Join us for our installment of the Pacesetters Doing Business series featuring Boston Planning and Development Agency on December 7, 2023.
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Jenny Holaday will share her journey into leadership as President of Encore Boston Harbor and first woman to run a casino in Massachusetts.
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Encore Boston Harbor
Step into Winter Wonderland at our BIMA Holiday Gala. Gather your digital media and marketing peers for a night of networking and entertainment.
6:30pm - 9:30pm
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Each year, the Fierce Urgency of Now (FUN) Festival, organized by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s young professional platform, City Awake, brings together more than 1,000 diverse, young professionals of color and allies for 30+ transformative events. As part of the festival, The Castle Group hosted the Mission to Motion event, which included a panel discussion on civic engagement that offered young professionals guidance and inspiration on how to merge their personal missions with what they do for a living.
Moderated by GBH “Morning Edition” co-host Paris Alston, an inspiring group of leaders shaping civic engagement shared how they advance their personal commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion to create forward motion in Boston. Here are some of the compelling calls to action the panel made:
“I work to help people understand that they do have power, it is not something someone needs to give to you.” – Chrismaldi Vasquez-Casado, Director, Community Engagement, Point32health
Since the age of 14, Chrismaldi Vasquez-Casado has been obsessed with fairness. Growing up in Jamaica Plain she saw the lack of resources for youth in the area and how lives “moved in different directions” based on where people lived in and around the city of Boston. Today, her mission is shifting power and advancing equity. At her day job, this means spotlighting social determinants of health and making it clear that not all of these factors can be solved at the doctor’s office. At Point32health, she partners with the community to prompt change, and invests in marketing her company’s health services to those who need it most. In her personal life, she supports city councilors and political officials, like Ayanna Presley, who stepped up and helped other Bostonians to be able to envision themselves in a position of power.
What we are able to give to civic engagement will look different in different seasons of life, but Chrismaldi encourages us to “pick multiple lanes” as there are many different ways to get involved.
“We shouldn’t have to scale walls. Bring the walls down so that people can walk over the barrier.” – Andrea Silbert, President, Eos Foundation
Andrea Silbert started her schooling in pre-med, shifted to work on Wall Street, and then moved to Costa Rica to fight poverty. Today, her work (and financial investment in non-profits) is centered around making workplace cultures inclusive and closing the power gap women face. In a recent study, she found that of the 75 largest companies in Massachusetts, 92% are run by white males. While we “tell women to lean in and take leadership training,” Andrea is more concerned with how we make the culture inclusive.
“It is the system that needs to be changed,” she says, “not the women of color.” Mayor Wu is a great example of someone who has changed a system that wasn’t made for her. There’s a notion that “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” but someone has to go first and break down the barrier. To start moving the needle in the C-Suite, boards need to understand the importance of diversity to their businesses. This is the mission Andrea is dedicated to.
“There is power in convening and advocacy in addressing problems we know are there.” – Rev. Willie Bodrick, II, Senior Pastor, Twelfth Baptist Church/President & CEO, The American City Coalition
Reverend Willie Bodrick’s life work has been committed to making whole what was broken, whether those were systems, people, or society as a whole. As the son of a Baptist preacher, he saw early on how people can fall through the nets of the school system. His dad was an example of how to create an “invisible institutional safety net” to help lift people up and not allow them to drop out of school or otherwise “fall through the cracks” of the educational system.
More recently, something the Reverend saw was broken is the 20 year difference in life expectancy between residents of Roxbury and the Back Bay. He saw a disinvestment in institutions, and a stained history that needed to be reconciled. As the Reverend said, “people are resilient and speak truth to power” but he had to “partner with people to elevate their voices.”
Through his work preaching, the Reverend is in constant conversion with his community. He takes seriously the issues of our day and works to “square it with justice.” He helps people see and feel hope when they are in despair.
“Oppression, laws, and racism were all created. We need MORE creative people to come up with the system change.” – Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council
As a child growing up in DC and facing many challenges, the arts got Michael out of bed everyday and created a sense of belonging with others. His creative mind also helped him to solve problems.
“Nothing brings people together more than arts and food” he says. This is what connects us. Michael said that if we think of every historical social justice movement, “at the center was art and culture.” There are certain songs, for example, that people associate with the civil rights movement. Songs go far beyond entertainment and leisure. They define moments in time. Michael urges that we make the arts accessible to everyone.
In fact, Michael believes so strongly in the impact the arts can make that he believes theatre, poetry, museums, and more should be prescribed to patients in the same way medication is. While some healthcare systems are currently doing this, Michael hopes in the future Medicaid and private insurance will be greater contributors to paying for them.
“The zip code is the single greatest contributor to future economic prosperity.” – Tiffany Chu, Chief of Staff, Office of Mayor Wu
During Tiffany’s time studying abroad in Copenhagen, she saw firsthand how so-called “intractable” urban planning issues could be solved.
With a career in transit and urban planning under her belt, which included founding an app that helped 500+ cities around the world manage mobility, she was recruited to join Mayor Wu’s team. As Chief of Staff, she is leading the Mayor’s Office and the 19,000-person, $4B organization to deliver a more inclusive future for the people of Boston. She is ensuring that the people of Boston, every corner of it, can have a bright future. She is doing it alongside a leader who is a mom, woman, woman of color, and who doesn’t raise her voice. Mayor Wu’s leadership style is different from what most people are used to. She doesn’t raise her voice, but it is heard and implemented.
How will you draw inspiration from these five civic leaders to bring a mission near to your heart into motion? Whether it is a personal or professional platform, these five Bostonians with very different stories have all made their mark on the city. It is time to pick up your social paintbrush and draw the future you want to see. Someone may just see you doing something they didn’t know was possible and join the charge.
Learn more about Mission to Motion!