Last week it was all about the Baker administration at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
On Tuesday, the Chamber’s Women’s Network featured the leading women of Governor Charlie Baker’s Cabinet: Secretary of Administration and Finance, Kristen Lepore; Secretary of Transportation, Stephanie Pollack; and Secretary of Health and Human Services, Marylou Sudders. And on Thursday Governor Baker himself addressed the Chamber, highlighting what he believes are the key priorities for the Commonwealth.
More than 400 attendees were on hand at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel to attend the Women’s Network breakfast which was moderated by Stephanie Lovell, Executive Vice President, Medicare and Chief Legal Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield. The discussion ranged from how the women made the decision to work in government to advice for young professionals looking to get into public work to how the three women collaborate to make an impact in Massachusetts.
There were many takeaways from these three talented women, but a theme that ran throughout was to find someone that can help advocate for you and your career.
Secretary Lepore said she was lucky to have a mentor that has already walked in her shoes – when she started her career in Administration and Finance out of Graduate School, she worked for now-Governor Baker who was then Secretary of A&F. Secretary Sudders said she has relied on a strong network to cultivate her career. She noted that women in her network have not only helped her open doors, but have also helped her have the courage to walk through them. And Secretary Pollack advised the audience to “be impatient,” and to always ask for more responsibility and take on more than you’ve been asked to do.
The women all agreed on one thing, government work isn’t easy, but the frustrations and difficulties are worth it. Secretary Pollack summed it for the panel by saying, “It can be more fun working outside of government, but you make much more of a difference on the inside.”
When Governor Baker opened his address to the 600 Chamber members on Thursday, he started by noting the incredible positive feedback he received about the women of his cabinet and their program earlier in the week. “I wasn’t able to attend, so I’m not sure what they told you, but I know that since Tuesday I have received countless emails and phone calls telling me how remarkable they are,” he told the Chamber.
In his remarks, Baker covered a number of hot topics faced by his administration including GE’s move to Boston, MBTA reform, his economic development and charter school legislation and the region’s energy needs.
Baker told the audience that GE’s decision to relocate its headquarters to Boston is a huge win for the region, and he boasted that it is the city’s innovation ecosystem, role in the international economy, and the ease of using Logan Airport, as well as the ability of the state and city leaders to work together to make Massachusetts the best place to do business that led GE to choose Boston.
When it comes to the MBTA, Baker said his focus will be on fixing the “core infrastructure,” including tracks, switches and signals. Baker made a special note of the fact that some of the Amtrak signals currently used by the T were installed in 1903 and never replaced, and that, in his opinion, these types of aging equipment must be the focus of reform over talks of expansion.
Baker called on the business community to be proactive about a long-term energy strategy to provide for the 10,000 megawatts the Commonwealth is currently losing each year. He also asked the audience to support an increase in charter schools to ensure that all Massachusetts children have access to the high quality education the Commonwealth is known for.
Thank you to the Baker administration for an outstanding week of programming for the Chamber of Commerce! Baker’s address will be available to Comcast subscribers via On Demand.
See our full list of upcoming programming here.
For more pictures from these events, please visit the Chamber’s flickr page.