Women rule on this year’s ‘40 under Forty’ roster

  • Shannon Rudder is executive director of MotherWoman. BUSINESSWEST

  • Molly Feinstein owns GoBerry and Provisions in Northampton. BUSINESSWEST

  • Justin Killeen owns and is a trainer with Energia Fitness and 50/50 Nutrition/Fitness of Hadley. BUSINESSWEST

  • Meghan Godorov is a career consultant. BUSINESSWEST

Gazette Editor 
Monday, May 02, 2016

SPRINGFIELD – For the first time in 10 years of saluting up-and-coming Valley business leaders, women outnumber men in BusinessWest’s “40 Under Forty” competition.

Of the four Hampshire County winners, three are women.

“That’s been a nice tipping point this year,” said Kate Campiti, the magazine’s associate publisher. “That speaks to the times.”

For the last decade, the publication has solicited nominations to recognize what it calls the “rising stars” of the regional business community. More than 130 names were submitted this year, then forwarded to an independent, five-member judging panel.

The Hampshire County winners are:

Molly Feinstein, 32, owner of GoBerry and Provisions in Northampton, who also works in nonprofits and is co-chair of the United Way of Hampshire County’s annual campaign.

Meghan Godorov, 31, a career consultant in Northampton who is associate director of alumnae and community engagement at Mount Holyoke College and is regularly quoted by national media on career matters.

Justin Killeen, 25, owner and trainer with Energia Fitness and 50/50 Nutrition/Fitness of Hadley.

Shannon Rudder, 38, executive director of MotherWoman Inc., a nonprofit based in Hadley that works nationally to advance the social and political interests of mothers.

Profiles of all 40 winners are available at businesswest.com.

Keeping ball rolling

Campiti, of BusinessWest, said people warned the magazine 10 years ago that it could be hard over time to find worthy candidates for the award. She argues that the breadth of nominations that continue to come in show that the perceived “brain drain” of skills from the Valley is overstated.

“There is a lot of young talent here. It’s really refreshing,” she said. “We still have this big pool of young talent that is probably able to shine more quickly in this market.”

“Some of them are already running their own companies,” Campiti added. “I think it’s important to show that we have the strength of young minds and they’re making the region their home.”

George O’Brien, the journal’s editor, said the 40 people on this year’s list represent most corners of the Valley economy, from law to nonprofits, retail to health care.

A few work in the public sector, including West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt; Michael Clark, chief of staff for state Sen. Eric Lesser of East Longmeadow; and Adam Gomez, a Springfield city councilor.

Franklin County winners are Angela Mass, a math teacher at Greenfield Public High School; Adrian Dahlin, director of marketing and admissions at the Conway School of Design; and Elizabeth Fisk, an account executive with WHAI/Saga Communications in Greenfield.

All the winners are chosen on a point system that includes consideration of community involvement, entrepreneurial accomplishment, evidence of established leadership and philanthropic work.

The journal assembles packets on candidates and passes those to the outside reviewers.

“That takes us out of the process and makes it apolitical,” Campiti said.

This year’s judges were Elizabeth Barajas-Roman, CEO of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts; Ben Craft, director of public affairs at Baystate Health; Daniel Flynn, executive vice president and COO of the wholesale banking division of United Bank; Michael Matty, president of St. Germain Investment Management; and Lora Wondolowski, executive director of Leadership Pioneer Valley.