The Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts’ Trustees of the Order of William Pynchon announced today their selection of a local resident as this year’s Pynchon medal recipient. Brenda McGiverin, chairperson of the Pynchon Trustees, stated, “This year’s recipient embodies what this award is about—a commitment to public service and improving the lives of everyone in our region.”
Slated to receive the Advertising Club’s Pynchon Medal at a November 2023 event is the following recipient:
Tania Barber, nominated by Yvonne Williams:
Tania Barber serves as president and CEO of Caring Health Center (CHC), a Springfield-based care provider of affordable and equitable healthcare services. Barber began her career with CHC as a part-time switchboard operator in 1996. Through regular promotions during her 24-year tenure, she rose to become the organization’s leader in 2013. Even in a position of executive leadership, Barber retained her connection to the organization’s frontline staff and a commitment to CHC’s on-the-ground mission. “I realized I could have a greater impact in an executive management role,” said Barber. “It was a chance to make positive changes to the issues I saw first-hand.” As a servant leader, Barber guided CHC to dramatically increase the number of patients served, tripled its staff level, and introduced many new services, including substance-use treatment and behavioral health.
In addition to enhancing the organization’s service offerings, Barber expanded CHC’s reach with an expansion to three facilities, as well as the addition of mobile services and pharmacy delivery for those who are homebound or experiencing mobility issues. Following devastating damage to the organization’s flagship facility due to a 2011 tornado, she oversaw an $18 million construction project to restore—and expand—CHC’s reach in the community. She also enhanced the delivery of services for the area’s refugee population; as a result, CHC is now the Commonwealth’s number one provider of refugee and immigrant patients outside of Boston.
According to Barber, her lived experience is responsible for her becoming the empathic and informed healthcare provider she is today. As the daughter of a young single mother, Barber sees herself in many of the women CHC serves. Her belief in empowering women through education led her to establish the Tania M. Barber Learning Institute in 2023. Students of the institute will earn a salary as they receive training for careers in the healthcare field. In addition to providing a talent pipeline for an industry in dire need of trained workers, it will provide students with a pathway to well-paying jobs that also benefit the community. “We are helping with equity gaps [within] the community, particularly [for] people of color,” Barber told WWLP news.
In addition to leading CHC, Barber is the founder and pastor of Living Water Global Ministries, a nondenominational Christian church; EST.HER, a leadership consulting firm; and Daughters of Shared Vision, a faith-based counseling service for women. She has also served on a variety of local and regional boards, including the Springfield Technical Community College Science Degree Program Advisory Board, Health New England, Florence Bank, and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.
In all of her endeavors, Barber looks to maximize the potential of those she serves, whether employees, patients, or mentees. “My personal philosophy can best be summed up by the acronym ‘HELP’: healing every last person,” she said.
This year’s recipient was chosen from a pool of nominations received last spring by the Advertising Club. All nominees are researched by the trustees, who then deliberate before selecting final recipients. Pynchon medalists are chosen by unanimous decision of the Pynchon Trustees, who are the current and five past presidents of the Advertising Club. Pynchon Trustees for 2023 are Teresa Utt, David Cecchi, Mary Shea, Scott Whitney, Brenda McGiverin, and Kelly McGiverin.
The presentation of the Pynchon Medal and celebration will take place on Monday, November 13, 2023 with a 5 p.m. social hour and a 6 p.m. ceremony. The program will be held at the Top of Our City Conference Center on the seventh floor of Scibelli Hall, Springfield Technical Community College. Scibelli Hall is located at One Armory Square, Springfield, MA. Event details and ticket information can be found on the club’s website: adclubwm.org.