CATA In the First Person

The 2022 CATA Gala

It’s been 2 years since this gala was in-person. The virtual galas that took place in ’20 and ’21 were worthwhile and creative, but if you ask anyone who’s worked with CATA, there’s nothing that compares with having an actual event. This spring’s celebratory qualities made this fundraising evening a joie de vivre!
October Mountain Financial Advisors took part in that spring evening, relishing opportunities to catch up with some familiar faces [masks and all!] as well as making new connections. Our managing director, Gary Schiff and his wife, Arlene, along with our marketing director Carlo Centeno and his wife , MJ were part of a large crowd that felt like things were getting back to where we left off. However, this time, it felt much more. It felt larger than life.

Margaret Keller, Executive Director, Community Access to the Arts.
L-R: Gary & Arlene Schiff; MJ and Carlo Centeno, a touch fuzzy from cocktails.
Gary Schiff, Managing Director, October Mountain Financial Advisors

The Power of Outreach

We recently made a contribution to help Berkshire Bounty/Berkshire United Way to help in the distribution of much needed food throughout the area.

As mentioned to us by Jay Weintraub & Mark Lefenfield, c0-presidents of Berkshire Bounty, “approximately 14,000 pounds of nutritious organic food was distributed at sites throughout Berkshire County.” The Berkshire United Way among other non-profits worked cooperatively to make this food distribution a success!

Food for Thought returns to Hancock Shaker Village

Author-entrepreneur Ms. Dorinda Medley

 October Mountain Financial Advisors is happy to announce, once again, our involvement as the corporate sponsor for the popular, immersion event, Food for Thought held at Hancock Shaker Village.

Our most recent “reboot” featured Ms. Dorinda Medley, author-entrepreneur and former cast member [7th season] of the popular show, The Housewives of New York City on BravoTV. Her book, “Make it Nice” is part retrospective, part treatise on the ups, downs and everything else in between on work, relationships, family, growing up in the Berkshires and life.
The event features a farm-to-table dinner, wine and a copy of her book, “Make it Nice,” available for autograph.

Jennifer Trainer Thompson, Executive Director, Hancock Shaker Village, greeting attendees.
Gary Schiff, managing director, October Mountain Financial Advisors, converses with Ms. Medley.
Gary and Arlene Schiff with Ms. Medley prior to dinner.
Food for Thought attendees engaged in conversation with the author.
Carlo Centeno, VP-Marketing Director, October Mountain Financial Advisors.

Mahaiwe Performing arts center

Holiday festivities are a large tradition for many, both privately and corporately. As supporters of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, we were invited to their annual Bravo Circle Holiday Reception recently held at Blantyre in Lenox, MA

It was also an opportunity to acknowledge Ms. Beryl Jolly’s role as Executive Director of the Arts Center. After 15 years, the call to venture in other areas of fine art and performance art has proven too strong if not irresistible.

Ms. Janis Martinson [L], the current director of advancement at the Arts Center will take on the role.  Ron Ashendorf [R] an officer on the Board of Directors took part in the celebration and accolades.We were also entertained with medieval music for strings featuring noted lutenist Hideki Yamaya.  He used the more familiar looking lute and surprised everyone with the astonishing looking—and sounding—therobo [below].







Physically overwhelming, Mr. Yamaya reassured the packed room that the therobo produced warm chords and single notes.  It was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon away from sporadic  winds that moved across the Berkshires.



Museum Town

The Food for Thought series at Hancock Shaker Village recently took place, and like the others, it did not disappoint. Museum Town is a documentary film directed by Jennifer Trainer, the current president and CEO of Hancock Shaker Village. Its initial screening took place in the spring at SXSW in Texas.

The many who attended the event–which was inside the 1910 Barn–enjoyed a BBQ created by A-OK Berkshire Barbeque of North Adams with craft beer from Bright Ideas Brewing.

Food for Thought at Hancock Shaker Village

From galleries and museums, to concerts, plays, restaurants and more, there’s no shortage of things to do in the Berkshires. Case in point, noted historian, traveler and bestselling author, Simon Winchester recently spoke to a sold out Food for Thought event at HSV. 

Click here for more photos.

CATA at the Lichtenstein Art Center

The Community Access to the Arts recently had their exhibit opening at the Pittsfield Lichtenstein Art Center. The gallery was  quickly over-run, by supporters, well wishers and of course, the CATA artists. For additional photos, please click here.

Hancock Shaker Village

Once again, we’re delighted to support HSV by sponsoring the popular Food for Thought series. Over the summer months, authors come to Hancock Shaker Village to discuss their most recent book over a 3-course, farm-to-table dinner prepared by renowned chef, Brian Alberg.  PEN Award-winning author Mitch Horowitz recently joined us to discuss his book, Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped our Nation. 

Chef Brian Alberg explains his menu.

Sarah Margolis-Pineo, curator, introduces Mitch Horowitz.


Shakespeare & Company

If your artistic preference for acting is at the top of your list, consider Shakespeare & Company. We’re a corporate supporter/advertiser of the Company and recently joined other professionals at their annual cocktail reception at the start of their summer season. Click here for other photos.

Barrington Stage

Barrington Stage recently held a reception for marketers and advertisers in the lobby of their new corporate office in downtown Pittsfield. Artistic Director, Julianne Boyd and her staff, provided terrific eats and beverage in a space that felt and looked more like a stage. After the networking, the attendees were treated to “Into the Woods” at the Boyd-Quinson mainstage on Union Street. The Tony Award Winning musical created by Stephen Sondheim was nothing short of incredibly entertaining and highly imaginative!

Berkshire Nonprofit Awards

The Non-Profit Center of the Berkshires recently held their annual breakfast awards at the Berkshire Hills Country Club. Founder Liana Toscanini was on hand to greet the honorees and the supporters of various non-profit agencies. October Mountain Financial Advisors was one of the corporate sponsors for the event. Our own Gary Schiff, Managing Director, introduced the recipients in the Unsung Hero category. Here are a few photos from the event.

CATA on Tour

Once again we’re sponsoring the CATA Summer Tour. We were recently at MASS MoCA in North Adams for the opening reception, “What I See,” an exhibit showcasing 21 works of art crafted by artists with physical/emotional challenges. The exhibit runs now thru June 30, 2019 at Tunnel City Coffee at MASS MoCA.  Special thanks to Paul Lovegreen and Sydney Lester of Tunnel City Coffee for sharing their space. Click here for photos.

Marianne Fresia: Forty under 40

Berkshire Community College recognized a group of young, elite professionals with the 4th annual Forty Under 40 Awards recently held at the Berkshire Plaza Hotel. Our own Marianne Fresia was one of the 40 honorees recognized for their contributions and accomplishments to their businesses and communities. Many of Marianne’s colleagues from Lee Bank and October Mountain Financial Advisors shared in the celebration.

Click here for photos

andrea barnet at food for thought

Hancock Shaker Village was busy with yet another “Food for Thought” dinner and discussion.  With a “keen eye for historical data,” Andrea Barnet shared some of these details penned in her book, “Visonary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall and Alice Walters Changed the World.”

Andrea Barnet discusses the impact of 4 visionary women.

Each of those four women changed history across many fronts in corporate culture, the environment, nature and the human condition in contemporary society.

Longtime supporter as well as board member, Maureen Jerome [right] catches up with another patron.

Some 65 new and returning supporters were on hand for the discussion and an exemplary field-to-table gourmet dinner

Virginia Smith [L] and noted painter Kit White share their thoughts.

We also had the chance to talk with noted painter, Kit White. His art hangs in the Guggenheim and other museums.

John Jerome [center] converses with Andrea Barnet [right] and other supporters during the cocktail hour.

Familiar faces and new ones network prior to dinner.

Several visitors traveled a good distance to enjoy Food for Thought.

Paula J. Boyajian [left] and Lisa Green enjoy the vegan entres. Following the Shaker tradition, all courses were served family style.

Amy dickinson joins us at Hancock shaker village

We recently gathered at HSV to enjoy another “Food for Thought” discussion and dinner featuring columnist & author, Amy Dickinson. Dickinson succeeded Ann Landers as the advice columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
She discussed her second memoir “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things,” sharing the ups and downs of writing, motherhood and helping readers with the incongruities of life.

A likely—if not lively—group of supporters for HSV and the Food for Thought series

Visitors joined us from all compass points in Berkshire County and beyond.

As in previous dinners, attendees engaged the speaker with a blend of serious and not-so-serious topics, much to our collective delight.

We are the sponsor for this year’s series.

Josh Simpson at Berkshire museum

Gary Schiff, Managing Director, October Mountain Financial Advisors [center] and Arlene Schiff [ctr left], look on as Josh Simpson explains a process in his creations.

Berkshire Museum recently held the opening reception for its summer exhibit, Josh Simpson: Galactic Landscapes.  The amazing and beautiful glass spheres are a confluence of art and science. Simpson’s work showcases his imagination and interest with the cosmos, deep space and astrophysics. Lee Bank and October Mountain Financial Advisors are the sponsors for this special exhibition that runs now thru January 6, 2019.

Photos by David Dashiell

The affable artist conversed with collectors, admirers and museum supporters about the pieces in his exhibit.

[L to R]: Carlo Centeno, VP-Marketing Director, October Mountain Financial Advisors; Lauren “Lo” Sottile, Director of Development, Berkshire Museum; Josh Simpson; Craig Langlois, Chief Experience Officer, Berkshire Museum; Nina Garlington, Chief of Staff, Berkshire Museum.

We Made the List. Again!

This is fantastic news, but even better for our investors and the community.

The Financial Times recently announced the select group of registered investment advisers for 2018. This is not a competitive ranking, but rather a roster of elite professionals that met attributes and criteria developed by Financial Times.  Click here for the press release. Click here for more information about the FT300.

All the World is-indeed-a Stage

With all due respect to the Bard of Avon, Shakespeare & Company recently held their 18th Annual Business Partners’ Party. Our own Carlo Centeno, VP-Marketing Director, attended on behalf of October Mountain Financial Advisors. Immediately following the reception, the New England premiere of  Morning After Grace performed to a sold-out audience.  A few photos can be found here.


The Literacy Network of South Berkshire [aka LitNet]recently held a benefit concert at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center.  We were more than pleased to be one of the corporate sponsors to help support the non-profit and its programs.

Concert pianist Mr. Emanuel Ax performed Sonatas from Mozart and Beethoven as well as Sonettis from Liszt. A few additional photos can be found here.

The Berkshire Nonprofit awards

The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires [NPC] recently held its first nonprofit awards at the Pittsfield Country Club. We–along with our cohorts at Lee Bank–were one of a handful of companies supporting the event.

Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli proved to be standout emcee for the breakfast gathering.  The sold-out crowd of 200 acknowledged the 12 finalists for their commitment in time and resources to the greater Berkshire community.  Additional photos can be found here.

food for thought

For the second year in a row, October Mountain Financial Advisors is proud to be the corporate sponsor for the the summer dinner series, “Food for Thought” at Hancock Shaker Village. The first event is Saturday–May 5 at 6:00pm featuring Mr. Francis Greenburger, noted author, historian and champion of social justice.

UPDATE: Food for Thought with Mr. Francis Greenburger. For photos click here.

Artwork like a tornado

The Community Access to the Arts [CATA] recently showcased new art created by CATA artists at Hudson Hall in Hudson, NY.

The exhibit, Rare Tornado, is showcased in the West Room of Hudson Hall, 327 Warren Street in downtown Hudson. The exhibit runs April 26 thru May 13. Highly expressive, all one-of-a-kind, the canvases were done by artists with disabilities using an innovative technique called A.R.T. [Artistic Realization Technologies].  All art is available for sale and proceeds go to the artists.

Additional photos can be viewed here.