Over 400 of Boston’s women business leaders attended City Year’s 3rd Annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast on November 17, 2011. City Year filled the room with an impressive list of guests, including special guest speaker Gloria Larson, President of Bentley University.
City Year Boston Vice President and Executive Director, Sandra Lopez Burke, kicked off an energizing, inspiring, and amazing event starting with the high fives that guests received from City Year’s corps members wearing the famous City Year Red Jackets that have been seen on the likes of Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and President Obama. Janelle Woods-McNish of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation referred to the breakfast as a “sea of powerful women that understand the importance of children, education, and community.”
This year’s women’s leadership initiative was overseen by City Year’s Donna Quirk and chaired by Carol Geremia, President, MFS Institutional Advisors; Teresa Hassara, Sr. Managing Director and Head of Institutional Client Services, TIAA-CREF; Maureen Leary-Jago, President, MFS Service Center; and Clare Richer, CFO, Putnam Investments, along with 40 event vice chairs.
Aileen Gorman, Executive Director of The Commonwealth Institute, attended the event and stated, “I think it is very powerful to see several hundred businesswomen attending a breakfast that is focused on helping the city’s young people who are at risk. The money raised at this breakfast will have a tremendous impact on our future generation.”
City Year is “an education focused non-profit organization headquartered in Boston that unites dynamic young leaders of all backgrounds in service to keep students in school and on track to graduation. City Year recruits, trains, and deploys these young leaders - known as corps members - for a full year of full-time service in schools where they serve as tutors, mentors, and role models working with students who are in danger of falling off track and are at risk of dropping out of school. Currently, 177 City Year Boston corps members serve 7,300 students in 14 schools across the city.
According to research used by City Year, students who are at risk of dropping out display specific characteristics which can be identified as early as 6th grade. These early warning indicators include poor attendance, unsatisfactory behavior, and course failure in math and English. Students showing just one of those three indicators have less than a 25% likelihood of graduating from high school and are more likely to drop out of school. Dropouts are three times more likely than college graduates to be unemployed, eight times more likely than high school graduates to be incarcerated, and more than 12 million students are projected to drop out over the next decade, costing the nation up to $3trillion.”
Bentley University President Gloria Larson said she was “very pleased to speak at the City Year Women’s Leadership Breakfast. It gives me the opportunity to highlight the significant work City Year is doing and how vital it is for all of us to find a way to play a role as well. We can all become agents of change – empowering City Year through partnerships or donations of time and money so they accomplish even more. In an innovation economy like ours, dropping out of high school is the fastest track possible to poverty and hardship.”
In addition to the Women’s Leadership Breakfast, City Year Boston hosts breakfast events for the Boston legal and investment communities on an annual basis to help raise awareness of the dropout crisis and City Year’s mission. More info can be found on City Year’s web page.
Ellen Keiley is a Boston World Partnerships Connector, a Vice-Chair of the City Year Women’s Leadership Breakfast, and a member of the Business Development Department at K&L Gates in Boston. She can be contacted at ellen.keiley [AT] klgates [DOT] com
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