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Mount Holyoke College
Weissman Center for Leadership

Social Entrepreneurs: Women Waging Social Good


Suzanne Beck, Amber Chand, Rochelle Prunty, and Dora Robinson

Tuesday, November 27, 7:00 PM
Gamble Auditorium, Art Building
Co-sponsored by Community-Based Learning
Free and open to the public

Creative and compassionate business ventures that are profitable and build strong community will be featured in this panel discussion with Suzanne Beck, Executive Director of the Northampton Chamber of Commerce; Amber Chand, founder of the Women's Peace Collection and Prosperity Candle; Rochelle Prunty, General Manager of the retail food cooperative River Valley Market; and Dora Robinson, President and CEO of the United Way of Pioneer Valley. These leading entrepreneurs and agents of change will share their stories and insights on business acumen, courage, leadership, and commitment to mission-driven enterprises. Co-sponsored by The 175th Anniversary and the Community-Based Learning Program.


Suzanne Beck is the Executive Director of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held since 1992. In her 20 year tenure, Beck's progressive leadership has transformed the organization through a significant expansion of its bottom line, its influence and its ability to positively impact the Northampton area. Known for a collaborative, strategic and creative approach, Beck's professional career in business and community development spans 30+ years in positions in New York, Hartford, Springfield, and Northampton, Massachusetts.

Amber Chand, born in East Africa of Indian parentage and expelled from her country during a time of political turmoil in her youth, has developed a profound interest in issues affecting women's empowerment and economic security around the world and in the role of business as a transformational agent for social change and peace building. Chand is the founder and Director of the Women's Peace Collection, a social change enterprise that supports women's micro-enterprises primarily in regions of conflict and post-conflict including Afghanistan, Palestine, Rwanda and Sudan. To support this work further, The Amber Chand Foundation was created in 2009 as a vehicle to offer women in these regions micro finance grants to create and grow their enterprises. As a business and life coach, she supports women who are living in a time of transition and who seek to create more purpose, passion, and prosperity in their lives. View full bio of Amber Chand.

Rochelle Prunty is the General Manager of River Valley Market, a retail food cooperative in Northampton, Massachusetts, owned by over 5,000 area families. River Valley Market is a consumer owned co-op with a mission that extends beyond the store to creating a just marketplace that nourishes the community. Prunty was part of the organizing team that worked for nearly nine years to develop, build, and open the co-op store in the spring of the 2008. Shortly after the co-op opened its doors, the economy had its biggest downturn in decades which negatively impacted most retail businesses. In spite of the economy, the new co-op food store took root and grew to $15 million in annual sales by its fourth year and now employs over 100 people and purchases 30% of the products it sells from local and regional producers. View full bio of Rochelle Prunty.

Dora Robinson has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Way of Pioneer Valley since October 2009. A resident of Springfield, Robinson brings a combination of leadership and strategic operational experience to her position. She is building a new business framework for the United Way to address the underlying causes of the financial hardships facing today's families. Before joining United Way, Robinson served more than 25 years in human services administration including 18 years as president and chief executive officer of Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Services, Inc. in Springfield. She is a professional consultant and advisor, lecturer and guest speaker throughout the region. View full bio of Dora Robinson.