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People on the Move
Christine Shea

Christine Shea

David Lawson

David Lawson

Nicholas Mishol

Nicholas Mishol

Taylor Sawicki

Taylor Sawicki

Olivia Freeman

Olivia Freeman

Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. (MBK) recently welcomed Christine Shea, CPA, MSA as a manager; David Lawson, MSA as a tax supervisor; Nicholas Mishol and Taylor Sawicki as associates; and Olivia Freeman as an administrative assistant. Shea joined MBK in 2022 with more than 25 years of experience in general accounting, cost accounting, auditing, and tax in both public accounting and corporate firms. She holds a master’s degree in accounting from Northern Illinois University and is a certified public accountant in the state of Massachusetts. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA). Lawson joined MBK in 2022. He has practiced public accounting since 2018 and worked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Treasury for 16 years. His experience in several different divisions and job functions at the IRS provides a strong basis for understanding a variety of tax issues and insight into the IRS’s approach to compliance issues. Mishol is a member of the Audit and Accounting department at MBK. He received his bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst and holds an associate degree in business administration from Holyoke Community College. He has practiced public accounting since June 2022. Sawicki is a member of the Audit and Accounting department at MBK. She has worked in public accounting since January 2021, working mainly with individual tax returns, and looks forward to expanding her experience as an audit associate. She holds a bachelor of business administration degree, concentrating in accounting. Freeman joined Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. as an administrative assistant. She brings an attitude of efficiency, hard work, ambition, and care to the team at MBK, seeking to make clients feel comfortable and cared for by the firm.

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The Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts’ trustees of the Order of William Pynchon announced their selection of two local residents, Carol Cutting and Sherry Elander, as recipients of this year’s Pynchon Medal. Cutting has been the owner and operator of WEIB 106.3 FM since 1999. She persisted through a protracted legal battle to become the first black woman to operate a radio station in Massachusetts. In so doing, she fulfilled a 15-year vision of bringing representation of the region’s African-American community to the airwaves. She has also served in a host of change-making organizations, including Alpha Kappa Alpha and the National Assoc. of Black-Owned Broadcasters. For nearly 24 years, Elander has served as a special-education teacher in Westfield Public Schools, with a special focus in helping students transition to life after their formal education. Throughout her career, she has built a program designed to bring college, career, and other life goals within reach for countless students with intellectual, developmental, and/or physical disabilities. The program she developed, and the network of advocacy she built, has become a model for districts throughout the state and for educators across the country. She has developed partnerships with colleges and universities, local businesses, and policymakers in Western Mass. and beyond, all with a view to maximizing opportunity for her students. The presentation of the Pynchon Medal and celebration will take place on Thursday, Oct. 13 at the Delaney House in Holyoke. Event details and ticket information can be found at adclubwm.org or by calling (413) 342-0533.

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Kayla Staley

Kayla Staley

The Springfield Museums announced the 2022 Ubora Award and Ahadi Youth Award winners. Now in its 31st year of celebrating leadership by people of African heritage, the Ubora Award honors Dr. Gerald Cutting and Carol Moore Cutting as exemplary leaders and role models. Meanwhile, the 13th Ahadi Youth Award honors the activist energy and artistic power of Kayla Staley. The award ceremony will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Wood Museum of Springfield History. Dr. Gerald Cutting is the first and only African-American individual to own and operate a veterinary hospital and clinic in Western Mass. At age 11, he decided he wanted to be a veterinarian so he could help save animals. After graduating as a doctor of veterinary medicine from Tuskegee University in Alabama, he worked hard to achieve this dream of owning his own practice, mentoring and encouraging students to explore STEM careers. For almost 50 years until his retirement, he lived his dream of serving multiple generations of ‘pet parents’ at his clinic in Chicopee. With the goal of connecting community through communication, Carol Moore Cutting applied in 1984 to the Federal Communications Commission for a radio frequency permitting her to build a FM station. After an exhaustive 15-year legal battle with an existing broadcaster, she prevailed all the way to the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals, and finally began test broadcasting in 1999. She became the first woman in Massachusetts and the first African-American in New England to be granted a construction permit to build, own, and continuously operate an FM radio station, WEIB-106.3 Smooth FM. Staley is a rising senior at the Conservatory of the Arts in Springfield, maintaining a 4.0 GPA and earning more than $20,000 in vocal scholarships since January 2021, as she was selected to receive private coaching and lessons from Broadway stars, college professors, summer overnight music intensive enrichment camps, and master classes with Broadway coaches. She is a frequent guest artist with Grammy winner Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G), and she often performs in the community. Staley is among two students from the Conservatory of the Arts accepted into the Massachusetts Music Educator’s Assoc. Western Regional Honors Festival Choir, the first time in 20 years any student has represented the city of Springfield in this event.

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Local law firm Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin announced that eight of its attorneys were listed in Best Lawyers in America 2023. Steven Schwartz was named a Lawyer of the Year in the field of business organizations. He was also selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in the fields of bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, business organizations (including LLCs and partnerships), closely held companies and family business law, and corporate law. Michele Feinstein was named a Lawyer of the Year in the field of trusts and estates and was also selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in the fields of litigation: trusts and estates, elder law, and trusts and estates. Mark Esposito was named One to Watch by Best Lawyers in the field of litigation: labor and employment. The other attorneys selected by their peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America 2023 are: Gary Fentin, who was recognized in the fields of banking and finance law and commercial transactions/uniform commercial code (UCC) law; Carol Cioe Klyman, selected in the fields of elder law and trusts and estates; Managing Partner Timothy Mulhern, recognized in the fields of corporate law and tax law; James Sheils, recognized in the field of commercial transactions/UCC law; and Steven Weiss, selected in the fields of bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law.

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Arlen Carballo

Arlen Carballo

E. David Wilson

E. David Wilson

American International College (AIC) announced Arlen Carballo as a new member of the board of trustees and long-time board member E. David Wilson as trustee emeritus. Carballo is the executive director of Finance for MGM Springfield, overseeing all aspects of finance operations for both gaming and non-gaming areas. She has been part of the MGM Springfield team since the property opened in 2018, serving as the resort’s first director of Financial Planning. Prior to MGM Springfield, Carballo was part of the opening team for MGM National Harbor in Maryland. She is a graduate of the MGM Resorts Management Associate Program and has held leadership roles across both finance and operations at MGM’s Bellagio and Mandalay Bay properties in Las Vegas. She holds a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management from Northern Arizona University and is a graduate of the HACR 2022 Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers program. Wilson joined the AIC board of trustees in 1991, while serving as president of Milton Bradley. A graduate of the Harvard Advanced Management Program, he was vice president of Parker Brothers before joining Milton Bradley as manager in the game division in 1980. He was later promoted to senior vice president of Sales by Hasbro Industries, the parent company, before being named president, a title he held until his retirement in 2005. In June 2021, following 30 years of service to the institution, Wilson retired from the AIC board of trustees.

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Bulkley Richardson announced that 16 lawyers from the firm were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in 2023 edition of Best Lawyers in America. They include: Peter Barry (in the practice areas of construction, education, healthcare); Kathleen Bernardo (real estate); Michael Burke (medical malpractice law: defendants, personal injury litigation: defendants); Mark Cress (banking and finance, bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, corporate); Francis Dibble Jr. (bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, criminal defense: white-collar, litigation: labor and employment, litigation: securities); Daniel Finnegan (administrative/regulatory law, construction, litigation: construction); Scott Foster (business organizations, including LLCs and partnerships); Mary Jo Kennedy (employment); Kevin Maynard (commercial litigation, litigation: banking and finance, litigation: construction); David Parke (corporate, mergers and acquisitions); Jeffrey Poindexter (commercial litigation, litigation: construction); John Pucci (bet-the-company litigation, criminal defense: general practice, criminal defense: white-collar); Jeffrey Roberts (corporate, trusts and estates); Michael Roundy (commercial litigation); Elizabeth Sillin (nonprofit/charities law, trusts and estates); and Ronald Weiss (corporate, mergers and acquisitions, tax).

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Emi Lee

Emi Lee

UMassFive College Federal Credit Union recently introduced Emi Lee as the newest member of its expanding UMassFive Retirement Planning and Investments team available through CUSO Financial Services, LP. Lee supports two of the credit union’s CFS financial advisors, Aimee Marden and Dana Graham. She schedules appointments, sends appointment reminders, and helps with advisor administrative duties and service work. As an advisor assistant, she is also now the primary contact for current and prospective clients looking to work with Marden and Graham. After joining UMassFive as a part-time member service representative in November 2019, Lee quickly transitioned into a full-time position as a member service specialist at the Hadley branch in March 2020. In that role, she excelled at educating members financially and connecting them to the financial services most relevant to their needs. Her background includes a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Smith College.

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Community Access to the Arts (CATA) announced the appointment of Kelly Galvin as program director. She joins current CATA staff members Jeff Gagnon and Kara Smith, who have been promoted to the program director position, to create a new, three-person arts leadership team at the nonprofit, reporting to Executive Director Margaret Keller. CATA strategically restructured staff roles to develop a shared program leadership model, following the retirement of long-time staff member Dawn Lane, coupled with vigorous growth in CATA’s arts programs serving people with disabilities. The three-person arts leadership team will work closely with Keller to seize opportunities and provide inclusive arts programs for people with disabilities across the Berkshires and Columbia County. Galvin joins CATA as an accomplished director, producer, and teaching artist. She has been a company member with Shakespeare & Company since 2008 and served as the artistic associate at WAM Theatre. As a director and producer, she has led acclaimed productions at Shakespeare & Company, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, the Theater at Woodshill, and Gloucester Stage, and assisted at regional theatres including the Guthrie and Asolo Repertory Theatre. She is the founder of the rig, an organization in Western Massachusetts working to create connections through the arts and to redistribute cultural resources to a larger portion of the community.

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Charlene Smolkowicz

Charlene Smolkowicz

Freedom Credit Union recently announced the promotion of Charlene Smolkowicz from commercial credit manager to assistant vice president. She has been with Freedom since 2016 and is based in the main office in Springfield. In her role, she manages the Commercial Credit department, underwriting process, and analyst team for commercial and industrial, commercial mortgage/commercial real estate, and nonprofit borrowers. She is also responsible for maintaining sound portfolio credit quality and monitoring risk. Smolkowicz earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration at Northeastern University in Boston and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management at Bay Path University. She also completed the Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. Advanced School of Commercial Lending at Babson College. Active in the community, she serves as treasurer and chairs the finance committee for the board of directors for Viability Inc., and participates in both the WIT (Women Innovators & Trailblazers) Mentor Match Program and the Springfield School Volunteers Read-Aloud program. She was recognized by United Way of Pioneer Valley as Volunteer of the Year in 2012.

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St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced that the club hired Jordan Smith as an assistant coach for the Blues’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds. Smith spent the last five years in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) as an associate coach with the Sudbury Wolves (2017-18) and Soo Greyhounds (2018-22). He was on the same coaching staff as current Thunderbirds Goalie Coach Dan Stewart with the Greyhounds from 2018 to 2020. Smith reached the postseason with Soo in 2019 and 2022. Smith is now the third member of the Thunderbirds’ coaching staff with ties to the Soo organization. Head coach Drew Bannister served in the same position for the Greyhounds from 2015 to 2018. A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Smith began his coaching career in 2012-13 with the Thunder Bay North Stars of the Superior International Junior Hockey League before serving four seasons as a head coach with the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (2013-17), where he won four division titles and compiled a 176-29-10-3 record. In his playing career, Smith was a second-round selection by the Anaheim Ducks in 2004 but was forced to retire from professional hockey due to injury after two AHL seasons with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks and Portland Pirates. He also skated for the Greyhounds from 2001 to 2005, putting up 68 points in 211 games in the OHL. In addition, the Springfield Thunderbirds announced two staff promotions and two new hires ahead of the 2022-23 season. Matthew McRobbie has been promoted to director of Business Development. An original member of the Thunderbirds’ front office, this is McRobbie’s third promotion within the organization. He served as a senior account executive from 2016 to 2021 before taking on the role of manager of Ticket Sales last season, where he oversaw the Thunderbirds’ team-record year in tickets sold and ticket revenue. In his new role, McRobbie, an alumnus of Springfield College, will be focused on working with local and national brands in the Thunderbirds’ Corporate Sales department. Additionally, John Jones, Jr. has been promoted to senior account executive. An alumnus of Florida State University, Jones has been a member of the Thunderbirds’ Ticket Sales department since the 2018-19 season. The Thunderbirds have also announced the hires of Nate Lynch and Alana Mather as account executives in ticket sales. Lynch joins the Thunderbirds full-time after serving as an intern in the team’s Ticket Sales department. He graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2021. Mather joins the Thunderbirds after serving as an intern with the team for two seasons while a student at Western New England University.

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Megan Moynihan

Megan Moynihan

Sydney Brady

Sydney Brady

United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) announced two new appointments within the company. Longtime employee Megan Moynihan has been promoted to serve as UWPV’s chief operating officer. In this role, she will oversee all daily operations and fundraising. She previously held the positions of senior director of Finance and manager of Finance & Operations, and she has been in UWPV’s Finance department since 2012. Moynihan holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and administration from Salve Regina University and is a graduate of the Springfield Leadership Institute program. Sydney Brady joined UWPV in June as the call-center supervisor for the Call2Talk Center in Springfield. Call2Talk is United Way’s emotional-support and suicide-prevention hotline. Brady holds a bachelor’s degree from Lasell University and previously served as a Call2Talk intern. She is currently earning her master’s degree in Social Work at Springfield College.

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Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., a labor and employment law firm serving employers in the Greater Springfield and Worcester areas, announced that one of its partners, Timothy Murphy, has been recognized by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America for 2023. He is listed in three fields: employment law: management, labor law: management, and litigation: labor and employment. Focusing his practice on labor relations, union avoidance, collective bargaining and arbitration, employment litigation, and employment counseling, Murphy has been included in Best Lawyers in America every year since 2013, and was Lawyer of the Year in 2015, 2018, 2020, and 2022. Murphy is very active within the local community, sitting on boards of directors for several area organizations, such as the Human Service Forum and Community Legal Aid. He also is a member of the World Affairs Council.

 

People on the Move

Greenfield Community College recently announced that Michelle Schutt will serve as the college’s 11th president, effective July 18. Currently serving as the vice president of community and learner services at the College of Southern Idaho (CSI), the state’s first Hispanic Serving Institution, Schutt was chosen from a competitive pool of four highly-qualified candidates. Schutt’s appointment was approved by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on June 21. “From the moment I began researching Greenfield Community College, I was immediately drawn to the campus’s core values,” she said. “I am honored by the opportunity to serve Greenfield Community College as its next president and I look forward to ensuring that we meet the evolving needs of the students, employees, alumni and community members we serve.” Schutt will be taking the helm of GCC from Richard Hopper, who has served as interim president since August 2021. With more than 20 years of experience in higher education, Schutt has held leadership roles in all facets of education, including student affairs, academic services, and community learning. Schutt’s visionary leadership throughout her career has produced measurable enrollment and retention results. Notably, Schutt oversaw an enrollment increase of 3% at CSI during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, despite nationwide decreases due to the pandemic and an expected institutional decline of 15%. Schutt is steadfastly dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, showcasing them throughout her career. At CSI, she undertook efforts to improve Latinx student enrollment, which grew by nearly 9 percent during her tenure, created greater access to non-English speaking services across all departments, and petitioned for gender-neutral restrooms on campus. In addition to her most recent role as vice president of community and learner services, Schutt has served in a number of roles at CSI since 2015, including as vice president for student services. She has also taught college-level courses each semester and worked closely with state legislators on a variety of issues facing education. Prior to her work at CSI, Dr. Schutt held positions at Penn State University, the University of Wyoming, Hanover College and St. Cloud State University. Schutt holds a bachelor’s degree in English education from Upper Iowa University, master’s degrees in teaching and social responsibility from Emporia State University and St. Cloud University, and a doctorate in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University. She attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University and was a 2021-2022 Aspen Institute Rising Presidents Fellow.

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Lauren Rainville

Lauren Rainville

Amanda Walsh

Amanda Walsh

Nicholas Kubacki

Nicholas Kubacki

Bacon Wilson, P.C. announced that Lauren Rainville, Amanda Walsh, and Nicholas Kubacki have been accepted into the Law Clerk program for the 2022-2023 school year. Bacon Wilson created the clerkship program more than 40 years ago to allow law school students to gain experience and mentoring in the legal profession. Many Bacon Wilson attorneys began their careers after their clerkship experience. The program is unique as it lasts for a year. Typically, clerks begin at the firm at the end of their second year of law school and stay through their third year. Clerks use their law school training to conduct important research assignments with attorneys in all practice areas. The clerks are an integral and important part of the firm and participate in various firm events during their time at Bacon Wilson, P.C. Rainville joined Bacon Wilson, P.C. in May. A Western New England University School of Law Candidate for Juris Doctorate in May 2024, she ranks in the top 25th percentile of her class and is the treasurer for the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. She earned her bachelor of Science degree, cum laude in Business Management from Bay Path University, in 2016. Her previous experience includes negotiations and settlements with claimants’ attorneys and pro-se claimants on personal and commercial auto damage, and injury losses in Connecticut. She has volunteered her time as an educator for Junior Achievement in Connecticut and Western Mass. from 2016 to 2018, and as a camp volunteer at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Connecticut in 2019. She is interested in pursuing a career in real estate law. She is a member of Western New England’s Real Estate Law Association and will be participating in the Western New England University’s Law School Real Estate Practicum in the Spring of 2023. Walsh joined the firm in May, and will be eligible for her Juris Doctorate in May 2023, from Western New England University School of Law. She spent two years at the University of London in Richmond, Surrey, as a transfer student and then earned her Bachelor of Political Science and Economics Degree, cum laude in May 2020 from Simmons University in Boston. Recently, she served as a fellow for The State House, and as a Blue Lab associate to the Liberty Square Group in Boston. She was elected 1L and 2L day class representative from September 2020 to May 2022. She has been interested in becoming an attorney since the age of 10. She has expressed interest in litigation and trust and estates. Kubacki joined Bacon Wilson, P.C. in May, and will be eligible for his Juris Doctorate in May 2023, from Western New England University School of Law. He earned his bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice, summa cum laude in May 2020 from Western New England University. He also was named to Chi Alpha Sigma, the National College Athlete Honor Society for Student-Athletes. He is currently a teaching assistant in the Academic Success Center at Western New England, as well as a member of the Real Estate Law Association. Recently, he served as a legal intern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and as a Victim Witness Advocate intern at the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office.

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The Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) consortium announced that Anne Goodwin of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) received a Course of Distinction (COD) Award on June 2. The Course of Distinction awards are given annually to recognize excellence in design and delivery of online and hybrid courses across multiple categories. Goodwin designed and taught ‘Nutrition for Healthy Living,’ integrating individual and small-group activity, and providing authentic, humanized connections to support students’ engagement and academic success in an asynchronous environment.

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Mary-Beth Cooper

Mary-Beth Cooper

Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper will serve as a voting member on a new NCAA Board of Governors, the highest governance body of the NCAA. The board members will assume their duties on August 1. Cooper, the lone Division III delegate, was selected by the NCAA following the new NCAA constitution that was adopted in January by member schools and conferences. The new board includes nine voting members: four from Division I (at least one school president and one conference commissioner), one from the Division II Presidents Council, one (Cooper) from the Division III Presidents Council, two independent members and one graduated student-athlete. Cooper became the 13th president of Springfield College in August 2013. Known for her volunteer leadership, Cooper has served on the President’s Council of the NCAA, serves on the NIL Committee: NCAA Federal and State Legislation Working Group, and has been the president of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).

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Mychal Connolly

Mychal Connolly

At its recent commencement ceremonies, Holyoke Community College honored entrepreneur Mychal Connolly with its Distinguished Service Award. Connolly is co-founder of Stinky Cakes, a newborn baby gift company, and creator and chief brand ambassador of StandOutTruck.com, a digital mobile advertising and marketing agency. Connolly has served as an alumni mentor for the HCC Alumni Champions Mentorship Network, and last year established an annual scholarship through the HCC Foundation for business and marketing majors. He has also worked as a volunteer for HCC’s annual “Together HCC — Drive to Change Lives” fundraising campaigns. “Myke can be found talking about the impact of a Holyoke Community College education all across our region – in boardrooms, with aspiring leaders, and all along the streets of western Massachusetts thanks to the Stand Out Truck,” said President Christina Royal said. “He is a champion for HCC and we are pleased to celebrate his service to the college by recognizing him as this year’s Distinguished Service Award winner.”

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The Cohn & Company Real Estate Agency announced that Brian Marchand has joined its team of real estate professionals. Prior to working with Cohn & Company, Marchand was a real estate agent in the Albany, N.Y. area.

People on the Move

Theresa Jasmin

The board of directors of Big Y Foods Inc. announced the appointment of Theresa Jasmin as CFO following the recent retirement of William Mahoney. She is responsible for the company’s strategic planning, finance, accounting, treasury, and tax functions. As a senior member of the executive team, she reports to Charles D’Amour, president and CEO, along with Big Y’s board of directors. She also represents the first woman to be appointed to the company’s C-suite. Jasmin has more than 25 years of experience in the food industry. She began her career at Friendly Ice Cream Corp., where she held senior management positions in both Treasury and Accounting. She joined Big Y in 2005 and held several positions of increasing responsibility in accounting and finance. She became controller in 2010. In 2014, she was appointed senior director of Finance, followed by vice president of Finance in 2016 until her new appointment. Jasmin holds a BBA from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst and an MBA from Western New England University. In 2014, she was named a Top Woman in Grocery by Progressive Grocer magazine and was a founding member of Big Y’s Women LEAD (Leaders Engaged in Action and Development), the company’s first-ever employee-resource group charged with inspiring and empowering women. She currently serves on the executive committee and as treasurer for the YMCA of Greater Springfield. She also serves on the finance committees for both the Massachusetts and Connecticut Food Associations.

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Erin Chrzanowski

Erin Chrzanowski

Bacon Wilson announced that attorney Erin Chrzanowski has joined the firm as an associate and a member of the firm’s business and corporate practice group, where she works on matters related to commercial real estate and financing. In addition, she was recently elected to serve on the board of Revitalize Community Development Corp. in Springfield. Prior to joining Bacon Wilson, Chrzanowski attended Syracuse University College of Law, earning her JD in 2019, and UMass Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management, earning her BBA cum laude in 2017. She is licensed to practice in both Massachusetts and New York.

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Dawn Harrington

Dawn Harrington

Florence Bank announced that Dawn Harrington was recently selected as a recipient of its President’s Award. The President’s Award was established by the bank in 1995, affording employees the annual opportunity to nominate their peers for this prestigious honor that recognizes outstanding performance, customer service, and overall contribution to Florence Bank. Harrington was nominated by numerous colleagues. Harrington, a senior mortgage underwriter in the main office’s Mortgage Origination department, joined Florence Bank in 2016 and has 19 years of banking experience. She earned her associate degree in legal studies from Bay Path University.

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CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) recently welcomed three new board members: Myra Marcellin, vice president and senior loan officer at Farm Credit East; Tessa White-Diemand, of Diemand Farm in Wendell; and Elizabeth Wroblicka, environmental consultant at Conservation Works. The three were voted in during CISA’s annual meeting, held virtually on May 21, and will serve three-year terms. CISA, a South Deerfield based nonprofit, strengthens farms and engages the community to build the local food economy. CISA’s board is made up of both farmers and community members who represent a range of business and community ties. These three board members have expertise in a variety of topics directly related to CISA’s work, including firsthand farming experience, land conservation, and farm financing. Marcellin serves in the local community, participating in the music ministry at her church, and she had served on the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Club Family Center until mid-2019. She has served in the agricultural community as well, representing Farm Credit East in various capacities and previously serving on the Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom board of directors. She currently serves as a regular trustee to the Eastern States Exposition, representing the state of Massachusetts. White-Diemand returned to her family farm in 2017 after working in the social-work field for many years. She is the third generation to work the Diemand Farm in Wendell, raising grass-fed beef cattle, broiler chickens, cage-free laying hens, and pasture-raised turkeys. The farm also has a small commercial kitchen that produces value-added products which are sold at their small farm store and across the Pioneer Valley. Wroblicka has dedicated her more than 25-year career to protecting important natural resources, including many farms and forests in the Pioneer Valley. Currently, as part of a team of environmental consultants at Conservation Works, LLC, she specializes in land-conservation transactions and helping landowners figure out the best way to protect their land. She has served as chief of Wildlife Lands for the Massachusetts Division of Wildlife, on staff at several land trusts, and as an attorney in private practice.

Class of 2020

She’s Retired … but Not from Her Role as a Difference Maker

Photo by Leah Martin Photography

Dianne Fuller Doherty has her own working definition of ‘entrepreneur.’

“Someone who’s resourceful,” said the now … well, let’s call it semi-retired director of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network’s Western Mass. office, before elaborating in some detail.

“Successful entrepreneurs are willing to ask for help; many people, particularly young people, think they have to have all the answers themselves,” she explained. “They don’t, and they need to develop the willingness to seek help and not be ashamed to ask. It is amazing how many people have struggled with that.”

For more than 20 years, it was the MSBDC — and quite often Fuller Doherty herself — that entrepreneurs, including BusinessWest founder John Gormally, would turn to for such help and guidance with everything from financing a venture to marketing a product, to simply deciding if a concept had legs. Often, it didn’t, and she would help them come to that important conclusion.

It was immensely rewarding work — and it still is.

Indeed, even though she officially retired from the MSBDC in 2016, Fuller Doherty remains quite active — with everything from mentoring young entrepreneurs, and especially women, to serving on the boards at Valley Venture Mentors, Tech Foundry, and Western New England University, where she sits on the committee now searching for a successor to long-time president Anthony Caprio.

Fuller Doherty — who bylined a piece for the New York Times in 2010, one in a series of pieces spotlighting people working past, or well past, what would be considered retirement age — has always believed in keeping the calendar full, and today, four years after retiring and also losing her husband, Paul Doherty, to cancer, she does so with everything from yoga and Pilates to consulting and mentoring.

“My feeling is that, as long as I’m doing something of value, why not continue doing it?’ she asked rhetorically in the piece she wrote for the Times. And those words ring true as she continues to do a number of things of value.

Especially in her role as a mentor and, yes, a role model to entrepreneurs, including a number of women who have been steered in her direction, continuing work to build the region’s economy through the development and maturation of small businesses.

“I love helping people, and I learn more from any job than I’ve ever given to people,” she told BusinessWest. “And that’s definitely true with mentoring; you learn about new industries, jobs, and approaches. I learn so much from my clients and mentees.”

Throughout her life and her career, Fuller Doherty has been a strong advocate for women — she was one of the founders of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts — and “ensuring they have full and equal share in economic, social, cultural, and political decision making,” as she put it. There is still some work to do, but overall, she believes great strides have been made.

And she feels the same about the region itself.

“We have a lot going for us here — there is quality of life, great colleges and universities, and wonderful communities in which to raise families,” she said. “It’s a great story, and we need to be telling it.”

For all that she has done — and all she continues to do — she’s a true Difference Maker.

Role Modeling

By now, most people know at least some of the Dianne Fuller Doherty story.

Born in upstate New York, she went to Mount Holyoke College, where she earned a degree in philsophy. She lived for a year in Boston after graduating and, while there, met third-year Harvard Law School student Paul Doherty and fell in love.

Paul contemplated heading west to Chicago and work in investments, but ultimately chose the law firm in Springfield where his father and grandfather both worked. And that’s where our story unfolds.

Dianne Fuller Doherty (second from left) and the other founders of the Women’s Fund of Western Mass., as well as its founding executive director, Kristi Nelson, were honored at an event in March 2019 at the Tower Square Hotel. Seen here are, from left, Donna Haghighat, CEO of the Women’s Fund, Fuller Doherty, founder Martha Richards, Nelson, Mimi Goldberg (accepting for the third founder, the late Sally Livingston), and Haydee Lamberty-Rodrigues, board chair of the WFMA.

Doherty admits to not knowing much about Springfield beyond its train station and the Student Prince restaurant, where her parents would take her to dinner while she was in college, but she quickly went about learning more. And by the ’90s, she was becoming a force in everything from business to helping women break through the glass ceiling.

Over the years, she became involved with institutions ranging from the Springfield Regional Chamber to the YMCA; from the World Affairs Council to Glenmeadow; from Bay Path University to the National Conference for Community and Justice.

When her four daughters were in their teens, Doherty, seeking to be a role model for them, first earned an MBA at Western New England College (20 years after she graduated from Mount Holyoke) and then went about looking for work — and maybe a career.

She started in Springfield City Hall working as a volunteer with the grants manager. “I wanted some experience, and I’d taken a grants course; I liked writing, and I liked to raise money,” she said, adding that all these talents would come into play later.

From there, she took a job with a marketing agency in Hartford, working primarily in business development.

“I didn’t know much about business development, but I could pretend pretty well,” she joked, adding that she enjoyed the work and, inspired to go into business for herself, partnered with Marsha Tzoumas and created a marketing firm that took their last names. The venture did well, eventually growing to 16 employees and a deep portfolio of clients, but it couldn’t survive the recession of the early ’90s.

“It was fun on the way up and hard when the economy changed and no one was spending any money on marketing,” she recalled, adding that she went on to work for Springfield Mayor Bob Markel before winning the job leading the regional office of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center.

Her intention was to stay for a few years “until I figured out what I really wanted to do.” She stayed nearly a quarter-century because she quickly discovered this was, indeed, what she really wanted to do.

“It was such a fun job, and I got to know so many people up and down the Valley, because I was in Northampton one day a week and Amherst one day a week,” she recalled. “I really got to know the region.”

She used all kinds of adjectives to describe her work with entrepreneurs, including ‘rewarding,’ ‘fulfilling,’ ‘exciting,’ and also ‘challenging’ — that last one because entrepreneurs don’t need someone telling them what they want to hear. They want, or should want, what amounts to tough love.

This 2010 New York Times article makes it clear Dianne Fuller Doherty plans to do things — including retirement — on her own schedule and in her own way.

“You have to be encouraging — you never want to say anything negative, but you also want to be honest and realistic,” he said. “The best advice I give to people is to ask enough questions so that they can come to the right conclusion on whether this is the right time, or the right place, or the right financial backing to go forward.

“You let them come to the decision about whether it’s a ‘no,’” she went on. “And if it’s a ‘yes,’ then you just try to be as encouraging as possible and let them know that there are going to be highs and lows in any business, and the challenges will come. But the rewards will come also.”

Thinking Big

Overall, Fuller Doherty said she believes the growth and evolution of the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem — which she is now an integral part of — is one of the better economic-development stories unfolding in the region.

She told BusinessWest that, while MGM Springfield has been a solid addition to the landscape, and the eds and meds sectors remain pillars of the economy, the development of small businesses — with the hope that they that will bring jobs and perhaps grow into larger ventures — is the best economic-development strategy moving forward.

“When you think about MassMutual, it started with one man in a little building at 101 State St.,” she noted. “We don’t know what the next new thing or the next new business sector might be — it might be something not even known to us yet — but the key is to support and mentor people with ideas and help them turn those ideas into businesses and jobs.”

But there are many other good stories, she went on, listing everything from revitalization of Springfield’s downtown to new businesses emerging from the science labs at UMass Amherst and other area schools; from the growing strength of the area’s higher-education sector to this region emerging as a solid, affordable alternative to Greater Boston.

It’s a message that needs to be delivered — both to other markets in the Northeast and perhaps beyond, and in this market as well, she said, adding that a good deal of work remains to be done when it comes to building pride within the region.

“When I had my agency, my mantra was ‘marketing starts in the toes of the bus boy in the kitchen,’ and I truly believe that,” she said. “If you get him excited about what he’s doing serving people, he’s enthusiastic about not only his job but the region, and he shares that with other people, and they get excited; there’s a ripple effect. It’s the same with people living and working in this area.”

But perhaps the story she’s most intrigued by, and most proud of, is how the scene has changed for women over the decades.

For evidence, she points to the number of area colleges now led by women; in addition to the women’s schools, Springfield College, Holyoke Community College, Greenfield Community College, and Berkshire Community College all have a woman in the president’s office. And also to the number of businesses and nonprofits, as well as many new business ventures, being led by women.

‘When you look at the number of women leaders in this valley … it wasn’t this way 20 or 30 years ago; there’s been a real concentration of effort to promote women,” she explained. “Between women college presidents, not-for-profit CEOs, and for-profit CEOs, this is a very different place.”

Bottom Line

Fuller Doherty has had a lot to do with this region becoming that different place.

Over the years, she’s been a business owner, trusted consultant, mentor, role model, advocate for women, and cheerleader of sorts for the Pioneer Valley. And with most all of those titles, we can and do still use the present tense, which is a good thing for this region.

The headline placed over that aforementioned New York Times article from a decade ago read, “When She’s Ready to Retire, She’ll Know It.” Fuller Doherty may have retired from the MSBDC, but she hasn’t retired from being active in this region or from motivating and helping others to fulfill their specific dreams.

In short, she hasn’t retired from being a Difference Maker.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

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