JULY 2020

Dear Roundtable Members,

We publish this monthly e-news blast, which goes out to business, community and political leaders across the state, to amplify the activities, principles and priorities of our member organizations. Roundtable members are committed to ending systemic racism and promoting racial justice and equality in the Commonwealth and around the country.

Our open forum calls with Black and Brown leaders have identified ways that we can continue to use the Roundtable platform to amplify important messages, share resources and actions the business community is taking to support Black and Brown communities. I am pleased to announce that we are creating a special section of this e-newsletter called “Expanding the Table,” to highlight opportunities for us to work together to achieve a more just society.

We encourage any Roundtable member companies interested in sharing links, resources or information about action steps they are taking on racial justice to please send those to MBR Deputy Director Chris Kealey.


Roundtable Convenes Timely Open Forum Call for Members with Education Secretary Jim Peyser
During a timely Open Forum call with Roundtable members this month, Education Secretary Jim Peyser outlined the Baker-Polito Administration’s plans to support the safe reopening of early child care, the K-12 school system and higher education. MBR Vice Chair Cathy Minehan led a robust discussion with Secretary Peyser and business leaders on the importance of child care and schools as key enablers to safely reopening the state’s economy.

Secretary Peyser thanked the Roundtable for its continuing leadership on early education and care noting that the absence of child care has caused significant challenges for families and employers. He said that reopening child care safely with important healthcare protocols and guidelines in place is not easy, however, the response from the field of early childhood educators has been incredible. The Secretary reiterated that plans for reopening the economy and schools are driven by health data and conditions in communities, not by the calendar.

The health and safety of students, staff, and teachers continues to be the top priority as school districts develop plans for reopening schools and providing top quality education to students. Within the context of the health data and full safety precautions regarding social distancing and face coverings, the state is prioritizing in-person instruction at schools across the state as part of a planning process that also includes a hybrid option that combines remote and in-person learning; districts are also developing plans to provide high quality remote learning in the event of a resurgence of the virus. Secretary Peyser acknowledged the heavy impact the pandemic has had on students with special needs and English language learners, and he highlighted the loss of learning and overall impact on mental health the pandemic has had on students and staff.

Special thanks to Secretary Peyser for engaging Roundtable members in this discussion and for his continued leadership during this unprecedented crisis.

Roundtable Advocates for Workforce Development and Expanding Vocational Education in Economic Recovery Bill
The Roundtable submitted testimony in support of H.4529—An Act enabling partnerships for growth—to the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. The testimony highlighted MBR’s economic development priorities and principles to spur economic recovery and new opportunity in communities throughout the Commonwealth.

The Roundtable’s testimony amplifies important focal points such as economic competitiveness, education & workforce development, infrastructure & housing, as well as early childhood education. MBR advocates that public policy should reflect that investing in technology and supporting minority owned business will increase Massachusetts competitiveness in key industries. As a member of the Workforce Solutions Group, the Roundtable supports expanding access to vocational technical education and upskilling opportunities through the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to help train skilled workers to meet in-demand jobs. The Roundtable strongly believes that a strong workforce development strategy should be inclusive of stabilizing the early education and care system, which is key to developing a strong talent pipeline and in providing support to our member employers.

READ Testimony


Roundtable Joins Business Groups on Public Statement to End Systemic Racism  
The Roundtable joined with more than two dozen business groups issuing a public statement this month expressing a strong commitment to ending systemic racism. “As a community of business associations, representing tens of thousands of employers across the Commonwealth, we mourn the losses and honor the memories of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the countless other Black people who have been killed. We acknowledge the systemic oppression and racism of our country’s history.”

“Racism has no place in business or anywhere in our society—it is a stain on our history and our identities both across the country and here in Massachusetts. Bigotry, hate, violence, and inaction are an insult to our collective values and we must use our voices as business leaders to ensure these practices end for the sake of those unfairly targeted, and the sustainability of the Commonwealth as a place of social and economic opportunity.” READ Full Statement

Roundtable Members Eastern Bank, State Street Give $5M Each for Racial Equity Effort Led by Black and Brown Executives
The New Commonwealth fund hopes to raise more than $100m to help organizations working on issues such as police reform, health care equity, and economic empowerment.

By Shirley Leung Globe Columnist, Updated July 22, 2020

A new racial equity fund led by prominent Black and brown executives in Boston is receiving its first round of major gifts, including $5 million each from the charitable foundations of Eastern Bank and State Street.

The New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund, which launched in July, focuses on supporting Black- and brown-led organizations that are working on issues such as policing and criminal justice reform, health care equity, economic empowerment, and youth civic engagement.

Eastern and State Street are each committing $1 million for each of the next five years, and will match employee contributions to the fund. READ Boston Globe Story

Roundtable Member Ed Dugger Op-Ed Calls for ‘Third Reconstruction’
Roundtable Executive Committee member and President of Reinventure Capital authored an “Open Letter to Boston Business Leaders” this month in the BBJ calling for them to support the ‘third reconstruction.’

“As business leaders we can harness the energy, determination and goodwill we now feel to at last achieve true racial equity—in the words of one of our native sons, not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Who better to take on our nation’s steepest challenges than us?” READ Op-Ed

National Business Roundtable Establishes Committee to Advance Racial Equity & Justice
Business Roundtable Chairman Doug McMillon, Chairman & CEO of Walmart, announced on behalf of the association of CEOs the creation of a Special Committee of the Business Roundtable Board of Directors to advance racial equity and justice solutions. BRT’s Special Committee for Racial Equity and Justice includes Craig Arnold, Chairman & CEO of Eaton, Mary Barra, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors Company, Jamie Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Alex Gorsky, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson, Robert Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International, Inc., and Randall Stephenson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AT&T Inc. READ Full Release

Calling Volunteers for Freedom Weekend Day of Service and Action as part of NAACP National Convention
As part of the NAACP National Convention in Boston this summer, The NAACP Boston Branch is holding a Day of Action and Service on Saturday, August 1 from 1:00–4:00 pm. There are volunteer opportunities open to the public both in person and virtually. In person service opportunities include neighborhood beautification, on site Boston Public Schools support, and Voter Education lit drops. Virtual service opportunities include census phone banking in hard to count neighborhoods and voter education phone banking. LEARN more about volunteer opportunities and register.

The NAACP National Convention will be held virtually from August 2–August 15 and will feature a series of virtual Roundtables and other sessions throughout the 2 weeks. Stay tuned for more information on ways to participate in the Convention. For further information about the convention click here: LEARN more about the convention.

Roundtable Member Vertex Teams Up with Boston Globe for Job Fairs through GlobeConnects
Roundtable member Vertex is partnering with The Boston Globe on its Globe Connects Initiative, which is a series of virtual job fairs targeted to help provide resources and networking opportunities for jobseekers who have found it difficult to find work amid the pandemic. All fairs are free for jobseekers. Any Roundtable member companies interested hosting a booth are invited to contact Mary Campbell at the Boston Globe via email There is a small fee for employers ($250 per booth) which gives you access to a customizable booth, 4 recruiter seats, a company logo landing page and their company logo will be featured on all job fair promotions. The partnership will kick off with three targeted virtual events.

The first event in the series for full time and part time positions will launch on August 5th. A second event on August 19th will be geared towards early career positions and fall internships, and the third event on September 9th will have a specific focus on equity in the workforce, providing an opportunity for organizations and individuals committed to investing in greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace.


Roundtable Member Deloitte Op-Ed in BBJ on Need for More Upskilling, More Economic Opportunity   
Roundtable Executive Committee member Kevin McGovern, Managing Partner of Deloitte New England joined with the leader of Deloitte’s Center for Government Insights for an op-ed that ran this month in the Boston Business Journal highlighting the post-pandemic business imperative: More upskilling, more diverse economic opportunity. READ Op-Ed


Roundtable Highlights Barrales Public Affairs—Full-Service Firm Helping Organizations Reach Communities of Color
Barrales Public Affairs is a Boston-based government relations consulting firm founded and led by leaders of color who have expertise in national and local political organizing, strategic and crisis communications, and community engagement. The team comprises Talia Barrales and four executives, all professionals of color, who have 20 plus combined years of experience in political organizing, community engagement and serving communities of color.

The founder of the firm, Talia Barrales, came to the US as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who later became a lawyer and created her own law firm of Latina Immigrant Lawyers in Boston. Talia was identified among a “rare group of Latinx business owners across the country who currently scale at a competitive level in their industry” as she was chosen by the Standard Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI) to participate in its business and leadership research and development program. Another highlight of her story is winning a case against the current Presidential Administration by taking the former U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year. Her team during the trial comprised of all Latina immigrant attorneys.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic hit our state and affected my law firm’s immigration practice, immediately the area in most need turned to labor rights law, with many clients seeking legal representation on employment issues,” said Barrales. During the COVID-19 crisis, Talia is expanding her work into the court of public opinion through her public affairs agency that includes executive-level professionals of color who bring racial diversity into the Massachusetts lobbying industry. Discussing the impact of Covid-19 on mass live, she said “This crisis also served as the catalyst for me and my team to expand my service outside the courthouse and into the halls of government, creating a unique public affairs agency ready to represent many of the top public and private industries in the state, with an added focus of helping clients reach the growing communities and influencers of color.”

The minority led firm works on government relations, grassroots advocacy, crisis management, strategic communications and diversity engagement amongst other areas. They assist organizations and individual clients in building relationships with policymakers, civic and community leaders, playing a specific emphasis on the growing Latinx and other communities of color. LEARN more


BRT on Paid Time Off and Flexibility for Voting Are Best Practices
BRT Calls for Mandatory Face Coverings
BRT on Covid-19

#ICYMI Roundtable member @DellTech released their 2020 #Diversity and #Inclusion Report committing to transparency and accountability, addressing socioeconomic disparity and continuing to work towards racial equity READ more

Congratulations to Roundtable member @BCBSMA on this important recognition #DEI READ more

Segun Idowu is a man of the moment. “They say we’re standing on the shoulders of giants. But sometimes we have to climb down and become giants ourselves.” @revrenddoctor @BECMAinc @BostonGlobe READ more

#ICYMI JD Chesloff, Exec Director of @MABizRoundtable and @Ready_Nation Advisory Board Member, discusses how investing in early childhood programs will help the U.S. recover post-pandemic in this new blog post READ more

"The modernization of the healthcare delivery system should endure beyond #COVID19". Roundtable member @Alkermes CEO Richard Pops discusses how the healthcare industry shifts towards #telemedicine and #telepsychiatry should be here to stay. READ more

#Massachusetts and California ranked as the most #innovative states in the nation by the @Bloomberg annual State Innovation Index. READ more


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