Making news in business, Feb. 29

Taylor Robbins

Taylor Robbins

Jamie Cocco

Jamie Cocco

Caroline Gear

Caroline Gear

Cigdem Turkomer

Cigdem Turkomer

Elena Sharnoff

Elena Sharnoff

Derick Santos

Derick Santos

Jacqueline (Jackie) Charron

Jacqueline (Jackie) Charron

Published: 02-28-2024 1:52 PM

Five join board at Northampton Chamber

NORTHAMPTON — The Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) welcomed five new board members at its first meeting of 2024. Together, they bring a wealth of diverse experience as entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders and business managers to the GNCC.

The new board members include:

Jamie Cocco, of South Deerfield, owns Empowered Digital Marketing and Empowered Social Media. In addition to his role on the board, he serves on the GNCC’s Executive Committee and is chair of the Ambassador Committee. Cocco holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Caroline Gear, of West Whately, is the executive director of the International Language Institute of Massachusetts, located in Northampton. She earned an master’s in Spanish literature from Michigan State University. As executive director of a nonprofit organization, Gear brings a rich experience in working with a board, budgets, fundraising and more to her work with the GNCC.

Taylor Robbins, of Holyoke, is a business relationship manager at UMassFive College Federal Credit Union who focuses on commercial lending and cash management. A Hadley native, Robbins grew up working on a corn farm and for a local business owner.

Elena Sharnoff, of Northampton, is the owner of B Strategic Communications, and brings over 25 years of experience in strategic communications and marketing, branding and messaging to her role at the GNCC. Sharnoff has served on the Ambassador Committee for several years.

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Cigdem Turkomer grew up in Istanbul and has spent over 25 years creating set designs for commercial and documentary films. After studying for several years at San Francisco State University, Cigdem moved back to Northampton, where she had spent some time during her college years, to open a store called LeBonNton, located on the second floor of Thornes Marketplace.

HCC welcomes new veterans benefits counselor

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College recently welcomed Derick Santos, of Manchester, Conn., as its veterans benefits and financial aid counselor.

Originally from Lajas, Puerto Rico, Santos holds a bachelor’s degree in computational mathematics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., where he also worked in the military and veterans services department for the university’s online campus.

His father is an active-duty serviceman with the Puerto Rican National Guard.

Santos joined HCC on Jan. 22.

As the veterans benefits and financial aid counselor, Santos is the school-certifying official (SRO) and will process all benefits for U.S. veterans and military-affiliated students. He will also counsel prospective and returning students through the financial aid process and serve as part of the counselor on-call rotation.

As such, he splits his office hours between The Bunker veterans resource center and study lounge in Donahue 105 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday a.m.) and the Financial Aid office on the second floor of the Frost Building (Wednesday p.m., Thursday, Friday).

Hyundai Hope on Wheels donates $20K to nonprofits

HOLYOKE — Two local organizations — LukeStronger Inc of South Hadley and Each Moment We’re Alive of West Springfield — recently received money from Hyundai Hope On Wheels, a nonprofit celebrating 25 years of donating to organizations that fight against childhood cancer.

Businessman Gary Rome, of Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke, is the Eastern region board member of Hope on Wheels who presented the money.

LukeStronger Inc., which received $10,000, is a nonprofit that provides assistance to families dealing with pediatric cancer so that parents can spend time with their children.

LukeStronger originated when Luke Bradley, a then 10-year-old boy from South Hadley, relapsed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Residents rallied to support his family with, among other things, a benefit golf tournament. Complications and another unforeseen relapse kept Luke at Boston Children’s Hospital for 15 months. In December 2017, he underwent a bone marrow transplant and is doing well.

LukeStronger has helped seven families fill in the income gap caused by pediatric cancer. All profits go to the family. LukeStronger does not expect repayment.

Each Moment We’re Alive also received $10,000. The organization was launched by Sheridan Murphy in 2015 after her second bout with breast cancer. Since then, she has helped organize support groups and workshops with a focus on emotional and spiritual health. Sheridan has since expanded her network to help families with all types of cancer, including pediatric cancer.

Greenfield Cooperative Bank welcomes Charron

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Cooperative Bank has appointed of Jacqueline (Jackie) Charron as its new senior vice president of strategy and implementation.

With nearly 40 years in the banking industry, she possesses a remarkable track record of leadership and innovation.

Charron’s focus will be ensuring the bank thrives under the new regulations. Additionally, she will lend her support across various initiatives within the bank.