Impact NORTH SHORE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Leaders Diamond Award honorees inspire greatness
DREAM BIG. SECOND LOCATION BIG. What’s your next move? Salem Five is committed to helping area businesses succeed, so we’re pleased to partner with the North Shore Chamber of Commerce to support this critically important mission.
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FROM THE CEO
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Impact Magazine is focused on highlighting the work of The Chamber’s member businesses through articles written by our team to columns penned by our members themselves. Contact Editor Sonya Vartabedian with your story ideas at 978-774-8565, Ext. 3.
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Forging new connections “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” — Henry David Thoreau
eading into fall, we’re gearing up for a busy few months here at The Chamber, with many dynamic events and important, timely advocacy work. As promised, our focus will continue to be on all-things “workforce,” keeping in mind your needs as business owners, leaders and employees. We’re all busy professionals and pressed for time. But let’s face it. We’re never too busy for what we set as priorities. This fall, I hope you’ll make The Chamber a priority, and mark your calendar to attend a few key events. Come learn the pros and cons of the ballot questions at our October Insight Forum, or honor a veteran by purchasing a ticket to our Salute To Veterans breakfast in November. Network and grow your business connections at our holiday social, or join Thrive for a panel discussion. Also, consider becoming even more involved with The Chamber by investing your time on one of our committees or professional groups. You’ll make new business connections, engage with top leaders, and learn new professional skills. Here are just a few ways for you and your staff to get involved: Young Professionals: This new group will convene, likely monthly, with the goal of providing leadership development, fun social events, networking and mentorship opportunities. It’s a great way to develop talent in your organization, and identify potential future board members. Chris Pellegrini of Windover Construction is heading this effort. Contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Offshore Wind Advisory Group: Are you interested in the $180 million offshore wind initiative planned for Salem Harbor? Is renewable energy part of
your business plan? Join the Chamber’s ad hoc committee, led by our past board chair Darren Ambler, Principal/Managing Consultant at OneDigital Health and Benefits. Email email@example.com. Ambassadors Program: This special group of volunteers helps promote The Chamber and its member businesses. You’ll recognize ambassadors by the ribbons on their nametags as they greet guests at events Chamber President and help to make and CEO connections. Ambassadors also engage with new members by making welcome calls and event invitations. The Ambassadors Program is led by MaryAnn “Mo” Levasseur, a board member and president of Profile Research. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thrive: It’s free to join this group for women in business, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Help collect donations at a networking-with-a-cause event; volunteer for the auction fundraiser coming in the spring; become a mentor to another woman in business. I co-chair Thrive with board member Mary Anne Clancy, SVP of marketing and communications at Institution For Savings. Visitnorthshorechamber.org, click on “Join Thrive,” and connect to our mailing list. I hope you’ll find new ways to connect with The Chamber, whether through a committee, event or work on an advocacy issue. As always, I welcome your ideas — and your help — so please contact me anytime. I look forward to collaborating.
Karen Andreas is president and CEO of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at 978-774-8565, Ext. 5, or email email@example.com. IMPACT MAGAZINE
The Chamber shines a spotlight on five outstanding North Shore women who have made their mark on the business community and the region. Meet this year’s Diamond Award honorees who have set the bar high as leaders and inspire greatness in those around them. Page 17.
SONYA VARTABEDIAN sonya.vartabedian@ northshorechamber.org CHERYL BEGIN cheryl.begin@ northshorechamber.org
KAY EISENSTEIN kay.eisenstein@ northshorechamber.org Intern
HENRY DOHERTY Bertolon School of Business, Salem State University Creative Design
DIANE CARNEVALE ART firstname.lastname@example.org
LEADERSHIP: Creating a healthy culture begins with the leadership at the top. By Deane Gyllenhaal. Page 7 ENERGY: Achieving a clean-energy economy requires a diverse and practical approach. By Stephen Woerner. Page 8
Director of Sales & Marketing
RETIREMENT: Services, support systems stand ready to help the aging workforce on their journey. By Tracy Arabian. Page 29
KAREN E. ANDREAS karen.andreas@ northshorechamber.org
ROBYN PREGENT robyn.pregent@ northshorechamber.org
The 2022 Diamond Award honorees, above, from left, Samanda Morales, Kim Rock, Kathleen Walsh and Darcia Tremblay and, at left, the late Betsy Merry.
MARKETING: The virtual realm offers a new world of opportunity for businesses to connect. By Jay Salois. Page 14
President and Chief Executive Officer
Reba Saldanha photo
FEATURING PRESERVING HISTORY Salem Witch Museum marks 50 years of telling the story of the city’s dramatic past. Page 12
STRONGER TOGETHER Embracing the “huddle” is a positive way for women to advance their goals and thrive. By Melisa Gillis. Page 30
PLANNER: Mark your calendar for a host of Chamber happenings. Page 4 NEW MEMBER WELCOME: Look who is joining our growing network. Page 34 BRIEFCASE: Check out the latest news from our Chamber members. Page 36 FACES & PLACES: Catch a glimpse of some recent Chamber events. Page 39 YOUR IMPACT: Brad Small, founder and CEO of Solomon Private Wealth, LLC, believes success requires thinking differently and a healthy amount of humility. Page 46
ON THE COVER: The North Shore Chamber’s 2022 Diamond Award honorees, from top, Samanda Morales, the late Betsy Merry, Darcia Tremblay, Kathleen Walsh and Kim Rock. NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG
For a complete Chamber calendar and details on signing up for any of our events, visit northshorechamber.org.
Business Insight Breakfast Forum
Business Leads Group
Take advantage of this free monthly opportunity to develop new business connections while highlighting your company to a roomful of professionals. North Shore Chamber Boardroom 5 Cherry Hill Drive, Suite 100, Danvers 8-9 a.m. Free for Chamber members
Join us for a deep dive into the November 2022 state ballot questions. THURSDAY Proponents and opponents of the issues will speak on questions dealing with the state income tax, driver’s licenses for immigrants without legal residency, dental insurance and alcohol retail licensing. Salem Waterfront Hotel 225 Derby St., Salem 7:30-9 a.m.
Salute to Veterans Breakfast
The Chamber is proud to once again join with UniCare to host our second annual breakfast honoring veterans along with active military servicemen and women. This special event features the presentation of two Minuteman Service Awards — to an individual and to a business demonstrating remarkable dedication and outstanding leadership in support of our military or veterans communities. Boston Marriott Peabody 8A Centennial Drive, Peabody 7:30-9 a.m. Free for veterans and the military, through the generosity of our sponsors; registration required in advance at northshorechamber.org.
NORTH SHORE CHAMBER ANNUAL DINNER Reserve your seats for our annual highlight event honoring The Chamber’s Distinguished Leaders, celebrating the year’s accomplishments and outlining initiatives for 2023.
Harborview Ballroom, Danversport 161 Elliott St. (Route 62), Danvers 5-8 p.m.
SAVE THE DATE
2023 North Shore Business Expo
Mark your calendars for the return of The Chamber’s annual Business Expo featuring expanded exhibitor space, breakfast and luncheon speakers, workshops, giveaways and more. Boston Marriott Peabody 8A Centennial Drive, Peabody 9 a.m.-4 p.m. More details to come.
INNOVATION. COMMUNITY. HEART.
Serving the health insurance needs of GIC members for over 30 years Introducing the UniCare heart — a reminder of what matters most. unicaremass.com For self-funded plans, claims are administered by UniCare Life & Health Insurance Company. © 2000-2020 UniCare.
Creating a healthy culture LOOK TO YOUR LEADERS TO FOSTER A VIBRANT ORGANIZATION
By Deane Gyllenhaal Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching
hat is culture? Your organization’s culture represents the collective character, values, thoughts, emotions, beliefs and behaviors of your leaders and individual contributors. It is a product of such factors as your company’s history and how those involved with the operation ascribe meaning and value to it. It is also a reflection of leadership style (legacy and current). Intelligent Leadership creator and executive coach John Mattone believes that style is rooted in the creation and implementation of your organization’s vision, mission, purpose, strategy, structure and roles. Great leaders can drive a strong company culture. They can align the team and the corporate strategy, resulting in the success of both employees and the overall company and, ultimately, satisfied and happy clients. A broken culture displays itself through symptoms that include high absenteeism and turnover, cynicism and lack of motivation among some team members, along with stagnant productivity. Over time, many organizations go through a negative culture cycle where there may be toxic dynamics between team members, lack of trust between staff and management, communication issues and overall poor leadership. These issues can cause an organization to eventually fail. A company’s organizational success is tied to the health of its culture. Every company wants to have the best
possible culture; the stronger the culture, the better the chance of success. Leaders can, through a transformational process, improve the health of their organizational culture. The five “C’s” of culture, as defined by Mattone, are: Capability Culture — “Can Do”: To what extent is your organization creating a culture of can do, in which people truly believe they have the skills and capabilities required to be successful and help the organization be successful? Commitment Culture — “Will Do”: To what extent is there a reasonable risk-taking culture in place in which people believe they can take risks and failure is seen as an opportunity to grow and become better? Connectedness — “Must Do”: To what extent are people so connected and aligned with the vision that they feel they must execute at a high level? Individual Success Culture: To what extent is there a culture of individual excellence and execution? Team Success Culture: To what extent is there a team and collaborative approach to getting things done in your organization and a shared passion and inclination to work hard to achieve win-win solutions when conflicts and disagreements occur? The ability to assess your organization’s five “C’s” will help identify the strength and vibrancy of your culture and ultimately your company’s current and future operating success, according to Mattone. Cultural transformation takes hard work and a significant shift in mindset. Sometimes it takes a coach to set you on the correct path. Regardless of the route you choose, making your company culture a priority is paramount to your organization’s overall success. I
Deane Gyllenhaal is a master certified leadership coach and franchise owner of Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching. NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG
Tackling the climate challenge ACHIEVING NET ZERO REQUIRES A PRAGMATIC, AFFORDABLE APPROACH
By Stephen Woerner National Grid
here is ample evidence the world is experiencing the impacts of climate change, primarily caused by the combustion of fossil fuels. As an energy company serving millions of people in the Northeast, National Grid is invested in not only assisting in the transition to a fossil-free future, but understanding how this transition will impact the businesses and residents of Massachusetts. Fortunately, Massachusetts is already far ahead of other states. Not only has the state rallied around a net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2050, but it also already has nation-leading energy-efficiency programs as well as solar development and electric vehicle incentives. But it’s not enough. Reaching net zero by 2050 requires thoughtful and practical changes in the way we heat and power our businesses and homes. Tackling these challenges in the scale and speed needed to reach our goals requires more than a single solution. Electrification of heat will certainly play an important role in achieving net zero for some in Massachusetts. But it may not be practical for everyone. Today, fully electrifying a typical home in Massachusetts costs roughly $20,000 to $60,000. Additionally, given the physical limitations of existing buildings, it is technically difficult to electrify 30 percent to 70 percent of building space in the urban areas of Boston and 5 percent to 40 percent outside the city. A diverse and practical range of cleaner heating
solutions is necessary to enable customers to choose methods that will best address their needs for performance and cost, without compromising our shared climate goals. Earlier this year, National Grid filed a plan with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities that outlines how to realize a decarbonized heating future. National Grid has announced it is going fossil-free across its U.S. footprint with the introduction of a clean energy vision for heating. That vision seeks to enable all businesses and homes to meet their heating needs without the use of fossil fuels by 2050, if not sooner, achieving net-zero emissions while keeping energy affordable and preserving customer choice. The vision rests on four key pillars: Energy efficiency in buildings: We will continue to provide programs for our customers to accelerate energy-efficiency improvements to buildings, including deep retrofits and measures that reduce peak gas and electric demand. We will also support more rigorous building codes for new buildings. Hybrid electric-gas heating systems: We will support our customers by providing them strategies and tools to capture and maximize the benefits of pairing electric heat pumps with their gas appliances. Targeted electrification and networked geothermal: We will support cost-effective targeted electrification on our gas network, including piloting new solutions like networked geothermal. We will support
Stephen Woerner is president of National Grid in New England.
BECOME A CORPORATE MEMBER at the Peabody Essex Museum Give your company, employees, and clients the opportunity to experience the museum’s captivating and dynamic exhibitions, attend unique events and programs and receive exclusive behind-the-scenes access.
Scan code for details or visit pem.org/corporate 161 ESSEX STREET | SALEM, MA
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Photo by Geneve Hoffman Photography. Photo by Michael Blanchard
NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG Photography. Photo by Ken Sawyer/PEM. Photo by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.
Promoting the move to a clean-energy economy National Grid is offering incentives to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and convert to clean heat. The company assists businesses in lowering energy usage through such tools as efficient electrified heat pumps, LED lighting, commercial kitchen equipment and insulation.
Visit ngrid.com/biz to learn more about National Grid’s energy-efficiency programs.
our customers who heat with oil and propane to convert to electric heat pumps. For those customers where electrification isn’t feasible: National Grid has committed to a 100-percent fossil-free gas network by 2050 — delivering renewable natural gas and green hydrogen to our customers. This fossil-free pathway utilizes the existing gas network and avoids the dramatic overbuilding of electric infrastructure that would otherwise be needed with full electrification. Using a balanced and diversified approach to heating is the most practical, expedient and affordable path
to reducing emissions for all our customers. As we continue to move forward toward our shared climate goals, we need to make sure that we are working with our communities on what they want to see from a clean-energy economy, not just what we think that economy needs or should look like. The gas utility of the future should offer a mosaic of clean-energy solutions that meet the needs of different types of buildings and communities. National Grid’s plan seeks to accomplish that — preserving customer choice, affordability and reliability, while achieving our collective decarbonization goals. I
Strong Lines. Strong Ties.
Connolly Brothers Inc. is a construction management firm serving private commercial, industrial, and institutional clients. A five-generation family business established in 1880, Connolly is based in Beverly, Mass. and operates throughout the New England region. For more than a century, clients have turned to Connolly for all aspects of their construction projects, from planning and design to real estate development. More at ConnollyBrothers.com.
152 Conant St., Beverly, Mass. 01915 10
Construction Management Planning & Design Development
connollybrothers.com IMPACT MAGAZINE
INVESTS Eastern Bank is committed to recognizing the good in our communities and celebrating the work of the
NORTH SHORE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Eastern takes pride in its outspoken advocacy and community support that includes $240 million in charitable giving since 1994. Join us to make a difference at easternbank.com
Salem Witch Museum marks 50 years of bringing city’s landmark past to light Compiled by Sonya Vartabedian The Chamber
ince its opening in 1972 in a renovated historic church, the Salem Witch Museum has served as a distinctive local landmark and major contributor to the city’s cultural and historic landscape. For the past five decades, the museum in Washington Square has told the true story of the Salem witch trials of 1692 and provided context for understanding the phenomenon of witch hunts and witchcraft from the 15th century into the modern day. The museum was founded during Salem’s push to redevelop its core and market itself as a city of unique historical importance in the late 1960s and ‘70s. Public interest in Salem’s connection to the witch trials of 1692 was piqued by the publication and Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s play, “The Crucible,” in the 1950s. However, fascination with everything related to witches and witchcraft increased dramatically after several episodes of the TV sitcom “Bewitched” were filmed at various locations throughout Salem and aired across the country in 1970. The museum was founded soon after to educate the public about the 1692 trials.
EXPANDING ITS REACH
When prominent North Shore business executive Biff Michaud took over the museum’s operations in 1980, he dedicated himself to making the museum more accessible and relevant to a new generation of visitors. Alison D’Amario, an English teacher from Topsfield, joined the staff in 1986. She designed an education program around the trials that could be adapted to schools, historical societies and business groups. Additionally, Michaud broadened the museum’s family appeal by working to help launch Haunted Happenings, a simple, two-day family festival that has evolved into what is a popular month-long, city-wide celebration today.
Under Michaud’s leadership, the museum expanded its marketing initiatives to the group tour and travel market, both nationally and overseas. The museum’s core presentation was translated into eight languages to accommodate a continuously increasing number of international visitors. In 1999, a second exhibit titled “Witches: Evolving Perceptions” was created to provide visitors with context to enhance their understanding of the Salem trials. The exhibit gives background on the development of witchcraft beliefs in Europe, describes how the image of a witch has changed and evolved over time, and highlights how the formula for a witch hunt can be perceived in modern-day events. Interest in the story behind Salem’s witch trials as well as the history of witchcraft and witches in general continues to grow. The Salem Witch Museum consistently receives the attention of national and international press, and has been featured on the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, History Channel and “The Today Show,” among others. In 1989, the City of Salem created a commission to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the witch trials. The
Prepared with assistance by the staff of the Salem Witch Museum. 12
Designer Alexander McQueen explores his ancestry while on a trip to the museum.
Salem Witch Museum was instrumental in bringing the business community together to plan and implement the yearlong series of events. The dedication of the Salem Witch Trials Memorial by Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel in August 1992 remains a high point of that year. In its continuing efforts to highlight the plight of the unjustly accused and maligned today, the Salem Witch Museum, along with other members of the Salem Witch Trial Tercentenary Committee, established the annual Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice. This award is now granted by the organization Voices Against Injustice, previously known as the Salem Award Foundation. It aims to recognize those who take action to alleviate discrimination and promote tolerance in the world today.
CONTINUING THE MISSION
Museum Executive Director Tina Jordan has witnessed many changes since she joined the Salem Witch Museum in 1980 while still an undergraduate student at Wheaton College. She fell in love with the city’s fascinating history, and rose from a general staff member of the museum to manager, director of sales and finally executive director in 2008. She’s seen museum patrons evolve from senior citizens on buses to cruise ship passengers, student groups and international visitors learning about the witch trials in their own language. There have been plenty of celebrity encounters through the years, too. Famed fashion designer Alexander McQueen arrived during his quest to learn about his mother’s ancestor, Elizabeth Howe, one of the accused. NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG
Comedian Joan Rivers is seen with Salem Witch Museum CEO Biff Michaud on one of her visits to the historical attraction.
Comedian Joan Rivers and Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett have been among the more famous faces to pay a visit. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Miller was on hand in 1991 to launch the commemoration events for the 300th anniversary. Jordan says the museum is fortunate to have the support of great leadership willing to take risks, to pivot when necessary and invest in what is important. She credits current CEO and mentor Michaud, along with former museum directors Susannah Stuart (1982–1984) and Patricia MacLeod (1984-2008) and education director emeritus D’Amario with guiding the organization through her tenure. She also applauds her current team, including education director Rachel Christ-Doane, assistant education director Jill Christiansen, Director of Sales Merry Ward and buyer Terri Ryback with contributing to the organization’s success. In 2010, the museum began a series of updates, starting with the restoration of the front façade of the building, which was originally erected in 1844-1846 as the Second Unitarian Church of Salem. Renovations to the front plaza followed.
Updates to the “Witches: Evolving Perceptions” exhibit have been underway since the winter of 2017, beginning with the creation of a new timeline of witchcraft history. This display gives a detailed account of the legal, social and religious changes that led to the massive European witch hunts. A first edition of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was added in 2019, along with several artifacts relating to early modern folk magic. In spring 2020, along with the installation of a recently recorded audio tour, a new tableau reflecting updated scholarship was unveiled. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salem Witch Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration will be extended over the next several years. Among the plans for the milestone are a series of special virtual events, an update to the museum’s front vestibule and the installation of additional artifacts. Most importantly, the main presentation will undergo a major update and renovation. Visit salemwitchmuseum.com for more of the Salem Witch Museum’s history and a listing of upcoming programs and events. I 13
Reaping virtual rewards NEW TECHNOLOGY OFFERS AN EXPANDED REALM OF OPPORTUNITY
By Jay Salois VRtical Media
hirty years ago, the internet revolutionized how businesses and people connected — opening up a whole new world for sharing products, services and information. The virtual and augmented reality arena is now taking things to a new level — creating more opportunities for greater interaction on a global scale. VR and AR — as they’re known — enable companies to boost their online business presence, while helping consumers make informed decisions on where to direct their dollars. For example, a person thousands of miles away can land on a local artist’s popup gallery online and take a tour without leaving home. The virtual visit can lead to commissioned work, sales and ultimately an expanded network of potential customers. That’s the power of virtual experiences. Almost every type of business can benefit by a 360-degree virtual tour. The technology is being utilized as a marketing tool by industries from retail to hospitality, gallery and museum spaces to event venues, and even car dealerships and golf courses. Other industries are diving into the arena, too. The technology can be used for immersive and interactive training initiatives, and has been shown to produce higher knowledge retention rates. While two-dimensional images provide viewers with a useful visual, the brain comprehends size of space more accurately with 360-degree imagery. Whether someone wants to book a dinner for 10, tour a wedding/corporate event venue, walk through a construction site without getting dirty, plan a trip, pick out theater seats or explore a museum before making a purchase or reservation, a virtual tour can prove valuable. Virtual tours are also customizable. They can be branded with a company’s logo, fonts, colors and other digital
assets, making it wholly identifiable to that business. They offer interactive potential through hotspots (clickable buttons), links, videos and pictures that further engage visitors. Virtual reality has the advantage of being accessible, too. People with limited mobility, financial constraints and phobias (such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia) can enjoy experiences that otherwise may have been out of reach. The tours do not require a VR headset or specialized equipment. They are viewable simply via a computer, tablet or phone. The data shows a solid success rate: 78 percent of people view businesses with virtual tours as well established. Customers are known to spend five to 10 times longer on a website with virtual offerings. Younger generations, with their increasing purchase power, are particularly drawn to the concept, having grown up with the technology. They expect to do business with companies that keep up with the times. Want to experience a virtual tour firsthand? Visit the website of most any real estate company across the country or beyond and tour one of their homes for sale from the comfort of your own living room. I started creating virtual tours in 2018. After traveling to the United Kingdom and Ireland for 2½ months honing my craft, I shared my virtual tours with a friend who teaches English in Japan. His students were treated to a tour of a castle in Scotland, some 5,300 miles away. From there, I began offering the tool to clients. I worked with an artist in Lynn to create a virtual experience of his one-week popup gallery, which he shared with his family 7,600 miles away in Zimbabwe. A local jeweler attracted new clientele from Boston through her virtual showroom, and an area wedding venue booked couples based on its virtual tours. The cost of securing a professionally designed virtual experience is tailored to the size of the business. They typically start at $1,000. The real-world potential of the technology is clear. Virtual tours are an emerging marketing tool that will help businesses elevate their brands, increase both physical and online traffic, boost customer confidence and become accessible to a wider audience. I
Jay Salois is the founder and owner of VRtical Media in Salem, which specializes in creating 360-degree virtual experiences for businesses. 14
ARCHITECTURE & INTERIOR DESIGN
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INFLUENCE & INSPIRE
2022 Diamond Awards honor area women of excellence
hey support and empower, mentor and guide. They demonstrate commitment and passion as they lead with purpose. They serve others and make an impact professionally and personally. They are this year’s North Shore Chamber Diamond Award recipients — five extraordinary women in business excelled in their own careers while inspiring those around them. For the second year, The Chamber celebrated the achievements of women of influence and leadership in our region. Our 2022 honorees are: • Samanda Morales, co-founder and CEO, Ahora, Inc., Lynnfield • Kim Rock, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Institution for Savings, Newburyport • Darcia Tremblay, owner and President, Silver Lining Solutions, Topsfield • Kathleen Walsh, President and CEO, YMCA of Metro North, (Peabody/Lynn/Saugus/Stoneham/Melrose) • Betsy Merry (1952-2022), posthumously, real estate broker, businesswoman, community advocate, MerryFox Realty, Salem The honorees were nominated by their peers in the North Shore business community and ultimately chosen by The Chamber’s Diamond Awards Selection Committee. The Selection Committee included Jay Connolly, president and CEO, Connolly Brothers Inc., North Shore Chamber Board of Directors; Rob Pellegrini, president, ENCON Commercial Services, North Shore Chamber Board of Directors; and Lorie Skolski, Business Principal, DMS Design LLC; along with Karen Andreas, NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG
Reba Saldanha photo
North Shore Chamber president and CEO; and Sonya Vartabedian, North Shore Chamber communications director. The recipients were honored at a Diamond Awards Breakfast on Aug. 24 at Kernwood Country Club in Salem. Thank you to our Platinum Sponsors — Salem Five Bank and Institution for Savings; Gold Sponsors — Enbridge and UniCare; Silver Sponsors — C.P. Berry Homes, Cabot Financial Management, Charing Cross Realty, International Protective Services, North Shore Bank, Solomon Private Wealth and YMCA of Metro North; and our Bronze Sponsor — Constitution Financial Partners for supporting the event. On the pages ahead, we spotlight our honorees and their contributions to the North Shore . 17
DIAMOND AWARD North Shore Chamber of Commerce
Influence & Inspire
Upholding the American dream
SAMANDA MORALES AIMS TO EMPOWER OTHERS TO BUILD A PROSPEROUS FUTURE
wenty years working in financial services didn’t prepare Samanda Morales for the surprising conversation she had with a maintenance worker a few years ago. During their daily exchange of pleasantries, he announced his impending retirement and plans to return to his native country. Morales wondered if he made arrangements to have his retirement checks sent home. She was dismayed to learn he did not have a retirement account. “Here was a man who left his home 30 years ago to come to the United States for a better life,” she says. “He worked hard, and now was returning to his native country with little or no savings. “That should not have happened. If he had begun saving and investing 30 years ago, he would have been in a much better position.” Sadly, Morales knew the gentleman was not alone. Most working-class individuals — the very ones who need financial guidance — rarely seek out money management advice, she says. It’s even rarer, she says, still that they are solicited to enroll in investment vehicles. Morales identified with the maintenance man’s story on many levels. She, too, is an immigrant, having emigrated from the Dominican Republic when she was 14. She and her older sister arrived in 18
Reba Saldanha photos
Samanda Morales sees it as her mission to empower others to a secure and solvent future.
New York to join their mom with only a manila envelope that held their traveling papers. Though she couldn’t speak English, her father, who remained in the Dominican Republic, assured Morales that education and an unflagging work
ethic would see her through. And like a character straight from a Horatio Alger story, Morales grew to realize the American dream. Her first obstacle was learning English. With the help of the television comedy “Full House,” vocal group Boyz IMPACT MAGAZINE
Morales shares her story of finding success as an immigrant at the 2022 Diamond Awards.
II Men, and a dictionary, she became fluent in the language. She proceeded to graduate from Malden High School and then enrolled in the business administration program at Salem State University. All the while, she manifested her dreams of a successful business career, imagining scenarios where she would be leading meetings, dressed in business attire. During her junior year of college, she began interning at State Street Bank and Trust Company. She was offered a job as one of the bank’s senior fund accountants upon graduation in 1998. There, she was introduced to the world of mutual funds and investments. “Before I started my career, I was not aware that investment was an option or even existed,” she says. She left State Street as an account manager and joined Bank of New York Mellon, where she served as a trust officer, associate and project manager. Her financial education was remarkable, but it was the conversation with the maintenance worker that fueled her mission. So, when Bank of New York Mellon announced a workforce reduction in 2019, she was ready for her next challenge. A fixer by nature, Morales took her personal and professional experience and, using her own investments, founded Ahora Inc. with her husband, David, in 2020. Ahora — which is Spanish for “now” — is a social enterprise organization that offers culturally appropriate financial coaching, education and personal wealth-building services to those who desire to do better. The goal is to help individuals develop sustainable personal wealth with an eye toward financial freedom. With discipline, Morales says her clients learn to manage their money, while NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG
Morales guides a group of young women in strategies for building a strong financial future.
reducing debt. This leads to savings, she says, which leads to investing and a retirement they can afford and deserve. “Everything, with the right plan, is feasible,” says Morales, who is a certified personal finance consultant and finance instructor. Dissatisfied with existing budgeting apps, Morales and her husband have introduced an online proprietary tool designed to assist with the financial coaching process. Features of the monthly subscription tool are available through Ahora’s website. Morales firmly believes in the opportunities that exist in America — that if people are given the proper tools, education and support, they, too, can improve their lives and achieve economic prosperity. “Just as I was offered a pathway and opportunities to empowerment for a prosperous future, I want to do the same for others,” she says. “I don’t see it as a job,” she adds. “I see it as a mission.” It’s a lesson she and her husband seek to ingrain in their two teenage sons — as well as others. Raminder Luther, dean of the Bertolon School of Business at Salem State University, says Morales’ skills, combined with her passion and drive, set her apart. “Samanda is a warm and wonderful person dedicated to bettering the lives of others in ways that they may not have thought of,” wrote Luther in her nomination of Morales for the Diamond Award.
“She understands the value of collaboration and teamwork and always contributes to advancing the mission of every organization she associates with.” In addition to her professional and family responsibilities, Morales is pursuing her MBA through Northeastern University, which she is due to earn in 2024. A proud American citizen today, Morales also finds time to give back. She was recently appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to the Board of Trustees of her alma mater — Salem State University. She is on the board and serves as a deacon at Bethany Congregational Church in Lynn. She co-leads a Latina women’s group that seeks to empower though counseling and mentorship. She is a member of The Chamber and serves on the Advisory Council of its Thrive initiative. She was also selected to be part of the inaugural cohort of LEADS North Shore — a diverse cross-section of leaders committed to driving change. Morales says being a leader is not about telling others what to do, but selflessly creating a space for them to grow to their full potential. That starts by building trust, which she says is not given, but must be earned. “Demonstrating values that will strengthen someone’s character with dignity and wisdom,” she says, “is our responsibility as those in a position to lead.” — Ellen Small Davis Impact contributor I 19
DIAMOND AWARD North Shore Chamber of Commerce
Influence & Inspire
‘It’s the small things that matter’
KIM ROCK’S GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT HAS EARNED HER WIDESPREAD TRUST, RESPECT
hile others sought relief from the intense heat of early August by the water or an air conditioner, Kim Rock hopped on her bike for the Pan-Mass Challenge. It was Rock’s eighth time completing the two-day, 160-mile ride to raise money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The avid cyclist says she was motivated to ride by the bravery of those she was fundraising for — the patients of all ages who are undergoing cancer treatment. It’s the same reason why Rock embarks on the annual Tour de Force memorial bike ride to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Supporting others has been a way of life for Rock, the chief operating officer for the Institution for Savings,. Rock, who oversees the daily operations of the bank, is the first woman in the 202-year history of the Institution for Savings to hold her position. And the responsibility that comes with that is not lost on her. Rock has spent her entire professional career at the Institution for Savings, starting as a teller in 1984. “My career chose me ,” she says. After graduating from Triton Regional High School in Byfield, Rock was preparing for a career in the medical field when her mother died unexpectedly. Suddenly, being in a medical environment became too much for her to bear. 20
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Kim Rock serves as a caring ally for her customers and employees alike.
So Rock decided to go in a complete opposite direction — and ended up with a lifelong profession in the banking field that’s been nothing short of fulfilling. In 1992, Rock was promoted to assistant manager of the Institution for Saving’s Storey Avenue, Newburyport, branch. The following year, she became
the branch office manager and assistant treasurer. In 2004, she was elevated to vice president and then promoted to senior vice president in 2007. She assumed her current position of chief operating officer under bank President and CEO Michael Jones in 2010. IMPACT MAGAZINE
Rock thanks her colleagues at the 2022 Diamond Awards.
Rock says the Institution for Savings has always valued the role of women in the organization and recognizes the importance of promoting from within the ranks. She routinely shares that message with the bank’s new hires: If you work hard and are committed to the job, the opportunities for growth are endless. As Rock’s career grew, so, too, did the bank. When she started 38 years ago, the bank had two locations in Newburyport and 35 employees. Today, there are 15 offices across the North Shore supported by a staff of 200. Yet, Rock says, the close-knit environment that she values continues to exist throughout the company today. She makes it a point to keep apprised of the personal lives of the bank’s employees, offering congratulations at times of joy and caring gestures during challenging moments. “It’s the small things that matter,” she explains. Rock says each employee receives a list of the bank’s 12 core values when they start and are instilled with their importance. The values span from health and wellness objectives to ideals surrounding teamwork, respect and honesty. Employees are given the opportunity to invest in the community, she says. The bank has created a Giving For Good charitable program, where staff members are teamed up and select various causes close to their hearts to receive a donation. Rock sets the example for her colleagues to fo llow with her honesty, compassion and kindness. “She genuinely cares about every person she works with,” says Mary Anne Clancy, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Institution for Savings, who nominated Rock for the Diamond Award. Clancy, who serves on The Chamber’s Board of Directors, says Rock goes NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG
Rock reads to the children at the Beverly Children’s Learning Center.
Rock poses with Institution for Savings President and CEO Mike Jones at the end of the 2021 Pan-Mass Challenge.
above and beyond to address the needs of bank employees, trustees and customers alike. “There is no job too small, too menial, too unimportant for Kim,” Clancy says. “She is tireless and, by far, the hardest working person I have ever met. She is truly an inspiration.” Bank President and CEO Jones says Rock’s leadership skills, attention to detail and concern for others made her the natural choice when he was considering his second in command. During Rock’s tenure, the bank has grown and thrived, Jones says, and she’s gained the trust and respect of all. “I couldn’t ask for a better employee,” says Jones. Or a cycling partner. Jones often joins Rock on her charity bike rides, which has only helped to strengthen their relationship.
In addition to her direct responsibilities at the Institution for Savings, Rock gives her time and talents to many local boards. She is a trustee and treasurer of the Mary Alice Arakelian Foundation and the Putnam Free School Charitable Foundation, among other organizations. A native of Newbury, Kim and her husband, Ed, now live in neighboring Byfield. Kim cherishes time with her family — daughters Kristin Dolan and her husband, Tyler, and Jennifer Rock, along with her two grandsons — 4-yearold Jackson and 2-year-old Griffin. For Rock, helping others, listening, and being kind are crucial values, which she likes to pass along to her grandchildren. She tells the story of a recent walk with grandson Jackson, on which he asked her, “Why do you always stop to greet everyone you meet?” Kim used the moment to explain the importance of making eye contact and offering a smile — even to strangers. “It goes a long way,” she told him. And it makes Rock unforgettable. She’s still stopped in the grocery store by customers she waited on during her teller days. And just recently, she was at her desk when a customer she’s known for 20 years called to say a quick hello. It’s those long-term connections she’s made that Rock relishes the most. “I find it so rewarding,” she says. — Katie Lovett Impact contributor I 21
DIAMOND AWARD North Shore Chamber of Commerce
Influence & Inspire
Delivering kindness and compassion
DARCIA TREMBLAY HELPS FAMILIES UNCOVER THE SILVER LINING IN TIMES OF NEED
arcia Tremblay knows that kindness, compassion and understanding are essential when helping overwhelmed families untangle the application process for Medicaid/MassHealth. They are, in fact, the dynamic business tools she has relied on to build Silver Linings Solution, Inc., a Medicaid applications processing company in Topsfield. As the company’s founder, president and owner, Tremblay is accustomed to proverbially holding the hands of clients, when emotions are running high, as they aggregate the five years of documents necessary for state or federal community and long-term health care. So it is not surprising that several of those who nominated Tremblay for The Chamber’s Diamond Award ticked off those very attributes, as well as adding positivity, inspiration and leadership to the list of words to describe her. Bill Chiccarelli, who works in business development for Valley 98.9 in Methuen, called Tremblay a team builder, strategic thinker and sharp businesswoman. Sylvia Caruso, who owns Wigs by Sylvia of Swampscott, turned to Tremblay while she was caring for her aging mother. “She has a beautiful way with people, she wrote, “is self-confident, knowledgeable and … someone you want to be around during times of difficulty and success.” 22
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Darcia Tremblay strives to be an advocate for families during often difficult times.
Perhaps most gratifying was the nomination from Tremblay’s oldest daughter, Dannielle, a student at Clemson University in South Carolina, who manages social media marketing for Silver Lining Solutions. “Darcia expresses gratitude daily for the people in her life,” Dannielle said.
“She loves to help women inspire each other. She is kind and positive. There is never a time when Darcia can’t make a bad situation a good one.” A child of the North Shore, Tremblay grew up in Salem and graduated Salem High School in 1986. She attended St. Anselm College in IMPACT MAGAZINE
Darcia Tremblay shares her gratitude as she accepts her 2022 Diamond Award.
New Hampshire as a political science major, believing she would one day attend law school. But that all changed after she found her constitutional law class dull and was instead fascinated by her marketing class. After completing her bachelor’s degree, Tremblay walked into a position with the North Shore agency Mullen Advertising. For six years, she worked in public relations before transitioning to the role of broadcast media traffic manager. Following the birth of Dannielle, she remained at home and she and her husband, Tom, a captain with the Salem Fire Department, soon added two more daughters, Julia and Samantha, to their family. Tremblay ran her own small marketing business out of the house, primarily assisting friends and family. When her daughters began school, she refreshed her career goals — ultimately deferring an acceptance to law school to join an acquaintance’s company that processed applications for Medicaid. “I knew nothing about the process,” she admits. “I had to learn from the ground up.” The solid organizational skills she honed in advertising transferred well to the Medicaid application process. A few years later, dreaming of autonomy and self employment, she started her own Medicaid application business from her Topsfield home. She says the company name is the result of a “hand-on-the-doorknob moment” with a thankful client, who shared that working with Tremblay had been a “silver lining” during a stressful time. Others also began seeing the value in her company. In 2017, Tremblay moved her burgeoning company out of her home and into a 1,500-square-foot building in Topsfield. Last September, she expanded again, NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG
Darcia Tremblay and her Silver Lining Solutions team serve up ice cream to the residents and staff of a local nursing home .
to a 3,600-square-foot space next door with eight offices and three conference rooms. She now works with a team of eight full-time employees, who process more than 400 Medicaid applications a year. Tremblay says people often don’t know they need Silver Lining Solutions’ services until they are in the throes of the situation. While she primarily serves clients throughout Massachusetts, she says she will travel anywhere she is needed and has worked with clients all over New England. There isn’t a case she will refuse. “We offer a personalized service,” she says. “We will go where our families are to meet with them. We consider ourselves an extension of their family. We aren’t just a voice over the phone.” With more than 13 years of experience, Tremblay and her all-women staff understand it is paramount they keep current with the Medicaid application, which is upwards of 29 pages long and can change every three to six months Also essential, she says, is maintaining a calm and supportive attitude. “The key is to treat everyone with kindness and respect,” she says. “You need to be patient, organized and have a strong work ethic and relatability. These families are coming to us in crisis mode.”
Tremblay works hard to balance her professional success with family life. She ran all of her daughters’ sports booster programs at Masconomet Regional High School. She and her family have volunteered monthly at the Salem Food Pantry to distribute groceries to those less fortunate. This past summer, she hosted ice cream socials for residents of area nursing homes. As a new member of the North Shore Chamber, she has become an active participant in the Thrive initiative and a supporter of many Chamber events. Tremblay may deal in complex matters. But her guiding principle has been simple: “Work hard, be kind, be true to who you are and success will follow.” Silver Lining Solutions is evidence of this principle. The business has grown 26 percent to 32 percent each year, except in 2020 during the pandemic, when it still increased by 12 percent. The company is on track to make $800,000 in gross revenue this year, she says, and is projected to bring in more than $1 million in 2023. But that’s secondary to Tremblay’s main objective of making a real difference in people’s lives. “I don’t know how big this can get,” she says. “I guess the sky’s the limit.” — Ellen Small Davis Impact contributor I 23
DIAMOND AWARD North Shore Chamber of Commerce
Influence & Inspire
‘I want to level the playing field for everyone’ KATHLEEN WALSH STRIVES TO HELP THOSE AROUND HER REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL
s a 10-year-old, Kathleen Walsh spent many afternoons walking door-to-door in her Danvers neighborhood armed with boxes of chocolate bars and a sales pitch. Her goal was straightforward. She had to sell enough candy to get a spot at the YMCA summer camp. Her parents made it clear, Walsh says. If she wanted to go to the camp with her three sisters, she had to earn a tuition discount through a program selling chocolate bars — about 100 or so. The experience taught her two valuable lessons. One, if you want something, you must work for it. And two, there’s a real sense of accomplishment that comes from doing something on your own to reach your goals. Those skills set the foundation for Walsh’s life and career and remain wholly relevant today in her role as president and CEO of The YMCA of Metro North. As chief executive, Walsh oversees a $25 million organization that annually serves 60,000 people of all ages. She is responsible for a staff that balloons close to 900 in the summer, spread across eight health and wellness centers and child care facilities in Lynn, Peabody, Melrose, Saugus and Stoneham. For Walsh, there could be no better organization at which to grow her career. She and her sisters started going to 24
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Kathleen Walsh is the quintessential servant leader dedicated to improving lives.
the Danvers Y as youngsters. They would walk to the facility from school and spend the afternoon at swim team practice before their parents picked them up. Their social time was also spent at the Y with friends. “It was important to me and my family,” she says.
After graduating from Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody, Walsh pursued a degree in business studies at Providence College. As she approached graduation, her mother offered some advice: maybe a desk job wasn’t the best fit for her. Her mother knew Walsh needed a job IMPACT MAGAZINE
Walsh highlights her career as she accepts her 2022 Diamond Award.
where she could engage with others and do meaningful work. Walsh heeded the message. She completed her graduate studies in sports administration at Northeastern University and then went to work as branch manager at the old Ipswich YMCA. A young 20-something, she was the only full-time employee and in charge of supervising a small staff. “For five years, I did everything,” she says. “I mopped the floors; I took out the trash; I drove the van; I taught classes.” It was a while before she realized other facilities hired people to shovel the snow and she didn’t need to do it herself. Those early learning moments stayed with Walsh as she climbed the ranks and have shaped the leader she is today. In 2012, she joined The YMCA of Metro North, first as its vice president of development, then as its chief operating officer. In 2019, she was promoted to the role of president and CEO. But even now, it’s not unusual to see her picking up a broom. And she still teaches the occasional spin class. During the summer, she makes daily visits to the Y camps to make sure everyone is having fun and to see if any changes are needed. She’s proud of the financial scholarships the organization offers that ensures every child is able to attend camp. In total, the Y provides more than $1.2 million in annual financial assistance as part of its charitable mission to support access to wellness and youth programs and other community initiatives. Since assuming the CEO role, Walsh has set out to foster a culture of respect and equality. She’s a steadfast advocate for the mission of the Y and its three pillars: healthy living, youth development and social responsibility. NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG
Providing access to programs for the region’s young people is among Walsh’s top priorities.
“I want to level the playing field for everyone,” she says. One of her top accomplishments has been the development of the $31 million Demakes Family YMCA in Lynn — a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of one of the city’s most diverse and evolving areas. Walsh says the center, which created 200 new jobs in Lynn, sends the important message that the Y is invested in that city. A champion of health equity, Walsh is passionate about helping every person reach their full potential. An athlete and avid runner herself — she has completed more than 60 marathons — she believes healthy living, fitness and exercise are essential for physical and emotional well-being. Walsh is also laser-focused on the health, growth and development of her employees, says Sandy St. Louis, vice president of communications and marketing for The YMCA of Metro North, who nominated her for the Diamond Award. St. Louis says Walsh regularly challenges her team to be innovative in their approach to solutions and lovingly encourages everyone to be their best selves. “Kathleen acts with social responsibility in mind, and with generosity, caring and compassion,” St. Louis wrote. “She is always giving to others and ensuring that people can access the Y
regardless of their financial, physical or other challenges.” A hands-on leader, Walsh says she is committed to being accessible to her team and guiding them in their own careers. But she is careful to avoid micromanaging, something she learned from her own mentors. “I really try to give them wings and let them fly,” she says of her staff. Walsh, who now lives in Lynnfield, is the mother of three young adults — daughters Johanna and Cynthia and son Francis. She also makes time to volunteer on a number of boards and organizations. She is vice chair of the Northeastern Massachusetts Chapter of the American Red Cross; a board member and former chair of the state Department of Children and Family Services, Malden; and a corporator of North Shore Bank. She serves on The Chamber’s Thrive Advisory Council and is a fellow of LEADS North Shore, an economic and leadership development program. Walsh says she is fortunate to be part of an organization with a deep, impactful purpose. And she’s quick to share the credit for any success she’s achieved. “I’m only successful because I’m in the right organization with the right team,” she says. “I would be nothing without the right team.” — Katie Lovett Impact contributor I 25
DIAMOND AWARD North Shore Chamber of Commerce
Influence & Inspire
A life of selfless service Courtesy photo
BETSY MERRY’S RESOLVE, CARING AND COMMITMENT MADE HER A ROLE MODEL TO MANY
ife is too short not to do things beautifully.” That wasn’t something Betsy Merr y merely said. It is how she lived each day. Merry succumbed to acute myeloid leukemia in May. But not before leaving an indelible mark on the North Shore and beyond. Merry was one of Salem’s most respected community leaders and “a great role model” to many, especially her family. “It was in her blood to take care of everybody else before she took care of herself,” Merry’s son, Ian Merry, said in accepting the Diamond Award presented posthumously to his mother by The Chamber. “She had the innate ability to make you feel special. And that in turn made her special — a special mother, special wife, special coworker, relentless fundraiser, and fearless and fierce businesswoman.” The loss of her father, Walter Lee, in a train crash at the age of 4 triggered a resolve within Merry, her family says. 26
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Honoring Betsy Merry at the 2022 Diamond Awards are, from left, state Rep. Paul Tucker, business partner Dan Fox, best friend Maryann Suydam and son Ian Merry.
Betsy Merry and business partner Dan Fox.
Her mother’s ensuing efforts to provide for her children as a single parent fueled Merry’s resilience, hard work and relentless determination, they say. Born in Salem and raised in Peabody,
Merry graduated from Bishop Fenwick High School and then earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Boston College. She studied abroad at Loyola University in Rome, where she developed a passion for classic architecture, fine art and gourmet food. After beginning her career as a special education teacher at Salem High School, Merry transitioned into the residential real estate business. She managed the Salem Coldwell Banker office for several years before joining with Dan Fox to establish MerryFox Realty in 2008. Known for her real estate prowess, Merry developed a reputation as a trailblazer and quickly became Salem’s top broker. Her authenticity and commitment to her work built an unmatched level of trust with her clients, treating each of them as if they were her only priority. As a mentor for aspiring women in business, her influence was enormous. IMPACT MAGAZINE
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Ian Merry accepts the Diamond Award presented posthumously to his mother.
Fox, who was Merry’s business partner for 14 years, says she exuded confidence and could capture a room with grace and competence. “Betsy had an ability to make people feel confident in their own decisions,” Fox says. “She was the best at what she did — by far the best real estate broker around. “Her success was contagious and people were naturally drawn to her.” Merry admired American businesswoman Barbara Corcoran, the founder of The Corcoran Group, a real estate brokerage in New York City. She felt they were “cut from the same cloth” — having both being raised in Irish Catholic working-class families — and she was inspired by Corcoran’s grit in building her real estate empire, her family says. Merry’s kindness and generosity to causes and people in need was unparalleled, too. Through her work on countless civic projects and with numerous charitable organizations and community institutions, she epitomized the attributes of selfless service. She gave of her time and talents to the Salem Partnership, Salem Pantry, Historic Salem, Salem YMCA and YMCA of the North Shore. She was involved with the Essex Institute, Peabody Museum and later Peabody Essex Museum along with Hamilton Hall. She volunteered at Immaculate Conception Church in Salem and Catholic Charities, was a trustee of the Samaritan Charitable Society of Salem, and a proud member of the Cheerful Workers Sewing Circle. Merry was part of the Steering Committee that launched the North Shore Chamber’s Thrive initiative last year. She believed strongly in Thrive’s mission to empower women — both professionally and personally — at every stage of career. NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG
Betsy Merry, third from left, gathers with members of the Steering Committee at the launch of The Chamber’s Thrive initiative in June 2021.
Her business success, volunteer work and philanthropy brought numerous awards over the years — including the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Yankee Clipper Council, Boy Scouts of America; the Citizen of the Year Award from the City of Salem; and numerous Realtor recognitions. Rep. Paul Tucker of Salem, who represents the 7th Essex District, said he had the privilege of working with Merry on a number of occasions and admired her extraordinary work in a variety of leadership and fundraising roles. “She was a person who gave so much of her time and her generosity to many causes and people in need and made incredibly positive changes in people’s lives,” Rep. Tucker says. Earlier this year, Tucker also recommended Merry for the Commonwealth Heroine Award, which he had the honor of presenting posthumously to her husband, Peter, and son in June. Nothing was more precious to Merry than her family. She shared 45 years of marriage and adventure with her husband. She was the devoted mother of son, Ian, and daughter, Kate Merry Walters, and her husband, Chris. But perhaps her favorite role was that of “Gigi” to grandchildren Peter, Rosemary and Eve. At home, Merry was a consummate
chef who enjoyed hosting dinner parties with her vast network of friends, her family says. She tended her beautiful gardens and created exquisite floral arrangements. Every holiday and special occasion was cause for celebration, and Merry could always be found impeccably dressed and radiating warmth, kindness and positivity. How would Merry like to be remembered? Fox believes Betsy would want to be thought of as someone who worked hard, loved her family, volunteered her time and never let anything get in the way of accomplishing her goals. Merry’s family says they will honor her life by upholding her legacy — to be bold, be bright and to always be our best. Merry’s daughter says her mother taught her the importance of developing a career to support herself independently, and then how to balance her career and family gracefully. She says she will now pass those values on to her own daughters. “She opened doors for women and led by example,” Merry Walters says. “She would like to be remembered fondly by the incredible number of lives she touched, as well as a champion for elevating women in business, never forgetting her own mother’s struggles.” — Sonya Vartabedian Impact editor I 27
Glen T. MacLeod Cape Ann YMCA
Congratulations to the 2022 Diamond Award honorees!
Academic & Institutional | Corporate & Commercial | Life Science & Healthcare Senior Living | Multi-Unit | Custom Homes www.windover.com Beverly, MA 28
The aging workforce SERVICES, SUPPORT HELP SMOOTH PATH TO LIFE’S TRANSITIONS
By Tracy Arabian SeniorCare Inc.
id you know that by the year 2040, the population of people age 65 and older is expected to reach 80.8 million — up from 54.1 million in 2019? As an employer, this is likely to impact your workforce. Many people are working well past the traditional age of retirement. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that among people age 75 and older, the labor force is expected to grow by 96 percent over the next decade. In addition, more employees will find themselves in the role of family caregiver for aging parents and spouses. For anyone who is planning to retire or who is acting as a caregiver to a family member, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the basic services available through the Older Americans Act. The Older Americans Act of 1965 supports a range of home- and community-based services, including Meals On Wheels and other nutrition programs, transportation, legal services, elder abuse prevention, caregiver support and a variety of in-home assistance. The law established the system for funding local aging services programs. Federal funds flow through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs to Area Agencies on Aging. The local Area Agencies on Aging use those funds to provide services to elders in their homes. In addition to the Area Agencies on Aging, Massachusetts oversees Aging Services Access Point agencies that provide state-funded services. In Massachusetts, there are 22 Area Agencies on Aging and 25 Aging Services Access Points. In many cases, a single agency serves both functions. Two major services offered by these agencies — Information & Referral and Options Counseling — are available for free to elders, adults with disabilities and caregivers. Information and referral specialists provide advice on all aspects of elder care and aging as well as services for adults of all ages with disabilities.
In addition, a wealth of resources is available for individuals, families and professionals. Trained staff guide callers and help them obtain the most appropriate and current information. State-trained options counselors, meanwhile, work with older adults age 60-plus or those age 22 and older with a disability. This is a free, short-term service that is typically provided for about 30 days. Counselors can meet with consumers by phone, virtually, over email, in person or a combination of methods. Options Counseling is available to people who live at home or in nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities or hospitals, as well as to their caregivers, wherever they may live, including out of state. Another service funded through the Older Americans Act is SHINE Medicare Counseling. Whether a person is approaching his or her 65th birthday or has been on Medicare for a while, the enrollment and re-enrollment process can be overwhelming. SHINE provides free, unbiased health insurance counseling information and guidance to Massachusetts residents. The area aging agencies work with the Massachusetts SHINE program and can refer anyone with Medicare questions to a certified SHINE counselor. Boston’s North Shore communities are covered by three Area Agencies of Aging and Aging Services Access Points: SeniorCare Inc.: Provides services to Beverly, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester-by-theSea, Rockport, Topsfield and Wenham; 978-281-1750, seniorcareinc.org Greater Lynn Senior Services: Provides services to Lynn, Lynnfield, Nahant, Saugus and Swampscott; 781-599-0110, glss.net AgeSpan (formerly Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore Elder Services): Provides services to 28 communities north of Boston, including Danvers, Marblehead, Middleton, Newburyport, Peabody and Salem; 800-892-0890, agespan.org Although each of these agencies has specific programs, they all provide the same basic services to help promote aging in place — assisting elders with tasks so they may stay in their homes as long as possible. If this seems a bit overwhelming, there is good news. Massachusetts has a “No Wrong Door” policy. If you need services for yourself or an elder in your life, you can contact any of the Area Agencies of Aging and Aging Services Access Points in the state — regardless of your location — and that agency will help connect you with the correct organization for you or your loved one’s needs. For more information on aging services in Massachusetts, visit Mass Options — Your Link to Community Services at massoptions.org or the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs at mass.gov/orgs/executive-officeof-elder-affairs. I
Tracy Arabian is the marketing officer at SeniorCare Inc., an Aging Services Access Point/Area Agency on Aging with offices in Gloucester and Beverly. SeniorCare is celebrating 50 years of service to the older community this year. NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG
Women: Better Together THE UPLIFTING POWER OF THE ‘HUDDLE’ AND CREATING SUCCESS FOR ALL
By Melisa Gillis Gillis Thrive Steering Committee
“Even if it’s still a man’s world we’re working in, the huddle is the the silver silverlining.” lining.” — Brooke Baldwin, “Huddle”
earning to huddle with other women has been a game changer for me. me. My family will tell you I was a tomboy growing up and have been competitive since day one. My colleagues will agree, and also tell you I have a strong drive for excellence in my my work work and andseek seekleadership leadershiproles. roles. Combine these traits traits and I was a sucker for the maledominated competitive culture that permeates our society — keeping my distance from and often competing with other women. I even refused to wear pink until I was in my late late 20s! 20s! Now, several decades later, I am wearing pink and enjoying being part of several different “huddles” with other women from various aspects aspects of my life. I have begun to value the impact and opportunities — both personal and professional — that can can come come by bybanding bandingtogether. together. I was delighted to find CNN news anchor Brooke Baldwin’s book, “Huddle,” where she shines a spotlight on
stories and research highlighting how and why women achieve more when they theystand standunited. united. A profound example of the uplift that can come from working together happened to me 15 years ago, when I experienced a mini-huddle with a former business partner. We were both interested in a part-time consulting opportunity with the leadership company Franklin Covey. Instead of competing, we agreed to partner through the entire process. We provided feedback, advice and support to each other as we submitted resumes and participated in phone interviews, followed by in-person interviews in Boston. We ultimately became two of the four finalists who were flown to Salt Lake City for a final interview. The result? We were both hired. hired. Abundance Abundance lesson lessonlearned! learned! Despite all of the progress the past 50 years, the strength of the male-dominated competitive culture and scarcity model continue to present challenges for many. The number of women in executive executive positions and leadership roles in government, business and the nonprofit sector was not strong to begin with and only suffered during the pandemic. pandemic. While we could focus on the negative statistics and the limiting opportunities, let’s instead focus on how we uplift each other; believe in an abundance of roles, resources and opportunities; and and create createsuccess successfor forall. all. How might we as women apply an abundance mentality?
Melisa Gillis is president of Gillis Consulting and a member of the Thrive Steering Committee. 30
Research from 2000 that focused on how humans react in times of stress provides clarity on women’s inclination to “tend and befriend.” I came across this research many years ago, and was thrilled to see it highlighted in “Huddle” and tied to how women support each other in accomplishing more together. The takeaway that psychology professor Shelley Taylor and other researchers at UCLA found in their studies is that both men and women share the fightor-flight response during stressful situations. However, women are more likely to tend and befriend each other during tense periods, due to their hormonal makeup, learning and socialization. A very public example of this came in 2019. A group that became known as “Black Girl Magic” — 19 black women all seeking judgeships in the Houston, Texas area — campaigned together, huddled together and, against many odds, all won their seats as judges. They continued to support each other once on the bench, too, ensuring their success in fulfilling campaign promises to clean up the courts and create more equity and humanity in sentencing. Believing in themselves was the foundation of their huddle, a behavior they
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had practiced over years of others not believing in them. “Working together, finding common ground, and lending your compassion to another woman might be one of the most important things a huddle can accomplish.” I
Where can you find a huddle? Look no further than the North Shore Chamber’s Thrive initiative, where we are building an ecosystem of support for businesswomen to grow, develop and succeed both personally and professionally. We are a big huddle where all are welcome. Through a monthly rotation of guest speakers, panel discussions and networking-for-a-cause events, we experience provocative questions, authentic conversations and powerful connections — all contributing to increased confidence and success. Look around. Connect with other women. Take a risk. Create abundance. Pass the mic. Tend and befriend. Support others, attend an upcoming Thrive event and become part of our growing huddle. As Brooke Baldwin writes, “It has never been more important for women to see each other as a resource, and for women to feel safe to lean on each other. Show up for them, and they will show up for you.”
— Brooke Baldwin
‘The Power of Resilience’ A Conversation with Nancy Frates Nancy Frates — mother of the late Pete Frates, ALS advocate and force behind the Ice Bucket Challenge — shared her family’s inspiring story of adversity, resilience and triumph at a June 21 luncheon hosted by the Thrive initiative at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem. Frates, who was joined by her husband, John, urged guests to embrace the 5 “P’s” of Peter — qualities her son practiced: Positive. Passionate. Purposeful. Productive. Present.
Nancy Frates, third from left, with her husband, John, John, spoke at Thrive’s June luncheon.
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Lenny Smith has been named a partner of the Life Science Tax Practice at Withum Woburn. Smith, who has over 16 years of experience in the industry, specialLenny Smith izes in corporate and pass-through taxation, advising clients on R&D credit opportunities, qualified small business stock, mergers and acquisitions, Section 382 limitations, transfer pricing and equity-based compensation. He also has extensive experience with individual taxation, advising clients on charitable planning, business succession and tax controversy. Smith was among 16 team members who have advanced to partner in Withum offices nationwide this year. Cummings Foundation has donated $10 million to the School of Education at Salem State University to support programs and initiatives aimed at diversifying, strengthening and sustaining the next generation of educators. The gift represents the largest cash contribution ever made in the history of the nine Massachusetts state universities. With Cummings Foundation’s support, SSU’s School of Education will expand its programming, including building on efforts to diversify the
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Salem Plumbing Supply celebrated the opening of its new location at 8-10 Newbury St. in Danvers in June with a ribbon cutting facilitated by the North Shore Chamber along with a trade show. The third-generation company was founded in 1945 by Bill Sevinor, who passed it down to his son, Ralph. Grandson Jason Sevinor has been at the helm as president since 2008, educator pipeline for all teacher license areas, such as the cohort-based Educator-Scholars of Color initiative.
after having worked in various roles throughout the company. With the opening of the Danvers location, Salem Plumbing Supply now has three wholesale locations on the North Shore. The Beverly, Gloucester, and Danvers sites stock plumbing, heating and PVF (pipe, valves and fittings). The company also has two Designer Bath Showrooms in Beverly and Watertown. The funds will also be used to create a center for professional learning aimed at retaining teachers and school leaders,
A partnership between SV Design and Windover Construction has led to the successful transformation of the historic YMCA on Cabot Street in Beverly into an affordable housing project now named Cabot Housing. The 44,000-square-foot renovation and expansion project converted what were 45 single-room occupancy units into 67 studio apartments with individual kitchenettes and bathrooms for its residents. The project was completed late last year. As of this July, all units had been filled. SV Design and Windover Construction worked seamlessly together on the project, which required special care given the historical significance of the 120-year-old building and complexity of the renovation. Chris Lovasco, president and CEO of the YMCA of the North Shore, commended all involved in the project in creating an “amazing new space” to serve residents in need of affordable housing in Beverly.
including support for developing antiracist and equity-focused instructional and leadership practices. The gift will also help prepare educators to meet student needs beyond PreK-12 education, such as early childhood literacy, and support pathways to licensure for hundreds of emergency-licensed teachers in the region. SERVPRO of Haverhill/Newburyport received the FOUNDER’S Bronze award at SERVPRO’s 53rd annual convention in July in Dallas, Texas. Owners Patrick and Michelle Lavigne of SERVPRO of Haverhill/Newburyport joined a group of more than 1,050 franchise owners at the event. The Lavignes
say they accepted the award on behalf of their team of dedicated remediation specialists, who continue to provide expert guidance and service to the community. The Funeral Service Program at North Shore Community College has received its initial accreditation from the American Board of Funeral Service Education. The degree program, which combines classroom, laboratory and clinical training experiences, is designed to prepare graduates for entry-level positions in the funeral services field. The program opened in the fall of 2019 and the first class in 2021 had a 100 percent graduation rate.
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Northern Essex Community College became the first public school in the nation this fall to offer a competencybased early childhood degree. The associate degree program is the culmination of more than four years of work to give learners more flexibility in obtaining a degree. C o m p e te n cy-b a s e d e d u c a t i o n addresses the needs of adults and other nontraditional learners, allowing them to complete courses online at their own pace. Early childhood education majors, for example, have the flexibility of fulfilling their 330-hour, in-classroom practicum at their workplace, while being observed virtually by their supervising faculty member. Northern Essex is offering eight competency-based education courses this fall, including six general education classes, such as English Composition I. Any student can enroll in the classes, regardless of major. Next up for Northern Essex is an entirely competency-based education certificate program for health care technicians. The college is working on the program now. Align Credit Union awarded $10,000 in college scholarships to eight local students who are pursuing their undergraduate education. The scholarship program, which is open to Align members, has presented more than 260 scholarships over the past 29 years. Align President and CEO Kenneth Del Rossi says the company, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, remains committed to helping its members achieve their educational goals. “We know that a good education is one of the best investments a person can make,” Del Rossi says. “I’m proud to say that we have invested in the education of our younger members for over 25 years.” AgeSpan was honored with an Achievement Award for its Robotic Pets Program at the 2022 USAging Innovations and Achievement Awards. The agency’s Robotic Pets Program was recognized in the Social Engagement category. The initiative provides robotic dogs and cats to people with dementia and their family caregivers 37
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Coastal Windows & Exteriors, a woman-owned exterior home improvement company based in Beverly, brought its mission of giving back to the community to the forefront this summer with a focus on America’s heroes. Vincent Gunning, a veteran from Lynn, was gifted a new roof through Coastal Windows’ Roof For Heroes campaign, which aims to protect those who protect the community. Led by owner Stephanie Vanderbilt, Coastal Windows & Exteriors was founded with the goal of creating a home improvement co mpany with an empathetic, customerfirst attitude based on educating its clients. To date, the company has donated over $200,000 in labor and materials to Essex County Habitat for Humanity to assist with its construction projects. to offer comfort and companionship, address isolation and help keep confusion at bay. The realistic pets are embedded with sensors that respond to petting and hugs with familiar pet-like actions. Since the program began in
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2017, AgeSpan has distributed more than 250 of the pets. AgeSpan CEO Joan Hatem-Roy, a member of The Chamber’s Board of Directors, says the agency was thrilled to be recognized for its work combating social isolation and loneliness for older adults. Formerly known as Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore, AgeSpan is a private, nonprofit agency dedicated to helping people maintain independence, health, and safety as they age. Salem Five Bank has been named to Forbes’ list of Best-In-State Banks 2022. The award is presented by Forbes and Statista Inc., a leading statistics portal and industry ranking provider. Forbes and Statista identified their Best-In-State Banks 2022 based on an independent survey of approximately 26,000 U.S. consumers. The individuals were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with banks at which they have or previously have had checking accounts. The participants also assessed banks in the areas of trust, terms and conditions, branch services, digital services, customer service and financial advice. Among the top five banks in Massachusetts, Salem Five ranked highest in digital services, reinforcing the bank’s long-standing commitment to investing in technology to make banking more efficient for its customers. I IMPACT MAGAZINE
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2022 BUSINESS EXPO
June 16 | Boston Marriott Peabody
The Chamber celebrated the successful return of its Business Expo featuring a day of networking, promotion and hiring opportunities, along with topical breakfast and luncheon programs. Save the date for the 2023 Expo on March 23, back at the Boston Marriott Peabody.
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‘SALEM OFFSHORE WIND INITIATIVE’ Aug. 10 | Hawthorne Hotel, Salem
Presentation featuring Bill White, president and CEO of offshore for Avangrid Renewables, and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll.
‘MENTAL HEALTH AND THE WORKFORCE’ June 1 | Misselwood Events at Endicott College, Beverly
Panel featuring David Morales, general manager, UniCare; Glenn MacFarlane, president and CEO, Beacon Health Options; and Tom Sands, president and CEO, Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals; with Chamber Board Chair-Elect Hannah Ginley, chief people officer, Windover Construction.
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June 23 | Sea Level Oyster Bar, Salem
The Chamber kicked off the summer along Pickering Wharf, thanks to the hospitality of Sea Level owner George Carey and his team.
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2022 GOLF TOURNAMENT July 18 | Ipswich Country Club
The Chamber teed up a day of friendly competition and enjoyment for its annual Golf Outing. The foursome from TD Bank defended its title at the sold-out event.
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THRIVE RED, WHITE & BLUE SUMMER PARTY
July 28 | Beauport Hotel, Gloucester
It was a picture-perfect evening for Thrive’s Networking for a Cause After Hours overlooking the coast. Chamber members embraced the patriotic theme and generously donated gift cards to support local veterans and their families.
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‘Know who you are and protect your energy’ By Sonya Vartabedian The Chamber
rad Small’s resume tells the story of a successful career in wealth planning and investment management. The founder, CEO and chief investment officer of Solomon Private Wealth, LLC, Small has amassed over 25 years of experience assisting clients in growing, preserving, protecting and transferring their wealth. It is no accident that Small chose the name Solomon for his company. Like the third king of Israel, Small operates under the guiding principle of “wisdom to wealth,” fueled by a combination of strength, integrity, stability and stewardship and a mindset that values significance over success. But the road to today has not been without its personal and professional peaks and valleys, triumphs and setbacks. Through it all, Small says his unwavering faith, even during the lowest of lows, has remained his foundation and motivation. “I believe the universe is looking for people to make it a better place,” he says. “If you move in that direction, you will receive the blessing, but you’re also expected to give the blessing.”
The youngest of four, Small grew up on the Ryal side of Beverly, where he played pond hockey and learned to sail at Lynch Park. He discovered his faith through his mother, who embodied strength and determination. Early on, he developed an appreciation for hard work and perseverance while shoveling driveways, caddying at Kernwood Country Club and working construction. Small put himself through Gordon College in Wenham by living at home and working two jobs, and graduated debtfree with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. “I’ve always been a fighter,” he says. “You can make up for what you don’t have by who you are. ... You don’t give up, you just keep going.” Small earned his MBA from Babson College in Wellesley while working as vice president of the North Shore Chamber. From there, he entered the investment profession full 46
time, holding senior- and executive-level roles with Wells Fargo Advisors, Smith Barney/Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. “I always felt called to helping people build wealth and create opportunities that might be beyond what they were used to,” he says. Later, a period of traumatic years proved devastating both personally and professionally. But through it all, Small says he remained true to his self as he fought to rebound. Brad Small Two years ago, he seized the opportunity to begin an independent practice. Solomon Private Wealth is now in growth mode, looking toward expansion this fall.
‘JUST BE PASSIONATE’
Small remains committed to giving back through his support of various causes: missionary work through his church, Habitat for Humanity, Beverly Bootstraps and a foundation led by his good friends — Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and his wife, Veronica — that empowers people and communities, with a particular emphasis on children and families. On Oct. 23, Small is hosting his first charity car show on the grounds of Cruiseport Gloucester, with the net proceeds going to support nonprofit organizations. A past chairman and current member of the North Shore Chamber Board of Directors, Small is a past member of the Leadership Committee for the Boston Chapter of Christian Businessmen’s Committee. Small believes strongly in the power of forgiveness, without which he says individuals cannot open themselves up to what’s possible. But it’s a quote from Italian car manufacturer Enzo Ferrari — read on a recent trip to Italy — that has particularly resonated with Small: “You cannot describe passion. You can only live it.” “I loved it, because that’s the way I try to live,” he says. “I mean, to just be passionate. If you’re helping people, be passionate, If you’re investing money, be passionate. If you’re out to dinner on a date, be passionate. If you’re IMPACT MAGAZINE
Brad Small, left, along with state Sens. Bruce Tarr and Diana DiZoglio, at right, present citations to Andrea and Veronica Bocelli commending the work of their foundation during the couple’s appearance in Boston.
sailing a boat or racing your cars, or whatever you do, just be passionate.” What advice would you give a young adult preparing for a career? “Remember who you are. As you go through life, you are going to find people who are jealous, who are negative, who unfortunately do not want to see you succeed. If you remember who you are, you can ignore that stuff. “... I think the youth today are becoming much too influenced by what other people think of them. They need to be reminded that they’re worth it, they matter, that they’re here for a reason. ... The world may beat you up, but you need to focus on finding the good. Know who you are and protect your energy.”
Small, seen sailing on his boat, Wisdom, above, and outside the Bocelli home for a party during a trip to Italy earlier this year, below, says he practices joy and gratitude for his life every day.
always have to have it. Can you do things to create happiness? Sure. But I think we put too much pressure on people to make us happy. Maybe the best word is gratitude. I have joy. And then I’m able to see joyful. Even in the tragedy, there’s joy. “I believe I’ve got a life to live and I’m going to live it with joy and love and kindness. I wasn’t always living that. But this is what I now believe. It takes work to get there.”
What makes a good leader? “The first trait is humility. That doesn’t mean a good leader isn’t strong or isn’t wise or directive. But I think if you can be all of those stronger adjectives, but do it with humility, then you can bring in believers and followers to help accomplish your mission.” What one skill do you consider your biggest asset? “Being willing to think differently and see differently. The technical analysis 30 years ago when I studied it was like voodoo finance. I was using something nobody respected, and now everyone is doing it. Being willing to think outside of the box, that’s helped me with my contrarian investing style. Zig when everyone is zagging or, as Warren Buffett, says: ‘Buy when there’s blood in the street.’” NORTHSHORECHAMBER.ORG
What one thing can you not live without? “My faith in God, because I’ve lived without everything else.” What brings you joy? “I’ve found you can’t look for things or people to bring you joy; you just
How do you make an impact? “I think I do it in small little bites every day. I ask God every day to let me meet somebody new — just one, and I have. And then I see how I can encourage them to have joy. Life is so short. You’ve got to open yourself up. And we’ve got to stop hanging on to anger and resentment. “There’s always something to look toward, there’s always an opportunity to move toward. That positive thinking will help you get through.” I 47
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