SouthCoast leader's latest achievement: promotion to Sylvia Group CFO

Published May 11, 2017

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Director of Marketing and Communication

Heather Heffernan, Sylvia Group's Controller since her hiring in 2012, recently began a new role as the agency's Chief Financial Officer.

Sylvia Group President and Chief Executive Officer Maureen Sylvia Armstrong informed agency staff of Heffernan's promotion in a company-wide announcement.

"Heather has earned the position of CFO, having worked tirelessly to ensure that our financial, IT and facilities resources are efficiently and effectively managed," Armstrong said. "In Heather and David Madara, our new Chief Operating Officer, my partners and I know we have an outstanding pair of leaders to work on all strategic matters relating to our agency’s budget and resource management."

Unfailingly positive, friendly and energetic, Heather reacted to her promotion with characteristic enthusiasm.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed working for this organization since the moment I came on board, and I am passionately connected with our agency’s mission, which promotes authentic and unending dedication to our clients, employees and community," she said. "I'm inspired and energized by the obvious commitment of others in this organization to be an important asset to our community. This serves as a source of purpose for me, each and every day.”

A native of Indiana, Heather graduated cum laude with a B.S.B.A. in accounting from Xavier University's Williams College of Business in Cincinnati. Before joining Sylvia Group, she served as Accounting Manager for Miami-based builder Lennar and as Senior Financial Analyst in the Taunton office of global marketing services provider Quad/Graphics.

Since moving to New Bedford with her husband, Dartmouth native Jason DeMedeiros, Heather has embraced life on the SouthCoast, immersing herself in local professional and civic organizations, and taking advantage of the region's many recreational and entertainment offerings. The couple have been active supporters of nonprofits including the Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County and the local chapters of the American Cancer Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

In addition, Heather is working with the New Bedford-based anti-littering organization Operation Clean Sweep as a member of the current class in Leadership SouthCoast. She also is serving her second term as Treasurer of the Massachusetts Association for Insurance Women (MAIW) and her fourth term as Treasurer of that organization's Bristol County Chapter after a single term as Secretary, in 2013-14.

Previously, Heather spent seven years helping low-income families and the elderly with tax-return preparation and guidance through the federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

About Sylvia Group

Sylvia Group helps businesses and individuals protect their future by designing customized insurance, benefits and financial planning programs. A locally owned agency known for its commitment to its clients and the SouthCoast community, as well for its industry expertise. Founded in New Bedford, MA, in 1950, headquartered in neighboring Dartmouth, and serving businesses and individuals throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and beyond, Sylvia Group is certified as a Woman Owned Business Enterprise with the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office and has the distinction of being the first six-time recipient of the Five Star designation awarded by the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA) for all-around agency excellence. 

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  • “Working with Sylvia Group over recent years has taken our insurance issues from 'groans and moans' to 'no problem.'Rose Lopes, our Account Manager, is one of the most responsive people I have ever worked with. She responds immediately to questions or special requests. It is such a pleasure to work with Rose, who does whatever it takes to find a solution to our needs. We are very pleased… She always has our interests in mind.”

    – Lynne Foley, Director of Human Resources, Five Star Companies, Inc.

  • “I want to thank you for this incredible resource (ThinkHR). We will be accessing it frequently and appreciate Sylvia Group making this available to Advanced Eye Centers.”

    Paul C. Abrantes – Executive Director, Advanced Eye Centers

  • “You have to have somebody like Judy Besse working with you. She’s very detail-oriented and patient. I’d be lost in a quagmire of laws, rules, regulations… I want somebody on my team as I have with Judy.”

    - Paula Gendreau , Business Manager, Greater New Bedford Regional Voc-Tech High School

  • “Sylvia Group does a wonderful job. Judy Besse’s skills, knowledge of the industry and manner of presenting complicated things in an easy to understand fashion are unparalleled.”

    - Tom Riley, M.P.A., Executive Director, Better Community Living

  • “When I needed assistance with my business insurance program, Jill (White) immediately responded – and, even more important, she listened. She understood the challenges I had with my former agent, and she and the Sylvia Group team designed a program specific to my restaurant’s needs. I’m confident that with Jill’s expertise and personal attention, Fay’s is in good hands. That gives me the peace of mind to focus on what my family and I do best: serve delicious food and provide great customer service while running a successful business.”

    – Evelyn Bettencourt, Owner, Fay's Restaurant and Knotty Pine Fine New England Catering