path by canal

Clearing the Path


     A meeting to advance

 Massachusetts’ Competitive Position

in the global economy by closing the 

Gender Wage Gap &

     increasing the number of Women on Boards of Directors

On June 11, 2014, the Alliance for Business Leadership hosted over 140 of the most prominent CEOs and business leaders in Massachusetts to galvanize action on advancing women in the workplace.


A candid, problem-solving meeting of thought leaders and CEOs to advance the gender diversity goal, specifically supporting: 

A critical mass of committed executives will engage in a candid, closed-door conversation to share best practices, dispel myths, and show others the way. We will specifically examine ways CEO’s have overcome barriers to making progress.

Given overwhelming agreement that the time has come, we’ll wrestle with the question:

 HOW can we help more executives embrace GENDER DIVERSITY

 and CLEAR THE PATH, remove barriers and advance progress?

Massachusetts can and should lead the nation on the role of women in business.


“CLEARING THE PATH”  is not a new organization.  The goal is to add energy and impetus to the work of the MANY ORGANIZATIONS focusing on closing the Gender Wage Gap and increasing the number of women on boards.




Who participated?

Click here for a list of confirmed participants. 


What were the results?

Click here for a summary of suggestions and best practices. 


trish karter websizeTrish Karter


Dancing Deer Baking Company

Jim Roosevelt websizeJim Roosevelt

President & CEO

Tufts Health Plan

Rosabeth Moss KanterRosabeth Moss Kanter


Harvard Business School


An invitation-only gathering of Massachusetts CEOs & Business Leaders welcomed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh.

PARTICIPANT CRITERIA: Chairperson, CEO or Leader of a Company or Organization with at least $25 million in sales or 200 Employees.


IF YOU ARE NOT A CEO OR LEADER but would like to support Clearing the Path, we invite you to learn about the 100% Talent Compact and 2020 Women on Boards.

100% Talent: The Boston Women’s Compact

Our mission is to make Greater Boston the premier place for working women in America by closing the wage gap and removing the visible and invisible barriers to women’s advancement. By doing so, we will build a more equitable workforce where all talent is cultivated and valued.


2020 Women on Boards

is a national campaign to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020.


Jeff Bussgang 150 wThis state is a magnet for some of the most talented people in the world – irrespective of gender, color, place of origin or religion. We are a meritocratic community driven by intellectual horsepower. To achieve our aspirations for this amazing ecosystem, we need all the best minds in the room, not just half of them. Creating a culture of inclusion represents the “New Boston,” the new City on a Hill, and it is critical that all of our leaders work hard to reinforce that culture from the board room to the work bench to the hackathon.


-Jeff Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners

Diane Hessan headshotIf you are like me, you are shocked that we still have a problem with equal pay for equal work in 2014. This issue affects men as well as women, in that the workers who are paid unfairly are our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, and the many promising young women employees who are trying to pay off college loans and who are not able to do it as quickly as their male friends. Of course, it is equally shocking that we have seemingly progressive companies in Massachusetts with no women in senior management or on their boards. It’s time for a new level of change, for a commitment to creatinga much better and fairer world for all of our talent.

Diane Hessan, Chair, Communispace

As the chair of the Boston Club’s Corporate Advisory Board, I have seen first-hand how advancing women to significant and visible leadership roles can have lasting and meaningful impact on business performance. While many today recognize the importance of having a diverse board and executive suite, women still occupy far too few of these spots. I’m pleased to see the Alliance for Business Leadership adding its voice to the debate.

-William K. Bacic, New England Managing Partner, Deloitte Services LLP

Nearly 25 percent of the MHA member hospitals have a female President or CEO, almost a quarter of the Trustees and more than 31% of the Board Chairs are women. Compare the Fortune 500, where just 5% have a woman at the helm, less than 17% of Board members and 3% of Chairs are women. Massachusetts can lead the nation and the healthcare industry is showing the state how to do it.

-Lynn Nicholas, President & CEO, Massachusetts Hospital Association

deborah dunsire headshotIn the business of bringing forward new medicines to conquer serious brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia, every mind matters.  At FORUM Pharmaceuticals, our operating assumption is that the only path to achieve our vision is through accessing the best and brightest talent available.  To effectively compete for the highest caliber talent and drive results, we must embrace diversity in all its aspects.  Massachusetts has the potential to lead in scientific innovation if we capitalize on the full potential of all our citizens. Gender bias has no place here!

-Deborah Dunsire , MD; President and CEO FORUM Pharmaceuticals

C 2009 by Fred Field.fredfield.comAfter many millennia of virtually every societal institution, from government to business to education, being run on values such as domination, aggression, competition, short-termism, results at any cost and a zero sum view, the world is fundamentally shifting towards higher consciousness and the rise of so-called feminine values such as nurturing, caring, compassion and interdependence. The kind of leadership the world needs today comes naturally to most women, whereas many men have to unlearn what they think leadership is all about and develop new ways to be. We must create the conditions where talented women are given the opportunity to make the extraordinary contributions to our collective well-being that they are so capable to making. Our state has the opportunity to lead in this area, as it has done in so many other ways. 

-Raj Sisodia, FW Olin Distinguished Professor, Babson College; co-founder and co-Chairman, Conscious Capitalism Inc.



Cathy Minehan, Chair of the Boston Women’s Workforce Council, and  Dean of the Simmons College School of Management, greets Clearing the Path participants.



1 – Ensure that Massachusetts has the best talent for success – today and tomorrow

2 – Agree that this region can and should lead the nation on these two metrics

3 – Make advancing women’s role a priority for the businesses in Massachusetts

4 – Accelerate change locally & nationally – help put wind in the sails of these efforts

5 – Seize the opportunity to strengthen our workforce, economy & social fabric

NOTE: We are NOT creating a new organization or duplicating existing efforts. We want to BUILD MOMENTUM within a committed group of leaders to accelerate progress and support the many excellent organizations already doing good work on these issues.



The 100% Talent Compact
2020 Women on Boards
Associated Industries of Massachusetts
Bentley Center for Women and Business
Bentley University
The Boston Foundation
The Boston Club
Boston Women Communicators
Boston Women’s Workforce Council
Center for Women and Enterprise
The Commonwealth Institute
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
ION Women
Simmons School of Management
The New England Venture Capital Association