Do You Know a Difference Maker?

Nominations Sought for BusinessWest’s Recognition Program

BizDiffMakrsLOGO2011When BusinessWest launched its Difference Makers program in 2009, it did so with the sentiment that there are many different ways in which an individual or a group can make a difference in the region.

Since then, the various groups of winners have proven that such thoughts are merely an understatement, and the class of 2014 did that perhaps better than any other.

The honorees were Paula Moore, a school teacher who started the Youth Social Educational Training (YSET) Academy to help keep young people off the streets and out of trouble; the Gray House, a nonprofit that provides a host of programs and services ranging from a food pantry to adult education to its Kids Club; Michael Moriarty, an attorney and director of Olde Holyoke Development Corp., who has been passionate about childhood literacy; Colleen Loveless, who has expanded the reach and the impact of Rebuilding Together Springfield in dramatic ways; and the Melha Shriners, a fraternal organization that changes lives in many ways, but especially through its efforts to help fund the many Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“The class of 2014 showed that difference makers come in many forms and take on a wide range of missions,” said Kate Campiti, associate publisher of BusinessWest. “In each case, though, the overriding goal is to improve life for the people who live in this region.”

And there are many more stories still to be told, she went on, adding that BusinessWest is now accepting nominations for the Difference Makers class of 2015.

The nomination form on page 13 explains essentially how this process works, said BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien, who noted that the phrase ‘Difference Maker,’ as the class of 2014 proved, is a truly subjective phrase with a number of meanings.

“Since Difference Makers was launched, we’ve recognized business executives, nonprofit managers, college presidents, a crusading police chief, and a woman who founded a program to fill the shelves of school libraries,” he explained. “All these stories are different, but the common thread is people — and organizations — stepping up to improve quality of life here in Western Mass.”

“Since the beginning, the readers of BusinessWest have helped its staff with the difficult task of selecting honorees by relating these remarkable stories of how individuals and groups are making a difference,” he went on. “And we’re seeking your assistance again.”

As with another BusinessWest recognition, 40 Under Forty, Difference Makers is a nomination-driven process, Campiti said, urging those who propose an individual or group for consideration to be thorough with their nomination and, in simple terms, effectively answer the question ‘why is this nominee a Difference Maker?’

Nominations, which can also be completed online here, are due at the end of the business day (5 p.m.) on Dec. 15. The winners, as chosen by a review panel comprised of BusinessWest writers and editors, will be profiled in the magazine’s Feb. 9 edition and saluted at the annual Difference Makers gala, to take place in late March.

Questions about the program and the nomination process can be forwarded to [email protected], or call (413) 781-8600, ext. 102.

Previous Difference Makers

• Doug Bowen, president and CEO of PeoplesBank
• Kate Kane, managing director of the Springfield office of Northwestern Mutual Financial/the Zuzolo Group
• Susan Jaye-Kaplan, founder of GoFIT and co-founder of Link to Libraries
• William Ward, executive director of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County
• The Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield

• The Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation
• Ellen Freyman, attorney and shareholder at Shatz Schwartz and Fentin, P.C.
• James Goodwin, president and CEO of the Center for Human Development
• Carol Katz, CEO of the Loomis Communities
• UMass Amherst and its chancellor, Robert Holub

• Tim Brennan, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
• Lucia Giuggio Carlvalho, founder of Rays of Hope
• Don Kozera, president of Human Resources Unlimited
• Robert Perry, retired partner/consultant at Meyers Brothers Kalicka
• Anthony Scott, Holyoke police chief

• Charlie and Donald D’Amour, president/COO and chairman/CEO of Big Y Foods
• William Messner, president of Holyoke Community College
• Majors Tom and Linda-Jo Perks, officers of the Springfield Corps of the Salvation Army
• Bob Schwarz, executive vice president of Peter Pan Bus Lines
• The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts

• Michael Cutone, John Barbieri, and Thomas Sarrouf, organizers of Springfield’s C3 Policing program
• John Downing, president of Soldier On
• Bruce Landon, president and general manager of the Springfield Falcons
• The Sisters of Providence
• Jim Vinick, senior vice president of Investments at Moors & Cabot Inc.

• The Gray House
• Colleen Loveless, executive director of the Springfield chapter of Rebuilding Together
• The Melha Shriners
• Paula Moore, founder of YSET Academy and a teacher at Roger L. Putnam Vocational Training Academy
• Michael Moriarty, attorney, director of Olde Holyoke Development Corp., and supporter of childhood-literacy programs