Erika Allison is an engineer, educator and entrepreneur. She left the Fortune 100 corporate world in Chicago to teach physics and math at a NYC public high school in Harlem with the goal of broadening access for girls and minorities in STEM fields. She then became the founding NYC director of a STEM education nonprofit startup, leading the launch of east coast operations and programming. In 2011, she moved to Maine to explore the differences between rural and urban STEM education as project director for a 5-year, $12M National Science Foundation research & implementation program to improve rural STEM education and STEM teacher preparation. Since moving to the Berkshires, which she considers to be the perfect blend of Maine & NYC, Erika is eagerly learning more about this region and the stakeholders, challenges and opportunities through her role as Director of Member Services at 1Berkshire.
Ronald Bernard, a native of Hartford, holds a BS in Business Administration (Marketing) from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from St. John’s University (NY). He served in the U.S. Air Force (1967-71) with the rank of captain. Following a 27-year management career in the pharmaceuticals industry with extended assignments overseas, he retired in 1995 and became active in community service as presidents of the Farmington Historical Society and the Farmington Rotary Club, and currently as publisher of the Sandisfield Times newspaper and Chair of the Sandisfield Historical Commission.
Sarah Carpenter holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature from University of Rhode Island. She joined Community Access to the Arts as Development Manager in February 2017. Previously, Sarah held development positions at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge and the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut. With over ten years of nonprofit experience and professional development, she specializes in fundraising, grant writing, donor relations, stewardship, and database administration.
Natasha Dresner came to the United States in 2001 from Kiev, Ukraine, where she was deeply involved in Jewish nonprofit life. After serving as head of the Finance department for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Kiev, she moved to New York City and then to Pittsfield to take the Executive Director position with Congregation Knesset Israel. She founded her own nonprofit development consulting firm in 2001, and in 2005 she joined the Harold Grinspoon Foundation as an organizational development consultant. She is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer, a frequent presenter and facilitator at conferences and writes a bimonthly nonprofit column called “The Nonprofit Prophet” which appears in The Berkshire Eagle and eJewish Philanthropy.
Born and raised in Pittsfield, Marianne is a 1999 graduate of PHS currently attending BCC. She volunteers with the Money Management Program through Berkshire Elder Services, Money School with the Elizabeth Freeman Center, and will be a money mentor at Miss Halls School in January. She is a member of Berkshire County Estate Planning Council and Estate Planning Council of Hamden County. As a dual employee for both Lee Bank and October Mountain Financial Advisors in Lee, she has been with the firms for 18 months as Assistant Vice President of Banking and Trust Services.
Melissa recently joined Arista Investment Advisors, Ltd, a wealth management firm dedicated to value-focused investing. Previously she was a Financial Advisor at Webb Lydon/RBC Wealth Management, Program Director of Railroad Street Youth Project (RSYP), a tutor at Taconic Hills High School, and a volunteer for AmeriCorps Jumpstart. An active volunteer for nonprofits over the past ten years, she currently serves on the boards of Community Access to the Arts & RSYP.
Matthew Syrett is an innovative business strategist, media technologist, and film producer. He is presently a founder and senior fellow at the online financial services company Marstone, and a producer for Cynthia Wade Productions. His past professional career includes Vice President in the interactive division of Grey Advertising, VP of Product for Linkshare, and product manager of professional services and social media for IMDb in Los Angeles, owned by Amazon. He is the inventor on four technology patents. Most recently he served as a board member and treasurer of the Berkshire Coop Market in Great Barrington.
Abbie J. von Schlegell, CFRE has been in the development field for over 40 years. She has held key major gifts positions at Stanford University, The University of Chicago, and was Chief Development Officer for both the Shakespeare Theatre Company and for Enterprise Community Partners. She edited the first book about women’s philanthropy, Women as Donors, Women as Philanthropists, published by Jossey Bass and continues to do research and speak about women’s giving. Her extensive nonprofit experience includes capital campaigns, major gifts programs and volunteer and staff training. She now heads her own firm, based in the Berkshires, and is a Certified Governance Trainer with BoardSource.
Dan Stanyon is a Vice President and Trust Officer with Salisbury Bank and Trust Company and holds the Certified Trust and Financial Advisor destination. He moved to the Berkshire area in 2014 from Burlington, Vermont where he met his wife Dawn Stanyon and raised two children. While in Burlington, he served on several boards in varying capacities including HomeShare Vermont Board Chair, Converse Home Board Chair, Foster Grandparent Program Board Chair, and National Alliance on Mental Illness finance committee member. Dan joined the Berkshire County Estate Planning Council in 2016 and has served as Vice President and Clerk. Dan enjoys time with his family and likes to hike, camp, do yard work, and smoke meat.