Highlights from the Event

  • Welcome by Kathy Kiely & Mayor Michelle Wu
  • Keynote Speaker: Brandon Fleming
  • The Equity Project Awards Presentation 1
  • No Laughing Matter: Tissa Hami
  • Talent Pipeline: Progress and Promise
  • The Talent Pipeline: An Equitable Workplace
  • The Standup Break: Gina Brillon
  • Congratulations, You’ve Been Accepted
  • The Equity Project Awards Presentation 2
  • How Leadership Works: Stay Woke
  • Reframe: How Brands Develop Inclusive Campaigns
  • Last Dance: Donna Summer

Our Honorees

The 2022 Equity Awards

The Equity Project honors the work of people and organizations in the Boston area who are making strides toward equity and inclusion. We congratulate the innovators, the doers, and the heavy lifters who are disrupting systems that perpetuate barriers.

We celebrate these heroes, whose tireless work is creating a more equitable Boston at the Equity Project streaming on January 27th.

  • Corey Thomas

    Leading With Inclusion Award

    Chairman & CEO, Rapid 7

  • Chastity Bowick

    LGBTQIA+ Champion Award

    Executive Director, Transgender Emergency Fund

  • Dr. Aisha Francis

    Champion of Social Mobility Award

    President & CEO, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology

  • Bing Broderick

    Quiet Hero Award

    Haley House

  • Allen & Gerritsen

    Inclusive Marketing Campaign

    for NAACP Legal Defense Fund

  • Yvonne Leung Cain

    Mentoring Champion

    SVP Group Media Director, Mediahub

  • First Lastname
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The Honor Roll

  • Leading with Inclusion

    Stephanie Browne
    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

    Sandra Cotterell
    Codman Square Health Center

    Lourdes German
    Public Finance Initiative

    Shaheer Mustafa

    Eastern Bank

    Hill Holliday
    Black and Blended

  • Best in Employee Resource Groups

    John Hancock

    Bank of America

  • Disability Champions

    Abilities Dance

  • Emerging Leader

    Michelle Wright
    North Atlantic States Regional

  • Inclusive Marketing Campaign

    Boston Globe
    Media’s Studio | B

    Atlantic Broadband

  • Leading in Supplier Diversity

    Dave Madan
    Builders of Color Coalition

    State Street Corporation

  • Mentoring Champions

    Claudia Fox Tree

    Candelaria Silva-Collins

    Facing History and Ourselves

  • Social Mobility Champion

    Comcast RISE

    Sherry Riva
    Compass Working Capital

Profile: Jemuel Stephenson, Local Artist

  • There’s no excuse for not hiring diverse talent. Check out this amazing artist.
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The Ad Club Scholars

You belong here.

It’s easy to talk about the problem of inequity. But solving it takes a lot of dedication and money.

Over the past 3 years, we have contributed $250,000 in need-based scholarships to first-generation college students. We are proud to partner with Bottom Line who will help us guide a second cohort of The Ad Club Scholars into college and then on to careers in Marketing, Advertising, and Media. It’s our way of helping to change the face of Boston Advertising. One face at a time.
Learn more about The Ad Club Scholars

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  • John Barros

    Managing Principal, Cushman & Wakefield

  • Gina Brillon

    Stand-up Comedian, Actress, Writer

  • Stephanie Browne

    VP, Talent Acquisition & Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, BCBSMA

  • Peggy Byrd

    Chief Marketing Officer Boston Globe

  • Deborah Douglas

    Co-Editor in Chief, The Emancipator

  • Priscilla H. Douglas

    Executive Coach & Author

  • Brandon Fleming

    Keynote Speaker, Nationally Acclaimed Harvard Educator & Author

  • Betty Francisco

    CEO, Boston Impact Initiative

  • Dr. Mary K. Grant

    President, Massachusetts College of Art & Design

  • Tissa Hami

    Founder and Principal, Korsi Consulting

  • Marianne Harrison

    President and CEO, John Hancock

  • Karen Kaplan

    Chair & CEO Hill Holliday

  • Marisa Kelly

    President, Suffolk University

  • Amber Payne

    Co-Editor In Chief, The Emancipator

  • Lee Pelton

    CEO & President, The Boston Foundation

  • Vinayak Ranade

    Founder of Drafted

  • Jill Willcox

    Co-Founder, Iterators Software

  • Janet Wu

    Reporter/Anchor for Bloomberg

  • Michelle Wu

    Mayor of Boston

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  • Brittny Smith

    Diva Donna/Mary Gaines

  • Charis Gullage

    Disco Donna

  • Amahri Edwards-Jones

    Duckling Donna/Mimi

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    • 11:30–12pm
      Join us for registration and networking
    • 12pm
      Welcome by Kathy Kiely

      President | The Ad Club

    • Welcome by Mayor Michelle Wu
    • 12:15pm
      Keynote Speaker. Brandon Fleming | Nationally Acclaimed Harvard Educator and Author

      You Belong Here

      Brandon Fleming is building a pipeline to the Ivy League for young Black people. He says he is paying it forward by “creating Black privilege.” As a young man from an abusive home, considered at risk, he was lost. Inspired by Denzel Washington’s film The Great Debaters, he founded a competitive debate program, which put him on a path to being recruited by the Harvard Debate Council and eventually to founding the Harvard Diversity Project. By providing young people with the opportunity to master the art of debate, he is showing them that they belong. Brandon’s story will push you to think and to act, and to work toward a more equitable world.

      Followed by Q+A with the audience

    • 12:50pm
      The Equity Project Awards Presentation

      Moderated by Janet Wu, Reporter and Anchor for Bloomberg

    • 1:05pm
      No Laughing Matter

      Tissa Hami | Founder | Korsi Consulting

      Korsi’s Interactive Comedy & Storytelling workshop offers a novel approach to DEI conversations, using humor and storytelling as a springboard for discussion. A professional performer takes to the stage to share real-life stories of being the “other” in the workplace. She will then answer questions from the audience. Witty and thought-provoking, the stories allow event attendees to engage more deeply with DEI topics.

    • 1:35pm
      Progress and Promise: The Talent Pipeline

      Vinayak Ranade | CEO | Drafted, Inc. Moderator
      John Barros | Managing Principal | Cushman & Wakefield
      Betty Francisco | CEO | Boston Impact Initiative
      Jill Willcox | Co-Founder | Iterators Software

      What does it take to recruit diverse talent, and more importantly, what does it take to retain them? How can workers at all levels of a company create a culture of inclusion and belonging? Vinayak Ranade, founder of Drafted will moderate what promises to be a provocative conversation with John Barros, Managing Principal of Cushman & Wakefield; Betty Francisco, CEO of the Boston Impact Initiative and founder of Latina Circle; and Jill Willcox, co-founder of Interators, LLC, a software testing company that employs neurodiverse people.

    • 2:05pm
      The Talent Pipeline: An Equitable Workplace

      John Barros | Managing Principal | Cushman & Wakefield: Moderator
      Stephanie Browne | Vice President Talent Acquisition, Diversity and Inclusion | Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
      Marianne Harrison | President & CEO | John Hancock

      In order to create a diverse workforce, a company needs to establish an inclusive culture. The talent pipeline discussion continues with a focus on culture and inclusivity with Marianne Harrison of John Hancock and Stephanie Browne of BCBSMA moderated by John Barros.They will share some of their unique solutions to the challenge and, along with moderator John Barros, will take questions from the audience.

    • 2:25pm
    • 2:45pm
      The Standup Break

      Gina Brillon | Comedian, Actress, Writer

      She knew she wanted to be a comic from the time she was a child growing up in the Bronx. And this award-winning Latina comedian will have you laughing along with her as she skewers the too easily offended with her Latino-infused brand of comedy.

    • 3pm
      Congratulations, You’ve Been Accepted

      Moderator: Lee Pelton, CEO & President | The Boston Foundation
      Mary Grant | President | Massachusetts College of Art & Design
      Marisa Kelly | President | Suffolk University
      Marcelo Suárez-Orozco | Chancellor | UMass Boston

      It’s an age-old story. You come to Boston to attend a college, and then stay to build a life. But for people of color and other often-marginalized populations, Boston can seem like an unwelcoming place. Hear from three current and one former college president about their strategies to create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. Moderated by Boston Foundation President Lee Pelton, the panel will include Mary Grant, President of the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Marisa Kelly, President of Suffolk University, and Marcelo Suárez, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston.

    • 3:30pm
      Meet the Ad Club Scholars

      Talk is cheap. But college isn’t. For over twenty years, The Ad Club has been providing scholarships for young people thinking of a career in advertising. Meet the current cohort of Ad Club scholars, all people of color, and all the first in their families to attend college. We know you will be inspired by them.

    • 3:40pm
      The Equity Project Awards Presentation

      Moderated by Janet Wu, Reporter and Anchor for Bloomberg

    • 3:50pm
      How Leadership Works: Stay Woke

      Priscilla Douglas | Executive Coach and Author
      Karen Kaplan, Chair & CEO, Hill Holliday

      What does it mean to be a woke leader? Join Priscilla Douglas, author of Woke Leadership: Profits, Prophets, and Purpose as she chats with Hill Holliday Chair and CEO Karen Kaplan about this important, and somewhat controversial topic.

      Followed by Q+A with the audience

    • 4:20pm
      Reframe: How Brands Develop Inclusive Campaigns

      Deborah Douglas | Co-Editor-in-Chief | The Emancipator
      Amber Payne | Co-Editor-in-Chief | The Emancipator
      Peggy Byrd | CMO | Boston Globe Media

      How can brands tap into the art of storytelling to amplify diverse perspectives and reframe their messaging through a more inclusive lens? Deborah Douglas and Amber Payne, co-editors in chief of The Emancipator, bring decades of experience and excellence in journalism, research, and impactful storytelling. Together with Boston Globe Media CMO, Peggy Byrd, this panel will explore ideas and possible strategies for creating more inclusive content that resonates with multicultural audiences and cultivates a stronger sense of belonging.

      Followed by Q+A with the audience

    • 4:40pm
      Last Dance: Donna Summer

      Amahri Edwards-Jones | Duckling Donna/Mimi
      Charis Gullage | Disco Donna
      Brittny Smith | Diva Donna/Mary Gaines

      Interviewed by Janet Wu, Reporter and Anchor for Bloomberg

      Donna Summer was just a young girl from Boston once, and the story of her life comes to the stage with the Broadway in Boston production of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. Hear from the three actors playing Donna – one for three different periods of her life – about what it was like to be a young Black woman in Boston trying to make it in the music business.

      The musical is opening at the Colonial Theater on February 22nd. Broadway in Boston is offering a ticket discount code to all attendees.

    • 5:00pm
      Closing Remarks


Past Equity Project/Rosoff Award Events