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World Economic Forum: Our recovery from the coronavirus crisis must have gender empowerment at its heart

According to the World Economic Forum women’s leadership is critical for an inclusive, resilient and sustainable global economic recovery. It is paramount to harness women’s full potential as leaders, innovators and agents of industrial and environmental change.

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Meet Lisa

Lisa Totz, LT Consulting

Lisa Totz of LT Consulting, a leading local technical consultant working with businesses, especially through the pandemic to adapt to growth – new opportunities, new business practices (online ordering), new requirements, supply chain issues, quarantines, regulations and more.

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Meet Ana

Ana Lourdes Artiga Paredes, El Comalito

Ana Lourdes Artiga Paredes, an experienced restaurateur who went from busser and prep, to chef and now to Owner and President. Ana, an immigrant from El Salvador came to America for a better life for her then 5-year-old son. Today she has two minority-owned restaurants, El Comalito Amherst (100% Women-owned) and El Comalito Easthampton (co-owned with her son, Fernando).

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Meet Yves

Yves Salomon-Fernandez, Greenfield Community College

Yves Salomon-Fernandez, President, Greenfield Community College, a recognized thought leader, writing and speaking on issues related to reinventing higher education, rural innovation, equity, and women’s leadership.

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Meet Donna

Donna Haghighat, The Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts

Donna Haghighat, CEO of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, examining the concepts that define a woman’s economic security through asset mapping.

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Meet Joanna

Joanna Ballantine Headshot

Joanna Ballantine, Financial Services Representative of The Davis Financial Group, April Luncheon Sponsor, will moderate the panel while offering her perspective on women and finance.

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From SheCession to SheCovery: Creating Our Own Path

From SheCession to SheCovery: Creating Our Own Path Launching Women Luncheon Series Returns! We will kick-off with a panel of powerful female leaders sharing their unique views on the SheCession during COVID and what it will take for us to work toward a SheCovery, while taking stock of our own self-care. Our Speakers Joanna Ballantine,…

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Meet Shalini Bahl

Shalini is an advocate of mindfulness in business, higher-ed and society. She is committed to integrating the transformative potential of mindfulness in education, business and policy to revitalize classrooms, organizations and communities. She has a doctoral degree in marketing from the Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst, where she is an Affiliated Expert/Lecturer. Her award-winning research on mindfulness has been published in premier marketing and public policy journals. Through her organization,, she designs and delivers mindfulness-based solutions that address organizational challenges. In her studio, Downtown Mindfulness, she is co-creating a community to promote mindful living. As a District Councilor in the inaugural Town Council in Amherst, MA, she is now collaborating with multiple stakeholders to co-create mindful towns and cities.

She has been practicing mindfulness for over fifteen years and received professional certification to teach mindfulness from the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School and the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (the mindfulness-based emotional intelligence program that started at Google).

When she is not working, Shalini loves all kinds of creative projects, cooking, being in nature, meditating and Zumba.

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Meet Carla Oleska

Carla Oleska PhD

Carla Oleska, PhD.

Carla Oleska, Ph.D. has more than thirty years of experience in professional leadership roles as well as creatively addressing and facilitating the aspirations of underserved populations.  She has specialized in the design of programs enhancing academic preparation and higher education access, leadership development, and non-profit programming.  Under her leadership the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts developed and initiated the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact –LIPPI, a highly successful program which has graduated over 250 women who have gone on to successfully run for political office, achieve new leadership positions in their careers, and found new businesses.

Her work on behalf of women and girls has been recognized both regionally and nationally. In 2010 Oleska was one of the one hundred women across the United States selected as the charter delegates to Vision 2020, a national initiative to create leadership parity.  She was also one of 50 women from around the world invited to participate and speak at the United Nations Won Buddhist Center meeting on women and the UN development goals.

Whether Carla is working or not, she always loves to laugh, and she loves to spend quality time with friends, and that includes time spent on the golf course.

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