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Women of Impact 2019

Principal, Deliso Financial Services

She Helps People — and the Community — Get Where They Need to Be

Jean Deliso likes to say she is part financial advisor, part therapist.

This description of her work as owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in Agawam sums up not only what she does, but how she does it. Indeed, while the primary objective of her job is to provide financial advice to her clients, she is also committed to forming a personal relationship with each individual who sits in front of her in order to better understand exactly where they are financially and where they want to be — and help them get there.

This is especially true with women, a rewarding niche, if one chooses to call it that, for Deliso, who has, over the course of her 25-year career in this field, become a specialist in empowering women and positioning them for a solid financial future, as well as during times of transition, such as divorce and widowhood.

“I spend a lot of time trying to speak to women because I want them to not be afraid and get educated so they understand that the decision they make, or the lack of the decision they’re making, is going to make a difference in their lives,” Deliso told BusinessWest. “We deserve equality, but we as women need to believe that we deserve equality.”

But helping women — and all her clients — chart a course for a lifetime of financial stability is only one of many reasons why Deliso has been chosen as a Woman of Impact for 2019.

She is also heavily involved in the community, especially with groups and causes that impact children and families. She currently serves as chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation, and is immediate past chairman of the Community Music School, for example, and is also past chair of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield and past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Mass.

Meanwhile, as the daughter and granddaughter of entrepreneurs (more on that later), and a successful one herself, she is also a mentor to young entrepreneurs, especially women, through work with Valley Venture Mentors.

Talking about the various aspects of her life — her work, her involvement in the community, and her family life — Deliso said they all connect and flow together.

“Most people in life think they have it figured out and that they’re all set, but the reality is, they’re not. We’re all very busy people, and, because of that, we don’t take care of ourselves.”

“Some people are different at work than they are at home, but I’m the same way throughout,” she said. “I’ve really identified that my effort in my business matches what I do in the community, and matches who I am. All three components are aligned.”

Together, they make her a true Woman of Impact, as noted by Scott Berg, vice president of Philanthropy at Baystate Health, executive director of the Baystate Health Foundation — and a client of Deliso Financial Services, one of her several people who nominated her.

“Jean is an outstanding person, both professionally and personally. She has built a successful business focused on helping people reach their financial goals,” he wrote. “I believe the key to Jean’s business success has been her unwavering dedication to the community; she is a person, both in business and in the community, who leads by example.”

On-the-money Advice

Deliso told BusinessWest that her strong work ethic, commitment to the community, desire to help others, and, yes, leadership by example are all what she calls family traits.

Indeed, she said she grew up in a family of entrepreneurs — her grandfather, Joseph Deliso Sr., founded HBA Cast Products, later run by her father — who made a point of donating time, energy, and talent to the community.

Her grandfather was one of the founders of Springfield Technical Community College, and his name is on one of the academic buildings on the historic campus.

Jean Deliso doesn’t have any buildings named after her — yet. But she is certainly following the lead of the generations before her when it comes to being an entrepreneur and giving back.

“My work at the YMCA, the Community Music School, and Baystate is all about helping children and helping those in this community who are not as fortunate as I was growing up,” she said. “I had wonderful parents, great role models, and grew up in an entrepreneurial family who were community-minded and taught me that hard work, dedication, giving back, and being kind to others was the way to live.”

With regard to entrepreneurship, Deliso said she knew early on that she wanted to work for herself, and she’s been doing that for 20 years now. After working in the family business in Florida, she relocated to Western Mass., where she consulted with small-business owners on financial operations and maximizing performance. She then segued into financial planning and has become a regional leader in that field.

Jean Deliso, seen here speaking with attendees at a Baystate Health Foundation event, has continued a family tradition of being active within the community.

She has been a New York Life agent since 1995, and is associated with the company’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is currently enjoying her seventh year as part of New York Life’s Chairman’s Council, ranking in the top 3% of the company’s sales force of more than 12,000 agents.

While such honors and accolades are rewarding, Deliso finds it more rewarding to assist individual clients, guide them through what can be a very difficult process at times, and help them make the right decisions to set them up for a financially stable future.

“Most people in life think they have it figured out and that they’re all set, but the reality is, they’re not,” she said. “We’re all very busy people, and, because of that, we don’t take care of ourselves.”

This is particularly true with women, she noted, adding that they often outlive their husbands and, too often, are not involved in the family’s financial planning.

“I like to educate women because I cringe when I hear the words, ‘oh, I’ll let my husband take care of that,’” Deliso said. “The value of a woman is so important, and I think we, as women, undervalue ourselves a lot.”

So, Deliso and her “small but mighty staff,” as she describes it, helps clients set goals and objectives, and then assists them with getting from point A (where they are) to point B (where they want to be, up to retirement and then through it).

“I will find the disconnects from where they are versus where they want to be, and I help them build this bridge to get them to where they want to be,” she said, adding that this sometimes includes asking difficult questions.

“She is a believer in developing positive assets for youth — whether through improved medical care, quality programs for children before, during, and after school hours, or gaining self-awareness through the power of music.”

These include ‘have you thought of the what-ifs?’ and ‘are you prepared?’

All too often, the answers the answer to those questions is ‘no,’ she went on, adding that she has a passion for turning ‘no’ into ‘yes.’

Balance Sheet

To get this point across, Deliso summoned a case from very early in her career — new clients who provided a critical lesson in being ready for one of those ‘what ifs.’

A young couple in their 30s had two young children and wanted to buy a house. Deliso sat down with them and talked about their goals and asked them those difficult questions mentioned above, especially the one about what would happen if something happened to one of them.

The couple decided they wanted college taken care of for their two children, and also wanted to take care of their mortgage. So, Deliso put them on a savings plan, bought them life insurance, and got them on track to start saving money.

Two years after she started working with this couple, she got a call from the husband: his wife passed away at the age of 32.

His first question, Deliso recalled, was ‘how am I going to do this?’ Her quick answer was that he could do it because of the plan she put in place for him.

“From that moment, those two children went to college because we put money aside for that college education,” she said. “We paid off most of the mortgage because I made sure that that family would be fine if one of those incomes went away, and that’s exactly what happened. This was so powerful that it cemented me in this career.”

Likewise, her family’s deep commitment to the community cemented in her the need to get involved and stay involved. And, as noted, this involvement often involves institutions and initiatives with missions focused on families and children.

Berg summed up this commitment in his nomination of Deliso.

“In addition to impacting the lives of her clients, she has influenced, both directly and indirectly, countless lives through her volunteer efforts at the Baystate Health Foundation, the YMCA, and the Community Music School,” he wrote. “As can be seen in the agencies with which she has given so much time, she is a believer in developing positive assets for youth — whether through improved medical care, quality programs for children before, during, and after school hours, or gaining self-awareness through the power of music. This dedication to our youngest community members is truly an investment in the next generation of our community’s leaders.”

Elaborating, Berg noted that how Deliso serves the community is as important as where she trains those efforts, specifically with enthusiasm that is contagious and strong leadership.

“When Jean presents to the Baystate Health Foundation board of trustees, she strives to make her words resonate, to encourage introspection, and to promote enthusiasm,” he wrote. “Her passion is a reminder to all trustees why they have chosen to commit themselves to moving the foundation mission forward and the true impact it has on its beneficiaries. Jean is exactly what you would want in a leader.”

Her leadership skills were recognized, and applauded, by the Professional Women’s Chamber, which named her Woman of the Year in 2013.

Investments in the Community

As noted, there were several nominations for the Woman of Impact honor with Deliso’s name on them. Collectively, they do a fine job of explaining why she was chosen.

In hers, Judy Moore, director of Client Management at Deliso Financial, noted that working for Deliso has given her an inside look at all the hard work she invests in order to ensure her clients get the best service possible.

“Working for her for 11 years, I can attest to the fact that her high level of professionalism and ethics is astonishing, and her clients reap the benefits of that on a daily basis,” said Moore. “She never tires of giving back to the community and making lives better through her various work, both professionally and altruistically.”

Those sentiments effectively sum up both Deliso’s life’s work and her commitment to the community. In both realms, she always has one eye on today, and the other on tomorrow.

“What I do for a living makes a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “If I can make an impact on someone’s life, that’s a good day.”

Kayla Ebner can be reached at [email protected]

Banking and Financial Services Sections
Deliso Financial Services Spans the Gap Between Present and Future

Jean Deliso, left, and Trina Moskal

Jean Deliso, left, and Trina Moskal take pride in educating people about measures they need to take to become financially secure.

Jean Deliso has always asked questions — lots of them.

The habit began in childhood during dinnertime conversations that revolved around her family’s business, and it continues today in her role as a comprehensive financial planner.

Queries are important to the president and founder of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in Agawam because the answers she receives are key to creating individualized plans for clients.

But she says retirement planning is something many people fail to do, even though life expectancy is much greater than it was years ago and company pensions have all but disappeared.

This is especially true for business owners and women, who tend to put retirement planning on the back burner, citing lack of time, resources, or knowledge as excuses. And although Deliso has clients from all walks of life, she has chosen to focus on these two populations.

“I really enjoy empowering women and watching them gain a sense of accomplishment by taking steps to secure their financial future. This is especially true when I see women who have just come through a divorce or the loss of a spouse,” Deliso said, adding that she works with many women who are experiencing a life transition.

“The problem with women is that they become overwhelmed,” she went on. “They say they don’t understand finances and don’t have the time to meet with a financial planner. But they live seven to eight years longer than men and make less money, so it’s critical for them to take control of their financial lives.”

Deliso noted that 90% of people in nursing homes are female, and 36% of women 65 and older are widowed, compared with 12% of men 65 and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Women also make up half of the U.S. population, represent nearly two-thirds of the American workforce, and are the sole or primary breadwinner in 40% of households with children.

Deliso said a woman turning 65 today can expect to live to age 85. The 2010 Census counted 53,364 people age 100 and older in the United States, and for every 100 women who are centenarians, only 21 men have reached that age.

As for business owners, Deliso said many of them have their own reasons for failing to create a financial plan.

“Most think their business is their retirement. But quite often, something happens to that plan. They may not be able to sell it, or a child may not want to take over. And even if children do, they may not be as successful as the parent was. There are also industry changes and the fact that businesses go through cycles, and when the owner wants to retire, it may be in a down cycle.”

Other rationalizations include a lack of money or discretionary income. “But everyone can plan, and everyone can save. It’s a matter of priorities,” she added.

For this issue, BusinessWest examines how Deliso, by asking all those questions, helps clients establish priorities and, ultimately, plan effectively for both today and tomorrow.

Dollars and Sense

Deliso’s business education began in childhood. “My grandfather and parents were entrepreneurs who founded their own businesses, and I was washing windows at my parents’ company, ToolKraft, when I was about 7,” she explained.

She graduated to working after school at age 12, and says dinnertime conversations almost always focused on matters pertaining to Chicopee-based ToolKraft. “I worked in receivables, payables, and inventory as a teen. Being a hard-working entrepreneur is in my DNA, and I understand the challenges of owning a business.”

Deliso had always thought about starting a business herself, but the decision to take control of her life was cemented during her sophomore year in college. “I was visiting my mother, who was our company’s comptroller, when the CPA walked in and told her she had to do something. I wanted to know why, and realized I didn’t ever want that to happen to me.”

So she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting, moved to Florida, and worked for a CPA firm. Although Deliso was slated to become a partner, after eight years she made the decision to leave.

“I wanted to run my own business, and started an electronic-component distribution company,” she said, explaining that this was a division of a firm owned by her brother. “I knew nothing about electronics, but understood the guts of business because my specialty at the CPA firm had been financial planning for business owners.”

Seven years later, the two companies merged, and Deliso returned to Massachusetts. “I was in my 30s and wanted to start a family,” she explained.

Her next stint was selling long-term-care insurance. But she soon found the work unsatisfying. “I didn’t like the fact that I was just selling a product. I thrive on relationships and wanted something more comprehensive,” she explained.

So, when she received a job offer from New York Life Insurance, she accepted it, and discovered she enjoyed building relationships that helped people.

Then, in 2000, Deliso founded her own company. Deliso Financial and Insurance Services has prospered since that time, and three months ago, junior associate Trina Moskal was hired to help with the growing clientele.

Deliso said that, when her associate began working, she was surprised by the amount of time spent Deliso spent with clients. But she reiterated that it’s necessary to get to know them and understand their beliefs, expectations, needs, relationships with family members, job, attitude toward spending, as well as the amount of money they will need to live comfortably in retirement.

Deliso is passionate about financial education, and says many working adults allocate a percentage of their paycheck to a retirement fund, but don’t understand how it is being invested.

“People throw money at retirement like it’s going into a big, black box,” she said. “But they never look into the box and don’t calculate if there will be enough to pay their bills in the future. It’s important because people are living longer and can spend as many years in retirement as they did in the workforce.

“That requires a lot of money,” she went on, “especially since 50% will live past the life expectancy set up by actuarial tables.”

However, money evokes emotions, and financial decisions are not always rational. For example, a person’s primary goal may be to pay off their home mortgage by the time they retire.

“But if they don’t have cash in savings and have very little in a retirement plan, their house won’t provide them with the money they need to buy groceries,” she told BusinessWest. “Many people become too focused on one goal.”

In other instances, money is spent for purely emotional reasons, which Deliso says can be fine. “A person who has gone through a divorce may need to take a vacation or get away even though they can’t really afford it,” she explained.

But people do need to think about their future and plan for the unexpected.

She said she will never forget a client who called her hours after his wife died suddenly at age 32. “They had children, had just bought a home, and needed both incomes to make the payments. He told me he didn’t even have enough money to afford the funeral.”

Thankfully, the couple had taken out a life-insurance policy that allowed the man to meet his family’s financial needs. “He had a check two weeks later,” she said. “Although many people are afraid of life insurance, if this couple hadn’t purchased a policy, the man would have had to sell the house.”

Saving Grace

Early in her career, it became clear to Deliso that women were an underserved population in the financial world, and she was determined to do something about that.

“As I grew my business, it became apparent that women suffer from financial paralysis,” she said. “They’re afraid to make a mistake, and many don’t understand their 401(k) or retirement plans and their risks, as well as what a secure financial future looks like.”

And they need to understand these things, she went on, because statistics show clearly that people are living longer in general, and most women can expect to live longer than their husbands.

As a result, she goes above and beyond to educate women, and has conducted free seminars for this constituency for the past 10 years. Her next free talks, titled  “Creating Financial Independence,” are slated for June 5 and June 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Delaney House in Holyoke; call (413) 785-1100 to register.

Overall, there are many facets connected to spending and saving, and Deliso says everyone has a relationship with money that stems from their own history — and often begins in childhood.

“It’s part of the reason I ask so many questions,” she said, adding that the answers help her guide clients so she can build a bridge between their present and future needs. “I need to understand the person, so I think carefully about what I can ask because everyone’s values and life experiences are different.”

She added that many people don’t understand the difference between a financial planner and an investment banker. “The planner looks at the overall picture and competing needs of a person, while the banker focuses more on the investments,” she told BusinessWest.

Her clientele includes many business owners who appreciate the fact that she can speak their language. “Because of my background, I understand cash flow, budgets, sales projections, payroll, receivables, and inventory,” she said, adding that she has helped develop succession plans as well as company-sponsored benefit plans. She also continues to devote time to education.

“As a comprehensive financial planner, I look at cash management, risk management, investment planning, retirement planning, and estate planning, and one of my strengths is that I can take complicated topics and make them easy to understand,” Deliso explained. “Financial planning is not complicated. It can involve complex topics, but if you go through a process, it can be handled easily.”

Her work has earned her many awards, which hang on the walls of her office and include an appointment to the Million Dollar Round Table, a benchmark of achievement for insurance agents. She is a registered representative with NYLIFE Securities and a registered investment adviser with Eagle Strategies LLC.

Deliso  — who was named Woman of the Year in 2013 by the Professional Women’s Chamber — also believes in giving back to the community. “It’s a value I was brought up with. I have been blessed and want to continue the legacy.”

To wit, she is chairman of the board at the Community Music School and a member of the board of Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, the Baystate Health Foundation, AAA of Pioneer Valley, Pioneer Cold, the Hampden County Estate Planning Council, the National Assoc. of Life Underwriters, and the Assoc.for Advanced Underwriting. She is also a past chairman and board member of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, the Bay Path Advisory Council, the Executive Women’s Golf Assoc., and the Community Foundation.

Sense of Accomplishment

Deliso says she went into business so she could control her own destiny. “I was able to accomplish my goal, and today I want to help others control their finances,” she said. “People need a coach to help them understand what to do, how to reach their goals, and then hold them accountable. But just having a plan provides them with a real sense of accomplishment, and I enjoy making that happen.”

Which means Deliso will continue to ask questions so she can bridge the gap between the present and the future to ensure that clients achieve financial independence without having to sacrifice the things that matter most.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, CFP, from the Connecticut Valley General Office of New York Life, has been listed on the 2023 Forbes Top Financial Security Professionals Best-in-State list. The individuals named to this list of distinguished professionals were chosen based on many criteria considered by an independent research firm.

A New York Life agent for 28 years, Deliso received this recognition for helping her clients in a world in which wealth preservation and protection matter more than ever.

“We are honored that Jean appears on this prestigious list,” said Eli Burrows, managing partner of the Connecticut Valley General Office. “New York Life has known for quite some time what a valuable asset Jean has been to our family and to many families and businesses in our community.”

Deliso is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future. She has been working in the financial field for more than 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry.

She has developed an expertise in helping business owners and individuals protect and secure their own and their family’s future. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash and risk management, retirement, and estate planning. She is committed to helping educate individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment.

Deliso is a Nautilus Group member agent, an advanced-planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies. Her access to this exclusive resource enables her clients to benefit from the group’s collective experience and solutions as they apply to the protection, accumulation, and distribution of wealth to individuals, families, and business owners throughout the country.

A graduate of Bentley College, she has also been a member of New York Life Chairman’s Council since 2012 and a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table since 1999. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement.

Active in her community, Deliso currently serves on and is immediate past chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation. She also serves on and is past chairman of the board of the Community Music School of Springfield, and is also a past board member of Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse.

Features

50 Shades of … Everything

Amy Woolf

Amy Woolf

Amy Woolf, a certified architectural color consultant, says color can, and very often does, affect people physiologically and psychologically. And for these reasons, it’s very important to pick the rights ones, especially in business. Indeed, the chosen colors should reflect the products or services being sold, and the people selling them.

Amy Woolf says colors have long had meaning, importance, and symbolism; that’s not a recent phenomenon.

Centuries ago, she noted, royals and those in the clergy wore purple because that was a rare, very expensive dye, and thus that color translated directly into money and power.

And while they are still relatively few in number, individuals have been putting the title ‘architectural color consultant,’ or words to that effect, on their business card for some time now, she went on. In fact, there is a trade group comprised of such professionals — the International Assoc. of Color Consultants (IACC) — that has chapters all over the world; the one in North America stages classes once a year in San Diego.

But in recent years, color has seemingly taken on more importance in architecture, office design, and business in general, she noted, listing as reasons why everything from the growing number of colors (or shades of them, to be exact), to high-definition television, which brings everything into sharper focus; from the proliferation of decorating shows on TV to an increased emphasis — in business and in marketing — on sending the proper message, in part through colors.

These would be the colors on the walls, the company logo, the home page of the website, the business card, the fleet of vans or trucks, and on it goes. But much of her work involves commercial and residential real estate.

“To me, the most important thing is to unravel how someone wants to feel in a space, and how we can choose a color that’s going to have the right physiological outcome and the right psychological outcome,” Woolf said while trying to quickly explain what she does and how she does it. “Because color really does have a physiological impact; it changes our heartbeat, it changes how we perceive temperature, those kinds of things.”

There is such a focus on color now that Woolf — whose business is based out of her home in Northampton — and others in this profession make a decent living from what could certainly be described as a solid mix of art and science, one with many variables and focus points.

Indeed, just listen to this description of a job she worked on recently involving a lengthy search for the right color for the exterior of a commercial building in Amherst.

“The building had been brown, and the client was expecting me to specify gray,” Woolf told BusinessWest. “The tenants are diverse, including light manufacturing, a Comcast office, and a martial-arts school. The color eventually chosen, which sits between the blue of the sky and the green of the trees, settles into the landscape nicely, but provides a much more welcoming first impression than brown or gray would have. Heaven knows the world is not lacking for more brown and gray buildings.”

Also consider this summation of her work to “break a tie” among leaders at Greenfield Savings Bank concerning the exterior color for the branch on King Street in Northampton; two browns and a gray were under consideration.

“Their goal for the architectural design was to help increase the sense of a “walkable, village-like feeling for King Street,” she recalled. “I suggested they do a 180 away from neutrals and go with an olive green instead. I encouraged them to break up the monotony of gray and brown so prevalent in the King Street corridor with something fresh and friendly.”

Like we said, it’s a blend of art and what is certainly now a science.

The exterior color chosen for this commercial building in Amherst

The exterior color chosen for this commercial building in Amherst “sits between the blue of the sky and the green of the trees,” says Amy Woolf.

And one of the key aspects of this work is working in partnership with the client, said Woolf, adding that the key words in those remarks above are ‘suggested’ and ‘encouraged.’

Indeed, Woolf says she doesn’t choose colors for her clients. She advises, explains the reasons behind this advice, and works to achieve buy-in. Ultimately, the client has to be more than comfortable with the decision, she said, and essentially own it.

“I explain to my clients why I’m choosing the colors I’m using,” she explained. “I’m as much a coach and a teacher; I don’t just come in and say ‘do this’ and ‘do this’; I’m always explaining why.”

For this issue, BusinessWest takes an in-depth look at the business of colors, or, more specifically, the art of picking the right ones.

No Black and White Issues

As she grabbed a large fan deck, this one created by Sherwin Williams, Woolf made an emphatic point about just how many colors there are to choose from by stopping in the ‘whites’ section.

It was not a short visit.

“Look at all of these whites,” she said as she flipped through the wheel. “And they all have a slightly different, subtle quality to them, and that’s where people get in trouble; they say, ‘I’m just going to paint white.’ But if it’s a pinky white, then they end up with pink walls.”

Helping people make sense of, and perhaps choose among, all those whites — and blues and greens and grays — is essentially Woolf’s stock and trade, only it’s much more complicated than looking at swatches and finding one that looks good, as she would explain in detail. Because ‘good’ is certainly a relative term in this discussion, and one with myriad meanings.

Other professionals involved in art, architecture, and interior design obviously work with clients on color selection, she noted, but this is all she does. She’s not sure if she’s the only certified color consultant in the 413 area code, but she does know that it wouldn’t take long at all to call the roll.

Nonetheless, hers is a vibrant business (that’s a technical term in many respects), and she quantified that by saying she’s generally juggling more than 20 clients at a time, with a healthy mix of residential and commercial, probably a little more of the former than the latter.

And her work, as she told BusinessWest, involves almost anything, design-wise and business-wise, that comes in colors. That includes flooring, window treatments, furniture, etc. (She noted that, when she mentions she’s a color consultant, many ask if this extends to fashion and coordinating one’s wardrobe; it doesn’t.)

“I liken it to an algebraic equation — everything’s a variable that all comes together in a certain way,” she said of most projects in both the commercial and residential realms. “As you tweak one thing, everything around it moves, so it’s good to look at it all at once.”

Like most of those who are certified architectural color consultants, Woolf was greatly influenced by the work of the late Frank Mahnke, who wrote the book on the subject — quite literally. It’s called Color, Environment & Human Response, and that name goes a long way toward explaining this profession.

Indeed, there are human responses to various colors, she went on, adding that these responses should help dictate which ones people, especially those in various businesses, should choose.

As she talked about all this, Woolf referenced the color chosen for the walls of her home office — called ‘cooking apple green.’

She chose it because she likes it and finds it comfortable to be in and around. But BusinessWest was among the very few people outside her family who have been in this office (Woolf obviously needs to do her work on location in almost all cases), so this played into the decision.

“This is just for me,” she said, adding quickly that it might be suitable in a traditional business office; that’s might.

“The important thing about color is that we do have these sort of prescriptive ways of talking about it — ‘this is good for business,’ or ‘this is good for a nursery,’ or ‘this is good for a bedroom,’” she explained. “But what that doesn’t really examine is the individual, personal relationship with color.

“For me, I find this green to strike the right balance between restful and having enough liveliness so that it’s somewhat energizing,” she went on, diving into the real science of her work. “But for someone who doesn’t really like green, it would be the wrong choice. So you probably need to think of it in terms of a bell curve — for a large number of people at the middle of the bell curve, this would be an acceptable color, but for some people who are maybe outliers, it wouldn’t work. The bottom line is that one needs to be careful not to generalize over colors that are ‘good.’”

For her new office in Agawam, Jean Deliso

For her new office in Agawam, Jean Deliso desired colors that make clients feel comfortable and convey a sense of trust.

So, just what goes into choosing the right color or colors, especially for a business setting? Woolf said it all comes down to how the client would like someone to feel in that space. Sometimes, that someone is the client themselves, but for a business that entertains customers, it’s more about how those individuals will feel in that space.

Business owners want that individual to feel comfortable, obviously, she went on, but often there’s more to it. In settings where the visitor might be anxious — a doctor’s office or any other place where delicate matters are discussed, for example — calming colors are required. Meanwhile, in most professional settings, like lawyers’ and accountants’ offices, colors that somehow generate trust and respect are preferable.

“In a commercial environment, you want to choose colors that send the appropriate message for the product or service being sold,” she said, adding that, while this sounds obvious, it is often an overlooked or underappreciated matter.

“I would never — OK, never is a big word … I would be unlikely to use trendy colors in an office or business environment where the message and the branding is that of solidity or trust,” she went on. “We talk about ‘IBM blue’ or ‘banking blue,’ the kinds of colors that create a sense of trust and reliability; we can use colors like that.”

And, as one might guess, there are, well, fine lines everywhere when one is talking about this subject.

Take yellow, for example. “It’s a very energetic color, it’s very buzzy; that’s why we paint school buses yellow, so we can see them,” she told BusinessWest. “But sometimes, people are sensitive to the level of energy in that yellow, and might think it’s overwhelming.

“In my training, we talk about this continuum of understimulation versus overstimulation,” she went on, “with understimulation being monotonous and boring in the environment, and overstimulation being so vivid, so bright, so much data that it becomes overwhelming and is too much. So what I want to unravel with my clients is, what does their environment call for in terms of that feeling?”

Hue and Cry

What this unraveling process has revealed throughout her career is that, while there are rules of sorts in this science and this business, they are not exactly hard and fast, and sometimes rules are made to be broken.

“The classic example is using a restful color in a bedroom,” she explained. “People want calming, soothing colors. But I did work for a physician who really wanted a wake-up call, so her bedroom is a soft orange, which flies in the face of those rules, or those shortcuts.”

One of those rules pertains to colors at opposite ends of the color circle, such as yellow/purple, red/green, and orange/blue. While celebrated artists liked to bring such contrasts together on a canvas, and doing so might work from a fashion perspective, it’s generally best to avoid such practices in a business setting, said Woolf.

“Color schemes that are high-contrast really don’t work,” she said. “Strong black and white, which arguably is trendy and in style in the architectural world, really creates eyestrain,” she explained. “My training says to keep the colors closer to the center and not to the extreme end of light and dark.”

However, strict adherence to the common practices of using all warm colors or all cool colors might not yield the kind of dynamic color scheme and interesting environment that results from working from both ends of the color wheel.

“You can do it, but do it just enough,” she said of contrasting colors, adding that this, in itself, is part of the art and science of this work. “That’s where the magic is.”

There are some other general guidelines to follow, she said, adding that it is wise, especially in a business setting, to focus on colors that work for that particular setting, meaning sending the right message, and not, as she noted earlier, colors that are ‘trendy’ at that given time.

Colors in that latter category now include turquoise and aqua, said Woolf, adding that, while they may be ‘hot,’ they still wouldn’t be suitable for a lawyer’s office. A pediatrician’s office? Well, probably.

However, businesses should look to avoid what she called “outdated” colors in order not to appear behind the times. Asked for examples, she listed dusty rose and Colonial blue.

“When we go to a doctor’s office, we want to feel like they’re up to date on everything — they’ve got the latest equipment and the newest science,” she explained. “If the color schemes are holdovers from the ’80s, you’re not really sending that message.”

conference room at Deliso Financial

Amy Woolf says the colors in the conference room at Deliso Financial were chosen to have a calming effect.

While talking about colors in the hypothetical can he helpful, Woolf said an actual project from her portfolio might help put matters in perspective. She was right.

BusinessWest accompanied her on a visit to Deliso Financial Services in Agawam. Jean Deliso, principal and financial advisor, most recently served the magazine as a judge for this year’s 40 Under Forty competition. This time, the assignment was to explain how Woolf helped her make over her new space in the office building on Meadow Street Extension, and, more specifically, how and why the colors now on the walls were chosen.

And she embraced it enthusiastically because the walls of this space, formerly occupied by a pest-control company, were white (which shade she doesn’t know), and she wanted to replace this blank canvas with something that “said something.”

“This is a great space, but it needed a transformation,” she recalled, noting that she was essentially moving across the hall and into a bigger office. “Everything was white, and it was soooo non-inviting, and I need to have something inviting, and I needed help to do that.”

Elaborating, she said she desired something that was “comfortable and non-intimidating,” which is understandable seeing that she works in financial services, dealing with a subject that the vast majority of people would prefer to not talk about. She also wanted to convey professionalism and trust, two character traits required of those handling such work.

She hired Woolf, who has also done work at her residence, and who set to work picking colors that would convey all that. For one wall, she chose a color called Wilmington tan, which is kind of like beige, but a little richer (“people think of beige as insipid, but this has a lot of depth to it”), because it has a calming effect.

For the back wall, the one a client would be looking at if he or she were sitting across Deliso’s desk from her, Woolf chose something called Newburyport blue.

Deliso likes the name — she’s a sailor (paintings of boats dominate her walls), and Newburyport is right on the water — but likes the color better. It complements the IBM blue on her business card — sort of — and that’s by design, said Woolf, who noted that Deliso had a much brighter blue (like the shade on her business card) on the walls in her old office. And that wasn’t exactly working, at least in her judgment.

“We toned the blue down a little bit,” she explained. “Because what looks great on letterhead doesn’t always translate into a comfortable wall color. We can use those brand colors as an inspiration, but you don’t, or shouldn’t, just pull it off a card and stick it on a wall.”

Elsewhere in the Deliso Financial suite, Woolf used Providence olive in the conference room, again to create comfort and a sense of ease among clientele who might be nervous upon entering, especially for the first time, and carefully positioned Deliso’s many awards and news clippings on what the client calls the ‘trophy wall,’ again to convey professionalism and generate confidence.

When asked if all this focus on color was worth the time and expense, Deliso issued an enthusiastic ‘yes’ that speaks to why Woolf’s schedule is pretty tight these days.

“My clients feel very comfortable here; they enjoy coming here,” she explained. “They feel great when they come here, and it’s a good experience, and I think the colors play a very big part in that.”

Positive Tones

In her next life, Woolf joked, she wants to be the one who gets to assign names to all those colors on the wheel — like ‘cooking apple green’ or even ‘Bedford Stuyvesant boiled chicken,’ the name one client attached to a wheat-like color she eventually chose for her summer home.

For now, though, she’s content to work with all those hues and, more to the point, help clients choose the right ones — like the color on that building that “sits between the blue of the sky and the green of the trees and settles into the landscape nicely.”

It’s rewarding work on a number of levels, one that has made for a colorful career to date, in every sense of that phrase.

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

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2016 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement for five consecutive years.

Deliso’s passion for finance and strategic planning led to the creation of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in 2000. She began her career in corporate accounting in Tampa, Fla., where she consulted with small-business owners on financial operations and maximizing performance. She has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn.

Deliso serves on many boards in her community, including the Baystate Health Foundation and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, and is chairman of the board of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of AAA Pioneer Valley, and past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the Advisory Council at Bay Path University.

Deliso Financial and Insurance Services is not owned or operated by New York Life Insurance Co. or any of its affiliates.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, president of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services and a 20-plus-year veteran of the financial-planning profession, recently earned one of the premier designations in financial services as a certified financial planner (CFP). This certification is generally recognized as the highest standard in personal financial planning.

Deliso is committed to educating individuals about their finances and has helped them take control of their unique situations since she has been in practice. Achieving this certification, she said, further heightens her ability to help lead her clients to personal success and financial freedom. She works with many business and high-net-worth individuals providing retirement and estate planning. She also assists women in planning for their financial future, particularly in times of transition such as divorce or widowhood.

The CFP Board holds its members to the highest degree of ethical standards and professional conduct. As a designated certified financial planner, Deliso promises to uphold this high level of conduct and ensures that her clients will receive the most extensive and comprehensive level of financial planning. The CFP Board was founded in 1985 as a nonprofit organization that serves the public interest by promoting the value of professional, competent, and ethical financial-planning services, as represented by those who have attained CFP certification.

Established in 2000, Deliso Financial and Insurance Services is a complete financial-services agency; however, Deliso’s extensive experience in several areas has led to a reputation for certain specializations.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, CFP has been selected for membership in the Nautilus Group, a service of New York Life. The Nautilus Group is a planning resource comprised of financial professionals experienced in taxes, law, life insurance, accounting, and charitable giving.

Deliso’s access to this exclusive resource enables her clients and their other financial advisors to benefit from the group’s collective experience and solutions as they apply to the protection, accumulation, and distribution of wealth to individuals, families, and business owners throughout the country.

Deliso is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that position clients for a solid financial future. Her 30-year experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash management, risk management, investment, and retirement planning. She has developed an expertise in assisting business owners with protecting and securing their future. She is also fully committed to educating individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment.

She has been a member of New York Life Chairman’s Council since 2012 and a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table since 1999. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement.

Deliso currently serves on and is past chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation and the Community Music School of Springfield. She has also served on the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2021 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 4% of New York Life’s more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement for 10 consecutive years.

Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is a member of Nautilus Group, an exclusive advanced-planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies.

She is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future. She has been working in the financial field for more than 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry.

A certified financial planner, Deliso has developed an expertise in assisting business owners and individuals protecting and securing their and their family’s future. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash-flow planning, risk management, investment, retirement, and estate planning. She is committed to customizing financial plans for each person’s unique situation.

Deliso currently serves on and has held chairman of the board positions at Baystate Health Foundation and the Community Music School of Springfield. She is also a former board member of the YMCA of Greater Springfield and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, a former trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and a member of the Bay Path University advisory board.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2017 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement for six consecutive years.

Her passion for finance and strategic planning led to the creation of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in 2000. She began her career in corporate accounting in Tampa, Fla., where she consulted with small-business owners on financial operations and maximizing performance.

Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s CT Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is currently chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation and a board member of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of AAA Pioneer Valley, and past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the advisory council at Bay Path University.

Deliso Financial and Insurance Services is not owned or operated by New York Life Insurance Co. or any of its affiliates.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2019 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s elite sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. She has accomplished this level of achievement for eight consecutive years.

Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is a Nautilus Group member, an exclusive, advanced planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies.

She is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future. She has been working in the financial field for more than 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry.

Deliso has developed an expertise in assisting business owners and individuals protecting and securing their and their family’s future. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash and risk management, investment, retirement, and estate planning. She is committed to educating individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment.

Deliso currently serves on and has held chairman of the board positions at Baystate Health Foundation, the Community Music School of Springfield, and the YMCA of Greater Springfield. She is also a former board member of Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, a former trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and a member of the Bay Path University advisory board.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Deliso Financial and Insurance Services announced that Nicole Stuart has joined the firm as practice coordinator. She will be responsible for providing service to Deliso’s clients as well as performing day-to-day administration and operational functions for the firm.

“I am excited and proud to join the Deliso Financial & Insurance Services team,” Stuart said. “Their reputation demonstrates the level of quality resources and service standards that align with my goals to execute the most advantageous and expedient financial solutions for our clients’ needs.”

Stuart attended Bay Path University, where she received an MBA in entrepreneurship and innovative practices. She brings more than 20 years of professional experience in finance, banking, and bookkeeping.

“Nicole’s background and experience will complement our core service offerings,” said Jean Deliso, CFP, president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services. “She is client-focused, and her enthusiastic personality and strong organizational skills are a perfect fit with the rest of our team. We look forward to her support in our efforts to expand our capabilities and becoming an integral part of Deliso Financial & Insurance Services.”

Deliso is a registered representative offering securities through NYLIFE Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, a licensed insurance agency, and a financial adviser offering investment-advisory services through Eagle Strategies LLC, a registered investment adviser. Deliso Financial and Insurance Services is not owned or operated by NYLIFE Securities LLC or its affiliates.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean M. Deliso, CFP, from the CT Valley General Office of New York Life, recently joined a select group of agents who are authorized to offer AARP members a range of financial solutions through AARP life insurance, annuity and long-term care options from New York Life. To become part of this group of agents, Deliso followed a certification process established by New York Life, which includes extensive training on products and regulations, education on evaluating client needs, state licensing and a commitment to service.

AARP Services, AARP’s for-profit subsidiary, provides quality control over the certification process and training.

Deliso, is president/owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing in comprehensive planning designed to help position clients for a solid financial future. Her extensive experience in several areas has helped lead to a reputation for certain specializations, such as assisting people in planning for their financial future, particularly in preparation for retirement as well as in times of transition such as divorce or widowhood.

After graduating from Bentley University, Deliso spent seven years in the public accounting profession before transitioning to Financial Services in which she has been working for more than 20 years.

New York Life has been offering AARP-branded products to AARP members since 1994. Since then, the relationship has grown to include a portfolio of annuity products (added in 2006) and now most recently long-term care options in [2016].

Departments Picture This

Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to [email protected]

Operation Playhouse

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A group of 14 Country Bank employees recently joined forces with Habitat for Humanity Metro West/Greater Worcester in a team-building exercise that ended with a local veteran family receiving a unique gift: a custom playhouse. Habitat’s Operation Playhouse is a program designed to allow groups to come together to create and complete a custom playhouse in one day. The opportunity to work together and collaborate on design and construction of the house is wrapped up with the reward of seeing it turned over to a local veteran and their children. “Working with the Habitat staff was seamless, and the day couldn’t have been more rewarding,” said Deb Gagnon, Corporate Relations officer, Country Bank. “Completing the playhouse gave us all a sense of accomplishment, and when the family arrived to receive their gift, there wasn’t a dry eye around.”

 

Community Focus

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Eighty-five Massachusetts companies were honored at the Boston Business Journal’s 11th annual Corporate Citizenship Summit on Sept. 8 at the EpiCenter at Artists for Humanity in Boston. For the ninth time, PeoplesBank was among the companies included, this year finishing 48th on the statewide list and third for companies headquartered in Western Mass. Matthew Bannister, vice president, Corporate Responsibility at PeoplesBank (pictured at left, with Thomas Senecal, president and CEO), accepted the award at the summit on behalf of the bank’s associates. “Our mutual charter supports everything we do and why we are succeeding as a community bank,” he said. “Because of our mutual charter and related values, we have a unique ability to help the communities we serve through volunteer efforts and millions of dollars in donations to charitable and civic causes.”

 

Wheeling for Healing

PicThisWheeling

On Aug. 21, 180 bicyclists, runners, and walkers gathered for the ninth annual Wheeling for Healing ride, walk, and run event in Greenfield to support cancer care and services at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. “Thanks to the wonderful fund-raising efforts from our community and support from our sponsors, we were able to raise over $46,500 this year, bringing our total funds raised for Baystate Franklin Medical Center Oncology to over $286,000,” said Kathy Tobin, director, Annual Giving & Events, Baystate Health Foundation. Proceeds from Wheeling for Healing events are used to purchase medical equipment and comfort items for patients undergoing chemotherapy at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. Proceeds have also assisted patients with extraordinary expenses associated with their illness, including medicines not covered by their insurance.

 

Celebrating STCC’s Founders

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Springfield Technical Community College kicked off its year-long 50th-anniversary celebration with a Founders Day Convocation on Sept. 9. The event honored the four founders — Edmond Garvey, the school’s first president; then-Springfield Mayor Charlie Ryan; state Rep. Anthony Scibelli; and industrialist Joseph Deliso — and briefly traced the history of the college through today. Ryan and family members representing the other three founders (all deceased) were presented with commemorative plaques in the form of photo montages of their careers and contributions to the college. Top to bottom: from left, retired STCC President Ira Rubenzahl, Mayor Ryan, retired STCC President Andrew Scibelli (Anthony’s nephew), current Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and current STCC President John Cook; members of the Garvey family, from left, Sandra Garvey, her husband, James Garvey (Edmond’s son), Pauline Kimball (Edmond Garvey’s niece), and her son, Robert Kimball; Andrew Scibelli with the plaque commemorating his uncle’s contributions; and, representing the Deliso family, back row, Clem Deliso (Joe’s son), Jean Deliso (Joe’s granddaughter), right, and Lisa Doherty, and in front, Joe’s great-grandsons, Spence Doherty Deliso, left, and Clement Joseph Doherty Deliso.

Springfield Technical Community College kicked off its year-long 50th-anniversary celebration with a Founders Day Convocation on Sept. 9. The event honored the four founders — Edmond Garvey, the school’s first president; then-Springfield Mayor Charlie Ryan; state Rep. Anthony Scibelli; and industrialist Joseph Deliso — and briefly traced the history of the college through today. Ryan and family members representing the other three founders (all deceased) were presented with commemorative plaques in the form of photo montages of their careers and contributions to the college. Top to bottom: from left, retired STCC President Ira Rubenzahl, Mayor Ryan, retired STCC President Andrew Scibelli (Anthony’s nephew), current Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and current STCC President John Cook; members of the Garvey family, from left, Sandra Garvey, her husband, James Garvey (Edmond’s son), Pauline Kimball (Edmond Garvey’s niece), and her son, Robert Kimball; Andrew Scibelli with the plaque commemorating his uncle’s contributions; and, representing the Deliso family, back row, Clem Deliso (Joe’s son), Jean Deliso (Joe’s granddaughter), right, and Lisa Doherty, and in front, Joe’s great-grandsons, Spence Doherty Deliso, left, and Clement Joseph Doherty Deliso.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso has been named a member of the 2015 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement.

Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement after 30 years in the financial-services industry. Her passion for finance and strategic planning led to the creation of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in 2000. She began her career in corporate accounting in Tampa, Fla., where she consulted with small-business owners on financial operations and maximizing performance.

Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She serves on many boards in her community, including the Baystate Health Foundation and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, and is chairman of the board of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of AAA Pioneer Valley, and past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the advisory council at Bay Path University.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso has been named a member of the 2014 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% in sales achievement among New York Life’s elite sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents.
 Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement after 30 years in the financial-services industry. Her passion for finance and strategic planning led to the creation of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in 2000.

Deliso began her career in corporate accounting in Tampa, Fla., where she consulted with small-business owners on financial operations and maximizing performance. She has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She serves on many boards in her community, including the Pioneer Valley AAA Auto Club and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, and is currently chairman of the board at the Community Music School of Springfield. She is a past chairman of the board at the YMCA of Greater Springfield and a past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the Bay Path College Advisory Board.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2018 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. She has accomplished this level of achievement for seven consecutive years.

Deliso is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future since 2000. She has been working in the financial field for 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry. She is a graduate of Bentley College.

Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash management, risk management, investment planning, and financial preparation for retirement, as well as times of transition such as divorce or widowhood.

Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s CT Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is currently chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation and is a board member of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of AAA Pioneer Valley, and a past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the advisory council at Bay Path University.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2020 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. She has accomplished this level of achievement for nine consecutive years.

Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is a member of the Nautilus Group, an exclusive, advanced planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies.

She is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future. She has worked in the financial field for more than 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry.

Deliso has developed an expertise assisting business owners and individuals protecting and securing their and their family’s future. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash and risk management, investment, retirement, and estate planning. She is fully committed to educating individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment.

She currently serves on and has held chairman of the board positions at Baystate Health Foundation and the Community Music School of Springfield. She is also a former board member of the YMCA of Greater Springfield and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, a former trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and a former member of the Bay Path University advisory board.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso of the Connecticut Valley General Office of New York Life, an agent since 1995, has received the Agent of the Year Award for 2020. This award recognizes the agent who has achieved the top production among all agents at the company’s Connecticut Valley General Office.

“We applaud Jean for this achievement,” said Steven Solonch, managing partner of the Connecticut Valley General Office. “Being acknowledged as the Agent of the Year is a significant accomplishment. She received this recognition for her ability to meet the financial needs of families and businesses in the Western Massachusetts/Southern Connecticut area.”

Deliso has developed an expertise in helping business owners and individuals protect and secure their own and their family’s future. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash and risk management, retirement, and estate planning. She is committed to educating individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment.

She is a Nautilus Group member agent, an exclusive advanced-planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies. Her access to this exclusive resource enables her clients to benefit from the group’s collective experience and insightful solutions as they apply to the protection, accumulation, and distribution of wealth to individuals, families, and business owners throughout the country.

Deliso has also been a member of New York Life Chairman’s Council since 2012 and a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table since 1999. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement.

Active in her community, she currently serves on the board of the Baystate Health Foundation and is the immediate past chairman. She also serves on and is the past chairman of the board of the Community Music School of Springfield and is the past chairman of the board of YMCA of Greater Springfield. She is a graduate of Bentley College.

Daily News

AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, CFP, from the Connecticut Valley General Office of New York Life, is now authorized to offer AARP-branded life insurance and lifetime-income annuity products to AARP members. It is the first time these group-life-insurance products are offered by authorized-to-offer agents.

Deliso is among a select group of New York Life agents who became authorized to offer her clients AARP Guaranteed Acceptance Life, AARP Level Benefit Term, and AARP Permanent Life Insurance, all from New York Life and New York Life’s Guaranteed Lifetime Income Annuity. She is a licensed insurance agent and passed courses specific to AARP.

Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995. She serves on many boards in her community, including the Baystate Health Foundation and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, and is chairman of the board of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of AAA Pioneer Valley, and past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the advisory council at Bay Path University.

Since 1994, AARP group-life products from New York Life have been available via direct mail to AARP members. The company has also been the provider of group lifetime-income annuities to AARP members since 2006.

People on the Move
Caitlin Trites

Caitlin Trites

Bill Kemple

Bill Kemple

Trina Moskal

Trina Moskal

The Wealth Transition Collective Inc., a values-based, full-service financial-planning firm in Holyoke, recently announced personnel news regarding three team members. Caitlin Trites recently passed the Securities Industry Essentials and Series 6 exams and has been promoted to registered client relationship manager. She has 13 years of financial-services industry experience. Bill Kemple was recently awarded Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor designation. CPFA designees are financial professionals that demonstrate expertise and experience working with qualified retirement plans. During the CPFA certification, candidates spend two months learning about fiduciary services for qualified retirement plans. Kemple recently celebrated his one-year anniversary with the Wealth Transition Collective and brings more than 13 years of financial-services experience helping individuals, families, and small business owners oversee their fiduciary affairs. Trina Moskal has joined the firm as a Medicare planning specialist. She will be responsible for new business development as well as working with firm clients on their individual Medicare and Social Security planning needs in the pre- and post-retirement life stages. Moskal has held a number of leadership positions in the healthcare community, and earned a master’s degree in healthcare management from Bay Path University.

•••••

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2021 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 4% of New York Life’s more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement for 10 consecutive years. Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is a member of Nautilus Group, an exclusive advanced-planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies. She is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future. She has been working in the financial field for more than 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry. A certified financial planner, Deliso has developed an expertise in assisting business owners and individuals protecting and securing their and their family’s future. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash-flow planning, risk management, investment, retirement, and estate planning. Deliso currently serves on and has held chairman of the board positions at Baystate Health Foundation and the Community Music School of Springfield. She is also a former board member of the YMCA of Greater Springfield and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, a former trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and a member of the Bay Path University advisory board.

•••••

Two employees who have been coordinating UMass Amherst’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since March were recently honored by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy for their efforts. Ann Becker, campus Public Health director and a clinical associate professor in the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing, and Jeffrey Hescock, executive director of Environmental Health and Safety and Emergency Management, were awarded the Chancellor’s Medal at a recent tribute dinner. Hescock and Becker are the co-directors of the university’s Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC), which has been the home to the UMass COVID testing and vaccination programs. The Chancellor’s Medal is the highest honor the campus bestows on individuals, and is given for exemplary and extraordinary service to the university. Becker and Hescock had worked together before the pandemic on urgent issues of campus public health and safety, including their successful effort to stem a campus meningitis outbreak. When COVID-19 hit, they once again combined their respective expertise in public health and emergency management to quickly develop a response strategy for the campus, including the establishment of the PHPC, which became one of the largest asymptomatic COVID testing resources in the Commonwealth. They continually evolved the PHPC from a testing site to a vaccination clinic as well.

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Jenna Rahilly

Jenna Rahilly

Florence Bank appointed Jenna Rahilly to serve as vice president and Human Resources Operations director. She is a 23-year veteran in the banking industry with 28 years of professional human-resources experience. Rahilly most recently served as vice president of Human Resources for a local credit union. Her duties included the overall management of the credit union’s human-resources function, which encompassed the development and implementation of policies related to employee relations, organizational development, recruitment, compensation and benefits, training, and human-resources compliance. Rahilly studied at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English.

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Eric Frazier

Eric Frazier

Eric Frazier joined OMG Roofing Products as the market manager for its growing line of roofing adhesives. In his newly created position, Frazier is responsible for developing marketing strategies and sales-execution plans for the adhesive-product category, including OMG’s popular line of OlyBond500 adhesives. In this capacity, he will work closely with product management, marketing communications, as well as the field sales team to deliver adhesive solutions to OMG customers. He reports to Adam Cincotta, vice president of the Adhesives & Solar Business unit. Frazier has extensive experience in brand and product-line commercialization as a product marketing manager. He comes to OMG from Techtronic Industries of Anderson, S.C., where he spent more than six years, most recently as group product manager responsible for leading product development and marketing efforts within its Ryobi and Hart brands. He holds a master’s degree in marketing from Southern New Hampshire University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I.

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Professor Jennifer Taub of the Western New England University School of Law has recently been elected to the American Law Institute (ALI), the leading independent organization in the U.S. producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law. The organization includes judges, lawyers, and law professors from the U.S. and abroad, selected on the basis of professional achievement and demonstrated interest in improving the law. Taub will join 24 new members from across the country to advance the ALI mission to clarify the law through restatements, principles, and model codes. At WNE School of Law, she teaches civil procedure, white-collar crime, and other business and commercial law courses. A legal scholar and advocate, she is devoted to making complex business-law topics engaging inside and outside of the classroom. Her scholarly research and writing centers on corporate governance, banking and financial market regulation, and white-collar crime. Similarly, her advocacy is focused on ‘follow the money’ matters, promoting transparency and opposing corruption. Her book, Big Dirty Money: The Shocking Injustice and Unseen Cost of White Collar Crime, was published in 2020 by Viking Press. Penguin Books published the paperback edition of Big Dirty Money last month with a new subtitle: Making White Collar Criminals Pay, with a new preface and epilogue updates.

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Andrea Kwaczala, assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering (BME) in the Western New England University College of Engineering, has been named a 2021 Woman of Innovation for her efforts in post-secondary academic innovation and leadership by the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. Kwaczala was among 11 exceptional Connecticut women recognized for their achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the 17th annual Women of Innovation awards held virtually on Oct. 14. Women of Innovation finalists are nominated by their peers, co-workers, and mentors and are selected based on their professional experience, history of innovation, ability to think creatively and solve problems, and demonstration of leadership. The Post-Secondary Academic Innovation and Leadership award is granted to a woman working in the post-secondary academic setting who has created and fostered STEM programs in curriculum development, student research, and teacher-student collaborations. Each finalist has secured outside funding to support her work and/or received peer recognition for her leadership and innovation. The prestigious awards were earned by women innovators, role models, and leaders in STEM disciplines. They were selected from a field of 26 finalists — the scientists, researchers, academics, manufacturers, student leaders, entrepreneurs, and technicians who are catalysts for scientific advancement throughout Connecticut.

Retirement Planning Sections

Taking a Long View

Siobhan Matty

Siobhan Matty says Millennials understand their financial challenges, from a shaky job market to high college debt to uncertainty about Social Security, and are planning for the future accordingly.

Older generations hold quite a few negative stereotypes about the youngest cohort in the workforce. If surveys and statistics are to be believed, however, Millennials may be doing better than their predecessors at getting an early start on retirement savings. Much of this is simply a response to a barrage of anxieties thrown their way, from skyrocketing college debt and a sluggish job market to the disappearance of pensions and uncertainty about Social Security. Increasingly, young professionals understand that building a secure retirement is their responsibility — and the sooner they start, the better.

“They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.”

David Bowie’s famous observation about young people from “Changes,” illuminating the generation gap he observed, is still applicable 45 years after the song was written.

Take, for example, the issue of saving for retirement. If the older generations have an image of Millennials — the generation now between ages 16 and 36, and numbering more than 75 million — as flighty and irresponsible with their financial strategy, the raw numbers tell a different story.

According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in its 2016 survey titled “Perspectives on Retirement: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials,” today’s Millennials started saving for retirement at a median age of 22, and 72% are currently saving through a company-sponsored 401(k) or similar plan, or a plan outside the workplace.

Perhaps more strikingly, 40% of Millennials actually increased their contribution to a 401(k) or similar plan in the prior 12 months, compared to 30% of Gen-Xers.

The numbers don’t surprise Siobhan Matty, a Millennial herself who works with numerous clients in her peer group as a relationship manager at St. Germain Investments in Springfield. She says young professionals are anxious about the solvency of Social Security — according to the Transamerica Center survey, 81% of Millennials believe the entitlement will not be there where they retire — as well as a difficult job market, the near-disappearance of company pensions, and what happened to their parents’ savings in the financial crash of 2008.

Quite aware, indeed.

A keen interest in retirement savings, Matty said, “goes hand in hand with the anxiety about not having a pension or the Social Security income their parents or grandparents may have gotten. They understand they can’t necessarily rely on the government to secure that kind of funding in retirement.”

Jean Deliso, principal at Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in Agawam, said it helps to understand the unique burdens Millennials are strapped with.

“The job market is terrible,” she said. “They’ve got crazy educational costs; they’re coming out of college with more debt than ever. It’s like a mortgage. And that puts more pressure on them to wait on housing. I feel bad for them.”

Deliso also noted the issue of Social Security, and the prospect of it not being available to today’s young workers when they retire decades from now. But there’s a silver lining to this cynicism because it forces Millennials to think more deeply about what they need to do to secure their own future.

Millennials get a bad reputation for being slackers, for not particularly having a good work ethic. But they came out of college into a weak job market, and they understand the importance of establishing savings, or at least working toward that goal.”

“They say, ‘I need to think more about myself because Social Security is not going to be stable,’” she explained. “Plus, the companies their grandparents worked for, and maybe their parents, had pensions; they worked for 35 years, then got a pension, plus Social Security, and they were safe. But a pension is hard to come by anymore. Millennials have some real challenges. So, what should they do about it?”

To help answer that question, several investment experts spoke with BusinessWest about what a 20- and 30-somethings should be considering as they ponder a retirement that isn’t as far away as it may seem.

Savings First

Matty’s simplest advice is to save as much as possible. But that takes discipline, and is easier said than done.

The stock market may be prone to short-term volatility, she said, but young people can feel confident of the longer-term view when considering whether to invest.

“The other thing would just be contributing to whatever plan you have at work,” she said. “We don’t usually have pension plans available to us, so if you can do anything in your workplace to contribute to a plan, that’s important to establishing that savings habit. If you have a habit in place, it’s a lot easier to continue doing it.”

One benefit of automatic deductions is psychological, she noted. “If you don’t see it, you can’t touch it. Then, you can look at what you need to pay your debts. After that, work on what else you can safely put away, and make a budget for what you can spend. Luxuries are great, but that’s what they are, luxuries; they’re not necessities.”

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso says a key savings strategy — not just for Millennials, but for everyone — is to “pay yourself first.”

Deliso said any financial plan for young people — or anyone, really — begins with one basic step: “pay yourself first.” In other words, savings should be the first expense to come out of one’s earnings.

“Get into an employer-sponsored plan as soon as possible,” she said, “and if there’s a match, get that match, so you’re not losing free money.” Another option would be to open an IRA, preferably with a Roth component ensuring that withdrawals later in life aren’t taxed.

Millennials understand the importance of these vehicles; according to the Transamerica Center survey, 55% of them expect such self-funded accounts to be their primary source of retirement income, and 75% would like more information from their employers on how to achieve their retirement goals.

Deliso noted that people don’t keep one job anymore, but may hold seven, 10, or even more over a lifetime, and it’s important to keep rolling employer-sponsored plans into new plans as they change jobs.

The next step, after contributing to retirement savings, is to determine what bills must be paid each month and what expenses can be trimmed, and that takes budgeting and self-control, she went on. “The bottom line, and the most important thing for Milliennials or anyone else, is to live within your means. Don’t take an apartment that takes 75% of your income. You want to have positive cash flow, because that allows you to have savings, and that brings financial success.”


List of Financial Services/Brokerage Firms in Western Mass.


Positive cash flow can begin with the simplest of steps, Deliso added, such as not spending $4 on coffee four times a week. “Put that $15 in your 401(k) plan. Put it in right from your paycheck, and you’ll never miss it. Say, ‘I’m going to pay for my future first.’ Many people’s greatest fear is that they’ll run out of money. You don’t know how long you’re going to live. But you can push that fear away if you plan accordingly.”

It shouldn’t be a hard sell, said Kate Kane, managing director and wealth management advisor with Northwestern Mutual, who cited research showing that 25- to 34-year-olds are cautious, yet confident, and, more importantly, future-focused and resourceful. So while investment professionals need to take into account their short-term goals and the challenges of their current financial situation — which often include significant college debt — they also need to demonstrate how solid planning can positively impact their life both now and years in the future.

A starting point, she noted, addresses how saving and planning begins with a budget and eliminating debt. Then, moving forward, they can address mid- and long-term goals.

“Since most Millennials came of age or began their careers at the time of the Great Recession,” Kane added, “they tend to be more financially risk-averse than previous generations and are very connected to the idea of planning as a means to manage risk.”

The debt issue is a key one, she added. According to Bankrate, just 40% of Americans age 18-29 pay off their entire credit-card bill each month, compared with 53% of those 30 and up. Some of that may be chalked up to experience: a survey by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority reveals that only 30% of older Millennials (ages 27 to 34) and just 18% of younger ones (ages 18 to 26) have an understanding of basic financial concepts, including how to manage their saving and spending.

Running Out of Time

To be sure, retirement savings are not a Millennial issue; they’re a problem for everyone. And ‘problem’ is the right word. According to a recent Economic Policy Institute survey, the median total retirement savings among the 56-61 age group is just $17,000. For the 50-55 group, it’s less than half that, $8,000. Americans simply aren’t saving enough — not even close. Millennials have a chance to start earlier and do a better job.

“Moreso than prior generations, Millennials experience more pressure to save,” Matty said. “Obviously, corporate pension plans don’t exist anymore, and there are questions as to whether Social Security will exist, or at what ages they’ll be able to take from it or how long they’ll need to work for it.”

But Millennials were also jolted by the crash of 2008, which occurred, for many of them, during their teen years. It was sobering for them, even though they weren’t yet in the work world, and established a foundation of mistrust in the entire economic system.

As a result, she said, Millennials are more likely than past generations to continue living at home into their mid- to late 20s — not because they’re lazy, but because they want to build a base of savings instead of piling more debt on top of their exorbitant college loans.

“It’s an interesting change,” Matty said. “Millennials get a bad reputation for being slackers, for not particularly having a good work ethic. But they came out of college into a weak job market, and they understand the importance of establishing savings, or at least working toward that goal.”

According to the Transamerica Center report, 22% of Millennials say they “frequently” discuss saving and planning for retirement with family and friends, compared with just 10% of Generation X and Baby Boomers — a counterintuitive statistic, to be sure. Indeed, starting the conversation too late has put many a 40-something worker — by now dealing with mortgages and college expenses for their own children — well behind the savings they need to achieve.

In this new world, Matty said, there’s no replacement for making — and sticking to — a plan.

“People don’t necessarily have the same career for 40 years anymore, and they don’t have the same pension they once had,” she reiterated. “In your mid-20s, you have 40 to 50 years to retirement. Start planning while time is on your side.”

Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]

People on the Move
Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP, from the Connecticut Valley General Office of New York Life, has been listed on the 2023 Forbes Top Financial Security Professionals Best-in-State list. A New York Life agent for 28 years, Deliso is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future. She has been working in the financial field for more than 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry. She has developed an expertise in helping business owners and individuals protect and secure their own and their family’s future. Deliso is a Nautilus Group member agent, an advanced-planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies. A graduate of Bentley College, she has also been a member of New York Life Chairman’s Council since 2012 and a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table since 1999. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Active in her community, Deliso currently serves on and is immediate past chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation. She also serves on and is past chairman of the board of the Community Music School of Springfield, and is also a past board member of Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse.

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Bay Path University announced that Anna Zendell has been named program director of the university’s master of healthcare management program. Zendell brings more than three decades of experience as an educator, researcher, and social-welfare advocate to her role. She was most recently the senior faculty program director of the School of Health Sciences and the School of Graduate Studies at Excelsior University, where she oversaw master’s-degree programs in health sciences, healthcare administration, and public administration, in addition to graduate certificates in public-health equity, nutrition, and informatics. Zendell has been a practitioner, educator, administrator, and caregiver, and throughout her career, she has applied that experience to the development of curriculum and teaching methods focused on population health, healthcare systems, screening, and research to practice. She has published research looking at aging, the roles of sibling caregivers, and the impact of regular physical activity on health. Her recent work focuses on collaborative teaching, experiential learning, and working with adult learners.

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Greg Sanocki

Greg Sanocki

Eastern States Exposition (ESE) announced that Greg Sanocki has joined the organization’s Marketing Department as communications & social media specialist. Sanocki completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from Western New England University in December 2014. Shortly following his collegiate career, he joined Westfield State University’s Marketing Department as social media and digital content specialist. In that role for nearly seven years, Sanocki was responsible for developing and administering the university’s official social-media presence, producing video content, and serving as a social-media expert for the campus community. In his new role as communications & social media specialist, Sanocki will be responsible for overseeing ESE’s digital and social-media marketing initiatives, collaborating with departments to ensure seamless digital communication, and creating and producing effective marketing and public-relations communications.

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Bulkley Richardson announced that both Stephen Holstrom and Lauren Ostberg have been included in the 2024 edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America. Holstrom, counsel at Bulkley Richardson, was recognized for his work in both professional malpractice law and education law. Ostberg, an associate in the Litigation department and co-chair of the Cybersecurity practice, was recognized in the area of commercial litigation. Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America recognizes lawyers relatively early in their careers for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the U.S.

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Florence Bank recently presented its 2023 President’s Award to three staff members for exceptional service. Established in 1995, the President’s Award recognizes outstanding performance, customer service, and overall contribution to Florence Bank. Awardees are nominated by their colleagues at the bank. This year’s award recognizes Calli Paulin, a teller at the bank since 2021; Aaron Bonneau, an IT administrator who has worked at the bank since 2019; and David Lipson, a marketing research analyst who came on board in 2018. Paulin attended Bay Path University in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. Bonneau holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from UMass Amherst. Lipson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business management from Western New England University.

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Michael Dodge

Michael Dodge

American International College (AIC) announced that Michael Dodge has been named executive vice president for Academic Affairs. He has been serving in this role on an interim basis since March 2022. In this position, Dodge serves as AIC’s chief academic officer and is responsible for the academic operations of the college, including strategic planning for, and day-to-day operations of, the schools of Business, Arts & Sciences; Education; and Health Sciences. He represents the Office of Academic Affairs to internal and external constituencies and is responsible for developing and overseeing comprehensive and integrative structures and processes to support teaching and learning, student success, retention, and graduation. In addition, he oversees the institution’s accreditation and academic-assessment processes and supports the development of meaningful and measurable institution, program, and course student-learning outcomes. Upon his arrival in 2018, Dodge served as dean of Student Success and Opportunity. He additionally served as the principal investigator for the U.S. Department of Education Title III Grant program. He was promoted to associate vice president for Academic Affairs in January 2022. Before joining AIC, Dodge worked for more than a decade at UMass Amherst in a variety of teaching and administrative roles. He earned his doctorate in educational policy, leadership, and administration at UMass Amherst after earning his master’s degree in student affairs from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and his bachelor’s degree in secondary education and English from the State University of New York Oswego.

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Country Bank announced that Mary McGovern, executive vice president and chief financial and operating officer, successfully completed the inaugural American Bankers Assoc. (ABA) Wharton Leadership Lab at the University of Pennsylvania last week. She earned an ABA Wharton Executive Leadership Certificate, a prestigious credential that demonstrates her excellence in leadership and strategic planning. The ABA Wharton Leadership Lab is a rigorous, immersive program that challenges executive bankers on the reality of leadership in today’s world at an Ivy League level. The program, which included 42 students, covers topics such as creating and sharing a vision, goal setting, managing talent, driving innovation, and sustaining meaningful relationships. McGovern is an influential executive leader with more than 30 years of experience in the financial-services industry. Her leadership has contributed to the bank’s continued success for the past 12 years. Her participation in the ABA Wharton Leadership Lab reflects her commitment to continuous learning and professional development at a critical time in the industry as regulations, technologies, and the workforce continue to rapidly evolve.

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Samantha Graves

Samantha Graves

Samantha Graves recently joined the Royal Law Firm team. She advises clients on various matters involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, wrongful terminations, and violations of FMLA. Her preventive work also includes drafting a variety of employment-related manuals and contracts, such as executive agreements, compensation and commission agreements, and severance and settlement agreements. Graves graduated cum laude from Worcester State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in business administration. She obtained her juris doctorate from Western New England University School of Law.

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Bacon Wilson, P.C. announced that six lawyers from the firm were recently recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for 2024, and two were included in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America. Along with the year they were first recognized in Best Lawyers in any practice area, they are: Gary Breton (2018), banking and finance law and business organizations (including LLCS and partnerships); Michael Katz (2016), bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law; Kenneth Albano (2020), business organizations (including LLCS and partnerships); Gina Barry (2018), elder law; Hyman Darling (2020), elder law; Peter MacConnell (2021), real-estate law; Daniel McKellick (2023), Ones to Watch in real-estate law; and Tyler Humphrey (2021), Ones to Watch in banking and finance law.

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Northampton Dollars for Scholars announced the appointment of three community members to its board of directors. Anna Zadworny is assistant vice president and Employee Development manager for Greenfield Savings Bank. She has an associate degree in business management from Holyoke Community College and completed Babson College Financial Studies. Valerie Harlow is a learning advisor and facilitator for the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Westfield State University and a master’s degree in training and development from Lesley University. Patricia Mahar works as an area manager in Dining Services at Smith College. She is a graduate of the University of Saint Joseph.

 

Banking and Financial Services

Volatility Is the Order of the Day

By Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

The market has acted like a roller coaster in recent months, up one day, down another — but where will it end up?

Most investors tend to get unsettled and concerned by such market conditions, and if you are in that group, now is the time to speak to your financial professional to ensure that your investment allocation is consistent with your financial goals. Those investors with a near-term retirement timeline generally should be more focused on preservation of capital. Those with multiple years or even decades before retirement can take a longer perspective as they have more time to wait out market volatility.

All investors should remember to be calm. The worst mistake in this market, or any market, is to try to time the ups and downs. Granted, this volatility can be unnerving, but it’s the price we pay for the potentially greater returns from investing in equities.

In the past 20 years (2000 to 2020), there have been at least two major bear markets with short-term losses in value around 50%, yet it’s also true that, from Dec. 31, 2002 to Dec. 31, 2018, the S&P 500 stock index tripled in value.*

Zacks Investment Management, one of the portfolio managers I work with, produced a white paper listing four reasons to expect more volatility in 2020. I think it’s worthwhile to share some of these highlights:

Reason 1: We cannot ignore history. Over the past 38 years, the S&P 500 has had corrections; they are frequent, and they are the norm.

Reason 2: Low volatility generally gives way to high volatility. From October 2019 to January 2020, the S&P index experienced an unusually low level of volatility. From a historical perspective, such periods of low volatility tend to give way to periods of high volatility. We saw examples of this type of market behavior prior to January 2018 and October 2018.

Reason 3: Stock buybacks are on the decline. Stock buybacks are a corporation’s main tool for reducing outstanding supply of shares, and thereby boosting shareholder value. Stock buybacks were down in 2019, with more declines expected in 2020. Fewer buybacks could mean a tougher road for corporations exceeding their earnings per their share targets. This could make investors jittery.

“The bottom line is that volatility can be a good thing for equity markets, sometimes unsettling but it is normal and to be expected.”

Reason 4: It’s not a straightforward election year. This does not necessarily refer to a political outcome, but more concerning is alleged foreign interference, and potential contested results, civil unrest, and other extraneous factors that might lead to a period of political instability.

 The bottom line is that volatility can be a good thing for equity markets. Though sometimes unsettling, it is normal and to be expected. I tend to agree with Zacks that the S&P 500 index is due for a correction this year on par with the historical averages after several years of increases. We could experience a correction in the 10% to 15% range.

Let’s remember that dollar-cost averaging can be a great tool in managing short-term volatility as well. While no one can predict the future, and the past is no guarantee of future results, historical performance has shown that market downturns can offer attractive investment opportunities, and dollar-cost averaging can help in this regard.

Remember, though, that dollar-cost averaging does not ensure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets. It involves continuous investing during a period of fluctuating price levels. To maintain such a strategy, investors should consider their ability to continue investing through differing market conditions.

This article would not be complete without mentioning continuing concerns about COVID-19. As a society, we don’t know enough about it yet to understand how pervasive it will become and how long it will impact the markets. It’s too early to assess the ultimate impact of the virus. Headlines continue to focus on the spread of the virus and those who become ill; however, one should keep in mind that most people who have contracted the virus have gone on to make a full recovery.

Weaker global growth does not often mean recession in the U.S., and the consumer remains a strong factor against a U.S. recession. Lower rates may further boost the housing market, and both manufacturing and wholesaling inventories are at high levels in the U.S., which could mitigate supply-chain disruptions from Asia. More accommodative monetary policy could serve to calm the financial markets and minimize the economic and psychological impacts.

From a financial perspective, it’s important to maintain a diversified portfolio for times like this, and in panicked environments, it’s imperative to keep a level head rather than simply react. Those investors with longer time horizons should try and remain calm and patient when volatility takes hold.

A well-designed financial allocation consistent with your risk tolerance and investment goals is the key. Investors tend to make short-term decisions with long-term assets, but it is important to keep a long-range approach with your money and stick to your investing goals.

For the shorter-term investors, now is a good time to connect and review your plans with your financial professional. Double-check to make sure that your goals and objectives are still in line with your investments. Also, it is important not to stay passive on the sidelines, as investors we need to be engaged in the process and be a full participant in the process.

Jean M. Deliso, CFP is a financial advisor offering investment advisory services through Eagle Strategies LLC, a registered investment adviser, and is a registered representative of and offers securities products and services through NYLIFE Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, a licensed insurance agency. Eagle Strategies and NYLIFE Securities are New York Life companies. Deliso Financial & Insurance Services is not owned or operated by NYLIFE Securities LLC or its affiliates. Neither Deliso Financial & Insurance Services nor Eagle Strategies LLC or its subsidiaries and affiliates provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal or accounting professional regarding your particular situation.

*Source: Standard & Poor’s 500 index, 12/31/18. Average annual returns are based on the S&P 500 Index from 12/31/02 to 12/31/18. Large-capitalization stock performance is measured by the S&P 500 index, an unmanaged index considered to be representative of the U.S. stock market. Prices of common stocks will fluctuate with market conditions and may involve loss of principal when sold. Results assume reinvestment of all distributions, including dividends, earnings, and expenses, and are not indicative of any past or future returns of any investment. It is not possible to invest directly into an index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Departments People on the Move
Amanda Sbriscia

Amanda Sbriscia

Holyoke Community College announced that Amanda Sbriscia has been hired as its new vice president of Institutional Advancement. Sbriscia will lead HCC’s fund-raising efforts as head of the HCC Foundation as well as oversee Alumni Affairs, Resource Development, and Marketing and Communications. She begins Oct. 30. “I am thrilled to be joining HCC at a very exciting time in its history,” Sbriscia said. “I look forward to connecting with our alumni, friends, faculty, and staff, and to engaging the community in our efforts to support students and build on the college’s excellent reputation.” Sbriscia  comes to HCC with more than 10 years of experience in education and fund-raising. Most recently, she has been serving as senior director of Advancement at Bay Path University, following her role there as director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations. Before Bay Path, Sbriscia worked in fund development for the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts and as director of Annual Giving for Anna Maria College in Paxton. Her experience in higher education also includes work in major gifts, volunteer management, corporate sponsorship, and strategic planning. “We were fortunate to have four extremely qualified finalists to consider, and we put each of them through a full day of rigorous interviews,” said HCC president Christina Royal. “In the end, though, Amanda’s experience, presence, and passion really made her stand out. She has an energy that I believe will integrate fluently with our current campus leadership and help propel us forward as we begin to develop a strategic plan for the future of HCC. I’m excited that she will soon be here.” Sbriscia has served on the board of the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals and is a member of Women in Philanthropy and the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield. She is also a classroom reader through Springfield School Volunteers. She is currently pursuing her doctor of education degree in organizational leadership from Northeastern University.

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Jaime O’Connor

Jaime O’Connor

Waterford Hotel Group announced the appointment of Jaime O’Connor as director of sales at the Sheraton Hartford Hotel located inside Bradley International Airport. The Sheraton Bradley is managed by Waterford Hotel Group, a national hotel and convention-center management firm. As director of Sales, O’Connor is responsible for the total sales efforts for the hotel, as well as supervising sales-related personnel and implementing sales and marketing strategies to maximize profits while also maintaining guest satisfaction. O’Connor started her career in hospitality at the Sheraton Springfield in 2001. She quickly grew within the property, holding the positions of executive meeting manager and senior executive meeting manager, before joining Waterford Hotel Group as a sales manager at the Marriott Hartford in 2005. Most recently, she has been working as director of sales at the Sheraton Hartford South. “We are pleased to welcome Jaime back to the Waterford Hotel Group team,” said Karen Bachofner, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Waterford Hotel Group. “We look forward to working with her in this new role.”

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Valerie Krolicki

Valerie Krolicki

Valerie Krolicki recently joined Ayre Real Estate Co. Inc. as a full-time real-estate sales associate. She is a graduate of Hopkinton High School and has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education from Northeastern University in Boston. Krolicki is the daughter-in-law of the late Cynthia ‘Cindy’ Ayre, formerly of Ayre Real Estate and past president of the Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley and Realtor of the Year.

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With the upcoming departure of DevelopSpringfield’s President and CEO Jay Minkarah, the organization has tapped Jeff Daley to provide consulting services on an interim basis to manage project oversight. Daley is founder and principal of CJC Development Advisors, LLC with more than 15 years of experience in real-estate development, construction project development, government relations, and public-private partnership development. He was formerly the Economic Development director for the city of Westfield, executive director of the Westfield Redevelopment Authority, and a member of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority board of directors, in addition to roles on other nonprofit boards and advisory panels. “I am excited for the opportunity to assist the team at DevelopSpringfield to move their projects forward,” Daley said. “CJC Development Advisors has been engaged in development projects around the region, and I feel this is a perfect opportunity to help DevelopSpringfield through their transition on some very important projects.” Nick Fyntrilakis, DevelopSpringfield’s board chair, added that “we are pleased to have Jeff step in to help ensure the advancement of DevelopSpringfield’s projects. Jeff has a strong background in large-scale development projects, and I’m confident his experience will be invaluable to the organization as we look to begin a search for a permanent replacement for Jay Minkarah.”

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Claudia Pazmany

Claudia Pazmany

Claudia Pazmany was recently named director of Development & Marketing for Providence Ministries. “My guiding core philosophy is to honor the work of today but to bring people together in the form of support to enable a vision for tomorrow,” Pazmany said. “It exemplifies how I feel about the power of philanthropy and how it can transform communities. I hope to transform how we think about our most vulnerable in my new role here at Providence Ministries, and how we can all play a vital role in that transformation.” Pazmany is a community leader with more than 16 years of experience in professional fund-raising. Her business-development skills, combined with a long history in capital campaigns, philanthropy, community engagement, social media, and alumni relations, helped her build visionary and sustainable movements of giving. She continues to apply her leadership skills to creating a more just and equitable world. Pazmany has an MBA from UMass, served on the executive team as former director of Development at the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, is a graduate of the Women’s Fund’s Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact, and is currently a board member at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County.

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Morrison Mahoney LLP announced the election of six new partners, representing a range of practice areas including appeals, insurance coverage, construction litigation, professional liability defense, medical malpractice, fraud, transportation, and employment-law disputes.

“The election of so many highly qualified partners speaks volumes of the depth of talent that we have in all offices of Morrison Mahoney and quality of our mentoring and professional development,” said Managing Partner Scott Burke.

The new partners are:

Jeffrey O’Connor

Jeffrey O’Connor

Joseph Ciollo

Joseph Ciollo

Jeffrey O’Connor (Springfield), who focuses his practice on the defense of medical and legal professionals, healthcare law, employment litigation, and general liability defense;

Joseph Ciollo (Hartford, Stamford), who represents insurance companies, insureds, private businesses, attorneys, and other licensed professionals in matters involving automobile, homeowner, and property insurance coverage; insurance fraud investigation; general liability defense; automobile liability defense; bad-faith claims; subrogation; professional liability; and employment discrimination;

Christopher Davidson (Boston), who specializes in the defense of corporate clients involving claims of catastrophic injury or death in the context of construction-site accidents, product liability, premises liability, and transportation/trucking matters;

Larry Slotnick (Boston), who has successfully represented insures in a wide range of coverage and bad-faith disputes, both at the trial and appellate levels, and also represents businesses in commercial-litigation disputes;

Christopher Keenoy (New York), who focuses his practice on cases involving professional liability, construction defects, product liability, lead paint, trucking, and general liability; and

James McKenney (New York), who litigates complex commercial and civil matters, including healthcare and insurance-coverage issues, regulatory violations, Medicaid fraud claims, contract disputes, and civil RICO actions in federal, state, and appellate courts.

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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2017 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement for six consecutive years. Her passion for finance and strategic planning led to the creation of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in 2000. She began her career in corporate accounting in Tampa, Fla., where she consulted with small-business owners on financial operations and maximizing performance. Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s CT Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is currently chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation and a board member of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of AAA Pioneer Valley, and past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the advisory council at Bay Path University. Deliso Financial and Insurance Services is not owned or operated by New York Life Insurance Co. or any of its affiliates.

40 Under 40 Features

Editor’s Note: Again this year, five individuals have been chosen to score the nominations submitted for the 40 Under Forty competition. In keeping with past practice, BusinessWest has chosen two former winners to be part of this panel (and a third owns a 40 Under Forty plaque from the Worcester Business Journal). As always, BusinessWest has sought out individuals with experience in business and entrepreneurship.

Ken Albano

Ken Albano

Ken Albano

Attorney Kenneth J. Albano is the managing partner of Bacon Wilson, P.C., and a member of the firm’s corporate, commercial, and municipal practice groups.

In addition to his legal practice, he is very active in the local community. He is chair of the board of the March of Dimes Western Mass Division, and serves on the Board of the New England Chapter of the March of Dimes. Albano is also a board member with Behavioral Health Network, where he has served for more than 20 years. He also works with the American Cancer Society, Make-A-Wish, and the ALS Association.

In June of 2015, Albano was honored with the Mass. Bar Association’s Community Service Award in recognition of his exceptional volunteer work.

 

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services. She focuses on financial preparation for retirement as well as times of transition such as divorce or widowhood.

Deliso has been working in the financial field for 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry. She has been a member of New York Life Chairman’s Council since 2012 and a qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table for the past 18 years.

She currently serves as chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation, and is immediate past chairman of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is also past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, as well as past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Mass. and the Bay Path College advisory board. She is a supporting member of the National Assoc. of Life Underwriters and the Hampden County Estate Planning Council.

Samalid Hogan

Samalid Hogan

Samalid Hogan

A 40 Under Forty winner in 2013, Samalid Hogan is director of the western regional office of the Mass. Small Business Development Center (MSBDC) Network. She has more than 12 years of economic-development and project-management experience.

In 2015, she was the consulting project manager for the Holyoke Innovation District on behalf of the MassTech Collaborative and Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. Previously, she was the senior project manager and brownfields coordinator at the City of Springfield’s Office of Planning and Economic Development. Hogan also served as a senior economic-development and policy analyst at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and founded CoWork Springfield, a networking organization and co-working space.

In 2016, Hogan was awarded a Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and recognized by the Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce as a Woman Trailblazer and Trendsetter.

Patrick Leary, CPA

Patrick Leary

Patrick Leary

A member of BusinessWest’s inaugural 40 Under Forty class in 2007, Patrick Leary is a partner at Moriarty and Primack, an accounting firm with offices in Springfield and Lincoln, Mass., and Bloomfield, Conn., and directs accounting, auditing, and business-advisory services. His concentration is on closely held and family-owned businesses, as well as providing business-advisory services for a wide variety of industries.

He serves as the first vice chairperson of the Greater Springfield YMCA, chair of the board of directors of Human Resources Unlimited, a member of the of the board of directors and executive committee of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce, treasurer of United Way of Pioneer Valley, and treasurer of the Colony Club.

Leary is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. He is licensed to practice public accounting in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.

Matt Sosik

Matt Sosik

Matt Sosik

Matt Sosik began his career in banking with the FDIC in Holyoke. In 1997, he became the CEO of Hometown Bank in Webster, Mass. After serving in that capacity for nearly 17 years and growing Hometown Bank almost 1,000%, he accepted the role as CEO and president at bankESB in 2013.

Since his arrival, he has overseen two mergers and has more than doubled the size of the parent holding company to more than $2 billion.

Sosik is a member or former member of numerous nonprofit boards, including United Way chapters, the Rotary, and hospital boards. He was a 40 Under 40 honoree in 2001 with the Worcester Business Journal.

Departments People on the Move
Arlene Rodriguez

Arlene Rodriguez

The Professional Women’s Chamber (PWC) announced that Arlene Rodriguez, Vice President of Academic Affairs for Springfield Technical Community College, has been named the PWC 2016 Woman of the Year. The Woman of the Year is presented to a woman in the Western Mass. area who exemplifies outstanding leadership, professional accomplishment, and service to the community. The award has been given annually since 1954 and is publically recognized as one of the most prestigious honors given to any citizen for distinguished service and selfless giving.

“We’re thrilled with this year’s honoree — a truly inspiring and accomplished woman like Dr. Rodriguez,” said PWC Board President Janet Casey. “She is a trailblazer amongst women and a staunch advocate for education, empowerment, and advancement, and her passion to help young people succeed is unparalleled.”

A celebration in her honor will be held on Tuesday, May 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Carriage House, Storrowton Tavern, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Reservations are $55 and may be made online at www.springfieldregionalchamber.com or by contacting Kara Cavanaugh at [email protected]. At STCC, Rodriguez oversees all faculty in the academic schools at the college, and formerly was the school’s dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. She has also served as the Honors College coordinator and professor at the college, and is the first Latina vice president of academic affairs at the College.

Rodriguez grew up in New York City, spending each of her summers in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, a rural mountain town where her parents’ roots grow deep. Life in New York taught her an appreciation for an expansive, fast-paced city life with all peoples, cultures, and languages, while Aibonito showed her the importance of family, neighbors, and their stories. Born in the Bronx to parents who never finished high school, Rodriguez, the youngest of four, learned to read by reading articles aloud from the newspaper to her mother as she cooked breakfast every morning. At a young age, she developed a love for the written word, devouring everything from newspapers to magazines and classic literature. Rodriguez speaks English and Spanish, and longs to add Italian to that list. Her love of literature led her to earn three degrees in English, including her undergraduate degree from Fordham University, a master’s from Lehigh University, and her doctorate from UMass Amherst.

Rodriguez has been a journalist and a short-fiction writer. For more than 10 years, she taught English at Springfield Technical Community College. She has served as the college’s dean of the School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences from 2005 to 2015, when she was then promoted to vice president of Academic Affairs, the first Latina to serve in that position. She was recently honored with the Springfield Women’s Commission Unsung Heroine Award, was named among BusinessWest’s 40 Under Forty in 2007, and was honored with the STCC Anthony Scibelli Endowed Chair in 2005.

She is a member of the YWCA Board of Directors, and serves on Springfield’s Rosa Parks Organizing Committee, the Springfield Ward 7 Democratic City Committee, the Springfield Armory Council, and the WGBY Board of Tribunes and Latino Advisory Board.

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Florence Bank, a mutually owned savings bank serving the Pioneer Valley through nine branch locations, has promoted Kurt Shouse of to the position of Information security officer/cyber security administrator. Shouse joined Florence Bank in 2014 as a cyber security administrator. He earned a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst, as well as a master’s in cybersecurity, with a concentration in computer forensics and cyber operations. He also has earned a Global Essentials Security certification. Florence Bank President and CEO John Heaps Jr., said, “we’re pleased to promote Kurt to this expanded role with our bank. We take a very proactive stance where security and information security is concerned, and Kurt is someone whose expertise will continue to be of great value to our bank and our customers.”

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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP, from the CT Valley General Office of New York Life, recently joined a select group of agents who are authorized to offer AARP members a range of financial solutions through AARP life insurance, annuity, and long-term-care options from New York Life. To become part of this group of agents, Deliso followed a certification process established by New York Life, which includes extensive training on products and regulations, education on evaluating client needs, state licensing, and a commitment to service. AARP Services, AARP’s for-profit subsidiary, provides quality control over the certification process and training. Deliso is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive planning designed to help position clients for a solid financial future. Her extensive experience in several areas has helped lead to a reputation for certain specializations, such as assisting people in planning for their financial future, particularly in preparation for retirement as well as in times of transition such as divorce or widowhood. After graduating from Bentley University, Deliso spent seven years in the public accounting profession before transitioning to financial services, in which she has been working for more than 20 years. New York Life has been offering AARP-branded products to AARP members since 1994. Since then, the relationship has grown to include a portfolio of annuity products (added in 2006) and, most recently, long-term care options in 2016.

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David Bohl

David Bohl

Garvey Communication Associates Inc. (GCAi) recently announced that David Bohl has been promoted to digital marketing analyst. GCAi also announced that Bohl is now the agency’s third Google AdWords qualified planner. Bohl started his career at GCAi in 2014 as a digital marketing intern. When he was hired as digital marketing assistant by GCAi in 2015, he began to develop e-mail marketing campaigns. Mr. Bohl now manages content marketing, e-mail marketing, and social-media marketing campaigns for GCAi and clients in entertainment, healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, and hospitality.

He also presented, along with Google, Carbonite, Corporate Ink, and Brandwatch, on e-mail marketing at the recent Digital Marketing Innovation Summit in Hyannis. As a Google AdWords qualified planner, Bohl is required to pass tests in the areas of AdWords fundamentals, search advertising, display advertising, and video advertising on a recurring basis. GCAi is the only agency in the region to hold the Google Partner status. Bohl is a magna cum laude graduate of Western New England University in Springfield, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in public relations. He is a member of the Advertising Club of Western Mass. and the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, and is an associate member of the Public Relations Society of America.

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van Schouwen Associates, LLC (vSA) announced the addition of Todd Lucht as art director and web developer for its business-to-business marketing team. Lucht adds extensive graphic and interactive design and creative software engineering to vSA. As the head of creative for Sounds True, a Colorado-based multi-media publisher, Lucht most recently oversaw that firm’s art direction and brand management. Previously, he supervised the art department for mortgage broker Urban Lending Group and worked with Florida-based ad agency Provident Creative. “Todd’s interactive development and design skills will enhance our programs for our many business-to-business clients,” said Michelle van Schouwen, vSA president. “His experience producing digital assets will appeal to our clients as B2B and launch marketing rapidly continue to expand.” Lucht has a master’s degree in technology management from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s degree from International Fine Arts College. He has developed asset-management websites and applications, motion graphics, and online catalogs. In addition to his work in the creative and marketing industry, Lucht played professional hockey in Russia for four years.

Departments People on the Move

Kenneth Albano, a shareholder and a member of the Corporate, Finance, and Healthcare departments for the Springfield-based Bacon Wilson, P.C. was recently elected Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Western Mass. Division of the March of Dimes. Albano is a member of the Mass. Municipal Law Assoc., and currently serves as Town Counsel to the communities of Monson, Southwick, and Holland. Albano earned his BA from Providence College and his JD from Western New England University School of Law.
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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, Principal of Deliso Financial Services, has been elected a member of the 2013 Chairman’s Council of New York Life Insurance Co. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force among more than 12,250 licensed agents. A New York Life agent since 1995, Deliso is an associate with the Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is chairman of New York Life’s Agents Advisory Council and is a consistent qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table and currently a 2013 Court of the Table Member. Deliso currently serves on many boards in her community, including the Pioneer Valley AAA Auto Club, Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, and the Community Music School of Springfield.
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Keith Minoff

Keith Minoff

Keith Minoff has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 20th edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the practice areas of commercial litigation and corporate law. Minoff is a trial attorney specializing in business and employment litigation and has been in practice for more than 25 years.
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David McBride

David McBride

Erica Flores

Erica Flores

Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. recently announced the addition of two new associates, David McBride and Erica Flores. Flores joined Skoler Abbott after relocating to Mass. from Pennsylvania, where she was an associate at the office of Morgan Lewis. She is a 2005 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and received her BS from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2001. In addition to her litigation practice, Flores regularly advises clients with respect to day-to-day employment issues, including decisions regarding adverse employment actions and litigation avoidance. From 2005 to 2006, she served as a clerk to the Russell Nigro, associate justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Flores is a member of the American Bar Assoc. and the Pennsylvania Bar Assoc. McBride is a 2013 graduate from the Cornell Law School and received his BA in Economics from the University of Notre Dame in 2008. His practice is concentrated in labor law and employment litigation. His experience includes work on labor and employment-law issues, including employer compliance with federal laws at a major labor union in New York.

Wealth Management

Stay the Course

Jean Deliso, CFP said she started calling her investment clients several days ago to gauge how they’re feeling amid some growing turbulence for the economy — and on Wall Street.

As she talked with BusinessWest about this initiative, she paraphrased the message she would leave if she encountered voicemail. “We just want to check in to see how you’re doing. The market has done very well, but we’ve seen some volatility in the market, and want to know how comfortable you are. On a scale of 1 to 5 (with ‘5’ representing the highest level of anxiety), how are you feeling about volatility, because there’s a political environment going on, we have China going on. Are you comfortable that your assets are positioned well?”

Again, that was the gist of the call. Deliso, owner of Agawam-based Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, said the firm has contacted about half the investment clients, and so far, there have a lot of 1’s and 2’s and generally nothing higher than a 3. And she’s not exactly surprised.

She believes those numbers tell her she’s doing a good job of helping her clients not just invest, but create and execute a plan. It also means she’s done well explaining to people that volatility — and yes, the markets have seen some this year amid trade turmoil, interest-rate movement, the dreaded inverted yield curve, and recession talk — is part of investing and nothing to really be feared.

“It’s important to keep their timeline in mind and not panic,” said Deliso, adding quickly that matters change the closer one is to retirement. “If you have 20 years … take a long-term perspective, don’t panic, don’t sell, and learn to live with volatility, because you can benefit from it because there are opportunities.”

That last comment is a perfect segue to the three words investment managers and financial planners always summon at times like these, especially for people with a long time window — ‘stay the course’ — as well as the seven words they also put to frequent use — ‘you shouldn’t try to time the market.’

“My job is to make sure, when these clients go into retirement, or are in retirement, that they have peace of mind. I want to make sure they’re not going to be emotional when the market drops. I want them to be secure that they know that, if it drops, they’re OK.”

Karen Dolan Curran, MBA, CFP, a principal with the Northampton-based firm Curran & Keegan Financial, used both phrases, and turned the clock back to 2008, the start of the Great Recession, to get her points across.

“In 2008, most portfolios lost an average of 30% to 40% of their value,” she recalled. “But if you stayed in those portfolios, they fully recovered after close to 18 months; you had to play the cycle out. And if you tried to go or if you tried to time the market as to when to go and when to jump back in, most people failed — because the most challenging part is trying to figure out when to jump back in. Those who stayed did fine.”

Neither Curran nor anyone else we spoke with is predicting anything close to 2008 again. In fact, some are hedging their bets on whether there will be a recession, not only this year but next year.

“In 2008, most portfolios lost an average of 30% to 40% of their value. But if you stayed in those portfolios, they fully recovered after close to 18 months; you had to play the cycle out. And if you tried to go or if you tried to time the market as to when to go and when to jump back in, most people failed.”

“We don’t believe that recession is coming necessarily in the next 12 months,” said Curran, noting that, while there a number of matters contributing to tension nationally and globally, overall, the economy is quite solid and unemployment and interest rates remain quite low, and investors should keep this in mind moving forward.

Still, the dreaded ‘R’ word is being heard and read more frequently these days, and that’s one of the reasons why Deliso launched her survey, noting that it’s a good conversation to have and she has it at least annually with clients.

The results of her polling, as noted, show there is not a high level of fear, a reaction that seems to mirror what’s happening on Wall Street, where, despite some turbulence and uncertainty, the S&P is up nearly 20% (or was at press time; things can change quickly), and when most of those ‘fear/greed’ gauges are tilting more toward the latter.

Beyond that, the comments seem to indicate that she’s doing well with what she considers her primary assignment. And that is to take fear out of the equation for her clients, even at times, like this one, in some respects, when one might be tempted to show some fear.

“That’s how this practice works; we provide a tremendous amount of education,” she explained. “And we make sure clients are positioned well with fixed assets and investment assets, because when we set people up for success, there’s a balance between the two.

“My job is to make sure, when these clients go into retirement, or are in retirement, that they have peace of mind,” she went on. “I want to make sure they’re not going to be emotional when the market drops. I want them to be secure that they know that, if it drops, they’re OK.”

Curran said her firm works in much the same way, with an emphasis on financial planning, not simply investing. As a result, she said she rarely gets a ‘panic’ call from an investor when the market takes a tumble, as it’s done a few times this year, or even when it takes a hard fall, as it did in the fourth quarter of last year.

She told BusinessWest that her firm helps clients plan against the backdrop of what she called the ‘worst-case scenario,’ meaning what happened in 2008.

“We do a lot of stress-case analysis,” she explained. “Saying, ‘well, what is the basic assumed market return? What if the market fluctuates downward during a particular time? What if it is nothing but positive for a particular time?’ And in certain cases, we replay 2008 right at a point of retirement, because that is the worst-case scenario — the moment you retire and you draw on your investment, the market comes down.

“We do all those simulations with clients so, when there are swings, like that 800-point drop recently, we get few, if any, calls, because we’ve already considered the worst-case scenario,” she went on, adding that, when people retire, they have more free time and spend some of it watching — and worrying about — the markets and their investments. “We don’t want them to have those reaction swings.”

Thus, the firm, like Deliso’s, recommends that those entering retirement do so with six months or perhaps a year’s worth of cash reserves to draw on, rather than their retirement savings.

Curran said effective planning, not to mention a willingness to stay the course, or “play the cycle out,” as she called it, is critical in this environment where interest rates on CDs and other very conservative forms of investing are far too low to generate real returns.

“The new norm is that people can’t go to a conservative portfolio of bonds and cash in retirement and live comfortably,” she said. “They have to be in the market, and they have to feel the weight of the ebb and flow of the market and understand that, if they stay long enough, the market will give them a positive return.”

Deliso agreed and reiterated that a big part of her job is to remove fear from the equation through proper planning and an effective mix of investments and fixed assets.

That’s why she hasn’t had anything over a 3 yet from her phone poll, and why she isn’t expecting any, either.

— George O’Brien

Banking and Financial Services

The Scammers Are Out There

By Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Have you ever been scammed by someone or received a phone call attempting to pressure you to provide personal information or send money?

If you can say yes, have you thought about what your parents or grandparents might do in similar situations?

Senior citizens are frequent victims of these criminal activities. To help protect older family members and to safeguard yourself, everyone should be better informed about these schemes and how to help prevent becoming a victim.

Scam artists are everywhere, and they are here in Western Mass. Within the past 18 months, I personally had two different clients who were defrauded by a scam tactic that preyed on their love of their grandchildren and their innocence and confusion.

One was contacted and told their grandchild had been in an accident, he had seriously hurt someone, and he was going to spend many years in jail unless money was sent. In the other situation, it was claimed that a grandchild was in a friend’s car, which was stopped by the police, and they found drugs. The scammer stated that the grandchild was not guilty, but he would be charged unless the grandparent sent cash immediately to get him assistance in court.

Both victims were told not to tell anyone, otherwise the assistance would stop. And in both situations, the grandparents went to the bank or withdrew money from their investment accounts, converted it to cash, placed it an envelope, and sent it to these unknown addresses.

These situations are happening more often, and thus there is a pressing need to educate our senior citizens to be aware of these types of scams.

There is nothing more special than the love of a grandchild. These imposters are targeting and exploiting this love and affection.

There have been other articles written on this subject, but not everyone reads them. It is important to educate your parents or grandparents that these scams exist and that, if they ever receive a call where they are instructed to be silent, they should contact a trusted family member or the proper authorities immediately.

Not all children are comfortable talking to their parents or grandparents about these situations, but I highly recommend you do.

I’ve seen too many of these scams recently amongst my clients. As a certified financial planner, it’s my responsibility to help my clients manage their assets and finances and to help safeguard against risks to their financial well-being. If a suspicious phone call or request is unusual or confusing, it’s important for the recipient to question it and alert their loved ones.

Please speak to your parents and grandparents about these threats. If they receive such a call, have them talk to other family members or the police before providing any information to the caller. They should never send cash to someone they don’t know or if they don’t fully understand why it’s being requested. Have them call the grandchild on their personal phone number, and, most importantly, tell them never to send cash to anyone they don’t know.

Jean Deliso, CFP is a principal with Deliso Financial and Insurance Services; (413) 785-1100.

Wealth Management

A Seeming Disconnect

By Jean M. Deliso

Have you wondered how the S&P 500 stock-market index has been trading at near all-time highs when, in the second quarter, S&P 500 corporate earnings were down compared to the first quarter of 2020, daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. are currently stable or declining, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July unemployment report showed more than 16 million unemployed Americans, with an unemployment rate of 10.2%?

That question is a good one, with the seeming disconnect between what the stock market has been doing and what we are seeing in the news and the U.S. economy. No doubt the stock market was arguably pricing in what the economy will look like a year from now and what the market sees as significant pent-up demand, a fading pandemic-induced economic impact, and a wall of liquidity coursing its way through capital markets.

The real question is whether investors should be concerned about the U.S. stock market hitting all-time highs with the economy still bruised and slowly recovering. Could this mean a crash or major correction is coming?

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

“There is a chance the economy one year from now will be in better shape than it is today — or it may be worse. But being a participant in the market for the long haul means participating in the growth and losses that happen between now and then, and always focusing on your investment time horizon.”

No one truly knows the answer to that question. But we know that market corrections and bear markets are normal and common; we just don’t know when they will arrive or how long they will last. And if anyone tells you ‘with certainty’ when a market downside is coming and how long it will last, you might want to run the other way.

When thinking about where the markets and economy could go in the next year and beyond, it’s useful to break it down by key categories:

Economics. The pandemic-induced recession has been steep and ugly. But there is a good argument that the worst of the crisis could be behind us. Manufacturing and service activity have rebounded, the housing market has seen very solid activity, and spending has outpaced expectations, according to the Washington Post.

Earnings. Second-quarter earnings were bad, plain and simple. But at the same time, earnings were not as bad as the double-digit expectation of Wall Street, and clearly stocks love positive surprises. Will earnings continue to improve going forward? That is the question — and we all hope the answer is ‘yes.’

Interest Rates. Overnight rates in most developed countries are near historic lows, meaning borrowing costs and financing costs are highly attractive for businesses and individuals that can obtain loans. The Federal Reserve also signaled plans to keep interest rates near zero for years; these actions make equities attractive by comparison.

Inflation. The amount of global stimulus is massive; the total global fiscal and monetary stimulus being deployed amounts to approximately 28% of world GDP, according to the Wall Street Journal. This ‘wall of liquidity’ makes inflation seem more likely in the coming years and will be a factor to watch.

Sentiment. Consumer and investor sentiment is improving in the wake of the pandemic, but may sour as the election nears.What’s the bottom line for investors? The nature of bull markets is that we can expect the stock market to reach new highs over time. This is what history has told us to expect every time. That said, I would caution against seeing an all-time high in the S&P index as a reason to go completely defensive. When setting a long-term investment strategy, it is important to consider how the economy may grow or contract in the next six, 12, or even 18 months, and how that plays into your personal goals and objectives. If your retirement date is close, it is always prudent to review how much safe money you may need to weather an unexpected storm.

There is a chance the economy one year from now will be in better shape than it is today — or it may be worse. But being a participant in the market for the long haul means participating in the growth and losses that happen between now and then, and always focusing on your investment time horizon.

Jean M. Deliso is a registered representative offering securities through NYLIFE Securities, LLC (member FINRA/SIPC), a licensed insurance agency. Deliso Financial and Insurance Services is not owned or operated by Eagle Strategies, NYLIFE Securities, LLC, or any of their affiliates.

Departments People on the Move

Farmington Bank announced the following:

Michael Moriarty

Michael Moriarty

Michael Moriarty has been named Senior Vice President, Commercial Team Leader, and Regional Executive. Moriarty is a 24-year veteran of the Western Mass. banking industry. He comes to Farmington Bank from United Bank, where he most recently served as executive vice president and regional commercial executive. Moriarty is the treasurer of Human Resources Unlimited in Springfield and is a member of the board of directors of the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club and St. Thomas School in West Springfield. Moriarty received a bachelor’s degree from Merrimack College and an MBA degree from Western New England University.
Joseph Kulig

Joseph Kulig

Joseph Kulig has been named Vice President, Commercial Lender. Kulig also has 24 years of local banking experience, and has held the position of relationship manager at both United Bank and TD Bank. Kulig is a member of the board of directors of Rebuilding Together Springfield, West Springfield Youth Soccer Club, and West Springfield Wildcats Baseball Club. Kulig received his bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst and an MBA degree from Western New England University.
Joseph Young

Joseph Young

Joseph Young has been named VicePresident, Commercial Lender. Young also brings to Farmington Bank more than 24 years of local banking experience. Previously a senior vice president of commercial lending at United Bank, Young is a 20-year retired veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He serves on the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield. Young received his bachelor’s degree from St. Leo College in Florida; and
Candace Pereira

Candace Pereira

Candace Pereira has been named Assistant Vice President, Commercial Portfolio Loan Officer. Pereira, with nearly 10 years of local banking experience, comes to Farmington Bank from United Bank, where she most recently served as a commercial lending officer. Pereira is a member of the board of directors at the Gray House in Springfield. She received her bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst. In September, Connecticut-based Farmington Bank announced its plans to enter Massachusetts with the establishment of a commercial-lending office and two de novo hub branches, subject to regulatory approval, located in West Springfield and East Longmeadow. With this expansion, Farmington Bank services will now be available from Hampden County to New Haven, Conn., spanning New England’s Knowledge Corridor, an interstate partnership of regional economic-development, planning, business, tourism, and educational institutions that work together to advance the region’s economic progress.
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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso has been named a member of the 2014 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% in sales achievement among New York Life’s elite sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents. Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement after 30 years in the financial-services industry. Her passion for finance and strategic planning led to the creation of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in 2000. Deliso began her career in corporate accounting in Tampa, Fla., where she consulted with small-business owners on financial operations and maximizing performance. She has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She serves on many boards in her community, including the Pioneer Valley AAA Auto Club and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, and is currently chairman of the board at the Community Music School of Springfield. She is a past chairman of the board at the YMCA of Greater Springfield and a past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the Bay Path College Advisory Board.
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Morrison Mahoney LLP announced that attorney Jennifer Rymarski has been elected a Partner. Rymarski, who practices in the Boston-based firm’s Springfield office, serves a wide base of clients in the arenas of medical malpractice litigation, as well as employment, business, and corporate law. Rymarski has more than 10 years of experience as an attorney and more than 15 years of experience in the legal field. She has a diverse background in medical-malpractice defense work and general business law, communications, and management. Rymarski advises healthcare clients on litigation matters and other issues involving healthcare law. She also serves as defense counsel for court cases and Board of Registration in Medicine investigations and complaints. For general business clients, she offers business advice, including dispute resolution, collections, adherence to corporate and regulatory formalities, and negotiations concerning leases, contracts, financing, and bankruptcy. Rymarski earned a bachelor’s degree from Westfield State University, a certificate of paralegal studies from Elms College, and a juris doctor from Western New England University School of Law. She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. and the Hampden County Bar Assoc., and is also licensed to practice law in Connecticut. She serves as a board member of the Children’s Study Home. Rymarski has been named a “Rising Star” in Boston magazine for four consecutive years.
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Mary Hurley

Mary Hurley

The law firm of Cooley Shrair announced that Mary Hurley, Esq., retired first justice of the Chicopee District Court, has returned to private practice with Cooley Shrair. Hurley served 19 years as a judge, following 18 years as a practicing attorney. She was a principal with Cooley Shrair and served two terms as mayor of Springfield before accepting an appointment as a state court justice. Hurley actively serves as a member of the advisory board for the Elms College Criminal Justice Program and the College Club of Greater Springfield. Her background of community service includes work as a trustee of Elms College, the Springfield Library and Museums Assoc., Springfield College, and Holyoke Community College, as well as service on the boards of directors for such organizations as Sisters of Providence Health System, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and Alcoholism and Drug Services of Western Mass. Inc. She is also a recipient of the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. Public Service Award. Hurley earned her J.D. from Western New England College School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from Elms College, where she also obtained a teaching certificate and an honorary doctorate.
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Patrick McCann

Patrick McCann

Robert Herchert

Robert Herchert

Tighe & Bond, a civil and environmental engineering firm, recently appointed two new members to its board of directors, Patrick McCann and Robert Herchert. McCann has more than 30 years of leadership experience in the environmental, engineering, and construction business. He joined Weston Solutions, an infrastructure-redevelopment firm with offices nationwide, in 1996 and led the company through a successful transformation from public to employee ownership. He became chief operating officer in 1997, president in 1998, and CEO from 2003 to 2013. Currently, McCann serves as board chair for Water for People, an international development organization with operations in nine countries that focuses on providing sustainable water and sanitation to some of the poorest villages in the developing world. He also serves as a board member for Harris & Associates, a West Coast construction-management and design firm, as well as the SUNY Oneonta Foundation. Herchert has nearly 50 years of leadership experience in the public and private sectors, with approximately half of those in the professional-services industry. For the past 13 years, he has been chairman of the board at Freese and Nichols Inc., an engineering, architecture, and environmental-science firm headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. He also develops and maintains client relationships, and is a Freese and Nichols representative in community and civic activities. Prior to this, he was the firm’s president and CEO for 11 years. Previously, Herchert served as city manager for the City of Fort Worth from 1978 to 1985, and as executive vice president for Texas American Bancshares from 1985 to 1990. Over the years, he has served on numerous boards to support government, business, and community initiatives, and has served on various corporate boards. In 2009, he joined the board of Terracon Consultants Inc., where he also chairs the executive compensation committee and serves on the governance committee.
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Craig Smith

Craig Smith

Craig Smith has joined Berkshire Community College (BCC) as Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the BCC Foundation. In this dual role, Smith is responsible for developing, directing, and implementing internal and external fund-raising for both the college and the foundation as well as advancing community initiatives that promote BCC’s mission, direction, and goals. Smith, who has extensive experience in capital-campaign fund-raising as well as annual and planned giving programs, previously served as managing director of the Berkshire Theatre Group in Pittsfield. Prior to that, he was the development director at the Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA in Becket. “Craig’s years of fund-raising and management experience will be a true asset to our institution, the advancement division, and the BCC Foundation,” said BCC President Ellen Kennedy. “His knowledge, coupled with his ties to the Berkshires, will certainly help him forge relationships not only with our donors and alumni, but also with our students, faculty and staff, and the community at large.” He earned a master’s degree from Assumption College in Worcester, and a bachelor’s degree from Eastern University in St. Davids, Penn.

People on the Move

Jill Monson-Bishop

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently welcomed Jill Monson-Bishop into the role of Community Development manager. She comes to the ACS with expertise in networking, relationship building, marketing, project management, and more. Prior to joining the American Cancer Society, Monson-Bishop was one of the opening-day team members at MGM Springfield, with responsibilities including internal communications and employee events. She also owns Inspired Marketing, now a consultative marketing agency, but at one time a full-service marketing and event-planning company serving clients such as Smith & Wesson, Adam Quenneville Roofing, and Northwestern Mutual. Previously, she was a radio personality in Western Mass. on stations such as WMAS, Rock 102, WHYN, and more. Community engagement has always been a priority for Monson-Bishop, who, over the years, has been involved with organizations such the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, Square One, YWCA, the Springfield Regional Chamber, the Drama Studio, and more. She is a graduate of Bay Path University with a MBA in entrepreneurial thinking and innovative practices, and she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication and media studies at Westfield State University.

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Jeffrey Neumann

Valley Solar, LLC announced the appointment of Jeffrey Neumann as lead master electrician. Neumann started with Valley Solar in April 2019 and will oversee all electrical operations. Prior to working at Valley Solar, Neumann was the electrical foreman at Hampshire College from 2010 to 2019. There, he supervised a crew of four journeyman electricians and oversaw all aspects of the the college’s Electrical Department, including supervision of crews, planning, budgeting, installations, and maintenance of campus electrical systems. He also oversaw several solar projects while at Hampshire and has performed solar installations involving single-phase residential wiring as well as more complex three-phase commercial projects.

 

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Linda Morgan, an attorney with extensive experience in higher education, has been named vice president and general counsel at Springfield College, effective Aug. 26, President Mary-Beth Cooper announced. Morgan will provide legal counsel and guidance to the leadership of the college and will serve as secretary to its board of trustees. She will be a member of the president’s senior leadership team. Joining Springfield College with 13 years of service as a practicing attorney and more than six years in positions of senior-level organizational management and financial administration, Morgan is well-practiced in providing leadership to institutional compliance with laws and regulations pertinent to higher education, including the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Title IX, FERPA, HIPAA, and the Jeanne Clery Act. She provides experience in broad aspects of law and related matters, including contracts, agreements, litigation, legal investigations, dispute resolution, mediation, business formation, compliance, and management. She is admitted to the bars of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the State of New York, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Morgan most recently worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, providing expertise in areas of employment-law adjudication and related statutory interpretation. Her previous experience also includes service as associate dean for Gender Equity at Bard College, grant administrator within the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland, and an attorney in private practice. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland University College and a juris doctor from Western New England University School of Law. She has teaching experience as an adjunct professor at Holyoke Community College and Greenfield Community College.

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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP has been selected for membership in the Nautilus Group, a service of New York Life. The Nautilus Group is a planning resource comprised of financial professionals experienced in taxes, law, life insurance, accounting, and charitable giving. Deliso’s access to this exclusive resource enables her clients and their other financial advisors to benefit from the group’s collective experience and solutions as they apply to the protection, accumulation, and distribution of wealth to individuals, families, and business owners throughout the country. Deliso is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that position clients for a solid financial future. Her 30-year experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash management, risk management, investment, and retirement planning. She has developed an expertise in assisting business owners with protecting and securing their future. She is also fully committed to educating individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment. She has been a member of New York Life Chairman’s Council since 2012 and a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table since 1999. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso currently serves on and is past chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation and the Community Music School of Springfield. She has also served on the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

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Darcy Fortun

The Ad Club of Western Massachusetts recently recognized the Innovation Series with an award in the Video Series category. The Innovation Series is a documentary-style video series produced by Darcy Fortune, producer for Garvey Communication Associates Inc. (GCAi), for PeoplesBank. The series explored Valley Venture Mentors and some of its more unique entrepreneurial teams. The series was hosted by Matthew Bannister, first vice president of Marketing and Innovation for PeoplesBank. According to the bank’s website, the six-episode Innovation Series was designed and produced with the belief that PeoplesBank can not only be innovative, but help inspire innovation as well. The series garnered considerable media attention, with feature stories appearing in BusinessWest and several other area media outlets, as well as a sizable viewing audience. GCAi also distributed the Innovation Series through social-media channels, where it accumulated almost 400,000 total impressions, 100,000 engagement actions, and 90,000 video views at the time of the award. Fortune’s team included GCAi’s John Garvey as producer, Mary Shea as project manager, and James Garvey as digital dissemination manager. Matthew Derderian served as director of photography. Fortune is an experienced media professional and video producer, having served on assignment desks for both ABC and FOX News affiliates and developed videos and animations for GCAi clients including Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists, Cape Cod Cooperative Bank, MP CPAs, PeoplesBank, Peter Pan Bus Lines, and Winchester Savings Bank. She also just released two new pro bono videos for the Children’s Study Home and Wild Care of Cape Cod.

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Yvonne De Faoite

Elms College announced it will host an Irish Fulbright language teaching assistant (FLTA) during the 2019-20 academic year. Yvonne De Faoite of Limerick, Ireland, will teach Irish (Gaelic) language and culture. The Irish FLTA position is co-sponsored by the Irish Cultural Center of Western Massachusetts. De Faoite earned her primary teaching degree from Froebel College of Education in 2008. In 2012, she spent a year in Australia, where she gained international teaching experience. She recently completed a master’s degree in Irish immersion education from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. Prior to that, she completed a diploma in educational leadership in University College Dublin. De Faoite’s educational interests include immersion and second-language acquisition. As a Fulbright Irish FLTA, she will teach the Irish language and culture to Elms College students and to community members through the Irish Cultural Center. She will also take classes at Elms.

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Robert Burnell has been appointed executive chef of all dining venues at the Red Lion Inn. In his new role, Burnell oversees the day-to-day culinary operations of the main dining room, Widow Bingham’s Tavern, the Lion’s Den, and the seasonally open courtyard. In addition, Burnell will collaborate with Brian Alberg, vice president of Culinary Development, on all future food- and beverage-related development, including specialty menus for Red Lion guests and private parties. With nearly 20 years in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries, Burnell was previously executive chef at Gedney Farm in Marlborough. With a passion for clean cooking and eating, coupled with expertise in modern food trends, Burnell revamped menus to incorporate locally sourced items, along with gluten-free, vegetarian, and keto options for diners. He also strived to deliver exceptional client experiences for weddings, community events, and private dining. Additional hospitality experience includes five years as a property developer for Berkshire Hotels Group, during which he implemented construction projects for both hotels and restaurants.

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Sean Sormanti

Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank, announced that Sean Sormanti has joined the bank as senior vice president – Human Resources. Most recently, Sormanti was director of Human Resources at Strategic Information Resources in Springfield. In his new role, he will be responsible for recruiting, planning, coordinating, and managing the activities of the bank’s Human Resources department. He will be based at 63 Federal St. in Greenfield. Sormanti has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine. He currently holds a professional in human resources certificate and is an active member of the Western Mass. chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.

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Joseph Baker

 

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) announced that Joseph Baker has joined its team as vice president of Finance and Administration. He will oversee finances, investments, human resources, and operations for the $152 million foundation. Baker previously served in leadership roles at other community foundations for 13 years, most recently as vice president of Finance and chief financial officer at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. Before that, he was director of Finance and Administration at the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain. He brings to BTCF a background in nonprofit finance and development, as the former head of a United Way and a nonprofit service organization. He also developed Danbury Children First, a parent-led community initiative. Baker earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in economics and Spanish from Colby College.

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Bob Cummings has been re-elected to serve as president of the National Assoc. of Professional Benefits Administrators (NAPBA). A  NAPBA trustee since 2007, Cummings was first elected NAPBA president in 2015, and has been an instrumental force in the emergence of the consumer-directed healthcare industry over the past 20 years, orchestrating the growth of NAPBA as the primary compliance-standards and best-practice organization for third-party employee-benefits administrators serving the consumer-directed healthcare industry. As CEO and founder of American Benefits Group (ABG), a leading national employee-benefits administrator located in Northampton, Cummings has been a pioneer of the consumer-directed healthcare industry before the term even existed. ABG was one of the first administrators of flexible spending accounts (FSAs) in 1989 along with COBRA, billing-administration, and commuter-benefit accounts in the 1990s. When health savings accounts (HSA) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA) were enabled under the Internal Revenue Code in 2002, ABG was one of the early leaders in administering consumer-directed healthcare plan designs. As pre-tax, account-based plans became a linchpin of most employer benefit-plan designs along with high-deductible health plans, NAPBA was founded to promote compliance and best-practice standards in the administration of pre-tax, account-based plans. All NAPBA member organizations are third-party administrators focused on the administration and service of employer-sponsored plans for consumer-directed pre-tax accounts such as FSAs, HSAs, HRAs, and commuter benefits, as well as COBRA administration services. Collectively NAPBA member organizations provide services to more than 30 million employee healthcare consumers nationwide.

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Richard Venne, president and CEO of Viability, announced longtime staffer Richard Horton’s promotion to vice president of Administration and Finance. Horton joined Community Enterprises, one of the nonprofits that merged to become Viability, in July 2008 as director of Community Staffing. Before joining Viability as a staff member, he had executed consulting work to revive and re-engineer the Community Staffing operations. Over the next decade, his role expanded, first becoming director of Financial Planning and then associate vice president of Administration and Finance. He is known throughout the organization for serving as project manager for the implementation of Viability’s electronic health record and outcomes-management system. Two years ago, during the merger of Community Enterprises and Human Resources Unlimited into Viability, he led the effort to bring the infrastructure of the organizations together, focusing on technology and facilities. Entering its third year as Viability, the agency’s focus is on the creation, integration, standardization, and improvement of systems and processes. In his new role, Horton will play a central role in helping achieve that goal.

People on the Move
Brenda McGiverin

Brenda McGiverin

WWLP announced that Brenda McGiverin has been promoted to general sales manager of WWLP-22News, wwlp.com, and the CW Springfield. McGiverin has been with WWLP since 2007. She began her career at the media outlet as a digital account executive/new media coordinator. She was then promoted to digital sales director, where she led a sales team of seven account executives, and was responsible for generating and managing all digital revenue.  Most recently, she has served as local sales manager overseeing the entire local sales staff and coordinating all aspects of broadcast and digital sales. Outside of her responsibilities at WWLP, she is the board president of the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts, a member of the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round board, and on the advisory committee for Providence Ministries. McGiverin is a graduate of Northeastern University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business marketing and management. While attending Northeastern, she worked as a marketing coordinator for 8MinuteDating – Boston, and as a client services coordinator for MTV2-Y2M: Youth Media & Marketing Networks, the parent of College Publisher, the largest interactive network of online college newspapers in the U.S.

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Berdie Thompson

Berdie Thompson

Berdie Thompson recently joined the staff of Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts as the Development director. She previously served as the Charitable Gifts and Events coordinator for the Chicopee Savings Bank Foundation for 10 years. In addition, she has six years of fundraising experience and six years of office management in the nonprofit sector and a solid track record of meeting and exceeding fundraising goals. She brings with her a plethora of knowledge about fundraising from both sides of the table. Prior to her involvement in nonprofits, she was in the banking industry for 15 years.

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Suzanne Rosenberg

Suzanne Rosenberg

Michael Gay

Michael Gay

PeoplesBank recently appointed Suzanne Rosenberg as assistant vice president and manager for its West Springfield banking center, and Michael Gay as manager for its Amherst banking center. In her new position, Rosenberg aims to cultivate a customer-focused, engaging, one-stop resolution environment focused on identifying and providing solutions for all customers’ financial needs. She has 15 years of financial-services and banking experience. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Stonehill College in Easton. She formerly served as a volunteer for the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the Mashpee Boys & Girls Club. In his new position, Gay aims to provide a positive banking experience to both consumer and small-business customers. He has eight years of financial-services and banking experience. He attended Holyoke Community College and Franklin-Covey organizational training. He formerly served as a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Therapeutic Equestrian Center of Holyoke.

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Sr. Kathleen Keating

Sr. Kathleen Keating

The board of trustees of Elms College voted recently to grant the title of president emerita to Sr. Kathleen Keating in recognition of the lasting impact she has had on the college. Keating, a native of Springfield, was installed as the college’s seventh president in 1994. During her tenure, from 1994 to 2001, Elms College underwent extensive changes. In 1997, the college voted to admit male students to all programs of the college, which helped stabilize a declining enrollment. In addition, the college added four new undergraduate majors and one new master’s degree program. She more than doubled the school’s endowment from $2.3 million to $5.8 million and oversaw various campus-improvement projects, including the building of the Maguire Center. She also oversaw the establishment of the Irish and Polish Cultural Centers on the Elms campus. A 1952 graduate of Elms College, Keating received a master’s degree from Villanova University and a doctoral degree from Fordham University. She joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1953. She worked as a teacher at St. Joseph High School in North Adams and was assistant professor of History at Elms College from 1966 to 1975. She also served as chair of the college’s Division of Social Sciences. From 1975 to 1978, she was president of the National Assembly of Women Religious in Chicago, and she served as president of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield from 1979 to 1987. From 1989 to 1993, she ministered in Nicaragua as an associate member of the Maryknoll Sisters, working as a pastoral minister and a professor of English at the Jesuit University of Central America in the city of Managua. She received the Elms Distinguished Alumni Award in 1983 and a number other national and regional awards over the years.

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Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB, announced that Tiffany Raines has been hired as assistant vice president and branch officer of the new Holyoke branch located at 170 Sargeant St. Raines brings more than 18 years of experience in banking, most recently serving as assistant vice president and banking center manager of PeoplesBank’s West Springfield banking center. In addition to 10 years as a branch manager and spending time managing the West Springfield, Amherst, and East Longmeadow offices, she also spent six years supervising the High Street and Hampden Street offices in Holyoke. Raines has a strong commitment to serving surrounding communities. She is a past board member of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Rotary Clubs of Amherst, Holyoke, and East Longmeadow. Raines is a graduate of Leadership Holyoke, which is an 11-week community leadership course designed to train and motivate people to volunteer in order to make a positive difference in their community. Along with Raines, Tenaya Read has been selected as assistant branch manager. Read joined the bank in 2004 and, over the last 14 years, has held the positions of teller, customer service representative, and, most recently, senior teller at the main office in Easthampton (36 Main St.). In addition, Nadean Eaddy has been selected as senior teller. Eaddy joined the bank this past May with 15 years of banking experience, 11 of which were in a supervisor role. She has been promoted from her current role as teller in the South Hadley branch.

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Susan Fentin

Susan Fentin

Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. announced that Susan Fentin, senior counsel, has retired from the active representation of clients after 20 years with the firm. Fentin joined Skoler Abbott in 1999 after serving as clerk to Judge John Greaney, associate justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and practicing for several years with the Labor and Employment department of a large law firm in Hartford, Conn. Her expertise in the niche market of employment law enabled her to quickly build a leadership role at Skoler Abbott. In just five years, she was made partner. Fentin graduated magna cum laude from Western New England University School of Law, where she was editor in chief of the Western New England College Law Review. She was the editor of the Massachusetts Employment Law Letter and teaches master classes on behalf of the publisher, Business & Legal Resources (BLR). She will continue to present occasional webinars to national audiences on behalf of BLR and is a regular presenter and keynote speaker for BLR’s annual Advanced Employment Issues Symposium. In addition, Fentin has a long history of supporting charitable organizations in Western Mass. She has served on the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts board of trustees, including three years as president; the Riverside Industries Inc. board of directors, including stints as vice president and president; and the WFCR Public Radio board of directors, where she also served as president. She currently serves on the board of directors for Greenfield Cooperative Bank and the Children’s Advocacy Center in Greenfield and is vice chair of the board of tribunes of WGBY Public Television. Fentin has been named a Super Lawyer since 2008, was one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Massachusetts in 2015, has been recognized as one of the top labor and employment attorneys in Massachusetts by the prestigious Chambers and Partners rating organization, and was honored as a distinguished alumna of the Western New England University Law Review.

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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2018 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. She has accomplished this level of achievement for seven consecutive years. Deliso is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future since 2000. She has been working in the financial field for 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry. She is a graduate of Bentley College. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash management, risk management, investment planning, and financial preparation for retirement, as well as times of transition such as divorce or widowhood. Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s CT Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is currently chairman of the board of the Baystate Health Foundation and is a board member of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of AAA Pioneer Valley, and a past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the advisory council at Bay Path University.

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Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) announced that Amy Britt has joined the organization as the Leaders OnBoard program coordinator. In this role, she will be responsible for managing LPV’s board-development program, Leaders OnBoard. The program aims to increase and strengthen the skills and capacities of boards of directors. This program is intended to recruit and train people who are new to board service as well as seasoned board members, with the goal of inspiring and strengthening the leadership provided to the network of nonprofit organizations in the Pioneer Valley. Britt comes to Leadership Pioneer Valley with a background in communications, marketing, and event management. She worked for Tapestry, a regional public-health agency, for over 10 years, most recently as director of Communications, where she oversaw communications and marketing for the organization, worked with the Development department on fundraising campaigns and events, and supported the agency’s state and federal advocacy efforts. Britt graduated from Smith College with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and was selected as an American fellow in a U.S. State Department program focused on women’s health leadership in Brazil in 2012. She is a 2014 Leadership Pioneer Valley graduate.

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Marjorie Weeks

Marjorie Weeks

The United Way of Pioneer Valley recently welcomed Marjorie Weeks as director of Resource Development. She brings more than 25 years of experience in fundraising and development as well as school administration. Weeks has done a considerable amount of counseling and coaching for area nonprofits. Much of her experience has been in the independent school world, including time with Academy Hill School and Wilbraham & Monson Academy. Weeks will spend the majority of her time re-energizing long-standing allies and inspiring others to support the essential work of the United Way of Pioneer Valley.

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Kristen Coia, operations manager at Arrha Credit Union, was recognized by the Cooperative Credit Union Assoc. with its Young Professionals Award for being an upcoming, proactive professional. The association also recognized Arrha with the Excellence in Advocacy Award for promoting the interests of credit unions among its legislative, regulatory, and consumer audiences. The engagement in advocacy included many outreach efforts, such as Michael Ostrowski, Arrha’s president and CEO, visiting Washington, D.C., to be part of the ongoing credit-union industry legislative discussions, seeking approvals to fully utilize today’s advances in technology, providing financial literacy, and being part of the World Affairs Committee of Credit Union National Assoc. and its world arm, the World Council of Credit Unions, to lend aid and assistance to Puerto Rico’s credit unions. Ostrowski also traveled to Cuba to engage its government on establishing credit unions and, most recently, to Poland to assist its credit unions in regulatory advocacy with the Polish government.

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Bailey Eastman

Bailey Eastman

Webber and Grinnell Insurance announced that Bailey Eastman, commercial lines marketing manager, was named the MAIA 2018 Young Agent of the Year. This award is given to young agents who have demonstrated career growth and success within their agency as well as significant involvement in the community to which their agency belongs. In addition to Eastman’s work ethic, she is dedicated to her community through volunteering. She is heavily involved with Look Park, has helped organize and run her own nonprofit dealing with child abuse, and serves in various other organizations and community events.

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Ron Davis, a sales professional, business specialist, and founder of WAMF Consulting, has transitioned from president and CEO of the company to chief sales officer. This new position will allow him to offer a comprehensive approach to banks, credit unions, and corporations to support their sales and business-development needs.

After 40 years of selling software and services to financial institutions and corporations in the Northeast, WAMF Consulting was born. WAMF is an acronym for ‘winners are my friends.’ Davis has been recognized nationally, achieved President’s Clubs, and been a top sales performer and district leader. He is trained in major sales methodologies, SPIN selling, power messaging, executive presentations, Dale Carnegie, and strategic selling. Early in his career as an account executive for the Savin Corp., he sold a national contract to United Technologies, the world’s largest corporation at that time. Davis is certified in the Fair Credit Reporting Act and has a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in business, management, and economics. He has written marketing surveys which were implemented in corporate business plans and rolled out company-wide. He coined the phrase ‘lobby dynamics’ to help bank branch personnel sell more products and deepen the customer experience.

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The management of Big Y Foods Inc. announced three new appointments at area Big Y World Class Markets. Samarra DeJesus was named bakery sales manager in Southwick, Trista Sabin was named deli sales manager in Lee, and Thomas Christensen Jr. was named meat/seafood sales manager in Rocky Hill, Conn.

Features
Baiging Li played forward for two Chinese professional basketball teams in the late ’80s before he took advantage of a rare opportunity to come to the United States — and Springfield College — to study sport management.

Since graduating, he has become, as he described it, a serial entrepreneur of sorts.

He started by creating a business focused on teaching Tai Chi, a Chinese system of physical exercises designed especially for self-defense and meditation, and has successfully grown that venture, establishing classes in many area clubs, senior centers, and health care facilities. Later, he started another business featuring tours of his native country. Over the past several years, he has led hundreds of people, many of them Tai Chi students, on visits to different areas of China.

His latest venture, one that seems laden is potential, is called ChinaAccess. It specializes in China/U.S. business development, and focuses specifically on helping business owners make connections — and eventual partnerships — with Chinese manufacturers.

As he shaped each of those ventures, Li leaned heavily on the Mass. Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC). A state agency (the only one anyone knows of that is based in Western Mass.), the center provides a wide range of free, one-on-one counseling, training, and capital support to people who want to do everything from start a business to sell one.

"We act as an objective, experienced set of eyes and ears for people who need some help getting started or to the next level," said Diane Fuller Doherty, director of the SBDC’s Western Mass. Regional Office, located in the Andrew M. Scibelli Enterprise Center at Springfield Technical Community College. "We’re there to be a resource for people facing the many challenges of business today."

In Baiging Li’s case, the center helped with everything from business plans to obtaining a green card, said Fuller Doherty, who told BusinessWest that Li has always had entrepreneurial drive — and also many valuable connections in China. What he needed was some help with the details and the hurdles that challenge all small business owners, from initial financing to deciding how much insurance to carry.

Georgianna Parkin, state director of the SBDC, said the agency has become an effective economic development resource over its 25-year existence, as it works to both create and retain jobs. It addresses this goal through a network of offices, or consortium, that includes the Isenberg School of Management at UMass-Amherst (the lead institution) and also Boston College, Clark University, Salem State College, UMass-Dartmouth, UMass-Boston, and the Mass. Export Center.

"The statistics show that small businesses are the backbone of the nation’s economy," she told BusinessWest. "We work to strengthen that backbone."

In recent years, the SBDC, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the state, and UMass and other consortium members, has worked to dispel the notion that it works only with, small mom-and-pop operations, said Parkin. She told BusinessWest that ’small’ is a relative term when it comes to classifying businesses. By some definitions, that word describes those with 500 employers or fewer, and by others, the benchmark is 100 employees, she said, adding that the SBDC has assisted companies in both categories.

Still, the bulk of its work, especially in Western Mass., is with companies with 10 or fewer employees. In many cases, the businesses are sole proprietorships, as is the case with Deliso Financial and Insurance Services.

Jean Deliso, founder, told BusinessWest that after years of working for a large financial services company in Florida, she wanted to return to her native Springfield and start her own business. She went to the center for counseling because, while she was confident in her ability to help individuals make sound investment decisions, she knew she could use help with such matters as marketing her business — and even picking a name for it.

"When you’re a sole proprietor, getting help is important; this is a lonely game," she explained. "I don’t have a board of directors, no business this size does. It’s great to have a resource like this with knowledgeable people who can say, ’yes, you’re doing it right,’ or ’no, you’re not.’"

BusinessWest looks this issue at how the SBDC has counseled business owners like Deliso and Li and, in the process of doing so, become a driving force in job creation has for the region.

Foreign Concepts

In two months, Li plans to lead of small contingent of Western Mass. business owners on a trip to the Shandong region of China. Located between Beijing and Shanghai, it is home to roughly 93 million people and businesses in fields ranging from agricultural manufacturing and production to auto making.

The purpose of the junket — with all or most of the expenses paid for by the Chinese government — is to help forge partnerships between Chinese industry groups and individual companies and U.S. business owners who are being advised, and in some cases told, by major clients to find ways to collaborate with China and other countries where the cost of doing business is considerably lower than it is here.

Keith Stone is one such business owner, and he may well be on the plane in October.

Stone, president of Agawam-based Interstate Manufacturing Company (IMC), and also a relatively new client of the SBDC, told BusinessWest that Hamilton Sundstrand, a division of United Technologies Corp. and one of his largest customers, wants him to partner with companies in India and China, in an effort to secure both high quality and low cost for its parts.

Stone is now working with Li in what promises to be a lengthy process to establish such partnerships. And Stone credits help from the SBDC with putting him in a position where he can take such a bold step.

Indeed, when Stone first visited the Mass. Small Business Development Center (SBDC), his business was a critical crossroads.

IMC was created to make tools and fixtures required for the assembly of parts — primarily for the aerospace industry. Following 9/11, virtually every company that did business in that sector was hit and hit hard, and Interstate was one of them.

The company fought successfully to avoid bankruptcy, and business eventually improved somewhat. But even this past spring, Stone wasn’t sure if his entrepreneurial venture was going to survive.

His visit to the SBDC and one of its advisors, Alan Kronick, was broad in nature, Stone told BusinessWest, adding that he was looking for some advice and direction on how to remain competitive in a changing marketplace. Kronick and other counselors provided assistance in several areas, but especially with the complex process of being positioned to bid for projects with defense contractors.

"Alan understood what I was going through, and he’s helped keep me focused on where I am and where I need to be," said Stone. "It’s great to have a fresh perspective on things on things like cash flow, projections, and different ways to cut expenses; he can see things that I can’t."

Stone’s story is typical of how the SBDC works to help companies get in business and stay in business, thus fueling economic growth in all regions of the state.

"Small businesses are truly the engine driving economic development, especially in Western Mass., said Fuller Doherty. "This is where most of our net new jobs are coming from; entrepreneurs are providing jobs not only for themselves, but many other people."

Over the years, the Western Mass. office of the SBDC has helped hundreds of individuals like Deliso, Stone, and Li. Between Oct. 1, 2003 and Sept. 30, 2004 (the latest statistics available), the office assisted 618 clients, providing more than 2,626.25 hours of counseling.

More than half of those clients sought assistance in the broad category of business startup, said Fuller Doherty, noting that there are many other areas of counseling, ranging from business plan and loan package development to strategic needs assessment and marketing/sales.

In general, the center helps small business owners stay on track, said Deliso, noting that entrepreneurs like herself are versed in their particular area of expertise — in her case, accounting and financial planning — but not necessarily in the many facets of running a business.

"Take marketing for example," she said. "They helped me develop a marketing plan and figure out where and how I should be spending my money. Those are the kinds of things small business owners need help with."

Name of the Game

Richard Green came to the SBDC last spring, when he was entertaining thoughts of opening his own insurance agency. A long-time insurance industry veteran, Green drafted a preliminary business plan earlier this year, and drew some encouraging remarks from his lawyer, who nonetheless advised him to seek a second opinion.

"He told me that I was in the middle of the forest and needed to find a way to see through the trees," Green recalled. "He said I needed another pair of eyes."

Those eyes turned out to be Fuller Doherty’s, and Green recalls that she didn’t sugarcoat anything about the process of getting his venture off the ground.

"They’re not there to pat you on the back, tell you everything’s great, and send you out there," he explained. "They ask the hard questions, starting with whether you have what it takes to be in business for yourself."

An evaluation process revealed that Green did indeed have the requisite desire, talent, and capital to start his own venture. Richard Green Insurance Inc. opened for business on Elm Street in Hampden earlier this summer; a grand opening is set for later this fall.

During the process of getting his business started, Green said he turned to the SBDC for counseling on matters ranging from office furniture — the center provided names of area dealers — to what to name his venture.

"Putting my name on the company wasn’t my first choice," he revealed. "But people at the center told me that I should use my name and then stand behind it."

Deliso said she faced the same dilemma. As she began the process of starting her venture, Deliso said she was wary of putting her family name on it. Her grandfather, Joseph Deliso, was a successful entrepreneur and founder of HBA Cast Products, while her parents started several other ventures, including Tool Craft and Pioneer Tool.

"That name was one of the reasons I left the state," she said. "I didn’t want to be merely my grandfather’s granddaughter; I wanted to do it on my own.

"But people at the center got me to see that this was a name that people associated with success, and it was a name I should utilize," she continued. "That was a real turning point for me; that was the right decision to make and they helped me make it."

The center has helped Li make a number of right decisions in his decade-long association with the agency. While some of his needs and challenges are unique — obtaining citizenship, for example — most are fairly typical.

"The center has been very helpful with all of my businesses," he said. "In the beginning, a lot of things were unclear to me, like how to make a plan, contact people, and follow through; they’re helped with all those things.

"They’re teaching me ways to look at the big picture," he continued. "That’s where my focus needs to be."

As for the October trip to China, Li said he is using the SBDC as a resource to help identify area businesses, such as Stone’s, that might benefit from what he called the ultimate learning experience.

"Through this visit, people will have a clear idea of how Chinese business operates," he said. "That’s important, because partnerships are how companies here and there are going to be successful."

Bottom-line Analysis

Assessing his entrepreneurial exploits to date, Li said that, like all business owners, he is continually reviewing his ventures with an eye toward continued growth and profitability. In other words, he’s not resting on any laurels.

"You can’t do that," he said, adding that the learning process that is part and parcel to being a successful business owner never really ends.

"I still have many things still to learn about business," he told BusinessWest, adding that he considers himself lucky to have a resource like the SBDC. "They’ve kept me going in the right direction."

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

People on the Move

Attorney Meaghan Murphy recently joined Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., a labor and employment law firm serving employers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Murphy has more than six years of experience in general litigation and labor and employment law. She will advise clients regarding all employment-related matters, including, but not limited to, compliance with state, federal, and local laws, and discipline of employees. She will also create workplace policies for clients and represent them in various forums, including at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, government agencies, and in state and federal court. Murphy is a graduate of Amherst College and received her law degree from Western New England University School of Law. She was named to the Super Lawyers Rising Star list in 2018 and 2019. She has also been an active volunteer with Hampden County Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2018.

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Peter DePergola II

Peter DePergola II

Elms College announced the appointment of Peter DePergola II, associate professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities, as executive director of the newly created St. John Paul II Center for Ethics, Religion, and Culture (CERC). DePergola is also associate professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies and the director of the Bioethics and Medical Humanities program at Elms. CERC was launched on Oct. 13 to increase engagement and discourse on the most pressing and complex questions related to ethics, religion, and culture in today’s society, and to lead the regional community in thoughtful, engaging dialogue. A $1 million naming gift from an anonymous donor and two six-figure contributions from Carolyn Jacobs, and B. John (Jack) and Colette Dill and family helped the college establish the center. In addition to his appointment as CERC executive director, DePergola has been named the Shaughness Family Chair for the Study of the Humanities, which is the college’s only endowed chair. The Shaughness Family Chair was funded in 1994 by the late L. Stella Shaughness, and the endowment income is to be used to promote academic excellence by supporting teaching, publishing, and/or research in the humanities. At Baystate Health, DePergola serves as chief ethics officer, senior director of Clinical Ethics, chief of the Ethics Consultation Service, and chair of the ethics advisory committee. He also holds secondary academic and research appointments at UMass Medical School, Sacred Heart University, the American Academy of Neurology, and TEDMED. A professional member of several international academic societies and associations, DePergola earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religious studies at Elms College, his MTS in ethics at Boston College, and his Ph.D. in healthcare ethics at Duquesne University. He completed his residency in neuroethics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, his fellowship in neuropsychiatric ethics at Tufts University School of Medicine, and his advanced training in neurothanatological ethics at Harvard Medical School.

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Nikki Burnett

Nikki Burnett

Nikki Burnett, executive director of Educare Springfield, the nation’s 24th Educare early-education center, has been appointed to a number of national Educare-related boards, including the Educare Learning Network (ELN) collaborative fundraising advisory board, which finds opportunities for greater financial sustainability of the ELN through enhanced fundraising programming. Burnett, the first executive director of Educare Springfield, has also joined the Red Nose Day advisory board, which provides guidance over the grant from Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day Fund on behalf of the ELN. Burnett has also joined the Educare Policy Work Group, which guides and supports the collective network’s engagement in early-childhood policy and advocacy, and the Educare Learning Network steering committee, which informs the direction of the annual meeting. Locally, Burnett has also joined a number of local serving boards, including the board of trustees of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, as well as the boards of Holyoke Community College Foundation and Dress for Success. Burnett earned her undergraduate degree in leadership and organizational science from Bay Path University. She will be completing her master’s degree in leadership and negotiation from Bay Path in 2020. Before joining Educare, she served as regional vice president of Multicultural Initiatives for the American Heart Assoc., where she worked throughout the New England region to build capacity and support revenue generation around community health and education initiatives. She has more than a decade of leadership experience and, prior to her position with the American Heart Assoc., worked at Baystate Health as education coordinator of Cardiopulmonary Services. At Baystate, she managed three cardiology fellowship programs. Burnett also has been actively involved in other community organizations in Springfield and in the region, having served on the board of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, the Baystate Health community benefits advisory board, and Live Well Springfield, an organization that promotes a culture of health in Springfield.

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For the second time in the award’s history, the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts’ trustees of the Order of William Pynchon have Pynchon Medal recipients amidst a global pandemic. Slated to receive the Advertising Club’s Pynchon Medal at an October 2021 event are two local residents. Elizabeth Wills-O’Gilvie is a longtime community activist for good nutrition and healthy eating, and a tireless advocate for Gardening the Community and the Springfield Food Policy Council, to name just a few initiatives she supports. Janine Fondon serves as co-founder of Unity First, a distributor of diversity-related e-news, chair of the undergraduate Communications department at Bay Path University, and a writer, communicator, and professor focused on amplifying the diverse voices throughout the Pioneer Valley and around the U.S. through inclusion and equity initiatives. This year’s recipients were chosen from a pool of nominations for the award received earlier this year by the Advertising Club. All nominees are researched by the trustees, who then deliberate before selecting final recipients. All Pynchon medalists are chosen by unanimous decision of the Pynchon trustees, who are the current and five past presidents of the Advertising Club. Pynchon trustees for 2020 are Jillian Gould, Teresa Utt, David Cecchi, Mary Shea, Scott Whitney, and current Advertising Club President Brenda McGiverin. The official presentation of the Pynchon Medal and celebration will take place in the fall of 2021 in concert with the following year’s recipients. When confirmed, event details and ticket information will be available at adclubwm.org or by calling (413) 342-0533.

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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2020 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. She has accomplished this level of achievement for nine consecutive years. Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is a member of the Nautilus Group, an exclusive, advanced planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies. She is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future. She has worked in the financial field for more than 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry. Deliso has developed an expertise assisting business owners and individuals protecting and securing their and their family’s future. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash and risk management, investment, retirement, and estate planning. She is fully committed to educating individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment. She currently serves on and has held chairman of the board positions at Baystate Health Foundation and the Community Music School of Springfield. She is also a former board member of the YMCA of Greater Springfield and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, a former trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and a former member of the Bay Path University advisory board.

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MassDevelopment announced that, after three years as president and CEO, Lauren Liss will step down from this position at the end of the calendar year. Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chairman of the board of directors of MassDevelopment, will lead the search for the next head of the state’s finance and development agency. Before taking the reins at MassDevelopment in 2017, Liss held leadership positions in both the private and public sectors, including commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and a partner in a Boston law firm. In fiscal year 2020, MassDevelopment financed or managed 341 projects, generating investment of more than $2.69 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,871 jobs and build or preserve 1,787 housing units. As president and CEO, Liss expanded its work in gateway cities through an array of finance programs and real-estate services, such as the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) and Commonwealth Places program, and oversaw tremendous growth at Devens, MassDevelpment’s iconic mixed-use redevelopment of the former Fort Devens. This year, under Liss’ leadership and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MassDevelopment pivoted programs and tools to support small businesses in some of the state’s hardest-hit communities and aid in economic recovery. These efforts helped to stabilize businesses in TDI districts and created crowdfunding opportunities for community partners to prepare public spaces and commercial districts to safely serve residents and visitors. MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth.

Departments People on the Move
Robert Kolb

Robert Kolb

Country Bank President and CEO Paul Scully announced that Robert Kolb has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial & Retail banking officer. A banking professional with 33 years of industry experience, Kolb has been with Country Bank since 2012 as senior vice president, chief commercial banking officer. Before coming to Country Bank, Kolb worked at TD Bank as its Rhode Island market president. Prior to that, he held the same position the bank’s Central and Western Mass. divisions. “Since joining our team, Bob has brought an outstanding level of leadership to the bank,” said Scully. “He has completely embraced the unique mission of community banking, while helping us benefit from the insights he gained while working at a respected, larger institution. His contributions have helped both our employees and our customers, and his proven approach has become the cornerstone of our commercial-lending success.” Kolb serves on the Ware Business and Civic Board.

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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso has been named a member of the 2015 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement after 30 years in the financial-services industry. Her passion for finance and strategic planning led to the creation of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in 2000. She began her career in corporate accounting in Tampa, Fla., where she consulted with small-business owners on financial operations and maximizing performance. Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995, and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She serves on many boards in her community, including the Baystate Health Foundation and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, and is chairman of the board of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of AAA Pioneer Valley, and past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the advisory council at Bay Path University.

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William H.W. Crawford, IV, CEO of United Financial Bancorp Inc. and United Bank of Glastonbury, Conn., announced that Rick Renaud, private mortgage banker for United Bank, has been elected to the 2016 Board of Directors of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Central Massachusetts (HBRACM).
The HBRACM Board of Directors is made up of various leaders from the area’s homebuilding and remodeling industry, including building contractors, suppliers and subcontractors. It also includes those who provide professional services to the home building industry such as designers, engineers, legal professionals and lenders. Renaud is part of United’s greater Boston-based loan production office led by Jim Picciotto, vice president and Eastern Mass. Sales Manager. Renaud, who has 15 years of experience in the banking industry, joined United Bank in April 2012 and is based at the bank’s Chadwick Square branch in Worcester.

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Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. announced the following:
• Shawn Howard will lead investment strategies for the bank as its new Senior Vice President, Chief Investment Officer, Senior Portfolio Manager. Howard has more than 20 years of financial experience, with nearly 16 years in the asset-management space as a portfolio manager; he was most recently at TD Bank in the Private Client Group in Springfield, where he managed investment portfolios for high-net-worth individuals, nonprofit organizations, and institutional clients. He served in a similar capacity at Evergreen Investments and Mellon Private Asset Management Companies. Barney, a certified financial planner for more than 30 years, has rejoined the Berkshire Bank Wealth Management team after retiring in 2011. Prior to his retirement, he led the team for 17 years, growing the division to almost $700 million in assets;
• Tom Barney, First Vice President, Wealth Advisor, has joined the Wealth Management team. Barney previously served as vice president for Fleet Investment Services in Hartford, Conn., as well as vice president and private banker for Bank of Boston in Pittsfield, Springfield, and Hartford. He was on the board and served as president of the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County; and
• Colleen Lussier, Vice President and Wealth Advisor, has also joined the Wealth Management team. Lussier also joins the bank from TD Bank, where she was a wealth advisor for more than 16 years. Her expertise is concentrated in areas of trust and estate planning, business succession, and contract law. She is a certified trust and financial advisor and a registered financial consultant. She will assist in developing client relationships as well as trust and estate administration.

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Christopher Nadeau

Christopher Nadeau

The independent accounting firm Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C., announced that Christopher Nadeau, CPA, has been appointed manager, joining the firm’s Holyoke office. Nadeau brings more than 10 years of experience in private and public accounting with a practice concentration in assurance, compliance, tax and advisory services to closely held businesses, professional/medical practices and the nonprofit sector —the firm’s largest niche focus. Most recently, he served as assistant controller for Worcester Envelope Company. Nadeau received his master of science in accountancy and Bachelor of Science in business management and accounting from Westfield State University, where he is currently an adjunct professor and member of the university’s Accounting Mentoring Program. He currently holds memberships with the Mass. Society of Certified Public Accountants, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Springfield/Hartford Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants.

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Chris Martin

Chris Martin

Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts


Ayre Real Estate Co. Inc. announced the following:
• Chris Martin recently joined as a Licensed Sales Associate. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Western New England University, served in active duty for eight years in the Army, and is now a current member of the U.S. Army Reserve. He has a strong background in investment properties, formerly working as a senior partner in a real-estate investment group in Memphis;
• Tom Roberts has joined Ayre as a full-time real-estate sales associate. An Agawam native who started his real-estate career in 2003, he moved to the Myrtle Beach, S.C. area before returning to Western Mass.

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Amy Royal

Amy Royal

Royal LLP, a woman-owned, boutique, management-side labor and employment law firm, announced that Amy Royal, principal and founding partner of the firm, has been honored as one of New England’s Super Lawyers and has been included in the 2015 issue of New England Super Lawyers magazine. Super Lawyers consists of attorneys throughout New England who are nominated by their peers as outstanding lawyers, and each nomination undergoes an extensive selection process. With nearly 15 years experience, Royal has successfully defended employers in both federal and state courts as well as before administrative agencies in a variety of areas of employment law, including employment discrimination and sexual harassment, unfair competition, breach of contract and wrongful discharge claims, workers’ compensation, and Family and Medical Leave Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and Fair Labor Standards Act violations, with a special emphasis on wage-and-hour class actions. Royal regularly advises non-union clients on maintaining a union-free workplace and performs other preventive work such as wage-and-hour-law compliance, record-keeping audits, drafting of employee manuals and affirmative-action plans, and management training. In addition, she assists unionized clients during contract negotiations, at arbitrations, and with respect to employee grievances and unfair-labor-practices charges. Royal’s accolades also include Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s 2012 Top Women of Law award recognizing her as a top woman lawyer in Massachusetts, as well as BusinessWest’s prestigious 40 Under Forty award recognizing her for outstanding leadership in the Pioneer Valley business community.

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Drew DiGiorgio

Drew DiGiorgio

Drew DiGiorgio was appointed President/CEO of Consolidated Health Plans Inc. (CHP), effective Sept. 9, by the Berkshire Hathaway Board of Directors, including CHP founder Kevin Saremi. DiGiorgio has served as CHP’s president since 2013, and was previously director of Sales and Marketing. He began his career at CHP in 1995, shortly after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Business from Framingham State University. In his new role as CEO, DiGiorgio will provide oversight of the company, reporting to the Board of Directors. He will continue expanding CHP’s business services to best meet the needs of clients and customers, with a focus on quality service. CHP is an industry-leading claim administrator providing affordable health insurance and special risk solutions for thousands of policyholders worldwide. CHP offers student health and accident plans; employee health and dental plans; FSA and HRA administration; and participant accident insurance and back-room claim administration for carriers.

Wealth Management

How the Pandemic is Reshaping This Decision for Americans

By Jean M. Deliso, CFP

 

After a year of Zoom calls, a deadly virus, inflated real-estate values, and a crazy stock-market surge, many Americans, mostly Baby Boomers, who can afford to retire are taking the plunge.

This pandemic caused mayhem for everyone. It drove the healthcare industry almost to collapse, families lost loved ones prematurely, parents became teachers, and many businesses did not survive. But amid all the gloom and doom was a silver lining for many. The government became efficient with quick economic actions, families re-evaluated the benefits of family time, pollution got a brief time out, and businesses became more electronically efficient, to name a few.

Through all the challenges, people took time to re-evaluate their priorities in life. Many are choosing to rethink their future and what is important to them going forward. In fact, about 2.7 million Americans 55 or older are contemplating retirement years earlier than they had imagined because of the pandemic, according to a Bloomberg report. Between increasing retirement-account values, those lucky enough to have pensions, an increase in home values, and government funds that have been put back into the economy, retirement is happening sooner than expected for many.

Jean M. Deliso

Jean M. Deliso

“Whatever your circumstance, achieving your retirement objectives will not happen automatically. The earlier you start planning, the better off your chances are of enjoying a happy, fulfilling, and long retirement.”

As a certified financial advisor, I have met with many individuals contemplating retirement who have decided “enough is enough — life is too short.” Some reasons include a scare with cancer five years ago that made my client reconsider his commitment to climbing the corporate ladder, or “I’m just not happy doing what I’ve been doing for years; it’s no longer fun.” Potential retirees have either saved enough or have decided to spend less in their retirement years.

In contrast, many Americans who were pushed out of their jobs by the economic slide of the pandemic had to take an early retirement against their wishes. This has resulted in them receiving lower Social Security benefits and pension amounts. Twenty-two percent say the pandemic has forced them to spend their emergency savings, 10% have reduced their retirement-plan contributions, and 12% have withdrawn money from their retirement accounts, according to a survey by the National Institute for Retirement Security.

Unfortunately, both scenarios have resulted in increased stress to Americans in the workforce regarding retirement. None of us know our date of death, which makes retirement planning tricky for most.

Too many Americans rely solely on Social Security. This pandemic proved that those benefits do work; checks were consistently received by Americans as the pandemic raged around them. This experience shows that the Social Security system works. Also, checks were sent to those who couldn’t find jobs.

Whatever your circumstance, achieving your retirement objectives will not happen automatically. The earlier you start planning, the better off your chances are of enjoying a happy, fulfilling, and long retirement. Here are a few steps to consider for a successful retirement:

1. Determine your cost of retirement. This includes your monthly living expenses, your age to retire, and your life expectancy.

2. Apply your income sources. Review what you will have available to you, such as Social Security, pensions, immediate annuity payments.

3. Withdraw from your portfolio assets. Take withdrawals against your portfolio assets to make up any difference needed. These assets may include brokerage accounts, money-market accounts, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs, and annuities. (Withdrawals may be subject to regular income tax and, if made prior to age 59½, may be subject to a 10% IRS penalty. In addition, surrender charges may apply.)

4. If necessary, consider changes. If, after steps 1-3, you are falling short on your plan, consider changes such as saving more, redefining your retirement age, or considering part-time employment during retirement.

5. Consider a professional. This can help you clarify your goals and objectives in retirement.

 

Jean M Deliso, CFP is a financial adviser offering investment-advisory services through Eagle Strategies LLC, a registered investment adviser.

People on the Move

Deborah Bitsoli

Deborah Bitsoli has been named president of Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates, effective Dec. 2. In this role, she will be responsible for the operational performance of Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates; provide leadership in the execution, management, financial performance, and oversight of all operations; and explore opportunities for growth through strategic development initiatives. Bitsoli joins Mercy with over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry and has spent the last 18 years in leadership roles. Most recently, she served as president of Morton Hospital, a 110-bed facility in Taunton. Prior to her tenure there, she was chief operating officer and executive vice president at Saint Vincent Hospital, a 270-bed facility in Worcester. She holds an MBA from Babson College in Wellesley and a bachelor’s degree in accountancy with a management minor from Bentley University in Waltham. She is a certified public accountant in the state of Massachusetts and a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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Jean Deliso

Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2019 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s elite sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. She has accomplished this level of achievement for eight consecutive years. Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is a Nautilus Group member, an exclusive, advanced planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies. She is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future. She has been working in the financial field for more than 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry. Deliso has developed an expertise in assisting business owners and individuals protecting and securing their and their family’s future. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash and risk management, investment, retirement, and estate planning. She is committed to educating individuals regarding their finances and frequently conducts workshops advocating financial empowerment. Deliso currently serves on and has held chairman of the board positions at Baystate Health Foundation, the Community Music School of Springfield, and the YMCA of Greater Springfield. She is also a former board member of Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, a former trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and a member of the Bay Path University advisory board.

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Bacon Wilson announced that three attorneys have been named to the 2019 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list of top attorneys in the Commonwealth, and two have been named to the 2019 Massachusetts Rising Stars list of up-and-comers. They are: Michael Katz (selected to Super Lawyers from 2004 to 2019), bankruptcy; Hyman Darling (selected to Super Lawyers from 2005 to 2019), estate planning and probate; Paul Rothschild (selected to Super Lawyers from 2004 to 2019), general litigation; Thomas Reidy (selected to Rising Stars from 2015 to 2019), land use/zoning; and Meaghan Murphy (selected to Rising Stars from 2018 to 2019), employment and labor. Identified by a research team at Super Lawyers, the attorneys are selected for background, professional experience, achievement, and peer recognition. There is no opportunity to pay for a listing. Only 5% of New England’s lawyers are Super Lawyers. Rising Stars are under age 40 or have been practicing law for less than 10 years. Fewer than 2.5% of New England lawyers were named Rising Stars.

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Yvonne Cruz

Dietz & Co. Architects Inc. announced the addition of Yvonne Cruz, RA to its staff as a senior project architect. Cruz holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Pratt Institute, School of Architecture in Brooklyn, N.Y. and is a licensed architect in New York and Connecticut. She brings more than 20 years of experience to Dietz & Co., having worked for firms in New York City throughout her career. She has worked on an array of residential projects as well as many hotel and restaurant projects. She brings to the firm a commitment to high-quality design and a passion for mentoring junior staff members.

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Three new members have been elected to serve three-year terms on the Bay Path University board of trustees: Pia Sareen Kumar, Rodger Metzger, and Jeanette Weldon. Kumar is co-owner and chief strategy officer for Universal Plastics Group. A graduate of Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with an MBA, she previously worked at JPMorgan Chase and American Express, leading business-development initiatives and managing strategic partnerships. Kumar serves on the boards of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, and the Springfield Technical Community College Foundation. She is also a member of the Women President’s Organization and is a reader and school sponsor with Link to Libraries. As president and chief investment officer of Hooker & Holcombe’s Investment Advisory Group in Bloomfield, Conn. Metzger serves as the client relationship consultant for the group’s largest and most sophisticated clients. He is also responsible for directing the asset-allocation and fund-research efforts and chairs the investment committee. Prior to joining the firm, he was with Hartford Investment Management Co., a subsidiary of Hartford Financial Services Corporation. Metzger earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Lawrence University and an MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of Hartford. He serves as an advisory council member for Legg Mason Client Solutions, in addition to memberships with the CFA Institute and CFA Society of Hartford. He devotes time as a consultant and board member for various organizations in Connecticut. Weldon, managing director for Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority, is a public finance professional who has been involved as either issuer or financial advisor on more than $10 billion in transactions for state and local governments and their issuing authorities. She previously served as chief financial officer at Windham Hospital and as senior managing director for P.G. Corbin & Co. Weldon earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an MBA from Columbia University. She currently serves on the boards of the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority and Northeast Women in Public Finance.

Departments People on the Move
Matthew Gilmore

Matthew Gilmore

Epstein Financial Services recently welcomed Matthew Gilmore to the firm as a Retirement Plan Consultant. The firm has grown substantially over the past several years with a recent upsurge in new clients due to the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary ruling. Over the coming months, Gilmore will work closely with founder Charlie Epstein to ensure the firm’s extensive services and mission statement are reflected in Gilmore’s continued growth within the firm. Gilmore gained extensive experience as a MassMutual business development consultant, meeting with business owners, plan administrators, advisors, and third-party administrators to review, evaluate, and discuss a business’ 401(k) retirement plan and/or defined-benefit pension-plan options. He is an accomplished retirement-services consultant with eight years of experience with MassMutual and the Hartford, with regard to 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans, investment and cost analysis, and participant education. He recently obtained his Accredited Investment Fiduciary certification and is a graduate of Western New England University with a bachelors degree in business administration.

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The Gaudreau Group Insurance and Financial Services Agency announced the promotion of Melissa Cuzzone to Director of Employer Benefit Services. In her new role, Cuzzone will help keep clients compliant in today’s increasingly complex regulatory environment, in line with the firm’s focused approach on compliance with the Affordable Care Act’s regulations. The Gaudreau Group’s Employee Benefits division, which has the largest staff in the region, delivers results to clients with robust compliance programs and high-tech employer and employee software solutions to facilitate cost reduction, claims management, and employee wellness and communication. “The unique skillset Melissa brings to the table, in combination with the tools and services that she provides, such as ACA reporting guidance, benefit administration, and proprietary claims analytics, are extremely valuable to our clients,” said Jules Gaudreau, president of the Gaudreau Group. “Melissa helps our clients enhance their overall benefits programs, which results in an increased ability to attract and retain great employees. Results like these are the reason more and more businesses are trusting us with their accounts.” Cuzzone has been a member of the Gaudreau Group team since 2012, and has worked in the insurance and financial-services industry since 2004, gaining a broad range of experience, including employee benefit plans, life insurance, and personal insurance. She is a recent graduate of the Western New England University Mini-Law School and has co-chaired the Wilbraham Relay For Life.

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The Dowd Insurance Agencies announced that Jack Dowd will be joining the agency as an Account Executive. His addition represents the fifth generation of family to be employed at the Dowd Insurance Agencies. “It’s a real sense of pride that I feel welcoming my son, Jack, to the family business representing the fifth generation here at the Dowd Insurance Agencies,” said John Dowd Jr., president and CEO of the Dowd Insurance Agencies. “Not only is Jack continuing a legacy, but he has also spent several years working in the industry outside of the family business, gaining valuable skills and experience. I think he is a great fit for our company and will be happy in his new position. We’re all very excited to have him join our team.” Jack Dowd graduated from Saint Michael’s College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2011. He has held several positions with Goji Insurance in Boston, where he sold personal auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance. He was consistently ranked number one in sales throughout the entire company of over 120 salespeople, and was responsible for managing and training several sales teams. He is a licensed property and casualty insurance producer, has participated in the Quincy Mutual Group Commercial and Personal Underwriting Program, and is working to complete the Certified Insurance Counselors Program.

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Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2016 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top 3% of New York Life’s sales force of more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement for five consecutive years. Deliso’s passion for finance and strategic planning led to the creation of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services in 2000. She began her career in corporate accounting in Tampa, Fla., where she consulted with small-business owners on financial operations and maximizing performance. She has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. Deliso serves on many boards in her community, including the Baystate Health Foundation and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, and is chairman of the board of the Community Music School of Springfield. She is past chairman of the board of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, past board member of AAA Pioneer Valley, and past trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the Advisory Council at Bay Path University. Deliso Financial and Insurance Services is not owned or operated by New York Life Insurance Co. or any of its affiliates.

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Sports Traveland Tours recently hired two new team members. Len Lucien serves as Chief Operating Officer and a minority partner at the 20-year-old travel organization, and Anthony Incampo serves as Project Sales Coordinator. Lucien previously worked at Square One in Springfield, where he served as vice president of operations for the nonprofit and, previously, as its vice president of finance. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Salem State University and an associate’s degree from Newbury College in accounting and business. Throughout his career, he has worked in various aspects of finance and operations, managing businesses of different sizes, with an expertise in startups and efficiencies. For 12 years, he worked in the transit industry. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Long Island University, Incampo worked with the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, coordinating events, offering customer service, working with athletes, and planning the opening ceremonies. He also worked in the front office of the New York Yankees from 1998 to 2002, doing everything from driving players to physician appointments to handling budgets and expenses for the team. He previously worked with Sports Travel and Tours from 2005 to 2010. He left to teach school-age children and to coach, but missed the traveling.