Edward Sokolowski, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, AIF®
Managing Partner and Financial Advisor
Managing Partner Edward “Ed” Sokolowski is a lifelong resident of Western Massachusetts. He graduated from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 1992 with a BS in finance. As a child, he remembers visiting his older sister at her office in downtown Springfield. Mesmerized by the sounds and sights of the stock market tickers, Ed knew finance was in his future. In college, Ed’s economics professor taught him the value of investments, explaining that when you lose money, it takes twice as much effort to earn it back. It was then that he chose to steer clear of quick-fix stock trading and pave a career applying the conservative philosophy of long-term investing.
Ed began the licensing process before graduation and promptly joined EQ Financial Consultants out of college. Within two years, Ed’s hard work and dedication propelled him into management. While Ed always valued slow and steady investments, he thrives in risky and challenging environments. In 1995, Ed moved his family to New York, seeking a fast-paced setting to push him out of his comfort zone.
Armed with valuable experience, Ed was recruited back to Western Massachusetts in 1999 to work for Palmer Goodell Financial Group, LLC. Ed witnessed the corporate sale of Palmer Goodell to TD Bank and quickly realized the need to provide a local, relationship-focused, comprehensive approach to financial planning. Together with partners Joseph Leonczyk and Charles Myers, he opened the doors of Pioneer Valley Financial Group, LLC, in March 2002. Today, Ed is recognized as a President’s Club Advisor for 2014—an elite distinction recognizing only the most esteemed financial advisors based on annual production rankings among Commonwealth Financial Network®'s financial advisors.
When he’s not in the office, you’ll often find Ed lacing up to hit the pavement. After being a casual runner for more than 10 years, he decided it was time to move from casual running and start training for his first marathon. It’s an achievement he is proud to have accomplished after turning 40, and Ed has since completed several marathons and continues to stay physically fit with daily runs.
Ed received an esteemed Volunteer of the Year Award for his involvement in the preservation of Folley Field/Lake Wallace. During his service as chairman, Ed tirelessly fought, lobbied, disrupted, and influenced community leaders in order to preserve the 66 acres. The land is now a place where children and their families enjoy sporting events, nature walks, and environmental exploration. Having raised two sons and spent more than 15 years coaching football, basketball, and baseball, Ed intrinsically values the development of future generations through education, community support, and outdoor play.
You’ll see that as PV Financial Group has become more successful, the community receives more of the company’s energy, time, and money too. Ed, who wasn’t born wealthy, believes that it is his social responsibility to give back to the community and support children so that they have the opportunity to one day be successful too. Ed handpicks organizations, like the Ludlow Community Center/Randall Boys & Girls Club, Head Start, and the Michael J. Dias Foundation, to foster child and community development. You’ll often find him volunteering at local events, coffee in hand, alongside his team.
Edward Sokolowski is proud to have been recognized as a President’s Club advisor for 2016—a distinction based on annual production attained by 16 percent of advisors affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network.
Each year, Commonwealth, the Registered Investment Advisor–broker/dealer that helps us process investment transactions on your behalf, recognizes President’s Club advisors by inviting them to an exclusive gathering of their peers, leading industry experts, and Commonwealth home office staff. President’s Club advisors benefit from an intensive learning and networking experience designed to help them hone their expertise, share best practices, and provide ever-higher levels of service, education, and leadership to their clients.
Peter Leonczyk, AIF®
Financial Advisor Peter Leonczyk is a lifelong resident of Ludlow, Massachustts. He attended Westfield State University, where he earned a BS in business management. Upon graduating, Peter sought a career that would allow him to impact people’s lives on a deeper level. With a strong desire to serve within the community, coupled with his interest in economics and finance, Peter joined PV Financial in early 2013.
Since joining the firm, Peter has earned his AIF® designation, expanding his knowledge and expertise in retirement planning and management. Peter is committed to providing quality financial planning and guidance to hardworking individuals, families, and businesses throughout all stages of their financial journey. With his genuine sense of humor, grounded in trust and friendship, Peter has a natural ability to develop a strong connection with each one of his clients. Peter has fostered these relationships in the community through his work as a member of the Rotary Club of Ludlow and dedicated volunteer with organizations such as the Ludlow CARES coalition and Junior Achievement. Acting on his commitment to support the youth in our community, Peter coached the Ludlow Lions Youth football team. After helping lead the team to an undefeated championship, Coach Pete stepped down (for now) but remains invested in his players' lives both on and off the field.
Growing alongside his community, Peter was an honoree of the 2020 Business West 40 under Forty Award* — a program that recognizes individuals in Western Mass who have excelled professionally and also in their services to the community. Now, Peter actively serves on the Michael J. Dias Foundation board and was most recently named a Ludlow Boys and Girls Club – Club Ambassador.
Today, Peter and his wife, Jessica, reside in Ludlow with their daughter Emma and son Parker. In his free time, you may find Peter combining his love for the outdoors and athletics by playing a round of golf or fishing at a local pond. As a family, they enjoy spending time on the Connecticut River where they fish, paddleboard, and barbeque. Displaying his love for cooking, you’ll likely find Peter with a spatula in hand while manning the grill, serving his friends and family.
*This award is not specific to financial services and does not imply an endorsement, recommendation, or otherwise reflect the performance of the advisor or any account
Financial Advisor Antonio Bastos was born and raised in Ludlow, Massachusetts, to Portuguese and Italian parents. He attended Veteran’s Park Elementary School, Paul R Baird Middle School, and Ludlow High School. As a kid, Antonio played every sport you can imagine, with his true passion lying in soccer. Actively playing basketball, baseball, and soccer throughout middle school, he then turned his focus on solely playing soccer during high school with hopes of playing in college. If he wasn’t playing sports, Antonio and his friends from the neighborhood loved to build and make bike trails in the woods and ride through them. Attached to their bikes, they’d ride them all over town, including to the soccer fields and basketball courts to meet everyone and play for hours!
All of the time spent on soccer paid off, as Antonio went on to play on the soccer team for Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts, where he obtained a degree in business management. He spent most of his time at practice, playing intramural basketball or pond hockey continuing his passion for staying active through competitive sports. Upon graduating, Antonio took a position with MassMutual Retirement Services, where he obtained his FINRA Series 6 and 63 securities registrations. His role there was to represent and sell MassMutual’s qualified retirement plan platform to small and mid-sized businesses in a specified geographical area.
Working there for just over five years, Antonio was able to gain very important and useful knowledge and experience within qualified retirement plans. Through these experiences, he learned how important retirement planning is and how important a qualified retirement plan is to a company and its employees. Seeing how much PV Financial has done in the community over years, Antonio wanted to join the hard work and dedication of everyone at PV Financial and apply his Qualified Retirement Plan experience to PV clients to drive positive retirement outcomes for businesses and their employees.
At PV Financial, Antonio’s role is to manage all of the Qualified Retirement Plan clients. From day-to-day servicing and fielding all inquiries from retirement plan participants and plan trustees, he will also maintain relationships with all retirement plan providers in the industry while staying connected and up to date on new products, services, and ERISA compliance regulations to properly and confidently serve all of PV Financials’ retirement plan clients/participants.
Today, Antonio and his fiancé, Carly, love to stay active when they can. They enjoy doing projects around the house, hiking, skiing in the winter, playing sports, and hanging out with family and friends. When they finally sit down to relax, they’re most likely watching shows on Netflix, but always make time to watch sports games too! In the past, Antonio has done work with the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, where he volunteered his time to help out with fundraisers and after-school events that targeted community engagement and safety. He’s most looking forward to participating and volunteering his time around the community more in 2021.
Kevin Sylvester, CPFA®
Financial Advisor Kevin Sylvester, grew up in Enfield, Connecticut, and graduated from Enrico Fermi High School. His very first job was working at his family’s store, Caronna’s Market in Enfield, which is still owned and operated by his family. After studying graphics in high school, Kevin started working at a local print shop, quickly moving up the ranks and becoming a manager by age 18.
Kevin moved in with his wife, Beth, in Springfield, Massachusetts, and opened his own print shop, making banners and posters for other businesses. He enjoyed the benefit of large-scale clientele like Frito-Lay and working as a wholesale printer for local businesses. At this time, Kevin and Beth started a young family raising two boys, Evan and Braidyn. Looking for a career change, Kevin went back to school in 2011 attending the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Kevin worked long days consisting of going to work the third shift, bringing his kids to school in Enfield in the morning, and finally finishing his day by rushing over to school. Kevin earned a BS in mathematics with a concentration in actuarial science in 2018, and coupled with his experience, quickly found work in wealth management beginning his career with Edward Jones. His desire to engage clients in a concentrated and intimate role with future wealth needs ultimately led him to his current role with Pioneer Valley Financial Group, a firm he personally feels gives him the ability to center his skills on client satisfaction.
When not in the office, Kevin spends as much time as he can with his family. Kevin spends time on the sidelines of a soccer field, clipboard in hand as he coaches Evan and Braidyn’s soccer teams. At night, you might find them gazing up at the night sky while Kevin jumps at the opportunity to teach the kids all about the wonders of astronomy. His family spends summers at the shore camping in Rhode Island near Mystic and Misquamicut Beach. A man of many talents, Kevin’s hobbies include playing chess, playing the guitar, and has been a published writer. He also enjoys the technology sector and tries to find spare time to write code and keep up on computing subjects.
Ryan Sokolowski, CCFS®
Ryan Sokolowski grew up in Belchertown, Massachusetts, and is a current resident of York, Pennsylvania. After completing high school in Massachusetts, Ryan attended Penn State University and graduated with a BS in recreation. He also completed a double minor concentration in business management and economics. Following college, Ryan began a five-year journey working in the country club industry. He held various positions at a variety of clubs including managing a two-course golf and tennis complex as the general manager.
In early 2020, Ryan decided to make a career change and follow his passion for finance. He joined Merrill Lynch and trained for a year getting fully licensed through their Financial Development Program. In joining PV Financial, Ryan is excited to work for the company that his father and the partners created in 2002. He will put to good use his years of hospitality experience by building strong client relationships and creating personalized plans for his clients. As an advisor, Ryan believes in creating a fan base of clients that appreciate a servitude approach to financial planning.
When not at the office, Ryan loves to spend time with his beautiful wife, Victoria, and son, Chatham. Ryan and Victoria recently celebrated Chatham’s first birthday. The family loves to take walks to the park together and visit Chatham’s grandparents. Ryan and Victoria love to play cards, golf, and watch shows together on Netflix. In 2021, Ryan is most looking forward to growing PV Navigator and financial awareness among millennials.
Chief Operating Officer and Partner
Chief Compliance Officer and Director of Operations Kelly Haber was born and raised in Ludlow, Massachusetts. Kelly’s parents immigrated to the United States from Portugal before starting a family. They desired to give Kelly and her brother a life full of opportunity. Guided by the dedicated work ethic of her parents, Kelly vividly remembers going to work at her local bakery at 16, upholding her commitment to the tennis team, and still maintaining excellent grades in preparation for college. Kelly’s acute attention to detail drove her success then, as it does now.
Kelly went on to attend Western New England University, where a career in finance first piqued her interest. Out of school, Kelly got her first taste of the financial planning industry while working at Northwestern Mutual in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, as a sales assistant. The independent, fast-paced environment prepared her for her subsequent move to MassMutual in Springfield, where she accepted a position as an investment analyst in the operations division.
Kelly’s dedicated work ethic and ability to manage and resolve complex problems with efficiency and empathy quickly identified her as an integral part of the organization. Within a short time, she was promoted to the role of regulatory operations consultant, auditing operations, and developing supervisory procedures. A few years later, equipped with vast experience, Kelly was further promoted into her most recent position as a compliance consultant, where she handled various regulatory inquiries and drove changes that positively influenced the client experience.
From regulatory inspections to internal audits, to research and resolution, Kelly has the ability to comb through fine details with precision and accuracy, making her an invaluable asset to our team. Kelly joined PVFG as the director of compliance and operations in early 2016. Armed with her FINRA Series 7 and 24 securities registrations through Commonwealth Financial Network® and guided by her caring and personal approach, Kelly has become a dynamic asset to our growing firm.
Within six months, Kelly passed the Uniform Combined State Law Examination (also called the Series 66), promoting her to chief compliance officer. As regulations become increasingly more complex, compliance is one of the most critical functions in any firm. With her new registration, Kelly has become Pioneer Valley’s OSJ Delegate and a registered Investment Advisor Representative. It's a role well suited for Kelly’s area of expertise, and she is now responsible for the general supervision and compliance of the firm and all activities of registered employees.
When not in the office, Kelly and her husband, Barry, a “tree guy,” enjoy time with their family at home in Wilbraham. Still settling into their recently built house, Kelly puts her creative side to work exploring her interest in interior design throughout each room. While Kelly is busy sprucing up the place, you might find Barry around town in Ludlow, fearlessly climbing and removing trees.
Kelly and Barry recently celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary. While dreams of Italy and Hawaii first came to mind, it’s more likely they’ll be sporting Mickey Mouse ears in Disney while chasing their two adorable sons, Ryan (7) and Gavin (2).
When not at a hockey or football game cheering on Ryan (while frantically chasing after Gavin, who desperately wants in on the action), you’ll often find Kelly in the kitchen trying a new recipe, watching HGTV, enjoying a glass of wine with friends, or curling up with a good book.
Director of Client Relations and Partner
Director of Client Relations Karen Nogueira knows what it means to deliver impeccable customer service. As a young girl, Karen remembers proudly wearing her red and white apron as a candy striper while she volunteered at Ludlow Hospital. Serving others gave her a sense of joy, from refilling water glasses and serving dinner, to taking the time to speak with lonely patients, Karen had the heart to help others. It was no surprise when Karen later landed a career in customer service.
A natural people person, Karen’s philosophy of treating others the way she hopes to be treated allowed her to quickly move through the ranks. Karen began her career as a bank teller at West Bank. From there, she moved to Luso Federal Credit Union, where she was promoted from teller to head teller and finally to branch manager before joining our team in 2006. At first, Karen came on board as a part-time sales assistant. As her children got older, Karen’s innate sense of loyalty to the client experience carved out her full-time niche position where she now works as a relationship manager. Today, Karen’s devotion to customer service proves to be an invaluable asset to the team.
When not working, you’ll find Karen spending most of her free time with her family and two children, Ava and Joseph. Growing up in a Portuguese home, Karen vividly remembers dancing on her father’s toes while listening to Portuguese folk music. Karen passed on her love of music and dance to her daughter Ava, 9, who gracefully participates in several competitive dance teams. Ava’s talents do not end just in dance; Karen also nurtures Ava’s love of music and encourages her natural abilities when playing both the acoustic and electric guitars.
During soccer season, you can’t miss Karen screaming from the sideline “Go, Bubba!” while Joseph, 7, is on the field. Whatever the sport, Karen makes sure to support and cheer him on at every game and practice.
In recent years, Karen has discovered a love for running. While you’ll see her mostly running around the neighborhood, she recently completed the St. Patrick’s Day Road Race finishing at her personal best. Karen loves to stay active with her kids and is often outside playing soccer and basketball with Joseph, Ava, and their two playful dogs, Lulu and Oliver.
During the summer, Karen also enjoys spending time planting in her garden; pink hydrangeas are her favorite. Throughout the year, she loves to travel and always tries to bring her children. Karen believes in the importance of education happening outside of the classroom and seeks to expose them to different places, food, and culture whenever the opportunity arises.
Director of Operations
Director of Operations Marcin Mruk was born in Chicopee, Massachusetts, and grew up in Hadley, where he graduated from Hopkins Academy. Marcin and his two older sisters are first-generation Polish, as both of his parents grew up in Southern Poland before deciding to move to the U.S. to find work and start a family. Because Polish was his first language, Marcin had to spend extra time learning English throughout elementary school. Growing up, he and his family often went on camping trips together, as they were cost-effective and allowed for quality family time in the great outdoors.
In high school, Marcin became heavily involved with sports, playing baseball and soccer all four years he attended. He was also a member of the ski club, a hobby that has followed him to this day. He and his friends ski throughout the season, hitting the trails around Killington and Mount Snow. Marcin was diagnosed with diabetes as a sophomore, and actively supported the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation throughout his high school years. Before attending college, Marcin weighed the possibility of becoming a state trooper, but eventually found a home in finance. The financial world appealed to him not only because of his strength in mathematics but also because it would allow him to help people reach their financial goals.
Marcin attended Framingham State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 2019. Throughout college, Marcin continued his interest in athletics, participating in numerous intramural sports. To help pay for school, Marcin took on a variety of jobs, including working as a school bus driver, a server at a restaurant, and a manager of a liquor store during his junior and senior years. During his last year in school, Marcin was a member of Framingham State’s entrepreneur program, where he had the opportunity to intern for a startup clothing company. At PV Financial, Marcin is working on becoming a financial advisor.
Operations Support Specialist
Operations Coordinator and Relationship Manager Kelly Outhuse has been working in the financial services industry for more than 12 years. She knows firsthand the meaning of hard work. Kelly’s parents immigrated from Portugal to the United States as a young couple. Kelly vividly recalls watching her parents work tirelessly to create the American dream for their family. From factory workers to real estate buyers, landlords to small business owners, Kelly’s parents imparted a strong work ethic and customer service standard that has proven to be intricately woven throughout Kelly’s personal ideals and professional demeanor.
Kelly graduated from Westfield State University with a bachelor of science in business management. While studying finance, she was struck to understand the impact of everyday events on the stock market. Learning how financial planning can provide individuals with security amid the chaos of the economy, Kelly soon discovered her future career path.
Kelly’s acute attention to detail and passion for the financial services industry made for a perfect fit for her position in the retirement services department at MassMutual in Springfield, Massachusetts. Kelly spent nearly four years servicing professional employer organizations, transferring new business, coordinating enrollment meetings, and assisting new clients transitioning to 401(k)s. Kelly went on to gain invaluable experience in compliance and account management at the United Health Group in Hartford, Connecticut, and Northwestern Mutual in Springfield, Massachusetts.
In a recent role as a compliance specialist at Professional Investors in South Windsor, Connecticut, Kelly realized an inclination toward working directly with financial representatives. Responsible for the processing of new accounts and customer orders for nearly 120 financial advisors, Kelly further developed her capacity to carefully review every fine detail while simultaneously managing multiple tasks. Seeking an opportunity closer to home, Kelly joined the Pioneer Financial Group team in early 2017.
A self-proclaimed “chatterbox” with a sincere sense of community, Kelly rounds out our Operations Department and Relationship Management team with her life insurance license and FINRA Series 7 securities registrations (through Commonwealth Financial Network®). Kelly’s hearty work ethic, genuine enthusiasm, and dedication to customer service make for a natural fit within our team.
When not at the office, Kelly spends much of her time creating meaningful memories with her husband, Jeremy, and two children Mason (1) and Mila (4). Jeremy proudly co-owns and operates his family’s locksmith business, often dedicating long hours and overnight visits to service emergency calls. To balance their dynamic work schedules, the family enjoys escaping to Cape Cod, exploring local beaches, or frequenting Boston for fun family adventures. When not discovering new sights, the Outhuse family often entertains family and friends in their Ludlow home. A loyal friend, dedicated mom, and proud community supporter, Kelly’s natural warmth and friendly personality help to make everyone she meets feel welcome and engaged.
Operations Support Specialist
P.J. Gagne grew up in South Hadley, Massachusetts, with his parents and five older sisters. As a child, P.J. enjoyed playing sports and spending time outside swimming, fishing, and camping with his family. His father owned a business, Gagne’s Package Store, that was in the family for more than 40 years. P.J. and his sisters all worked at the family business growing up. P.J. also worked in construction during school breaks throughout high school and college.
P.J. attended college at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, where he became interested in finance. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 2007, and began his career in the finance industry working with Commonwealth Financial Network. During his eleven years at Commonwealth, P.J. held multiple roles within the New Accounts department, and worked as a Practice Management consultant helping advisors with their most pertinent business issues. He also obtained his FINRA Series 7 and 66 securities registrations through Commonwealth Financial Network®, while gaining strong industry and product knowledge. In 2019, P.J. joined MassMutual as an advisor transition support consultant. During his time at MassMutual, P.J. gained more experience within the financial service industry and had the opportunity to construct portfolios.
P.J.’s desire to learn more about financial planning led him to his current role at PV Financial, a firm in which he personally feels upholds the service levels and values instilled in him during his time working at Commonwealth. He is excited to work with the PV team while continuing to learn more about the industry and grow professionally.
Outside of the office, P.J. spends as much time as he can with his wife, Jess, and their children: Joey, Mae, and Jake. As a family, they enjoy going to the park, apple and pumpkin picking in the fall, and making visits to see friends and family. Each summer, they vacation on the beaches of Cape Cod. In his free time, P.J. likes to hike, camp, cook, golf, sample craft beers, and work on home improvement projects. He is also a talented guitarist and singer and will sometimes even perform at local open mic nights!
Relationship Manager Fatima Tavares joined our team in 2014, bringing an exceptional range of customer service skills. Her natural warmth and genuine smile will likely be the first thing you notice when you walk through our office doors. She grew up in Portugal, inspired by her hard-working parents who moved to the United States before Fatima finished school in order to give Fatima and her sister the opportunity to reach their potential.
Fatima moved to Ludlow, Massachusetts, at age 21, where she took a position at Ludlow Textiles. Fatima worked with dedication for 17 years until the business was sold. Her hard work and organizational skills propelled her forward; before the mills closed, her responsibilities included payroll, human resource functions, and reporting and inventory control. While her position as an administrative assistant was demanding, Fatima generously carved out time for her unpaid position, where she utilized her trilingual abilities (English, Spanish, and Portuguese) to help bridge the language gap for many of her coworkers, scheduling doctor appointments, helping pay bills, and much more.
Fatima went on to further her education in office systems technology and found her next position as a banker at Admirals Bank. Her professionalism and attention to detail quickly identified her as an integral member of the bank and her community. Additionally, Fatima manages Primavera Restaurant in Ludlow, where she prepares schedules, manages some finances, and handles most customer and vendor inquiries. You may even catch her behind the bar or waitressing, where she delights her customers with a warm greeting and superb customer service.
When not working, Fatima enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, 16 and 20. Fatima proudly describes her hard-working children as high honors and dean’s list students. Her oldest attends Westfield State College, studying accounting, and her youngest, still in high school, has dreams of architectural engineering in his future. You’ll often find both of her boys at home, enjoying Fatima’s evening meals. She loves to cook and tries to prepare a homemade meal every day, other than the occasional family movie night or shopping trip.
Client Relationship Manager
Client Relationship Manager Tiffany Lyman was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, and attended Springfield Central High School. As a child, Tiffany enjoyed taking dance lessons and playing tennis. Following graduation, Tiffany furthered her education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Upon earning a BS in hospitality and tourism management, Tiffany immediately started her career at Enterprise Holdings as a customer experience representative. After two short years, she moved up the ranks and was promoted to branch manager, where she learned and developed a strong sense of exceptional customer service. Tiffany later took her customer service skills to the airport operation, a fast-paced environment, assisting deplaning customers get to their final destinations.
Tiffany’s desire to create and foster a positive client experience is what led her to PV Financial, a firm that takes immense pride in both its clients and community. Within her role, Tiffany looks forward to gaining knowledge within the financial services industry!
Outside of the office, Tiffany loves spending time with her husband, Peter, and two children: Kaylee and Cameron. As a family, they can be found playing tennis or soaking up the summer sun in Narragansett and the Outer Banks. Most recently, Tiffany and her family adopted a rescue dog from Oklahoma named Winnie and she has added so much joy to their lives! In addition, Tiffany tries to help her local community by volunteering for the Ludlow Basket Booster Club and Wreaths Across America.
Client Relationship Manager
Client Relationship Manager, Jordan Lashway, was born and raised in Wilbraham, Masschustts, and attended Minnechaug Regional Highschool. As a child, Jordan took ballet lessons and loved being outdoors, riding bikes and rollerblading with children in her neighborhood.
Upon graduating high school, Jordan went on to Westfield State University, where she studied business management with a concentration in marketing. From there, Jordan began her career as a banking center specialist and later transitioned to mortgage originator at RCN Capital.
Jordan’s background in finance and customer service is what led her to PV Financial. As a client relationship manager, Jordan looks forward to building relationships in and outside of the office, with both our clients and the community in which we serve.
When not at the office, Jordan likes to stay active. She enjoys walks with her puppy, Boston, and going to the gym in the early mornings. She also loves playing pool with friends on the weekend and has found a new hobby in cooking!
Director of Marketing and Community Outreach
Director of Marketing and Community Outreach Linda Martins was born and raised in Ludlow, Massachusetts, but her family immigrated from Portugal before she was born. The first language she learned was Portuguese. At Ludlow High School, Linda was very involved in extracurriculars like writing for the school paper, and yearbook and serving in the student government where she successfully helped bring back homecoming, which she credits for her current love of project management and event planning. Linda graduated from Westfield State University with a degree in graphic design, finishing her last two years while working full-time and going to school at night. While in college, Linda married her husband, Gene, and they are now going on 19 years of marriage.
Linda’s first taste of professional success came in college, where she worked for Tyco Medical Supplies in the call center and was quickly promoted to team lead at just 21 years old. Upon graduating, Linda took a job with Concentra Medical Center working in sales and running education seminars for companies on Workers Comp. The year she was married, Linda’s father had a stroke, prompting her to take a job that was near and dear to her heart at the American Heart Association, where she worked as the director of development in Western Massachusetts. She enjoyed putting on events like Heart Walks, Heart Balls, and the Go Red For Women luncheon, doing work within the community to raise money for the AHA. During her time in this role, Linda helped raise substantial donations for the organization through large corporate donations and events.
After her husband took a job with Apple, Linda and her family moved down to Florida where she continued her work with the AHA in West Palm Beach. One of her favorite work memories was getting to meet all of the eccentric Palm Beachers. In 2013, Gene earned the opportunity to open the very first Apple store in South America, so the family packed up shop and moved to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Unable to work due to her tourist visa, Linda volunteered daily at the American School of Rio De Janeiro, where her son Dominic attended school. Linda worked as the PTA president of the school, which was assembled almost entirely of expats, and Dominic got the experience of making friends with children from all over the world. After Gene completed the project in Rio, Linda and her family moved back to Western Massachusetts where Linda started working as a project coordinator at Gibraltar Ventures. When Prudential absorbed Gibraltar Ventures, Linda was 7 months pregnant with her daughter Addison. With Gene’s extensive travel for work and with a son already at home, Linda knew that it wasn’t realistic to travel back and forth from Hartford every day, landing her here at Pioneer Valley Financial Group where she is able to work and spend time with her family.
During their free time, Linda and Gene do as much as they can to get involved with activities with their kids. Linda volunteers at the school as a member of the PTA and the Book Fair Co-Chairperson for the elementary schools in Ludlow. At just 5 years old, Addison runs the house and has no problem keeping up with Dominic. Linda and her family love to travel, and try to see a different country every year, most recently getting to visit Aruba. The fifth and sixth members of the Martins family are their beloved dogs Manuela Maria DeBarra Martins known as Nella, that they brought home from Brazil, and their very playful Boston Terrier, Rocco Roland.
Navigator Specialist Andrea Santos was born and raised in Belchertown, Massachusetts. Growing up, she attended Jabish Brook Middle School and Belchertown High School, graduating alongside her twin brother, Joshua. As a child, Andrea spent a lot of her time at a nearby horse farm, both riding and caring for the horses. It was there that she developed a love and talent for competitive showjumping. Andrea’s passion for the sport inspired her to partner with the Pioneer Valley Therapeutic Riding Association, where she has served as a volunteer and instructor for the past 16 years. Outside of the barn, Andrea also spent her youth on the softball field, playing third base throughout middle school and high school.
Upon graduating high school, Andrea first received her AS in business administration from Holyoke Community College while working as a waitress and sales intern at the Log Cabin. Andrea went on to further her education at Elm’s College, receiving her BA in business management and marketing. During her time at Elms, Andrea worked as a banquet and operations manager at Wyckoff Country Club, where she learned how to manage financials within multiple departments in a high-demand industry.
After graduating college, Andrea leveraged her work experience and education into a position at Northwestern Mutual as the director of client services. During her four years with the company, she obtained her Life and Disability Insurance certifications, while also gaining strong knowledge and experience within the financial services industry. Following the launch of Navigator, Andrea was eager to join the PV team and help fulfill today’s market need for financial planning among young professionals. With that career goal in mind, Andrea joined PV financial, taking on a role in the PV Navigator program as a jack of all trades- including digital marketing, program support, and client service needs.
Today, Andrea and her fiancé, Shawn, reside in Ludlow, Massachusetts, where they spend their free time golfing or hosting family card nights. In addition to volunteering for the Pioneer Valley Therapeutic Riding Association, Andrea is an active supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 13. In 2021, she looks forward to participating and volunteering alongside her team in the community we live and work in.