Dear Roundtable Members,

As we enter the last few days in August, I wanted to thank all the Roundtable members who took time to meet with us individually this summer to share your experiences, insights, and industry trends. These meetings are an invaluable way for us to learn directly from members what is most important to you. 

Common themes emerged from our discussions with business leaders regarding the accelerated adoption of technology, as well as major shifts in how people work, where people work, and plans for the future of work. We look forward to discussing those themes with you during the Roundtable’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, September 24th, 8:30–10:00 a.m. More details will be emailed out to you soon.

Special thanks to our amazingly talented summer intern, Samiya Khalid, a doctoral student at Roundtable member UMass Boston, for all her hard work during a very challenging summer. And thank you to our members for your continued support!


Roundtable Submits Testimony on Economic Development Legislation
The Roundtable submitted testimony in support of S.2847 and H.4529—An Act enabling partnerships for growth—to the Conference Committee charged with forging consensus on economic development bills passed in the House and Senate. The testimony highlighted MBR’s 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 full testimony

Early Childhood Education and Care Remains Top Priority for Roundtable Members

"We must be better than before. We must create a stronger, more effective, more ambitious early childhood education system to meet the needs of our children & their families from birth to kindergarten.”

Roundtable Chair Bob Rivers, Eastern Bank, Roundtable member Jon Bernstein, PNC Bank, Roger Crandall, CEO of MassMutual, and Dr. Bridget Terry Long, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, published an op-ed in the Boston Globe about how investing in early childhood education and care is a critical component of healthy families, communities and the economy. During this COVID-19 Pandemic the need for a robust childcare industry has become even more apparent.

The Roundtable continues to advocate for the investment and transformation of the early childhood education and care sector, as Roundtable members highlight it as a top priority for the Commonwealth.


Roundtable Joins MassTech Collaborative, UMass, iRobot, Federal & State Leaders for East-West Exchange Event
Roundtable member and Executive Director of the MassTech Collaborative Carolyn Kirk led a dynamic discussion with leaders from industry, higher education, as well as state and federal government on ways to fuel collaboration between innovation ecosystems in western and eastern Massachusetts.

Advancing economic opportunity in all regions of the Commonwealth is a longstanding priority of the Roundtable, and this virtual event helped identify and strengthen ties between innovative companies and organizations across the Commonwealth. Diversifying and localizing supply chains has become a strategic imperative for businesses in all sectors during COVID-19.   

The EastWest Exchange featured remarks from Roundtable leaders like iRobot Co-Founder & CEO Colin Angle, who presented several robots to Congressman Richard Neal as a symbolic first step in the company’s new partnerships with Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College. Secretary Mike Kennealy, UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, Kristin Carlson, President of Peerless Precision, and other leaders participated in the conversation convened by the Innovation Institute led by Patrick Larkin at MassTech. The Roundtable and other business groups supported the event that drew more than 360 leaders from diverse industries across Massachusetts.

READ event news story

Roundtable Open Forum in August Focuses on State & Federal Issues of Importance to Employers, Workers
During MBR’s Open Forum discussion in August with MassINC Polling Group President Steve Koczela and national Business Roundtable Senior Director Andrew Beilein, members discussed state and federal issues of importance to employers and their workforces.

MBR continues to work closely with the national Business Roundtable and numerous state business roundtables advocating to Congressional leaders about the need for state and local relief, as well as liability protection for employers during COVID-19.

MassINC Polling Group President Steve Koczela presented a detailed slide deck featuring the latest polling information and data on trends impacting workers and employers. More than two-thirds of workers (68%) prefer to work remotely at least a few times a week, although data also show remote work patterns during the crisis have deepened existing income gaps.

Roundtable Serves as Survey Partner The Commonwealth Institute’s Women’s Leadership Survey
The Commonwealth Institute is conducting its annual Women’s Leadership Development in Massachusetts Impact Survey to understand employers’ actions to retain and advance women employees in Massachusetts—specifically what’s working, what’s not working, and gap areas to be addressed.

As a leadership survey partner, the Roundtable is proud to offer this opportunity to participate to Roundtable members. This confidential survey will help Roundtable members analyze their practices for advancing women within their company and identify strengths and areas for growth.

If you are interested in participating in this survey, please contact Katelyn Hamilton.

MBR Intern, Samiya Khalid, UMass Boston Doctoral Student, Reflects on Experience with Roundtable Members
Working with the Roundtable this summer has been a wonderful learning experience—one that has widened my horizon and exposed me to the practical side of approaching policy issues, discussing solutions and learning how to implement them. The 10-week long internship was smoothly executed virtually with the support of my team at MBR. From Day 1, MBR has considered me as a part of their family, included me in all of their meetings and gave me the opportunity to give my opinion on all policy discussions. Throughout my time with the Roundtable, I worked on a range of projects such as the emergency paid sick time bill, business liability during COVID-19, the Roundtable’s framework around racism and discrimination, Massachusetts business coalition for early childhood education and most importantly the D&I report. I also wrote a testimony in support of the economic development bill (H.4529 - An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth).

My major takeaway from this experience is the power of people—I have been a part of the Roundtable’s open forum calls with keynote speakers from a range of policy backgrounds such as President & CEO of The Partnership, Pratt Wiley, Senate President Karen Spilka, President of Eastern Bank Quincy Miller, CEO of WeWork Sandeep Mathrani, and MA Secretary of Education, Jim Peyser. These calls exposed me to different leaders and their thoughts on the important policy issues we face during the pandemic. I learned the importance of Roundtable as a convener in bringing influential people from different organizations – from business leaders to politicians, NGO’s to government officials and policy makers. The conversations with them instilled in me the significance of working as a collective community in creating a lasting change in public policy.

One of my highlights is that I got to be a part of the one-on-one summer member meetings with the Roundtable business members from diverse industries. The meetings exposed me to conversations around the impact of COVID-19, economic trends, racial equity, the impact on behavioral health and much more. These discussions broadened my perspective on what the future looks like and the various policy issues that need to be focused on.

2020 has been a year of massive change and uncertainty. Given the current affairs which include the COVID-19 pandemic and the persistent issue of systemic racism, I am fortunate to be a part of the Roundtable team that aims to go above and beyond in realizing where we need to stand today. The amount of exposure and networking with different organizations I got during these 10-weeks, and that too remotely, would not have been possible without the effort of the team at MBR. My internship gave me a perspective on the role I can play in the future, and it surely includes the importance of working on policy issues as a collective community. I will continue to associate myself as a part of the MBR family and hope that I can meet the MBR team and members in person – soon! Thank you JD, Chris and Katelyn for being the dream team, I have learned so much from each one of you. I am certain that the Roundtable will continue to create a positive impact in Massachusetts.


Who’s Gonna Take the Weight: Mo Cowan and Being Black in America
You may think you know something about me, but I want you to really know who I am. I am an executive at a Fortune 500 company. I am a former U.S. senator and chief of staff to Governor Deval Patrick. I have been a partner at a major law firm, CEO of a consulting group, and served on several corporate boards. I am a husband and a father to two sons. But who I am really is a Black man in America.

Because I am Black in America, and a Black parent in America, I live with a sense of hopefulness tempered by an ever-present fear and dread. Often, this sense of fear and dread is low-level and remains hidden from view by the many masks that I wear in the roles I listed above. You know: the masks that people like me regularly don to “fit in”—which, of course, really means to make others comfortable with my Blackness. But that low-level fear is reaching a crescendo as I see more and more images of my community enduring discrimination and other indignities, and even meeting death at the hands of American systems built on the notion that Black lives don’t matter as much as others. READ Full Article

Roundtable Member Executives from State Street & Berkshire Bank Discuss Diversity Hiring on WBUR
Change, Or Checking The Box? Mass. Companies Are On A Diversity Exec Hiring Spree "Stop thinking that there are five things you can do to end racism in your company. That's probably the first thing to do." Malia Lazu, Regional President of Berkshire Bank. LISTEN to the Full Story


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 Members & Business Groups Support ‘A Day for Democracy’
The Roundtable joined with other business groups, as well as a number of member companies in support of a new CEO-Led Coalition—A Day for Democracy—an initiative to increase voter participation.

From the Public release: “More than 100 CEOs from around the country today announced that they are participating in A Day for Democracy, which launched this week. A Day for Democracy is a growing coalition, founded by CEOs and leaders of top-ranked firms in industries including finance, real estate and construction, venture capital, higher education, entertainment, hospitality and healthcare that have pledged to increase voter registration and participation of their employees. The non-partisan initiative asks employers across the U.S. to commit to take action to give employees time off to vote, and/or to help workers register and access their right to vote—in local, state and national elections—on their terms, whether at polling locations or from the safety of their own home. They can use a responsible online platform of their choice or work with, a leading online service through which employees can register, receive election reminders, and obtain, if they wish to use one, a mail-in ballot.” READ more

Roundtable Member Takeda Leads “The Fight Is In Us” Initiative

Roundtable member Takeda’s “The Fight Is In Us” initiative brings together several coalitions and organizations in the fight against COVID-19, and is encouraging coronavirus survivors nationwide to donate their blood plasma, in an effort to accelerate the development of a potentially lifesaving medicine. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, or know someone who has, can visit to understand if the recovered individual may be eligible to donate and find a nearby blood or plasma donor center using a simple self-screening tool. The coalition offers more than 1,500 locations in the United States at which COVID-19 survivors can choose to donate. Learn more

A Unique Perspective of the 2020 Presidential Election from Joe Baerlein of Baerlein & Partners
I Observed Joe Biden at Close Range for 20 Years. Here’s How He Wins—and Loses
With all of Trump’s woes, Biden has a good shot at victory, but he must overcome his history of undisciplined campaigns…

While I have run many political campaigns, I am not involved in the Biden campaign except as a financial supporter. But looking closely at Biden for over 20 years, I have seen his strengths and weaknesses, with his strengths in my opinion making him the right person for these turbulent times. Through my own observations, I long ago concluded that Biden is a man of character. I have always believed he would be a good and maybe even a great president.

With less than 90 days to go until the election, polls indicate the likelihood of a Biden win. But as a campaign operative, I can envision several scenarios that could dictate either a Biden victory or a Biden loss. READ more


BRT Commitment to Employees & Communities
BRT Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation
BRT on Covid-19

Roundtable member company @BCBSMA has decided to keep their offices closed until 2021. Hear from @andrewdreyfus on why this was the right choice for their members, employees, customers, and partners via @BosBizJournal  READ more

"Invest in the economy, invest in early childhood education and child care. Massachusetts needs a new social compact for early childhood education" write @JonBernsteinPNC,  @massmutual's Roger Crandall, @bterrylong, and @rfrivers64  READ more

"Focus on the injustice, the inequality, the racism that remain too large a part of the American experience for so many. Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable so that we can look past our feelings toward crafting the necessary solutions." –@mocowan and @ParniaZahedi READ more

Over half of #MA cities and towns are part of the age- and/or dementia-friendly movements, including 22 of 26 #GatewayCities. Read about their work in the #ReiMAgineAging Progress Report  READ more

The Roundtable is proud to be a Leadership Study partner for this year's @TCI_Boston Women's Leadership Development Impact Study. Reach out to Roundtable staff with any questions!  READ more


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