YW Boston celebrates 2019 successes and sets the path for 2020
On November 19, 2019, YW Boston welcomed our friends and supporters to our 2019 Annual Meeting at Nixon Peabody LLP. With them, we shared our 2018 annual report, a recap of our 2019 successes, and our vision for 2020. We were honored to be joined by Tiziana Dearing, Host of Radio Boston on WBUR, as our keynote speaker. We also heard from President and CEO Beth Chandler, outgoing Board Chair Mim Minichiello, and incoming Board Chair Marguerite Fletcher. Governance Committee Chair Alona Abalos led the election of the 2020 board officers and new board members.
YW Boston is excited to advance equity in 2020.
Mim Minichiello, outgoing Board Chair, kicked off the program with a warm welcome to the audience. During her remarks, she spoke about her time at YW Boston and how she is looking forward to what is to come in 2020. She particularly spoke about the organization’s work to refine our strategic direction and program portfolio over the past two years. Through the collaboration of the staff and board, YW Boston has heightened its visibility and ability to make lasting change in Boston.
Mim welcomed Beth Chandler, President and CEO, to the mic. Beth spoke to YW Boston’s successes during 2019, including the work we have done to:
- Strengthen the support we provide to organizations as they implement action plans created in our InclusionBoston program;
- Leverage a new online learning module to support LeadBoston participants as they work toward becoming more inclusive leaders;
- Launch the FYRE (Fierce Youth Reigniting Excellence) program for middle school girls, which supports them in an advocacy project of their own design; and
- Increase traffic to our website by 98%.
Beth then looked toward the future, and how we will build on this momentum in 2019. As she shared, we will “launch our Gender Dialogues which will offer a new way for organizations to explore gender in the workplace,” and “build the Parity on Board coalition to get legislation passed to increase gender, racial, and ethnic diversity on Massachusetts public Boards and Commissions.” In doing so, YW Boston will change the discourse and practices around issues of equity. In closing, Beth stated that, “YW Boston is here to provide a deeper understanding of these sensitive and complex topics. We hope you will continue to be a part of this work, whether it is by supporting us financially, participating in our programs, attending events, reading our e-newsletter the Leader, joining us for Stand Against Racism in April, referring people to our programs, or all of the above. Our goal is to provide the leadership, content and support to create greater equity in our community.”
We must accept the role of love in our work.
Beth introduced and invited Tiziana Dearing, the host of Radio Boston on WBUR, to speak. Tiziana has a wealth of knowledge and experience working toward equity in Boston. Before becoming host of Radio Boston, she was a professor at the Boston College School of Social Work, where she taught social innovation and leadership. When she came up to speak, she told the crowd that she’d been asked to speak for twenty minutes and then take Q&A, but that she was not interested in a rigid structure. Instead, she asked the audience what they hoped she would speak about and built her speech from there. Among other items, they asked her to speak about her career history, how to support organizations that want to be more inclusive, and how she keeps working toward equity when it feels slow-moving.
After hearing from the audience, Tiziana centered her talk on accepting the concepts of love and reciprocity in the professional world. She asserted that successful organizations, “Whether they are granted permission to be honest about it or not, are fundamentally motivated by love…love of others, love of human dignity.” As she reminded the audience, part of YW Boston’s mission to advance dignity for all, and as she stated, “You cannot receive someone else’s dignity if you can’t be in a stance of love,” which she finds essential to business success.
Tiziana connected love to an organization’s success by stating, “We are systemically shutting down wide swaths of our communities from all of the potential they bring – to our economy, to our human experience, to our families, and to our neighborhoods – and that is just stupid. When we bring love forward, we can begin to call out that righteous stupidity of shutting down community.” For those who do not still believe that love has no part in organizational change, she states, “If you want real ROI in our kind of work, we have got to develop long term metrics with a sustainable expression of love. We must be capable of emotion at the scale of the problem. Short-term ROI is not a concept at the scale of the problem. Love is.” In order to break down systemic bias, we must commit the energy to match or overpower the system itself. If an organization is ready for change, and for the benefits that come with a diverse and inclusive workplace, it must commit to love as a guiding principle.'We must be capable of emotion at the scale of the problem. Short-term ROI is not a concept at the scale of the problem. Love is.' - Tiziana Dearing, @RadioBoston Click To Tweet
Thank you to the board who has set us up for success.
Throughout the night, our speakers applauded the YW Boston Board of Directors for their dedication to the organization. With eighteen members representing diverse backgrounds, fields, and skillsets, the board has guided YW Boston through its strategic planning process over the past two years. During the Annual Meeting, Governance Committee Chair Alona Abalos elected the 2020 board. She began by announcing the new board officers, as follows:
- Marguerite Fletcher, Board Chair
- Julia Lanham, Vice Chair
- April English, Clerk
- Suzanne Abair, Treasurer
Alona also moved to elect Gizella Crawford to her second term as board member. In addition to those continuing on the board, YW Boston welcomed three new directors:
- Aisha Losche, Director of Talent Engagement and Inclusion at Publicis Groupe
- Tatiana Roc, Vice President of Supervisor Enablement program at National Grid
- Robin Shin, Senior Product & Design Manager at TetraScience
While we look forward to working alongside such dedicated board members, we will miss the three departing board members:
- Nancy Hayes Bevington, outgoing Board Clerk
- Christy Egun, outgoing Board Member
- Mim Minichiello, outgoing Board Chair
As Board Chair, Mim Minichiello has graciously lent her time, energy, and direction to YW Boston. During her remarks, Tiziana Dearing remarked that, “One of the most things I have learned from Mim is that in the sisterhood, one of the most valuable things you can do for another person is show up…She has modeled that every step of the way.” Throughout her years as a board member and Board Chair, Mim has consistently worked to show up for YW Boston. In our 2018 Annual Report, Mim stated that she “could not be prouder of YW Boston and where it is today…Over the past two years, Beth and her amazing team have identified areas of greatest need in this city, and have researched, refined, and created programs that bring people together and create meaningful change on both an individual and organizational level.” We could not have done this without Mim’s guidance. Thank you, Mim!
In 2020, we hope to continue working alongside you in our work to create more inclusive environments across Boston.
Thank you to everyone who joined us, including Tiziana Dearing and our supportive board!
To learn more about YW Boston’s work, check out our 2018 Annual Report, which was distributed at the meeting, below.
About YW Boston
As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 150 years. Through our DE&I services—InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and youth programming, we help individuals and organizations change policies, practices, attitudes, and behaviors with a goal of creating more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color can succeed.