2017 Participants' Bios


Jabari Asim is an associate professor of writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College. He is also the Executive Editor and CEO of The Crisis magazine, published by the NAACP and founded by W.E.B. Du Bois in 1910. He is the author of 13 books, including Preaching To The Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis; A Taste Of Honey: Stories and Only The Strong, a novel. His honors include a Massachusetts Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, the Carter G. Woodson Award from the National Council for the Social Studies, and two NAACP Image Award nominations.


Molly Baldwin founded Roca in 1988 and serves as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer. With a mission to disrupt the cycle of poverty and incarceration by helping young people transform their lives, Roca serves over 900 high-risk young people annually across 21 communities in Massachusetts. For three decades, Molly has been a tireless advocate, mentor, and community convener, reaching out to the highest-risk young people and bringing together the major institutions, corporations, and agencies that affect their lives. Molly led Roca to be a high-performing, data-driven organization, with a nationally-recognized intervention model that focuses on better outcomes for young people and communities. A long-distance runner, she is a graduate of UMass Amherst, holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Lesley University and an honorary Ph.D. from Salem State University and Lesley University.


Roger H. Brown is the president of Berklee. Since his appointment in 2004 he has pioneered the launch of a suite of educational institutes, including Africana Studies and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, among others; overseen the creation of the world’s largest online music education system, and completed a merger with the Boston Conservatory to establish the world’s most comprehensive training ground for global careers in music, dance, and theater. Brown is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Davidson College and a graduate of the Yale School of Management. He cofounded Bright Horizons Family Solutions in 1986 with his wife, Linda Mason, and served as chief executive officer until January 2002. A former co-director of the Save the Children relief and development effort in Sudan, he and Mason coauthored the book Rice, Rivalry, and Politics, which examines the management of emergency relief efforts. He has served as a management consultant for Bain and Company, was one of the founders of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, and a co-founder of Horizons for Homeless Children, which serves the needs of homeless children throughout the Boston area. Brown is an active member of the Bright Horizons Family Solutions board of trustees and the Boston Public School Arts Advisory Board.


Victoria A. Budson is a founder and the Executive Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the preeminent institution for advancing interdisciplinary research on approaches to closing gender gaps, educating students and leaders on gender policy, and implementing policy changes at local, state, and national levels. Budson speaks regularly on topics related to closing gender gaps such as gender and public policy, electoral politics and political action. She also addresses how diversity and gender equality improve the profitability of corporations and the prosperity of families and society. Budson’s policy advice is regularly drawn upon by leaders across the sectors including: the White House Council on Women and Girls, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Army and Air Force, as well as multinational corporations leading on diversity and inclusion. Budson is a frequent commentator for news publications, television, and radio programs including CNN, Fox News, The New York Times, C-Span, CNBC, The Boston Globe, New York Times Magazine, US News & World Report, USA Today, and National Public Radio. She has received numerous honors and awards, including being recognized by CNN as one of Ten Visionary Women from across the globe (2014). Budson graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College and earned a master degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Anita Diamant has written five best-selling novels. Her latest, The Boston Girl, is the coming-of-age story of an immigrant daughter in the early 20th century. Other novels include The Red Tent, Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown, and Day After Night. She has written six guidebooks to contemporary Jewish life, including The New Jewish Wedding and Choosing a Jewish Life, and published a collection of essays entitled Pitching My Tent. Her byline has appeared in many local and national publications, including The Boston Globe and Real Simple. There is always a stack of poetry books on her nightstand.


Carol Fulp is President and CEO of The Partnership, Inc., dedicated to enhancing the competitiveness of our region by attracting, developing, retaining, and convening multicultural professionals. Previously, Fulp was Senior VP of Corporate Responsibility and Brand Management at John Hancock and Director of Community Programming and Human Resources for WCVB-TV. She has served as a Representative of the U.S. to the United Nations General Assembly, as a trustee of University of the Virgin Islands and of the Boston Public Library. Fulp serves on the boards of Eastern Bank, the American Student Assistance Corporation, the School Women’s Leadership Board and the JFK Presidential Library Foundation. She is a founding co-chair of the Mass Conference for Women, the largest professional women’s conference in the country. Her many honors and awards include the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Award, Museum of Afro-American History’s Living Legend Award, Anti-Defamation League’s Women of Valor Award, Massachusetts Democratic Party’s Eleanor Roosevelt Award, among others.


Dr. Kerry Healey is internationally recognized for her nearly three decades of service in academia, government, and humanitarian work. She took office as Babson College president in July 2013. Under Healey’s leadership, Babson has further strengthened its reputation and position as the recognized global leader in entrepreneurship education. Previously, Healey served as the 70th lieutenant governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007 and was Founding President of the Friends of the Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan from 2009-2013. In 2010, she created and hosted “Shining City,” a television series showcasing New England’s cutting-edge scientific and social innovation. Dr. Healey holds an AB from Harvard College and a PhD in political science from Trinity College, Dublin.


Paula A. Johnson, the 14th president of Wellesley College, is a highly respected and passionate leader, deeply committed to women and to sustainably improving their lives. She is recognized internationally as an innovator who has brought her broad range of experience as a researcher, educator, and expert in health care, public health, and health policy to bear in the effort to transform the well-being of women. With a remarkable track record of accomplishments—she founded the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital—she has led in the field of women’s health, taking a multidisciplinary approach to biology that integrates insights from sociology, economics, and many other fields.


Bryan J. Koop serves as the Executive Vice President, Boston Region for Boston Properties, overseeing all operations, development, and new business opportunities for the Boston region. Portfolio properties include the Prudential Center, 200 Clarendon Street, Atlantic Wharf, Kendall Center and Marriott Hotel Cambridge, totaling over 13.5 million square feet of commercial office and retail space. Mr. Koop has been appointed to Environmental boards and task forces for the City of Boston. He was awarded the Norman B. Leventhal Award from ABC (“A Better City”) for Excellence in City Building and other sustainable awards throughout the last decade. He is a frequent speaker on the benefits of Sustainable Development.


Marianne Leone is an actress, screenwriter and essayist. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, Post Road, Bark Magazine, Coastal Living and WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog. Her memoir, Jesse, A Mother’s Story of Grief, Grace, and Everyday Bliss, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010. She had a recurring role on HBO’s hit show, “The Sopranos” as Joanne Moltisanti, Christopher’s mother. She has also appeared in films by David O. Russell, Larry David, John Sayles and Martin Scorsese. She is married to award-winning actor Chris Cooper. Her memoir Ma Speaks Up (Beacon Press) launches on April 25, 2017.


Linda A. Mason is Leader in Residence at the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School. She serves as Chair of the Global Leadership Council for Mercy Corps, a $450 million international relief and development agency which plays a major role in crisis areas around the world. Previously she worked in Africa and Southeast Asia running emergency relief operations for CARE and Save the Children. She is co-author of the book Rice, Rivalry, and Politics – Managing Cambodian Relief, and co-founder, with her husband Roger Brown, of Bright Horizons, the world’s largest worksite childcare organization. Bright Horizons has been selected, for the past 16 years, as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” by Fortune magazine. They also co-founded Horizons for Homeless Children, an organization providing childcare and related services to homeless children and their parents. Mason authored The Working Mother’s Guide to Life (Random House) and serves on the boards of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Packard Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Yale School of Management, Horizons for Homeless Children, Mercy Corps, the GroundTruth Project, and Bright Horizons.


Nicco Mele is Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Poltics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Most recently he served as the Senior Vice President and Deputy Publisher of the Los Angeles Times. He is a leading expert in the integration of social media and Web 2.0 with politics, business, and communications, pioneering the use of the internet for Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential race and revolutionizing political fundraising and American politics. He founded Echo & Co., a leading internet strategy company that has consulted with leading political campaigns, Fortune 500 companies, and nonprofit groups. He is the author of The End of Big: How The Internet Makes David The New Goliath. Nicco was born in West Africa to foreign service parents. His wife, Morra Aarons, is also a well-known internet entrepreneur and blogger.


Eva A. Millona is Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), the state’s largest organization representing the foreign born, and co-chair of the National Partnership for New Americans, the lead national organization focusing on immigrant integration. Previously, Ms. Millona directed the refugee resettlement program in Central Massachusetts. In her native Albania, she practiced civil and criminal law, serving on Tirana’s District Court from 1989 – 1992, when she was the nation’s youngest district judge ever appointed. She is also the co-chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants and serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. A frequent speaker on national and international stages on immigration, she is the recipient of over a dozen major awards, including the prestigious 2009 USCIS Outstanding American by Choice Award, the 2010 Wainwright Bank Social Justice Award, and the 2011 and 2012 Powermeter Award.


Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, is President and CEO of The Dimock Center, the largest employer in Roxbury and the second-largest health center in Boston, which reaches more than 17,000 people annually and is considered a national model of comprehensive health and human services with an emphasis on the integration of clinical and behavioral health practices. Dr. Jordan is a graduate of Brown University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business, with an MBA in Health Services. Dr. Jordan has published articles in The New England Journal of Medicine and other publications, and in 2015 was appointed to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Health Planning Council Advisory Committee and the Boston Public Health Commission. She has served as one of seven Governor- appointed physician members of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration and serves on the Boards of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and The Boston Foundation, as well as the Advisory Boards of the Kraft Center for Community Health at Partners HealthCare, the Boston Children’s Museum, and the Steering Committee for the Center for Primary Care.


Roshonda Ndebumadu is a City Year Boston AmeriCorps member serving on the Bank of America team at the Young Achievers Science and Math Pilot K-8 School in Mattapan. She is a tutor, mentor, and role model to students in her 7th and 8th grade classrooms and was recently selected to City Year’s New England Leadership Academy. Prior to City Year Boston, Ndebumadu served with another AmeriCorps program as a Summer Bonner Leader, where she assisted various nonprofits in Spartanburg, SC and participated in leadership development activities. At Converse College, her alma mater, she mentored first-generation college students as a Trailblazer Mentor and also served as President of the Association of African American Students. Her efforts helped contribute to building a stronger culture of diversity, inclusivity, and leadership among the student body. She holds a B.A. in psychology and is a proud South Carolina native.


Linette Nieves joined Roca’s High-Risk Young Mothers Program in 2014 at the age of 22. A single mother of then three-year-old twins, Linette was struggling. She didn’t work, didn’t go to school, and was overwhelmed and uncertain about her and her children’s future. With the assistance of her Roca Youth Worker, Patricia, and other Roca staff, she completed her high school education (HiSET/GED), secured transitional housing, and made tremendous changes in her life. Nieves has been working at Marshall’s for a year now, and starting this month, she’s studying criminal justice at North Shore Community College. Her goal is to work her way up in the security field and become an FBI agent. She wants to make a difference in this world and to create better future for her children.


Lloyd Schwartz is the Frederick S. Troy Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Boston. A Pulitzer Prize- winning critic for the Boston Phoenix, he now writes about classical music, film, and the visual arts for NPR’s Fresh Air, WBUR’s the ARTery, and New York Arts. He is also a noted Elizabeth Bishop scholar and has edited three collections of and about her work. His poems have been selected for The Best American Poetry and Best of the Best American Poetry. His latest collection, Little Kisses, will appear this spring from the University of Chicago Press.


Martin J. Walsh, a lifelong champion of working people and a proud product of the City of Boston, was sworn in as the City’s 54th mayor on January 6, 2014. Since taking office, Mayor Walsh has focused on strengthening Boston’s schools, adding hundreds of high-quality pre-kindergarten seats and securing tuition-free community college for Boston Public Schools graduates. The Mayor has led Boston to the forefront of the global innovation economy, by attracting industry-leading private sector employers, upgrading the City’s digital infrastructure, and using technology to transform government services. At the same time, he has created powerful tools for low-income workers, including a “learn and earn” job apprenticeship program and an Office of Financial Empowerment. His Administration has created an ambitious housing plan, setting records for new affordable and middle-class homes. Before taking office, Mayor Walsh served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he was a leader on job creation and worker protections; substance abuse, mental health, and homelessness; K-12 education; and civil rights. He played a key role defending Massachusetts’ pioneering stand on marriage equality. Mayor Walsh also made his mark as a labor leader. After following his father into Laborers Local 223 in Boston, he rose to head the Building and Construction Trades Council from 2011 to 2013. He created a program called Building Pathways that has become a model for increasing diversity in the workplace and providing good career opportunities for women and people of color. Born and raised in the neighborhood of Dorchester by immigrant parents, Mayor Walsh is driven to make sure Boston is a city where anyone can overcome their challenges and fulfill their dreams. His recovery from alcoholism as a young adult led to his lifelong commitment to the prevention and treatment of addiction. And while working full-time as a legislator, he returned to school to earn a degree in Political Science at Boston College.