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Chamber Announces Inductees into Academy of Distinguished Bostonians

March 15, 2016

Boston, MA – The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce today announces the 2016 inductees into the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians. This year, the organization will honor Senior Counsel, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP, and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Margaret Marshall; Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, Ph.D, President and Chairman of Sparta Group LLC; and Joe Grimaldi, Chairman Emirates of MullenLowe U.S. The three distinguished leaders were chosen for their contributions to some of the most important issues impacting our city, state and world. Each honoree has come to Boston, shared their talents and left an indelible impact on the region, using their positions to empower others in significant ways.

"This year, our theme for the Annual Meeting focuses on Boston’s thriving role in today’s international economy, and I cannot think of any others than Chief Justice Marshall, Dr. Deshpande and Joe Grimaldi who better exemplify Boston’s contributions to the world," said James E. Rooney, President and CEO of the Chamber. "Not only did they make, and continue to make, a lasting positive impact on our business community, but they have all used their roles as exemplary leaders to make our region, and more importantly our world, a better place for all. Each came to the United States from different parts of the globe and changed the world from right here in Boston."

Former Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall is Senior Counsel at Choate Hall & Stewart LLP. She served for eleven years as Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, the first woman to hold that position in the Court’s 300-year history. Chief Justice Marshall was born and raised in South Africa, obtaining her baccalaureate from the University of the Witwatersrand. While an undergraduate, she was elected President of the National Union of South African Students, a leading anti-apartheid organization. A graduate of Yale Law School, she practiced law in Boston, becoming a partner at Choate before her appointment to the Supreme Judicial Court. During her tenure on the Court, Chief Justice Marshall wrote more than 300 opinions and gained a national reputation for her reforms to the Commonwealth’s court system. Her many groundbreaking opinions, include the 2003 decision, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which declared that the Massachusetts Constitution prohibits the state from denying same-sex couples access to civil marriage, making Massachusetts the first state to legalize gay marriage. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, and she serves as Senior Fellow of the Corporation of Yale University, the first woman to hold that position.

Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, Ph.D. is president and chairman of Sparta Group LLC, a family investment office. He is also Chairman of Tejas Networks, and the founder of the Deshpande Foundation which accelerates the creation of sustainable, scalable enterprises that have significant social and economic impact. Dr. Deshpande has pursued an entrepreneurial career for the last three decades. He is involved either as the founder, a founding investor or chairman of several companies including Cascade Communications, Sycamore Networks, Coral Networks, Tejas Networks, Cimaron, Webdialogs, Airvana, Sandstone Capital, A123 Systems and Curata. A life-member of the MIT Corporation, his support made the MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation possible. Leveraging the experience gained at the MIT Center, the Deshpande Foundation has facilitated the setup of three other centers; Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in India, EforAll (formerly known as the Merrimack Valley Sandbox) in Lowell/Lawrence Massachusetts and Pond-Deshpande Center at the University of New Brunswick in Canada. Deshpande was co-chair of the National Council to support President Obama’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategy.

Joe Grimaldi has been with MullenLowe, a leading global advertising agency, for 33 years. During that time, the agency has grown from a dozen people to over 700 in the U.S., and more than 6,400 worldwide. A passionate leader in the 2 creative and innovation economy, Joe has led Mullen’s transformation from a traditional ad agency to a modern and progressive one with an integrated, highly diverse skillset. The agency has become a magnet for thought-leader clients like JetBlue, Acura, Zappos, American Greetings, MassMutual and Royal Caribbean, as well as top creative, strategic and technology talent from all across America and around the world. In addition to his career at MullenLowe, Grimaldi is President of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, past-Chairman of Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX); the past chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies/Northeast, the Ad Club of Greater Boston, Junior Achievement of Northern New England, the Essex County Community Foundation and Brookwood School; he sits on the boards of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, BC’s Carroll School of Management, and the Green Ribbon Commission, a public-private sector initiative to make Boston the greenest city in America. He is a past board member at Endicott College and the New England Aquarium. Joe has been recognized as one of the 50 most influential business people in Boston and was inducted into the Ad Club Hall of Fame.

The 2016 Annual Meeting will be jointly chaired by Adam Weiner of Weiner Ventures; Corey Thomas President & CEO of Rapid7; and Marcy Reed, President of National Grid of Massachusetts. The event will also feature a keynote address by a nationally renowned speaker who will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Chamber’s Annual Meeting attracts more than 1,700 business, government and civic leaders. It is a signature event for the region and one of the largest gatherings of the Greater Boston business community. The inductees will join an accomplished group of Academy members, including business leaders, philanthropists, governors, members of congress, cultural dignitaries, and sports greats. More information on the Annual Meeting and a list of past inductees are available at bostonchamber.com.