MassINC: Strategies to Increase Diversity and Equity in Civic Leadership

Session I: Eighth Annual Gateway Cities Innovation Institute Awards & Summit

The first in MassINC's series on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for a Strong Recovery, this session will focus on the lack of representation in civic leadership across the Commonwealth and in Gateway Cities. Despite growth in communities of color in Gateway Cities, Massachusetts’s non-profit, community, and elected leadership remains overwhelmingly white.

Meanwhile, the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have fallen disproportionately on the communities most underrepresented in leadership positions. In order to overcome the numerous and increasingly complex challenges the future promises to hold, Massachusetts needs the experience, expertise, insight, and service of all its people.

From an effort to diversify nonprofit boards in Lawrence, to the Chelsea Collaborative’s effort to engage Latino residents through community organizing and coalition building, attendees will learn hear from Joan Kulash, Executive Director, Community InRoads, and Gladys Vega, Executive Director, Chelsea Collaborative as they work to make the ranks of civic leadership representative of the diverse citizenry in Gateway Cities.  

Register here

Awardees & Presenters:

Keynote Speaker: Andrea Campbell
In Boston, City Councilor Andrea Campbell has established herself as an accessible, responsive, and pragmatic leader, using her position to focus on educational equity, improving public safety, criminal justice reform, affordable housing and racial equity initiatives.

Drawing on her four years of experience as a councilor, and her time as Boston City Council President — the first Black woman to serve in this role — Campbell will speak from the heart about how how diverse leadership in diverse cities is critical to tackling inequitable policies that have been ignored for generations. 

Mayor Bill Carpenter Award for Excellence in Gateway City Leadership

The Mayor Bill Carpenter Award for Excellence in Gateway City Leadership goes to an elected official who seeks out new ideas and works collaboratively to advance them, elevating the status of their city and furthering the collective interests of Gateway Cities throughout the Commonwealth.  

Mayor Dan Rivera, City of Lawrence 

From diversifying the city’s police force and leading the charge on free bus service to responding to the Columbia Gas disaster, Mayor Rivera’s steady leadership has provided a model for other Gateway Cities. He has also contributed to the greater Gateway City cause, most notably by co-chairing the effort to develop a comprehensive neighborhood stabilization program, a centerpiece of the economic development legislation signed by Governor Baker in August along with his advocacy in the fight for the Student Opportunity Act Education Funding and the current police accountability legislation.


Gateway Cities Innovation Awards

The Gateway Cities Innovation Award recognizes individuals and programs that provide an exceptional contribution to the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities. The 2020 honorees for this session will deliver a case study presentation on their remarkable efforts to increase diversity and equity in electoral and nonprofit leadership in Gateway Cities.

Joan Kulash, Executive Director, Community InRoads

As Executive Director of Community InRoads, a Merrimack Valley social justice organization that advances its mission by supporting the region’s nonprofits, Joan Kulash has developed a leading Cultural Inclusion Program for Nonprofit Boards. Recognizing that a majority of nonprofit board members in Lawrence were white with minimal ties to the city, the program works with nonprofit boards and professionals of color to recruit, train, place, and engage new board members who reflect the culture of the community.


 Gladys Vega, Executive Director, Chelsea Collaborative

As the architect of the Chelsea Collaborative’s coalitions, Gladys Vega has worked to transform her community from one in which Latinos had little voice to a city powered by Latino leaders. The Collabroative’s Chelsea Voter Initiative has engaged and educated all members of the community about the importance of voting, political participation, and service on boards and commissions.  Also led by Gladys and her team, the Chelsea Latino Immigrant Committee organizes new immigrants and refugees around issues that impact them in their daily lives, including hazardous working conditions, discrimination and unfair wages, and federal immigration policies.

  • October 08, 2020 at 10:30am – 12pm