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Women’s Fund of Western Mass. Announces Executive Transition

EASTHAMPTON — After nearly three years at the helm of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, Elizabeth Barajas-Román will step down as CEO at the end of March in order to take an appointment as the new CEO of the Solidago Foundation, a Northampton-based national organization.

The Women’s Fund board of directors has appointed long-time supporter and strategy consultant Irma González, to serve as interim CEO.

“The Women’s Fund plays a unique role in building the strength of women in communities across our region. It is an honor to partner with the Fund’s board and staff to build on the gains of the last few years and steward this critical resource until a new leader takes the reins,” said González.

González was a member of the Women’s Fund’s most recent strategic planning committee, and is principal of Zoen Resources, where she specializes in change and transition management in support of social justice and human-rights advocacy. Barajas-Román will support the transition through ongoing consultation for the organization’s strategic initiatives. Springfield-based United Personnel will lead the search process for the permanent CEO, which will open in early April.

“Elizabeth’s vision and leadership has elevated our Women’s Fund to new heights, helping to build strong and powerful partnerships regionally and nationally,” said Layla Taylor, Women’s Fund board chair. “She will be greatly missed by the staff, board, donors, and our partners. However, we are also excited about the potential we have to gain a new national partner through her leadership at the Solidago Foundation. We are thrilled for the fund’s future and the amazing legacy the next CEO will inherit.”

During her tenure, Barajas-Román played a critical role in the development and continued success of the Women’s Fund. In partnership with the board leadership and staff, she led the organization to three consecutive years of fund-raising growth, a 300% increase in social-media visibility, a new three-year strategic plan, and a move of the organization’s headquarters to the renovated Innovation Center in downtown Springfield. The Women’s Fund also worked with the Obama Administration as part of the national Prosperity Together coalition.

More recently, the Women’s Fund launched two groundbreaking partnerships: one with Bay Path University to offer academic credit to the Women’s Fund leadership program (LIPPI) participants, and the other with the Partnership for Young Women’s Progress, a multi-sector initiative that, with lead support from the MassMutual Foundation, will help create an economic-prosperity blueprint for young women in Springfield.

“It is with deep gratitude and respect for all those connected to the Women’s Fund that I pass the torch,” Barajas-Román said. “Although this is a period of transition, it is also a very exciting time for the Fund.”

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