It’s difficult to find someone in Worcester’s business community who doesn’t know Tom McGregor, and it’s even more difficult to find somebody who doesn’t think the world of him.
“Worcester is a very, very unique community,” said Paula Aiello, CFO of Youth Opportunities Upheld Inc. (Y.O.U. Inc.).“It’s the second-largest city in New England, but everybody does business with everybody. Everyone knows everyone. You’re either golfing with someone or playing tennis with someone or running into them at the market, and Tom has his foot in everything in Worcester. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t know Tom McGregor.”
Aiello, who also sits on the board of United Bank, nominated McGregor as a Community Bank Hero.
“The people who work for him truly respect him and enjoy working for him,” she said. “On our board, everyone who interacts with Tom enjoys working with him and respects him. He always asks the tough questions, and he’s always on point.”
McGregor himself had nothing but praise for the organization.
“They just do the hardest work,” he said of Y.O.U. Inc., a private, nonprofit child welfare and behavioral health organization serving troubled and at-risk children, adolescents and families in the Worcester County area. “It’s a big organization, with a $35 million budget. They do all the hard work. They deal with abuse, they deal with teen pregnancy. … It’s the toughest of the toughest. To be involved in a leadership capacity there and make sure an entity like that can thrive, that’s something that’s very important to me.”
McGregor said that he and his wife also try to instill a volunteer spirit in their three children. He’s proud of his 16 year-old son, who’s begun leading youth groups during summer vacation and helping other students with homework.
“They’re pretty lucky. They don’t need a lot or want a lot, and so it’s all about giving back. My wife is very involved in the Fresh Air Fund,” he said. “It’s part of our home culture to give back, because we’re pretty lucky.”
McGregor’s rationale for volunteerism closely mirrors his rationale for preferring community banking, too.
“The big banks continue to pull away from core markets like Central Massachusetts and continue to focus upmarket. That was just something I didn’t want to be a part of. To me, it’s all about being in the community where I live,” he said.
McGregor said he felt honored to be named a Community Bank Hero, but he added that that’s not the reason he does what he does.
“It’s certainly an honor. It’s not the reason we do the work and do all of this stuff, but it’s a great honor to be associated with the other awardees,” he said. “We don’t do it for the recognition, but for the community where we work. … Hopefully, it inspires others to take a more active role in the community.”