Elevating Lives 2020: Delivering on Promises of Racial Justice

Location: Two-part virtual event

An unprecedented number of organizations, large and small, have released public statements condemning racism and promising action in support of Black Lives Matter and social justice. We applaud those who have taken a public stance, and as the nation grapples with systemic inequities and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we emphasize the importance of holding ourselves accountable to promises of action and change. This fall, YW Boston invites business leaders, employees, and the broader community to join us for Elevating Lives 2020: Delivering on promises of racial justice. Our 2020 Elevating Lives series will feature two virtual events focused on creating change, both internally and beyond the workplace.



For the time being, please reach out to Dominique Calixte at dcalixte@ywboston.org regarding registering for Elevating Lives.


Currently postponed from October 1, 2020
We will update our information as soon as a new date is confirmed.

Making Caregiving Work: COVID-19 and women’s advancement in the workplace

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Interactive, virtual event

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, an increasing number of researchers are warning us about the impact on women’s workplace and economic advancement. Women are at the frontlines of this pandemic, making up nearly nine in ten nurses, eight in ten at-home health aides, and two-thirds of grocery store cashiers. Even those not considered “essential workers” are experiencing the strain. A study by McKinsey revealed that women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable than men’s, with women being laid off at a higher rate. Furthermore, women of color face increased risks, such as Black and Latinx women being more likely to become unemployed. 

With the closure and disruption of schools and care centers, more often than not, women are shouldering the burden of caregiving responsibilities at the cost of their career and economic advancement. Due to COVID-19, women have reduced their paid work hours to care for children nearly two times more than men. Moreover, women of color are typically the primary caregivers in their family. Caregiving has always intersected with gender, race, and class inequities. 

It is up to leaders and employers to provide adequate support for women and caregivers in the workplace. In doing so, employers will address barriers to more inclusive work cultures and to greater employee engagement, retention, and productivity. We cannot go back to business as usual and must recognize that supporting families and caregivers is integral to addressing inequities in the workplace. 

Join us for this virtual event as we explore how to address COVID-19’s impact on women’s advancement in the workplace. We’ll be joined by expert speakers Dr. Christian Weller and Lauren Birchfield Kennedy to discuss ways to implement more inclusive practices for caregivers and, ultimately, foster greater employee engagement and productivity. 


Dr. Christian Weller

Professor, McCormack Graduate School, University of Massachusetts Boston

Dr. Christian Weller, Professor, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, McCormack Graduate School. His areas of expertise include Retirement Income Security, Wealth Inequality and Asset Development, Financial Institutions, and International Economic Development. Prior to joining the University of Massachusetts faculty, Professor Christian Weller was a senior economist at the Center for American Progress, where he remains a senior fellow. He has also worked at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., Center for European Integration Studies at the University of Bonn in Germany, under the Department of Public Policy of the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., and in banking in Germany, Belgium, and Poland. Dr. Weller is the author of a May, 2020 article in Forbes Magazine called, “Women Hurt More Than Men In The Recession, But It’s More Complicated Than That.”

Lauren Birchfield Kennedy

Co-Founder, Neighborhood Villages

Lauren Birchfield Kennedy is the co-founder of Neighborhood Villages. Prior to co-founding Neighborhood Villages, Kennedy was the Director of Health Policy at the National Partnership for Women & Families in Washington, D.C., where she directed the organization’s health policy portfolio and oversaw advocacy strategy for key policy initiatives, including implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and comprehensive health care payment and delivery system reform. Kennedy has worked extensively on health policy at both the federal and state levels and is an expert on ACA, Medicare, and Medicaid policy.

She has held senior policy positions at Boston Medical Center, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. From 2014-2017, Kennedy served on the board of Family Medicine for America’s Health.

Kennedy graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She holds a law degree with honors from Harvard Law School. Kennedy resides in Massachusetts with her husband and two children.



Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Future of DEI: How to sustain organizational change

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Interactive, virtual event

Join YW Boston and leading experts for the second part of our 2020 Elevating Lives series, “The future of DEI: How to sustain organizational change.” Hear success stories, challenges, and strategies from organizations who are committed to delivering on their promises of racial justice and corporate social responsibility. During this virtual event we’ll explore the evolution of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives and how leaders can be responsive in adapting DEI efforts for long-term sustainability. We will be joined by John Hancock President & CEO, Marianne Harrison, and McKinsey & Company partner, Sara Prince. Our panelists will share how they are holding themselves accountable and how they managed to successfully turn aspirational social justice statements into concrete plans for more equitable organizational change.  


Sara Prince

Partner, McKinsey & Company

Sara joined McKinsey in 2005 as an Associate. She has partnered with clients in various industries with a primary focus on addressing multi-faceted organizational, sales, pricing, and marketing challenges in consumer and other companies. Sara is a leads in McKinsey’s North America Sales and Marketing capability building efforts. In the continued pursuit of helping clients broadly in the areas of talent and capability, Sara recently co-authored McKinsey’s ground breaking work, “Diversity Matters”, linking financial performance and levels of gender and ethnic diversity in a company’s leadership team. Sara holds an M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia where she was recognized as a Shermet Scholar.

Marianne Harrison

President & CEO, John Hancock

Marianne Harrison is President and Chief Executive Officer of John Hancock, the U.S. division of Toronto-based Manulife Financial Corporation. She also is a member of Manulife’s Executive Leadership Team. Ms. Harrison, who is based in Boston, has responsibility across all aspects of John Hancock’s operations. Before taking on her current role in 2017, Ms. Harrison served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Manulife Canada, Manulife’s Canadian Division. Ms. Harrison serves as President and Chairman of the boards for John Hancock’s insurance companies, including John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.) and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York.



Our 2020 Sponsors


Arbella Insurance



Compass Planning Associates
Harvard Pilgrim



With sponsorship questions, reach out to Dominique Calixte at dcalixte@ywboston.org.


Previous Elevating Lives Events:

Elevating Lives 2019

Dates: Wednesday, October 30th and Thursday, November 21st

Location: UMass Club, One Beacon Street, 32nd Floor

YW Boston’s 2019 Elevating Lives Series will focus on institutional racism, barriers to racial equity in Boston, and successful interventions towards building more equitable spaces.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Conversation: Understanding what you can do to promote racial equity

8:30 AM – Registration and coffee open | 9:00 to 10:30 AM – Breakfast and Program

Fireside Chat featuring Dr. Robert W. Livingston

Join us for a fireside chat with YW Boston President & CEO Beth Chandler and Dr. Robert W. Livingston, Lecturer of Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, as we explore ways to further racial equity in Boston.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The making of an inclusive leader: How to drive change in Boston

7:30 AM – Registration and coffee open | 8:00 to 9:30 AM – Breakfast and Program

Inclusive leadership is essential for achieving success in our increasingly diverse world, but how does one become an inclusive leader? Learn from our panel of experts about what it takes to become a more inclusive leader, how to leverage diverse view points, and how to drive lasting change in the City of Boston.

Beth Chandler, President and CEO, YW Boston, will moderate a panel that will include:

  • Julie Goodridge, Founder & CEO, NorthStar Asset Management, Inc.
  • Josh Herron, Assurance Partner, PwC
  • Donna Levin, Executive Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, WPI and Co-founder, Care.com


Elevating Lives 2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018 Fireside Chat – Diversity: The Value Side of the Equation

7:30 AM – Registration and coffee open | 8:00 to 10:00 AM – Breakfast and Program

Join us for a fireside chat with YW Boston’s President and CEO Beth Chandler and Sara Prince, Partner at McKinsey & Company and one of the authors of McKinsey’s ground-breaking reports linking financial performance and levels of gender and ethnic diversity in a company’s leadership team. This will be followed by an interactive session with the audience.

Report Link: 2018 Delivering through Diversity Report


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Closing Racial and Gender Gaps, Strategies That Work

7:30 AM – Registration and coffee open | 8:00 to 9:30 AM – Breakfast and Program

Diversifying leadership in organizations large and small can seem daunting. We continue to see reports that women, people of color, and particularly women of color are not advancing into management and leadership positions.

What are concrete strategies that are having an impact?

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from recognized experts who bring both external and internal insights and real life practices for hiring and retention.

Maureen Alphonse-Charles, Managing Director at Koya Leadership Partners, will moderate a panel that will include:

  • Kim Dukes, Managing Director and Co-Founder, DSP Executive Search
  • Zena Lum, Senior Consultant, Lois L. Lindauer Searches
  • David Margolius, Vice President of Retail, Shawmut Design and Construction
  • Bob Selle, Chief Human Resource Officer, Ocean State Job Lot