Join us Friday, March 3, 2023 for our our Annual Shining Stars Awards Gala at the Castle of Knights when we celebrate our 2023 Shining Stars and their impact on our community!
McKinstry Market Garden, Inc. will be recognized as the Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. McKinstry has been selling fresh produce from its multi-generation farmland in Chicopee since 1908 when Willard McKinstry started his business from a market wagon. Now the business is run by grandson Willard McKinstry, his wife Nicole, and their two sons Will and Warren, with produce grown across farmland in Chicopee, Granby, and Hadley. In 2021, the McKinstry family opened a brand-new farm store where their legacy roadside stand had been, reinvigorating the ability to provide their famous fresh-picked daily produce and more to Chicopee.
Judith Corridan Danek will be recognized as the Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year. Danek is the director at the Office of the President and Government Relations at Health New England. She’s lived most of her life in Chicopee, developing rich connections throughout the region. She has previously served as president of the Chicopee St. Patrick’s Day Committee and chairperson of the colleen ball. Some of her other volunteer activities include work with Mercy Medical Center, the Springfield Museums, and animal welfare advocacy.
Mim Zayas of Masis Staffing will be recognized as the Greater Chicopee Chamber Volunteer of the Year. Zayas has been an active part of the Chamber since 2015 when she joined the team at Masis Staffing (formerly United Personnel, which had been a member since 2005). She became a member of the board of directors in 2017, joined the executive committee in 2019, and became chair in 2021. She’s been an active member of the Shining Stars event committee for years and has been incredibly generous with her time throughout her tenure with the Chamber.
Holyoke Community College will be recognized as the Greater Chicopee Chamber Nonprofit Organization of the Year. HCC has come a long way since 1946 when they were city-sponsored Holyoke Junior College. Today it is the oldest two-year college in Massachusetts with one of the largest endowments of any in the U.S. HCC serves 9,000 students, represents $216 million in economic impact for the region, including about $43 million in payroll to local employees annually, and promotes a diverse workforce on an accessible campus. Current HCC President Dr. Christina Royal began her tenure in 2017 as the first female, queer person of color to hold the position.