C.A. Webb: When Principles Guide Work, Innovation Follows

600 600 Olivia Sayah

C.A. Webb has spent her career building ground-up products, programs, and brands at the intersection of entrepreneurship and social change. In her current role as President at Kendall Square Association, C.A. and her team are making Kendall Square a global corporate destination and the world’s epicenter of innovation. Through her current work at KSA, she is creating systems and campaigns to drive connectivity, learning, and social impact. Recently we had the chance to speak with her about her career and the new transportation initiative in Kendall Square.


Guided by a personal mission statement


In 2017 C.A. found herself in a transition. Moving on from the venture firm she co-founded C.A. started with her own personal mission statement — to help make Boston the most equitable and prosperous place possible. She looked for platforms that would enable her to bring powerful communities together around needed critical change. Networking was essential in her search and she sought out connections with people ready to do this type of work. C.A., having spent four years running the New England Venture Capital Association, connected with entrepreneurs that were forging new paths and capitalized on shared motivations with local venture capitalists that could lead to transformations in existing organizations.


Defining her own rules


For C.A. it has been crucial to live by her own principles, defining what was most important to her in guiding her own career.

  • Space was key – C.A. vowed to work mostly in cities, where diversity and connectivity were valued and pervasive.
  • Startup mentality was a must – She would only work in an entrepreneurial setting where smart people were willing to walk through walls and build things that mattered and impacted the community.

C.A. found symbiosis in a place where this vision was possible, the New England Venture Capital Association. During her time there, she reinvented the organization, turning it into a meaningful platform for engaging the community. C.A. has been lucky that she has been able to continue this vision in her work with the Kendall Square Association.


There’s no playbook when you build from the ground up


Kendall Square Association defines itself as an organization that enables the future by connecting the people who are changing the world. At KSA, C.A. is leading a new transportation initiative with 19 of the state’s largest employers to ensure that Kendall Square remains the epicenter of global innovation. As the first business community to advocate for the Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate President, the KSA is working to push the state to raise new revenue and find solutions for the worst congestion in the country.


Over the next five years, KSA will guide transportation reform and innovation through employer-led initiatives of experimentation and they will share their data with the broader Massachusetts community. C.A. says there is “no playbook for what we’re doing” and is passionate about the collective action work that KSA brings to the employer community. C.A. believes that through KSA, they are inventing the next-generation community platform.


Finding meaning outside the office


C.A. sits on several Boards. One of her most passionate projects is her work with the Boston Foundation, an organization that connects philanthropists to high impact social change organizations. These initiatives range from reforms in K-12 education to reforms in the criminal justice system. She has found incredible meaning in this work and would love other Forum members to join her in finding ways to be involved with the Foundation.


Throughout her career, C.A. has led innovative transformations of companies and championed projects that enhanced communities. Be sure to follow the trajectory of her new transportation initiative where she plans to transform not only Kendall Square but all of greater Boston.


Olivia Sayah

All stories by: Olivia Sayah