Acton’s Margaret Miley and Shirley’s Melissa Fetterhoff Honored as ‘Unsung Heroines’

BOSTON – On Wednesday, Margaret Miley of Acton and Melissa Fetterhoff of Shirley were honored as members of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 2017 class of Unsung Heroines. Ms. Miley and Ms. Fetterhoff were nominated by State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) and State Representative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg), respectively, for their dedication to improving our communities.

“I am extremely proud that Margaret Miley is a recipient of the 2017 Unsung Heroine award,” said Senator Eldridge. “Margaret has been a champion for low-income families for her entire career, most recently as the Executive Director of the MIDAS Collaborative. Her passion and her work over the past few years has influenced the Massachusetts Legislature to expand the EITC, create pilot financial literacy programs, establish higher education tax credits, and reduce asset limits for poor residents. At a time when inequality in Massachusetts continues to be a glaring reality, Margaret has been a powerful advocate for working families to have a seat at the table of state economic and fiscal policy.”

“I’ve been working with Melissa Fetterhoff since I came into the Legislature in 2009, and I’ve seen what an effective advocate she’s been for the small businesses of my district as the President and CEO of the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce,” said Representative Benson. “Her positive impact on the region through her advocacy and service can be seen in the small businesses she’s aided, the people she has helped find jobs, and the many community events she has planned. She’s professional, generous, and one of the hardest working people I know, and that’s why she deserves to be recognized as an Unsung Heroine.”

Margaret Miley has a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MS in business. In 1991, while running a small business by day and training Central American refugees at night, she decided to deploy her combined skills in the community development field. Since then, she has developed and managed many types of non-profit economic development programs, community leadership, business training & lending, a business incubator, and worker-owned companies. In 1999, she saw the promise of asset development when she joined Acre Family Daycare in Lowell, which started the first Individual Development Account Program in Massachusetts. She was the founding executive director of the Midas Collaborative.

Margaret was Commissioner on the Massachusetts Asset Development Commission, has spoken nationally on the topics of community-based economic development and asset-building, and is the author of a number of publications on financial education and asset-building. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Massachusetts Financial Education Collaborative, the Advisory Council for Private Occupational Schools for Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation, and represents Massachusetts in the Assets & Opportunity Scorecard partnership of the Corporation for Enterprise Development in Washington, DC. She hopes to find the time to keep bees in the future.

After joining the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2002, Melissa has served as its President and CEO since 2007. Over the past decade, she has helped the organization grow to represent more than 600 local businesses in the region. Under Melissa’s leadership, the Chamber has developed into an effective voice for its membership, both in the region and on Beacon Hill.

Melissa plans several regular events that benefit the Nashoba Valley community, including a biannual job fair, the Taste of Nashoba event showcasing the culinary offerings of the region, and countless ribbon-cuttings highlighting new businesses. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, as well as the Ayer Rotary Club and the North Central Workforce Investment Board. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Devens Enterprise Commission, Melissa has been instrumental in helping Devens to become a manufacturing and economic powerhouse in central Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is an independent state agency that was legislatively created in 1998 to advance women of the Commonwealth to full equality in all areas of life and to promote their rights and opportunities. The MCSW provides a permanent, effective voice for the women of Massachusetts.