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Celebrate Boston's Best at our 2018 Pinnacle Awards

Posted by Liliana Piña on January 16, 2018

Next week, our 2018 Pinnacle Awards will honor nine Boston businesswomen who have demonstrated immense talent, leadership and courage, in their respective fields. This annual Chamber event is the premier event for women in business and draws more than 1,000 women and men who are eager to hear about our honorees’ successes, inspirations and goals, as well as their advice for advancing careers, no matter the level. So, what knowledge do these outstanding women have to bestow on us?

We asked, and they answered*:

Scrubbs-Courtney_Headshot-resized_website.png#asset:3305:smallCourtney B. Scrubbs, Corporate Counsel, Legal Industrial Affairs for Sanofi – Emerging Executive

A lawyer dedicated to advocating for and empowering youth.

Courtney says: “Perhaps more than anything, I see myself as a success most when I can see the improvement I have inspired or directly made in the lives of others, whether they are leaders I am mentoring, clients whose lives I have made easier or friends who are uplifted by uplifting word. Success to me is adding value to whomever or whatever in the ways that matter the most to you.” 

Nolan-Alison_Headshot_resized_website.png#asset:3302:smallAlison Nolan, Principal, Boston Harbor Cruises – Achievement in Entrepreneurship

Fourth-generation captain transporting 2.5 million passengers around Boston each year.

Alison says: “I am inspired by all who stand up for what they believe in and make their voices heard. I am inspired by women who are insisting on equal pay and standing in the workplace.  I am inspired by women who are using social media to highlight cat-calling, harassment and abuse in the workplace, in public and on the web.  I am inspired by all women presenting ideas, strength and values beyond physical appearance.  I am inspired by women in pink ribbons and pink hats. These women show me every day that it is never too late to learn, to follow your dreams, stand up for what you believe in and to make a difference.  The important things in life are not always easy, but they are worth the efforts.”

Cheng-Liz_Headshot_resized_website.png#asset:3299:smallLiz Cheng, General Manager of Television, WGBH and WORLD Channel – Achievement in Healthcare, Arts, and Education

Using storytelling to create connections between people in Boston and beyond.

Liz says: “I am inspired by my parents who, after fleeing communism in China, used their education, talents and hard work to overcome negative attitudes toward immigrants of color, despite English being their second language. My parents told my brothers and me that any success we may encounter should be paid forward to help others: we must do work that makes a difference in people’s lives. Their examples have driven me to do so, not for accolades or the joy of creating, but for the greater good of the community, whether here in Boston or across the country. As a result, the most compelling work for me has become the marshalling of resources and platforms to help those who have had no or little voice to tell their own stories.”  

Cudkowicz-Merit_Headshot_resized_website.png#asset:3300:smallDr. Merit E. Cudkowicz, Chief of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital – Achievement in Professions

On a mission to cure ALS.

This year, Dr. Cudkowicz established the first ALS House Call Program to help patients and families. Of the program, she says: "This year, we established the first ALS House Call Program to help our patients and families. The physicians and healthcare providers at MGH have had a long standing multidisciplinary program to care for people with ALS. Research and clinical trials are also an integral part of the care practice. People with ALS who receive care at a multidisciplinary clinic survive longer and have a better quality of life.  Yet, just as specialized ALS care is most critical to meet the needs of people with ALS, the progression of the disease makes it difficult to travel to specialized ALS centers to receive care. House calls set care providers (nurses, nurse practitioners and physicians) in motion, while eliminating the need for people with ALS to bear the burden of travel."  

Keenan-Karen_Headshot_resized_website.png#asset:3301:smallKaren Keenan, EVP and Chief Administration Officer, State Street Corporation – Achievement in Management: Private

Leading culture change at State Street.

Karen says: ”My mom inspired and motivated me in too many ways to count. She got her driver’s license when she was 40 and returned to the workforce when her fourth child (me) turned seven. When I was in college, she studied for her master’s degree in library science which she then used until she retired at 70. She didn’t rest in her retirement but instead seemed to work just as hard at the library as an unpaid volunteer. She loved teaching, but loved learning most of all, adapting to the world as it changed.”

Margherio-Lynn_Headshot_resised_website.png#asset:3303:smallLynn Margherio, Founder & CEO, Cradles to Crayons – Achievement in Management: Non-Profit

Ensuring children have the essentials they need to succeed and enjoy childhood.

Lynn says: “The creation and growth of Cradles to Crayons is my proudest career accomplishment. Having served more than 1.2 million children, Cradles to Crayons has become something so much bigger than me – it has become a community I am deeply honored to be a member of.”


Polito-Karyn_Headshot_resized_website.png#asset:3304:smallLieutenant Governor Karyn Polito – Achievement in Management: Government

Committed to making Massachusetts a great place fo live, work and raise a family.

Lieutenant Governor Polito says: “Personally, I think of success as something to be constantly worked toward; a final destination more than a tangible goal achieved definitively through legislation or policy.  Success is making strides against the opioid epidemic, but recognizing that much work remains to be done.  Success is providing our children with a quality education and understanding their limitless potential must be matched by our willingness to innovate and improve constantly. Success is striving to do better and be better at all times in all things.” 

Katy-ONeil_270.jpg#asset:1159:smallKaty O’Neil, Executive Vice President, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce – Achievement in the Advancement of Women Professionals

Advancing and celebrating women in the workplace at all levels of their careers.

Katy says: “I am most proud of my work leading the creation of the Chamber’s Leadership Initiatives, a series of  programs designed to develop the next generation of leaders. I’m equally proud of leading the development and growth of the Chamber's Women’s Network (including the Pinnacle Awards!) into the largest network of women professionals in New England.”

Walker-Liz_Headshot_resized_website.png#asset:3306:smallReverend Liz Walker – Lifetime Achievement

The Chamber is very excited to have the pleasure of welcoming Reverend Liz Walker as the Keynote speaker and Lifetime Achievement Honoree for the 2018 Pinnacle Awards!

Reverend Liz Walker is currently pastor at Roxbury Presbyterian Church (RPC), where she spearheads the Cory Johnson Trauma Education Project, a community-based program that raises awareness for the prevalence of post-traumatic stress in urban communities. Before taking the reins at RPC, Walker made history with WBZ TV, becoming Boston’s first African American television news anchor. After 21 years of working there, Walker dedicated the next decade to doing humanitarian work in Sudan, where she aided in building a school for girls – which reached 1,000 students the first day – and helped its people during a time of social upheaval and immense poverty.

But that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Reverend Liz Walker has dedicated her life to public service, and because of her dedication and desire to improve the lives of those around her, she has left her mark on the Boston community, and the world, as a defender of social justice.


Undoubtedly, these women have wisdom that can only come with years of hard work and unwavering dedication. However, they are not only measured by their workplace successes, but by their upstanding characters and devotion to civic engagement. Whether you are a woman just starting your career, a young professional looking to hear some pertinent advice, or a Boston citizen who wants to become more involved in your community, be sure to RSVP to the Pinnacle Awards luncheon today

*Responses edited slightly for length.