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.

The Wachusett Business Incubator Joins the Alliance for Business Leadership

GARDNER, MA –The Alliance for Business Leadership (ABL) is excited to announce that the Wachusett Business Incubator (WBI) has joined the organization of progressive business leaders.

The Wachusett Business Incubator was founded in 2015 and fosters economic growth in North Central Massachusetts by providing targeted assistance to entrepreneurs and inventors in the region in the form of office space, strategic growth advice, and access to investors. WBI has grown to more than a dozen member businesses and formed strategic relationships with local academic institutions and workforce development agencies.

This month, WBI is expanding to locations in Fitchburg, Orange, and Athol to assist businesses struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing triage services including amending business plans, reviewing finances, and helping business owners emerge from the crisis in stronger positions.

“WBI is thrilled to be joining ABL’s network to collaborate with like-minded business leaders who believe in sustainable growth and corporate social responsibility,” said Scott Graves, Executive Director of the Wachusett Business Incubator. “We were founded to cultivate the economic development potential of the region and our unique model has allowed us to quickly adapt to the changing needs of local businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.”

“We’re happy to have Scott and the members of the WBI joining ABL, and for ABL to be establishing a strong foothold in North Central Massachusetts,” said Jen Benson, President of the Alliance for Business Leadership. “Scott has already proved to be an active and enthusiastic member of ABL and an important voice on our Climate and Energy Council.”

The Alliance for Business Leadership is a coalition of CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders who are the progressive voice of the business community in public policy discourse around clean energy, transportation, housing, and workplace opportunities.

ABL Elects New Chair and Treasurer to Board of Directors

BOSTON —  This week, the Alliance for Business Leadership (ABL), a coalition of progressive Massachusetts business leaders, announced that David Gasson, Vice President and Director at Boston Capital Corporation, has been elected to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors. Juan Carlos Morales, Managing Director at Surfside Capital Advisors, will replace Gasson as Treasurer. Beth Monaghan, who served as Chair of the Board from 2018-2020, will remain an active member of ABL

“The Alliance for Business Leadership works with an incredible coalition of business leaders from across the Commonwealth that value social responsibility as core to their organizations’ missions and activities,” said Gasson. “Our work to create a more equitable and sustainable economy that cares for our workforce is as urgent as ever, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to work with ABL to advance solutions to critical challenges facing communities throughout the state.”

Gasson served on ABL’s Board as Treasurer for the past 12 years, and is Vice President and a Director at Boston Capital, where he’s responsible for managing external communications. He serves as Executive Director of the Housing Advisory Group where he advocates for affordable housing and community development issues at the federal level and across the country. He also sits on the Steering Committee of the Affordable Rental Housing ACTION Campaign, and will bring his years of experience in government and as an advocate for housing issues to his new leadership role at ABL. Gasson also serves on the Board of Directors at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, and sits on the Community Advisory Board of WBUR, Boston’s public radio station.

Morales joined ABL’s Board of Directors in 2019, and was elected by the Board to take over Gasson’s position as treasurer. Morales is the founder and managing director of Surfside Capital Advisors LLC, a financial advisory firm which helps businesses design and execute growth strategies. Previously, Morales was a Fortune 500 financial services executive where he served as global chief financial officer. In 2016, he was appointed by Governor Baker to serve on the Board of Directors of MassDevelopment, and is a co-founder of the Latino Legacy Fund at the Boston Foundation and the Boston Chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America.

“I have spent my career working with talented leaders in Massachusetts’ business community, and I know the potential we have to create change when we come together to tackle the pressing issues affecting families and businesses in our communities,” said Morales. “ABL’s work to address our state’s affordable housing crisis and infrastructure challenges are just a few reasons why I am proud to serve on their board, and I look forward to working with David and the entire team to continue promoting progressive policies that will shape our economy for the better.”

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.