Worcester, MA – On January 23, 2020 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass & MetroWest hosted its Annual Meeting at The Hanover Insurance Group. Nearly one hundred guests and supporters attended the meeting as it marked the start of the organization’s ambitious new three-year Strategic Plan.
John C. Roche, President and Chief Executive Officer for The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., welcomed attendees and made remarks about the special relationship between The Hanover and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“As a company, we are committed to supporting our local youth, helping them learn and grow,” said Mr. Roche. “Big Brothers Big Sisters provides critical support within our community, encouraging our youth to reach their full potential. We are extremely proud to be long-term partners of Big Brothers Big Sisters.”
Additionally, Mr. Roche was excited to announce that The Hanover Insurance Group Foundation has pledged $90,000 over the next three years to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass & MetroWest as a show of support for its mission. “This contribution represents our great support of the agency, helping to serve more children on its waitlist, in accordance with its new Strategic Plan.”
Speakers at this event included Sarah Shugrue, Program Officer at the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, who was a former Big Sister and staff member at Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Keynote speaker Barbara Fields, President and CEO for Greater Worcester Community Foundation, spoke about her impressions of the Worcester community and the need for continued partners amongst service organizations and mission partners. Ms. Fields is also a former Big Sister.
At the meeting, several new board members were officially announced.
Shannon Hawley – Shannon is a partner in the Ernst & Young East Real Estate practice. As a partner, Shannon is a trusted advisor that assists real estate companies in the areas of financial analysis, financial reporting, auditing, developing internal control policies and procedures, and strategic planning. Shannon has had particular focus on diversity and inclusiveness initiatives, serving as a member of and then as a Co-Chair for both the Ernst & Young Professional Women’s Network and the Ernst & Young People Advisory Board.
Ahmad Lightfoot – Ahmad is an experienced retail executive at TJ Maxx, with over 30 years of industry knowledge. Ahmad graduated from Auburn University in Montgomery where he earned a B.S. with a concentration in criminal justice and certification as a paralegal. After honorably serving in the Army as a military police officer, Ahmad returned home and pursued a career in loss prevention and generously invested his time in community service initiatives that could be used to reduce the number of negative encounters of youth in their retail experiences.
Helder Machado – With close to 30 years of experience in information technology and cybersecurity systems, Helder and his team at Machado Consulting have demonstrated measurably successful corporate information technology initiatives. Helder started Machado Consulting over 18 years ago to provide IT support for small to medium size businesses. He is always seeking opportunities which inspire his passion for technology and creative technological skills.
Lynette Paczkowski – Lynette is a pragmatic and trusted advisor with extensive experience advocating for her clients at trial and appellate courts across Massachusetts. Clients rely on her to protect their interests during stressful, challenging times. Lynette’s empathy for her clients’ situations allows her to understand their priorities and concerns and develop a strategy around those goals. She routinely guides and helps individuals navigate prenuptial agreements, divorces, child custody issues, and other domestic and familial disputes. She also represents individual and corporate clients from various industries, including construction, utility, professional services, real estate, nonprofit and education, in litigation matters and litigation-avoidance strategies, including in the areas of construction litigation, land use disputes and tort-related claims.
Steve Taviner – As a development professional and expert in creating non-profit brands, Steve has over a decade’s worth of experience creating passion for and commitment to fighting poverty, injustice and improving health. With a Master of Social Work, he knows how to translate a commitment to social and racial justice through hard data skills and evidence-based practice. For both local and international causes, he successfully works to unite stakeholders around requests for increased funding from state and federal elected officials. A native of the UK, Steve has worked in Russia, France, Haiti and the US, and enjoys building coalitions across cultural, linguistic and social diversity.
After the board members were introduced, Big Brothers Big Sisters honored several people who have made an impact on the organization. In addition, the 20th Anniversary of the John’s Brothers program was celebrated. The John’s Brothers program was the first college mentoring program started by the College of the Holy Cross’ men’s lacrosse team to honor a player who had passed away in 2000. This year, it was fitting that The Linda Urbec Award, which recognizes the college match of the year, was given to Connor Waldron, a Holy Cross student an member of the Johns Brothers team, and his Little Brother, Jespine.
The Dr. H. Martin Deranian Award, which recognizes the Big Brother/Sister of the year, was presented to Jon Ryan and his Little, Carter. Jon and Carter have been matched since 2012. The Colleen O’Brien Award was presented to Peter Betrovski for his years of service as a Big Brother and Board Member.
The next event for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass & MetroWest is The Big Celebration, an annual Spring Gala, being held on April 4, 2020 at the AC Hotel in Worcester. For more information about The Big Celebration or the organization, please visit www.bbbscm.org .