MAY 2021

Dear Roundtable Members,

While May is annually recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, this year the importance of mental health and the need to eliminate any stigma related to mental health is even more clear.

We have all endured a challenging past 12+ months. But thanks to the steadfast leadership and engagement of our Board, we continue to focus on our mission—how to strengthen the Commonwealth’s competitiveness and long-term economic vitality. Attracting and retaining talent continues to be a rising topic—and we have consistently heard from you that the new wave of support for talent must include resources that encourage wellness, mental health, and work-life balance.

The future of work continues to evolve—and so will the future of benefits. That is why, we will continue to discuss the importance of mental health including what policy solutions we as a Roundtable can develop or support, legislatively or within the business community. We look forward to hosting a conversation on this topic in our next Open Forum on Wednesday, June 2nd featuring leadership from for a discussion on their Future of Benefits Report based on responses from 500 C-Suite and HR executive nationally. Insight from these findings will help set the table as we dive deeper into this policy area in the coming months to address the long-standing needs as well as emerging needs and expectations of employees.

JD and Lauren

Interested in Mentoring High School Students this Summer? MBR Builds on Efforts to Support Youth EmploymentFree to employers: Given the direct impact of the pandemic on employment including youth summer jobs, the Roundtable is teaming up with Representative Chyna Tyler (D-Roxbury) to offer a unique solution for employers seeking in-person help this summer. Note, this effort is in coordination with the Boston PIC, which supports the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program that many members participate in annually.

Specific to this opportunity in Roxbury, MBR is helping to guide the development of a 5-week employment opportunity that will be complemented by in-person curricula at Mission Safe, a Roxbury-based non-profit and participant in the city’s summer jobs program. By identifying and engaging employers seeking in-person employment, Mission Safe will be able to scale up its existing program and reach more students this summer. Free to employers, the stipend-based employment for 15 hours a week may include a wide range of opportunities from providing administrative support in the office to helping out at a small business to adding to seasonal employment at restaurants and retailers. Students will receive a stipend, a cost covered by the program. If you may be interested in learning more about this option, please contact Lauren Jones.

MBR Releases Findings from Member-Driven Future of Work and Competitiveness StudyThe Roundtable kicked off May by releasing findings following a survey of members and 1:1 interviews with members on the future of work and Massachusetts’ competitiveness. Among key findings, responses demonstrated a major shift from remote work pre-pandemic (90%) to some form of hybrid work post-pandemic (79%). The study also recognized trends from members on timing, office real estate and design, diversity, equity, and inclusion, digitization, and out-of-state considerations. READ the study along with a summary of the findings.

MBR Joins Advocates to Promote Career Vocational Technical Education
As part of the priorities within the Roundtable’s 2021-22 Legislative agenda, MBR joined the Workforce Solutions Group and the Alliance for Vocational and Technical Education for a virtual advocacy day at the State House. Featured speakers engaged with legislators and staff to promote the expansion of vocational schools including facilities to allow students from comprehensive schools to benefit from resources as well as the adult population to benefit in the evening for training programs via the Baker Administration’s Career Technical Initiative (launched in January 2020). Advocacy led to great media coverage including this Editorial in the Boston Globe.

Keolis and BECMA Engage Roundtable Members in Latest Open Forums
The Roundtable convened two engaging Open Forum sessions for its member companies in May. The first forum featured a presentation by the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, outlining their policy agenda including shared interest on topics such as procurement, early education, higher education access, and more. The second forum featured the team from Keolis, sparking an interesting conversation among members on the correlation between public transportation and congestion with return to work plans. MBR looks forward to bringing together members for the next Open Forum on June 2nd featuring to discuss the Future of Benefits as the future of work and employee needs continues to evolve.

Recognizing AAPI Heritage Month, MBR Shares Action Steps for EmployersIn recognition of May as Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, the Roundtable released six recommended action steps employers can immediately take to promote greater inclusion, stand up against racism, and be an AAPI ally in the workplace. Thanks to research gathered by Grace Lee, Roundtable member and SVP of Government Banking at People’s United Bank, the Roundtable was pleased to provide this resource to its members as part of its ongoing efforts through the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. READ the six action steps here.

MBR Wraps Up 4-Part STEM Education Speaker SeriesThank you to Roundtable members who joined as featured panelists and who attended a four-part speaker series on STEM/STEAM hosted by Kids in Tech and co-sponsored by MBR. The series covered topics including diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEAM; the importance of art in STEAM; the state of STEAM education; and the impact of STEAM on the future of work. A special shoutout to Lisa Freed of iRobot, outgoing member Jaime Paris Boisvert of Siemens, member Aisha Francis of BFIT; and Amy Bunszel of Autodesk for participating in this engaging series!



Colleen Richards Powell of American Tower Reflects on the One-Year Anniversary of George Floyd’s Murder and Corporate Change in Boston
As the first Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for American Tower, Roundtable member Colleen Powell was among those featured to commemorate the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. She joined others in this Boston Business Journal article featuring representatives from member companies including State Street, Mass General Brigham, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. READY the feature.

English for New Bostonians Promotes English Works Business Council for Interested Employers
The English Works Business Council (EWBC) is English for New Bostonians’ (ENB) business partnership program that convenes leaders, facilitates collaboration, and shares best practices to meet the needs of Massachusetts’ fast-growing immigrant workforce. The EWBC is a network and resource for companies that rely on an immigrant workforce and want access to cutting-edge best practices, and also for those companies that prioritize immigrants and educational opportunities through HR strategies, philanthropy, or diversity and/or Corporate Social Responsibility programs. In February 2021, the Boston Business Journal highlighted the work of the Council within the business community including participation by Eastern Bank, a Roundtable member. Interested in learning more about English for New Bostonians and their English Works Business Council? Please contact Claudia Green, Executive Director.

St. Francis House Seeking New Board Members
St. Francis House, a Boston-based organization that rebuilds lives by providing refuge and pathways to stability for adults experiencing homelessness and poverty, is seeking individuals looking to serve on their Board of Directors. The Board of Directors support the work of St. Francis House and through progressive, visionary leadership, grounded in social justice principles, the Board provides strategic governance in support of the organization’s mission. READ Board Member Responsibilities for more information.


Berkshire Bank’s New CEO Outlines What’s Next
In his early months as newly appointed CEO, Nitin Mhatre recently outlined his strategic vision for Berkshire Bank. As part of a presentation to investors and as reported by the Boston Business Journal, Mhatre plans to accelerate growth in Berkshire’s business banking, asset-based lending and wealth management businesses, and its U.S. Small Business Administration lending. The bank also plans to focus on maintaining social responsibility, seeking to make banking more inclusive. READ the full coverage of Mhatre’s vision in the Boston Business Journal.

The Science of Diversity: The Roundtable is pleased to join the University of Massachusetts as a cosponsor for their zoom summits on “The Science of Diversity” on June 29th and June 30th. Save the Date for this two-day summit designed for industry and university leaders interested in increasing the recruitment, inclusion, retention, and success of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). VIEW the summit details.

A snapshot of the two-day summit includes:

JUNE 29, 3:00–5:00 PM
Focus on the educational realm, particularly of interest to science and engineering faculty, department chairs, deans, provosts, and diversity, equity, and inclusion leader.

JUNE 30, 3:00–5:00 PM
Focus on industry with presentation on innovations that are making a difference from large firms in computer science, bioscience, and engineering and scholars who are studying their impact.

Survey on the Post-Pandemic Future of Staff Work at BU Opens Tuesday. (May 3, 2021). References MBR’s Future of Work Competitiveness Study.

Senators push intergenerational care center ‘moonshot.’ Boston Business Journal (May 4, 2021). References MBR’s work on Early Childhood Education.

Weight loss app Lose It mulls 100% remote work in exchange for salary cut. Boston Business Journal (May 11, 2021). References MBR’s Future of Work Competitiveness Study.

Eastern Bank’s Foundation Announces Expansion Of Its Work. Business Wire (May 17, 2021). References Eastern’s support in partnership with MBR on the launch of the MA Business Coalition on Early Childhood Education.

Business Roundtable Observes Anniversary of George Floyd’s Murder

Business Roundtable Launches BRT TV