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    MARCH 2019
around the table
Executive Director's Message
Dear Members,

At the beginning of each legislative session, the Roundtable assembles a series of member-driven policy principles and priorities that guide our advocacy on Beacon Hill. Special thanks to MBR’s Task Force Chairs and members for unanimously adopting the 2019-20 Principles and Priorities.

The Roundtable’s policy agenda is completely driven by our member companies and organizations, which employ more than 250,000 workers in a wide variety of industry sectors across the state. We look forward to working with leaders in the public and private sectors to advance initiatives that make Massachusetts an even better place to live and work.

Best,
JD

Roundtable Board of Directors Meeting at KPMG Features Conversation with House Speaker Robert DeLeo
House Speaker Robert DeLeo highlighted several major policy issues and thanked the Roundtable and its members for their ongoing participation and support in areas such as transportation, early education & care, STEM and the state’s economic competitiveness. Speaker DeLeo noted that Massachusetts continues to lead in education and the economy is strong, but also framed some of the challenges ahead. The Speaker engaged in a Q&A on several topics of importance to Roundtable members including: maintaining the state’s commitment to fiscal stability; soliciting specific ideas to ease traffic congestion; and supporting investments in public transit while ensuring regional equity.

Following the conversation with the Speaker, the Roundtable Board approved the Roundtable’s 2019-20 Principles and Priorities, which will guide the organization’s policy advocacy during the year. Members also heard from two CEOs who are new to the Roundtable—Mary Anne Heino, CEO of Lantheus Medical Imaging and Robert Kump, CEO of Avangrid Networks—on issues related to health care and energy. MBR Executive Director JD Chesloff provided an update on the implementation of the Board-approved diversity and inclusion strategy and MBR’s work to build partnerships that will bring new voices to the table.

Roundtable Submits Testimony Supporting Education Funding and Accountability
Roundtable Executive Director JD Chesloff submitted testimony to the Massachusetts General Court on a perennial priority for Roundtable members—public education. The testimony highlighted several major points MBR hears from its members about importance of education in developing a highly skilled and talented workforce. The Roundtable continues to support additional funding for education along with reliably measuring student progress and urges that new resources for education include a clear plan for allocating them to proven strategies targeted at closing the achievement gap.

Excerpts from MBR’s Testimony:

Massachusetts business leaders have been vocal advocates for public education and education reform. Central to that advocacy has been a key tenet: additional funding along with a commitment to standards, assessment, and accountability to ensure we reliably measure student progress. This formula has led to Massachusetts’ students outperforming those from around the country. More important, however, is that Massachusetts students are being given the foundational educational tools to help them compete in a global economy. This is of primary concern to employers, and the Roundtable continues to support that tenet in any school finance reform legislation that is reported from Committee.

While Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in educational performance, however, achievement gaps continue to exist, particularly for low income children and those at risk. This threatens both the students as well as the workforce pipeline dependent on graduates with skills and foundational competencies necessary to drive the state’s economy. As part of the next phase of school finance reform, the Roundtable urges that the Committee clearly identify the resources necessary to properly address this issue and ensure that a clear plan exists for allocating those resources to proven strategies targeted at closing the achievement gap.

READ Testimony | READ Business Community Letter

MBR Sponsors STEM Workforce Challenge Event with Mass Insight, the STEM Advisory Council, Mass Business Alliance for Education & State House News
Before a capacity crowd of business and educational leaders at Roundtable member State Street Bank in Boston, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito provided keynote remarks advancing the importance of STEM education to help the state develop and retain the highly skilled workforce needed to compete in the global economy.

The Lt. Governor’s remarks set the table for a panel of experts from high tech giants iRobot’s Lisa Freed and Microsoft’s Aimee Sprung, Naia Wilson, Headmaster of New Mission High School, and moderated by Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer.

The Roundtable teamed up with Mass Insight, Mass Business Alliance for Education and the State House News Service to sponsor a robust discussion about the challenges facing the state’s workforce and surfacing ideas to expand opportunities for young people.  

Michael Goodman, UMass Dartmouth, provided some eye-opening statistics and data about labor participation rates, demographic changes and other obstacles while noting, “Our central competitive advantage is the talent and innovative capacity of our people.” Mass Insight President Susan Lusi highlighted the importance of expanding access to advance placement courses and encouraging students to take on rigorous coursework to prepare them for college and the workplace.

Roundtable Member PwC Hosts Discussion on Competitiveness, Global CEO Survey
PwC Northeast Managing Partner and member of the Roundtable Executive Committee John Farina shared insights from global leaders on a range of topics including the shortage of skilled workers, public policy uncertainty, trade conflicts and cyber threats.

Roundtable members representing diverse industry sectors convened in Boston to discuss the global business climate and the results of PwC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey of 1,378 chief executives in more than 90 territories.

The discussion also explored the tremendous opportunity for leadership and innovation in the digital future, as well as the prospects for growth in the global economy.

READ Results: Global survey | U.S. findings

MBR Highlights National Business Roundtable’s Recent CEO Economic Outlook Index
The national Business Roundtable (BRT) released the results of its Q1 2019 CEO Economic Outlook Index, “a composite of CEO expectations for sales and plans for capital spending and hiring over the next six months.” It provides a quarterly snapshot of how CEOs from around the country view the economy and where it’s heading.

While the index decreased from the previous quarter, it continued to surpass its historical average “signaling a continued positive direction for the U.S. economy.” The findings are similar to what we hear from Massachusetts Business Roundtable members, that while there may be signs of softening growth, the economy remains strong. Consumer privacy issues are top of mind for CEOs, and the BRT continues to advocate for issues “such as expanding free and fair trade, investing in infrastructure and workforce training, enacting a national innovation agenda and pursuing comprehensive immigration reform.”

We are grateful for our collaboration and partnership with the BRT, and will continue to work with them on shared priority areas. READ more...

Policy Advocacy Workshop for Businesses with ELM and Ceres
Friends of the Roundtable ELM and Ceres teamed up for an informative training for business leaders on how corporations can safely and effectively weigh in on key climate and clean energy policy debates. The event on April 4th, 9:00 am–Noon, in Boston, will feature remarks from former State Senator Ben Downing. REGISTER online.

As businesses are increasingly making the economic decision to invest in clean energy, clean transportation, carbon offsets, and energy efficiency, it is critical that those voices have a seat at the table where the related policies are considered.

Participants will hear from a diverse group of experts on:

  • How some business leaders have built internal buy-in for engaging in policy advocacy,
  • How to actually participate in those engagements, and
  • How lawmakers perceive business voices when considering climate and clean energy policies.

Going Around the Table
News, links and information about members of the Roundtable

Roundtable Member Citizens Bank Supports Arts in Massachusetts, Sponsors Boston Opera House

Citizens gets naming rights for Opera House, sponsorships at 3 other venues
By Jon Chesto
GLOBE STAFF MARCH 11, 2019

Citizens Bank Opera House” sounds like sweet music to venue owner Don Law’s ears.

Law has signed a 10-year naming rights contract with Providence-based Citizens for the Boston Opera House, which he owns with David Mugar.

A parallel contract will bring the Citizens name to three other Boston venues that Law oversees separately as president of Live Nation New England and Crossroads Presents: the Orpheum Theatre, the Paradise Rock Club, and Brighton Music Hall. Those technically aren’t naming-rights deals; Neither Live Nation nor Law own the buildings. But the contract means the words “presented by Citizens Bank” will appear on the venues’ marquees.

It marks the first time these kinds of corporate sponsorships have been put in place at the four venues, Law said. The financial details were not disclosed.

Law said those who attend concerts and other live performances in Boston are already familiar with naming rights deals — think TD Garden, the Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion, and the Boch Center. 

The money will help ensure that the 1920s-era Opera House can be properly maintained, Law said, and that reasonable rents can be continued for Broadway in Boston and the Boston Ballet, both of which are tenants.

“Maintaining a venue that’s creeping up on almost 100 years old, that’s always a challenge,” Mugar said.

The sponsorship for the music venues, Law said, will help support up-and-coming rock bands. With the shift away from album sales to low-paying streaming services, touring has become an increasingly important way for musicians to make a living.

“This kind of sponsorship makes it possible to take more risks, to support more artists,” Law said. There’s another advantage: Law said Live Nation will use some of the proceeds to start an affinity program aimed at rewarding frequent visitors to the venues, something that has been a longtime goal for the company. Law said the Boston program might become a model that could be rolled out in other Live Nation markets. 

Citizens is the second-largest retail bank in Massachusetts, after Bank of America, and in recent years has prioritized supporting the arts. It considers the agreements with Law a natural next step in that mission.

“A vibrant local economy has an arts culture that is really thriving,” said Jerry Sargent, Citizens Bank’s Massachusetts president. “As we think about where we are putting our resources and making investments, this fits right down the center of the fairway for us.”

Sargent also sees the sponsorship of the concert venues as a way to get the bank’s name in front of millennials. “This gives us an opportunity to connect with that audience in a new way,” he said.

The partnership will allow the bank to offer benefits to its customers, such as opportunities to skip lines and to buy tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

Citizens had arranged the financing that Mugar and Law needed when they purchased the 2,500-seat Opera House 10 years ago.

But Law said the latest deal came about through a recommendation from friends at Fenway Sports Management who had heard that Citizens was wanting to do more with the music and entertainment business. Law said he was impressed by the wide-ranging approach that Citizens is taking toward underwriting live performances in the city.

“We had been approached about naming rights before,” Law said of the Opera House. “[But] it made a lot more sense to do this.”

Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.

 

Department of Family and Medical Leave: Employer and Employee Toolkits Now Available 
An Employer and an Employee toolkit have been posted to mass.gov/dfml. These tools contain helpful resources for employers and individuals to navigate the latest information regarding the Department of Family and Medical Leave in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The toolkits include contribution rate calculators, informative videos, workplace posters, and other useful information designed to assist people with planning for the implementation of the Commonwealth's Paid Family and Medical leave law.


Does your company have news about industry trends, key milestones or other materials you are sharing with the public? We want to include news from our members in this space, so please send any story ideas or links to MBR Deputy Director Chris Kealey.

TwitterTweets you may have missed

Framingham Mayor @spicerformayor leads panel of experts from @iRobot @MSNewEngland @bpsengage addressing the #STEM workforce challenge and how employers are responding to support STEM opportunities and access @MassInsightEdu @MBAENews

The Roundtable urges that new resources for education include a clear plan for allocating them to proven strategies targeted at closing the achievement gap. #maedu #mabiz READ testimony

@KarenSpilka: “We’re all chasing the same goal, the success and vibrancy of the Commonwealth” during excellent @AIMBusinessNews forum with @BCBSMA. Thank you Senate President Spilka for your partnership and leadership. #mabiz

Julie Kim, President of Plasma Derived Therapies at @TakedaPharma notes the transformation underway at the company celebrating diversity and inclusion #InternationalWomensDay

The Roundtable sees housing as an integral component of a comprehensive & integrated economic development strategy. We were happy to join @MassGovernor @MassLtGov @MassEOHED in support of the effort to increase housing stock to meet the overwhelming demand of a growing economy.

The Roundtable sees housing as an integral component of a comprehensive & integrated economic development strategy. We were happy to join @MassGovernor @MassLtGov @MassEOHED in support of the effort to increase housing stock to meet the overwhelming demand of a growing economy.

 
In this issue
Roundtable Board of Directors Meeting at KPMG Features Conversation with House Speaker Robert DeLeo
Roundtable Submits Testimony Supporting Education Funding and Accountability
MBR Sponsors STEM Workforce Challenge Event with Mass Insight, the STEM Advisory Council, Mass Business Alliance for Education & State House News
Roundtable Member PwC Hosts Discussion on Competitiveness, Global CEO Survey
MBR Highlights National Business Roundtable’s Recent CEO Economic Outlook Index
Policy Advocacy Workshop for Businesses with ELM and Ceres
Going Around the Table
What's News on Twitter
 
Upcoming events
LOCAL EVENTS

FRIDAY, APRIL 521st Century “Moon Shots” Event with New England Council
8:00–10:00 a.m.
Hampshire House, Boston

MONDAY, APRIL 22Fireside Chat: Michael Dell & Governor Baker
11:00 a.m.—6:30 p.m.
Museum of Science, Cambridge

 
MEMBER MEETINGS

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5Annual Meeting
8:30–10:00 a.m.
Location: TBD
For memebers only

 
Hot links
2019-20 Principles and Priorities
Roundtable Annual Report
Roundtable Member List 2019
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National Business Roundtable

BRT on Innovation
BRT on Data Privacy
BRT on Trade with Canada & Mexico
 

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