SPRINGFIELD — This year’s Women of Impact celebration has a new twist — the selection, through social-media activity, of the People’s Choice Young Woman of Impact.
BusinessWest solicitated nominations from the community for young women who are already making a difference in the community. From several dozen nominations, the five finalists are:
Yosola-Camille Dawou, Founder and Owner of the Black Room in Holyoke
A ballet dancer and entrepreneur, Dawou is a young woman of impact on many levels, but especially through the creation of her venture — the Black Room. Launched in 2020, this business builds and unifies the community through black culture and art. The Black Room offers individuals and businesses the opportunity to tell black community members’ stories and stimulate conversations by commissioning custom indoor and outdoor educational installations of black art, history, and culture to highlight significant cultural contributions of African-Americans.
April Doroski, Environmental Scientist at Tighe & Bond Inc. in Westfield
Doroski is making an impact in her chosen field as well as in the community. An environmental scientist, in 2020 she became a certified professional soil scientist. Within the community, she is active on many levels — as a volunteer for the Connecticut River Source to Sea Cleanup, chair of Tighe & Bond’s STEM Initiatives Subcommittee, the organizer of a book drive for a Westfield classroom, and creator of a unique fundraiser — a nature photography calendar — to raise money for the Clean Air Task Force.
Evelyn Humphries, Student at Longmeadow High School
Following the June 1, 2011 tornado, Humphries, then a second-grader, created a lemonade stand and single-handedly raised $1,215 to support victims of that disaster. Over the past decade, she has consistently built on this track record of service to the community, especially during the pandemic. She is an officer of the Rachel’s Table Teen Board and has continued her efforts to solicit donations for local pantries and soup kitchens. She is also a member of the Ronald McDonald House Teen Board, the Key Club at Longmeadow High School, and Girls Inc. of the Valley.
Miren Neyra Alcantara, Student at Holyoke Community College
Alcantara is an outstanding student, and in many ways an activist scholar who has a passion for helping others. As president of the Latinx Empowerment Assoc., she has spearheaded many fundraising and community events. Outside of HCC, she actively volunteers within many organizations, including Climate Change Theater Action, Common Share Food Co-op, Gateway City Arts, Wistariahurst, and SPARK Reproductive Justice. In 2020, she took part in the Planting Literacy program, which strives to help immigrants improve their literacy skills.
Tanya Vital-Basile, Owner/Broker at Executive Real Estate in Springfield
Vital-Basile is a successful business owner — she’s taken Executive Real Estate to dramatic and consistent growth — and a young woman of impact on many levels. She has long been active in the community, but has stepped up those efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has organized a number of food, toy, and clothing drives to support those hurt by this crisis and, beyond that, has provided employment opportunties to many people, including some previously unemployed, thus enabling many to find success and better quality of life through her efforts.
The winner will be based on likes and impressions on BusinessWest’s social-media channels on Facebook (@BusinessWestJournal) and Instagram (@businesswest_hcn). To share and drive buzz to a finalist, use the hashtag #BWwomen. Voting will end today, Jan. 25, at 5:30 p.m., and the winner will be announced during the Women of Impact virtual event on Thursday, Jan. 28.
This year’s Women of Impact honorees include Tania Barber, president and CEO of Caring Health Center; Carol Campbell, president of Chicopee Industrial Contractors; Helen Caulton-Harris, Health and Human Services commissioner for the city of Springfield; Pattie Hallberg, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts; Andrea Harrington, Berkshire County district attorney; Toni Hendrix, director of Human Services at Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing; Christina Royal, president of Holyoke Community College; and Sue Stubbs, president and CEO of ServiceNet.
The event is sponsored by Country Bank, Health New England, and TommyCar Auto Group (presenting sponsors), Comcast Business (supporting sponsor), WWLP 22 News/CW Springfield (media sponsor), and Chikmedia (social-media sponsor).