Chamber Honors Women of Distinction
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In honor of Women’s History Month, The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce is honoring four “Women of Distinction” for their accomplishments, including community involvement, industry impact and professional success.
“We were so proud to be able to honor this year’s women of distinction in the Greater Newport region,” said Erin Donovan-Boyle, chamber executive director. “Our … awardees are leading the way to recovery for our community, and it has been a privilege to hear from them how they have navigated the tumultuous year of 2020. We are grateful for all they do for our community.”
The recipients included Mary Beth Daigneault, Elizabeth Lynn, Nancy Piffard, and Debbie Proffitt.
Daigneault is the administrator at St. Clare Newport who oversees day-to-day operations and has been caring for the elders at the facility since 1995. Her background includes social work, admissions, marketing, quality-assurance and nursing home administration, and she assists elders with their transition from independent living to a long-term care environment, while providing one-to-one counseling for the seniors and their families.
Piffard is director of the Newport International Boat Show/Newport Exhibition Group. Celebrating its 50th year, the event is one of the largest in-water events in the country and the premier show in New England.
As part of the virtual award ceremonies, individual interviews were conducted by Donovan-Boyle with each of the recipients. Proffitt, vice president of operations and business development at PURVIS Systems, a defense and public safety technologies company in Middletown, expressed her gratitude for the honor.
“It’s certainly a historical year to be recognized during women’s history month,” she said.
She has more than 35 years of management experience with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), U.S. Navy, and the public sector
Proffitt has worked on the governor’s workforce board and with the chamber on career development and job opportunities in the DOD. She also worked last summer with area high school students on the “Prepare RI” workforce program.
“Our focus has been on career shifts and … getting the word out on opportunities in the defense industry,” she said.
Of her role with the van Beuren trust, Lynn said, “As executive director, I have the privilege of working for a … family that’s committed to its philanthropy and to this region [and to] how they want that philanthropy to show up in the community.”
Lynn, was honored for her work on behalf of the organization, which provided much-needed support and resources for the community since the outbreak of the pandemic last spring.
Her goal, she said, is to find out where the mission of the area’s nonprofits intersects and aligns with those of the foundation.
“One of the best parts of this job is meeting those community leaders who, day in and day out, are trying to make a difference,” she said.
In addition to a sizeable initial donation to several area charities, Lynn said that part of the foundation’s role during the pandemic has centered on shared information about issues such as how to work remotely, re-work financial scenarios and assist with human resources. She said that she thought 2008, the year she started, would be a challenge, “But 2020 has been extraordinary. It’s been a lot of work, but so rewarding. This is why we’re here,” she said.
The virtual interviews with each honoree will be shared on the chamber’s social media platforms, online blog, and YouTube channel.