Class of 2024

Joe Lepper

Senior Community Responsibility Consultant, MassMutual: Age 35

Joe LepperAs a freshman at Longmeadow High School, Joe Lepper was not feeling very good about how things were going in his life. There was some bullying and a distinct lack of direction.

And then … he found the school’s Key Club, a program of Kiwanis, a service organization with chapters around the world, designed for young people. And it changed his life. Dramatically.

“I found a community of people that just cared about others,” he explained. “It didn’t matter who you hung out with … if you were passionate and you cared about helping other people, you could be a great Key Club member; you could make a difference.”

The club certainly made a difference in his life, instilling a strong sense of community involvement and helping others that in many ways defines not only his life, but his current work as senior Community Responsibility consultant for MassMutual.

“Kiwanis is the reason I have the career that I have,” Lepper said, adding that, with the help of the Springfield Kiwanis Club, he was able to attend an international Key Club conference, at which he became riveted by a speech from the international president — and inspired to take that same title someday.

“I came home, and I changed my email signature from ‘club treasurer’ to ‘international president’ just to see what it would feel like, he said, adding that he later ran for New England district governor as a sophomore, got elected, then ran for international president as a junior — and, yes, got elected.

He missed 50 days of school his senior year because he was on the road giving speeches and running workshops, but said the learning experience was incredible.

Fast-forwarding, Lepper, a graduate of Western New England University, has kept Kiwanis in his life, joining the Springfield club when he was just 21 and eventually becoming its president. And the sense of community involvement instilled in him remains ever-present in his work at MassMutual, where he leads the community-responsibility strategy for the MassMutual Financial Advisors national sales force, work that includes oversight of community-impact, education, volunteer-engagement, and recognition programs.

In addition to that role, he has designed and led several programs, including the firm’s Community Service Awards recognition program and Community Responsibility Business Partner strategic consultative program.

An avid golfer, Lepper has a Scotty Cameron collection that he’s quite proud of. But he’s much more proud of his work at MassMutual, and of all that he has done with and for Kiwanis — and what Kiwanis has done for him.

—George O’Brien