For Shela Levante of Pittsfield, a cross-country move to the Berkshires three years ago from her home state of Arizona has led to professional experiences she says she would not have found elsewhere at this point in her career. “I can’t imagine living anywhere else that I would get to have these opportunities at such a young age,” she says.
Honored in 2018 as an outstanding young professional in the Berkshires by the 40 Under Forty program, Levante has a passion for connecting people and communities to shared goals. Her current role as Director of Development at Berkshire Community College (BCC) also brings her full circle to her own experience as a community college student, where, she says, doors opened that moved her life forward after growing up in the foster care system, where the chance to earn a college degree is often elusive. “I saw that I needed it and took responsibility for making it happen,” she says. “It was an amazing step for me.” As a top student in her class, Levante earned an, All-Arizona Academic Team Scholarship and went on to finish her Bachelor of Science degree at Arizona State.
In addition to working full-time at BCC and serving on several local boards, Levante is pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at Northeastern with an emphasis on social change. She’s also thoroughly enjoying life in the Berkshires with new colleagues, new friends and new experiences.
“This is such a welcoming community,” she says, “It’s so wonderful to be finding a voice and a path here.”
Photo: Kara Thornton