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Olivia Sayah

Lauren Pimpare Accepted into IWF Fellows Program

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MWF is so proud that Lauren Pimpare, Founder of Tomorrow’s Women Today and a long-time “sister” to the MWF community, has been accepted into the IWF Fellows Program – a global competition of top-performing women leaders. Lauren is one of 28 women from 14 countries. Read the announcement here.

Members Named BBJ’s Power 50 of 2020

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The Boston Business Journal named four members of MWF in their Power 50 of 2020, leaders of Greater Boston’s business community are meeting the challenges of 2020 head on. Members recognized were (from left to right):









  • Betty Francisco, General Counsel, Compass Working Capital; Co-founder, Amplify Latinx and Latina Circle
  • Dr. Laurie Glimcher, President and CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Paula Johnson, President, Wellesley College
  • Laurie Leshin, President, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Read more about the honor here.

IWF Announces New Leadership

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October 28, 2020


Dear IWF Members:


On behalf of the Nominating Committee, I am proud to present to you the new slate of officers and directors for the 2020-2022 term. Earlier today, the IWF Board of Directors ratified the slate.


We were very saddened when earlier this month our President-Nominee, Vuyo Mahlati, suddenly passed away. Through this difficult time, the Nominating Committee reconvened, reviewed the names of all qualified candidates, and developed the new slate below.


The Nominating Committee enthusiastically and unanimously selected Helen Rule as President-Nominee, and Carolyn Carter as Vice President-Nominee.


The Nominating Committee had the privilege to analyze and consider the credentials of outstanding candidates – each ready and willing to advance the mission, goals and objectives of our global organization. It was the largest pool of candidates in IWF history.


The new IWF Board of Directors, effective today are:

  • President: Helen Rule (Australia)
  • Vice President: Carolyn Carter (USA – New York)
  • Chair of the Audit, Finance Committee: Ana Muñoz (Spain)

At-Large Directors:

  • Adriane Brown (USA – Washington State)
  • Holly Cannon (USA – Washington, DC)
  • Karen Caplan (USA – Southern California)
  • Kathleen Carroll (USA – Chicago)
  • Kimberly Cooper Jaqua (USA – Oregon)
  • Silvia Dávila (Mexico)
  • Anne Doyle (USA – Michigan)
  • Susan Hodkinson (Canada)
  • Nancy Laughton (Canada – British Columbia)
  • Rosel Moxey (Bahamas)
  • Maria Auxiliadora Patiño de Macias (Ecuador)
  • Elisabeth Ourliac (France)
  • Sandy Stash (Canada, Ghana and United Kingdom)
  • Alison Taunton-Rigby (USA – Massachusetts)

They have been elected to join current IWF Directors, elected by the Presidents’ Council in 2019, who have one year remaining on their terms through October 2021 as follows:

Directors elected by the Presidents’ Council:

  • Reem Abu Hassan (Jordan)
  • Rebecca Barfknecht (USA – Northern California)
  • Shannon Block (USA – Colorado)
  • Dana Morris Dixon (Jamaica)
  • Julie Goldstein (United Kingdom)

We congratulate the newly elected Officers and Directors and thank the board for its leadership and service to IWF and to our shared mission to advance women’s leadership and champion equality worldwide.


Teresa VF Weintraub
IWF Nominating Committee

Marianne Harrison Named a 2020 New Englander of the Year

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Marianne Harrison has been named a 2020 New Englander of the Year by the New England Council. As John Hancock’s first female CEO, she has made diversity of all types a priority at the company, and has worked to support and advance women in the predominantly-male financial services industry. Click here to read more about the honor.

Members Named Women Who Mean Business!

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Congratulations to MWF Members Yvonne Garcia, Sandi Fenwick, Myechia Minter-Jordan, and Cindy Perettie for being named Women Who Mean Business by the Boston Business Journal! Honorees were selected based on their professional achievements, leadership, entrepreneurial skills and dedication to the community. Read more here.

The Cape Cod Camino Way Project: Reflecting on Racial and Social Justice

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In response to the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, Peggy Jablonski developed a project that would allow her and others to engage with racial and social justice on Cape Cod. Inspired by the El Camino pilgrimage in Spain, Peggy created the Cape Cod Camino Way Project; a series of walking pilgrimages throughout the Cape dedicated to learning about and reflecting upon the history of racial and social justice on Cape Cod.
Each walk featured stops at locations of historical significance to the Cape, relating to the unheard stories of women, BIPOC, and the LGBTQ+ community. These stops included: the Wampanoag Museum in Mashpee, the Zion Heritage Museum in Hyannis, Nickerson State Park in Brewster, the Cape Cod National Seashore on the Outer Cape, the AIDS Memorial in Provincetown, and more.
Each week, Peggy shared her questions and observations from the walk via posts on the Cape Cod Camino Way Facebook group, and offered a coffee hour for discussions on Facebook Live. Click here to read more in a Cape Cod Times article interviewing Peggy about the project.

Members Speak Out About Racism in Boston and What Change Looks Like

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Priscilla Douglas says, “It is time to end the illusion that people can lift themselves up by their bootstraps or move easily up an economic ladder just by working hard” and talks about closing the wage gap for the working poor in the Boston Business Journal:


Also in the Boston Business Journal, and the Boston Globe, Colette Phillips talked about her experiences with racism in Boston and how to create an inclusive economy in Massachusetts, saying, “We cannot continue down this road without change.” Read more here:

MWF Higher Education and COVID-19 Blog Post

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By Dr. Wendy Purcell PhD FRSA



The Massachusetts Women’s Forum hosted a virtual roundtable event on May 12th 2020 to explore the ‘Impact of COVID-19 on the Higher Education Sector’, with the session opened up to a global audience through the International Women’s Forum.  Joined by distinguished university and college Presidents1 from seven very different institutions across the Commonwealth, Dr. Wendy Purcell designed and moderated the discussion.  Representing  a diversity of missions and contexts, from community colleges to liberal arts universities, those focused on adult learners, others offering an immersive on-campus experience, women’s colleges, urban and rural locations, public and private sector, it was clear there wasn’t a one-size fits all approach to tackling the challenges now and ahead for higher education.


Kicking off the discussion, Wendy Purcell noted that “The COVID-19 challenge is unprecedented in our lifetime, representing a humanitarian and economic crisis that is re-shaping our world in real-time.”  The discussion went on to explore how the pandemic is impacting on sustainability of the higher education sector, revealing its fragilities and highlighting issues of equity in our system.  Helen Drinan noted that “We entered this threatening period on a lot of weak notes.”  As these seismic shifts re-shape higher education, the panel shared their views on what it will take to re-imagine a ‘new normal’ for the sector.  Commenting on the incredible agility shown in moving online in a matter of weeks, in a sector not known for being fleet-of-foot, Helen said this tells us “If we want to change, we can change.”  As the longer-term implications play out, it was clear these institutional leaders were thinking deeply about the profound disruption in, and to, the sector.  As we move now into the recovery ahead, Wendy asked “When and how we will open?” and went on to explore “Will we open at all?”


Key themes from the discussion are explored here, together with responses to audience comments and questions.


Paula Johnson captured the mood of the discussion, saying “This is a moment of crisis and also of tremendous opportunity”, highlighting how the COVID-19 crisis had laid bare tremendous inequities in society as well as the opportunity to build back better.  Toni Hays developed the theme of equity and called on higher education to be made “more affordable, more accessible, more efficient and more collaborative.”  Deborah Jackson reminded us of the critical role of higher education in opening doors to opportunity, reminding us that in sending students home some of them are “not a child going home to parents, rather they are the parents”.  Going on describe the particular concerns of adult learners at Community Colleges in low-wage, low-benefit frontline and service jobs at risk from the pandemic lock-down, Deborah outlined the targeted support offered from Wi-Fi hotspots to providing access to computer labs.  Highlighting the importance of campus as home and campus as community, Paula emphasized the importance of higher education and diversity as essential to our democracy.  Taking the discussion on, Yves Solomon-Fernandez underlined the special needs of those in rural communities where lack of access to transport and Wi-Fi were major issues.  Yves forecast that “The world to which we will return will be dramatically different.” And she called on us all to “Chart a brighter and better path forward.”


Helen Drinan reminded us all that “Hope is not a strategy” and pointed to the work ahead, representing some of the most difficult leadership decisions any President in the sector will face in a lifetime.  Drawing attention to the tensions between pricing and online/on-campus delivery of teaching, Helen was emphatic that “Tuition must fall”.  Alison Davis-Blake demanded that we “Improve productivity in higher education”, noting the need to both invest and disinvest and learn from other sectors about process improvement.  Alison went on to describe “creative destruction”, reminding us to “find the intersection of mission and market”.  Deborah Jackson agreed, stating it was “Hard to justify the cost of higher education today” calling on the sector to review the way we teach and learn – both the how and the what, noting that online learning is a strategic priority and is not the correspondence course of old.  Valerie Roberson drew attention to the important role of higher education in recovery of the economy, noting that when unemployment is high more people enter education and called on us to “support the new economy after the crisis.”


So, while it’s said that ‘Forecasting is hard – especially the future!’, one thing is sure, the only certainty for higher education is more uncertainty.  But, if the far-sightedness and determination of the assembled Presidents is any guide to the high caliber of leadership in the sector, we can feel confident we are in good hands.  Closing the session, Dr. Purcell offered a quote to guide us on our way:

“Start by doing what’s necessary. 

Then do what’s possible. 

And, suddenly you’re doing the impossible.”    

Francis of Assisi


COVID-19 is challenging everything we do in universities and college, from teaching and learning, research and innovation, the students’ experience, faculty and staffing levels, investments in technology and student support, infrastructure projects, fund-raising, internationalization efforts and so much more.  The discussion on Higher Education and the COVID-19 Crisis can be viewed here.


1College and University Presidents interviewed by Wendy Purcell were: Helen Drinan, Simmons University; Paula Johnson, Wellesley College; Toni Hays, Regis College; Deborah Jackson, Cambridge College; Yves Solomon-Fernandez, Greenfield Community College; Valerie Roberson, Roxbury Community College; Alison Davis-Blake, Bentley University.

Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership Announces New Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leadership Award

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The Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership today announced the new Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leadership Award.

Named in honor of member and Simmons University President, Helen G. Drinan, the award will recognize distinguished women leaders who demonstrate exceptional commitment, compassion and vision. Read more here.

Cambridge College Acquires the New England College of Business and Finance

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Cambridge College will acquire the New England College of Business and Finance in a recent merger. Board member Deborah Jackson, President of Cambridge College, is quoted as saying, “NECB’s combination of affordability, innovation, and business integration are the very attributes we value at Cambridge College for our student community of working adults.” Click here to read more.