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

I am pleased to welcome Katelyn Hamilton to the Roundtable staff as its new Assistant Director. Most recently, Katelyn served as Communications Specialist at the New England Council, where she worked on the Council’s social media, membership recruitment and federal policy issues. She served as MBR’s government affairs intern in 2016, so she is familiar with the organization’s mission and member companies. 

Katelyn is a talented professional, who will be an integral part of developing the Roundtable’s public policy agenda, expanding its social media presence, and working with its members to pursue the organization’s mission. She will add a fresh perspective to MBR’s work, and will help strengthen the platform for Roundtable members across the state. A graduate of Colby College in 2017, Katelyn received a Bachelor of Arts majoring in government and minoring in managerial economics. She also served as a government affairs intern for Roundtable member Steward Healthcare in 2015.

Please join me in welcoming Katelyn to the Roundtable. Thank you for your continued support.


Roundtable Partners with Dell Technologies for MassForward: A Vision for 2030 Policy Event
Fireside Chat with Michael Dell and Governor Charlie Baker, Policy Discussions with Leaders from Industry, Higher Education & Government

“If you find a great company, I guarantee you will also find great universities nearby.”
Michael Dell, Founder & CEO, Dell Technologies

A daylong policy summit exploring the impact of new technology on areas including transportation, workforce readiness, sustainability, manufacturing, health care and education at the Museum of Science culminated in a wide-ranging fireside chat between Dell Technologies Founder & CEO Michael Dell and Governor Charlie Baker moderated by MIT Technology Review Editor-in-Chief Gideon Lichfield.

Building on a recent report published by Dell on advancing a vision for 2030 in Massachusetts, the Roundtable assisted in developing a series of conversations with leaders from industry, higher education and government that drew 400 attendees. 

Mr. Dell said he is “very optimistic” about the future and noted that technology is an enormous force for good in the world. However, he cautioned that we must ensure that the machines and technologies we develop reflect our humanity. Mr. Dell said that the company would go wherever the talent is and noted there is an enormous pool of talented workers in Massachusetts. Governor Baker said that the quality of our education system is the engine of the Commonwealth and highlighted the importance of having great communities as the cornerstone to attracting and retaining talented workers across the state. The conversation also examined issues such as expanding housing starts, new public-private partnerships, sustainability & resiliency strategies, infrastructure development, committing to lifelong learning, strengthening STEM education.

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined Dell Chief Responsibility Officer Christine Fraser for a conversation during the luncheon on expanding STEM education opportunities. Roundtable Board member and Dell President for Services and Digital Howard Elias summarized the key themes and takeaways from the policy conversations and introduced Governor Baker and Michael Dell for the fireside chat.

READ the Dell Technologies Report

Roundtable Appointed to Senate Revenue Working GroupThe Roundtable was appointed to the Senate’s Revenue Working Group, which convened for the first time this month. Working alongside numerous other stakeholders including elected officials, non-government leaders, grassroots advocates and business groups, the Roundtable will join its colleagues in taking a comprehensive look at updating and modernizing the structure of the state tax code and make recommendations on how best to generate funds in a fair manner that will also contribute to a competitive economy in Massachusetts.

“The members announced today are a deliberately inclusive, bipartisan and talented group representing business leaders and workers, non-governmental leaders and grassroots advocates, professors and tax attorneys,” said Senator Adam Hinds. 

Senate President Spilka announced her intentions for a Senate Revenue Working Group during her inaugural address to Senate members earlier this year. Senator Hinds, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Revenue, will chair the Working Group during the 2019-2020 legislative session, hold public forums and identify legislative recommendations expected to be filed in 2021.

READ the Press Release

Roundtable Participates in Statewide Transportation Coalition
The Roundtable has joined with statewide and regional business associations from across the Commonwealth to form the Massachusetts Business Coalition on Transportation (MBCT). The group’s mission is to develop and promote a collaborative statewide business agenda for transportation to increase ridership on public transportation, decrease road congestion, and improve bridge and road conditions.
Making the state’s transportation infrastructure more reliable and accessible for employees and employers is a top policy priority for the Roundtable during this legislative session. The new Coalition issued a press release this month that highlights several important principles and goals:

“The formation of the MBCT is driven by worsening traffic congestion and increasing demand for more and better public transit, as well as the business community’s dissatisfaction with the current pace of improvements to our state’s transportation systems and services. While MBCT members represent a wide range of business advocacy groups and geographic areas, each with their own unique and complex transportation systems and agendas, all Coalition members believe that improving our statewide transportation infrastructure is an urgent policy priority, particularly as it relates to the support of business, commerce, economic competitiveness and growth.”

“In addition, the MBCT feels that the business community has a responsibility to partner with government on solutions, particularly when it comes to issues like public/private partnerships, workforce scheduling and applications of technology as well as sharing expertise on complex issues of financing, governance and management, contracting, and project delivery.”

READ Release

Roundtable and New England Council Convene Discussion on Next “Moon Shots”

Roundtable member and iRobot CEO Colin Angle wore his life motto on his shirt: “Powered by Optimism,” during a unique event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. The motto was a prevalent theme as MBR teamed up with our friends the New England Council for a discussion with an all-star panel of innovators across a variety of industries to highlight and explore the next set of “moon shot” ideas that will lead to scientific and socio-economic breakthroughs around the world.

Dr. Douglas Brinkley, noted historian from Rice University, CNN contributor and author of the new book, American Moonshot, set the table for the conversation with leaders in robotics, life sciences, higher education and a nonprofit working to end world hunger.  

Roundtable member Dr. Robert Johnson, Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth, said we need to retool the entire education system to prepare students for jobs that do not yet exist using technologies not yet created highlighting the importance of developing an “agile mindset.” For industry-related “moon shots,” Roundtable member Colin Angle discussed ushering in a new age of practical robots, while Julie Farago, from Verily highlighted the work to end chronic disease and Navyn Salem, founder of Edesia Nutrition talked about efforts to treat and prevent malnutrition around the world.

MBR Organizes Meeting with BRT, 15 State Roundtables in Washington
State Roundtable colleagues from fifteen states convened in Washington, D.C. earlier this month for an annual meeting hosted by the national Business Roundtable (BRT). The annual gathering, which we help to organize, is an opportunity for the states to hear from the BRT on federal issues and share ideas and best practices with peers on issues of mutual importance. 

This year’s meeting was highlighted by a meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council under President Trump and Ambassador C.J. Mahoney, who serves as a Deputy United States Trade Representative currently focusing on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement as well as China. They led a conversation on the trade negotiations, strategies to get them approved, and the impact of immigration policy on trade and the economy. We also received a presentation on national polling data regarding how Americans under the age of 40 view capitalism, corporations and CEOs. The big take away? Young Americans believe both the positives and negatives about capitalism and corporations. They just want to see something done to curb the negatives. And finally, the states shared experiences relative to issues we all grapple with, such as diversifying our Boards, engaging our members with public officials, and specific issues such as transportation funding, paid family and medical leave, and data privacy.

The State Business Roundtable Executive network and the BRT remain an invaluable resource as we pursue our policy agenda and address common organizational issues. MBR remains grateful to them for their partnership. If you have any questions about the meeting in D.C., please contact the Roundtable office.

MBR Continues to Advocate for Paid Family Leave Regulatory and Legislative Changes
The state’s new Department of Family & Medical Leave issued a notice this month about employers’ obligations to inform workers about the implementation of the new Paid Family & Medical Leave law. The Department also provided an updated set of draft regulations governing the program.

MBR sent out a communication to all its member companies calling attention to several important dates. Under the law, collections for the new paid leave program are set to begin on July 1, 2019. MBR has communicated concerns about the challenges associated with this compressed timeline. The Department of Paid Family Leave stated that it is fully prepared to begin collections on July 1st. The “opt out” process that enables employers already offering equal to or greater benefits than required by the law will be announced on April 29th. Finally, the law states that employees may begin accessing the benefits for their own medical leave or bonding with a child starting on January 1, 2021 and leave benefits to care for a family member starting on July 1, 2021. MBR will continue to advocate for changes in both the regulations and the paid leave law to ensure that this program is effective for both employees and employers.     

Special thanks to members of the Roundtable’s “Rapid Response Team” of companies that have provided detailed feedback on both the draft regulations and statute, which MBR continues to share with policy makers in both the Legislature and the Administration.

Background from the Department of Family & Medical Leave
The Department of Family & Medical Leave is providing employers with the notice required to be provided to their current workforce of PFML benefits, contribution rates, and other provisions as outlined in M.G.L. c. 175M sec. 4 on or before May 31, 2019. The notice, which may be provided electronically, must include the opportunity for an employee or self-employed individual to acknowledge receipt or decline to acknowledge receipt of the information. 

- Informing your workforce about Paid Family and Medical Leave
- Paid Family and Medical Leave downloads for Massachusetts employers

MBR Advocates Successfully for Workforce Training Funding that Leads to Jobs
The Roundtable is part of the Workforce Solutions Group, a statewide advocacy coalition of business, labor and community-based groups, which successfully pushed to fund sector-based workforce training initiatives across the state. The House budget proposal unveiled this month for FY20 makes substantial investments in job training, youth jobs, and workforce development. Specifically, the budget mirrors the funding request made by Governor Baker to provide $6.9 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, a competitive program that requires at least two employers with open jobs participate with workforce trainers, community colleges and other non-profit organizations. Roundtable members recently participated in a sector-based training program with the Asian American Civic Association in Boston to train workers to fill open jobs at multiple banks in the region.

READ House Ways & Means Budget Proposal

Roundtable Welcomes New Member John Shue, CEO of FirstLight Power
The Roundtable is pleased to welcome its newest member, John Shue, President and CEO of FirstLight Power, based in Burlington, MA. FirstLight is a leading clean energy power producer and the largest energy storage company in New England with a portfolio that includes 1,400 megawatts of hydroelectric generation, pumped hydro storage, and solar generation, including the 1,168-MW Northfield Mountain facility in Erving that is known as “New England’s biggest, cleanest battery.” John has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of FirstLight since January 2018 and was its Senior Vice President from June 2016 through December 2017.

Mr. Shue previously served as Vice President of New England Operations for Houston-based ENGIE (GDF SUEZ Energy NA) from April 2011 through May 2016 and before that in several Texas- and Florida-based senior positions at ENGIE and Florida Power & Light in which he managed business units, asset optimization and led teams in engineering design, construction, commissioning, asset management, and operations of wind, solar, biomass, coal, natural gas, and hydro facilities throughout North America. 

A licensed professional engineer and private pilot, Mr. Shue received his M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of South Florida and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida.

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

Roundtable Members Participating in Manomet’s “Win the War for Talent Event
Roundtable members are invited to join Manomet’s upcoming forum ‘Win The War For Talent: Is Sustainability What’s Missing From Your Hiring Strategy?’ This event will take place on Tuesday, May 14 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at Federal Reserve Plaza in Boston and I believe that it aligns well with your priorities for workforce development and competitiveness.

Surveys show that Millennials and Gen Z want their workplace to align with their values; Manomet is convening this event to help organizations bridge the gap between their HR and sustainability departments. Manomet is a sustainability nonprofit that believes in bringing together all stakeholders, especially the for-profit sector, to solve the sustainability challenges facing us today. Several Roundtable members are already involved with the event including Eastern Bank, State Street, Harvard Pilgrim, and Tufts Health Plan. More information >

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Nancy Stager, Executive Vice President, Human Resources & Charitable Giving, Eastern Bank
  • Elzan Godlewski, Assistant Vice President, State Street Corporation
  • Justin Kang, Vice President, Economic Growth/Executive Director, City Awake, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Creating an Inclusive Workplace is More Than Headcount  
Guest Column by Julia Geisman, Founder, Career Agility

Today’s workforce is more diversity than ever. Competition for top talent is fierce. Company reputation is important. Preventing workplace discrimination lawsuits is a concern. As a result, many companies have diversity and inclusion (D & I) initiatives designed to address these issues. While companies have made strides, many still struggle with attracting and retaining high performers—the ultimate goal.

Upon closer examination, several themes emerge as to why there is limited success with existing initiatives:

         1. Implementing D & I best practices without determining relevancy to organizational needs.
         2. Measuring success based on head count and/or salary equality.
         3. Evaluating workplace inclusivity solely on employee engagement surveys results.
While these initiatives are important, they only address symptoms of workplace inequity.  The two elements required to address underlying causes are typically overlooked:

1. Data reflecting a 360 view of employees’ perceptions regarding organizational inclusivity.
2. A baseline connecting the myriad of activities to the success of addressing the underlying causes of workplace inequity.

Employee perception is the linchpin for a successful D & I strategy. Using quantitative and qualitative data to objectively measure perceptional shifts of all employees (including the C-suite) is key. Measuring incremental changes is crucial for determining program efficacy otherwise there is a high probability the results will have limited impact.

Determining the current state is fundamental for creating a strategy to achieve the end goal. Establishing a baseline which provides a global view of the environment is a necessary first step. The baseline is needed to identify high-priority needs, strategically allocate resources, monitor progress, and measure overall success.

The resulting data from the baseline defines the appropriate best practices to address unique needs of an organization. The baseline also acts as a coordinating point for evaluating the impact individual programs have on resolving the underlying causes of workplace inequity.

Without baseline data, it is impossible to know where to begin and monitor progress. Without knowing the impact of D & I programs have on changing employee perception, it is impossible to achieve enduring results.


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

Congratulations to Roundtable member @HarvardPilgrim on being named a @BosBizJournal 2019 Best Places to Work Honoree! READ more

Great profile on Roundtable member @SuffolkBuilds! READ more

Great to listen to Roundtable members Kevin McGovern of @Deloitte and Jim Tierney of @JLL talk about how they are an ally in creating equitable work environments #BosBizWomen @bostonchamber

Agree. The Roundtable supports additional funding along with a commitment to standards, assessment, and accountability to ensure we reliably measure student progress. READ release | READ Globe tweet

Great story by @jonchesto on @UMassBoston Chancellor Katherine Newman working to link school with business community. Up first is financial services cluster. READ article

Thank you @BostonWomenWork for including the Roundtable in this important conversation with great panelists from @DanaFarber @LibertyMutual @HubSpot @janecedmonds on #diversity, #inclusion & #EqualPayBos. #100PerecentTalent

The Roundtable is pleased to welcome several new followers on Twitter:

Tomgolden   @tomtipagolden ‏ 
Joe McGonagle   @McGonagle4Rep ‏ 
Representative Tram T. Nguyen   @TeamTram ‏ 
Latina Circle   @TheLatinaCircle 

In this issue
Roundtable Partners with Dell Technologies for MassForward: A Vision for 2030 Policy Event
Roundtable Appointed to Senate Revenue Working Group
Roundtable Participates in Statewide Transportation Coalition
Roundtable and New England Council Convene Discussion on Next “Moon Shots”
MBR Meets with BRT, 15 State Roundtables in Washington
MBR Continues to Advocate for Paid Family Leave Regulatory and Legislative Changes
MBR Advocates Successfully for Workforce Training Funding that Leads to Jobs
Going Around the Table
What's News on Twitter
Upcoming events

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

Hot links
Revenue Working Group Announced
Roundtable Annual Report
Roundtable Member List 2019
Follow us Follow US
National Business Roundtable

BRT on Immigratiom
BRT Leadership in Action
BRT on Infrastructure

About Us  |  Competitiveness Agenda  |  Focus  Areas  |  Task Forces  |  Membership  |  Home
©Massachusetts Business Roundtable. All rights reserved.