The chair of the new chamber wants Boston’s business community to embrace a more diverse workforce

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O’Hanley will chair the chamber this month Micho springthe Weber Shanwick Executive, for a two-year term. He said he looks forward to balancing the demands of his day-to-day work as head of a global financial services company with the community as the Chamber’s new Chair and working with a staff led by the Chief Executive Jim Rooney. In a memo to chamber members, O’Hanley wrote that he believes “the Greater Boston Chamber has become the most influential corporate group” in Massachusetts.

The Chamber already encourages its members to contract with small businesses owned by people of color through its Pacesetters program. O’Hanley said he wants members to promote diversity and inclusion through recruitment and training and procurement practices.

O’Hanley’s appointment comes amid a series of video conferences the Chamber is holding to address the racial wealth gap. The most recent took place last Wednesday and was presented Pam EddingerPresident of Bunker Hill Community College, Know TurnerManaging Director of Massachusetts Life Sciences Centerand the Mayor of Boston, who became Secretary of Labor Martin J Walsh. Karen Crockett, who used to work for Walsh but is now an advisor to the Chamber, moderated the discussion. Eddinger spoke about how communities of color are facing higher unemployment rates, while Turner spoke about the staff shortages he sees almost everywhere in his industry.

Can this discrepancy be resolved? It’s a question O’Hanley would like the Chamber to investigate further.

Racial justice may be the most important issue, but it’s not the only one on O’Hanley’s agenda. Other priorities are transportation and housing. The chamber, he said, can act as a convener to bring together experts from various local institutions to help resolve these issues.

Then there’s the ballot question going to voters in November that would raise income taxes for residents earning more than $1 million a year, a proposal the chamber opposes. O’Hanley said members he speaks to are concerned about the signal the so-called “millionaire tax” would send regarding Massachusetts, especially at a time when it’s easier than ever to work remotely .

“Massachusetts has done a great job dropping the Taxachusetts label over the last 30 years,” said O’Hanley. “It’s still a costly place to do business, but those costs have largely been offset by other assets.”

A new post for Cowan

The Greater Boston Chamber isn’t the only prominent corporate organization with a new person chairing board meetings.

As a key advisor to the then governor Deval Patrick, Mo Cowan get helped MassChallenge shot out of the ground in 2009. Now his career has come full circle: Cowan has just been named CEO of MassChallenge, a Seaport-based nonprofit that supports startups. Cowan is the organization’s first designated chairman; Cait Brumme was recently promoted to Chief Executive.

Of course, Cowan has held some high-profile positions over the past decade: Patrick subsequently appointed Cowan interim US Senator john kerry Left. Later he helped Steve Tocco run ML Strategiesthe lobby arm of Mintz Levinbefore joining General Electric. Cowan left his job as head of global policy at GE last year to join devoted healtha Medicare Advantage provider, as the health tech startup’s top legal and external relations manager.

Cowan would welcome MassChallenge opening additional new locations, either in the United States or through a licensing agreement overseas. But he also wants the MassChallenge to wave the flag of Boston as often as possible to underscore the city’s rich and diverse technology ecosystem.

“We want to help ensure that Boston is perceived as more open to entrepreneurship and innovation than ever before,” said Cowan. “As we emerge from the pandemic and the world opens up again, MassChallenge exists to create a place where local people can come together, think globally and solve some of the biggest problems.”

A new job, a new commute

working person general manager Erik Mosley has lured Tom libretto away from pegasystems to become chief marketing officer at his company, Framingham. Libretto had the same job at Pega, leading a team of about 250 people. During Workhuman (formerly Globoforce) is smaller than Pega and both are subscription software companies, Libretto said he was drawn to Workhuman’s mission to help corporate clients retain and reward their employees. (Pega’s focus is on workflow automation.) Among other things, Workhuman’s software allows companies to recognize employees through a system that collects points that can be redeemed for merchandise.

“It boiled down to the purposefulness of what Workhuman does,” Libretto said.

The commute might also feel like an improvement. No more driving from Lexington to Cambridge. Framingham is actually further from home for libretto. But he spends about the same amount of time in the car because he drives against rush hour traffic as soon as he hits the Mass. peak reached. “Eastbound traffic [into Boston], I can’t imagine it,” Libretto said. “It feels like it’s heavier than ever.”

Back in the groove at CyberArk

Managing Director of Graf CyberArk Udi Mokady is one of those business people who are happy to be face-to-face again. Cybersecurity firm Newton held their signature Impact conference at the last week Hynes Convention Center in the back bay. It was the first in-person Impact conference for CyberArk since the pandemic began two years ago. More than 1,000 employees and customers took part.

One thing Mokady loves about these types of events are all the unscripted moments, the kind that rarely seem to happen on Zoom. One such moment came when Mokady shared a keynote address with him on Thursday Robert Herjavec, a Canadian businessman who stars on the ABC TV show Shark Tank. Mokady pointed to the concept of “cyber debt,” where companies increase their cybersecurity risk by, for example, moving data to cloud storage or allowing employees to work remotely. Herjavec loved the phrase, as Mokady put it, and jokingly took to Mokady to say, “I’m going to start using it and I’m not sure I’ll give you credit for it.”

Even more unexpected was the jam session with Ethan Ben Josepha security services executive at CyberArk, and the Boston-born rock band guesterwho played a set for CyberArk at the House of the Blues. Ben-Joseph apparently reached out to the band on Instagram and asked if he could join on the saxophone. The band was in full swing, and Ben-Joseph hopped onstage during the show for Guster’s single “Satellite” and a cover of Wham’s “Careless Whisper.”

“I loved it,” Mokady said. “It was very characteristic of CyberArk.” Mokady said that means being smart but humble, or in the case of an employee who’s convincing a famous rock band to let him play with them, do it: be brave but humble.


Jon Chesto can be reached at jon[email protected] Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.

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