Our Impact

How to be All In: Lessons from our 2019 Distinguished Bostonians

Posted by Kelly Garrity on May 08, 2019

Our Annual Meeting is one of the biggest business and networking events of the year, bringing together more than 1,800 of the region’s leaders across sectors and industries. In honor of the 25th anniversary of our Women’s Network, this year we’re shining the spotlight on women, with the theme, “Women in Business: All In.” We will honor some of Boston’s most influential female leaders, including this year’s Distinguished Bostonians: Sandi Fenwick, CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital; Sheila Lirio Marcelo, founder, chairwoman, and CEO of Care.com; and Deborah Jackson, President of Cambridge College. We spoke with these amazing #BosBizWomen to find out what it means to be ‘All In’ for building a better, more inclusive Boston.


Have a Mission Driven Mindset

“Living a purpose driven life.” That’s what being all in means to Sheila Lirio Marcelo, founder of Care.com and one of this year’s Distinguished Bostonians. “It’s a sense of bringing our whole selves to work, I’m pursuing something that is holistically who I am,” she added. 

Sandi Fenwick, CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital, is also driven by the deeper purpose of her work. “I am so inspired by the patients and families who come here. They are coming to Boston Children’s Hospital at the most difficult times of their lives and yet they come with unbelievable resilience,” she said. “When I watch the doctors and nurses and I watch the scientists who are looking for new answers, that’s what I am inspired by.” 

Deborah Jackson has centered her career around mission, from her work at Roxbury Comprehensive Health Center and Goodwill to her current leadership position as President of Cambridge College. Her dear friend – and another outstanding Boston business leader – Bennie Wiley has witnessed President Jackson’s drive first-hand sharing, “She could have been a successful executive and leader in any sector in any industry, but she chose to build a career around issues she feels passionate about that she strongly believes are going to make a difference in the lives of other people.”


Be a Role Model

Our Distinguished Bostonians have shown that being all in means offering a powerful example (and sometimes a helping hand) to those seeking mentorship. “You have to give back and take people under your wing,” advised Sandi. “You have to have bits of time to give them, sometimes you can take a couple of people and go deeper.”

As someone who has been the only woman in the room time and time again, Sandi recognizes the importance of women supporting one another. Mentoring, she noted, is a vital way for women to learn from each other’s mistakes and gain from each other’s successes.  

For Shelia Marcelo, being all in isn’t just about mentoring in the workplace. “Leadership is what I do beyond the four walls of our offices,” says Sheila. In addition to running Care.com, Sheila sits on the boards at Boston Children’s Hospital, the U.S. Library of Congress Trust Fund, and the Philippine Development Foundation.


Level the Playing Field

A commitment to increasing equity in Boston is at the heart of what it means to be all in. At Cambridge College, Deborah Jackson recognizes that education is the key to creating equal opportunities for those with fewer resources.  “My life’s journey and my commitment has always been about leveling the playing field,” she asserted. “We are all born into some circumstance… our goal and our responsibility as a society is to make sure that no matter where you were born [or] what circumstances you found yourself in early in life, we have systems that will help level the playing field.” 

As the chairwoman of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership’s Committee on Womenomics, Sheila also drives equity in Boston by advocating to put more women on boards and into C-suites. On top of that, she’s used her company to improve the lives of women internationally. A few examples include the training of refugees in Germany to become caregivers, and training women to become nurses in the Philippines. 

Want to learn more about this year’s Distinguished Bostonians or hear from them in person? Register now for our Annual Meeting!