President’s Letter

15 October 2018

Dear Distinguished Massachusetts Women’s Forum (MWF) Members and Friends:

Welcome to fall following a summer that for most of us likely passed all too quickly. Normally summer is the season to slow down and relax; however, our Board of Directors kept themselves fully engaged. Our committees worked hard these past several months and made great strides toward our 2018 goals. Some initiatives are already evident with the recent launch of our sponsorship program and release our fall schedule of upcoming events. Others will become more evident as they mature such as our communications committee rolling out its new plan. It has been an exciting and transformative year thus far and I am thrilled to share in the celebrations of our community and connection with each of you.

To close out the year, I hope you will mark your calendars for Monday, December 3rd when we will hold our Annual Meeting & Holiday Reception at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Laurie Glimcher has graciously offered to host our event and we are fortunate to have MWF members, Susan Paresky and Mary Ann Tocio on the DFCI team.


The IWF & MWF connection grows stronger every year and this year we celebrate that connection with a record number of members attending the October 24-26 IWF Conference in Miami. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Mary Lou Sudders and I will be featured speakers and we will be joined by Dawn Barrett, Fiona Calnan, Patricia Chadwick, Cady Coleman, Caitlin Donnelly, Fay Donohue, Priscilla Douglas, Karina Funk, Rosalind Gorin, Laura Grüb- Geschwindt, Jackie Jenkins-Scott, Sheryl Marshall, Mary Jo Meisner, Joyce Murphy, Colette Phillips, Deborah Rosenthal (MWF Executive Administrator), Alison Taunton-Rigby (IWF Leadership Foundation), and Frances West.

Further, please join me in celebrating member, Priscilla Douglas, as she named to the final slate of nominees for the IWF Board of Directors.


Our Governance Committee which includes Dana Born, Judy Habib, Maria Krokidas, Deborah Jackson, and Heidi Wyle is in the final stages of selecting the final BOD slate for member approval. During July and August, we solicited our full membership for those interested in either serving on or nominating another member to serve on the Board.  We received a number of responses which the Governance Committee has reviewed. In accordance with the MWF By-Laws, the slate will be presented to the Board of Directors for ratification and it will then be voted on by the membership in December during our Annual Meeting. Prior to this meeting, we will propose the final slate of nominees.


Our Programming and Sponsorship Committee has been working diligently this summer. We have a calendar of purposeful events planned for the fall and early next year. Please take a moment to register for Women’s Health: How National Policy Impacts Local Women on January 8th at the home of MWF member, Gwill York.

Remember to watch your inbox and check the website for updates on upcoming events.

Our Sponsorship Program is well underway. Please join us in thanking our many members who have participated to date. We have many additional conversations underway and welcome any interest in participation.

Thank you,


Donna Cupelo & Julie Slattery, Verizon New England

Adrienne Penta, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.


Judy Habib, KHJ | Brand Activation

Nicole Sahin, Globalization Partners


Dana Born, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Center for Public Leadership

Tony Hays, Regis College


Heidi Wyle          

Diane Hessan      


Since my last letter, the Membership Committee brought an amazing class of new members to our Forum. Please join me in welcoming the following new members.

Kathy Abbott, President and CEO, Boston Harbor Now was nominated by Geri Denterlein and endorsed by Renee Loth and Mary Jeka.

Hope Aldrich, President and CEO of Eastern Insurance Group (EIG) was nominated by Diane Hessan and endorsed by Deborah Jackson and Gloria Larson.

Leslie G. Cohen, COO and Head of Asset Management for Samuels & Associates was nominated by Geri Denterlein and endorsed by Marilyn Swartz-Lloyd and Christine Heenan.

Valerie Fleishman, Executive Director, Network for Excellence in Health Innovation was nominated by Alison Taunton-Rigby and endorsed by Laura Wood and Sandra Fenwick.

Alison Lawton, President and Chief Operating Officer, Kaleido Biosciences was nominated by Micho Spring and endorsed by Alison Taunton Rigby and Adelene Perkins.

Mary Jo Meisner, Founder and CEO of MJM Advisory Services was nominated by Fay Donohue and endorsed by Colette Phillips and Geri Denterlein.

Ellen Richstone, Public Company Board Director, Superior Industries was nominated by Carol McMullen and endorsed by Pam Lenehan and Sandra Moose.

The Fall 2018 Membership Nomination period is underway. All nominations were due by October 10th. Earlier this year, the International Women’s Forum (IWF) established a new nomination process and updated criteria for membership. At the June 5th MWF Director’s meeting, the Board voted to adopt many of the IWF standards that fit with our culture. Please take a moment to read the recent letter  (attached) from Judy Habib, Membership Chair, if you have any questions. The Membership Committee will be holding a mini-retreat in October at the office of Judy Habib.


The Communications Committee has three objectives – awareness, engagement, and impact. They are developing a plan that will build greater awareness of the MWF’s initiatives and programming, deepen member engagement and connection, increasing visibility of the MWF in the Greater Boston Business Community and demonstrate impact in our efforts to advance women leaders. The ultimate goal is a more dynamic and engaged membership community with renewed sense of pride in being an integral contributor to the MWF community.


In closing, I am pleased to report that our financials are tracking as planned to stay above our $30,000 threshold in the bank. Some key items to note:

  1. WODFW Committee exceeded its sponsorship goal by $10,000.
  2. To date we have 170 members ($500), 28 senior members ($250), and 8 new members ($500), and we anticipate approximately 10 new members this fall.
  3. The next installment of our annual IWF Dues is due this month. Our fee is $1,500 base plus an additional $120/member.


As always, a sincere “thank you” to you, our members.  I look forward to enjoying time with you at future MWF events to share stories, love and laughter.


Dana Born
President, Massachusetts Women’s Forum (MWF)