Elevating Lives 2023 Recap: The DEI Blueprint

Ilana Coolidge

YW Boston held a successful half-day Elevating Lives conference on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. The conference, entitled “The DEI Blueprint: Structuring Your DEI Strategy for Success,” was held at the UMass Club in downtown Boston. The event gathered over 130 leaders and professionals committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Elevating Lives was a great success thanks to the generosity of our sponsors: Income Research + Management, Berkshire Bank, Babson College, Nutter McLennen & Fish LLP, Bay Cove Human Services, and Positively Partners. 

This year’s event delved into the idea of creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) blueprint. Just as a foundation is needed before building a house, our speakers and panelists looked at DEI from a ground-up perspective. Guests enjoyed a sit-down breakfast along with a chance to network before the day’s programming began.  

Beth Chandler, President & CEO of YW Boston, officially welcomed everyone to the conference and provided a preview of the morning’s breakout topics.  

“It’s not only just thinking about ‘What is the policy [that’s] going to lead to an equitable outcome?’ but ‘How do we ensure that the policy or the process is applied across the organization?’”

– Beth Chandler, President & CEO of YW Boston

Beth then moderated a panel discussion focusing on what it means to embed DEI from the perspective of different business functions. The panel featured: 

  • Jonathan Baum, Chief of Staff at Doc Wayne  
  • Grace Moreno, Executive Director of the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce 
  • Kevin Cherry, Chief Financial Officer at Upham’s Corner Health Center   

The guest speakers shared their thoughts and experiences about how DEI can be approached from various parts of an organization for a fully integrated DEI strategy. 

“The intentionality of accomplishing your DEI goals has to be persistent.”

– Kevin Cherry, Chief Financial Officer at Upham’s Corner Health Center   

The opening panel concluded with an opportunity for attendees to ask questions. Next, guests were directed to the breakout session of their choosing, based on their specific interests and roles within their organizations.  

The breakout sessions included:

What’s In Your Toolbox? Maximizing Resources for DEI Work 


  • Beth Chandler, President & CEO of YW Boston 
  • Scarlett Clarke, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Commonwealth Financial Network 

Measure Twice…But Measure What? Building Your DEI Data Strategy 


  • Sarah Faude, Ph.D., Senior Director of Data & Impact at YW Boston 
  • Eric Nguyen, Director of InclusionBoston at YW Boston 

More Than a Façade: Building an Internal Structure for Diversity 


  • Anouska Bhattacharyya, Ph.D., Vice President of Programs at YW Boston 
  • Samuel Ellison, Senior Manager of Partnerships at YW Boston 

Building Accessibility into Your Organization 


  • Kathleen Von Euw, Associate Director of InclusionBoston at YW Boston
  • Piper Slowinski, Organizational Development Senior Manager at YW Boston  
  • Ellice Patterson, Founder/Executive and Artistic Director of Abilities Dance 
Check out photos from Elevating Lives 2023!

“There’s a lot of diversity when it comes to disability, and when it comes to people’s ability. We want to be mindful, as we’re thinking about creating inclusion and equity in the workplace, that there isn’t just one perspective, one consideration when you’re thinking about inclusion and access.”

– Kathleen Von Euw, Associate Director of InclusionBoston    
Relive a successful morning of building DEI foundations at Elevating Lives! 

We want to give a special thank you to our amazing facilitators, sponsors, the UMass Club, and everyone who attended our Elevating lives 2023 conference! 

Our 2023 Sponsors

Platinum Sponsor

Income Research + Management

Panel Sponsor

Berkshire Bank

Breakfast Sponsor

Babson College
Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

Small Business Sponsor

Bay Cove Human Services
Positively Partners

Ready to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in your organization?  

InclusionBoston works in long-term partnership with organizations to develop innovative solutions to a wide range of diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges. Our DEI experts will collaborate with your organization to develop an action plan and provide the resources needed to drive long-term change, using our advanced assessment tool and the most recent research on behavioral and organizational change. Our tailored, evidence-based approach fosters internal capacity and cultural change while guiding organizations through their journey.   

YW Boston also offers one-day workshops led by our expert facilitators. Workshop topics include: Understanding Racial Equity, Implicit Bias, Microaggressions, Intersectionality, and Organizational Change to Achieve Equity. 

Please reach out to Lizbette Lopez Rivera at lopezrivera@ywboston.org to learn more about YW Boston’s DEI services or click here to schedule a free consultation. 

Support YW Boston 

YW Boston is committed to racial and gender equity, and we rely on you and others who are invested in a more inclusive and equitable Boston to continue our mission to eliminate racism and empower women. Please make the choice to turn your values into action by donating today

About YW Boston  

As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 155 years. Through our DEI Services—such as InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and F.Y.R.E. Initiative, 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.