Business Briefs: Oct. 13, 2023





Published: 10-12-2023 12:44 PM

BHN announces new vice president of human resources

SPRINGFIELD — Toni Hendrix has joined Behavioral Health Network (BHN) as vice president of human resources, effective Sept. 11.

Hendrix joins BHN from The Loomis Communities, where she had served as director of human resources and compliance officer since 2014. In her new role at BHN, Hendrix will be responsible for the strategy, leadership and operations of the Human Resources Department and recruitment to support the growing organization.

“We are excited to welcome Toni on board, as she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in human resources to our team,” BHN President and CEO Steve Winn said in a statement. “Toni’s insights and thoughtful approach will be an incredible asset to BHN and to our diverse workforce as the organization continues to grow and evolve.”

Hendrix brings more than 30 years of human resources experience to BHN that includes diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; strategic HR growth; implementation of successful performance management strategies; and the creation of workplace wellness and employee engagement programs. The Springfield resident studied at the University of Maryland and Cambridge College, and she was the recipient of a 2020 Women of Impact award from BusinessWest.

“I am excited to be joining the leadership team at BHN and to bring with me the philosophy that has guided my career in human resources — the belief that staff should always be treated with dignity and respect,” Hendrix said in a statement. “I am dedicated to empowering team members to use their voices thoughtfully and respectfully to achieve their goals and find success in their roles.”

LAVA Center hires humanities coordinator

GREENFIELD — Matthew Barlow has joined The LAVA Center as its new humanities coordinator.

This part-time position, funded by Mass Humanities, will enable the Main Street arts center to offer ongoing humanities programming rooted in the approach to story gathering and historical research that was introduced as part of the ECHO Greenfield (Exploring and Creating Histories Ourselves) project.

Barlow, who has lived in Greenfield for six years, has work experiences that include story gathering in Québec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Massachusetts, Alabama and Tennessee. He has worked as an historical researcher and analyst, a college and university professor, an historical consultant, author, and education and curriculum consultant.

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“We were impressed not only with Matthew’s unimpeachable foundation in the academic aspects of the humanities, but also his expertise in oral history and story gathering, his expansive and inclusive view of how to develop LAVA humanities projects and programs, and his deep commitment to the Greenfield community,” Doug Selwyn, president of The LAVA Center’s board of directors and chair of the hiring committee, said in a statement.

“I am excited to join LAVA to further develop its already impressive humanities programming and work to develop that programming in deeper and wider directions,” Barlow said in a statement.

Webinar to teach basics of starting a business

SPRINGFIELD — The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center is holding a free “Basics of Starting a Business” webinar on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 9 a.m. to help entrepreneurs start a business plan and provide structure to starting and managing their venture.

Topics will include basic business planning formats; choosing your legal form of organization; marketing, market planning and research; cash flow projections; financial statements; and financing. There will also be an overview of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s programs and services that are available to prospective or current entrepreneurs who need help starting or expanding their businesses, and capital, counseling and contracting information will be shared.

Oreste Varela, branch manager of the U.S. Small Business Administration in Springfield, will be a speaker. Also presenting from the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center’s Western Regional Office will be Allen Kronick, senior business advisor, or Anita Eliason, senior business advisor.

There is no charge, but advance registration is required. A Zoom link for the webinar will be emailed immediately after registration from To register, visit

TD Charitable Foundation boosts ServiceNet’s employment programs

NORTHAMPTON — The TD Charitable Foundation recently awarded ServiceNet — a nonprofit mental health and human services organization serving communities throughout western Massachusetts — a grant of $25,000 to boost its supported employment programs. These programs, which employ more than 160 individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, brain injuries or mental health challenges, include Prospect Meadow Farm in Hatfield, the Rooster Café in Northampton, and the work crew that cares for ServiceNet’s group homes and other facilities.

TD Charitable Foundation, the giving arm of TD Bank, focuses its support on initiatives that will increase financial security, environmental quality, inclusive communities and equitable health outcomes. Since its inception in 2002, the foundation has contributed more than $312 million in grants to not-for-profit organizations in the communities where the bank does business.

“This grant validates the importance of paid, meaningful work and the contributions made by people with disabilities to our local economy,” Shawn Robinson, ServiceNet’s director of vocational services, said in a statement. “Whether they are growing vegetables, working on carpentry projects or cooking meals at Prospect Meadow Farm, serving customers at the Rooster Café, or beautifying our neighborhood group homes with their landscaping skills, the participants in our supported employment programs are vital members of the workforce. Connecting with their communities through the work they do, they are also gaining the confidence and skills needed to become more financially secure over time.”

Grant funding from the TD Charitable Foundation will allow ServiceNet to strengthen its investment in sustainable employment programs that offer a competitive minimum wage for people with disabilities, while preparing them to fill needed roles with other employers in the community. Funding will also be used by ServiceNet to attract more referrals and expand vocational programming.