SEPTEMBER 2019  

MBR Board Meeting
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
8:30–10:00 a.m.
Location: TBD

Meeting Open to Roundtable Members Only

Dear Members,

During our individual meetings with Roundtable members, it was clear that transportation infrastructure remains a top policy priority for business leaders. Working with policy makers on Beacon Hill and our partners in the business community, we will continue to advocate for transportation solutions that improve the experience for commuters across the state, reduce our carbon footprint and strengthen the competitiveness of the Commonwealth.

A special thank you to Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack for leading a conversation on transportation solutions with Roundtable members during our September Board meeting.  


Roundtable Board Meeting Features Transportation Conversation with MassDOT Secretary Stephanie PollackMassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack participated in a wide-ranging discussion with Roundtable members about one of the top policy priorities for business leaders across the state—transportation infrastructure. The Roundtable’s fall Board of Directors meeting featured a detailed presentation from Secretary Pollack on the Baker-Polito Administration’s transportation plans, near-term investments and long-term capital projects to relieve congestion, improvements to the customer experience on mass transit and economic development support in every region of the Commonwealth.

Roundtable members have identified fixing the state’s transportation infrastructure and making the system more equitable and reliable for commuters as a critical component for continued economic and environmental sustainability. The conversation with Secretary Pollack focused on the state’s capital plan, the impact of ridesharing on congestion in Boston and possible solutions, as well as capacity at MassDOT and better use of technology to address challenges. The Roundtable is continuing to work in collaboration with fellow business groups, policy makers, Administration officials and advocates to develop transportation infrastructure solutions.

MBR Advocates for Education Legislation on Beacon Hill

The Committee on Education released education reform legislation—the Student Opportunity Act—which includes $1.5 billion in new funding over the next seven years, adjusts the funding formula to benefit communities with high concentrations of low-income students, and includes key transparency measures and targets to ensure the funding is going toward closing persistent gaps. The Roundtable and other business community partners, led by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE), advocated for increased accountability and reporting measures, including detailed planning requirements, goals, performance metrics and annual progress reports on how well communities are doing in closing achievement gaps. The bill also included a new reporting requirement on data regarding college & career readiness, as well as the creation of an “innovation fund” to spur a more innovative and adaptive education system.

We are pleased that these important accountability measures are included in the legislation. New investments, improved transparency and accountability are a promising strategy for students and the state’s long-term economic prosperity.

Special thanks to Education Committee Chairs Senator Jason Lewis and Representative Alice Peisch, as well as Senate President Karen Spilka, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and members of the Legislature for their collaboration with the business community on education legislation that is important to the continued success of the Massachusetts economy.

READ WBUR coverage

BBJ Announces 2019 “Power 50” List of Business Leaders
The Boston Business Journal published its annual “Power 50” list of influential business leaders in Massachusetts. This year’s list features numerous Roundtable members including MBR Chair Bob Rivers, Andrew Dreyfus, Pattie Jacobs, Marcy Reed, Jane Steinmetz, Jim Tierney, and Roundtable Executive Director JD Chesloff, among other executives from Roundtable member companies. Congratulations to all the honorees and thanks to the Boston Business Journal for recognizing this list of incredible leaders. Below is a link to the full list of honorees and an excerpt from the BBJ story.

“Each year, the Business Journal spotlights the region's most influential leaders. Last year, we looked specifically for those who had been difference makers and influencers in the previous year. This year, we sought to shine a light on those who are respectable leaders, admired by their coworkers and industry peers. With so many headlines drawing attention to leaders who lack a moral compass and have committed ethical lapses, we looked for decency in those who have been driving change in the community.”

READ full story

Roundtable Teams Up with Workforce Solutions Group for Tenth Annual Jobs & Workforce Summit
The Roundtable is partnering with the Workforce Solutions Group, which includes representatives from community-based organizations, labor, the workforce system and non-profits to hold the 10th annual statewide jobs & workforce summit at Devens. The Summit theme this year is “A Decade of Progress: Looking Back, Moving Forward.” It will feature conversations with CEOs, Labor & Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta, as well as special awards for leadership over the past decade to Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

Roundtable member CEOs and senior business leaders from a variety of industries are participating in this exciting celebration of shared workforce successes that have produced a talent pool in Massachusetts that is among the best in the nation. The state continues to enjoy unemployment rates below three percent, although there are still regions where that rate is higher, and challenges remain in certain industries to fill open positions.

Please register today for the jobs & workforce summit on October 23rd by clicking the link below and feel free to share this opportunity with experts in your organizations. If you have any questions about ways to participate in or support this year’s summit, please contact Chris Kealey.


Roundtable Continues Corporate Tax Work with Senate Revenue Working Group
The Roundtable continues to participate in the Senate Revenue Working Group and cochair the Corporate Tax sub-committee. Both the working group and the subcommittee met numerous times over the summer to get a better understanding of Massachusetts’ tax structure and places for improvement.

Specifically, the corporate tax subcommittee is identifying ways that Massachusetts corporate tax structure is outdated, where we are an outlier, and fixes for easing the burden of administration on businesses. The current priority of the subcommittee is to focus on the avoidable complexities of the corporate tax structure as we believe there may be aspects that can be widely agreed upon. If you or anyone from your company is interested in participating on the Roundtable’s Revenue ad hoc committee or has suggestions for avoidable complexities of the corporate tax structure, please contact Katelyn Hamilton.

MBR Joins Coalition of More than 30 Organizations Supports Federal Highway Funding Bill
In a letter to Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, more than thirty Massachusetts business and advocacy organizations voiced strong support for federal funding through the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act. This would significantly increase investment in the nation’s roads and bridges spurring economic development and addressing problems in the transportation system across Massachusetts. Here is an excerpt from the letter:

ATIA would authorize $287 billion in highway and bridge improvements and distribute 90 percent of these funds by formula to the states. It would authorize a 17 percent increase in investment in FY 2021—the largest increase in core highway investment in 15 years. Over the 5-year authorization, highway funding would increase more than 27%. The EPW committee’s action is further demonstration of transportation infrastructure investment’s bipartisan appeal and reinforces this is an area where the two parties can come together to benefit the American people. READ Letter

National Business Roundtable Q3 CEO Outlook Decreases Due to Geopolitical, Trade Uncertainty
The national Business Roundtable released its Q3 CEO Economic Outlook Index, which is a composite of CEO plans for capital spending and hiring and expectations for sales over the next six months. This quarter, CEO plans waned “likely due in part to growing geopolitical uncertainty, including U.S. trade policy and foreign retaliation, and slowing global economic growth.” More detail can be found in the news release below.

The Massachusetts Business Roundtable staff held more than 50 meetings with its members this summer to discuss economic trends in different industries and regions across the Commonwealth. A consistent theme that emerged from these conversations is like that of the BRT: federal and geopolitical issues—such as trade policy with China, immigration and Brexit—are impacting business leaders’ economic outlook in Massachusetts as well. 

Joshua Bolten, Business Roundtable President & CEO, said: “This quarter’s survey shows American businesses now have their foot poised above the brake, and they're tapping the brake periodically.” 

READ News Release

Roundtable Member UMass Boston Hosts Cyber Security, Computer Science Cluster Visits on Campus
The University of Massachusetts Boston is teaming up with the Roundtable to invite experts from member organizations for two special “industry cluster” visits focused on Cyber Security and Computer/Data Science on October 16th and October 22nd, 1:30–5:00 pm, at the UMass Boston campus, to learn about ways the university can partner with businesses to better meet their talent needs. These are unique opportunities for business leaders to connect with the University on recruiting diverse talent to fuel growth and innovation in your industry.
UMass Boston Chancellor Katherine Newman is working to better integrate the campus into the economy and labor market of this region. The idea for the cluster visits came through conversations with Boston business leaders about connecting the campus with city’s leading sectors, especially those that align with UMass Boston’s urban mission. These half day “field trips” are designed to advise UMass Boston on the match between the curriculum and the skills to succeed in the workforce; explore trends, challenges and labor force needs; and introduce business leaders to cutting-edge research conducted by UMass Boston faculty.

If you are interested in participating in either or both of these cluster visits, please contact Chris Kealey or Matt Fenlon at UMass Boston.

Roundtable Teams Up with Member iRobot for STEM Career Fair at Fenway Park
The 3rd Annual STEM Career Fair will be held on Thursday, September 26th, 9am-Noon, at Historic Fenway Park. Hosted again this year by Roundtable member iRobot and the Boston Red Sox, this event will bring hundreds of college students and eager professionals to Fenway to meet with recruiters and representatives from companies searching for talent to fill STEM careers. More than a dozen Roundtable member companies and organizations participated in this special career fair last year. Please share this opportunity with your HR teams and recruiting leaders. Register for this free event via email

Roundtable Member Cigna Health New England Participates in The Conversation Project with State’s Department of Elder Affairs
Roundtable member Cigna Health New England continues to provide key leadership in areas associated with caregiving and aging. During a meeting of Roundtable members and state leaders earlier this year, Cigna connected with officials on The Conversation Project. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs shared this was one offering brought forward to state employees. Patty Webster from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement conducted a dynamic, impactful one-hour webinar that allowed for reflection, sharing of stories and learning about best practices. One person who participated in the session noted, “This webinar was a life changer.” Cigna Health continues to support not only its employees but workplaces across the state with resources like The Conversation Project.

RSVP for the Cybersecurity Diversity and Tech Inclusion Conference
On October 16, Evee Security Group and Cambridge College will be hosting the first annual Cybersecurity Diversity and Tech Inclusion Conference. This event is being held during the Governor's cybersecurity week.  A major focus of this conference is bringing to light some of the challenges around diversity and inclusion in the area of Cybersecurity. This one day event provides leaders with the insights and cutting-edge practices to become proficient in recruiting, retaining, and advancing a more diverse and multicultural workforce. The 2019 Diversity Cyber and Tech Inclusion symposium will feature leading experts from around the Commonwealth, empowering individuals and businesses to take what they have learned about inclusion and diversity and begin integrating this information into their respective organizations with a goal to increase the pipeline of underrepresented minorities in Cyber and Tech here in the Commonwealth. Register for this free event at Registration is required.

State to Begin Collecting Contributions for Paid Family & Medical Leave October 1st—Is Your Company PFML Ready?
For more information,

We are proud to partner with @MAHealthHosp & others on a program about "The Hidden Costs of Obesity". This free program is directed towards HR/Benefits Professionals to learn best practices around addressing obesity in the workplace! Register below #mabiz READ full story

Secretary Peyser @MassEducation highlights opportunities for students to access #MAInnovationPathways, Early College, partnerships with employers during event with @MBAENews

#ICYMI #InTheNews Congratulations to Roundtable member @UMass for rising in the rankings to #24 in @usnews latest ranking of best public universities! READ full story

#ICYMI #InTheNews Roundtable member @babson was named the top school for #entrepreneurship by @usnews. Congratulations on this outstanding recognition! READ full story

Roundtable member @EY_US was recently named one of #Massachusetts Top Corporate Charitable Contributors by the @BosBizJournal. Congratulations on a well deserved recognition! #mabiz #BusinessIsGood READ full story


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