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

October 29th, 2020
11:30AM – 1:30PM
Virtual event

2020 Honorees

YW Boston is thrilled to induct five distinguished honorees into the Academy at our 25th Academy of Women Achievers luncheon on October 29, 2020.

Geeta Aiyer

President & Founder, Boston Common Asset Management

Geeta Aiyer combines over 25 years of experience in finance, with passion for environmental and social justice issues. Under Geeta’s leadership, Boston Common has built a strong investment record, and meaningfully improved the policies and practices of portfolio companies through impactful, proactive Shareowner Engagement. For four consecutive years, Boston Common has been rated A+ for its ESG leadership by UN PRI. The firm is also a “Best for the World” honoree within the global B Corp community.

In 2016, Geeta was honored by Investment News, as an Innovator whose new ideas and tools have propelled the industry forward. The 2017 UN Global Compact Report on Business Impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) featured Geeta as a leader in the financial sector. That year, she was also honored as an Immigrant Achiever by International Institute of New England (IINE). Geeta is the recipient of the Joan Bavaria Award (2015) for Building Sustainability into the Capital Markets and the SRI Service Award (2013), recognizing leadership and innovation in SRI (Sustainable, Responsible, Impact) investing.

Geeta serves on the Board of the Sierra Club Foundation. From 2015 to 2017, she was on the Board of UN PRI, where she was the first US asset manager elected representative. A product of Catholic education, Geeta is a longtime supporter of Mount St. Joseph Academy and Catholic relief efforts globally. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School; BA (Hons) and MA degrees from the University of Delhi, India. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Sheena Collier

Founder & CEO, The Collier Connection, Sylvia Ferrell-Jones Award Recipient

Sheena  Collier is a super-connector, facilitator, and program developer. As Founder & CEO of The Collier Connection (TCC), she is creating an ecosystem in Boston that better connects black transplants to resources, information, experiences, and each other. TCC also specializes in helping companies to engage new audiences through strategic events and inclusive business practices. She has 15 years of experience in education, communications, economic development, and community organizing – and uses her ability to navigate different environments to broker partnerships within and across sectors.

Sheena  also serves in the role of Senior Economic Opportunity Advisor at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, where she leads and supports initiatives to engage the private sector in advancing economic inclusion. She is the primary architect and producer of the Pacesetters program, the Chamber’s partnership of large and mid-sized companies and anchor institutions using their collective purchasing power to create opportunities at scale for local, ethnic minority-owned businesses.  In addition,  Sheena  curates Fierce Urgency of Now (F.U.N.), a City Awake festival designed to highlight the experiences, challenges, and possibilities for millennials  of color in Greater Boston.

Sheena is a 2019 recipient of the Harvard Club of Boston’s “Boston’s Most Influential Women” award; 2018 recipient of the GK25: Who is Who Millennial Leaders Awards; 2017 and 2018 nominee of the Ad Club’s Rosoff Awards; and a 2016 recipient of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Award. She received her BA from Spelman College and her Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Sheena is a proud board member of Jeremiah Program Boston, Union Capital Boston, and advisory board member of Boston Harbor Now.

Deborah Frieze

Founder & Managing Director, Boston Impact Initiative

Deborah Frieze is an author, entrepreneur and activist. Her award-winning book (co-authored with Margaret Wheatley), Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now, profiles pioneering leaders who walked out of organizations failing to contribute to the common good—and walked on to build resilient communities. She is a founding partner of the Boston Impact Initiative, an impact investing fund working to close the racial wealth divide in Eastern Massachusetts. The fund takes an integrated capital approach, combining investing, lending and grantmaking to build a resilient and inclusive local economy. Deborah is also founder of the Old Oak Dojo, an urban learning center where neighbors gather to rediscover how to create healthy and resilient communities.


Makeeba McCreary

Patti and Jonathan Kraft Chief of Learning and Community Engagement, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Makeeba McCreary assumed her role as the Patti and Jonathan Kraft Chief of Learning and Community Engagement at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), in January 2019. Her Leadership Team position centers on integrating diverse perspectives into the MFA’s programs and educational offerings to foster a better understanding of current issues through the lens of art. McCreary manages staff across four departments in the division of Learning and Community Engagement: Inclusion, Public Programs, Interpretation and Learning.

Under Makeeba’s direction, the MFA has added Latinx Night (in partnership with Amplify Latinx) and Indigenous Peoples’ Day (in partnership with Akomawt Educational Initiative and Jonathan James-Perry, Tribal Citizen of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Nation) to its roster of free annual community celebrations. She has also forged new partnerships with Becoming a Man and The BASE on an innovative mentorship program that brought teen scholars to the MFA to curate the exhibition Black Histories, Black Futures, a project that also bolsters an existing collaboration with the National Center for Afro-American Artists (NCAAA). She has worked closely with her curatorial colleagues to integrate community voices into exhibitions like Ancient Nubia Now and The Banner Project: Robert Pruitt and created Black Arts & Artists Curator’s Circle. Additionally, Makeeba is a passionate advocate for young people at the MFA, leading the charge on improvements to the school group experience and new paid opportunities for high school and college students.

Prior to joining the MFA, McCreary served as the Managing Director and Senior Advisor of External Affairs for Boston Public Schools, reporting directly to the Mayor and Superintendent of Schools. In addition to building lasting partnerships with the private sector and providing the BPS community with valuable philanthropic tools, she piloted new programs and fundraising that directly improved the educational experience for thousands of students. Previously, McCreary has served as Founder and Senior Director of AbekaM Consulting, Educational Policy Consultant for Compass Consulting, and Director of Philanthropic Services for EdVestors Boston. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for a variety of local organizations including the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Boston Plan for Excellence and the Cotting School. A native Bostonian, McCreary received her doctorate in education from the Teachers College at Columbia University, a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.


Rachael Rollins

Suffolk County District Attorney, District Attorney’s Office

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins is the chief law enforcement official for Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, Massachusetts, and oversees an office of approximately 300 people handling approximately 35,000 new cases each year. She took office on Jan. 2, 2019, as Suffolk County’s 16th district attorney, the first woman to be elected to that position in Suffolk County history, and the first woman of color ever to serve as a Massachusetts district attorney.

In 2018, the people of Suffolk County chose District Attorney Rollins to represent them as their district attorney –and to effect meaningful, substantive reform to the criminal justice system. She pledged to pursue that mission tirelessly by reducing incarceration, correcting racial and ethnic disparities, adopting alternatives to traditional prosecution, focusing the offices limited resources on serious and violent crimes, and improving relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

Prior to seeking elected office, District AttorneyRollins served as a field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in Boston, safeguarding employees’ rights; as an attorney with the law firm of Bingham McCutchen, handling first amendment, labor and employment, complex civil litigation, and criminal defense matters; and participated in an assistant district attorney rotation in Brockton District Court. Beginning in 2007, District Attorney Rollins served as an assistant United States attorney with the US Attorney’s office in Boston, handling cases that included fraud, employment discrimination, sexual violence, child abuse, gun trafficking, narcotics, and public integrity matters. In 2011, she was selected by Governor Deval Patrick’s administration as the first person of color to serve as the General Counsel of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and was soon named the first female general counsel of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. In 2013,  she was recruited to become the Chief Legal Counsel of the Massachusetts Port Authority.

An attorney for 20 years with degrees from Northeastern University School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center, District Attorney Rollins is also a former Governor Deval Patrick appointee to the Judicial Nominating Commission, a past president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, and was elected and served a three-year term on the Boston Bar Association Council. She is a recipient of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association’s Trailblazer of the Year Award, was selected as Massachusetts Lawyer’s Weekly Attorney of the Year in 2018, and received the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Award from the Boston Branch of the NAACP.

View a list of previous AWA honorees.

Our 2020 Sponsors


Arbella Insurance Foundation
Aspire Health Alliance
Eastern Bank
Eaton Vance
Mass General Brigham
The TJX Companies, Inc.
Tufts Health Plan


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
The Eos Foundation
Fletcher Consulting, LLC
Holland & Knight LLP
Maloney Properties, Inc.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
NorthStar Asset Management


Pam and Bob Adams
Lila Bhide, Jaya Aiyer & Kamesh Aiyer
Berkshire Bank
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Bluehub Capital
Boston Common Asset Management
Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston
Friends of Bridge Boston Charter School, in honor of Makeeba McCreary
Edward E. Greene, President, Board of Trustees, Museum of Fine Arts
HUB International
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Loomis Sayles
Mayor Martin J. Walsh
Modera Wealth Management
Paradigm Capital Advisors
Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Webster Bank


AllWays Health Partners
Burns & Levinson LLP
Cotting School
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Amelie Ratliff, in honor of Geeta Aiyer


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

Our 2020 Committee Members

Honorary Committee

Rosalin Acosta, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Member of the 2013 YW Boston Academy of Women Achievers
Aixa Beauchamp, Managing Director at Beauchamp & Associates
Yvonne Garcia, Chief of Staff to CEO at State Street Corporation and Member of the 2012 YW Boston Academy of Women Achievers
Marianne Harrison, President & CEO at John Hancock Financial Services
Wanda McClain, Vice President of Community Health and Health Equity at Brigham Health and Member of the 2018 YW Boston Academy of Women Achievers
Evelyn Murphy, Founder and President of The WAGE Project, Inc. and Member of the 2014 YW Boston Academy of Women Achievers
Diane Patrick, Senior Counsel at Ropes and Gray and Member of the 2013 YW Boston Academy of Women Achievers
Robert Rivers, Chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank
Martin Walsh, Mayor of the City of Boston

Host Committee

Jessica Ragosta EarlyChair, Partner, Business Litigation at Holland & Knight LLP
Annis Gill-MillerChair
Pam and Bob Adams
Andrea Kramer, Founding Attorney at Kramer Law 
Beyazmin Jimenez, Director of Economic Opportunity, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Dani Monroe, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at Partners HealthCare and Member of the 2000 YW Boston Academy of Women Achievers
Jessica Ripton, Director, IRB Operations at Partners HealthCare
Grace Sterling Stowell, Executive Director at BAGLY, Inc. and Member of the 2019 YW Boston Academy of Women Achievers
Deb Taft, Chief Executive Officer at Lindauer