|Southern Berkshire Chamber Honors Women in the Workforce
|By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
07:33AM / Sunday, March 12, 2023
|CHP's Rania Markham, left, and Fairview Hospital Vice President Doreen Hutchinson hold their awards with chamber co-President Dawn Stanyon at Wednesday's first Women in Leadership event. Markham and Hutchinson were recognized for their personal and community efforts.
Berkshire Edge Publisher Marcie Setlow, Berkshire Camino founder Mindy Miraglia, Berkshire Center for Justice Executive Director Eve Schatz, and Fairview Hospital Vice President Doreen Hutchinson discuss mentorship.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Business and community leaders recognized two women for their personal and community efforts and heard from a panel of women about mentorship on Wednesday.
The event was the inaugural Women in Leadership Luncheon and Award Ceremony hosted by the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce at Crissey Farm. There were 160 individuals and organization leaders attending the event.
"The whole mission of the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce is to support our business members, but also bring awareness of our business members and 50 percent of our membership is women. And so we saw a niche that women needed to be recognized on International Women's Day," chamber co-President Dawn Stanyon said.
The Berkshire Edge Publisher Marcie Setlow, Berkshire Camino founder Mindy Miraglia, Berkshire Center for Justice Executive Director Eve Schatz, and Fairview Hospital Vice President of Operations and Patient Care Doreen Hutchinson spoke on the importance of mentorship in the workforce and techniques to consider to succeed.
"[Mentorship] is so important because we can't have a vibrant economy in the Berkshire unless we have young people coming in and taking the place and creating new opportunities and creating new kinds of businesses and all this requires support," said Setlow. "It's for all of us that we need to support a younger female."
The panelists answered questions and offered advice based on their personal experiences to both aspiring career women and to business leadership.
The chamber also awarded two outstanding community members whose personal achievements, and community achievements, and panoply of skills in the workforce deserved to be recognized, Stanyon said.
Fifty-seven women were named in 111 nominations, with some women being nominated up to 10 times.
"It was a privilege to get to read all of [the nominations] not only to see how impressive the women in this region are, but also to see the level of appreciation for them. They were equally moving," board Treasurer Janis Martinson said.
Martinson read out the names of all 57 nominees to honor their work in the community.
The winner of the Rising Star Award was Rania Markham, a human resources care coordinator for family services at Community Health Programs.
"I feel honored, I feel empowered. And I'm, I feel fortunate to be a part of a community that celebrates women and their hard work," Markham said.
She has been with CHP for the past decade and hopes to continue to advocate for homelessness, food insecurity and the special needs community.
Markham is eight weeks from earning her master's degree in social work from Simmons University, overcoming personal struggles including adjusting to her son's autism diagnosis.
"Four years ago, her son Zachary was diagnosed with autism. It didn't take long to realize this was a family diagnosis for it affected all of them in many ways," Stanyon said. "Having a child with autism can bring on a lot of emotions, one being isolation. She felt empowered to bring other parents just like her together. She says, 'together we are not alone.'"
Event panelist Hutchinson was presented with the Mentor Leader Award.
Hutchinson has published numerous articles, abstracts, and presentations in her field but she is most prideful of the accomplishments of her staff, Stanyon said.
Hutchinson said this award is very meaningful to her because she feels very passionate about developing people through mentorship.
"I also want to make sure that the recognition for this award is pretty much given to all the people that I have mentored because frankly, it has been a privilege and they have allowed me the opportunity to be able to pay it forward from the mentor that I had," she said.
"And so it really truly has been a gift. And I'm grateful that you were all here to share in it. I thank you very much.