Meet the Chamber: Director of Business Development, John Joy


John Joy (left), Liz Brunner (center), and Candy O’Terry (right) at the Chamber’s  Women’s Network event in June

“He works the room like no one you’ve seen.”

You can’t miss him at a Chamber event – he makes introductions, makes jokes, makes his job look like a breeze. John Joy is the Director of Business Development, and when he started working at the Chamber, the Sox were entering the 82nd year of their World Series drought, the B’s and C’s were playing at a different Garden, and Wilson Philips held the top spot on the year-end Billboard top 100 (hint: it was 1990).

Since John came on two and a half decades ago, the Chamber has seen four different presidents and four different offices, and when asked about his tenure, John says that you might as well be able to say he was born here.

As the Chamber’s newest (and youngest) addition, I had the good fortune to catch up with our longest-tenured employee for a quick Q & A. Here’s what John Joy had to say.

Loaded question here – who’s your favorite president?

Well Jim Rooney – of course!

Is there any particular moment or story that you feel encapsulates your time at the Chamber?

The fun moments are, for me, especially being in Business Development – just hearing the great stories that you get when members attend events and they send you emails or just positive feedback saying, “Wow, thank you for that introduction to this company. We really it hit it off well, and now we have a meeting set up, and I think we’re going to be doing business with them.”

Hearing stories like that, it makes me feel great as to why I’m still here – helping companies, helping members build those relationships. It’s been a great opportunity for me – you really do work with a wonderful staff, a great team. And I love having the opportunity to know what’s going on in the business community, of having access to a lot these recognized local and national speakers, building strong relationships with members, connecting them with other business leaders, and providing them that access to help them grow their business. At the end of the day, when I’m able to do my job, and hear all of this great feedback of what the organization is doing, that makes me feel great. I wake up every day, and I still enjoy what I’ve been doing for more than a quarter of a century. And thanks to the many breakfast events, I do wake up every day saying, “oh wow, they do feed me as well!” – and I don’t take that for granted.

How has your role changed and grown since first started ?

I started off in the mailroom. I worked my way up from there and became an administrative assistant, and then I was a membership coordinator, and I think I’ve been in this role as Director of Business Development for ten, fifteen years now. It’s really been a great experience. I love being in Business Development, but I also have learned a lot from [the other department]- I just love working with the members and the Chamber team. It’s a small organization, so I have the opportunity to connect with other departments and learn what’s going, whether it’s policy, communications, the marketing team, I get to hear what the other teams are doing because it really is a great team environment.

What are you looking forward to in the future of the Chamber?

I’m really looking forward to seeing how our work reaching out to the innovation space shapes up, and how the Chamber can really play a role with connecting the startup community with the more-established companies that we have here. I know we can play more of a role in that space, in building that bridge. The other thing I’m looking forward to is just continuing to be bold on the policy initiatives that we play a role in, whether it’s pay equity, being vocal on the energy regulations – I think it’s really bold to take stands on these issues.

What’s something that people might not know about you?

There are a lot of things that people don’t know about me! I enjoy walking. Doing a couple of miles in the evening, my wife and I will get out as much as we can, to do our walk. And I’m a really good basketball player. I do take on my son every now and then, and of course, I let him win – even though he’s a good player as well. I love the water and boats, so any time that I can get down to the Cape to fish, it’s something that I love to do. I used to ride ATV’s – people probably can’t picture me riding an ATV!

Tell me about your family.

I have two kids; a 20-year-old daughter who just finished two years of college. She’s taking some classes to become a paralegal and ultimately, she wants to work in a law firm. And I have a 14-year-old son who will be starting high school this fall. So I’m starting to get my life back now, little by little. My wife and I celebrated our 20-year anniversary this past year. We’ve been together now for about 25 years, and I keep getting younger every day.


Nailed It: The 32nd Annual Small Business of the Year Awards


Imagine a major Boston thoroughfare, Newbury or Boylston, Commonwealth or Columbus Ave, without J.P. Licks, Boloco, Finagle a Bagel, or any one of these businesses dotting your vision. The landscape is hard to envision (and pretty stark).

The feat is nearly as daunting as keeping a piñata intact around David Ortiz, because Boston’s business story is a story of small business success, enterprises which firmly planted their roots in Greater Boston, and grew into the industry titans which they are today. All of the businesses listed above are Greater Boston-born and previous winners of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s annual Small Business of the Year (SBOY) Awards.

The Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Awards recognize the achievements of Greater Boston’s smaller for-profit companies, with annual gross revenues of more than $1 million. Winners include businesses who display strong financial performance, achievement in management, workplace excellence, product innovation, and community and social responsibility.

And this year – our 32nd year of the SBOY Awards – the Chamber is proud to announce a new and talented crop of SBOY honorees, highlighted by our 2016 top honoree, JP Fuji Group of Quincy, MA.

JP Fuji Group began as the idea of two 19-year old best friends, and has grown to become the largest operating Pan-Asian restaurant group in the northeast, with 10 distinct and authentic venues in the Greater Boston Area. Founders Jimmy Liang and Peter Tse’s first location, Fuji Restaurant, opened in 1998 in Wollaston, and less than two decades later, the duo continues to oversee their rapidly expanding enterprise, operating by their motto “leave a place better than you found it.”

A bit more on each of the year’s additional nine honorees:

  • Applied BioMath, LLC is a biotech company based in Lincoln, MA. Founded by Dr. John Burke, Dr. Joshua Apgar, and Andrew Sutherland, the company aims to “help transform both the quality and economics of drug invention.”
  • CTP (Conover Tuttle Pace) is a marketing agency in Boston’s North End. Founded in 1996, the company’s 20th year was highlighted by an Emmy win for their 2015 campaign for the Boston Red Sox, #MyFenway.
  • Fancypants Baking Co. is a bakery in Walpole, MAf. The decade-old bakery was conceived by husband and wife duo Maura Duggan and Justin Housman while they were living in “a cramped Boston apartment” in 2004.
  • Gillian’s Foods Inc. is a food products supplier in Salem, MA. The 22-year-old business was founded out of Susan and Bob Otolo’s home in Revere. They created their business after their daughter Jillian was diagnosed with Celiac disease at the age of six, and the company now produces a product line of over 35 gluten free products, and has recently partnered with Cumberland Farms in launching the chain’s first Gluten Free Program to its 800+ locations.
  • Jana is an internet service based in Downtown Boston. Nathan Eagle founded “txteagle” in 2009, but in 2011 renamed the company, Jana, meaning “people” in Sanskrit. The company aims to provide free, unrestricted access to the internetfor the developing world.
  • Lovepop is a greeting card company based in Downtown Boston. Founded by Wombi Rose and John Wise in 2014 out of the Harvard Innovation Lab, the duo used their engineering backgrounds to replicate on a mass scale the three dimensional cards they encountered when on a school project in Vietnam. In 2015, Lovepop won a $300K investment on ABC’s Shark Tank.
  • Oofos is a shoe company out of Cohasset, MA. Founded in 2011 by former Reebok executives Paul Brown and Lou Panaccione, the shoes are “Biomechanically engineered to alleviate the foot stress and soreness caused by your daily grind.” In 5 years, the company has expanded distribution across the nation and internationally, stretching as far as Thailand, Australia, and the UK.
  • Pharmalogics Recruiting is a recruiter in Quincy, MA. The company was named a finalist for the Stevie Awards, included on Inc’s 5000 list and named to BostInno’s 50 on fire.
  • Winslow Technology Group is a software company based in Waltham, MA. In their words the company’s “core principles are to select the right technology partner, provide unparalleled technical expertise, and have an unyielding commitment to customer satisfaction.” Previous awards include: 2016 Boston Business Journals Fastest Growing Private Companies, 2009, 2010, 2012 & 2015 CRN Fast Growth 100 Companies, and 2010, 2011 & 2012 Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Private Company.

We will be recognizing all of the outstanding honorees at the second annual “Nailed It: A Conversation with Successful Small Business Leaders,” program.  “Nailed It” will take place on October 9, 2016 from 7:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at District Hall in the South Boston Waterfront, and will feature interactive power talk panels with representatives from the winning companies. The panels will cover their keys to success, including taking risks, overcoming obstacles, and growing and innovating their businesses.  For more information on the event and registration, click here.

Conquering the Fear of Networking

Juliette Mayers

Today’s guest post comes from Juliette Mayers, Author & Speaker, and President & CEO of Inspiration Zone LLC.

As someone who grew up in poverty and in a blue-collar home, I didn’t think of networking as a tool that was available to me. Quite honestly, I hadn’t given the topic much thought until I reflected upon the life of my mother after she lost her battle with breast cancer. While I did not have the financial means, I did have the personal determination and the intuition of a mother who in retrospect, was a skilled networker. What she lacked in formal education, she made up for with street smarts and a PhD equivalent in emotional intelligence. By studying her life and by conducting my own research, I realized that there was indeed a method to the art of networking that went well beyond the business card exchange and the cocktail parties. To test my hypothesis, I interviewed many successful people and they too, confirmed the importance of networking.

So why do so many professionals fear networking? From stranger anxiety to pressure from the boss — the reasons are numerous. Regardless of the source, here are some tips for succeeding at networking.

Develop a strategy
Treat networking like a business initiative. Create a plan. For example, you may want to increase sales by 15%, lay the ground work for the transition to your next career move, deepen relationships with others in your organization or increase your knowledge of a particular topic. Determine the outcome that you would like for your strategy and write it down. Before your next event, determine what would be a good outcome.

Reframe your thinking
Everyone with whom you interact is a potential actor in your future success. Treat them as such. Examine how you spend your time and with whom. Look for opportunities to get to know your colleagues better and supplement that with external opportunities to get to know others. Visualize success! Instead of thinking about the people you don’t know, think about the opportunities for learning about others. Visualize achievement of the business objective that you have established for yourself.

Prepare and practice
Until you increase your comfort level, it’s okay to network with a familiar colleague by your side, but you must move beyond the familiar. Prior to attending a networking event, practice how you will introduce yourself. I’m a big fan of practicing in the mirror. By doing some upfront work, you can reduce your anxiety and ensure a smooth delivery of your business card and your message.

Use the art of inquiry to take the pressure off of you. Think through the questions you will ask others. Do some research upfront and arm yourself with interesting questions based on the people you are likely to meet. As you listen, identify those individuals who are aligned with your plan and with those with whom you want to stay connected.

Relax. Breathe. Smile.

Juliette-Mayers-headshotJuliette Mayers is the author of The Guide to Strategic Networking and President & CEO of Inspiration Zone LLC. Follow her on Twitter, @JulietteMayers.

Mobile Insecurity – Going Viral


This is a special guest post from Nick DeLena, Senior Manager of IT Audit & Security at OCD Tech, a Division of O’Connor & Drew, P.C., one of the most well-respected regional accounting, tax and business/IT consulting firms in New England.

If you’ve been to the Common recently you might have thouNick DeLenaght you were on-set at an episode of the Walking Dead. Hundreds of people, ambling around with their arms outstretched, seemingly possessed. They’re not zombies, they’re playing Pokémon Go! Few mobile apps have gone viral as quickly as this game. Niantic, Inc., the developers, have pulled off an ingenious feat that blends augmented reality (adding on virtual elements to the real world), physical activity, and a form of captive marketing where business owners can pay to turn their stores into “PokéStops” to attract highly distracted customers.

Unfortunately, there have been some missteps along the way. The first version of Pokémon Go requested full access to your Google account, which granted the developers free reign over your Gmail, photos, calendar, Google Maps location history, and every other Google product you might use. Google says, “full account access’ privilege should only be granted to applications you fully trust.” The developers offered a mea culpa once the news broke and promised the issue would be resolved eventually.

Even if we assume it was a genuine mistake, we should take it as a teachable moment. Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives. We use our phones to conduct banking, keep in touch with loved ones, and stay on top of work, among many other activities. Because of this, smartphones have become a target of hackers. By some estimates, 1 in every 5 smartphones has some form of malware installed. Android devices have long been the favorite target of malware makers. Because of the fragmentation of the Android platform, with each manufacturer, like Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and others, free to create their own variations, it becomes very difficult for Google to get Android users on the latest version of the software, which often includes many security updates. The most they can do is give the latest software to their partners and wait for them to push the software to their customers. What’s worse, Motorola recently announced they won’t commit to making monthly security patches available to their customers’ phones. In a statement, they said “because of the amount of testing and approvals that are necessary to deploy them, it’s difficult to do this on a monthly basis.” If I owned a Motorola phone, it would have just gone in the trash. These problems aren’t just limited to Androids either. Windows Phone has long been vulnerable (but statistically irrelevant) and this past year has seen malware with names like XCodeGhost and AceDeceiver released for Apple’s iOS platform.

Where does this leave us? Vulnerable. We have to pay attention to what we’re installing. We have to buy phones from providers that are committed to mobile security. And from an enterprise perspective, we need to ensure mobile security is part of our risk assessment process.

Let’s focus on mobile security so the phrase “Catch ‘em all!” continues to refer to Pokémon, not malware.

Nick DeLena is a Senior Manager of IT Audit & Security at OCD Tech, a Division of O’Connor & Drew, P.C., one of the most well-respected regional accounting, tax and business/IT consulting firms in New England.