Board of Directors
"This is a group of individuals who must be praised for their commitment, vision and passion for Leadership Pioneer Valley’s mission and its commitment to diversity."
- David Woods, Woods Financial Group
The LPV Board of Directors, leading the development of the program since 2010, is the main decision-making body and reflects the commitment of the organization to diversity. This diverse group of twenty-one individuals from corporations, nonprofits, hospitals, academia, and religious institutions represent communities across the Valley.
Kevin focuses his practice on resolving commercial disputes for businesses and individuals through advice, negotiation, litigation, arbitration and mediation in matters involving contracts, shareholder and fiduciary disputes, financial services, insurance and ERISA issues, construction claims, professional liability and environmental claims. His litigation experience encompasses both state and federal courts, and he has won appeals before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state's Appeals Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in American each year’ since 2008 in the areas of commercial litigation and litigation specifically, banking and finance, and construction Kevin is board president of World is Our Classroom, lnc. and a board member of the United Way of Pioneer Valley and Partners for a Healthier Community. He is a board member and past board president of Square One, formally Springfield Day Nursery, lnc. He is also active in a number of other community organizations.
Marla Michel is the Director of Campus Engagement at UMass Amherst. She is responsible for the University’s “Community Connections” website, participates in a variety of regional initiatives, sits on boards where the University can have an impact, and works to connect regional leaders to the University. Marla is also the Director of the Scibelli Enterprise Center the Springfield Technology Park, growing the area’s future businesses and its leaders. She received a B.S. from the State University of New York at Albany and a M.S. from Monmouth University. She moved to the Pioneer Valley in 1996 from New Jersey where she worked for AT&T Bell Laboratories.
Rose Westbrook, resides in Springfield, MA, where she is the financial manager for Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc., and serves as an employee resource group leader for Baystate Health System’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion. Her 20 plus year career span consists of working in nonprofit organizations, teaching in higher education, small business development and pursuing entrepreneurial interests. Rose holds a MA in Human Resource Development, BS in Human Services Administration from American International College, and advanced certificates in Church Finance & Administration from Emory University-Candler School of Theology and in Strategic Leadership for Women from Simmons College. She is trained in Facilitative Leadership and will soon complete training in Kaizen for performance improvement. She is in the 2015 graduate class of the Partnership Fellows Program.
Rose is officially a distant runner completing a Half Marathon Training Program to qualify for running in the 2015 Hartford Half Marathon. When Rose is not working or running, she enjoys travelling and spending time with her immediate family including her K9 kids, Spencer and Sebastian.
Reverend Morgan has served as the pastor of Holy Trinity Church of God in Christ since 2001. Because of his concern for the many issues that plague the community, Pastor Morgan has served on the Board of Directors for the Dunbar Community Center, and currently serves on the Boards for the Pioneer Valley Project (PVP), and the Springfield Health Council. Pastor Morgan is a gifted musician who has been signing, playing keyboard, and writing music since the age of 5. His persistent desire to reach out musically and expand his abilities has afforded him the opportunity to perform with such artists as George Michaels, Michael Bolton, Judy Collins, and Take 6.
Dr. Abbate recently retired as the Executive Director of the Willie Ross School for the Deaf From 1974-1980 he served as Director of Special Education for the Frontier Regional School System and School Union 38. In 1980, he was appointed Director of the School Psychology Program at American International College. From 1982-1985, Dr. Abbate was in private practice, providing therapy to individuals, couples and families. In September of 1985, he was selected as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Willie Ross School for the Deaf. As the CEO, he was responsible for the management of all operations, including fiscal, academic, personnel and resource development.
Raymond Berry is the Senior Vice President & CFO at the United Way of Pioneer Valley a regional non-profit organization and founder of White Lion Brewing Company, the first craft brewing company in the city of Springfield’s history.
Berry is currently an appointed member of the United Way Worldwide’s Financial Issues Committee, is a board member for Partners for Healthier Communities, Black Leadership Alliance, STCC Foundation and the local YMCA. Recently he served as a mayoral appointed and city council approved Commissioner for the city of Springfield’s License Board.
Berry earned his BS from American International College, MBA from Springfield College and a graduate certificate from Tufts University. In 2010 Ray was recognized by Business West as a top 40 under 40 honoree and in 2012 participated in the region’s inaugural Leadership Pioneer Valley class exposing and engaging emerging leaders to the fabric of the Valley. In 2013 Ray was awarded the Spirit Award by the Springfield Housing Authority and ADC Prevention Services. In 2014 Ray received the Affiliated Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership award.
Steven Bradley is Campaign Chair for the United Way of Franklin County. Bradley spent over 13 years with Baystate Health. Prior to this he was the Chief of Staff for the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways and Means and Senate Assistant Majority Leader from 1996-2000. Steven also served as the first Regional Director of the Western Massachusetts State Department of Mental Retardation until 1996. In this capacity he established the departments first Regional Cultural Competency and Diversity Initiative, he helped lead the closing of the region's only institution for people with developmental disabilities and the creation of a nationally recognized community-based system of services and programs for these citizens. Steven also served as a Selectman for 9 years in the Town of Pelham.
Ann Burke is the Vice President of the Economic Development Council of Western Mass. Burke is a seasoned economic development professional with experience in regional economic and community development, project management, strategic planning and organizational management, real estate, downtowns, entrepreneurship and special events and marketing. Burke holds a Master’s degree from George Washington University in Urban and Regional Planning. Burke has served as Vice President of the Springfield Business Development Corporation, President of Greater Holyoke, Inc., Associate Director of Springfield Central, and as a board member for Mass. Mentoring Partnership Board of Directors, Tech Foundry, CISA, and Valley Venture Mentors.
Ron Edwards is the Assistant Vice President of Talent Practices at MassMutual, where he leads the company’s strategic efforts to attract, develop, engage, and retain high-potential early and mid-career talent. He has held various global HR leader roles across multiple disciplines including Organizational Development and Diversity. Most of his career however has been in Talent Management, where he has led Talent Development efforts in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. An active member of his community, Ron has also served in leadership capacities for civic organizations, mostly focused on youth development.
Toni Hendrix is the Director of Human Resources for The Loomis Communities. Previously Hendrix served as a Senior Human Resources Consultant at Baystate Health, Vice President of Learning and Organizational Development at the American Cancer Society, Human Resources Director at MassMutual Financial Group and Vice President of the Dunbar Community Center Board of Directors. Toni is a US Army Veteran that studied Education at the University of Maryland and has also studied at Cambridge College and the Center for Creative Leadership. Toni is a Pioneer Valley native, who now resides in Springfield with her husband, Joseph.
Ed Kubosiak has been with MassLive since 1998 in a variety of roles and was named editor in 2005. He started his career as a sports reporter with The Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, his hometown. Ed lives in Southampton with his wife Becky and has two children, Alex and Sophia.
With over nine years of experience in the Human Resources field, Madho is responsible for promoting diversity and inclusion through various methods and initiatives including implementation of their inclusion strategy and retention plan as Diversity & Inclusion Specialist at Big Y Foods, Inc. She also oversees Big Y’s involvement and relationships with youth development and workplace mentorship programs. Madho holds a Bachelor’s Degree from American International College in Psychology and Sociology. She is a board member of the Human Resource Association of Western MA Executive Board and Co-Chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. In addition, she holds positions on various community advisory boards in the private and non-profit sectors. She resides in Springfield.
Rus Peotter is responsible for the management of WGBY Springfield, the WGBH-affiliated public television station serving western Massachusetts, northern Connecticut and southern Vermont. He oversees programming, production, development, engineering, and administration. Rus came to WGBY in 2001 from Maine Public Broadcasting. He has served on numerous PBS national committees, helping senior PBS management develop policies and services in support of stations across the country. Outside of work, he is currently Chair of MassCreative, the Commomwealth’s Arts advocacy organization, Chair of the Hampshire Regional Chamber of Commerce, and on the boards of CISA and the Hilltown Land Trust among others.
TJ Plante was hired as municipal budget director in 2007 while the city was under a state-imposed Finance Control Board. Mr. Plante serves as the Director of Finance for the City of Springfield and Acting Chief Financial Officer for the Springfield City Schools. Prior to his work in Springfield, Mr. Plante acted as the Deputy Budget Director for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Mr. Plante also held a positions at the State as the Legislative Director to the Senate Majority Leader Fred Berry and as a Fiscal Policy Analyst/Manager for the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Sawyer School of Management at Suffolk University and a Bachelor Degree in both Political Science & Criminal Justice from Stonehill College. A city resident, Plante is married, with two children.
Amy Roberts recently joined Balise Motors as their VP of Human Resources. She previously worked at L-3 KEO for nine years as Director of Human Resources and as the Talent Manager for the organization. In 2009 Roberts was promoted to Director of Human Resources at L-3 KEO. Prior to joining KEO, she worked for the MassMutual Financial Group. During her time at MassMutual, Roberts worked in Corporate and Line of Business HR roles. Roberts has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Bridgewater University and a Masters of Human Resource Development from American International College. She has served on the boards of several community organizations including the United Way of Hampshire County.
As Chief of Parent and Community Engagement, reporting to the Superintendent, Patricia Spradley strategically engages key parents, community, political and institutional partner support to assist students in becoming productive citizens in the 21st century, fostering strong character and academic excellence. She has direct responsibility for the Parent Information Center, School and Community Partnerships, School Volunteers, Parent Facilitators & Family Education, the Springfield Parent Academy, Homeless Educational Services, METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) Program, Community Outreach and School Choice/Charters. She has been with the Springfield Public Schools for twenty years.
Wisnewski grew up in Colombia and worked as a biology teacher before moving to this country to pursue a master’s degree in education at UMass Amherst. After settling in Greenfield, she immersed herself in volunteer work and selflessly continues to give time and effort to causes she believes in. “You have to do whatever you can to be part of the community, and I enjoy being involved in an inclusive process,” she said, adding that she believes it is important to educate children to their full potential and raise the quality of life for families.
The wife of Mark Wisnewski and mother of Luke, 11, and Corin, 8, she was a developmental specialist for the REACH Early Intervention program at ServiceNet in Franklin County and served as coordinator of Family Center Programs for Community Action in Greenfield for 10 years before assuming her current job at Raising a Reader.
David F. Woods is a principal of Woods Financial Group in Longmeadow. For over 40 years he has served as a board and committee member of many community organizations. Most notably he chaired the board of Baystate Medical Center and Baystate Health Systems and was the first chair of the Springfield Leadership Institute. David has served on the board and as chair of a number of national insurance organizations as well as CEO of two. He currently serves as a board member of Baystate Health Insurance Company.