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Business Talk Podcast Special Coverage

We are excited to announce that BusinessWest has launched a new podcast series, BusinessTalk. Each episode will feature in-depth interviews and discussions with local industry leaders, providing thoughtful perspectives on the Western Massachuetts economy and the many business ventures that keep it running during these challenging times.

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Episode 212: May 6, 2024

Joe Interviews Kara Bombard, president of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield

If she could redo her 20s, Kara Bombard says she would have become involved with the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield much earlier than she did, because the relationships she has built at YPS — which she currently serves as president — have proven valuable. On the next episode of BusinessTalk, BusinessWest Editor Joe Bednar talks with Bombard about her work at YPS and why the organization is so important 17 years after it was first launched. They also talk about her intriguing role as marketing manager at Performance Foodservice, which helps area restaurants run their businesses more successfully — and her recent selection as one of this year’s 40 Under Forty. It’s must listening, so tune in to BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest.

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Class of 2024

Marketing Manager, Performance Foodservice: Age 38

Kara BombardThe restaurant life is a tough one. Kara Bombard wants to make it a little easier.

“It’s a very hard industry,” said Bombard, marketing manager at the Springfield location of Performance Foodservice, a national company that supplies products, technology, and custom solutions to culinary businesses. “The life of a restaurateur is a busy one. If you’re not working on the line, you’re in the back doing paperwork or orders, making sure everything is running. Anything we can do to take anything off their plate is considered a wonderful thing for them.”

Among Bombard’s many roles, she executes a strategic partner program across more than 400 local and national food suppliers, and also manages biannual food shows that bring more than 1,800 attendees to the Greater Springfield area.

“We take over places like the MassMutual Center or the Better Living Center, with ceiling-to-floor food,” she explained. “You can come in and eat lunch as we showcase everything from the highest-end cuts of meat to oysters to chicken tenders and fries. You can sample anything.”

In addition, Bombard has developed a communication and content strategy to provide culinary inspiration on trends and new product ideas to local and regional restaurateurs, collaborating with a team of culinary specialists to develop new ideas for menus, providing tools to help restaurants improve their profitability and food costing, waste management, server training, and overall operations.

She also supports her company’s diversity, inclusion, and belonging business strategy by serving as chair of communications on the Women of PFG Associate Resource Group.

Meanwhile, Bombard has found another way to connect with the business community: as president of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS).

“That has been a wonderful experience,” she said. “It’s been great to put down my roots and expand my relationships and get to know a lot of people in different industries.”

As YPS marks 15 years, Bombard has been impressed with its evolution and the resilience of its members through challenges from the Great Recession to the pandemic, and gratified to see its collaborations and networking events grow.

“If you’re a professional starting out, it’s a great way to introduce yourself to so many people and so many industries represented within our group,” she added. “If I could go back to my 20s and talk to myself, I would tell myself to get involved in something like this much earlier in my career. It’s allowed me to make relationships with so many leaders in the area, and it’s been a blessing to build those relationships.”

—Joseph Bednar