NORTHAMPTON — The Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce welcomed five new board members at its first meeting of 2023 last month. The group brings a diverse set of complementary skills and deep experience in entrepreneurship, community building, and leadership.
“I am honored to have such a dedicated and enthusiastic group of community and business leaders join our board of directors. Several of them have already been involved as volunteers on our various committees and engaged in our programs,” said Vince Jackson, the chamber’s executive director.
The new board members are Erin Cahillane, Jillian Duclos, Ebru Kardan, Nanci Newton, and Amanda Shafii. “Our newest board members have a deep connection to and investment in our business and cultural communities, and I am already energized by their passion for our shared work,” Jackson said.
Cahillane is the Amherst Fund coordinator at Amherst College and president of the Northampton St. Patrick’s Assoc. She received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Keene State College and a master’s degree in communications and new media marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. Born and raised in Northampton, her local perspective, paired with a decade of work in the nonprofit sector, helps her consider the many smaller communities that come together to make Northampton unique. “I know that it takes all different kinds of businesses and personalities to have a successful and thriving community, and I am honored to be joining the chamber board,” she said.
Duclos is vice president of Operations for Roberto’s in Northampton. After earning a bachelor’s degree in politics at Mount Holyoke College, she explored many different paths, moving away to work in politics, then public relations, then for nonprofits. “In doing so,” she recalled, “I learned that the best place to make a real impact is in my community. Now I run a restaurant and am in the process of starting a nonprofit that aims to support and uplift the female entrepreneurs in Northampton. I look forward to using that experience to explore the best ways we can work together to make Northampton thrive.”
Kardan is senior director of Diversity Communications and Events at UMass Amherst. She holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and art history from Rutgers University. At UMass, she provides leadership and oversight for internal and external visibility efforts of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and implements campus-wide campaigns that strategically advance the university’s strategic goals around diversity, equity, and inclusion. “I am deeply interested in keeping Northampton a vibrant and diverse community of choice, with thriving businesses of all sorts,” she said.
Newton is a licensed massage therapist and owner of the Healing ZONE Therapeutic Massage in Hadley. She studied at the Muscular Therapy Institute in Cambridge and holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Westfield State College. A member of the chamber for more than 20 years, she enjoys “being a part of a community that supports our friends, colleagues, and neighbors.” Newton is active in the local nonprofit community, volunteering for many events for Cancer Connection, Safe Passage, and others, in addition to her work with the chamber.
Shafii is the owner of CopyCat in Northampton. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology/neuroscience from UMass Amherst, where she also minored in sociology. “As a resident and small-business owner in the area, the connections that I make with people in our community bring a sense of purpose and happiness to my life. Shopping local and supporting local business not only directly affects my business, but, most importantly, keeps our area unique, diverse, and a beautiful place to live. I look forward to the opportunity as a new board member to support our community and create positive impacts in the Greater Northampton area.”