Strengthening Our Communities

Join us for the region's premier conference for non-profit board members and staff.  Presented by Leadership Pioneer Valley's Leaders OnBoard Program.  The 2nd Annual Fall Conference will address current best practices and issues for nonprofits, with a series of workshops, a keynote speaker, and networking time. The sessions are designed for folks with a range of board experience-- from those who have never served to those with lots of board experience. Both staff and board members are welcome-- and encouraged to attend together. 

conference materials

The Art of Major Gift Fundraising:  Building a Major Gifts Program with Sandy Sayers

Board Basics with Eric Phelps, Rainmaker Consulting

Building Effective Boards with  Starr Pinkos Board Chair, DIAL/SELF Youth and Community Services

Getting Your Nonprofit Ready For Social Media In 2018 with Alfonso Santaniello, President of tCSA

Strategic Planning: More than a path forward with Rus Peotter, former General Manager WGBY-TV

The Truth about Boards & Fundraising with Rima Dael, Executive Director of Advancement, STCC



8:30- 9:00 am  Registration

9:00- 9:15 am   Welcome

Breakout Sessions:

9:30- 10:30  Workshop Session I

1A    The Art of Major Gift Fundraising:  Building a Major Gifts Program with Sandy Sayers, Executive Director of United Way of Franklin County-  Raise more money by receiving more major gifts. Consistent donors can become major donors when you effectively implement a major gift program. Identify and utilize your own communication strengths when meeting with donors to develop major gifts and increase your fundraising success.

1B    Building Effective Boards with Starr Pinkos Board Member, DIAL/SELF Youth and Community Services- How do you attract and keep board members who can best advance your mission? A recruitment process, orientation and meeting structure are key to developing and maintaining an active board of directors. We’ll share helpful tips that contributed to our success.

1C    Making Every Presentation Count: Public Speaking for Meeting Facilitators with Angela Lussier, Founder, Speaker Sisterhood + Speaking School for Women- How to deal with fear, techniques for building a stronger presence in front of the room, and how to keep the group engaged. This is a hands-on, no-nonsense approach.

1D     Strategic Planning: More than a path forward with Rus Peotter, former General Manager WGBY-TV- An overview and discussion of  how an effective strategic planning process can strengthen an organization and position it for the future.  Board engagement is a key ingredient to your success.

9:30- 12:00  Fundamentals Session (spans both sessions I & II)

Board Basics with Eric Phelps, Rainmaker Consulting-  This interactive session will cover the basics of effective board service.  Whether you are considering board membership for the first time or have served long-term, join us for a training with our board expert to explore such topics as what it means to sit on a board, board responsibilities, fundraising, and how to ensure your values and skills are reflected in your non-profit work.  All attendees will be "board certified" and eligible for Board Matching.

10:30- 11:00 am  Coffee, Connecting, and Resource Fair

11:00- 12:00 pm Workshop Session II

2A      Young Professionals Serving on Nonprofit Boards: An Unpacking Panel, Moderated by: Amy L. Proietti, Panelists: Christopher Luippold, Molly MacMunn, Shannon Prescott, and Ashli Stempel- This panel discussion will analyze the awareness and motivations that contribute to young professionals engaging in boards service. We will look at the role of mentoring, leadership development, and employer support among others. The audience will be encouraged to participate in the discussion, making this a “multi-generational” experience.

2B - Getting Your Nonprofit Ready For Social Media In 2018 with Alfonso Santaniello, President of tCSA- Social Media has turned into a full time marketing initiative, but you don't have a full-time marketer. This workshop will give an overview to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter on how your organization can utilize these platforms to get your message out there, recruit volunteers, fundraise and more.

2C     Do I really have to give and ask for money? The truth about Boards & Fundraising with Rima Dael, Executive Director of Advancement, STCC-  An  honest, no-nonsense look at your role as a board member in fundraising for your organization and supporting their work through outreach.

2D       Collaboration: What Works- Phoebe Walker, Franklin Regional Council of Governments and Chris Sikes, Common Capital-  Two case studies of merger and collaboration that worked (and why they almost didn’t).

12:00- 12:30 pm  Lunch

12:30- 1:00 pm  Keynote Courage & Civility: A Conversation with Councilor Jossie Valentin led by Jessie Cooley, Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County

Keynote: Courage & Civility: A Conversation with Councilor Jossie Valentin, led by Jessie Cooley, BBBS-Hampshire County

Jossie Valentin-

Councilor Valentin has lived in Massachusetts since 1998. She has worked at Holyoke Community College since 2006 as a bilingual Senior Academic Counselor. Originally from Puerto Rico, she received

heJossie Valentinr Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico and her Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology from American International College in Springfield, MA. She is also a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC). Before her work at Holyoke Community College, she was the Program Director for Arbor House, a substance abuse residential treatment program on Pine Street in Holyoke. She was also the Program Director for the Psychiatric Evaluation and Stabilization Unit at the Hampden County Correctional Center in Ludlow, MA.

Councilor Valentin has been a strong advocate for the Latino community, as well as the LGBT community, for many years. She is one of the founding members of the Holyoke GLBTQ Task Force, the group that started the Pride Prom in Holyoke -- a free prom for GLBTQ youth and their allies. The Pride Prom attracted about 350 youth every year during the 5 years that it was held for the community. She was elected to her first term as Holyoke City Councilor in November 2013 with 74% of the votes. Councilor Valentin is now in her second term after being reelected in 2015 with 80% of the votes. She lives in Holyoke with her wife Myriam and their daughter Natalia.

Presenter Bios:

Jessie CooleyJessie Cooley was honored to join the staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County in June 2017. She is a passionate advocate of mentoring programs, after spending twelve years working with BBBS of Franklin County and BBBS of Massachusetts Bay, and as a former Big Sister herself. Her previous experience also includes teaching Spanish in secondary schools, and serving as the District Director for State Representative Paul Mark. When she’s not enthusiastically sharing the joy and power of mentoring with everyone around her, Jessie can be found traveling, Latin dancing, spending time with her family and volunteering for community organizations. She also loves running and looks forward to the BBBSHC Daffodil Run and Happy Valley Half Marathon and 5K!

A. Rima DaelA. Rima Dael has 25 years of nonprofit management experience. She is the executive director of institutional advancement and foundation at STCC. Recently, Ms. Dael was the executive director of Country Dance & Song Society, an international arts service organization for North American traditional dance, music and song. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College (B.A., Theatre Arts and Anthropology) and the New School University (M.S., Nonprofit Management), she also teaches at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, where she was a founding faculty member of the Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy program at the school.


  1. Christopher Luippold is a Head Teller / Customer Service Rep at the Greenfield Cooperative Bank Sunderland Branch. He is also one of the tri-chairs for the Relay For Life of Franklin County and is part of the Franklin County Young Professionals committee.

Angela LussierAngela Lussier is an award-winning speaker, three-time author, two-time TEDx presenter, and trainer. She is the founder of the Speaker Sisterhood, a network of speaking clubs that help women find their voice and develop the confidence to lead. Angela is also the host of Claim the Stage, a public speaking podcast for women. She spends a lot of her time teaching speakers how to build their brand so they can stand out and share their mission with more audiences. Angela is a contributor to Huffington Post and her work has been featured on ABC, NBC, Forbes, Virgin, and Entrepreneur. Her motto:  Stop waiting. Start 

Molly MacMunnMolly MacMunn is the Senior Specialist of Public Affairs and Community Relations at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, a board member for the United Way of Franklin County, a member of the Franklin County Young Professionals. She was also chosen as one of BusinessWest's 40 Under 40, Class of 2017. She has a background that includes event planning, marketing, and hospitality management and still occasionally wakes up in terror remembering that she forgot to bring a side of ketchup to table #20 (it’s about 10 years too late). Future goals include getting her daughter to field hockey/dance/piano on time, completing her Master’s degree at Bay Path University, finishing the stack of books on her nightstand, and finding the best scone in Franklin County – please send along your leads.

Russell PeotterRussell Peotter served fifteen years as the General Manager of WGBY Springfield, the WGBH-affiliated public television station serving western Massachusetts, northern Connecticut and southern Vermont before retiring last winter. 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. 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.

Starr Pinkos has served on the Board of Directors for 24 years and as President for 12 years. After retiring from a 34 year teaching career, she has volunteered at DIAL/SELF as the Executive Projects Coordinator for the past five years. She speaks Spanish fluently, serves as the National Honor Society State Coordinator and is an avid hiker.

Eric PhelpsEric Phelps is a Principal with RAINMAKER Consulting. He has served as VP- Development for VentureWell, a national nonprofit supporting university inventors and innovators where he secured more than $35 million in funding from major foundations and donors. Eric has also served as Director – GIJP /Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Executive Director - New Art Center, and Executive Director - VSA arts of Georgia. Eric has a BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and a Certificate in ASL Interpreting from Georgia State University. Eric is author of the forthcoming book If Money Can Fix It, It’s Not The Problem.

Shannon Prescott is the P&C Project Manager for The Richards Group, headquartered in Brattleboro,Shannon Prescott VT. In addition she is the Chair of the United Way of Windham County and sits on the Franklin County Young Professionals committee.

Amy L. ProiettiAmy L. Proietti has more than 20 years of experience in higher education administration and is the former Program Coordinator of Leaders OnBoard and LPV alumna. She is proud to live and work in Greenfield, where she is involved with many community projects. Her biggest accomplishments are two amazing offspring and a personal record 138 game in candlepin bowling.



Alfonso SantanielloAlfonso Santaniello is Owner & CEO of the Creative Strategy Agency, Inc., and digital marketing and communications agency headquartered in Springfield, MA with a second office in San Diego, CA. tCSA focuses on social media, advertising, and search marketing strategies and campaigns for clients in various industries from eCommerce to restaurant chains to nonprofits. Alfonso is also creator and host of Digital Scoop, a digital web series that shares the latest changes in digital marketing in two minutes or less. You can watch daily videos on YouTube and Facebook. Lastly, Alfonso is also an alum of Leadership Pioneer Valley, Class of 2013.

Sandy SayersSandy Sayers, is the Executive Director of the United Way of Franklin County.  She is an experienced development & community relations professional with a variety of non-profit organizations, colleges, private schools and hospitals.  Professional strengths include donor cultivation, stewardship, and solicitation of major gifts, small development office management, and in-depth knowledge of capital campaigns, special events and fundraising strategy.  

She is a graduate of Greenfield Community College (1985) and Smith College, Ada Comstock Program (1988).

Chris SikesChristopher Sikes is the CEO of Common Capital. He has directed the organization to provide economic sustainability for individuals and the community since 1989.

Ashli StempelAshli Stempel served as the Precinct 8 Greenfield Town Councilor and Chair of the Ways & Means subcommittee. She is currently a candidate for an At-large Council seat. She works at Smith College Executive Education, working to advance women in corporations around the world. Her idea of fun is a ginger martini or a cold craft IPA, or complete home renovations.


Phoebe WalkerPhoebe Walker is the Director of Community Services at the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG).. Involved in public health programming at the FRCOG for over twenty years, Ms. Walker is a member of the management team. She co-Chairs the local hospital Community Benefits Committee, facilitates the Healthcare Solutions subcommittee of the Opioid Task Force, and leads the region’s first coordinated Community Health Improvement Planning effort.

Ms. Walker is a founding member of the Massachusetts Regionalization Working Group and the Massachusetts Public Health Practice-Based Research Network, and served as a member of the Lieutenant Governor’s Regionalization Advisory Commission subcommittees on Libraries and Public Health. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from the Center for Public Policy and Administration at UMass Amherst. Phoebe lives in Buckland, Massachusetts with a husband and two sons, and serves as the elected Moderator in the Town.


Contact: Lora Wondolowski, Leadership Pioneer Valley, lwondolowski(at)



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