Leading in Central MA: Cheryll Toney Holley, Chief, Nipmuc Nation
Monday, January 20, 2014
A Conversation with Cheryll Toney Holley
SW: You have an unusual dual career as a nurse and the chief of the Nipmuc nation. When did you take office as Chief? How did that come about?
CH: Chief Walter Vickers resigned in May of 2013. He is able to choose 3 possible successors and then the choice passes to our Elders Council. I was selected by our Elders Council to succeed him. The transfer occurred at our annual pau wau in July of 2013.
SW: What are your responsibilities?
CH: My main responsibility is to serve the Nipmuc people and to maintain and safeguard the Reservation. In addition to my responsibilities as Chief, I am also a Nipmuc tradition-keeper. A tradition-keeper works diligently to aid in the continuation of Nipmuc traditions and culture and to ensure the transference of that knowledge to subsequent generations.
SW: What do you do in your other career?
CH: I am the clinical supervisor of the dermatology clinic at UMass Memorial Medical Center and the proprietor of PastTense Genealogy where I am a professional researcher and writer specializing in Native American and African-American peoples in New England. For over ten years, I have compiled genealogies and written family histories for descendants of New England's communities of color.
SW: Can you describe a day in your life?
CH: No, not really. I have no typical days. I have a family – three generations of us live under one roof. I work full-time at UMass Memorial Medical Center, I have a genealogy research business PLUS my tribal responsibilities. My life is pretty full!!
SW: Who or what has had the greatest influence on your life?
Many, many people have influenced my life but I think my mom has been the biggest influence. Her connections in our community are astounding – she knows everyone! It’s because of her and through her memories and knowledge that I’ve developed my love for my community.
SW: Your favorite quote?
That’s a tough one. Right now it’s “A leader is a dealer in hope.”, Napoleon Bonaparte
SW: What is the something that few people know about you?
I can’t sing – oh, wait, actually most people do know that.
SW: How do you spend your free time?
With my daughters and grandchildren or beading.
SW: What is on the drawing board for your life and for your nation in 2014?
Unity and forward motion. Working on unifying our people and on our own internal processes to insure our culture is passed on through the generations. We want to survive, progress and move forward in the future together. To be who we are only better!
GoLocalWorcester presents Leading in Central Ma, a weekly profile of an outstanding community or business leader. Join us every Monday for an inspiring look at the careers and lifestyles of Central Massachusetts’s most influential citizens.
Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client's goals with integrity and creativity.
If you have suggestions for a profile, please email [email protected].
Related Slideshow: 14 To Watch in Central Mass in 2014
EcoTarium's Cox, who took the helm in 2012, is one to certainly watch in 2014. If you don't know Joe, he helped raise over $26.5 million at his previous post at the Galisano Children's Museum in Florida – and broke attendance projections in the process. If a track record of success is any indicator of a future one, expect to see amazing things at the Ecotarium.
Thanks to a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, EcoTarium will soon house one of the most unique exhibits in the country. A team of researchers led by Robert L. Ryan, professor of landscape architecture and regional planning at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, along with Worcester's Clark University and Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, will integrate the science of urban systems into a new "City Science" exhibit.
Next City Manager
With Michael O'Brien's departure from the City Manager post he'd held since 2004 for the private sector, Ed Augustus got tapped from his Director of Communications post at Holy Cross to fill O'Brien's shoes – but for an interim basis only. The former McGovern staffer and State Senator will take the helm for nine months only, leaving the big question in 2014 as to who will be the next City Manager.
The next City Manager will have a myriad of issues to deal with, from economic development, to crime – a top issue as far as residents are concerned. Will the next City Manager address the fact that while more than 40 percent of Worcester's population is a minority, the City has more than 1,600 full- and part-time city employees and well over 80 percent of them are white. Will city government ever reflect the population of Worcester?
The Hamilton native, who did a stint at Syracuse before declaring for the NBA draft this year, is already making an impact as a pro.
In February, GoLocal's John Barone broke the news that Hamilton native, and Syracuse Orange guard, Michael Carter-Williams would declare for the 2013 NBA draft after his sophomore season.
Carter-Williams, a 2011 McDonald’s All-American at St. Andrews in Rhode Island, was drafted 11th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. He is currently having himself quite a rookie year, with 17.6 point and 7.8 assist per game averages.
Dr. Dickson, who was named President and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care this past February, will no doubt continue to have an influential role in the community.
During his tenure to date, challenges have included financial and labor issues, but also oversight of major changes as well -- Dickson appointed a new president of UMass Memorial Medical Center, Patrick Muldoon, and embarked on closer collaboration with Baystate Health to improve quality, access, and affordability of care.
Republican activist and Boylston school committee member Brad Wyatt will definitely be someone to watch in 2014, having just announced he's running for State Representative.
Wyatt is eyeing Hank Naughton's seat in the 12th Worcester District, as Naughton's now seeking the office of Attorney General. According to the Red Mass Group, the district, which includes Boylston, Clinton, Lancaster, and Berlin is the 38th most Republican leaning district in the Commonwealth. Scott Brown took the 12th in 2010 63-36, and Charlie Baker got 51% to Deval Patrick's 40%. Could Wyatt see a similar success in 2014? Stay tuned.
The Holy Cross senior is no stranger to politics – both locally, and in Washington, DC, having worked as an intern in the Office of Communications at The White House (and before that both in the office of the Governor of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Worcester.)
As President and co-founder of the Worcester Student Government Association, Hakim told GoLocal's Susan Wagner, "Lately I have been describing myself as a pragmatist. I’m definitely a dreamer, but I believe the only way to get anything done is to make an honest assessment of where things stand and then go from there."
Who will get medical marijuana licenses in Worcester County will be watched for certain in 2014.
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Future of the T&G
What will become of the Telegram and Gazette will no doubt be closely watched in 2014.
GoLocal's Dean Starkman wrote in November of the scenario, "The Telegram and Gazette, a wallflower among New England newspapers that has suffered years of benign neglect by distant owners, seemed poised for a revival, after John Henry scooped it up as part of his landmark deal to buy the Boston Globe. Now a month later, he’s putting it on the block."
The potential future of the paper that has a nearly 150-year presence in the city and circulation of roughly 75,000 was broken down by Starkman. One of the major question marks is if new ownership would be local, or a return to a New York parent company.
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Be Like Brit
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What started as a project built in her memory is now home to 35 children, and employs more than 40 full-time employees. According to the Be Like Brit website, hundreds of American and Canadian college students and other volunteers visit or volunteer at Be Like Brit each year.
He might have gotten the nod earlier this year for his cool factor, but GoLocal is putting Corazzini on our list of people to watch because of his "kid" factor.
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Waterman, the CEO of Girls, Inc., didn't always know she'd end up in the role of spearheading the 97-year-old organization in Worcester that allows girls the ability to participate in enrichment programs and get the tools, opportunities, and encouragement needed to grow.
A 20 year veteran of the mortgage banking industry, Waterman created "Divorce Mortgage Specialists" to help women in transition, before switching gears to head up Leading Women Massachusetts as President, providing cutting-edge leadership development solutions for women in organizations. Now, Waterman is setting her sights on the 100 year anniversary of Girls Inc. in 2016.
Central Rock Gym
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