Women of Impact 2021
Leader. Inspiration. Pioneer. Mentor.
You will read plenty of words like these over the next eight profiles as BusinessWest introduces its fourth annual cohort of a program called, appropriately enough, Women of Impact.
Appropriate, because these women aren’t only business successes and community leaders; they are, indeed, impactful — in ways that reverberate far beyond their office, their sector, and even this present time.
These are compelling stories about remarkable women, and as you read them, you’ll quickly understand why BusinessWest added Women of Impact to its list of annual recognition programs four years ago. In short, these stories need to be told — or told in a different way than you’ve heard before.
These eight stories detail not only what these women do for a living, but what they’ve done with their lives. Specifically, they’ve become innovators in their fields, leaders within the community, and, most importantly, inspirations to all those around them. Crucially, they’re creating a legacy for other women to build upon.
The stories are all different, but there are many common denominators: these are women and leaders who have vision, passion, drive to excel, and a desire to put their considerable talents to work mentoring and helping others.
Executive director of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts;
CEO of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts;
Director of the Center for Service and Leadership at Springfield College;
President and CEO of Clinical and Support Options;
Watch the Video from the 2021 Event
Meet The Judges
Michele Cabral is interim executive director of Professional Education and Corporate Learning at Holyoke Community College and director of Training & Workforce Options. She started her career as a CPA for KPMG Peat Marwick, graduated from the Leadership Development Program at CIGNA Insurance Companies, and joined Farm Credit Financial Partners Inc. as CFO and COO. At HCC, Cabral has held positions as an Accounting professor, then dean of the Business and Technology Division, and she currently leads the HCC Women’s Leadership Series.
Dawn Fleury is the first senior vice president of Corporate Risk at Country Bank in Ware. In her current role, she oversees the bank’s comprehensive risk-management programs. Before joining Country Bank, she had a 21-year career with the FDIC as a commissioned senior bank examiner in the Division of Supervision. Fleury serves on the board of Christina’s House in Springfield, which provides transitional housing for women and their children, as well as educational programming as families transition from homelessness to permanent, stable living environments.
Ellen Freyman is a shareholder with Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C. in Springfield. Her practice is concentrated in all aspects of commercial real estate: acquisitions and sales, development, leasing, permitting, environmental, and financing. She has been recognized for her community work and was named to Difference Makers and Women of Impact by BusinessWest, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Excellence in the Law, and the Professional Women’s Chamber Women of the Year. She also earned a Pynchon Award from the Ad Club of Western Massachusetts.