Women’s History Month is coming to an end. 

Hundreds of women filled the MassMutual Center in Springfield Friday to celebrate each other and learn leadership skills.  

Among them, Assistant Professor of Undergraduate Communications at Bay Path University, Janine Fondon, who chairs the department, and the president and CEO of UnityFirst. 

Founded in 1996, UnityFirst is a multi-media platform that connects diverse communities across the U.S. and internationally. 

“We started off as a hard copy newspaper,” Fondon told 22News. “We went to a magazine, online, and now we are really direct email with a host of special projects that we work on that involve communications and diversity and inclusion.” 

UnityFirst spreads multicultural news to a network of more than 250,000 people of ethnic backgrounds. 

Fondon told 22News that Women’s History Month is a time for women to feel empowered and driven to plan out their futures. One of her students said Fondon encouraged her and her peers to become entrepreneurs. 

“My friend Zoey actually from our class with Professor Fondon, she inspired her to open her own business and she did and so that’s currently what she does as well as attending classes,” said ILeah Duhart, a senior at Bay Path University. “So, I’m hoping that in a couple of years I can do that as well.” 

Fondon said UnityFirst has set a goal of continuing to shed light on inclusion and success. 

All this month, 22News shared stories of women pioneers from western Massachusetts. Click here to read their stories.