"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.
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.
Ron Ancrum serves as the president of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Previously, Ron served eight years as president of Associated Grant Makers, and 11 years as a consultant, including three years at Third Sector New England. Over the prior 18 years, Ron was director of undergraduate admissions for UMass Boston and associate dean of admissions for Colgate University. Ron is active in the community, serving as honorary trustee at The Boston Conservatory, a member of the Jackie Robinson Foundation New England Scholarship Committee, and an adjunct faculty member at Bay Path College and UMass Boston. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of Connecticut and a Master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts
From 1974-1980, Dr. Abbate 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 is responsible for the management of all operations, including fiscal, academic, personnel and resource development.
Alan H. Bloomgarden is Coordinator of the Community-Based Learning (CBL) Program at Mount Holyoke College's Weissman Center for Leadership. CBL supports 30 courses, 50 internships and dozens of campus-community partnerships involving 350-400 students annually in projects combining learning and analysis with action and social change. He co-developed Leadership Hampshire County, and as a United Way board member contributed to significant transformation in the organization's community investment. Alan holds a B.A. from Bucknell University, MPhil from the University of Bradford and an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Steven Bradley is Vice President of Government & Community Relations and Public Affairs at Baystate Health. He represents Baystate Health by leading strategy development and relationship building with community and neighborhood representatives, local, regional and national media and with elected and appointed officials. Prior to this, Steven was the chief of staff for the Massachusetts State Senate Committee on Ways and Means and regional director of the Western Massachusetts State Department of Mental Retardation. He served as a Selectman for nine years in the Town of Pelham and is active in the community serving on more than a dozen boards and steering committees including Springfield Technical Community College (past Chair), Easthampton Savings Bank, Partners for a Healthier Community, Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.
Tim Brennan is Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission/Pioneer Valley Regional Ventures Center. Tim is highly active in other organizations including the National Assn. of Regional Councils; the Mass. Assn. of Regional Planning Agencies; the New England Assn. of Regional Councils; the Hartford-Springfield Economic Partnership; the Regional Futures Institute; the New England Futures Project; and the Alliance for Regional Stewardship. He is an adjunct faculty member with the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department at UMass/Amherst, and faculty member with the Graduate Public Administration Program at Westfield State University. Tim holds a BA from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master of Regional Planning degree from UMass.
Beth Carlson is vice president of global talent development and learning for Raytheon Company. She brings more than 30 years of experience to this role. Before joining Raytheon, Beth served as vice president of talent management and development for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance. She previously held the same role at The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., wherein she led strategic and integrated talent management initiatives. Prior to joining The Hartford in 2004, Carlson worked in the Health Care Division of CIGNA® Corporation, holding various leadership roles of increasing responsibility within Human Resources and business operations. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in clinical psychology both earned at Connecticut College.
Linda Dunlavy is the Executive Director of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG). During her tenure as Executive Director, the FRCOG has grown to 45 employees with an operating budget of $4 million, and is recognized as a leader in regionalism across Massachusetts. Linda has served on a variety of regional and statewide committees and commissions. She currently serves on the Town of Hadley School Committee; the WGBY Public Television Board of Tribunes; the Board of Directors of Rural Development, Inc.; and is a gubernatorial appointment to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. Linda holds a Master’s degree in Regional Planning from UMass and a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College.
Lee C. Erdmann, Chief Administrative and Financial Officer for the City of Springfield, has almost four decades of combined city management, administrative and budgetary experience. He has served as Management and Budget Director, Assistant City Manager, City Manager and Chief Operating Officer for the City of Hartford, CT; and Town Manager of Wethersfield, CT. Lee is a member of International City/County Management Association, the Massachusetts Management Association and the American Society for Public Administration.
Zaida Govan, MSW, LADC,LCSW has 20+ years professional experience working in the social work field with the addicted population and mental health arena. She is currently the Clinical Director at the Family Life Center of Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services. She is actively involved in community health initiatives and serves as the chair of the School Nutrition Committee of the Springfield Food Policy Council. She is dedicated to improving the overall health of communities by organizing and empowering them to make the necessary grassroots changes. She earned her Master’s in Social Work and Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College.
Lorenzo Gaines is a transformational leader in the college access and success industry with a deep passion for positive social change and youth empowerment stemming from his own personal experiences. Lorenzo navigated many obstacles to higher education including homelessness, poverty, and dropping out of high school then continued to attain a GED, a Bachelor’s from Hampshire College, and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from Columbia University. As Program Director for the SPP, he launched the first expansion site outside of Boston. He is a 40 Under 40 award winner from Business West.
A former Coca-Cola Bottler, Al is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and is a member of several boards of directors including the Frank Stanley Beveridge Foundation, the Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. He is an Emeritus Trustee and former President of the Williston Northampton School Board, an Emeritus Trustee and former Chair of the Community Foundation of Western MA, and is the former Chair of the Economic Development Council of Western MA. Al received his B.S. from the United States Naval Academy, served as a Naval Aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps, and earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Ronn Johnson is the President and CEO of RDJ Consultants, a consulting firm specializing in community-based initiatives that focus on public education, public health, and corporate citizenship. He has held a variety of community-based positions including Director of Community Responsibility for MassMutual, VP of Child and Family Services at the Center for Human Development and work at the Dunbar Community Center.
Ronn is an active member of the community serving on more than a dozen boards of directors including Moderator of St. John’s Congregational Church and Executive Committee of Community Music School of Springfield. He received his B.S. from Western New England University, attended University of Connecticut School of Social Work, and earned an M.Ed. from Cambridge College.
Madeline Landrau directs the Marketing Initiative for the Hispanic Segment at MassMutual and is the Co-Chair of the Assoc. of Latinos at MassMutual and Allies Employee Resource Group. She joined MassMutual in 1996 and played a critical role in the LifeBridge Program, which provides free life insurance to disadvantaged children throughout the country.Madeline is active in the community with a strong interest in mentoring young Latinas. She has organized educational forums with speakers from public and private corporations. She has sat on various boards and is a current board member of Springfield’s Habitat for Humanity. Madeline earned her MS from Springfield College and resides in Springfield with her husband Carlos.
Waleska Lugo-DeJesús is the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Westfield State University. Lugo-DeJesús has over twelve years of experience working in the private/non-profit sector. She was appointed by Governor Deval L. Patrick as a Commissioner for Commonwealth Corps, she is a Corporate Board member of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, a former Board Member of Partners for a Healthier Community, and a Finance Board member for Latino Parishes of Springfield Catholic Diocese. Waleska earned an Associate degree from Springfield Technical Community College, a B.S. in Business Management from Westfield State University, where she is currently pursuing graduate studies in Public Administration.
Marla Michel is the Executive Director of Economic Development Strategies and Regional Partnerships at UMass Amherst. She 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 and its Business Incubator at Springfield Technical Community College, 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.
Rev. J.P. Morgan Jr. is the pastor of Holy Trinity COGIC, a thriving multi-generational church in the heart of the Mason Square Community. He has been preaching the Gospel for over twenty years and is committed to seeing lives changed through the ministry of the church, and is the current Chairman of the Mason Square Health Task Force.
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.
Sam Ortiz possesses over 30 years of banking, accounting and business lending experience. He is well versed in the areas of business planning, business financing, taxes, accounting, management consulting, and real estate sales. Sam provides loan underwriting and portfolio management at Common Capital.
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.
Adam Robinson is a Financial Adviser with Ostberg & Associates. For the past nine years, Adam has worked to build a successful career in the financial services industry while fulfilling the educational and examination requirements to earn the Certified Financial Planner® designation. He has also been an active board member of the Franklin Square House Foundation. Adam is very excited to bring his talents back “home” to the Pioneer Valley where he along with his wife Kristen, and two young children Carter and Sophia have relocated.
Kirk grew up in a single parent home, with 7 siblings in the largest “Ghetto” in Cincinnati, a community that was crime, drug, and alcohol infested. To stay out of trouble, Kirk played sports at the Boy’s Club (now Boy’s and Girl’s Club). As a teen he worked several jobs, and struggled through grade school until his final two years of high school. After graduating, Kirk served in the United States Army for 7 years. Kirk has been an operator of residential facilities, family centers, summer camps, community centers, non-profit manager and senior executive, ordained minister and motivational speaker for over 20 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science of Human Services and a Master of Science of Organizational Management and Leadership from Springfield College. He will become a doctorial candidate (Philosophy in Human Services) with Capella University in 2013. He is a certified YMCA Organizational Leader & Leadership Development regional trainer and faculty. Community service includes board membership with various organizations including Travis Best Foundation, YMCA Mass State Alliance & Public Policy Committee, Springfield, MA Chamber of Commerce, and Black Leadership Alliance (BLA). Kirk has been proudly married to his wife Venessa for over 20 years and they have 3 wonderful sons, ranging in ages 15 to 20.
Reverend Talbert W. Swan, II is the pastor of the Spring of Hope Church Of God In Christ, President of the Springfield Chapter of the NAACP, Assistant General Secretary for the National Church Of God In Christ, National Chaplain of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., Executive Director of COGIC Family Services, an author, radio talk show host and long-time community activist. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Western New England College, an A.S. and B.S. in Religious Studies from Charter Oak State College, a M.A. in Theology from Hartford Seminary, a M.Div. from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and Graduate Certificates from Hartford Seminary and Harvard Divinity School.
Kimberly Robinson Williams is a Diversity Consultant at Baystate Health. She holds a BA from American University and an MBA in Human Resource Management from Syracuse University. With 17+ years of varied HR experience, focused primarily on talent acquisition and development with a focus on diversity, she recently earned an SPHR designation from the HR Certification Institute. She is the founder of Next Level Development, which promotes the personal and professional development of women and people of color. A Springfield resident, she is the proud mother of two phenomenal children. Williams is a member and executive officer of the Greater Springfield Chapter of Links and volunteers her time with OnBoard and her church.