Colette Phillips knows a thing or two about trying to knock down the doors of Boston’s entrenched power structure.
When she launched her namesake firm in Boston 30 years ago, Phillips was unusual: a black woman opening a PR agency in a business community dominated by older, white men.
The city’s corporate leadership ranks have become more diverse. But Phillips still sees mostly white faces when she looks around. That’s why she has made it her mission to create what she calls “a more inclusive business climate.”
The latest chapter: a “speed mentoring” event scheduled for Tuesday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, with a goal of cultivating a new generation of diverse professionals.
Phillips has recruited a number of black and Asian executives to participate, such as WGBH general manager Liz Cheng, Holland & Knight partner Steven Wright, Eastern Bank chief banking officer Quincy Miller and Care.com co-founder Donna Levin. Plenty of white men will be pitching in as well, including Tufts Health Plan CEO Tom Croswell and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO Eric Schultz.
Each of these executives will spend 20 minutes dispensing career advice and talking shop at a table with up to 10 attendees before it’s time for them to move on to a new group. More than 250 people are expected to come.
This is the first time for the event, but Phillips hopes to make it an annual one.
“I want to be a convener and facilitator for the ‘New Boston,’” Phillips said. “It’s all about changing the paradigm. The only way you’re going to do that is to get people out of the ivory tower.” — JON CHESTO