Since 1995, as part of our mission to promote and celebrate the achievements of women, YW Boston has held the Academy of Women Achievers luncheon. This is an event through which we recognize and honor some of Boston’s brightest, boldest, bravest and most influential women. All proceeds from the Academy of Women Achievers celebration support YW Boston’s programs to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

2020 Academy of Women Achievers Luncheon

June 2nd, 2020
11:30AM – 2:00PM
The Westin Copley Place


Please contact Dominique Calixte, Associate Director of Annual Giving and Special Events, with any sponsorship questions: or 617-585-5473

Thank you to everyone who nominated an Unstoppable Woman for the 2020 Academy of Women Achievers. Nominations are currently closed. Please be on the lookout to see who will be awarded at our 25th annual luncheon.

2019 Academy of Women Achievers Luncheon

June 4th, 2019
11:30AM – 2:00PM
The Westin Copley Place

Picture of Latoyia EdwardsLatoyia Edwards, Academy of Women Achievers 2019 Host

Emmy-Award winning Morning Anchor for NBC 10 Boston and host of This Is New England.

Logo for NBC 10 Boston

2019 Honorees

YW Boston is thrilled to induct five distinguished honorees into the Academy at our 2019 luncheon.

Maureen Alphonse-Charles

Managing Director, Koya Leadership Partners

Picture of Maureen Alphonse-CharlesMaureen brings over 20 years of executive recruiting experience with significant expertise across sectors and functions. Maureen is a pioneer in diversity, equity and inclusion work and has been honored by the Women of the Harvard Club as one of Boston’s Most Influential Women and by Boston Business Journal as a Local Woman of Influence. She has also been cited by the Boston Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of the ten most outstanding young leaders in Boston and twice-nominated as a top recruitment expert by Boston’s Women’s Business Journal.

Maureen began her career in corporate finance and banking at Swiss Bank Corporation and went on to serve as Assistant Treasurer of the Private Banking Division in New York and California. She also worked in sales and marketing for several asset management firms.

Maureen is a graduate of two of The Partnership’s leadership programs: The Next Generation Executive Program and the Fellows Program. Maureen is also a LeadBoston graduate; the signature program of YW Boston.

Maureen holds a B.A., magna cum laude, from Boston University. She earned an M.A.L.D. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Julie Goodridge

Founder & CEO, NorthStar Asset Management, Inc.

Picture of Julie GoodridgeJulie is a pioneer in the field of socially responsible investing. She has been in the investment industry since 1983, including her role as an early member of the Social Investment Forum (now US SIF) in 1984. Julie launched NorthStar Asset Management in 1990 and today stands at the forefront of a proactive approach to progressive wealth management that seeks to integrate clientsí values and priorities into their portfolios while carefully considering each clientís specific financial situation. Through direct interaction with clients and with the Investment Team, Julie provides financial planning expertise, drives major investment decisions, and provides guidance and direction for NorthStarís shareholder activism work.

Julie was the lead plaintiff in the groundbreaking case Goodridge v. Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health (2003), which won equal marriage rights for same sex couples in Massachusetts, the first state in the U.S. to do so. In 2014, Julie was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance by American Banker Magazine. She serves as a Trustee for the Hyams Foundation in Boston and is Chair of the Board of the New World Foundation, having served as Treasurer and Vice-Chair during her tenure.

Julie holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University and a BA from Boston University.

Karen Morton

Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for the Litigation and Coverage Group, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group

Picture of Karen Morton

The Litigation Group is responsible for the management of litigation brought against Liberty Mutual Group member Companies, provides enterprise-wide coverage advice and opinions, electronic discovery services in support of litigation and handles all third-party subpoenas for the enterprise.

During her career at Liberty Mutual, which started in 2006, Ms. Morton also served as Vice President and Counsel for Employment, Benefits and Corporate Real Estate.

Prior to joining Liberty Mutual in 2006, Karen was an attorney with John Hancock Financial Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation.  She held the position of Vice President and Counsel, responsible for the management of the Company’s litigation and employment law functions.  Karen previously held various legal positions in the public sector.

Ms. Morton is a member of the Boards of Trustees for Lesley University, Bridge Over Troubled Waters and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Ms. Morton received her B.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.

Grace Sterling-Stowell

Executive Director, BAGLY

Picture of Grace Sterling-StowellGrace Sterling Stowell has been a pioneering activist and leader in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) youth, transgender and social justice communities for over 40 years. As a gender non-conforming child growing up queer and transgender in the 1960’s, Grace’s personal experiences of harassment, discrimination and violence served as a catalyst for her activism in the feminist, racial justice, holistic health, and LGBTQ movements of the 1970’s.

As executive director of BAGLY, a founding member of both the MA Commission on LGBTQ Youth and the MA Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Commission, and longtime Steering Committee member of the MA Transgender Political Coalition, Grace continues to advocate for the needs of LGBTQ youth and transgender communities throughout the Commonwealth. Most recently, Grace was among the leaders of the successful effort to add gender identity to the Massachusetts non-discrimination laws in 2011, expand gender identity protections in public accommodations in 2016, and defend gender identity protections at the statewide ballot box as part of the Freedom MA Yes On 3 Campaign in 2018.

Grace is now the longest-tenured transgender executive director in the nation (and one of the few leading a non-trans-specific organization), and she has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including the National LGBTQ Task Force’s “Susan J. Hyde Activism Award for Longevity in the Movement” award in 2010.  While Grace has served many roles in her community work over the past four decades, she remains especially honored to be known as “Mother” (and now “Grandmother!”) by three generations of LGBTQ youth.

Sylvia Ferrell-Jones Award Recipient

Irene Li

Founder of Mei Mei Street Kitchen & Mei Mei Restaurant

Picture of Irene LiIrene Li operates Mei Mei Street Kitchen & Mei Mei Restaurant in Boston, where her work centers around ethical sourcing and fair employment practices. The award-winning food businesses merge modern techniques and multicultural cuisine with local foods and sustainable business practices. Mei Meiʼs creative, farm-driven, Chinese American food has been featured in Food & Wine, Eater Boston & Eater National, The New York Times, Restaurant Hospitality, People, Bon Appetit, The Boston Globe, and more. Ireneʼs life experiences range from organic farming to prison education and many things in between, and while she never expected a life in the restaurant industry, her desire to create change and care for those around her remains constant.

This year, Irene is leading her staff in a groundbreaking open book management training program in conjunction with Rethink Restaurants. Sheʼs working to provide the entire team, from dishwashers to sous chefs, with valuable financial know-how and business management skills, and an opportunity for profit-sharing. She is an Eater Young Gun winner, Zagat and Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree, and a four-time James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef semi-finalist.

View a list of previous AWA honorees.

Our Sponsors

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Boston Properties


Eastern Bank

Eaton Vance Investment Managers

Hyams Foundation

Northland Investment Corporation

Partners Healthcare


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts


Fletcher Consulting, LLC

Holland & Knight LLP

HUB International New England, LLC

Koya Leadership Partners

Liberty Mutual Insurance

Maloney Properties

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

National Grid

Newmark Knight Frank

NorthStar Asset Management, Inc.


Tufts Health Plan Foundation


AllWays Health Partners

Babson College

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

BlueHub Capital

Boston University School of Public Health

Colliers International

Committee to Elect Martin J Walsh

Eos Foundation

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Hollister Staffing & Hollister Institute


Middlesex Savings Bank

Modera Wealth Management

Paradigm Properties

State Street Corporation

The TJX Companies, Inc.

Webster Bank





American Heart Association

Big Brother, Big Sister

Citizens Housing and Planning Association, Inc.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Delta Dental of Massachusetts

Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston

Hirsch, Roberts, & Weinstein

Klein Hornig LLP

Rubin and Rudman LLP

The Verna Myers Company