40 Under 40 The Class of 2017

Michelle Chase

Assistant Vice President, PeoplesBank; Age 39

Michelle Chase

Michelle Chase

Michelle Chase says she has a simple, yet quite poignant outlook on her career, parenting, and … every facet of her life, really.

“With whatever I’m doing, whether its running, with the kids, at work … I’m always trying to think of a way where I can leave my mark, or I can leave my legacy,” she explained, adding that she believes she’s been quite successful in those efforts to date.

As she elaborated, she started with a reference to a quarterly coffee hour she spearheaded at PeoplesBank, where she has been employed since 2011, currently serving as assistant vice president and manager of the branch in Westfield.

“A member of senior management speaks at that coffee hour about their career development and how they got to where they are — the career path they took, the mistakes they made, the things they did well,” she said of the gatherings, staged at the institution’s headquarters in Holyoke. “And it has spread like wildfire at the bank; we’ve run out of room for the people who want to attend. I left my mark — that event will continue long after I leave the bank.”

Chase is also leaving a mark, her mark, in the community through contributions to groups and causes ranging from the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (where she volunteers with everything from the CEO luncheons to dodgeball) to the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce; from Habitat for Humanity to the Springfield Boys & Girls Club.

She brought this passion to serve and help others together with another recently developed passion — running — to help in the fight against breast cancer. Indeed, soon after her best friend was diagnosed with that disease, she organized a 5k race called the Breast Run Ever.

And she believes she’s making her mark as a parent through … well, all of the above, by setting a solid example for her children, daughter Emma Daunais, 14, and son Chase Daunais, 11.

“One of the reasons why I do the things I do within the community is to lead by example and hope that these are things that they pick up and they want to do themselves someday,” she explained. “I’d love it if they’d say, ‘my mom did these things, and I want to follow that lead.’”

As she said, she likes to leave her mark, and it’s a mark of excellence and commitment to the community.

—George O’Brien