ICC Welcomes Sheryl Quinn, James Leydon to Board

The Irish Cultural Center of Western New England Board of Directors has added two new members – Sheryl Y. Quinn of Holyoke, retired Executive Director of the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke, and James F. Leydon Jr. of Springfield, who is Director of Communications and Public Information in the office of Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni.

Sheryl Quinn and James Leydon

Quinn and Leydon bring the board’s membership to a full complement of 14.

ICC Board President Sean F. Cahillane welcomed both, saying they bring unique personal strengths and professional skills that will help lead our regional, non-profit organization forward into the future during an expansion of our newly opened facility on Morgan Road in West Springfield.

“Sheryl and Jimmy are well known and well liked across the region, with years of highly regarded experience between them that will make them outstanding members on our board,” Cahillane said. “We look forward to working with them.”

Quinn ran the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke for 16 years, retiring in 2012. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Ana Maria College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Massachusetts.

A lifelong resident of Holyoke, Quinn said she has always been proud of her Irish ancestry and has more recently been very interested in genealogy and researching her family roots. She noted that her ancestors were among the first to settle from Ireland to Holyoke, in 1845.

“As I’ve studied each generation I’ve been able to learn about their commitment to hard work, the love of family and church, and the strident belief in education that was passed down to each succeeding generation. My grandmother was one of six children (all females) and each one of them received education beyond high school,” she said. Quinn looks forward to lending her business expertise to the ICC board as it enters into a new era of expansion.

“When I realized all of the work that has been done by the board and the volunteers to date, and the future plans to grow the Center, I realized that I would love to be part of that future,” she said.

Leydon is a lifelong resident of Springfield who brings considerable political and business acumen to the board. He has a master’s degree in Public Administration from American International College, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts. He has worked in the District Attorney’s office for the past two years, after working three years as Communication Director for Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

Leydon called himself a “proud Irish-American” who is enthusiastic about contributing to the ICC.

“I am looking forward to helping preserve our Irish heritage and its legacy locally. Working on furthering the establishment of the Center as a place where families can come and enjoy themselves is what I aspire to the most,” he said.

“Some of my fondest memories are those spent on political campaigns as a kid, mainly those of a prominent Irish-American, Congressman Richard Neal,” Leydon said.

“What I carry with me from those days is how events and activities associated with the Congressman brought so many families and friends together for so many years. I see the same thing in the ICC, an opportunity to help establish an environment to honor our past and celebrate our future with families and friends from all over.”

Thank you for your commitment, Sheryl and James – the ICC looks forward to working with you!

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"It’s great to be a part of this initiative to promote Irish studies. You should keep up the good work because there are so many lessons to be learned from Irish history, and Irish culture is beloved to so many people."
– Dr. Christine Kinealy
Professor of History and Irish Studies at Quinnipiac University