40 Under 40 Class of 2007

Todd Lever

Age 39. Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, Noble Hospital

Todd Lever has big things in mind … for his generation.

“I’ve had a number of mentors over the years, and I’d like to do the same for others who are trying to break into different careers,” Lever said of one of his goals: to start a regional networking group for members of Generation X. He even has a name in mind: Xecutives.

“With the aging of the Baby Boom generation, there will be a leadership transition between Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, and an increased need for leadership and networking.”

It’s a typically ambitious plan for Lever, who seems to be happier the more thinly he spreads himself. His current job, overseeing a range of marketing efforts at Noble Hospital in Westfield, is only the latest in a series of public-relations roles in health care, including stints at Health New England, Baystate Health, and the Sisters of Providence Health System. In the meantime, he has cultivated relationships with several regional nonprofits in the human services sector. “I’ve never wanted to market widgets,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to have some close human connection to my daily business activities.”

It’s a mission Lever has taken beyond his own career through an entity called Western Mass. Strategies, his consulting practice that focuses on marketing, public relations, and government affairs within the local nonprofit sector. “I had been participating in a human services advocacy group, and I found a number of executive directors taking about a need for public relations and advocacy capacity within their organizations, because they couldn’t hire anyone on their own,” he said. “So I set up my own boutique consulting business, working for several organizations.”

Lever has been, in many ways, a public-service Renaissance man, from his Political Science studies at UMass and his election as a Southwick selectman at age 24, to his eight years of editorial writing about political and interpersonal issues for Southwoods magazine and his more recent role as a public affairs analyst on the Tony Gill Show on WAIC radio.

Still, his work keeps returning to the fields of health and human services. “I’ve been given fantastic opportunities to have some daily interaction with people and to try to make a difference in people’s lives,” he said.

All this, with nary a widget in sight.