45 of Boston’s leaders begin their LeadBoston journey


LeadBoston, YW Boston’s inclusive leadership program, launched a new class year this month. On Wednesday, January 15, the LeadBoston Class of 2020 met for the first time during Orientation. Burns & Levinson graciously hosted the three-hour gathering, at which we welcomed the incoming participants, Boston Mayor Martin J Walsh spoke, and the class began to get to know one another. Throughout 2020, the LeadBoston Class of 2020 will gain a broader perspective about Boston’s overarching city systems and the root causes of diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges. With this knowledge, they will create plans and make decisions that will enable their organizations and communities to thrive.

During orientation, a number of speakers gave the Class of 2020 a preview of their year to come. Rachael Conway, YW Boston’s LeadBoston Manager, and Jeff Rogers, LeadBoston Moderator, introduced themselves and worked with the class to set the “Community Agreements” for their eleven months together, such as “Lean into discomfort” and “Seek learning, not perfection.” Beth Chandler, YW Boston’s President and CEO and LeadBoston Class of 2014, had two tips to the Class for getting the most out of their LeadBoston experience: (1) “Show up,” by being present both physically and mentally at the monthly program days and (2) “Challenge yourself and each other” by being open to and presenting unique experiences and opinions. Two additional alums addressed the class. Susan Stenger, Class of 2009, welcomed the class to Burns & Levinson and spoke about her experience as a LeadBoston participant. Lisa Graustein, Class of 2018, introduced herself and explained that she will be helping to put together online modules for the class’s learning throughout the year.

Boston Mayor Martin J Walsh joined Orientation to speak about the importance of LeadBoston and how it equips leaders to better respond to the needs of Boston. He recognized the power of cohort-based learning, stating that,”Creating sustainable change is working together and intentional. It is sharing goals of equity.” In LeadBoston, he explained, “You are going to learn about the history of this city, and that is something that is really important in understanding how to change a culture — understanding the history of the city and of an organization, working to change disparities and to be more inclusive.” He explained that he knew there was inequality in Boston before he became Mayor, but he found there was so much more to learn. He applauded LeadBoston’s work to help more leaders understand Boston’s systems, explaining, “You are going to be learning how to support equity in all areas of city life, such as housing, education, immigration, and so many other different areas.” Thank you Mayor Walsh for joining us and welcoming the Class of 2020.

Members of the LeadBoston Class of 2020 expressed their excitement for joining the class on Twitter:

Welcome LeadBoston Class of 2020! We are excited to see the impact you will make during and following your LeadBoston experience.



About LeadBoston

Become a part of YW Boston’s LeadBoston program and join a network of over 1,000 inclusive leaders in Boston. During this 10-month program, participants explore and learn how to address barriers to inclusion through facilitated dialogue, expert speakers, and peer learning. Through experiential activities, participants delve into the socioeconomic realities of Boston and explore innovative solutions to inequity.