Executive director, Access Strategies Fund
As executive director of the nonpartisan Access Strategies Fund, Bates, 43, has had a hand in diversifying the pool of potential candidates. A graduate of Boston University School of Law, Bates began her career in the 1990s with Women’s Statewide Legislative Network, where she helped to pass laws outlawing gender-based workplace discrimination and guaranteeing women longer postnatal hospital stays. She has also worked as a diversity consultant for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and nonprofits.
While working as a Beacon Hill lobbyist, Bates learned an important lesson: To bring about changes for outsiders, she had to learn to work the system as a political insider. As a woman and a minority, she says, she always had to ensure she was the most organized, best-dressed, most articulate lobbyist on Beacon Hill – even when she felt like she didn’t belong.
—Martine Powers, Globe Staff