The Alliance for Business Leadership

Alliance business leaders have one thing in common: we believe that social responsibility and the sustainable growth of the Massachusetts economy go hand in hand. We are from companies large and small; long-established and new organizations; boldfaced names you know and people you’ve never heard of. But we share a fervent commitment to creating growth and opportunity for everyone.

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The Alliance hosts MA Early Education & Care Commissioner Tom Weber for Think Tank Lunch

The Alliance hosted a brown bag lunch conversation with MA Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber, covering the current state of early education in the Commonwealth and the role the progressive business community can play in supporting investments in early childhood growth.

The Alliance hosts Congressman Joe Kennedy III for Progressive Power Hour

The Alliance for Business Leadership was pleased to feature Congressman Joe Kennedy III at our Progressive Power Hour on August 3, 2015. Special thanks to MassChallenge for co-sponsoring the event and hosting us in their space! Over 50 Alliance and business leaders attended the event and got the opportunity to connect with Congressman Kennedy. For your chance to connect with leading policy makers, visit our Upcoming Events page and register now.

The Alliance Launches New Brown Bag Lunch Series

The Alliance for Business Leadership was pleased to host the first of a new Think Tank Brown Bag Lunch series of lunchtime working sessions with leading policymakers to dig deep on current public policy issues in Massachusetts.

The first ABL Think Tank Brown Bag Lunch was held Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 12:00-1:00pm ET at William Gallagher Associates in Boston, MA.

Two dozen participants discussed the graduated income tax with:
Noah Berger, President, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center
• FayeRuth Fisher, Political Director, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
Harris Gruman, Executive Director, SEIU Massachusetts State Council

3-12 lunch group

140 Top Business Leaders Agree on Clearing the Path for Women

At MIT on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, Boston business leaders from the banking, tech, service, biomedical, and many other sectors agreed that the time has come for action on closing the gender wage gap, and increasing the number of women on boards.

Jim Roosevelt websize

Jim Roosevelt, CEO,
Tufts Health Plan

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Trish Karter, Founder, LightEffect Farms

Alliance leaders Jim Roosevelt, CEO of Tufts Health Plan, and Trish Karter, Founder of LightEffect Farms, welcomed a broad cross-section of Boston-area CEOs to Clearing the Path, an invitation-only event sponsored by Alliance for Business Leadership.  Karter and Roosevelt invited attendees to use their influence to jump-start action in the arenas where they lead.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Professor, Harvard Business School

Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School provided a compelling review of the evidence that business organizations with women on their boards, and where the pay gap has largely been closed, have a competitive advantage in today's global economy.

Betsy Myers, Director, Center for Women and Business

Betsy Myers, Director, Center for Women and Business

But most of the time was reserved for a no-holds-barred discussion led by Betsy Myers, Founding Director of the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University. Contributors shared their experience, frustrations, and accomplishments in the long road to gender equality in the workplace.  One discussant summed up the state of affairs this way: "We're not where we used to be, but we aren't where we're going, either."

Participants shared stories and experiences that reflected both the difficulty and the do-ability of meeting these challenges.  Many best practices were called out by CEOs who had used them with success.

The energy in the room  will give new impetus to the many organizations (click here) which are already working in this area and which have many successes to share, as well as challenges to meet.  While Clearing the Path is not another new organization, the Alliance for Business Leadership will follow up on the conversation and check on progress at its Eighth Annual Fall CEO Summit, "Sustainable Business: Growing Markets, Growing Margins," on October 22nd.
Alliance Leaders at the ABL June 11th event stand up to show their commitment to Clearing the Path for Women in Business.

Alliance Leaders Support Pay Equity Bill

Alliance board members Kip Hollister, Founder & CEO of Hollister Staffing and Trish Karter, Founder of LightEffect Farms, represented The Alliance at the July 21st State House hearing about two bills we've been active on: Equal Pay and Women on Boards. Kip and Trish, along with Alliance Executive Director Jesse Mermell, testified their support of the bills, making the case that equal pay measures are good for business, for Massachusetts, for growing the economy, and for addressing issues of unfairness and inequality. They were joined by other key business leaders like Bob Rivers, President & Chief Operating Officer at Eastern Bank, and Bennie Wiley, former President and CEO of The Partnership. The Alliance led the effort to collect supportive written testimony from over 50 business and civic leaders, as well as over 75 business school students. We are optimistic that both bills will be reported out of committee favorably, and then we will move on to persuading the full legislature.

It was a full house at the State House hearing on the pay equity bill July 21st, 2015. Business leaders and business school students await their chance to testify. Kip Hollister, Founder & CEO of Hollister Staffing, testifies at the State House Hearing on pay equity. Kip Hollister addresses the crowd at the State House hearing on pay equity.

Alliance Featured News

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The Route to Growth: Capacity Investments Critical for Region’s Future

The Alliance for Business Leadership is pleased to join A Better City, Boston Society of Architects, MAPC, MASCO, Transportation for Massachusetts, and the Urban Land Institute in signing a white paper entitled The Route to Growth: Capacity Investments Critical for Region’s Future. The report discusses the implications the recent MBTA crisis has had on not only the City of Boston, but the entire Commonwealth - and the importance of the MBTA to our state's economy. The MBTA’s assessment area today comprises 175 communities and almost 4.7 million people - close to 70% of the Massachusetts population1 - proving that people from every corner of the Commonwealth rely on the system. The report analyzes the MBTA's current predicament and offers resolutions for a bright future. See the entire report below. For further information, please contact Justin Backal Balik, or 617.502.6244.   1 Northeastern University: Blue Ribbon Panel on Financing the MBTA … [Read More...]

Mermell, Jesse

Jesse Mermell joins the Alliance for Business Leadership as Executive Director

The Alliance for Business Leadership is pleased to announce that Jesse Mermell has been named as the organization's Executive Director. She joins the Alliance on February 2, 2015. Philip Edmundson, Chair, announced that “the Alliance for Business Leadership, building on its most successful policy year ever in 2014, is pleased to announce an investment in expanding the impact of its mission by hiring Jesse Mermell as its new Executive Director.  Jesse brings policy experience, organizational expertise and a passion for our Alliance.  We are pleased to welcome her as our new leader.” "Leading the Alliance is an honor," said Mermell. "This organization is uniquely positioned to play a key role in the conversation about the collective future of our state and our nation, with its clear and powerful message that economic growth and social justice go hand in hand. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a community of business leaders committed to creating prosperity for all, and I can't wait to get to work." Mermell is the former Communications Director for Governor Deval L. Patrick. She was responsible for communications strategy for the Patrick Administration, and served on the Governor's senior leadership team. Her previous roles include State Director of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, VP for External Affairs at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus. An engaged member of the community, Mermell is a former Selectman in the Town of Brookline. … [Read More...]


Alliance Chair in Boston Globe: A New Way To Measure Our Progress

The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, November 11, 2014: “Having no other mines to work, Massachusetts has mined into the human intellect; and, from its limitless resources, she has won more sustaining and enduring prosperity and happiness than if she had been founded on a stratification of silver and gold, reaching deeper down than geology has yet penetrated.” — Horace Mann, 1846 For generations Massachusetts has aimed to build a strong and vibrant economy that creates opportunity and broadly shared, sustainable prosperity. How are we doing? We don’t really know because we don’t have good systems for measuring. Our major measure of economic progress is the gross domestic product. Almost 50 years ago Robert Kennedy described the problems with this measure. “GDP counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. Yet GDP does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy or their play . . . or the beauty of our poetry. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.” It also fails to measure whether our progress is sustainable and whether economic progress is translating into better lives for most of our people. We know that in a lot of specific ways Massachusetts has an enviable state economy. The Greater Boston region in particular is viewed as a global leader in terms of knowledge-driven innovation and as a world-class leader in higher education, life sciences, health care, and financial services. Venture capitalists have observed that the area around MIT in Kendall Square may be the “smartest square mile on the planet.” Others have concluded that if Massachusetts was a nation instead of a state, it would be one of the most innovative and successful economy in the world. But … [Read More...]

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Alliance Blog: Latest Posts

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Top Massachusetts officials back gender pay equity bill

Alliance leader and board member Kip Hollister, Founder & CEO of Hollister Staffing, was featured in an article on July 21st for her support of the pay equity bill  S.983 and H.1733. Read more below, or see the original article by Shira Schoenberg  here. Several of Massachusetts’ top elected officials – and more than 100 […]

trish karter websize

More talk than action on giving women a say on corporate boards

Alliance leader and board member Trish Karter, Founder of LightEffect Farms, was featured in the Boston Globe July 20th, 2015 for her work on gender parity for corporate boards in Massachusetts. Read more below, or see the original article by Jon Chesto here. July is not the best of time of the year to get busy business […]

Earned sick time is good for workers – and businesses: New law should be implemented fully and without delay

The Alliance was featured in Commonwealth Magazine on May 20, 2015 in an op-ed written by Board Members Philip Edmundson, Jeffrey Bussgang, Beverly Armstrong, David Belluck, David Gasson and Joshua Boger. Read on below, or view the original article here. Massachusetts voters passed the earned sick time ballot question by an overwhelming margin last November and the Commonwealth’s […]


Embracing the Future: The Economic Success of British Columbia’s Carbon Pricing Policy

The Alliance was pleased to host Mike Bernier, Parliamentary Secretary for Energy Literacy & the Environment and Dr. Susanna Laaksonen-Craig, Head, Climate Action Secretariat from British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment along with leading Massachusetts and British Columbia business executives for breakfast April 13th to discuss one of the hottest topics of conversation in the Massachusetts State House: […]

Bussgang, Jeff

Hacking Immigration – The Global EIR Coalition

By Jeff Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Our immigration reform system is broken. That isn’t new news. There is now a fix for high-skilled, immigration entrepreneurs that can be implemented TODAY with no legislation required. That is new news. And it has the potential to break through the political logjam. Only 85,000 H1-B visas are […]

Jay Gonzalez is President & CEO of CeltiCare Health, chairman of the Board of Early Education and Care, and the state’s former secretary of administration and finance.

ViewPoint: Quality early education, childcare: Make the issues your business

Alliance Leader Jay Gonzalez, President & CEO of CeltiCare Health, was featured in The Boston Business Journal on March 27, 2015 in an Op-Ed discussing the importance of high-quality early education and childcare availability and affordability. Read the full article below. By Jay Gonzalez, President & CEO of CeltiCare Health Many businesses face common challenges. […]

3-12 lunch group

Alliance Launches First Think Tank Lunch

The Alliance for Business Leadership was pleased to host the first of a new Think Tank Brown Bag Lunch series of lunchtime working sessions with leading policymakers to dig deep on current public policy issues in Massachusetts. The first ABL Think Tank Brown Bag Lunch was held Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 12:00-1:00pm ET at […]

Bussgang, Jeff

The Global Entrepreneur In Residence Program: An Engine for Economic Growth in Massachusetts

By Jeff Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners I am passionate about the issue of immigration reform.  In my role as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and business school professor, I have watched our dysfunctional immigration system turn away the best and brightest from creating jobs and wealth in America. Two years ago, I had the […]

Jeff Kushner, Partner, Social Venture Partners

Five Impediments to a Booming Social Impact Investment Market

by: Jeff Kushner, Partner, Social Venture Partners A few weeks ago I had the privilege of helping to lead the Alliance for Business Leadership’s discussion of “Sustainable Investing” at the Alliance’s 8th annual Fall CEO Summit. It was a lively discussion that has prompted the development of an Alliance for Business Leadership Task Force on Social […]

Zaurie Zimmerman

A Revenue-Neutral Approach to Pricing Carbon in Massachusetts

A Revenue-Neutral Approach to Pricing Carbon in Massachusetts Leading innovation CEOs, investors and entrepreneurs participated in the Alliance for Business Leadership’s 8th annual CEO Summit on Sustainable Business in Boston on October 22nd.  Pricing carbon at a state level, similar to a policy implemented in British Columbia with the support of the business community there, […]

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