Resource Development Director, West Springfield Boys & Girls Club; Age 30
You might call it coming full circle. Sort of. But not really.
When she comes to the stage to collect her 40 Under Forty plaque in mid-June, it won’t be the first time Sarah Calabrese has touched such an award.
Indeed, back in 2012, the West Springfield native, then a student at Holyoke Community College, was a communications intern at BusinessWest. One of her many duties that summer was to help coordinate and execute the 40 Under Forty event. She remembers handling a number of assignments, from helping with marketing pre-event to working the check-in desk and arranging the honoree plaques on the big night. She recalls something else, too.
“I remember saying, ‘wow, I hope I get this award someday,’” she told BusinessWest, adding that her experience during that internship helped propel her into what has become a career working in marketing, events, and fundraising.
She now wears all those hats and even a few more for the West Springfield Boys & Girls Club, which she serves as Resource Development director. She arrived at the club after stints with Western Mass News and later Comcast Spotlight, and said the shift to the nonprofit realm was sparked by a long-held passion to serve the community and help others.
“Working for corporate America was different, and I really enjoyed my position, but I missed my local connection; I missed my community and giving back to the community that I was a lifelong resident of, and that I live in,” she explained. “So it was a no-brainer when I saw the position open at the Boys & Girls Club. I have a huge, huge passion for working with youth.”
As noted, she wears many hats in this role, including marketing and the coordination of events, with both responsibilities becoming far more challenging during the pandemic. Displaying creativity and perseverance, she conducted many events virtually, enabling them to continue, successfully, in very challenging times.
Meanwhile, she carries out many of these same responsibilities for the West Springfield Rotary Club, which she currently serves as vice president. She is also involved with YPS and the West of the River Chamber.
And speaking of event planning, there’s one more big one she’s working on — her own destination wedding in Sicily, slated for July 2023, when she will tie the knot with Jack Dunphy, a West Springfield firefighter and paramedic.
— George O’Brien