Join YW Boston for our 29th Annual Academy of Women Achievers Luncheon. This is our largest annual fundraiser, supporting our crucial work to build a more inclusive Boston, where women, people of color, and especially women of color can thrive. This year, we are excited to honor five extraordinary women exemplifying leadership and creating change in Boston. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2024
11:30AM – 1:30PM
Sheraton Boston Hotel

Tickets go on sale in March


2024 Awardees


We are thrilled announce our 29th Academy of Women Achievers awardees: Maggie Baxter, Pamela Everhart, Dr. Aisha Francis, Governor Maura Healey, and Sylvia Ferrell-Jones Awardee Jessicah Pierre. Click “Show More” to learn about these bold, brave women.

Awardee: Maggie Baxter, Vice President of Programming, NBC Boston, NECN, and Telemundo Boston

For more than 30 years, Maggie McCarthy Baxter has been overseeing the development and production of original multi-platform content and programs. Maggie started her career in the newsroom at WHDH in Boston before moving to San Francisco in 1991 as a Producer in the ABC-owned station’s Programming Department (KGO-TV). In 2004, she moved into her role as Executive Producer overseeing the development, creative and editorial content, budgets, and staffing for local and digital network programs. Over the years these have included daily lifestyle shows, documentaries, live events, and news specials. In 2016, Maggie joined NBC Universal as the Vice President of Programming for NBC10 Boston, NECN, and Telemundo Boston. In this role she oversees program acquisitions, the development of original multiplatform content, branded content, and community outreach/programming. Through Maggie’s outreach the Boston stations of NBC and Telemundo have greatly increased their community footprint helping to fulfill the core missions of serving marginalized communities and focusing on DEI. Key partnerships include key organizations such as Embrace Boston, Boston Pride for the People, Boston Children Hospital’s Milagros para Ninos, and more. 

Maggie sits on the Board of Directors for the Boston Arts Academy Foundation and has been a proud Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Boston for the last 7 years. Maggie is the proud mother of two grown children, Nick and Emilie, and lives in Wellesley with her husband Jonathan. 

Awardee: Pamela Everhart, Senior Vice President, Head of Regional Public Affairs and Community Relations, Fidelity Investments

Pamela is the head of Regional Public Affairs & Community Relations and has worked at Fidelity Investments for 29 years. Pamela oversees the firm’s state and local government relationships and community relations activities at its Boston headquarters and across Fidelity’s regions in the U.S., India and Ireland. Prior to joining Fidelity, Pamela was an associate with Ropes & Gray LLP and practiced as a CPA and senior tax manager with EY. Pamela received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a JD from Harvard Law School. She is admitted to practice law in MA and before the Supreme Court. As a leader in the community, Pamela is active in several community service organizations and sits on several not-for-profit boards. She is one of the nineteen Massachusetts Black and Brown executives who launched the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund to help drive transformative social changes to address systemic racism and racial inequity. Pamela was also appointed to serve on Governor Healey’s Advisory Council on Black Empowerment to advise on issues related to the economic prosperity and wellbeing of Massachusetts’ Black community.

Awardee: Dr. Aisha Francis, President and CEO, Franklin Cummings Tech

In 2021, Aisha Francis, PhD, became the first female President in the 113-year history of Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology, now known as Franklin Cummings Tech.

Dr. Francis is an award-winning academic, nonprofit leader and strategist with broad experience in organizational planning, philanthropy, board development, and corporate communications. She believes in the ability of effective organizations and well-supported individuals to transform underserved communities for the better, which is her life’s work. She enjoys implementing dynamic new programs at best-in-class organizations that improve access to and equity of educational and economic opportunities.

In her previous role as the college’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Francis expanded the institution’s network of supporters through external and government relations and oversaw the establishment of a new stream workforce development programming that has since generated millions of dollars in contracts. Prior to joining the college, she served as the Managing Director of Development for Harvard Medical School, raising scholarship funds for underrepresented medical school students as well as diversity and inclusion programs. She previously spearheaded marketing and fundraising for Economic Mobility Pathways and held leadership positions at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and Boston Medical Center.

She began her career as a college educator of English, Caribbean Literature, and Women’s Studies. Dr. Francis has published original scholarship in these areas of study and pens opinion pieces and offers commentary on matters relevant to higher education.

Recognized by the Boston Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 leader to watch, and by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce with a Pinnacle Award for Arts and Education, Dr. Francis contributes to the civic health of Boston through volunteer work and advocacy. Dr. Francis was appointed by former Governor Charlie Baker to the board of directors at Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the state agency dedicated to the growth of the clean energy sector in MA. In addition, she is a Trustee for the Boston public radio station WBUR and an independent director of Sunwealth, a locally-based renewable energy company.

Dr. Francis resides in Hyde Park with her husband and two children. Originally from Nashville, TN, she completed her undergraduate education at Fisk University, then earned a masters and doctorate in English Literature from Vanderbilt University.

Awardee: Governor Maura Healey, Governor of Massachusetts

Maura Healey is the 73rd Governor of Massachusetts. She was sworn in on January 5, 2023, becoming the first woman and first openly LGBTQ person elected Governor in Massachusetts history. 

Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll are building an experienced, diverse team that is focused on bringing people together and delivering results for Massachusetts residents. They’re committed to making Massachusetts more affordable and growing the state’s economic competitiveness by prioritizing housing, transportation, job training and child care. They believe that Massachusetts has the greatest collection of human and intellectual capital, business, innovation, and know-how in the world. They are harnessing these resources to deliver for residents, families, and businesses throughout the entire state. 

Healey was elected Massachusetts Attorney General in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. As the People’s Lawyer, she took on the issues that impact residents across Massachusetts, including the opioid epidemic, the climate crisis, escalating health care costs, and student loan debt. She was the first Attorney General to sue Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers for their role in fueling the opioid crisis. She also routinely protected the rights of consumers, workers, students, seniors, immigrants and the LGBTQ and disability communities. 

Building on her promise to run an office that serves people across the state, Healey launched the Community Engagement Division in May 2015. The first-of-its-kind division brought the Attorney General’s Office and its work into neighborhoods and communities across the state. The Division launched community office hours and has assisted with the rollout of several policy initiatives including the Earned Sick Time law and Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. 

Healey grew up the oldest of five siblings in an old farm house in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. They were raised by their mother, Tracy, who worked as a nurse at the local elementary school. Her stepdad, Edward, later joined the family and was a teacher, local union president, and coached her high school basketball team, giving her a lifelong love of the game.  

Healey attended Harvard College, where she captained the basketball team, and then spent two years as a 5’4” starting point guard on a professional basketball team in Austria. She attended Northeastern University School of Law, motivated by a commitment to public service and desire to help people 

She went on to work in private practice before leaving to serve as Chief of the Civil Rights Division in the Attorney General’s Office. She was promoted to oversee two of the office’s most prominent divisions: the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau and the Business & Labor Bureau. During this time, she led the first state challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act and held banks and lending companies accountable after the 2008 financial crisis. 

Sylvia Ferrell-Jones Awardee: Jessicah Pierre, Chief Communications Officer, City of Boston

Jessicah Pierre is a skilled public relations professional and storyteller who has spent over 10 years using her skills to build community and advance social justice work. Appointed in December, 2021 by Mayor Wu, she currently serves as the Chief Communications Officer for the City of Boston. In this role, Jessicah is the lead communications director and advisor for Mayor Wu, leading the City’s press, speechwriting, digital media and photography teams.  

Known as the “People’s Publicist,” Jessicah Pierre formerly worked as the Principal Publicist and Business Strategist at J. Pierre Communications (JPC), a PR agency in which she founded and ran for three years. Through her work at JPC, Pierre consulted and provided strategic communications support to elected officials, political candidates, nonprofits, small businesses and media companies.  

Prior to that, Jessicah worked on the communications staff for various local nonprofits and political organizations, elevating their brands and profiles through media strategy, community engagement, and creative messaging campaigns. As a writer, she worked as a columnist for the Dorchester Reporter focusing on issues impacting Black communities in the neighborhood and also ran her own political blog to help educate young people on social issues and inspire them to become more civically engaged.  

A community builder at-heart, Jessicah also previously founded and ran Queens Company, an organization that worked to empower women of color professionals and entrepreneurs through community and connections. When she is not working, you can find Jessicah Pierre mentoring young people, speaking on various panels or events, and connecting others to opportunities to help them reach their full potential. 

Jessicah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is a proud Boston Public Schools alum who graduated from Brighton High School  in 2009.

Emcee: Latoyia Edwards, Emmy-Award Winning Morning Anchor for NBC10 Boston

Latoyia Edwards is an Emmy Award-winning anchor on NBC10 Boston and NECN. She was recently named one of Boston Magazine’s Most Influential Bostonians. She is a multi-talented journalist moderating political debates, field-anchoring live news events, securing exclusive one-on-one interviews and emceeing countless charity events each year. 

She joined the NBC10 Boston and NECN family as a morning reporter, arriving from WWLP-22 in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she had been a weekday anchor. During her tenure, she has enjoyed success serving as a health reporter, weekend anchor, evening news anchor, before landing In her favorite role as morning news anchor alongside Raul Martinez and Matt Noyes. 

Latoyia celebrates her hometown roots as a native of Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. She is a graduate of Boston Public Schools, including the exam school Boston Latin Academy. She graduated magna cum laude from Emerson College with a degree in broadcast journalism. She began her career as a news writer for WBZ 1030 AM radio and later reported for the Fox affiliate WICZ-TV 40 in Binghamton, New York. 

She first anchored television for MediaOne cable news network, while also reporting as the morning drive news anchor for WILD 1090 AM. Additionally, she has instructed courses for the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. She also represented Massachusetts in the Miss USA pageant. 

Latoyia and her husband are so grateful to raise their family in Massachusetts. One of her greatest joys is volunteering with youth groups and other charities She greatly enjoys volunteering with youth groups like Girls Inc of Lynn, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, Worcester and Greater Lowell, Save the Children, EV KIDS and the Boston Arts Academy. One of her proudest moments was earning an honorary doctorate from Endicott University for her contributions to the field of journalism. 

View a list of previous AWA honorees.


Sponsors

Equity
Transformative
Empowerment
Inclusion
Collaboration
Host Committee

Ross Marshall (Co-Chair), Head of Community Engagement, MassBio  

Mim Minichiello (Co-Chair), Chief Performance and Talent Officer, HUB International 

Constanza Cabello, VP of Equity Programs, State Street 

Nora Moreno Cargie, Foundation President; VP of Corp. Citizenship, Point32Health 

Natanja Craig-Oquendo, Executive Director, Boston Womens Fund 

Gizella Crawford, Director, Account Management, Mass General Brigham Health Plan 

Lisa Fortenberry, Executive Vice President, Camp Harbor View 

Vicky Levy, Partner, Deloitte 

Omama Y. Marzuq, Agent, NY Life Insurance 

Sharifah Niles-Lane, SVP Head of Social Media & Content, Citizens 

Teresa Pelletier, Vice President Community Relations, Fidelity Investments