Page 33 - BusinessWest February 17, 2021
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when it comes to women, and women of color. Many of these stories haven’t been told, or told as much as they need to be, she said, adding that telling them was the broad goal behind Voices of Resilience, which is still on display at the D’Amour
The exhibit also formed the backdrop for
the fourth annual On the Move event in 2020. Organized by Fondon, this gathering, which will be staged virtually this year due to the pandemic, encourages conversation and networking among
But she left the school with an even deeper appreciation for the arts than what she already had, and it has remained with her throughout her life. And you might say she’s achieved a different kind of fame after first graduating from Colgate University, where she majored in sociology and anthropology and studied in London, Paris, and Barbados, among other places.
After leaving Colgate, she pursued work in the media, working first at CBS as a news intern andhandlingresearchfor60Minutes,among other shows, then ABC in the Public Relations department, where she was encouraged to continue her education, and did so, earning her master’s degree at New York University.
Fondon worked in New York for some time before moving to an ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. and eventually relocating to Massachusetts, where she has worked in a number of fields. She worked at Digital Equipment Corp., for example, and later at Bank of Boston, in its Corporate Communications department.
After starting a family, she desired more flexibility in her schedule and started freelance writing and then teaching on an adjunct level, with the former becoming the basis for UnityFirst. com, an information portal that shares topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion with more than 4,000 members of the national press, including top mainstream business publications, television, radio, and internet sources.
Recent pieces on the site include headlines like these:
• “Barbara Bush Foundation Celebrates Black History Month with the Release of New Anti-racist and Anti-bias Teaching Resources”;
• “Barefoot Celebrates and Supports Black
“I decided to pull together some stories — some rooted in Springfield, others rooted around Springfield—andthesearestoriesthatn”eededto be told because we can learn from them.
women, and it has become a well-attended tradition.
It’s also another example of how Fondon has devoted her time, energy, and imagination to findingnewanddifferentways to bring people together, share ideas, and work individually and collectively to move the needle when it comes to diversity, inclusion, women breaking down
Museum of Fine Arts at the Quadrangle.
It features more than 70 stories of women — activists and businesswomen, mostly — ranging
from Gwen Ifill, the longtime host of Washington Week (and Springfield native) who passed away
a few years ago, to Lejuana Hood, who founded Springfield’s Pan African Museum, to Miriam Kirkaldy, Fondon’s grandmother, who came to Ellis Island in 1917 and forged a new life for herself.
“I decided to pull together some stories — some rooted in Springfield, others rooted around Springfield — and these are stories that needed to be told because we can learn from them,” Fondon explained, using her grandmother as an example.
“She came via Ellis Island from Jamaica, and she came the year before the 1918 pandemic,” she explained. “You think about the fortitude she displayed and her experience; I grew up with her experience, and I said, ‘we can learn from that experience.”
barriers, and so much more.
In short, it’s just another case of how she
connects and serves this region as a true Difference Maker.
Loud and Clear
If you look closely, as in very closely, you might be able to pick out Fondon in one of the pictures of real students from New York’s fabled High School of Music & Art at the end of the 1980 movie Fame.
She was in the choir, and the shot of that group was among many of the last class of that school before it merged with the School of Performing Arts and moved to Lincoln Center.
“I wouldn’t even call it a cameo,” said Fondon, who noted that she had some talent, but not enough to join the likes of famous alums such
as Billy Dee Williams, Christopher Guest, Susan Strasberg, Hal Linden, or Steven Bochco and make it as a performer or producer.
   Congratulations Bay Path University Professor Janine Fondon, chair of the undergraduate communications department, founder of UnityFirst.com;
and the Class of  Difference Makers
•
• • • • •
As leaders in our region, you have ‘Seized the Day’ by encouraging others to reach beyond their potential, helping those in need, possessing an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, and inspiring people through your actions.
baypath.edu
   Harold Grinspoon Philanthropist, Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Library; owner and founder of Aspen Square Management
Kristin Carlson President, Peerless Precision
Chad Moir Founder and owner, DopaFit Parkinson’s Movement Center Bill Parks President, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield
Pete Westover Founder and partner, Conservation Works, LLC
EforAll Holyoke
    DIFFERENCE
FEBRUARY 17, 2021 33
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