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MotherWoman in Hadley hires new executive director; says she'll seek to raise nonprofit's profile

HADLEY — A nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting mothers and families and advocating for policies and programs that benefit women’s health has a new executive director whose own experience gives appreciation for this work.

Shannon M. Koehn, recently named to head MotherWoman Inc., said in statement that as mother of a 13-year-old daughter, she relates to its mission and work in supporting other women.

“When I recall the challenges life has afforded me, I am always reminded of the victories because of this support,” Koehn said. “For this very reason, I look forward to fostering support for others through the advancement of MotherWoman’s continued important work.”

Koehn, who earned a business degree from Medaille College, most recently was associate director of Housing Opportunities Made Equal Inc. in Buffalo, N.Y., where she built partnerships at the local, state, and federal level and oversaw a $3.1 million capital campaign. She has also taught business and management courses as an adjunct faculty member at Bryant & Stratton College, which has campuses in New York.

Last year, MotherWoman, which was established in 1999, received the Nonprofit Excellence in Advocacy Award from the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

The organization was selected for its support of policies to address the risk of perinatal emotional complications for mothers and for promoting, with the western Massachusetts political leadership, the adoption of earned sick time legislation.

MotherWoman’s activities also include training community leaders and professionals who direct groups empowering mothers and their partners; training medical, mental health and social service professionals about the need for integrated support for maternal emotional health; and working with partner organizations to educate parents and caregivers on policies that impact families.

Joanne Sunshower, president of MotherWoman, said in a statement that Koehn is a gifted and engaging leader.

“Her experience brings a new level of impetus for expanding our programs across the state, and attracting support for policies that enable families to thrive, such as earned paid sick time and paid parental leave,” Sunshower said.

Koehn succeeds Beth Spong, who is returning to her professional practice as a partner with Rainmaker Consulting Inc. in Holyoke.

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Editorial: Valley fields new allies for new mothers

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Pioneer Valley is home to a range of programs assisting mothers with infants — and according to statistics, and probably to women you know, help is definitely needed. In the last month, the Gazette featured articles about several programs serving mothers: the new breast milk depot at Northampton Area Pediatrics; Hilltown Village volunteers; and MotherWoman, a Hadley-based advocacy group …

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