Getting to the “why” of LeadBoston

Sheera Bornstein, YW Boston Partnerships Manager

When did you arrive in Boston?

What brought you to the city?

Why have you stayed?

With these three questions, LeadBoston kicked off its 26th year. On Wednesday, January 11, 40 leaders from across the corporate, public, and non-profit sector met their facilitators, began getting to know their cohort, and articulated their aspirations for the upcoming year together.

Participants came to Boston from various places around the country and the globe. Some participants were born near the city. Others came to the city for education, work, family, and opportunity. Regardless of when or how they arrived in Boston, many LeadBostonians articulated a deep connection to the city and desire to help it become all it can be.

Perhaps more interesting then when and why they came to Boston, the class spoke with passion about the forces that keep them in the city year after year.

  • Vibrancy – “The city is alive!” one participant exclaimed. Others echoed that residents of Boston have a unique passion and energy for the city, and that these emotions are contagious, drawing in others.
  • Community – A comment, “Boston is the biggest small town,” sparked nods of agreement around the room. Family, friends, and the relationship capital around Boston kept folks here. Although the network can be hard to break into, the class agreed “once you’re in, you’re in.”
  • Acceptance – Boston, although far from perfect, has a way of making people of various identities feel welcome. One participant said, “I left Boston and realized I wasn’t able to be myself in other places the way I can in Boston.” Another participant shared, “I love cities that embrace people of color, and I feel like that’s happening around Boston.”
  • Opportunities – comments about Boston’s opportunities for learning, engagement, social entrepreneurship, and global connections flowed through numerous LeadBoston’s reflections.
  • Weather – one participant shared their affinity for the weather, specifically, yes, the snow!

In addition to articulating what has kept them in Boston to-date, the motivated cohort spoke about the opportunities to improve the city, and their comment to helping Boston reach its full potential.

  • “I want to make Boston a place where wherever you live, whoever your child is, they can get a good education here.”
  • “I am invested in the city. I want to see it grow. I want to see young people thrive.”
  • “It is difficult to make an impact unless you stay in a city long enough to learn its nuances, know its neighborhoods, and connect with its leaders. I want to stay in the city where I can have the greatest impact; I believe that city is Boston.”

Want to follow along with the class? For their next meeting, the class will be reading Boston Indicator Report. The report can be found here.

Alumni – do you have words of wisdom for the 2017 class. Please share your advice on LinkedIn and join next Wednesday’s 5:05 Happy Hour to share your ideas in person. Keep your eyes out for an email from Kathryn with details about the 5:05!