It is an honor to be asked by the board of the Alliance to serve as the next Chair of our pioneering organization. Rising out of the aspirations of a group of business leaders less than a decade ago, the Alliance for Business Leadership has become a distinct and important voice in the conversation about how business and government can promote long-term economic growth and prosperity in Massachusetts and America.
Fellow Alliance Leaders include a remarkable number of top national innovation leaders in diverse sectors. We have learned from the example and guidance of leaders like Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor and global thought leader on multiple bottom-line business leadership; Diane Hessan, founder of Communispace and now CEO of the Startup Institute; Kirk Sykes, President of Urban Strategy America (USA) Fund; Gary Hirshberg, Chairman of Stonyfield Farm; Paul Sagan, former Executive Vice Chairman of Akamai Technologies, now at General Catalyst Partners; and Joshua Boger, founder and former CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. They and other Alliance Leaders have offered their guidance towards a new direction for business success that grows out of an active respect for all of the constituencies of our business enterprises including our employees, communities and environment.
This distinct perspective has informed our views on public policy. On issues such as revenue reform, increasing the minimum wage, implementing health insurance reform, immigration reform, public charter schools and clean energy, we have been successful in cutting through the stereotypes of short-sighted business persons or industry-specific groups, which has resulted in a fresh voice on the public scene. Our conversations with leaders like the mayoral candidates for the City of Boston, Senator Ed Markey and the candidates for Congress at our recent conference are examples of candid and informed conversations that enlighten both our Alliance Leaders and top policymakers.
In the time that I am able to take a turn as Chair of our organization, I have a few modest goals:
1) To learn from and seek inspiration from fellow Alliance Leaders on the basis of our shared values and our hopes to run businesses that contribute not just to our financial success but to the success of our community, as well as our hopes to add to the common purpose of increasing opportunities for everyone in our community.
2) To facilitate the participation of Alliance Leaders, whose voices and stories are so extremely powerful, in the public conversation about the issues of our day; to meet with legislators, testify at committees, write op-eds or get together formally and informally; in short, to make a difference.
3) To assist our policymakers in understanding how and why business success takes place in our economy so that together we can help to promote policies that will lead to economic growth, a strong middle class, and the opportunity, at a time of increasing income equality, to make certain that even the most humbly-born children have every chance to be great leaders in business, government and the institutions of our communities.
4) And yes, at some higher level, I hope that our organization can be a voice that supports progressive civic idealism, a meritocratic society, and long-term investment in our community so that we leave a better country to our children and grandchildren.
In closing, I want to thank the founders of the Alliance and particularly our outgoing Chair, Tom Dretler of Shorelight Education, for their leadership and foresight. Tom and the other founders remain committed to our organization and there are many trails ahead of us to blaze. Our door is open for other business leaders to join the Alliance. For more information, click here.