People in Business: Nov. 29, 2021

Elms College Board of Trustees recently appointed three new members, Diane Brunelle, Dennis Duquette and Mark O’Connell to serve on the board.

Brunelle, a bachelor’s degree in nursing alumna of the class of 1984, is president of the Elms College Alumni Association and has been a member of the association since 2012. Brunelle is a retired nurse executive who has over 30 years of experience serving in leadership positions at acute health care facilities in both Massachusetts and Vermont, including Shriners Hospital for Children, Baystate Health, Holyoke Medical Center, and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.

She has served on numerous boards throughout her career and was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Elms in 2013. Brunelle also received her master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a graduate of the Wharton Nursing Leaders Program through the Wharton School and Leonard David School of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Duquette is head of community responsibility for MassMutual in Springfield and president and CEO of the MassMutual Foundation. He and his team are responsible for setting corporate community relations strategy development, driving community investments, philanthropy, and community impact program management for the firm nationally.

Duquette has worked in financial services for 40 years; he began his career at MassMutual just out of college and then worked for Fidelity Investments in Boston for 27 years. He returned to MassMutual in his current role in 2016. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston College, graduating cum laude with a double major of communications and English. He earned a master’s degree in administrative studies, also from Boston College, and later earned a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Northwestern University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Jump$tart Coalition in Washington, D.C., as well as the Community and Government Relations Committee for the Springfield Museums.

O’Connell is a principal in Wolf & Company’s Assurance Group and is the firm’s president and chief executive officer, where he’s responsible for leading Wolf’s overall strategic direction. He has over 40 years of experience providing audit and financial reporting services to both privately held and publicly traded financial institutions, as well as holding companies (including community banks and mortgage banking institutions) across New England. O’Connell earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western New England University and is a former board member and board president of the Children’s Study Home in Springfield.


Florence Bank has promoted Lachlan Harris, of Westfield, to the position of information security administration officer.

Harris joined Florence Bank in 2016. Prior to his recent promotion, he had served as the information and cybersecurity administrator. In his new role, he will be responsible for security protocols throughout the bank’s information infrastructure.

Harris is a certified information systems security professional and is also a member of the global information assurance certification advisory board.


Simone Alter-Muri, Springfield College director and professor for art therapy and counseling and art education programs recently received the American Art Therapy Associations 2021 Outstanding Creative Applied Practice Award during the association’s recent 2021 virtual awards ceremony.

“I am honored to be the first recipient of the Outstanding Applied Creative Practice Award by the American Art Therapy Association,” said Alter-Muri. “Receiving the award would not be possible without the support and inspiration from my colleagues and students. This award talks to the language we all know, the language of our hearts. I hope to serve as a mentor for students in the applied creative practice of art therapy.”

The criteria for this award included personal art making that emphasized social justice, resilience and the promotion of art therapy in the community.