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vin-sylvia-jrDirector of Marketing and Communications, Sylvia Group

What do you do professionally? 

I am Director of Marketing and Communications at Sylvia Group, a family-owned agency specializing in insurance, employee benefits and financial services. My grandfather, Louis Sylvia Sr., founded the agency in 1950, and I joined it in 2014, after a 30-year career in journalism.

How are you involved in the community and what motivates you to engage? 

One of the reasons I joined the agency was the opportunity to become more directly engaged in service to a community that’s meant so much to me and generations of my family. I see journalism itself as an invaluable community service, but due to conflict-of-interest concerns, working as a reporter, columnist and editor frequently keeps you at arm’s length from causes you care about. Working in a communications role at an agency where community service is a deeply ingrained part of the culture and continuing a family tradition of giving back presented an irresistible opportunity.

On the SouthCoast, we’re blessed with great organizations working to support and improve this beautiful and complex region. Thanks to my job at Sylvia Group and my participation in Leadership SouthCoast, I’ve become especially involved in several of those organizations, serving on committees for Bristol Community College, the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the United Way of Greater New Bedford, as well as Leadership SouthCoast.

As co-chair of the LSC Alumni Network with UMass Dartmouth’s Anthony Baird, I’m part of a team whose mission is to build on the energy and expertise developed through the LSC program and foster opportunities for graduates to serve as catalysts for sustainable positive change in our region. That led me to form a team for the upcoming Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride, with three goals: 1. raise money for the Buzzard Bay Coalition’s environmental and educational efforts; 2. promote Leadership SouthCoast and the Alumni Network; and 3. provide an opportunity for members of the current LSC class and my fellow alumni to unite in a fun and worthwhile event. Anyone interested in joining the team or supporting our ride can do so online or by contacting me at vsylvia@sylviagroup.com.

What did you find most valuable about the LSC experience and how did it contribute to your community leadership?

Participating in Leadership SouthCoast gave me a deeper understanding of the region’s strengths and challenges, and it introduced me to many of the remarkable people who devote so much of their professional and personal time to capitalizing on those strengths and taking on those challenges. I had been away from the region for many years, but Leadership SouthCoast immersed me in its most pressing issues and plugged me into a network of people whose efforts I’d previously admired and respected from afar.

Describe your leadership in one word.

Collaborative.

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