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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Kristine Allard currently serves as the Vice President of Development for Square One in Springfield, where she oversees program development, fundraising and communications. She has a strong background in fund development, marketing communications and public relations in both the non-profit and for-profit business sectors. Kris sComerves on various boards and committees, including the YMCA and Baystate Academy Charter School. She resides in Wilbraham with her husband and two children. She holds a BA from the University of New Hampshire.
Allan Blair is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Council (EDC) of Western Massachusetts. He has served in that capacity since the EDC’s creation in 1996, providing leadership in delivering services and business resources that will enable companies to thrive in Western Massachusetts. Allan received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a J.D. from Western New England College School of Law. He is a Trustee of Baystate Health and a member of the Massachusetts Bar.
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.
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.
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.
Toni Hendrix is Director of Human Resources for The Loomis Communities. Hendrix holds a Master’s degree in education from Cambridge College. Previously, Hendrix has served as Senior Human Resources Consultant at Baystate Health, Vice President at American Cancer Society, Senior Consultant at Simmons Associates, and Human Resources Director at MassMutual Financial Group.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Senior Director of Human Resources at L-3 Communications-KEO Division, Amy Roberts joined L-3 KEO in November 2007 as the Talent Manager for the organization. In 2009 Roberts was promoted to Director of Human Resources at L-3 KEO. In her role, Roberts leads the HR function at the home office for KEO in Northampton MA, as well as the HR function at sister divisions located in Pittsburg, PA and Bologna, Italy. Prior to joining KEO, she worked for the MassMutual Financial Group. During her time at MassMutual, Robers 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.
Idelia has been with Holyoke Community College since 1982; currently she is the Assistant Vice President of Diversity and the Director of Academic Administration. She received the Governors “Pride in Performance Award” and has been recognized as one of the twenty-five most prominent African Americans women by Springfield. Idelia is a founder of the Leadership Holyoke program. She has served as the Program Coordinator for the past 25 years. She has served on a number of non-profit boards, including Chair of the United Way, Vice Chair of the Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems, the Red Cross, and the Food Bank of Western Mass.