Monthly Archives :

October 2019

MWF Goes to Santa Fe

1024 768 Olivia Sayah

A group of our MWF members spent four days of art, culture, and beauty in America’s oldest Capital. Hosted by IWF New Mexico, 100 IWF members celebrated the Santa Fe‘s 30th Anniversary while raising funds for its philanthropic outreach, Leadership, Empowerment, and Advancement Program for Women (LEAP).


The group stayed at the historic La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe. Where they experienced exclusive behind the scenes tours of many world-class museums and the famous Meow Wolf, which is the 4th most visited art site in the US! They were introduced to Native American artists and visited their studios or pueblos in unique ways. The also became involved with small group discussions on timely topics, learned the secrets of good writing, life after retirement or a new profession, running businesses, and women in public policy and board rooms. They took art walks up Canyon Road and saw so much behind the stunning adobe walls of Santa Fe.


Dawn Marie Driscoll with US Congresswoman Xochiti Torres Small



Jesse Mermell for Congress

564 392 Olivia Sayah

MWF member, Jesse Mermell has officially announced that she is running to represent Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District. Throughout Jesse’s 20-year career, she has championed women’s and workers’ rights and protecting the environment, among other progressive causes. Read more about her campaign here.

Jennifer Lerner: First Chief Decision Scientist for the U.S. Navy

1024 576 Olivia Sayah

Member, Jennifer Lerner, was recently featured in an article in the Harvard Kennedy School Magazine for her appointment as the first Chief Decision Scientist for the U.S. Navy.


The article describes how “The role aims to refine how the Navy makes choices, integrating decision science (otherwise known as behavioral economics) into its calculus. Using her understanding of the cognitive, social, structural, and emotional factors that shape decision making, Lerner is working with the Navy’s top military officer, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral John Richardson. Together, they are seeking to improve ‘decision environments’ by modifying the way choices are structured and incorporating decision science into leadership training. At the same time, she is working with the Navy’s leadership to bring a more science-based approach to such longstanding behavioral challenges as eliminating discrimination in hiring and reducing sexual harassment and assault.”


Click here to read more about the impact Jennifer will bring to military decision-making in this new role.

Vikki Spruill: Creating a Civic Anchor for the Community of Boston

684 1024 Olivia Sayah

Vikki Spruill, CEO and President of the New England Aquarium, has led
the impassioned fight for ocean conservation in many different organizations
throughout her career. Her love for the ocean began in high school when living
in Florida. However, after receiving her master’s degree in Communications,
Spruill worked at public relations firms, until a specific project presented the
opportunity to pivot back to the ocean. This experience pushed her to start the
nonprofit organization SeaWeb, focusing on translating science and raising
awareness of ocean issues and communicating to policymakers and
journalists. This work helped elevate public awareness of ocean issues at a
time when most of the focus was on terrestrial challenges. She also served as President and
CEO of Ocean Conservancy, a nationally renowned advocacy organization and the Council on
Foundations, an association of philanthropic organizations working to advance the common good.
For the past year, Spruill has led the New England Aquarium and its research institute, the
Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, and furthered its reputation as a leading institution for
scientific research, advocacy, and public education.


Individual moments will lead to great purpose


We recently had an opportunity to speak with her and reflect on her career, her proudest
moment and her career accolades. Vikki’s career has been focused on purpose – she
has been most proud of the opportunities she has had “leading teams of people beyond
individual moments in service of larger goals” and watching organizations “grow into
greatness.” A major fight of her career has been turning complex information into
accessible information for the public, especially in the past when there was less
awareness about environmental issues. In her time at SeaWeb, she co-created the “Give
Swordfish a Break” campaign. This initiative brought awareness to the overfishing of
swordfish and prompted the public to think more critically about the seafood choices they
were making. This movement heavily influenced the framing of the current sustainable
seafood movement.


Support & Community


Vikki is a recent transplant to Boston from Washington DC, and she believes that the
instant connection to peer level female professionals that the Forum provided was
instrumental in her transition and that the community and support that came from the
Massachusetts Women’s Forum when moving here was invaluable. She spoke about her
mentors as powerful women that guided her within her personal life and career. Her
mother taught her confidence and instilled in her that she “could do anything,” in sharp
contrast to a male teacher who once told her “there wasn’t a place for women in the
sciences.” In her career, Spruill was mentored by women like Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the
past Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and marine
biologist, Sylvia Earle. She is also inspired by her two daughters who have continued her
legacy through involvement with nature and ocean conservation.


Opportunities come in many different forms


When counseling emerging leaders in her world Vikki recommends that they do not close
themselves off. She credits many transitions in her career to her ability to “be open to
opportunity!” She would advise her former self and others not to overthink things and to
go with the natural flow. She believes following this path will lead you to where you are
meant to be in life.


A “Civic Anchor” in the community


Vikki lights up when she talks about her vision for the Aquarium and how she plans to
transform the institution going forward. In comparison to previous advocacy work where
she did not have a captive audience, Vikki’s vision for the New England Aquarium began
with the opportunity to have an existing “flow of people to influence and educate.”
Through community outreach and lecture series, she sees the museum becoming “more
than a place to take your kids” and hopes that the Aquarium is seen “as a civic anchor in
the community” and a leader in marine conservation.


Small steps are the key to change


Vikki recommends educating yourself and starting with a small step as a way to get
involved in preventing climate change and aiding ocean conservation. She encourages
members to visit the New England Aquarium website at to get more information
about its conservation work. The Aquarium recently led an initiative for a plastic-free July
where they brought awareness to the issues of single-use plastic. Vikki asks we examine
our habits as consumers and try to eliminate single-use plastic from our lives. Vikki
believes that in order to solve issues of climate change, it is important to be civically
minded and elect officials well-informed around environmental issues.


Vikki Spruill has worked tirelessly to conserve our oceans and continues to do so in a high-stakes moment for our planet. It is our privilege to call her a member and a part of our MWF community.

Pam Hamlin: From “Curiosity Tour” to Entrepreneurial Adventure

817 1024 Michaela Sawicki

Pam Hamlin has a new role. After twenty years at Arnold Worldwide where she was an engine for growth, evolution and culture vibrancy and the CEO of the acclaimed global advertising agency, Pam found herself wondering “what’s next” so she chose to embark on a “curiosity tour” to explore the broader marketing ecosystem today, examine her goals, and define her next professional chapter.  


Marketing – Where creativity meets commerce.


At the starting line of a new chapter, Pam joins York Creative Collective as their new president. YCC is a collective of creative ventures who believe that creativity is the foundation for growth. As she tells it, she believes that she was “genetically born to go into marketing.” Her father was a wall street financier and her mother was a designer. A curiosity for business and artistic abilities brought her to marketing which she describes as the “place where creativity meets commerce.”


It’s obvious when you love what you do.


In her time at Arnold, Pam found ways to clearly define the role that marketing should play to accelerate growth for the agency’s clients, undercover the essence of a brand and reflect that in an enduring brand idea expressed through compelling campaigns. As a creative business leader and progressive marketer whose strength and passion is “fueling the growth of brands and businesses through creativity,” she is most proud of her work reimagining brands like Royal Caribbean with the “Get Out There” campaign which shattered the misconception among non-cruisers that cruising was a vacation only for those that were “overfed, newlywed and nearly dead” by focusing on people’s explorer mindset and emphasizing new innovations on the cruise line. She oversaw double-digit growth at Ocean Spray with their “Straight from the Bog” campaign that highlighted the grower-owned cooperative heritage of the company and the health properties of cranberries which set the company apart from much larger beverage brands.

Pam is also proud of Arnold’s work renovating the historic Filene’s department store building into a key component in Boston’s downtown revitalization and Arnold’s new headquarters. Filene’s legacy and authenticity mirrored Arnold’s mission of innovation and creativity as Filene’s was the place where department store retailing began. She relished the challenge of celebrating the historic aspects of the building while designing for the needs of a modern workspace.


Speak up and let your ambitions be known.


Spending the first portion of her career observing how male peers more overtly promoted themselves and their career goals, Pam chose to let the reputation of her work and results alone lead to career advancement. Pam had to learn to be forthright with employers about her goals in her career by speaking up more and letting her ambitions be known. Pam advises that women practice advocating for themselves in ways that also serve the best interests of the company.

Support is a critical component to growth.


Support came in many different forms within Pam’s career. Fran Kelly, Arnold’s former CEO, was an invaluable leadership and business role model for her. He took special interest in supporting Pam’s career ambitions and growth. Pam also formed a tight bond with her female colleagues at Arnold whose support, wisdom, friendship, and insight about the challenges of being a professional, working mom was a critical component in her growth. And while Pam has been a member of MWF for several years, once she left Arnold, she has had the opportunity to lean in and she relishes the “camaraderie of such an interesting, smart, talented, experienced group of women.” Since the Forum is not industry-specific, Pam especially appreciates being able to learn from those who aren’t in marketing and advertising.  

From “Curiosity Tour” to an Entrepreneurial Adventure.


Last year, Pam hit her 20-year milestone at Arnold and she took the opportunity to step back and envision the next chapter in her career. For Pam, this meant going on a “curiosity tour” and taking the time to explore different ways to apply her extensive marketing and general management experience. After completing a few fascinating consulting engagements, Pam is taking on two new positions — landing her first public Board seat at Cambridge Trust and a new adventure in a new world built on creativity and entrepreneurship.   As the new president of York Creative Collective, she is excited about bringing her expertise to a portfolio of promising emerging growth companies.

Pam Hamlin has been a leading voice in marketing and advertising in Boston for many years and we are proud to have her as a member of our MWF community where she sits on the Board as our Communications Chair.