People in Business: July 19, 2021

Holyoke Community College recently welcomed Harmony Cross as its first dean of student development, engagement and inclusion.

This new position combines the responsibilities of two previous jobs at the college, dean of students and director of retention and student success, with an increased emphasis on education equity. Cross began her new role July 6.

Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Cross previously served as director of the New York State Education Department’s Higher Education Opportunity Program at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. There, she managed and developed holistic services and high-impact practices for students who might not have considered attending college because of their academic and economic backgrounds.

Prior to that, Cross worked as program director for the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx and area coordinator for 15 coeducational residential facilities at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania. She has also taught college-level, first-year transition courses and leadership classes and coached students on conflict resolution and mediation techniques.

Cross earned her master’s degree in educational leadership with a concentration in higher education at Temple University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from North Carolina Central University, where she was a Division I collegiate athlete in track and field.

She is currently working on her doctorate in higher education administration at Bradley University.


Tania M. Barber, president and CEO of Caring Health Center of Springfield, has received the Outstanding Massachusetts Community Health Center Executive Director/CEO Award presented by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers at its June 25 virtual gala.

“At a time in which limits were pushed and new ways to serve were required, it was clear from the start that Caring Health Center patients were in the right hand. Both this year’s awardees and our entire health center community did what they always do: show up for the most vulnerable,” said the league in its presentation.

Caring Health Center is one of the most culturally diverse organizations in the area and offers translation services in 39 different languages, at three locations throughout the city. The center employs a staff of over 250 and serves close to 20,000 patients annually.

Caring Health’s new programs and services include behavioral health, a wellness center, an on-site pharmacy, dental services, urgent care, and a recovery program for persons with substance disorders. In response to the pandemic, it opened a new vaccine clinic on Sumner Avenue to make access to the COVID-19 vaccine easier for members of underserved communities.

Of the award Barber says, ” I am truly thankful to the MassLeague and the team who selected me to receive this award. This is a tremendous honor and I humbly accept this award on behalf of the entire Caring Health Center staff. It’s impossible for me to do what I do without them, they are the ones that make things happen here at Caring Health Center.”


American International College in Springfield announced three new members of the board of trustees and the retirement of longtime board member Peter J. Vogian, who has been named trustee emeritus.

Deborah A. Bitsoli has more than 25 years of experience in the health care industry. Since late 2019, she has served as president of Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates. In July 2020, Bitsoli, of Southborough, was promoted to market president, adding Johnson Memorial Hospital and its affiliates to her leadership responsibilities. Mercy and Johnson are part of Trinity Health Of New England. Bitsoli holds a master of business administration degree from Babson College and a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a management minor from Bentley University. She is also a certified public accountant.

Mark Duclos, of Bloomfield, Connecticut, is co-founder and president of Sentry Commercial, a southern New England commercial real estate firm based in Hartford. He started his commercial real estate career in 1986 with developer and owner Griffin Industrial Realty. Duclos began his brokerage career with the Farley Company, representing industrial companies for their real estate needs. He is a 1982 alumnus of the college.

Steven P. LeFebvre, of Somers, has nearly 40 years of finance and accounting experience, including 20 years as a CFO or COO in diverse global manufacturing sectors. LeFebvre received an associate degree from Holyoke Community College and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration concurrently from AIC in 1982. He was a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award by Holyoke Community College in 2011. He remains active in the community having served as finance chair for the Greater Hartford and U.S. Women’s Opens.

Vogian, of West Springfield, has been an American International College trustee for 20 years. A native of Springfield, following his graduation from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Vogian spent most of his career with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., retiring in 1993 as senior vice president of pension management sales. In addition to the college, Vogian’s board memberships include Goodwill Industries of Springfield and Hartford, Glenmeadow Retirement Community, and St. George’s Cathedral Building Fund, all of which he served as chairperson.

In May 2016, a ceremony was held to name the Peter J. Vogian Conference Room in the dining commons complex, acknowledging Vogian for his many years of generous support to the college.


Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley has announced several new members of its board of directors. New members include Elizabeth Dineen, Lidya Early, Talia Gee, Richard Griffin, Oliva Kynard, Ryan McCollum and Modesto Montero.

The board provides oversight to the director, plans strategy, is engaged in the work of Healing Racism, supports resource development and i
s designed to represent the community.

The Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley was formed in 2012, and since then, more than 1,000 people from Western Massachusetts and throughout the state of Massachusetts have participated in its signature two-day Healing Racism program.

Dineen serves as chief executive officer of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts, and throughout her career has been a strong advocate for women and children. For 27 years she served as an assistant district attorney in Hampden County, focusing primarily on sexual assaults, domestic violence, physical and sexual child abuse, and child homicide cases.

Early serves as director of community engagement at Springfield Technical Community College. Prior to STCC, Early served as program manager and grants coordinator for the Springfield Housing Authority. She also serves on the boards of Way Finders, Square One, Partners For Community and Professional Women’s Chamber.

Gee is chief diversity and inclusion officer for the city of Springfield, where she is responsible for the development and implementation of proactive diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in hiring, career development and leadership opportunities.

Griffin is vice president of community development at MassDevelopment where he facilitates brownfields and pre-development financing, collaborative workspaces, and participation in the region’s three Transformative Development Initiative districts. Prior to MassDevelopment, Griffin worked as a senior project manager for the city of Springfield.

Kynard serves as the affirmative action officer and Title IX coordinator for the state. She has more than 20 years of leadership and management experience and an extensive background in culture climate, implicit bias and microaggressions.

McCollum is principal and owner of RMC Strategies. He has worked at the Statehouse for several state senators and also in the administration of former Gov. Deval Patrick.

Montero is founder and executive director of Libertas Academy charter school in Springfield. He has served in a variety of leadership roles in schools and in the military, and prior to Libertas, Montero most recently worked with Teach For America as a manager of teacher leadership development in Memphis.