JUNE 2020

Dear Roundtable Members,

During the month of June, the Roundtable convened a series of Open Forum conversations on racial justice and inequality that were the most meaningful and impactful discussions in my tenure at MBR. Thank you to all the members who shared their personal experiences, as well as their hopes for a brighter future for our Commonwealth. I also want to thank Pratt Wiley, CEO of The Partnership, for his continued guidance, collaboration, and leadership.

We will incorporate the feedback and insights from our members on racial justice to inform our public policy agenda and steps the Roundtable can take to address the challenges before us. We are committed to learning and to taking action both in the short- and long-term. Please let us know if you have additional ideas for ways the business community can finally make meaningful progress that is long overdue.


Roundtable Convenes Open Forum Call for Members with Senate President Karen Spilka
During a weekly Open Forum call with Roundtable members this month, former MBR Chair Donna Cupelo, Vice President at Verizon New England, introduced Senate President Karen Spilka for a conversation on state public policy with business leaders.   

The Roundtable and Senate President share many policy priorities on issues such as economic and workforce development, early childhood education, supporting caregivers in the workplace, and addressing institutional racism. Senate President Spilka thanked the Roundtable and its members for being true partners on issues important to the Commonwealth.

Senate President Spilka highlighted the need for urgent action noting that it is both a sprint and a marathon to end racial inequality, adopt major policy reforms, and find ways for each one of us to intervene against injustice. She also discussed transformational health care legislation to be proposed by the Senate, continuing need for transportation infrastructure investment, creative strategies for addressing the state budget gap and the importance of economic recovery.

The Open Forum calls continue to connect Roundtable business leaders with policy makers focusing on issues relative to the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and on society. Members discussed ways to get people back to work, upskill and reskill employees to fill in-demand jobs, as well as issues such as employer liability, the impacts of extended work from home policies, and the massive shortfall facing the Commonwealth’s budget. The Roundtable proudly serves on Senate working groups on revenue and transportation and appreciates the collaboration with Senate President Spilka and members of the Massachusetts Senate during these unique times.

Roundtable Commitment to Addressing Systemic Racism and Discrimination
The Roundtable convened powerful Open Forum calls focused on steps MBR can take to address systemic racism and discrimination, which led to the development of several draft strategies to bring that commitment to life. This is a small step in the Roundtable’s ongoing commitment to achieving a larger vision of racial justice and increased economic opportunity. As Senate President Spilka noted in her remarks to Roundtable members, the commitment to racial justice must be both a marathon and a sprint with sustained action by each one of us. 


  • Support and Follow Black/Brown Community Through New and Expanded Partnerships
  • Use Platform to Focus on Ending Discrimination and Institutional Racism
  • Facilitate Business Practice Change
  • Commit and Be Accountable to Organizational Change

In Her Words—Samiya Khalid, UMass Boston Doctoral Student, Joins the Roundtable for the Summer
As a Civic Action Project (CAP) fellow, I am excited to have the opportunity to spend my summer with Massachusetts Business Roundtable. I hope to contribute to a range of projects that involve the intersection of business and public policy. I am particularly interested in looking at the role played by public policy experts and business community in enacting new policies to support the economy in Massachusetts during Covid-19 pandemic.

I am a doctoral student at McCormack Graduate School of Public Policy at UMass Boston. I completed my bachelor's degree in 2017 from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in Economics. Prior to joining UMass Boston, I worked as a Consultant for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department (P&SH) Government of the Punjab, Pakistan. My work involved leading, managing, analyzing, and implementing the rural ambulance service across the province of Punjab. The rural ambulance service is a project that started in 2016, essentially designed to provide ambulances in the rural areas of Punjab to improve access to health facilities particularly for pregnant women. This is a free of cost service with the goal of improving maternal and child health, reducing home births, and improving skilled birth attendance across the region. My previous work also involves assisting on a pilot research project on "Crowd-Sourced Air Pollution Monitoring in Pakistan" which proposes to implement a cross-cutting, randomized controlled trial across Allama Iqbal Town, Lahore to see how the state institutions have capacity that could be tapped to improve environmental quality. My research interests are in population policy, reproductive rights, maternal health, gendered perspective of the informal economy (particularly home-based workers) and social welfare policies in Pakistan.

I strongly resonate with the statement by Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, saying, “We are all together in this war with the virus. And now is the time for unity. Right now, we have to come together as a community to fight back against a virus that attacks regardless of location, ethnicity, gender, race, or income level.” While the whole world is going through a difficult time, we must focus on the marginalized communities and racial groups that need our support today. I look forward to contributing to MBR and be an active part of the team as an emerging policy scholar and a future global policy practitioner.

READ Samiya's CV

Roundtable Active in State & Federal Policy
The Roundtable’s recent public policy activity at the state and federal levels has ramped up on several issues of importance to the business community and the Massachusetts economy including funding for state and local governments, COVID-19 related liability protections and workforce development to help employers fill in-demand positions.  

MBR joined with both state and national colleagues urging Congress “to enact a liability safe harbor for employers and businesses that follow government guidance to protect employees and customers.” In another letter to Congress, the Roundtable teamed up with the Partnership for New York City and 15 similar organizations around the country collectively representing more than 9300 major employers and 5.3 million workers urging action on liability protection and funding to state and local governments.  

As the Massachusetts Legislature develops its own economic development and recovery bill during this session, the Roundtable joined with the Workforce Solutions Group—comprised of business, labor, community and non-profit leaders—to advocate for evidence-based workforce training programs proven to get people back to work and increase economic mobility.

READ Letters to Congress | READ Letter to Massachusetts Legislature | READ Workforce Solution Group Letter

Massachusetts Caregiver Coalition Hosts Webinar June 25th on Alzheimer’s & Dementia to Support Volunteer Family Caregivers in the Workplace
The Massachusetts Caregiver Coalition is pleased to present the third in its free webinar series to raise awareness and provide practical resources to support volunteer family caregivers. June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and we are pleased to convene leaders s to address challenges facing caregivers during these unprecedented times. The panel will be moderated by Jim Wessler, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association and include a panelist from Roundtable member Partners Healthcare, Dr. Brent Forester, chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at McLean Hospital and medical director for Behavioral Health Integration in primary care at the Mass General Brigham healthcare system.

The Roundtable helped launch the Massachusetts Caregiver Coalition to better understand and address the needs Aof family caregivers, a growing and essential part of workforces across every industry sector. Roundtable members are actively engaged in the Coalition to support their employees.

Please send the registration link to any members of your organization with an interest in this topic including human resources and employee resource groups. 

Caring for the Caregiver: Addressing Caregiver Challenges Associated with Alzheimer’s & Dementia during COVID-19

Thursday, June 25, 2020, 2:00–3:00 PM

Roundtable Sponsors Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus Celebration of 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage
The Roundtable sponsored the MWPC’s virtual event marking the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women’s suffrage. Senate President Karen Spilka and Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad served as honorary co-chairs at the second annual women’s legislative breakfast. MWPC noted that “the event commemorated that landmark victory, as well as the countless other strides women have made towards parity in representative government throughout history.”

LISTEN to recording of the event

Roundtable Supports TCI's Mission to Advance Women Leaders
The Roundtable is proud to support The Commonwealth Institute in its mission to advance businesswomen in leadership positions through its Women’s Leadership in Massachusetts Impact Study. As a leadership study partner this year, we will be distributing a confidential, online survey to Roundtable members to identify how companies are retaining and advancing their women employees. This year’s survey includes specific questions relevant to women of color to ensure the findings pave the way to increased equity for all women in the workplace.

Businesses that are interested in participating in the confidential online survey can email The deadline to participate is Friday, August 7.

READ the full statement about the study

Roundtable Member MITRE Leads COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition
Roundtable member MITRE is operating a private-sector industry coalition, called the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition that brings together healthcare organizations, technology firms, nonprofits, academia, and startups to preserve the healthcare delivery system and help protect U.S. populations. The Coalition is providing data-driven, real-time insights that can improve outcomes with over 900 members including many Massachusetts companies, startups, and healthcare organizations. In partnership with members the Coalition developed a decision support dashboard to support public and private sector leaders, with data down to the county level.  Review dashboard | READ more


BRT Committee to Advance Racial Equity & Justice
BRT on Diversity & Inclusion
BRT on Covid-19

The Roundtable joins @easternbank @rfrivers64 in that commitment.

“We share the anger and pain felt by so many Americans at the recent killings of unarmed black men and women. Racism and brutality have no place in America.” READ more

Emotional words from one of the region's most impactful leaders. Thanks for sharing, @jodyarose @NewEnglandVC. Via @jonchesto  READ more

Why We March: State Street's Paul Francisco addresses Black 'trauma' @StateStreet READ more via @BosBizJournal

Great to see Roundtable member @newbalance manufacturing #PPE in Lawrence for front-line workers during #COVID_19. Thanks for all you’re doing to help keep people safe. READ more

We look forward to working with you and @RepAlicePeisch  READ more


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