UMass Boston Center for Collaborative Leadership

13th Annual Changing the Face of Leadership Luncheon Highlights

June 20, 2014

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John Fish, Keynote Speaker

The University of Massachusetts Boston Center for Collaborative Leadership celebrated the graduation of the 2014 Emerging Leaders fellows on June 20th at the Seaport World Trade Center.  This group of 34 emerging leaders from the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors started the program in September 2013 and had monthly leadership forums through April 2014. In the program, fellows participate in leadership skill sessions facilitated by top experts in the field, dialogue with Boston’s current leaders, and participate in an experiential team project.

Keynote speaker was John F. Fish, chairman and CEO of Suffolk Construction Company. As a successful business leader, Fish lives by the Biblical proverb, “To whom much is given, much is expected,” however, he spoke of how the road to his success was not a walk down easy street. Fish struggled with severe dyslexia throughout his childhood, but it is clear he did not allow this disability to define what he could be.

Today he is transforming the construction industry by investing in people through innovation, stating, “People, innovation, and community; those are our core strategies.” And this strategy is paying off. Recently the Boston Business Journal named Suffolk Construction 2nd in best places to work (just behind mega-innovator Microsoft).

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Ron Bell, Award Recipient

At the luncheon, the center also honored community activist Ron Bell, an Emerging Leaders Program alumnus from the class of 2005, with the second annual Leading the Way Award. In accepting the award, Bell started by quoting Frederick Douglass, saying, “We are one, our cause is one, and we must help each other if we are to succeed.”

Saying it again, he let that quote sink in to the collective audience of established leaders, emerging leaders, and everyone in between.

“Today’s problems are so deep and so complex that we can’t have just one leader. It’s going to take many leaders – black, white, Latino, men and women - from different sectors of our community, working together to have an impact,” he said.

That is the collaborative leadership model espoused by the Emerging Leaders Program, and that is the model that Bell will continue to embrace to help make Boston a better city.

Additional speakers included Larry Moulter, Center for Collaborative Leadership executive in residence; J. Keith Motley, University of Massachusetts Boston chancellor; and Nathan E. Pusey of Commerce Bank, the Center for Collaborative Leadership board chair.

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“Working with such a diverse group, all of whom are motivated and want to lead, was extremely powerful. ”
Derrick Mann
MassDOT
ELP Fellow 2010