Dawn LaRochelle

Project Manager: COVID Business Recovery Central MA
Central Massachusetts

(508) 453-9210

A graduate of Duke University, Harvard Law School, and the UMass Amherst Graduate School of Education, Dawn has an extensive background in corporate and non-profit law, business, and education.  After working in the litigation department of the Wall Street firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and as General Counsel for Human Rights in China, she opened two acclaimed catering companies and an award-winning fine dining restaurant in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.  As a caterer and restaurateur, she partnered with Soldier On to create a culinary learning program and paid internship for disabled veterans and received commendation for mentoring students in the Pittsfield High School Culinary Arts Program, as well as raising the necessary funds for them to participate and medal in the 2010 ProStart Invitational Competition. She also founded Berkshire Culinary Vacations in coordination with local inns, farmers, and purveyors to help drive business to the Berkshires in the off-season. In 2014, she was recognized as the Swarthmore Who’s Who Restaurateur of the year.

After a decade in the food service industry, Dawn worked as a middle school ELL (English Language Learning) teacher at Chestnut Middle School North in Springfield, Massachusetts. She later became ELL Department Chair and served on the Advisory Committee at the MacDuffie School, a private day and boarding high school in Granby, Massachusetts, with students from twenty-six different countries.  At MacDuffie, she collaborated with UMass Amherst to launch the high school’s first-ever graduate student ELL internship program and won the 2016-2017 Teacher Volunteer Service Award.                                  

Dawn is excited to merge her passions for entrepreneurship, education, and social equity with her legal training to create programs at CWE that support small businesses in Central and Western Massachusetts during these remarkable times. When not at work, she enjoys cooking, baking, distance running, ballroom dancing, rowing, and spending time with her husband, three sons, and two miniature Rat Terriers.