40 Under 40 Class of 2009

Michelle Sade

Age 32: Operations Manager, United Personnel

Michelle Sade grew up in Ohio, near where that state borders West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

“You could see all three states from the house where I grew up,” she said, adding, in a voice tinged with diplomacy, that people are “more neighborly” there than they are here in the Northeast.

“I’ve been living on my street in Springfield for four years,” she continued, “and I still don’t know some of my neighbors; people keep to themselves here.”

Sade credits her upbringing and the ‘more-neighborly’ attitude that prevailed in the Bible Belt with her many and varied attempts to bring some of that hospitality to the 413 area code, especially in her work with the Young Professionals Society of Greater Springfield. She is credited with co-founding the group in 2007 and helping turn it into a powerful force in efforts to engage young people (those under 40) in the goings-on in the Pioneer Valley — and, hopefully, convince them that they don’t have to leave it to find personal and professional fulfillment.

“I see myself as being a real cheerleader for this region,” Sade, the operations manager for Springfield-based United Personnel, told BusinessWest, noting that she had that role in a literal sense while she was growing up in Ohio. “It’s a great place to live and work … we just need to promote it more.”

Still a member of the YPS board, among many other community-based activities, including work with the American Cancer Society and Children’s Study Home, Sade said she is actively involved with helping to take YPS to the proverbial ‘next level.’ This refers to membership, visibility, and influence in Western Mass. — and also finding it a home, meaning a small office, preferably in downtown Springfield.

If Sade has anything to do with it, YPS will be a good, friendly neighbor — wherever it lands.

—George O’Brien