Page 9 - HealthcareNews May/June 2021
P. 9

Amy Ashford
Regional Director of Marketing & Communications, Trinity Health of New AEngland; Age 38
my Ashford got her start within the healthcare
sector not in marketing, but in human resources. It was a chance conversation with the CEO of the hospital where she was employed that changed the trajectory of her career.
“She said, “we have a position in marketing, and
I think you’d be a really great fit for it; would you
consider it?’” Ashford recalled, adding that she had
lunch with the director of that department, and ...
well, that was not only the start of a friendship that
continues to this day, but the next important step in
a journey that has taken her from a supporting role
with a hospital in New Hampshire to her current
role as regional director of Marketing & Communications for Trinity Health Of New England.
There were steps in between, and all that accumulated knowledge and experience has certainly been needed during what Ashford described as the most difficult test, and in some ways the most rewarding experience, of her career — coordinating the region’s communications efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While excelling in her field — she recently received the Society for Health Care Strategy and Market Development’s Rising Star Award — Ashford is also active within the community. She has been the second vice president of the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County since 2014, and is also a former board member for Symphony Hall and CityStage.
Samantha Bilal
Program Manager, Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts; Age 35
Samantha Bilal is no stranger to making real, street-level change. For most of her professional life, she did
so with Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services in
Springfield, where she gradually progressed from
lead camp counselor to director of Operations. There, she supported prevention initiatives around gang violence, substance abuse, and teen dating violence, while implementing youth safe-haven programming, education around domestic and dating violence, and annual community-engagement events.
These days, she’s impacting the community in a
different way, managing the Live Well Springfield
Coalition, a program of the Public Health Institute of
Western Massachusetts, through which she leads the
Climate Change and Health Equity initiative, which
aims to create strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, improve health outcomes for those in marginalized communities directly impacted by climate change, and dismantle systemic racism.
She has also led the institute’s Transforming Community initiative, which promotes health equity through nutritious food access and safer streets, and the Age-Friendly City initiative, which focuses on issues of housing, transportation, social services, and health to make Springfield a more livable city for older adults.
“All these are very different, but they all impact community, and they all engage residents,” Bilal said. “I’m really passionate about community engagement and making sure residents are uplifted as champions — because we won’t make the biggest changes without their advice and their advocacy.”
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