018 Difference Maker Evan Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin.
Tricia Canavan of United Personnel with Scott Foster of Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas and also Valley Venture Mentors, a 2016 Difference Maker.
Sandra Ruiz, left, and Brendaliz Torres, from event sponsor Health New England.
Bob Bolduc, left, with Bob ‘the Bike Man’ Charland, two of 2018’s Difference Makers.
Representing event sponsor Sunshine Village, front row: Gina Kos (left) and Michelle Depelteau; back row: Peter Benton, Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos, Kelly Chmura, Maria Laflamme, Amie Miarecki, Colleen Brosnan, and Michael Siddal.
Tanzania Cannon-Ecklerle from event sponsor Royal, P.C. with Joe Ecklerle of Pelican Products and Brew Practitioners.
From 2018 Difference Maker Girls Inc. of Holyoke, from left: Johana (Stella’s mother), Stella, Haley, Kylie (Haley’s mother), Emhanie, Brandy Wilson, Becky Bouchard, and Suzanne Parker.
Staff from NAI Plotkin turn out to celebrate 2018 Difference Maker Evan Plotkin.
Patrick O’Neil and Katie O’Neil from 2018 Difference Maker the WillPower Foundation.
Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos.
Crystal Senter-Brown, left, and Suzanne Parker of Girls Inc. in Holyoke, both 2018 Difference Makers.
Bob Perry, retired CPA, a 2011 Difference Maker.
Kim Lee of the Center for Human Development.
Evan Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin, accepts his award as a 2018 Difference Maker.
Will Burke, the namesake and inspiration for the WillPower Foundation, a 2018 Difference Maker.
Stella and Emhanie, two of the girls from Girls Inc. of Holyoke, a 2018 Difference Maker.
Bob Charland celebrates his 2018 Difference Maker award with fiancée Joanne Hansmann.
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien hands the 2018 Difference Maker award to Crystal Senter-Brown.
The WillPower Foundation’s Jeff Palm, Maria Burke, Sarah Aasheim, Will Burke, and Craig Burke accept their 2018 Difference Maker award from BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien (right).
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There were more than 70 nominations for the inaugural Healthcare Heroes class, and each one of them was truly worthy of that word ‘hero.’ Each one is to be considered a winner in some respect.
On Oct. 19 BusinessWest and The Healthcare News recognized the inaugural Healthcare Heroes class. Collectively, they are pioneers, and were celebrated at the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden. Each one is to be considered a winner in some respect.
From left, Dajah Gordon, Sabrina Roberts, and Johnalie Gomez, teenagers involved in Junior Achievement of Western Mass., a 2017 Difference Maker.
Susan Jaye-Kaplan, a 2009 Difference Maker, and Bob Perry, a 2011 Difference Maker.
Bob Pura, president of 2017 Difference Maker Greenfield Community College (left), chats with Ted Hebert of Teddy Bear Pools & Spas.
Joe Marois of Marois Construction (left) chats with Ed Murphy and Molly Murphy of event sponsor First American Insurance.
From left, Darlene Francis of event sponsor JGS Lifecare, Ethel Griffin and Colleen Loveless of Revitalize CDC, Kathleen Plante of BusinessWest, and Mary-Anne Schelb of JGS Lifecare.
From left, Noni Moran, Dennis Murphy, and Amber Letendre of event sponsor First American Insurance.
Al Kasper of Savage Arms with Jennifer Connolly, president of 2017 Difference Maker Junior Achievement of Western Mass.
The community colleges of Western Mass., honored collectively as 2017 Difference Makers, were represented by their presidents, from left, Bob Pura of Greenfield Community College, Ellen Kennedy of Berkshire Community College, Christina Royal of Holyoke Community College, and John Cook of Springfield Technical Community College.
From left, Shawna Biscone of event sponsor Royal P.C., Julie Cowan of MassDevelopment, Tara Brewster of Greenfield Savings Bank, and Amy Royal of Royal P.C.
From left, Patricia Faginski of St. Germain Investment Management, Amanda Huston of Elms College, Jennifer Connolly of 2017 Difference Maker Junior Achievement of Western Mass., and Rebecca Connolly (Jennifer’s daughter) of Moriarty & Primack, P.C.
From left, from Square One, Dawn DiStefano, Bonnie Katusich, Kristine Allard, Karen Smith, 2017 Difference Maker Joan Kagan, and Andrea Cincotta.
From left, Brigit Shea-O’Connell, Fran O’Connell, and Rachel Normantowicz of event sponsor O’Connell Care at Home.
Michael Curran of the Taylor Street Jazz Band.
2017 Difference Maker Denis Gagnon Sr., president and CEO of Excel Dryer, with his wife, Nancy.
From event sponsor Northwestern Mutual, from left, Adey Thomas, Darren James, Cara Cole, Kate Kane, Donald Mitchell, and Craig Knowlton.
From event sponsor Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C., from left, Howard Cheney, James Krupienski, John Veit, Brenda Olesuk, and Donna Roundy.
Top row, from left: Glenda DeBarge of event sponsor Health New England (HNE); Jen Stone of USI Insurance Services; Mark Keroack of Baystate Health; Ashley Allen, Jody Gross, and Jessica Dupont of HNE. Bottom row: Michelle Martone of USI (left) and Yvonne Diaz of HNE.
Back row, from left: from event sponsor Sunshine Village, Teri Szlosek, Amie Miarecki, Michelle Depelteau, Peter Benton, and Jeff Pollier. Front row, from left: Colleen Brosnan and Gina Golash Kos from Sunshine Village, and Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos.
Back row, from left: from TD Bank, Gregg Desmarais, Peter Simko, Dave Danker, and Tracey Alves-Lear. Front row, from left: from TD Bank, Christina Sousa, Bela Blake, Jana Seiler, and Claudia Pereira.
BusinessWest Associate Publisher Kate Campiti welcomes attendees to the Log Cabin.
Back row, from left: from event sponsor JGS Lifecare, Karen Petruccelli, Christina Tuohey, and Susan Halpern. Front row, from left: from JGS Lifecare, Darlene Francis, Mary-Anne Schelb, and Martin Baecker, with George Sachs from Acme Metals & Recycling.
BusinessWest Publisher John Gormally (left) with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
From left, Monica Borgatti and Ellen Moorhouse of the Women’s Fund of Western Mass., a 2012 Difference Maker, and Elizabeth Fisk and Danielle LeTourneau-Therrien of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County, a 2016 Difference Maker.
Steve Levine applauds 2017 Difference Maker Joan Kagan, president and CEO of Square One.
BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien congratulates 2017 Difference Maker Denis Gagnon Sr., president and CEO of Excel Dryer.
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