PENTA Communications, Inc. CEO receives Katharine F. Erskine Award

Worcester, MA. _ On May 6, 2013, Deborah Penta, President and CEO of the Westborough-based integrated marketing of PENTA Communications, Inc. was awarded the 2013 YWCA’s Katharine F. Erskine Award in Business and Law. This prestigious award was named after Katharine Forbes Erskine, a woman who served as the YWCA president in 1930 and again in 1960. Throughout Erskine’s life, she championed the rights of women and girls, and devoted more than 80 years of her life to furthering the mission of the non-profit organization. Each year since 1995, the YWCA of Central Massachusetts has given this award in honor of Erskine. Over the years more than 80 Erskine honorees have been given the award, which exemplifies the empowerment of women, service to community, distinct achievement in the honoree’s current field, and a demonstrated commitment to serving as a role model for women and girls.

The premise of “Paying It Forward,” is virtually second nature to Penta. Her philanthropic endeavors are far-reaching across Worcester and the surrounding communities. She founded PENTA Communications, Inc., a full-service integrated marketing firm, more than 25 years ago. Today it is regarded as one of the most highly-respected marketing, advertising and public relations firms in the region.

Penta has made a major impact on the Worcester community, having been a board member on over 12 non-profit organizations, and assumed a leadership position as Chair of the Board for three of them. She was recently named to the board of directors for the Worcester County Food Bank, and continues to serve on the board for many local non-profit agencies. Since her firm’s inception, PENTA Communications, Inc. has donated approximately $2 million to numerous organizations in the region that focus on education, economic development, and children. In addition, she has provided numerous scholarships for college-bound Westborough High School women, many of whom entered careers in medicine, teaching, law, journalism, and public health services.

Worcester Community Action Council (WCAC) Executive Director Jill Dagilis has seen first-hand the remarkable work Penta has done for the Worcester area and encouraging the empowerment of women.

Penta served as the Agency’s Board Chairperson for three years.

“There is no woman who is more committed and dedicated to so many Worcester organizations in the areas of social and economic diversity, and for the betterment of women and girls than Deborah,” said Jill Dagilis, Executive Director for the Worcester Community Action Council (WCAC).  “Through her enthusiastic support, both personally and professionally, she has helped take WCAC through one of its most fiscally challenging periods in its history. Deborah’s support and business acumen have helped our non-profit to institute new and successful programs.”

“She is an acknowledged business leader as founder and CEO of PENTA Communications, but more importantly, she is a tireless and selfless community leader and role model,” said District Attorney Joseph Early, Jr. “Having served on the Board of the Worcester Community Action Council while Deborah was chairperson, I was continually impressed with her commitment to those in our community who are in need.  Deborah consistently sought to insure that the needs of the economically disadvantaged were met by the Council in the most effective, efficient and professional manner.”

Worcester Regional Transit Authority Administrator Stephen O’Neil concurred.

“Deborah’s work with the WCAC has lead to many successful efforts. Under her leadership, the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) and the WCAC have worked together with Quinsigamond Community College on summer youth programs and job skill programs. None of these efforts would have occurred without Deborah’s guidance and leadership,” O’Neil said.

Her commitment to Worcester and Central Massachusetts encompasses many Worcester organizations, including the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, Inc., Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce, Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, the Worcester County Food Bank, Town of Westborough Economic Development Committee, Worcester Community Action Council, and numerous others.

“Ms. Penta has been serving as a Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce Board member since 2005, including serving a year as its Board of Director Chairwoman. Although Corridor Nine has members in 70 towns and cities in Massachusetts, 85% of the Chamber’s members are from Worcester County. Ms. Penta’s impact on Worcester County through her support of so many non-profits has been substantial,” wrote Barbara Clifford, President of the Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce. “I would simply remark that her help is endless and limitless, drawn from a place that is impossible to fully explain or quantify!”

Penta is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with the Innovation and Entrepreneur (I&E) Program at Clark University.

“Without hesitation, the most common feedback students report about Deborah’s commitment to her teaching is the ‘passion and enthusiasm’ she brings to the classroom. Deborah has utilized her professional network to engage students in real-world projects that have a measurable impact. She is a strong role model to her female students and everyone else with whom she works,” wrote I&E Associate Director Amy Whitney.

Dagilis added, “In a world where business leaders strive for excellence to catapult their own success, many join organizations to help them do this or to put another achievement on their professional summaries. Deborah Penta does everything from the heart.”