Women’s Leadership Breakfast
Wednesday, June 7, 2023 @ 8:30 AM
Omni Parker House, 60 School St, Boston, MA 02108
The event featured a panel discussion on The Reshaping of Our Commonwealth for a More Inclusive Economy: How Women are Leading this Movement.
Learn more about our panelists, sponsors, and the media coverage of our first Women’s Leadership Breakfast!
GBH NEWS REPORTER
Hilina D. Ajakaiye
AT MEET BOSTON
HANNAH E. KANE
11TH WORCESTER DISTRICT
KATHLEEN C. HENRY
IN THE MEDIA
Diversity in Massachusetts Legislature, economy key to equitable future, stakeholders say
Changemakers like Massachusetts Women in Politics President Gail Jackson-Blount are giving women and women of color a “seat at the table” as lawmakers prepare to tackle massive racial and gender inequities laid bare by the pandemic. The group will gather lawmakers and industry leaders at its inaugural breakfast to celebrate women leaders’ growing ranks in politics and business, including a panel on making the state economy more inclusive.
Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, which aims to help women get elected, holds breakfast event
Members of an organization dedicated to getting more women elected or appointed to political office in Massachusetts gathered Wednesday in Boston.
The breakfast held at the Omni Parker House was the inaugural event for the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus. It featured a panel discussion on women’s issues in the professional workplace and in politics.
Senator Miranda serves as the Chairwoman for the Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights, and Inclusion, and the Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development, as well as serves as a member of the Joint Ways & Means Committee.
Prior to serving in the Massachusetts Senate, Senator Miranda served two terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In her first term in the House, she was a lead author in the police reform omnibus bill that passed in 2021. She has passed legislation to provide enforceable tools to protect the life and health of environmental justice communities, improve maternal health outcomes of Black women and birthing people, extend postpartum health insurance coverage, end solitary confinement in state prisons, and ensure vaccine equity in the communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the daughter of Cabo Verdean immigrants, Senator Miranda has been a tireless advocate for immigrant justice and has led on the safe communities act as well as the work and family mobility act.
In 2017, Senator Miranda lost her 28-year-old brother, Michael Miranda, to gun violence. After her decades long advocacy for gun violence prevention, losing her brother was a catalyst in her entrance to electoral politics. Embracing her lived experience as a survivor of homicide, Senator Miranda has been a champion for violence prevention funding, which has tripled since her first term.
Prior to serving in the Massachusetts Legislature, Senator Miranda was a non- profit executive, entrepreneur, and community organizer, which began as a youth organizer in the Dudley Triangle, fighting to rebuild her community and protect land. Her professional roles have included serving as the Executive Director for the Hawthorne Youth and Community Center and Director of Youth Opportunity Development at Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI).
In 2021, she was inducted into the Academy of Women Achievers of YW Boston, received Progressive Legislator of the Year Award by Progressive Massachusetts, Emerge Women of the Year, Boston Magazine’s Best Leader in 2021, was named one of Boston’s Most Impactful Black Women, and served as Wellesley College’s commencement speaker.
Senator Miranda is a Wellesley College alumna and proud graduate of Boston Public Schools, graduating from the John D O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Boston Alumnae Chapter and the Wellesley Club of Boston.
Hilina D. Ajakaiye
Executive Vice President at Meet Boston
Hilina D. Ajakaiye brings more than 15 years of sales, marketing and operations expertise as well as an international perspective to her position at Meet Boston.
A native of Ethiopia, she immigrated to the United States in 1987, perfected English as a second language, and simultaneously graduated with her high school diploma and an associate degree at age 17. She went on to pursue her undergraduate studies at the University of Massachusetts and later earned her MBA in International Marketing Management from Northeastern University in 2017.
Responsible for growing Boston’s market share of visitors, Ajakaiye has specific oversight of the day-to-day operations across a variety of functions including: human resources, membership development, finance, leisure destination services (including two Visitor Information Centers), marketing and operations, operating budgets, financial practices and revenue generation.
Previously, Ajakaiye worked for more than 15 years for Ahold Delhaize, an international grocery retail company servicing more than 54 million shoppers weekly. She was promoted throughout her tenure, during which she led 150+ direct reports across 22 stores with 3,600+ employees and received national recognition for her success in leading multiple teams and overseeing an operating budget of $805 million in annual revenue.
Ajakaiye is passionate about initiatives and causes to advance young women and women empowerment overall, especially in underserved communities. She has been called on to serve on The Network of Executive Women (NEW), as board director for Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Progreso Latino, as a board trustee for the Woodward School for Girls, and currently as co-chair for the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee for Destination International.
Ajakaiye is an inductee into the Big Brothers, Big Sisters “People We Admire” program and is a graduate of The Partnership, Inc.’s Leadership Program in Boston and of Leadership Rhode Island. She was named 2019 “Rhode Islander of the Year” by Rhode Island Monthly for her work as the Founder of the R.I.S.E. Women’s Leadership Conference.
Ajakaiye enjoys traveling and spending time with her two children and husband.
Representative Hannah E. Kane
Hannah Kane (R – Shrewsbury) serves as the State Representative for the Eleventh Worcester District, representing the towns of Shrewsbury and Westborough, precinct 4, and was sworn in for her fifth term in January 2023.
Hannah graduated from Boston University’s School of Management in 1993 and has significant leadership experience in both the public and private sectors. Hannah began her career working at Unum Insurance Company before being recruited by Lt. Governor Paul Cellucci to work in the Weld/Cellucci Administration on the redevelopment of the former 4,400-acre Fort Devens Army Base and on the merger of 2 quasi-public state agencies into the economic development authority MassDevelopment. Hannah returned to the private sector as Vice President of a consulting firm, and later co-owned and served as managing partner of Beaton Kane Construction.
Hannah is deeply committed to public service, and has helped lead and shape policy on the state level, working in a bipartisan manner to grow consensus and advance critical legislation and budget priorities, with a focus on public health, life sciences, health disparities and food insecurity.
Hannah serves in the 193 rd Legislative Session as the Ranking Minority Member on the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, on the Joint Committee on Public Health, and on the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, and she is also a Member of the House Committee on Ethics. Hannah is a State Director for the national Women in Government Foundation and is Co-chair of the bipartisan and bicameral Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators.
Hannah serves on the Massachusetts Rare Disease Advisory Council, the Women’s Rights History Trail Task Force, the Massachusetts Food Policy Council, the Commission on Malnutrition Prevention Among Older Adults, and the Massachusetts Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. Hannah is a Founder and Co-chair of the first in the nation Food System Caucus, the second largest caucus in the Legislature, and last fall, Hannah launched the MA Legislative Caucus on Cancer Awareness.
Hannah and her husband Jim have lived in Shrewsbury for twenty-five years and have three children.
Kathleen C. Henry
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Eastern Bankshares, Inc. and Eastern Bank (together, Eastern) and Eastern’s Chief Human Resources Officer
Prior to joining Eastern, Kathy served as the General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel at Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation; and before that was a litigator at Choate, Hall & Stewart, where she also served as the firm’s hiring and pro bono partner.
Kathy currently serves on the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) Board of Trustees, Executive Committee and Grants Committee. She has co-chaired the BBF Adams Ball and the Annual Meeting. She is a member of the Boston Bar Association (BBA) and has served on or chaired various of its committees. Kathy is an alumna of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program.
She serves on the Board of Directors for the Political Asylum/ Immigration Representation Project; serves on the Advisory Committee for the Women in the Law Conference of Northeastern University Law School and was recently nominated by Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey to serve as Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Judicial Nominating Committee.
Kathy is a graduate of Boston University (B.A.Journalism) and Northeastern University School of Law. She is a ten-time Boston Marathoner and ran in honor of Martin Richard as part of Team MR8 in 2015.