Six Business Leaders Join Alliance for Business Leadership Board of Directors

Chenelle Brown and Gustavo Quiroga were elected to the Board in September; Keith Chaney, Tito Jackson, Juana Matias, and Priscilla Rojas were elected to the board Tuesday night

December 16, 2020

BOSTON — This week, the Alliance for Business Leadership (ABL) announced the addition of six new members to its Board of Directors: Chenelle Brown, Keith Chaney, Tito Jackson, Juana Matias, Gustavo Quiroga, and Priscilla Rojas. The new members come from a wide range of industries and experiences and will lend their diverse perspectives and expertise to inform and support ABL’s work in the years ahead. 

“Massachusetts and the country are facing a critical period where the decisions we make now in areas such as infrastructure, housing, and clean energy will determine for years to come whether we will prioritize the needs of our workforce and the sustainable growth of our economy,” said David Gasson, Chair of the Board at ABL. “We are thrilled to be welcoming an incredible new group of leaders to our board who will each bring their own unique talents and perspectives to help ABL fulfill our mission of forwarding progressive policies that make Massachusetts a fairer place to live and work for everyone.”

About the New Board Members:

Chenelle Brown: Chenelle Brown is the Director of Government Affairs & Public Relations at CMBG3 Law, a majority women-led law firm in Boston. In that role, Brown provides strategic advocacy, public policy, and communications guidance by working with clients to develop and maintain positive relationships with a broad network of political, regulatory, and community stakeholders. Prior to her role at CMBG3, Brown worked for several non-profits and in the public and private sectors. She successfully advocated for affordable housing programs at the state and federal level on behalf of one of the nation’s largest managers of affordable housing and helped develop and manage corporate social responsibility initiatives. In addition to her advocacy work for affordable housing, Brown also worked as an advocate for the Boston chapter of a national nonprofit focused on combating poverty.

Keith Chaney: Keith Chaney is the Owner of City Sealcoating, an asphalt maintenance company based in North Andover. Since acquiring the company in 2017, Chaney has grown the business by 300%. In 2016, Chaney founded Hi-Rise Graphics, a graphic design company based in Lawrence that supports institutions and organizations in building their brand awareness. Hi-Rise Graphics is the supplier of all graphics materials to MGM National Harbor and MGM Springfield. For twenty years, Chaney worked in public service and in senior roles at MassDOT, the Governor’s Office, and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office. 

Tito Jackson: Tito Jackson is the CEO of Verdant Medical, a Massachusetts medical and recreational cannabis company, and the only Black-owned medical operator in the state. Prior to founding Verdant, Jackson served on the Boston City Council from 2011-2018, where he was the Chair of the Committee on Education and the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities. Before serving as Councilor, Jackson was the industry director for information technology in Governor Patrick’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. Throughout his experience as a business leader, advocate, and politician, Jackson gained extensive knowledge within the technology and healthcare sectors. 

Juana Matias: Juana Matias joined MassINC as Chief Operating Officer in 2019, where she oversees the organization’s operations, performance, and growth. Prior to joining MassINC, Juana served as a Massachusetts State Representative, becoming one of the first elected Latina immigrant women in the state. During her time in the Legislature, Juana supported legislation to make college affordable, protect immigrants, and promote minority-owned and women-owned businesses.

Gustavo Quiroga: Gustavo Quiroga brings extensive experience in urban development to ABL. He is the Director of Neighborhood Strategy and Development at Graffito, a real estate consulting firm in Boston that focuses on ground floor planning, activation, retail leasing, and branding. In his role, Quiroga leads early-stage planning for neighborhood-scale projects. Prior to joining Graffito in 2014, Gustavo focused on urban economic development, community organizing, and launching social enterprises. He helped lead former Boston City Councilor Mike Ross’ campaign for Mayor in 2013 as a senior staffer.

Priscilla Rojas: Priscilla Rojas is the Director of Internal Audit and Compliance at Takeoff Technologies, a Waltham-based company that specializes in developing automated e-grocery solutions. Rojas has over sixteen years of international audit and consulting experience with numerous Fortune 500 companies. Rojas also serves as the Chairman of the Boston Planning & Development Agency Board, responsible for voting on final determinations and agreements at the agency to guide physical, social, and economic changes in Boston’s neighborhoods.

About the Alliance for Business Leadership

The Alliance for Business Leadership is a coalition of progressive CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders at all levels who believe that social responsibility and the sustainable growth of the Massachusetts economy go hand in hand.

Statement: The Progressive Business Community Celebrates the Results of the 2020 Presidential Election

There has been a dark shadow hanging over progressives in Massachusetts and across the country for the past 4 years. We watched as our leaders harnessed bigotry and fear to roll back hard-fought progress and snuff out our policy priorities at the federal level. Income inequality has soared, a pandemic has killed hundreds of thousands, and our economy has contracted, harming families and the most vulnerable.

Today, we are filled with the hope of possibility. The business community has every reason to be optimistic about the future and excited that America has renewed its promise to work toward becoming more inclusive, welcoming, and progressive over time. We look forward to restored leadership in the White House that once again respects the rule of law, democratic norms, and the truth.

The Alliance for Business Leadership congratulates President-Elect Joe Biden on his victory and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on her historic ascendance to the Vice Presidency as the first woman, Black American, and Indian American to hold that office.

In the coming months, we will be maximizing our impact by ramping up our work to educate, organize, and advocate around transportation and housing investment, action on the climate crisis and clean energy, and prioritizing equity in the economic recovery and diversity in the workplace. We join with our fellow Americans in celebrating this historic day and planning for a more progressive future.

JOINT STATEMENT OF MASSACHUSETTS BUSINESS LEADERS ON IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON BUSINESS COMMUNITY

“As businesses and families across the country continue to be impacted by the disruptions brought by COVID-19, we have been encouraged to see business leaders from across the Commonwealth and the country step up to take care of their employees, and lift up their broader communities.

As our medical professionals and institutions take the lead on protecting the health of our residents and containing the spread of the virus, the Commonwealth’s business community stands together with a unified voice to advocate for solutions that can provide immediate support and relief to impacted businesses and workers across the Commonwealth, and help them recover in the weeks and months ahead. We are grateful for initial steps that the Baker-Polito Administration, the Legislature, municipal leaders, and other local officials have already taken to create additional funding streams, including low interest loans to small business owners who need them to continue operations and pay their employees. Additional solutions are urgently needed and we are here to partner with government to move quickly to ensure the needs of employees and employers are addressed in a timely and equitable way.

No industry is immune to the impacts of this crisis. Hundreds of thousands of families in the Commonwealth are experiencing its negative effects or bracing for what is to come. As their advocates, we will continue to elevate their voices as we assess the impact on businesses of all sizes throughout Massachusetts, and explore avenues to work alongside the philanthropic and elected leaders at the state and local level to help mitigate the economic fallout as this crisis continues to grow.”

Jay Ash, President & CEO, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership

Jennifer Benson, President, Alliance for Business Leadership

JD Chesloff, Executive Director, Massachusetts Business Roundtable

Tim Murray, President and CEO, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

John Regan, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Massachusetts

Emily Reichert, Chief Executive Officer, Greentown Labs

James Rooney, President and CEO, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

CA Webb, President, Kendall Square Association