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LPV Welcomes Six New Board Members


Community Leaders elected for two-year terms

November 14, 2019 - Springfield, MA Leadership Pioneer Valley recently welcomed Michelle Barthelemy of Greenfield Community College, Dr. Calvin Hill of Springfield College, Gladys Lebron-Martinez of MassHire Holyoke and Holyoke City Council, Callie Niezgoda of Common Capital, Tony Maroulis of UMass Amherst, and Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates of Baystate Health to its Board of Directors. They also announced that Francia Wisnewski has been elected clerk. Each brings a passion for both the work of the organization and the continued success of the Pioneer Valley.


“We are delighted to have these dynamic community leaders join us,” said Lora Wondolowski, Leadership Pioneer Valley Executive Director. “They will bring important skills and experience to the board and will help to fulfill our mission of building and connecting more diverse, committed and effective leadership for the Pioneer Valley.”

Civic engagement is not an option, it is an obligation!

By Farah Achbabe, LPV Fellow from Morocco

There is an amazing quote hanging on “Leadership Pioneer Valley” office that caught my attention since my first day and pushed me to question the answers I have managed to arrive to during the years I spent considering myself as a person “civically Engaged” in Morocco. This quote which seems to be a simple motivating quote is, actually, more to it than that.

The quote from Margaret Mead said:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. “

Farah at Franklin County CDC

In fact, this quote undeniably stresses the importance of civic engagement in small groups that are aware by their responsibility and roles towards their communities and how working hard, continually and consistently as teams could do miracles and touch positive change.

De facto, I have learned from the people I met during official meetings and Galas in West Massachusetts that they have become civically engaged when they realized that having a good job and a salary are not enough to feel good about themselves.

Civic Engagement lunch discussion with LPV Alumni from left: Adam Gomez ’18, Kelvin Molina-Brantley ’12, Will Reichelt ’17, Giselle Vizcarrondo ’17, Lorenzo Gaines ’12, Shayvonne Plummer ’18 and Farah Achbabe (not pictured Justin Hurst ’17)

Civic engagement is an inclination to periodically question reality, look for alternatives and try to figure out new solutions for what matters most.

In fact, people who are civically engaged have the guts to implement positive ideas, to bring positive change and solve the social issues they may encounter in their Neighborhood, Town, City or state given that they are all concerned. It obviously goes without saying but what is good for the community is good for the individuals and vice versa.

Civic engagement is not an option, it is a moral obligation towards the nation we belong to.

Farah with Margaret Tantillo, Dress for Success

On the one hand, civic engagement is not at all about hoping to change the world but it is about taking your courage in both hands and going from grand to the ground: It is time to stop waiting for someone to save us and get involved in community.

On the other hand, being civically engaged is about to set the bar in a high level, keep anyone engaged, being mindful of the differences, cross boundaries and most importantly try continually to overcome ourselves by bringing positive and concrete change to the table. That goes hand and hand with challenging the process while sharing inspiring vision with everyone who wants to help at this time.

Civic engagement includes communities that are taking advantage from their differences and diversity and working together in both political and non-political actions in order to address public concerns and promote the quality of the community.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Martin Luther King Jr. the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement once said to an audience in Montgomery, Alabama in 1957. The man who sacrificed his life to lead one of the most successful revolution in the 20 century in order to free people from segregation and slavery stressed that civic engagement is all what makes a life worth living. Indeed, it is the only thing that matters .

LPV Seeks Development Associate

Leadership Pioneer Valley Seeks Tech Savvy Development

Leadership Pioneer
Valley works to identify, develop and connect diverse leaders to strengthen the
region.  The core of the organization is
a well-regarded 9-month regional leadership development program for existing
and emerging leaders from non-profits, businesses and government.  Working under the direct supervision of the Executive
Director, the Associate will assist with implementing strategies essential for
LPV’s growth.  S/he plays an important
role in participating in outreach, fundraising, event coordination, including
gift acknowledgement and data entry, online campaigns, direct mail appeals, and
grant tracking.

Primary Job Responsibilities:

  • Timely donation processing and gift acknowledgement
  • Management of LPV’s Donor Database- including accurate
    data entry, record maintenance and reporting.
  • Coordinate general fundraising activities, such as
    appeals, online campaigns, grant proposal writing, and foundation
    relations tracking.
  • Help coordinate fundraising events
  • Perform donor research and help coordinate donor
    solicitation campaigns
  • Manage and help implement social media fundraising plan
    (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in collaboration with other staff
  • LPV website updating and general management
  • Other duties as requested


  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Exceptional attention to detail and experience organizing
  • Competence working with databases
  • Comfort with updating website content
  • Proficient in MS Office Suite, databases, mail merges, and
    social media
  • Ability to communicate effectively and to work well with

  • Bachelor’s degree or
    equivalent experience
  • Knowledge of the Pioneer
  • Ability to attend off-site meetings including occasional
    evening and weekend events; valid driver’s license


Leadership Pioneer Valley values collaboration, inclusivity, trust, and


The Development Associate is a part-time position with a salary
commensurate to experience.  We do not
provide benefits but do offer paid time off. 
Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume via e-mail
by March 22 to:

Lora Wondolowski, Executive Director,

LPV does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin,
gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and disability in
employment or the provision of services.

LPV Announces New Program Name

Leadership Pioneer Valley Announces New Program Name: LEAP

SPRINGFIELD, MA-Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) announced it’s new name and logo for their signature nine-month leadership development program: LEAP. Although LEAP is not an acronym, it is designed to have members interpret it in their own way. The first LEAP class is challenged to leap to places they have never been before and test their limits. T

“Leaping is different than running, it is leaving the ground with both feet which is risky, and so is leadership,” remarked Lora Wondolowski, Executive Director of Leadership Pioneer Valley.

Each year Leadership Pioneer Valley welcomes new participants who are taking a leap of faith into the program. Nearly 250 other leapers have completed the program landing in amazing new places since graduation and the Class of 2019 will do the same. They are the first LEAP class, but not the first class to leap to higher skills.


LPV Seeks Program Coordinator

Leadership Pioneer Valley works to identify, develop and connect diverse leaders to strengthen the region. The core of the organization is a well-regarded 9-month regional leadership development program for existing and emerging leaders from non-profits, businesses and government. The LEAP Program Coordinator reports to the Executive Director and is responsible for coordinating the LEAP Program and alumni programming. Accepting applications until December 14th. See link for full description: Program Coordinator Job Announcement


LPV Announces Hiring of Amy Britt as Leaders OnBoard Program Coordinator

Leadership Pioneer Valley Announces Hiring of Amy Britt as New Leaders OnBoard Program Coordinator

Springfield, MA- Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) is announcing that Amy Britt has joined LPV as the Leaders OnBoard Program Coordinator. In this role, Britt will be responsible for managing LPV’s board development program, Leaders OnBoard. The program aims to increase and strengthen the skills and capacities of boards of directors. This program is intended to recruit and train people who are new to board service as well as seasoned board members, with the goal of inspiring and strengthening the leadership provided to our robust network of nonprofit organizations in the Pioneer Valley.


Amy Britt comes to Leadership Pioneer Valley with a background in communications, marketing, and event management. She worked for Tapestry, a major regional public health agency, for over 10 years, most recently as the Director of Communications where she oversaw the communications and marketing for the organization, worked with the Development Department on fundraising campaigns and events, and supported the agency’s state and federal advocacy efforts. Amy graduated from Smith College with a BA in Biology, and was selected as an American Fellow in a U.S. State Department program focused on Women’s Health Leadership in Brazil in 2012. She is a 2014 Leadership Pioneer Valley graduate.




Maternal Leadership

From May 1, 2018 African American Point of View

Maternal Leadership

“I am endlessly fascinated that playing football is considered a training ground for leadership, but raising children isn’t. Hey, it made me a better leader: you have to take a lot of people’s needs into account; you have to look down the road. Trying to negotiate getting a couple of kids to watch the same TV show requires serious diplomacy.”- Dee Dee Myers

This month we will be celebrating the mothers in our lives. Our parents are often the first people we learn leadership from—both good and bad. Sometimes we don’t recognize the important leadership skills of mothers that are practiced in the workplace and community.


By nature, I am not a patient person. I am often on to the next thing before finishing the last thing or even a sentence. This can create unreasonable expectations of staff. It can also mean missing others’ ideas and mistakes. Being a parent has taught me patience. It sometimes amazes me how long it can take my daughter to put on her socks or get to the point in a story. If I try to rush her, she usually has to start all over. By being patient, I am able to slow down and enjoy the moment. Parenting is about allowing ourselves to be in the moment so that we don’t miss it. My daughter probably won’t be singing exuberantly about the dog next year or next month. The same is true in leadership. Leaders who have the discipline of patience are able to see what’s in front of them and incorporate the ideas of others.


In our house, whenever something bad happens or someone gets hurt it is always the others’ fault. It is so instinctual to blame others and not own our own outcomes. Brené Brown is a social scientist who has found that “blame is simply the discharging of discomfort and pain.” She believes that accountability is a vulnerable process that takes courage and time. We are vulnerable when we admit fault or empathize with someone that we may have hurt. Shifting away from blame takes time, listening and empathy. I am working on taking blame out of my vocabulary at home and owning my mistakes to model that behavior for my girls. I want to show them that mistakes aren’t always someone’s fault. Similarly, as a leader I hope to be strong enough to be vulnerable enough to admit my mistakes or be empathetic enough to notice when I have wrongly blamed or hurt someone. Admitting fault is never easy, especially when moms are trying to be Superwoman at home and work.

When you picture a leader, do you picture a mom? Why or why not? We have been socialized to picture coaches, political leaders, and businessmen. My mom taught me leadership lessons like showing up and getting involved if you care about something. That is a value that I carry with me today. My kids are making me a better leader every day by teaching me to be patient and own my mistakes. This Mother’s Day let’s hear it for the maternal leaders in our lives.