SPRINGFIELD, Mass, March 25, 2022 –The Springfield Regional Chamber’s (SRC) Board of Directors has named Diana Szynal as its president, succeeding Nancy F. Creed who has served as Chamber president since 2016. The announcement follows an extensive regional search by the Chamber’s board of directors under the leadership of Board Chair Barbara-Jean DeLoria of Florence Bank.
Szynal currently serves as the executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, after having spent 16 years as district director for the late state Representative Peter Kocot in the 1st Hampshire District.
“Diana’s experience leading another chamber within our region, her familiarity with our entire tri-county area, along with the business needs and concerns across the Valley, combined with her deep understanding of the legislative process, make her uniquely qualified and our unanimous choice,” said DeLoria.
A Massachusetts native, Szynal spent her formative years in Hatfield and attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her breadth of experience working with local governments and the state legislature began in Hampshire County where she served as the Municipal Specialist to the Hampshire Council of Governments. Diana currently resides in Hatfield, where she serves as its Selectboard Chair.
Under Szynal’s leadership, the Franklin County Chamber in partnership with the Franklin County Regional Tourism Council, recently launched a re-branding effort to develop a forward-looking brand campaign that showcases the unique and authentic nature of the region. Also durfinig her tenture, the Chamber was instrumental in the creation of the ArtsHub of Western Mass., which serves as a central online location for the creative community to find jobs, resources and opportunities for collaboration.
Additionally, Szynal introduced a Chamber gift card program to support small business members, encouraging consumers to keep dollars local. In response to the challenges of the pandemic, she helped businesses navigate the ever-changing regulations and mandates, served as a resource for information for businesses and consumers, and helped secure recovery funding for Franklin County businesses.
Just last month, Szynal opened the doors to the new chamber headquarters and visitors center located at Historic Deerfield, as part of her efforts to streamline operations and focus on the financial stability of the Chamber.
“Our counties are similar in that they’re both filled with hard-working people who are inspired to make the places they call home champions for business growth and drivers for small business development and success,” Szynal said. “Both regions also share similar challenges, from workforce development, to lack of childcare, to transportation issues. I’m thrilled to be working within such a dynamic region and look forward to making a positive impact on the Springfield regional business community, the lives of SRC members, and the community overall.”
DeLoria noted that Diana’s understanding of the region’s three counties and her more than two decades of collaboration and coalition building are added assets for the SRC. “So often, our region in the west gets overshadowed by the eastern part of the Commonwealth. Diana’s in-depth understanding of the entire region and solid connections will only strengthen our voice and provide members with a strong business climate that supports economic growth,” she added.
Szynal also comes to the SRC with an extensive background and commitment to small businesses. “Diana has a proven track record supporting her members and small businesses in general and implementing ways to help them grow,” said Franklin County Chamber Board Member Michael Kane and past SRC Board member. “By seeing her in action, I can say her enthusiasm is unparalleled; her familiarity with creating effective tools, resources and programming is impressive, as are her skills in building strong relationships with her members and the community.”
Szynal will assume her new role on July 5, 2022. Creed will continue to serve as SRC’s president through that time to support a smooth transition. Since being named president in 2016, Creed has achieved a significant number of accomplishments on both a legislative and local level and has helped bring the Chamber to a place that’s financially sound with significant investments for the future. During Creed’s tenure, she repositioned the Chamber as a regional organization for businesses in Western Massachusetts, creating a channel for the voices of the Pioneer Valley to be heard by key-stakeholders in the Eastern part of the Commonwealth. She was one of just four people in the state to negotiate a compromise on paid family and medical leave and just one of six professionals to negotiate the Grand Bargain Bill signed into law in 2018.
During the most challenging period of the pandemic, Creed launched a set of digital economic development tools designed to put big data in the hands of small businesses – helping to fulfill the Chamber’s goal of driving the economic vitality of the region. Additionally, within three days of the state setting up its COVID Command Center, Creed worked to create a regional Command Center and pivoted chamber operations to help every local business. Throughout the entirety of the pandemic, Creed engaged members in new and innovative ways, showcased their businesses, built local brands, and successfully advocated for legislation critical to economic survival and ultimate recovery.
In her tenure, Creed paved the path for a successful future for SRC by establishing educational programming for businesses, dynamic networking opportunities for professionals, engaging members across all industries, creating a minority business council to better support the growing business sector, along with informative legislative updates for the community that are now pillars of the Chamber’s mission and will continue after her departure.
DeLoria said, “During her 10 years with the Chamber as both its vice president and marketing and communications and then as president, Nancy has been an invaluable resource and we’re deeply grateful for her leadership, expertise, commitment, and dedication to Chamber members and the entire Pioneer Valley. She’s greatly influenced the Chamber’s long-term vision, growth initiatives, and legislative strategy and we’re thankful to have her support during this time to ensure a smooth transition. We wish her all the best in her next steps.”
The SRC’s annual celebration on June 15 will serve as an opportunity to meet and welcome Synzal in her new role. Creed will support Synzal throughout the spring and early summer until she begins her tenure as Chamber president this July.
To learn more about the Springfield Regional Chamber, its advocacy work, meaningful networking events, and programs that strengthen and improve the region’s workforce and economy, visit www.springfieldregionchamber.com