Below are each nominee’s description as submitted by the public.
Individuals who are willing to shake things up and lead the charge for diversity within their organization.
President & CEO
In an effort to bring these issues to the forefront of Boston’s innovation economy, Mohamad has become involved in a number of organizations, including Hack.Diversity that focus on providing more opportunities for highly-skilled minority populations by encouraging students to work with local technology companies, including Carbonite. He also works with regional organizations, such as the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), to support a number of initiatives that prioritize opportunities for diversity within the tech industry.
Most recently, Mohamad led the charge in launching the Carbonite Charitable Fund that will be used to support STEM programs to ultimately help close the tech talent gap by providing more opportunities through education.
As an immigrant, diversity has always been an important topic, and one that is especially close to Mohamad’s experiences throughout his education and career. As such, he continually looks for ways to give back to the community and provide opportunity for individuals of all backgrounds.
Senior Director, Global Diversity & Inclusion
Javier has been a leading champion of diversity and inclusion in the life sciences — both within Biogen and across the Massachusetts Life Sciences Community. Javier’s innovative programs and initiatives for promoting the advancement of diverse professionals at Biogen have made the company a role model in the industry and a leader in demonstrating how to put diversity at the center of a corporate business model. I am very pleased to see that Biogen has been nominated in the corporate category and feel it important to recognize Javier, who is the person who has been the “architect” of Biogen’s visibility and success in inclusion and diversity.
Department Chair and Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics
Mahzarin is the Department Chair and Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard, where she teaches psychology. She wrote a book called “Blindspot,” in which she explores hidden biases that exist as a result of having been exposed to cultural and societal attitudes. This focus has been the heart of much of her research and teaching at Harvard, looking not only at implicit social cognition but how it relates to issues of social justice. Mahzarin has been recognized for her work in psychology by organizations such as the American Academy of Arts and Science and the Association of Psychology Science. Mahzarin also taught at Yale for 16 years before coming to Harvard.
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Marques Benton is a Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Benton is responsible for implementing a comprehensive strategy to effectively integrate diversity and inclusion into the Bank’s culture, management practices, talent acquisition and business activities. In this role he is also responsible for complying with the letter and spirit of Section 342 of the Dodd/Frank Act which mandates the establishment of an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI). In his former role, as an officer in the Public and Community Affairs department, his work with the Mayor’s Earned Income Tax Credit program, the Governor’s Asset Development Commission and with national foreclosure prevention initiatives has helped thousands of low-to-moderate income (LMI) families build, save and preserve assets and achieve greater financial stability. Benton serves on the board of overseers for the Boys and Girls Clubs and the New England Aquarium, and holds a degree in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. He remains interested in research, policy and outreach that measurably improves the financial stability of working LMI households.
Manager, Diversity & Inclusion
Jamie has been the Manger of Diversity and Inclusion for over a year and has held lower-level positions in the same office prior to her current placement. Before working for Northeastern, she worked at universities like Salem State University and Colgate University doing similar work with both multicultural diversity and LGBTQ initiatives. She is an active advocate for LGBTQ folks and youth, volunteering with COLAGE of Greater Boston for kids and teens with an LGBTQ parent. She has been involved with COLAGE as a youth participant, a facilitator, and now a Chapter Leader. She also was asked to join the New England Advisory Council as a result of her leadership in the Greater Boston Area. Jamie’s experience as a daughter and granddaughter of lesbian mothers and grandmothers, and as a first-generation college student has led her to her passion for elevating the voices of underrepresented members of her community.
Mike has found a passion for activism and has used his musical talent as a channel to effectively convey powerful messages. He started Mobile Stü, an on-the-go recording studio, which has allowed Mike to produce music that addresses the especially relevant tension between police and youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods. One track, #BlackwithBlue, “One Beat for Peace,” involved a collaboration between police and youth of the Dorchester neighborhood. Mike has used his musical talent at A&G as well, contributing his vocals to ads and campaigns. He has used Mobile Stü not only for his own pursuits but has also empowered and given opportunities to youth to channel anger and distrust through a creative means, namely hip hop.
Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Ph.D.
IBA – Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción
Vanessa Calderón-Rosado’s work with the Boston Latino community has been wide reaching and empowering. She serves as the Chief Executive Officer at IBA – Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, which strives to increase individuals’ quality of life by focusing on affordable housing, education, and art programs. She has been invaluable in turning around the organization’s programmatic and financial standing, and establishing IBA’s presence as one of the most powerful Latino-run nonprofits in the Boston area. In the field of real estate development, IBA stands out as one of the most diverse companies in Boston. Vanessa was the first Latina in Massachusetts history appointed to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and serves on multiple diversity advisory councils in Boston.
David L. Casey
VP of Workforce Strategies, Chief Diversity Officer
As both a black man and a veteran, David’s position as Chief Diversity Officer is extremely relevant to his lived experience. His work with both active-duty and veteran service member has been particularly impactful; he is in charge of CVS Health’s veterans resource group, which seeks to get more former service members into the workforce. Prior to his work with CVS, he was the Chief Diversity Officer at WellPoint. As CDO at CVS Health, he is responsible for ensuring that the company’s D&I values are exemplified in its recruitment, talent development, performance management, and succession planning efforts. At a recent talk at Brown University, he said that “diversity is about more than ethnicity and gender, but it is still about ethnicity and gender”.” He encourages corporate leaders to both be more open-minded in how they regard diversity but also not to forget the fundamentals of what diversity means.
Humanities Teacher, National Teacher of the Year
Codman Academy Charter Public School
Sydney was named National Teacher of the Year, making her the first teacher at a charter school to receive the honor in its history. She teaches humanities to 9th grade students at Codman Academy Charter School and considers her profession to be “a tool for social justice” that can “empower students to stand up for themselves and create change.” This is especially true at Codman, which largely attracts students of color and youth who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Chaffee empowers the 9th graders she teaches by incorporating acting and performance activities into the classroom, and has even spearheaded a partnership with the Huntington Theatre Company to enhance this exposure to performing arts.
Senior Analyst, Strategy and Analysis
Ankita is not only a breath of fresh air – a smart, confident, enthusiastic and positive woman, but she’s also the biggest advocate of diversity inclusion at our agency. She leads our diversity and inclusion group, creating “brave space” opportunities for the entire agency to come together in small groups and and chat about things happening in the world and its impacts on inclusion. She’s led the charge to make our workforce more diverse, by driving a change to our recruiting process and implementing unconscious bias trainings with senior leaders and by providing real-time feedback on work that’s is biased in some way. She also gives of her time in the community and encourages her coworkers to volunteer as well. She’s a real mover and shaker and epitomizes the Rosoff Awards.
Veteran Advocate & Principal
Edge4Vets is run out of the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University and is a post-military transitional and career development initiative. The program works to capitalize on the skills that veterans developed in the military and find ways they might be of relevance to career paths and prospective jobs. Dunford was a key leader in bringing Edge4Vets to Boston and continues to be involved with the initiatives that Edge4Vets provides, including workshop series and network building events.
Beverly’s work as an organization development expert has led her to working with both leaders and teams in considering how to undergo large-scale changes in a company without compromising existing or emerging business priorities. She has earned her position as a renowned OD expert and has garnered a reputation for guiding leaders and teams in making decision that take strategy, priority, and performance into account. Prior to working at TJX, she was the President and CEO of The Partnership, a non-profit dedicated to leadership development. Beverly has been recognized in several publications for her excellence in leadership and has served as a panelist for the White House Fellows program under multiple administrations.
Chief Diversity Officer
Paul Francisco has spent his career making the workplace a more appealing place for people of color, eventually leading him to be named the first-ever CDO for State Street. His initiatives don’t just aim to draw more diverse employees but to help them advance in their careers as a whole and ultimately move up into executive positions. Francisco’s involvement with State Street overseas in Europe and Asia has introduced him to the way other countries view diversity, particularly in regards to age. As a result, Francisco’s view of diversity is fresh and in tune with the cutting edge of how we are coming to view diversity today.
Creative Director, Author, and Speaker
After 20 years at Arnold, Chris had the courage to leave his job as EVP, Group Creative Director and out himself all over again by writing his memoir BALLS. He hopes sharing his story on a larger scale will really make a difference in understanding and acceptance of the transgender community. His book is already a best seller on Amazon and if you read the reviews he is definitely making a difference. He’s also donating a portion of all book sales to Camp Aranu’tiq, a non-profit organization for transgender youth and their families.
Chris has been speaking at conferences, ad agencies and places like Apple, Google and Harvard. I was one of the 800 women at The Ad Club Women’s Leadership Forum who gave him a standing ovation when he first spoke publicly about his transition and how he used what he learned working in advertising to rebrand himself. He moved us all. Chris also serves on the board of Greater Boston PFLAG where he works to help schools and companies better understand gender identity and learn to be better allies.
With transgender rights in the national spotlight, Chris is the perfect candidate for this award.
Faigel stepped in as Executive Director in 2014 to lead the opening of the new Dorchester kitchen incubator, a former Pearl hot dog manufacturing facility. Over the past 24 months hassled the doubling the number of member businesses working in the shared kitchen to more than 50 while expanding CWK staffing and tripling the annual budget to 1.5 million with 50% of the budget coming from earned revenue from kitchen operations. Faigel oversees approximately 14 food truck projects and more than 50 culinary businesses working in a 36,000-square-foot Dorchester warehouse, commissary kitchen, and storage and manufacturing facility that employ almost 150 full- and part-time employees of which 70% are women and people of color. The businesses are around 80 percent local minority- or women-owned projects. Many businesses have graduated and established brick and mortar retail operations (i.e. Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Mei Mei’s Kitchen). In 2015 Faigel led CWK’s launch of a contract manufacturing social enterprise, providing recipe development and small batch processing to help member businesses to scale and to provide resources to local farms, restaurants and producers looking for small batch production.
Jen’s background is in real estate and community economic development. She was the lead real estate consultant for the $15 million Pearl project, which is now home to CommonWealth Kitchen’s flagship food production operation. In her career, Jen has developed more than 400 affordable homes and over 225,000 SF of commercial real estate – worth over $200m – as a means to create jobs and economic opportunity. Her motto in life is- “If you can’t ride two horse at the same time, then you shouldn’t be in the circus!” Jen’s all-time favorite food is white clam pizza from Pepe’s in New Haven. Jen is a a graduate of the inaugural Institute of Non-Profit Management and Leadership program. In October 2015, Jen was singled out by the Boston Globe as one of 9 non-profit leaders, “obsessed with making Boston great.”
Former Assistant District Attorney
Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Former prosecutor Adam Foss is re-thinking how punishment is regarded in the criminal justice system. He has become somewhat of an internet phenomenon as a result of his TED Talk, “A Prosecutor’s Vision For A Better Justice System,” which hones in on the notion that legal representatives should focus more on maintaining community-ties than dishing out jail time. After serving under the District Attorney Daniel F. Conley of Suffolk Country, he left his position as a prosecutor to collaborate with artist John Legend on his new organization, Prosecutor Integrity, which will serve to consult prosecutors in using their power justly and as a tool to better people’s lives.
The Posse Foundation identifies impressive public high school students who might otherwise be overlooked by universities and places them in 10-person supportive group to help them excel personally and academically. Additionally, Posse offers scholarships to 4-year institutions to deserving, hardworking students who do not have the means to pay for college. In 2014, Andrew was named the director of Posse Boston, one of many chapters of the national organization.
Senior Director of Media Accessibility
Larry Goldberg, Yahoo’s Senior Director of Media Accessibility, is part of a dedicated team that works on assuring that Yahoo’s apps, web sites and other technologies are accessible to people with disabilities. Larry’s background at WGBH and its National Center for Accessible Media, as its founder and first director, gave him a strong grounding in the varied communities of people who are deaf, blind, physically disabled or otherwise have different ways of consuming and interacting with technologies. Just as there is no “typical” employee, there is no “typical” user and Larry and his colleagues at Yahoo look at the 1 billion users of Yahoo’s products and help the designers and developers craft their code and user interfaces so that the diversity of the people served is built into the technology. Yahoo’s one-on-one user studies and large gatherings on User Nights always include people with disabilities, who help us understand how our beta software can better serve people who will be using the products once released.
Owner, Director / Filmmaker
Beyond Lauren and Alex’s great work with their clients, they also use their company’s resources to give back to the community. They continually accept proposals for under-funded projects that aim to make a positive impact in underrepresented communities. Recently, they developed the brand image for the Adolescent Network for Today (ANT) at the Latin American Health Institute, and have accepted proposals for funding for projects internationally.
It is with pleasure that we nominate Lauren Willis and Alex Gomez for Individual Rosoff Awards. Their dedication to cultural diversity, support of local and diverse businesses, and mission to help foster positive change in society is truly felt by all those fortunate to do business with them.
Chairman & CEO
The Efficacy Institute’s work is in systemic educational reform and it does so by restructuring mission, mindset, and method within schools and educational environments. In his leadership of Efficacy Institute, Howard has worked tirelessly to ensure that minority students and students who are disadvantaged socioeconomically are taught and cared for with the same standards as other students. Howard’s career past is very much a blend of service and business; he also founded a corporate training and consulting firm, J. Howard and Associates. This unique background both in business and education has been valued both in New England and across the country.
Sr. Director, Clinical Operations
Ramsey has been instrumental in organizing and growing the Boston-based LGBT Drug Development Meet Up. He has galvanized a thriving network of approx. 200 members and, importantly, he has connected major biopharma companies within Boston/Cambridge to sponsor its events. In doing so, the group has transformed from a meet up to a movement. The involvement of and collaboration with biopharma companies has brought about information exchange on diversity best practices, presentations on diversity, fundraising, as well as networking. I would strongly recommend Ramsey for this recognition.
Diversity@Workplace Consulting Group
Su Joun has dedicated her personal life and professional career to D&I. Originally from South Korea, Su moved to the US at 7 years old. Not able to speak English at the time, her classmates teased her. This had a huge impact on her and shaped how she became a champion for D&I initiatives. Her purpose is “making more room at the table so other people can squeeze in.”
For many years Su served as VP of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Her leadership resulted in increasing the number of people of color who were hired, increasing the number of women in senior leadership roles and on the board, and better measurable inclusion within the organization.
She recently founded her own company, Diversity@Workplace Consultant Group. Diversity@Workplace will have an enormous impact in Greater Boston as her reach grows. Su and her team embed themselves within an organization, enabling the organization to fully implement and sustain D&I initiatives.
In addition, Su is a corporate advisory board member for ALPFA, as well as the vice chair on my board, the Center for Collaborative Leadership at UMass Boston.
I am honored to nominate Su Joun for the Rosoff Award
Co-founder and CEO
Door of Clubs
As a college student, Pranam saw student clubs and organizations as the means through which to pursue interests and to build an idea of what he was passionate about. Door of Clubs was founded on this idea and aims to support student initiatives and give them visibility. The intention behind this is to connect students with career opportunities and companies that fit the interests of the student club members. This benefits the companies as well, which need to fulfill recruitment goals, and can help to get more minorities and women employed at top organizations. Door of Clubs is up and coming, founded in 2015, and operates out of the WeWork startup incubator space in South Station.
Vice President, Business Diversity
Tufts Health Plan
To create this at THP, Juan garnered support from senior leadership and staff by building a business case that demonstrated an estimated opportunity of $2.2 billion in revenue and 270,000 diverse customers that THP could address by better capturing growing, diverse consumer segments. THP is beginning to capture this opportunity through a comprehensive multicultural plan that spans sales and marketing, clinical programs, supplier diversity, human resources, servicing, provider network, and community outreach. The results … buy-in from THP’s C-Suite and staff, with a goal to increase diverse membership by 50% by the year 2020.
Juan is leading breakthrough programs such as a bilingual customer service academy to provide enhanced servicing for diverse customers, a transgender health service model to assist members seeking gender reaffirming procedures, and expanded supplier diversity efforts resulting in more than $20M of investments with minority vendors and suppliers over a 3 year period.
Juan serves as an inspiration — especially in today’s America — for the Latino and all diverse communities, the colleagues he collaborates with , and through his service on a number of boards including The Dimock, ConsejoSano, ALPFA and others.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Randa’s vision is founded on what she calls the talent imperative: the critical objective to attract, retain, develop and motivate the market’s best talent. This imperative has driven her to serve as a talent mentor and sponsor throughout her career. In her tenure as CHRO, Randa has launched a strategic, measurable plan to increase representation of women and people of color across the company. She has also made Raytheon the first company in its industry to offer a paid parental leave benefit.
Randa’s unprecedented impact owes to her belief that a diverse and inclusive environment is not just a business driver, but a competitive advantage. Additionally, she draws on the diverse expertise of her leadership team while galvanizing them around a common vision and strategy. Thanks to Randa, Raytheon is a better place to work for all employees.
Chief Diversity Officer and Divisional Vice President
Steve has openly talked about how a childhood filled with trauma has shaped the work he does with diversity and inclusion. He believes in a “next practices” model, rather than best practices; diversity and inclusion efforts must be more than just the best a company can do. Rather, according to Steve, initiatives that seek to create a more inclusive workplace must reflect the realities of current and future customers. In speaking about diversity, equity, and inclusion, Steve believes that it is outdated to talk about categories or labels. Part of the “next practices” approach he employs is seeing people for their stories, not just these characteristics that become defining and reducing. Much of Steve’s advocacy has been particular on behalf of people with disabilities, leading him to represent the Walgreens’ model at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
Cambridge Community Foundation
Geeta Pradhan is the new President of the 100 year old Cambridge Community Foundation. In the past 18 months, Geeta has convened groups from every corner of Cambridge to unite people around S.T.E.A.M. initiatives, Early Childhood Education, and the Arts. Most significantly, she has shined a light on the Income Inequality that exists in a city with tremendous wealth and tremendous poverty. She has rallied people around this issue with a breakthrough report on the city titled Boomtown / Hometown, and taken action to alleviate the cycle of poverty with innovative programs such as the Family Independence Initiative. Geeta is truly a transformative leader.
Chief Creative Officer
Allen & Gerritsen
When major broadcast networks refused to air Lane Bryant’s campaign for showing nude plus-sized women’s body, Jen broadcasted it on our website. For the Women’s Leadership Forum, she got women of all ages and races together to create a music video that spoke to the strength of women. She led the charge on Mobile Stu, a mobile studio, that helped to bolster community of color relationship with the police. Instead of doing agency Christmas Card to show off creative prowess, we did pro bono work for organizations in Boston. Jen does not stop. She will always sacrifice, to produce work that provides meaning. The advertising industry, and the world, is better off for having Jen Putnam in it.
Roxbury Community College
Valerie has served in administrative roles within higher education for nearly thirty years and has spent her career helping to make different college environments more accessible and engaging for students. In the past, both at Harvey College in Chicago (a community college) and Joliet Junior College in Illinois, she has worked to increase enrollment, bolster financial resources, and to ensure high school students’ preparedness for post-secondary school.
Vice President, Strategic Partnerships
Big Sister Association of Greater Boston
Mia has spent over 10 years with Big Sisters, during which she has worked to build and maintain diversity among staff and volunteers. Her passion has always been in working towards creating positive futures for youth; her work with the Efficacy Institute was with schools and community organizations to ensure that all students are taught with high standards in schools, not just select populations. Her focus in education was primarily students of color and children of families who struggle socioeconomically.
New England Venture Capital Association
Jody is a first-generation American whose parents both immigrated from Jamaica. She attributes her entrepreneurial spirit to her parents, a quality that led her to success in the start-up industry before joining NEVCA. Much of Jody’s career has been spent in corporate development—in mobile, eCommerce, and digital media. Apart form Jody’s personal appeal as a candidate for Rosoff, NEVCA as a whole has also been a sponsor and advocate for HackDiversity, a Boston-based organization that connects capable prospective employees of minority groups with work opportunities in the innovation industry. NEVCA’s role in this capacity is powerful, as the organization has a strong pull in the technology industry. Jody, as not only a woman but also a woman of color, particularly sees her role as an opportunity to enact change and make a real impact in her sector.
Senior Director, Global Agency Development
As a 13 year veteran at Yahoo, Cheryl Savage has helped shaped diversity and inclusion in the Yahoo Boston office. As founder and chairperson of the Boston Chapter of Women In Tech, Cheryl serves employees and the Boston community through hiring, charity events, volunteer activities, grant championing and webinar/speaker series to help bring more focus to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the greater Boston area. Cheryl is involved in Yahoo’s Office of Inclusive Diversity helping facilitate a strategic partnership with ProjectCSGIRLS, bringing International Women’s Day to the forefront of workplace conversations, and focusing employee volunteer activities on helping women and education. It’s grassroots efforts in her local office and local community that drives Cheryl. Through Yahoo’s commitment to inclusive diversity and her desire to help those around her, she is able to demonstrate to others that through coordination and creativity, every little step helps bridge the diversity gap in the circles that we live in most.
Chief Diversity Officer
Before being named CDO, Sandra spent over 20 years at Publicis. Her advocacy goes beyond her professional life and has become a part of her overall lifestyle. She has organized the Roundtable for Advertising Diversity Executives (RADE), which seeks to address diversity in advertising, as well as the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit at Publicis. She also worked with the New York Department of Education, which introduces advertising to high school students as a career possibility (an initiative called “I’mPart”). All of her accomplishments show her passion for both advertising and ensuring that the field is accepting and inclusive to all types of people.
Cory is a firecracker who gets things done with a smile and goes above & beyond in everything he does. His passion for equality in and outside of work is unparalleled, and an inspiration for anyone with a heart and a soul. Without him and his willingness to have tough conversations, Digitas diversity programs wouldn’t be as impactful as they are today. Cory leads diversity initiatives in just about every way you can at Digitas. He leads the Citizen Schools partnership where our office teaches courses on marketing to low-income, inner city kids. He’s on the executive committee of Eternship, another program for inner city kids with an interest in marketing. Cory is also the head of Chez Nous, the LGBTQ community at Digitas, and co-leads the Diversity & Inclusion council where he passionately advocates for changes in our recruiting process. As one of his peers stated, “Cory has been a true diversity and inclusion champion – not only pushing for making it a priority within our agency, but also living it and celebrating it as an employee. He’s always willing to go an extra mile to break down barriers and boldly challenges what is accepted. He’s an inspiration for many at our company and isn’t afraid to be loud and proud.” In short, Cory is a bright light in a big company. Everyone knows him and respects his dedication to ensuring Digitas becomes a more diverse and inclusive place to work. I can’t think of anyone more deserving.
EVP of Human Resources and Charitable Giving
As EVP of Human Resources and Charitable Giving, Nancy has led the effort at Eastern Bank towards greater inclusivity and acceptance of diversity. She’s been called by CEO Robert Rivers the “conscience” of Eastern Bank and a standout among leaders in diversity and inclusion efforts. She started and runs affinity groups that get feedback from employees about their satisfaction with the organization’s inclusion efforts and has led the company to its peak diversity rate—40% of new hires. Nancy says, “Inclusion and community focus are part of the DNA” at Eastern and her commitment to human resources has reflected this.
Director of Contract Operations and leader of Empowering Abilities Employee Resource Group
Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA
- In our 2015 Corporate headquarter move, she partnered to build a barrier-free environment that is convenient and safe for all associates.
- Piloted Disability Awareness trainings with nearly 700 associates participating.
- Annual promotion of National Autism Awareness Month, lighting the Prudential Tower and our lobbies blue and hosting Lunch & Learns with Autism Speaks.
- Collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness on a presentation series aimed at changing attitudes about living with mental health challenges.
- The group received the 2016 Disability Business Resource Group Award of Excellence from Springboard Consulting. Laura also serves as a mentor, motivational speaker, and host of a variety of disability events, including:
- Being a key driver of and Community Liaison for the 59th annual Little People of America National Conference.
- Co-hosting the annual Work Without Limits Raise the Bar Hire Conference for the past four years and serves on their Executive Committee.
- Serving as a Volunteer Support Parent of Children with Hearing Loss and Special Needs for Family Ties of MA.
- Advising Massachusetts AG Maura Healey on the Disability Rights Advisory Committee.
- Serving as a member of the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy Parent Empowerment Advisory Group.
Chief Diversity Officer
City of Boston
As Chief Diversity Officer for the City of Boston, Danielson Tavares has leveraged the convening power of the Mayor’s office to promote diversity in City Hall and in the private sector. Danielson grew up in Upham’s Corner in Dorchester and has worked his way through the ranks of public service, starting as a legislative aide, serving his neighborhood as a community organizer on John Barros’ campaign for Mayor, and ultimately joining Mayor Walsh’s team after the preliminary. Soon after the election, Mayor Walsh hired Danielson to be his special assistant – present with him whenever Mayor Walsh left City Hall. In that role, Danielson proved himself indispensable to the Mayor and Danielson was elevated to the position of Deputy Director of Operations for the City of Boston. Now Danielson serves as Boston’s Chief Diversity Officer, using his strong ties to the neighborhood to help many in the community find promising careers. Under Danielson’s leadership, the Mayor’s Diversity Office has launched the City’s Diversity Dashboard, a first of its kind tool that allows Boston residents to untangle the demographics of the City’s workforce, and built strong partnerships to bring private sector firms into the neighborhoods to meet qualified job-seekers. Currently, his office is creating employee resource groups and working to establish educational assistance programs to help City employees turn good jobs into good careers. Danielson has not forgotten where he came from. Every Saturday he mentors boys from his Dorchester middle school, Nativity Prep.
Setti was the first African-American mayor and has been in office now for seven years. When he first took office, his objective was to heal the financial crisis of his city, rebuild infrastructure, and maintain the public school system. To most, he has succeeded and gone above and beyond in all of these categories. Most recently, he has introduced a housing development project that will benefit lower and middle-income residents, as well as a partnership with BC to address Newton’s inequality. Setti will not be re-running for office this year, marking the end of his role as mayor. He says he will continue to engage in public service in new ways.
Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition and Diversity
Anthony and Julia Bonarrigo have done amazing work conceiving of and launching Akamai’s Tech Academy. Their program is designed for diverse individuals who are interested in a technical career but who may not have a STEM background or formal technical education. With the demand for tech talent at an all time high, this is a creative approach to meet the business demand while also re-skilling diverse talent to fill these roles. I find it inspiring! Instead of complaining about the challenge or acting resigned to the available demographics , Akamai chose to invest in the solution and it is already paying off.
Educator and Founder
Roxbury Community College and Accelerate College Experiences (ACE)
Lorita is the Vice President of Advancement and Community Engagement at Roxbury Community College. Based on her commitment to education, she also founded Accelerate College Experiences (ACE) as a way of helping college students set and maintain academic standards for themselves. Through a methodology of self-direction, ACE offers coaching and special guidance to the students that it targets by anticipating common first-year challenges. Its ultimate goal is to improve the freshmen retention rate and to aid in the success of capable students who are willing to take initiative. ACE’s approach is both holistic and research-based, seeking to address systemic issues and not just short-term solutions. At least eighty percent of the students that have gone through an ACE experience are performing at a 3.0 or higher. Overall, Lorita’s role as a community leader has been instrumental in effecting change in the higher education realm.
Content & Marketing Director
Lauren Willis and Alex Gomez are two extraordinary individuals – they are extraordinary because their work not only drives the mission of their company, Intercultural Productions, but the missions of all of the clients they work with. As the saying goes: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. Without a doubt, Lauren and Alex are that tide, and they have, time and time again, given organizations like Sociedad Latina, the Whittier Street Health Center, and the Boston Youth Service Network a platform to showcase and promote their important work. Beyond Lauren and Alex’s great work with their clients, they also use their company’s resources to give back to the community. They continually accept proposals for under-funded projects that aim to make a positive impact in underrepresented communities. Recently, they developed the brand image for the Adolescent Network for Today (ANT) at the Latin American Health Institute, and have accepted proposals for funding for projects internationally. It is with pleasure that we nominate Lauren Willis and Alex Gomez for Individual Rosoff Awards. Their dedication to cultural diversity, support of local and diverse businesses, and mission to help foster positive change in society is truly felt by all those fortunate to do business with them.
President & CEO
Biomedical Growth Strategies
Susan is current the President and CEO of Biomedical Growth Strategies, as well as the Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Biomedical Innovation Advisors. She has written two books, in which she shares her expertise in the health care industry in regards to policy and competitive strategy. Before her work with BIA and BGS, Susan was the CEO of Mass Life Sciences Center, where she helped to formulate investment strategies for the state’s $1B Life Sciences Initiative and build national and international partnerships. Susan has been recognized by both the Boston Globe and the Boston Magazine as being among the most influential and powerful women, respectively, in Boston.
Vice President, Group Account Director
Outside of the office, she has been involved in the Big Sisters Association of Greater Boston, and a marketing volunteer at Friend’s of Boston’s Homeless. Her passion for leading and mentoring across such a wide range of initiatives is inspiring to all of those that know her. She is making real change within our organization and local community.
Vice President and Chief Inclusion Officer
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Karen Young is the Vice President and Chief Inclusion Officer at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. In 2015, Harvard Pilgrim was one of the Boston corporations to openly support the transgender public accommodations bill. At press time, Karen said, “It’s critically important that people be free from discrimination and harassment in health settings and other public accommodations.” As CIO, Karen oversees the six inclusion tracks of the organization: enterprise leadership, marketplace and workplace development, supplier and vendor contracting, health care equity and community engagement.
Boston Spirit Magazine
David Zimmerman, a heterosexual male, works as the publisher at Boston Spirit, a publication that caters to the LGBTQ community of New England, making him in many ways the ultimate ally. He was inspired to start the Boston Spirit as a result of his personal connection to a family member who identifies as lesbian. Since its inception, the magazine has become much more than just a bimonthly publication. It hosts networking events for LGBT executives and has been involved in a philanthropic capacity with LGBT health causes.
Companies that are embracing diversity not as a mandate, but as a movement.
At Akamai, diversity is a mission-critical goal, and executives are held accountable for demonstrating progress throughout the year. One such example is Akamai’s Tech Academy, designed for diverse individuals who are interested in a technical career, but who may not have a STEM background or formal technical education. With the demand for tech talent at an all time high, this is a creative approach to meet the business demand while also re-skilling diverse talent to fill these roles. Instead of complaining about the challenge or acting resigned to the available demographics, Akamai chose to invest in the solution and it is already paying off.
Allen & Gerritsen Presents Mobile Stü
A&G doesn’t only stand for Allen & Gerritsen, it stands for Action & Goodness. Each year, Allen & Gerritsen chooses a non-profit, charity or local organization to support during the Christmas season. Using their communications powers to good to help tell stories of community goodness. This year, they chose a cause close to home. Mike Boston, Allen & Gerritsen’s Facilities Manager, was already making amazing things happen in city neighborhoods through his mobile recording studio, Mobile Stü. The mission of Mobile Stu: to give a voice to those who feel like they’re not being heard, to give young people a positive outlet for expression, and to serve as a vehicle to start critical conversations. Allen & Gerritsen believed so deeply in the power of the Mobile Stu, they created a campaign to lift it off the ground. Thus, #blackwithblue was born. With the impressive mission of reducing tension between inner city youth and law enforcement, Allen & Gerritsen facilitated an event, bringing together the Boston Police Department and members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester. Starting with a round table, an open dialog flowed with critical topics from black lives matter to the role of media in police and community relations. The event culminated in the production of the rap anthem “One Beat For Peace”. Through the whole day, the unlikely collaborators were able to find common ground and respect through Mobile Stü, and thanks to A&G. Post event, the efforts made by A&G and Mobile Stü have garnered national attention from APlus to NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt, and Fast Company all the way to the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Biogen has been the exemplar of diversity and inclusion in the biotech sector. They have shown true leadership in bringing diversity to their company, at all levels, but also to the wider ecosystem. The development of explicit programs such as their ‘Raising the Bar’ program for their senior women to join boards, and other intentional solutions to bring diversity at all levels of their organisation, have set the bar to which others aspire. Our work with them in convening international industry stakeholders to advocate D&I and to advance thinking about practical solutions is changing attitudes and behaviours across the sector. It has kick started multiple initiatives at an industry and individual company level and has seen the roll-out of their ‘Raising the Bar’ program on a nationwide cross-industry basis. They have opened their expertise up to others and been generous in sharing their knowledge for others to advance D&I too. Finding a company with a true commitment to D&I where the efforts are applied in such a comprehensive way across every area of the business, and where the actions match the words, is very difficult. Biogen is such a company.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA
We strive to create a culture that welcomes the unique experiences and viewpoints of every associate. In our most recent associate engagement survey, 93% of associates agree our efforts are driving an inclusive environment that embraces diversity, and 90% would recommend Blue Cross as an employer of choice for diverse candidates. We do this through:
- A D&I Council chaired by our President & CEO that meets regularly to provide guidance on our D&I programing and strategy.
- Eight Employee Resource Groups that have more than 1100 members and spearhead events throughout the year to drive cultural competency.
- A dedication to development and talent mobility, including rotation programs and networking events like our first Internal Career Fair held in February.
- D&I programming such as our 2016 Diversity & Inclusion Forum, which included more than 100 external diversity partners and our Blue Beacon award that recognizes our D&I champions.
Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan
Boston Medical Center (BMC) HealthNet Plan recognizes that its workforce is as diverse as the populations it serves. The organization identified a need to implement programs ensuring all employees feel included, and created a Diversity and Inclusion council, which highlights the importance of actively discussing diversity to better understand the different challenges employees face. BMC HealthNet Plan acknowledged the need to develop an internal forum for employees to be heard, and has committed to fulfill that need by launching the “This is Where We Live” series. “This is Where We Live” offers ongoing conversations about topics relevant to the lives and communities of BMC HealthNet Plan employees. After the first forum, which focused on community and law enforcement relations, the council distributed a survey to employees to determine other important topics. With that input, the series grew to add events discussing income disparities, mental health services in communities of color, the effects of drugs and violence in neighborhoods, and healthcare disparities among diverse populations. For each topic, a panel of speakers brings expertise and different perspectives to the discussion. By hosting open conversations about diversity with its employees, BMC HealthNet Plan takes its commitment to creating a future diverse generation of employees one step further than most. The Diversity and Inclusion council has discovered new ways to encourage employees to speak about racial issues and opportunities to create better pathways to promotion for minorities. BMC HealthNet Plan continues to work toward creating a culture that breeds honesty and inclusion.
CommonWealth Kitchen (CWK), believes that a resilient and equitable regional economy requires closing Boston’s growing wealth divide. To realize this vision, CWK operates greater Boston’s only nonprofit food business incubator and food manufacturing social enterprise. CWK provides shared kitchens with integrated business assistance to promote inclusive entrepreneurship and create jobs with few barriers to entry, with a focus on people who have been impacted by racial, social, or economic inequality. In addition, we leverage our commercial kitchen infrastructure to improve healthy food access for low-income families and strengthen our regional food economy. Additionally, CWK processed 10,000 pounds of surplus tomatoes sold to a local university and 5,000 pounds of surplus produce from Boston Area Gleaners that was processed for sale at farmers markets. All of the produce that CWK processed would have gone to waste. Through March 2017 approximately 55 CWK member companies-55% owned by women, 48% owned by people of color, 51% owned by Boston residents. All told CWK member businesses have created over 350 jobs.
Children’s Trust is a state agency that develops programs, creates and influences public policies, improves family service systems, and strengthens communities by building protective factors that support the overall well-being of children and their families. By offering support, helping to strengthen parental resilience, and focusing on child development, Children’s Trust aims to help families thrive. The organization offers various types of programs, from support groups for families to education-based awareness workshops.
CVP Career Academy (CV Properties & KAGE Growth Strategies)
UMass Boston was selected as the initial academic partner and over the last three years, the program has grown exponentially with a successful track record of engagement from academic partners and employers:
- 2014: 16 Students & 12 Employers
- 2015: 17 Students & 16 Employers
- 2016: 24 Students & 22 Employers
In 2017, CV Properties & KAGE engaged with NAIOP, ULI, and CBA, as headline sponsors of the CVP Academy Program, and have relaunched the 2017 Commercial Real Estate Success Training (CREST) Program. CREST has transformed into a premier summer internship program for students of diverse backgrounds who are interested in commercial real estate. Spanning 10-weeks over this summer, students are recruited from Bentley, BC, Brandeis, Tufts, UMass and Wellesley and placed in meaningful internships at real estate firms in New England.
The goals of the program are:
- To engage your firm among a select group of commercial real estate related firm as employer partners in the program.
- To hire a total of 35 or more students as participants in the 2017 CREST 10-week summer internship program.
- To work with member firms, academic partners and other employers to create a pipeline of diverse and talented students who will pursue careers in the commercial real estate industry.
Originally sponsored by Dick Galvin’s CV Properties and kicked off three years ago – CREST started with 16 students and 12 employers, today CREST has blossomed into a program reaching over 100 students and 26 employers. Without the personal commitment, financial resources and operational excellence of Dick Galvin and Milton Benjamin, the CREST program would not have grown into the promising program that it boasts today.
Dell EMC sees diversity and inclusion as a “business imperative.” Its approach is unique and multi-faceted, going far beyond quotas or statistics. The company leads a behavior-focused training that addresses three areas: implicit bias, micro-inequities and cultural competence. Additionally, Dell EMC offers STEM education programs for underrepresented gender and racial groups, and has established relationships with academic institutions to increase employment of diverse candidates with STEM degrees. Dell EMC has been recognized for embracing of all types of diversity, receiving recognition for its acceptance of employees who are veterans, disabled, or part of sexual minority groups.
With that spirit, we’ve accomplished the following, in 2016 and 2017 alone…:
- Launched a Diversity and Inclusion council comprised of talent from all levels and backgrounds (including our most senior executives) to address the specific needs of the Boston office and region
- Created a platform for meaningful engagement around inclusion and culture – Brave Space. 20+ Brave Space Sessions held since its’ inception in 2016, with our Boston Office holding more sessions than any other DigitasLBi office in North America
- Launched a Diverse Campus Ambassador Program to support Campus Recruiting efforts by extending our reach to a broader base of communities across universities we target.
- As of Dec. 2016, home to 30+ MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Intern Program) Alumni spanning from Associate to VP/Group Director level
- Committed to 17 MAIP Fellows for 2017 – the highest amount of any agency in 4A’s history
- Introduced Rooney Rule for executive female hiring process to ensure gender diversity is represented throughout the candidate pool for each open executive position
- For the 5th consecutive year, we’ve been honored by the HRC as an Employer of Choice for LGBTQ talent, via a ranking and perfect 100 score as part of the organization’s annual Corporate Equality Index evaluation process
- Our CEO. Tony Weisman received the 2016 American Association of Advertising Agencies Pantheon Award for the agency’s commitment to Diversity Inclusion
- 6 DigitasLBi offices received Best and Brightest or Best Places to Work awards, citing diversity and culture as a major driver; Chicago office shortlisted for Crain’s Best Places for Minority Employees
- We help lead advancements for diverse talent and policies pertaining to talent across the industry — DigitasLBi was named to the ADCOLOR Industry Awards and AAF MOSAIC Awards Judging Panels; DigitasLBi’s National Diversity Lead now lead for the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) Diversity Steering Committee
Their brand campaign focuses on community service and everyone pitching in to help others. joinusforgood.com. Their employees have logged more than 50K hours of volunteer service. Through social media, they have set up a “Selfies for Good” program which recognizes people in the community to share pictures of themselves doing something good in their community with a $250 cash reward. They donate 10% of net income to charities. They have set up a $7M (fact check this) targeted grant for organizations that are supportive of immigrants in 2017
GetKonnected has become THE company that holds companies in MA accountable for their activities to promote diversity and inclusion, that acknowledges and celebrates the companies that are making progress in these areas, and that provides a regular forum where diverse professionals from all industry sectors and at all levels can meet to “get connected.” I can’t imagine a better company to receive this award than GetKonnected, the focal point in MA for efforts to make our business community a more diverse and inclusive one.
The diversity of perspectives, ideas, and cultures, both within Google and in the tech industry overall, leads to the creation of better products and services. Our strategy is rooted in four pillars: hiring more diverse Googlers, fostering a fair and inclusive Google, helping to expand the pool of technologists in the tech ecosystem and bridging the digital divide. Specifically in the Cambridge office, there are a variety of efforts focused on ensuring that all Googlers feel welcome and included, especially those from underrepresented communities. Some of those include: As part of our “Decoding Race” series, special panel discussions around the impact of systemic racism at Google and beyond A Diversity & Inclusion Awareness Week in April 2017, featuring a range of events including immersive virtual reality experiences to highlight Googlers from diverse backgrounds, an “Untownhall” that provided a forum for Googlers to talk openly about their experiences with race and gender bias, and a discussion around fairness in machine learning technology Google Cambridge is home to several Employee Resource Groups, including chapters of the Black Googler Network, Gayglers, Greyglers, Women@Google, VetNet, and Mosaic (an overarching group welcome to all Googlers who are passionate about diversity)
Hult International Business School
Hult International Business School works within the diversity space as the majority of the students and staff are from over a 100 countries which makes the studying and working environment dynamic and thriving with ideas. The school incorporates diversity in every move, the students are motivated to work in culturally heterogenous groups which allows breakout ideas and creates better individuals for a more global work place. Hult has campuses across several countries which allows students and staff to constantly interact with people around the world and also works with companies that are looking to embrace a variety of talent. Hult embodies the concept of Global Generation in very opportunity and the product of which are culturally enlightened working professionals who live and breathe diversity.
Junior Achievement of Northern New England
The primary goal of Junior Achievement is to prepare youth to succeed in a global economy. Through JA’s programs, young people learn hard skills in financial literacy, workforce readiness, and entrepreneurship. The organization offers training to volunteers who learn JA curriculum, which they infuse with their own experiences in the professional world. These volunteers then act as mentors for young people, particularly those at the K-12 level who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. JANNE is one of 109 chapters of the national umbrella organization.
As a global corporate leader, KPMG has committed itself not only to diversity and inclusion improvements but also to environmental sustainability and corporate citizenship. KPMG offers Audit, Tax, and Advisory services around the world. The Big Four professional firm is known for a work environment that fosters mentorship and employee training, both of which contribute to an overall atmosphere of continual learning and challenge. KPMG’s initiatives in Diversity and Inclusion are not only rooted in hiring practices or employee relations, but in leadership and client relationships as well. For a third year, KPMG has topped the Big Four firms on Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For, coming in at #12 this year.
Museum of Science
The Museum of Science has been a model for how museums across the country might address the responsibility to cater to all types of visitors, including people with disabilities. The Museum has made intentional efforts to make visits as difficulty-free for those who have a disability, not only by reducing physical barriers on-site but by providing the necessary information online for those preparing to visit. Director of Exhibit Development and Conservation Christine Reich has been named a White House “Champion of Change” for the work she has done at the museum surrounding STEM education for people with disabilities.
Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
Since 2010, we have hosted over 34 postbaccalaureate scholars and 255 summer scholars from North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Our scholars have co-authored 18 peer-reviewed publications in well-respected journals including Nature and PNAS and have presented research at national conferences including the American Association for Cancer Research, Keystone Symposia, and Gordon Research Conferences. Through a unique combination of scientific and psychosocial development, our scholars strengthen their competitiveness for top advanced degree STEM programs, and, notably, 80% of our postbac scholars are currently enrolled at acclaimed institutions such as Cold Spring Harbor, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), etc. Three of our postbac alumni have recently graduated and are poised to reenter the biomedical workforce.
One Young World
One Young World brings together the world’s most talented young leaders and empowers them to create positive change within their own organizations, and within the world. Described by CNN as the ‘junior Davos’, the One Young World Summit gathers 1,600 future leaders from over 196 countries, alongside a distinguished line-up of Counselors (Emma Watson & Justin Trudeau were counted among the 2016 Counselors) . These leaders are the most valuable young talent from global and national companies, NGOs, universities and other forward-thinking organizations. The connections that they forge and the insights that they share have the power to change the world, in fact they’ve already begun to do so.
Rockland Trust Bank
Every day, business leaders from companies large and small face critical decisions on how to ensure their success. By bringing these stories to life, showing a diverse range of future business owners what they need to help their businesses thrive, Rockland Trust Bank acts as an educator and facilitator for new and growing businesses. Featured business owner profiles highlight success stories of female and minority-run businesses showing that diverse leadership is a pathway to success. Stories like that of Kristen Broadley and her partner Laurie Brown, who lead a team of disabled employees at their Cape Cod pie company, are followed by glass-ceiling shattering journeys like that of Michelle Culley, the driven president who built multi-million dollar success in the male-dominated trucking industry. These and more stories provide a platform for local women to give expert advice on cross-industry business topics.
Our mission is to be one of the most impactful companies in Boston. That mission was one of the reasons that drew me to the company. At Slalom we look to benefit employees and clients equally, providing value and quality to both, while enhancing the communities in which we live and work. Consciously building inclusion and diversity, philanthropy and leadership development is interwoven with all aspects of our business. We call this holistic approach “ Corporate Citizenship.” Corporate Citizenship is not a program at Slalom, it is the way we work and learn. From recruitment, employees impact how Slalom becomes involved in our community. We also drive I+D in the office. Through participation in consultant-led trainings, “Widening the Circle,” which empowers everyone to bring our authentic, whole selves to work and see the spectrum of individuals that make Slalom who it is. Visitors feel the passion in our office- watching us don aprons to cook for the Ronald McDonald House; viewing artwork from Artists for Humanity which captures our 10 corporate values; attending leadership discussions on gender, ethnic or racial diversity; or participating in fundraising for the Greater Boston Food Bank. Not only is it rewarding to work at Slalom because we do impactful work for clients, but because of the inclusive culture than enables us to give back and celebrate our uniqueness and individual passions. At Slalom, we are passionate about our people, partners and clients- building a community that is built on inclusiveness and individual passions and perspectives.
SHE Fund (State Street)
The SHE Fund celebrates companies that are leading the effort to have a greater number of women working at the senior level. The fund’s official name is the SPDR Gender Diversity Index, commonly referred to by its given abbreviation, SHE. By investing in companies that are going the extra mile towards greater gender equality, the SHE Fund is advocating on behalf of both women and the companies that employ them at the senior level. The SHE Fund is following a trend of making “impact investments,” investments that intentionally are made in organizations that are socially conscious or aware. The Fund was started by State Street Global Advisors.
I nominate State Street Corporation for their leadership in the Diversity & Inclusion space. In addition to naming their first Chief Diversity Officer just last month, they also made a bold statement on the eve of International Women’s Day. The company installed a roughly 50-inch-tall bronze statue of a defiant girl in front of Wall Street’s iconic bull making a very powerful statement.
In addition to being a powerful statement, there is also a lot of substance behind it. The Fearless Girl was part of State Street’s campaign to pressure companies to add more women to their boards. They then followed up the installation with a letter to the thousands of companies that can comprise the Russell 3000 index on Tuesday asking them to take action to increase the diversity on their boards as roughly a quarter of the 3,500 companies have no women on their boards.
In addition, just last year, STT launched “SHE”, an ETF which seeks to help address gender inequality in corporate America by offering investors an opportunity to create change with capital and seek a return on gender diversity. The fund empowers investors to encourage more gender diverse leadership and support better long-term social and economic outcomes in support of gender diversity.
The SHE Fund celebrates companies that are leading the effort to have a greater number of women working at the senior level. The fund’s official name is the SPDR Gender Diversity Index, commonly referred to by its given abbreviation, SHE. By investing in companies that are going the extra mile towards greater gender equality, the SHE Fund is advocating on behalf of both women and the companies that employ them at the senior level. The SHE Fund is following a trend of making “impact investments,” investments that intentionally are made in organizations that are socially conscious or aware. The Fund was started by State Street Global Advisors.
20-something-year-olds who are leading the way for their generation.
Founder and Executive Director
Rana Abdelhamid is the founder and executive director of WISE. Shas organized around human rights issues with Amnesty International USA for the past eight years on campaigns related to women’s rights, torture and the Arab Spring. She currently serves on the National Resolutions Committee, has served on the National Youth Action Committee and served as the Youth Delegate to Amnesty’s 2015 International Council Meeting. Rana is a recipient of the UNAUSA Leo Nevas Human Rights Youth Award and the Running Start Rising Political Star Award. At 16, with a black belt in Shotokan Karate, Rana founded the Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment (WISE) as a self-defense, leadership and entrepreneurship program for young Muslim women. She has also conducted extensive political science and economics research on the inclusion of Muslim minority communities in New York City and Madrid. Rana was the emcee for the large rally on Copley Square against the immigration ban. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Associate Director, Educational Programs & Workforce Development
New England Venture Capital Association
She is a solution-oriented professional passionate about helping people. She makes Massachusetts the best place to work by creating innovative educational and workforce development programs that challenge us to think deeply about how we hire and retain talent. Education is a central component to engagement, so she regularly highlights powerful stories about companies and individuals who will make a difference nationwide. Through TechGen and Hack.Diversity, she is pioneering national models for economic and workforce development.
Founder & CEO
Pooja founded ProjectCSGIRLS in 2013 during the summer after her sophomore year of high school as a response to the gender gap that was glaringly noticeable in her computer science classes. ProjectCSGIRLS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aimed to cultivate a love for technology and computer science in middle school aged girls and encourage them to pursue their interests and careers in these fields. Through workshops – run by high school and college student around the country who are passionate about computer science and technology – ProjectCS Girls nurtures an interest in science, math, and technology during the critical middle school period to help them to better see themselves as the future leaders of tomorrow. Aside from nationwide workshops, they aim to do this through a unique idea – the nation’s largest computer science competition for middle school girls. Not only does Pooja run and coordinate the workshops and the competition, she is an advocate and speaker for encouraging girls in STEM, speaking about the underrepresentation of women in technology at conferences and summits around the country. Pooja has been recognized by organizations including the National Center for Women in Information Technology and the Clinton Foundation, and her work and writing have appeared in the Huffington Post, Women 2.0, and the Washington Post, among others. In the future, Pooja aspires to pursue a career at the nexus of technology, healthcare, and business to further change the world.
Safe and Supportive Schools Program Specialist
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Stacy Diaz is Safe and Supportive Schools Program Specialist at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). I know Stacy through our mutual volunteering in the Brooke Charter School Alumni Affairs Committee. Throughout her academic career, Stacy has been an exemplary student. At Smith College, she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship recipient and recently graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has been a champion of initiatives and policies to close the achievement gap. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she went on to Teach For America (TFA) where she was outstanding in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She was recognized with the Rookie Teacher of the Year Award. After TFA, she continued her work to close the achievement gap by accepting the role of Founding Dean of Students and Culture at Brooke Charter School East Boston. Stacy’s dedication to Brooke’s mission, their students, staff, and families is beyond what you would expect from a role that has traditionally only managed classroom behavior and student discipline. In this role, Stacy was thoughtful in her approach to cultivating strong relationships with students, staff, and families. She used her experiences and knowledge to mentor new teachers on how to manage students and speak to families from different cultural and social backgrounds. At DESE and through her current various volunteering efforts (including Net Impact Boston, BioBuilder, and East Boston APAC), Stacy continues her excellent work and I could not think of anyone else more deserving of the Rosoff Award.
Yasmine El Baggari
Yasmine is a young woman from Morocco who, through her technology company, connects people through travel and hospitality for authentic personal exchanges, with the goal of breaking down stereotypes and building community and understanding across cultures. At the young age of 24, already she has worked with the World Bank, US State Department, World Economic Forum and numerous private companies. She has shared the stage with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Richard Branson. She regularly facilitates exchanges for young entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa within the MENA region and to Silicon Valley, and she arranged local hospitality for Western participants in the COP22 meetings in Morocco. Meanwhile, Yasmine she has a personal goal of traveling to all 50 US states to engage with local communities, in an effort to break down stereotypes about Muslim women. She only has 1-2 states to go! Start-ups are challenging and Yasmine is boot-strapping her technology company. The world needs her vision more than ever, and the Rosoff Award will be a huge boost to her momentum.
Julie is a strong advocate for collaboration and innovation efforts and is an immense help with supporting the Raytheon Ideation Night and Innovation Convention. Julie understands that in order to be an innovator, one has to look at new ways to do things, and brings this mentality to the YESNET ERG. Julie is not afraid to break out of the norm to make process improvements to accomplish her goals. She is passionate with both her daily work and her involvement with YESNET which allows her to take the next step and dive deep and create complex solutions for problems that she encounters.
Julie’s aim to create an all-inclusive ERG culture that includes young and old employees from diverse work backgrounds, brings together strengths and weaknesses of the experienced and non-experienced to help accomplish YESNET’s goals.
Justin Kang runs City Awake, the civic innovation lab of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce that explores bold and creative ideas to solve the most pressing urban issues. Their goal is to ensure everyone is empowered to shape the civic landscape and contribute – small or big – to the bold ideas necessary to solve the social issues which deem frustratingly inexcusable in modern society. He has been recognized by the City of Boston, Boston Magazine, and The Boston Globe for his efforts to mobilize and empower the next generation into important contributors to the civic process in Greater Boston.
Diversity Intern Recruiter, Tech Student Outreach
Jana is the Diversity Intern Recruiter (Tech Student Outreach) at Google and is also the Black Girls Code Relationship Manager. She became connected with Google as a college student through the BOLD program, one of the company’s student and diversity initiatives. Now, as an employee, Jana has actually been able to work with on BOLD program having enjoyed her experience as a participant. Her role at Google has brought her around the country to recruit students from universities that historically are home to students of color. Jana’s work with Google was a natural progression from her involvement at Dartmouth, where she joined the Black Business Association. She has experienced the other side of D&I initiatives as a mid-level employee and has felt supported through Google’s affinity resource groups.
Young Employee Success network Northeast regional Community Service/Outreach Lead and Technical Illustrator/Writer
The past few years Katie has served as the Young Employee Success network’s (YESNET) Northeast regional Community Service/Outreach lead, a challenging and rewarding test to her young career. As someone with a creative background paving her way in a technology-based industry, YESNET has given Katie a perfect outlet to unite innovative and creative thinkers who want to give back to the communities in their lives. Through Katie’s leadership, YESNET Northeast has raised thousands of dollars for various charitable organizations including Student Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, and Project Bread. The organization has built homes in support of Habitat for Humanity, fostered education at a young age through STEM mentor programs, and countless other outreach activities. Katie’s work has led her to engage people of all ages, backgrounds and skillsets to work together to help anyone in need. Her work has helped a diverse group of co-workers, as a community, to give beyond any one individual.
Torin is the Lead Product Evangelist at DreamAfrica, which is creating a world in which every child can see themselves represented positively in children’s media. DreamAfrica is showcasing thousands of diverse stories for children that feature multimedia content about and created by people of color from across the globe.
Torin was also a part of the inaugural TED Residency program, an incubator for breakthrough ideas. Through this program Torin was able to elevate DreamAfrica to the global stage. The program also allowed Torin to give his first ever TED Talk in July of 2016.
As an accredited Minds Gym Coach & Facilitator, Torin brings his message of diversity, inclusion, and leadership to fortune 500 companies across the Northeast. He has spoken at companies and universities which include: Facebook, Deloitte, Delta, Cornell and most recently Harvard University for their 2017 African Development Conference.
Torin is a One Young World Ambassador, Posse Foundation Leadership Scholar, Starting Bloc Social Innovation Fellow, and TED Resident. This young man has inclusion and leadership in his lifeblood and he’s an absolute pleasure to work and socialize with. He’s well deserving of your award and he’d go on to do the award great justice.
Site Director of YESNET
As the site director of YESNET, Giuli participates and works with other board members to bring events and lunch and learns to fruition, while serving as a key contact person to the rest of the YESNET communities throughout Raytheon. In addition, Giuli has partnered with Raytheon’s diverse employee resource groups, co-hosting fundraising events with RAPA, GLBTA, and RWN.
Giuli is enthusiastic about her work within the Raytheon community and has acted as a creative engine behind YESNET’s campaign to support Student Veterans of America through fundraising events. Her passion for such causes, as well as her focus on our employee community has motivated her to host many fundraising and organizational events, some even at her own home. The adjustment into the Raytheon community can be a daunting one, but through Giuli’s welcoming spirit, she has made all professionals she engages feel welcome.
Founder & CEO
She’s The First
She’s the first has given scholarships to over 800 need based and incredibly bright and gifted girls all around the world. They’ve made it possible for these women to break the chain of poverty and get a higher education and then create a different reality and life for themselves and their family, also being leaders and educating their community!
Harvard Law Review
The Review elected its first black man as president 27 years ago. That was former President Barack Obama. It has had other minorities as presidents. And it has had female presidents, the first of whom was elected 41 years ago. But until now, never a black woman. Umana was chosen by the Harvard Law Review’s 92 student editors in what is widely considered the highest-ranked position that a student can have at the cut-throat law school. (CNN)
Director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence
Framingham State University
Chon’tel Washington has served as the Director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence at Framingham State University since 2016.. The Center for Inclusive Excellence creates an environment that reflects a collective commitment to promote equity, advocate social justice, and make excellence inclusive. Chon’tel first joined Framingham State University as an Assistant Director of Admissions, Diversity, Outreach, and Recruitment in June 2014. Before joining FSU, Chon’tel attended the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. At Heller, she obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Non-profit Management. Her professional experiences include serving as an Ambassador of Mentoring with AmeriCorps. During her service year in AmeriCorps Chon’tel implemented, a mentoring program for first-generation college students and served as Financial Aid Advisor in the Boston Public Schools. She also worked with high school student athletes to ensure academic eligibility through the Boston Scholar Athletes Program. Chon’tel’s passion for social justice and equitable educational outcomes for all students has led to her commitment to broadening the presence of talented students in higher education.
I have the pleasure of working alongside Heather at New Balance where she also is a founding member of the NB Diversity Group, but she really shines with TRILLFit. The company recently started a new partnership with Pine Manor College – which allows other young minority students to see an inspiring and passionate young black woman run her own successful business. I have no doubt in my mind that Heather will continue to be a leader and a role model for not only minorities, but women as well! In the short time I’ve known her, she’s inspired me to be a self-starter, and never take ‘no’ for an answer.
Media Planner and Leader of DigitasLBi Boston’s Diversity and Inclusion Council Founder
He spoke at DigitasLBi’s D&I Campus Recruiting event to over 60 students of color from various colleges and universities in Boston. Outside of the digital walls, Yohannes has volunteered for Summer Search, a national youth development non-profit organization for low-income high school students, for the past 12 years. Represented DigitasLBi at ADCOLOR in October 2016, a conference whose mission is to champion diversity and inclusion in creative industries He organized film events, such as the showing of The 13th, and let constructive discussions around the material covered. He helped to put together and lead Black History Month.
He also traveled to colleges to recruit students of color, for example, attending an event at Brown University last year. On a Saturday in November, Yohannes spent the day volunteering with students as part of The January Group.
- “Yohannes is an inspiring leader to all of us in the Boston office through his involvement and leadership in our Diversity and Inclusion Council and Brave Space sessions’.”
- “In presenting [at Brave Spaces], he was confident and eloquent, discussing difficult topics with class. He was also open about his own experiences, and in doing so helped to bring even hesitant audience members into the conversation.”
- “When I joined Digitas, Yohannes was very welcoming, and helped to introduce me to D&I initiatives here. He consistently worked towards encouraging a culture of diversity and openness at DigitasLBi.”