Come hear from Governor Maura Healey as she addresses Chamber members as the 73rd Governor of the Commonwealth.
9:45am - 11:00am
The Westin Copley
Hear from a panel of professionals on how apprenticeship programs are creating a more robust and diverse talent pipeline.
3:00pm - 5:00pm
Another Age Productions
Join us for our highly anticipated Annual Meeting, Greater Boston's top business convening of the year.
4:30pm - 8:00pm
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
Expand your DEI professional development with a virtual workshop focused specifically on LGBTQIA+ identities and inclusion.
Join our Transformational DEI Certificate! Our comprehensive learning & development offerings are designed to connect and grow strong leaders who lead both inside and out of the office.
Our Women’s Leadership Program enables you to take your leadership to the next level by arming you with the most in-demand leadership toolkit.
Our Boston’s Future Leaders (BFL) program provides emerging leaders with a socially conscious and civically engaged leadership toolkit, as well as the opportunity to apply their knowledge through experiential assignments.
City Awake empowers young professionals in a variety of ways that encourages these rising leaders to stay invested in the region’s future success.
We are developing an ecosystem of corporations and partners with the influence and buying power to transform economic inclusion for minority business enterprises (MBEs).
The Fierce Urgency of Now Festival brings Boston’s diverse young professionals together with business leaders, organizations and their peers to build connection, advance careers and ignite positive change.
BIMA (the Boston Interactive Media Association) serves a vibrant community of like-minded professionals from agencies, brands, publishers, and ad-tech companies with business interests in the New England market.
For nearly 30 years, the Chamber’s Women’s Network has connected female professionals of all background and career levels. Today, our Women’s Network is the largest in New England, strengthening the professional networks of women each year.
The Massachusetts Apprentice Network convenes employers, training providers, and talent sources interested in developing and implementing apprenticeship programs in occupations across industries and statewide in fields such as tech, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, and more.
We support small business through public policy initiatives, events designed to connect small businesses in Greater Boston to their peers and established business leaders, professional development offerings, and free small business advising.
Explore our mission and values to better understand how we are leading the business community forward.
Our member directory is your resource to discover, connect, and engage with Boston’s businesses from every industry and sector.
PACESETTERS SUCCESS STORY
The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), a Pacesetter since 2021, has successfully contracted with Casablanca Services Inc., a minority-owned landscaping firm located in Everett, MA. Casablanca Services was founded in 2004 by Yacine Ibrahimi, a Northeastern University graduate, who saw an unmet need in the community. Casablanca’s partnership with the BPDA began in 2021 and reflects how effective relationships can be between an anchor company and an MBE when developed through intentional and sustained contact. Speaking about the communication of expectations and overall experience of contracting with the BPDA, Ibrahimi states, “Working with the City of Boston and the BPDA was really great. They were very helpful, and we felt included in every step.”
Since first engaging with the BPDA in 2019, Casablanca’s partnership and relationship with the BPDA’s Real Estate department has flourished through multiple interactions. Casablanca first connected with BPDA staff at a specialized pre-bid conference for a citywide snow removal contract held by the BPDA and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion. At this conference, Casablanca made a connection with Laura Melle, the Deputy Director of Real Estate of the BPDA. Melle began to share relevant contract bid opportunities for landscaping, lot clearing, and snow removal operations, of which Casablanca had expertise. Casablanca also provided valuable feedback on making procurements more accessible to new partners.
In 2020 the BPDA re-opened the Citywide Snow Removal contract. Upon receiving the contract opportunities, Casablanca requested specific information on how to best respond to the contract proposals. Ibrahimi states that, “The BPDA Real Estate team led by Laura Melle were very helpful about any questions and concerns we had regarding the bidding process and the nature of the work. It made the process easier to understand and to bid properly.” Casablanca did not win, but they responded to another Invitation for Bid (IFB) from the BPDA in 2021 and won the contract for Downtown Waterfront Landscaping & Maintenance.
Casablanca’s responsiveness and high-quality work earned them a contract for a term of up to three years with a total value maximum of $240,000. Robert Springer, the Vendor and Supplier Diversity Specialist at the BPDA states that, “Their quality service and communication has ensured that the Central Wharf and Long Wharf are maintained in a timely and thoughtful manner.”
The Downtown Waterfront Landscaping & Maintenance contract allowed Casablanca to hire more staff, including several women, who are typically underrepresented in this field. They also invested in new equipment that will help them focus on landscaping opportunities in addition to their snow removal services.
When another snow removal opportunity arose in 2022, Casablanca’s competitive bid won a BPDA contract for Snow Removal in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park, with a 3-year term and budget of up to $675,000. Casablanca has also responded to other opportunities with both the BPDA, and the City of Boston and they were recently awarded contracts for two snow-clearing “zones” through Public Works.
The strength of the partnership between the BPDA and Casablanca rests on several lessons learned throughout the contracting period. Through conversations with Casablanca, the BPDA learned that in composing requests for proposal (RFPs) or IFBs, it is important to 1) provide pricing from previous procurements and 2) get feedback from vendors on the scope, costs, equipment, and other requirements. The BPDA hosted virtual Requests for Information (RFI) roundtables to achieve this, demonstrating their commitment to engaging diverse business owners.
To diversify the opportunities for disadvantaged firms of different sizes and maturity levels the BPDA created an ecosystem of small, medium, and large contracts, with different requirements, so that vendors can progressively grow over time. For example, with approximately only a $20 million property management budget, the BPDA has roughly 25 contracts that are multi-year agreements for services ranging from landscaping and snow removal contracts to masonry and trash removal, plus small-dollar purchase orders. In developing their supplier diversity practices in such ways, the BPDA has learned that success happens over the course of several years and requires patience.
Casablanca demonstrated the tenacity and responsiveness to contract with the BPDA. Ibrahimi believes the well-organized information delivery and open communication of the BPDA made the bidding experience positive and inclusive. Networking and attending procurement information sessions can increase visibility and leverage the possibilities of meeting face to face with procurement officers. Progress in supplier diversity occurs one contract at a time, through strong communication and relationship building. The partnership between the BPDA and Casablanca shows the impact of intentional contracting and its impacts on both the supplier’s ability to scale and the community’s access to reliable, diversified services.
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