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Published: 6/30/2021 8:29:34 PM
LEAP graduates 21 regional leaders 

FLORENCE — Despite a difficult year, there was nothing but laughter and smiles when Leadership Pioneer Valley hosted the graduation ceremony for its regional leadership development program, LEAP.

This year’s group of 21 professionals from area businesses, nonprofits and the public sector was able to gather at the Look Park Garden House in Florence for the celebration. This graduation came after an intense, condensed program conducted mainly virtually with a few outdoor learning experiences this spring.

Graduates from Hampshire County include: Jocelyn Alvord of Florence, with Greenfield Savings Bank; Lisa Brecher of South Hadley with Center for Human Development; David Feinstein of Amherst with The Eric Carle Museum; Doug Hall of Amherst with Pioneer Valley Planning Commission; Farid Kaymaram of Amherst of Hampshire Mosque volunteer; and Erin O’Neil of Hadley of New England Public Media. 

The program was condensed from nine months to six and added new topics relevant to leadership in this moment to hone leadership and community skills. The sessions were conducted over Zoom, which was challenging at times but, despite the virtual setting, participants still found ways to connect to one another.

This class is the 10th graduating class, joining more than 300 graduates representing 125 companies, organizations, and municipalities in the region.

Florence Bank hires Defoyd as marketing communications officer

FLORENCE — Florence Bank recently announced the appointment of Erin Defoyd to the position of marketing communications officer. Defoyd, who lives in Hampshire County, joins the bank with more than 20 years of banking experience and connections in the communities the banks serves. 

“I have always been drawn to the Florence Bank brand and admired the commitment the bank has to its employees, customers and the community,” Defoyd said. “I am excited to be a part of the team and look forward to fostering and building upon the deep relationships that the bank has established within the local communities.”

She most recently served as marketing officer at a local community bank. Her duties included implementation of marketing strategies to increase brand awareness, creation of communications materials, support of media planning, website management and social media administration. 

Defoyd graduated from the New England School for Financial Studies in 2018 and is currently pursuing a degree in marketing at Southern New Hampshire University.


Lesser, Cutler announce Future of Work Commission 

BOSTON — A new commission to be led by co-chairs state Senator Eric P. Lesser of Longmeadow and state Rep. Josh S. Cutler of Pembroke will focus on the future of the workplace and the impact of automation, artificial intelligence, global trade, and new data forms on the workforce, business, and economy. 

 The 17-member Future of Work Commission will hold hearings to receive testimony from leaders in workforce training and education, fair labor and workers’ rights, members of the labor community, and members of the business community to help inform a final report with their findings and policy recommendations. The commission’s inaugural meeting was set to take place June 29, with experts from the Aspen Institute, UMass Amherst Labor Center, and the SEIU scheduled to speak to members on widespread trends impacting the future of work. 

“We know the way we work is changing. As COVID-19 crashed into our economy, many gig workers, drivers, musicians, and independent contractors faced a future with no unemployment insurance or workplace protections,” said Lesser. “The nature of work itself has changed in the 21st century, but we still operate off of a regulatory policy from the 19th century. I’m excited to hit the ground running with my co-chair, Rep. Cutler on the Commission on the Future of Work. We’ll convene the leaders of our state in a dialogue about the future to begin charting the path for a new era.”

Five new members joining Market Mentor marketing team 

SPRINGFIELD — The marketing, advertising, and public relations agency, Market Mentor, announced the addition of five new team members, which the company said will add to the depth and expertise on staff. The hires span multiple departments, including account services, copywriting, digital advertising and public relations.

Elizabeth Barry, a Wethersfield, Connecticut resident, brings her expertise from producing morning news at FOX61 and WFSB in Hartford to her new role as public relations specialist. A graduate of Endicott College and Southern New Hampshire University, Barry holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in communications. In her new role, she writes press releases as well as short and long-form copy, and works to earn media opportunities for clients.

Chase Hoffman, a resident of Southampton, joins the team as an account executive. He is a graduate of Westfield State University and holds a communications degree with a public relations concentration.

Christopher Proulx, a resident of Granby, Connecticut, joined the agency as a digital advertising specialist. A graduate of American International College and Westfield State University, he also holds Google Ads and Analytics certifications. He runs digital advertising campaigns on Google and across social media channels. In addition, he researches and develops keyword strategies as part of search engine optimization best practices.

David Smith, a resident of Windsor Locks, Connecticut, joined the firm as a content writer, penning short and long-form copy for digital and print placements, websites, blogs and social media. After earning his degree in communications at the University of Connecticut, he worked in broadcast media at WWLP-22 News in Springfield and Fox61 in Hartford.

Sara West, a resident of West Hartford, Connecticut, serves as an account director. She received her education at the University of Colorado at Denver. Her primary responsibilities include managing accounts and creating, managing, and executing multi-channel marketing campaigns incorporating search engine optimization, social media, inbound marketing, HubSpot, email, mail and print campaigns, and events to drive customer acquisition for clients.


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