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Chamber Announces Annual Meeting Theme, Inductees into the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians

March 07, 2019

On May 15, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce will host its Annual Meeting at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center with the theme Women in Business: All In. With a theme of “All In,” the event will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Chamber’s Women’s Network and embrace the business community’s role in making Greater Boston and Massachusetts the best – and most equitable – place in the world for women professionals to thrive. The event will feature an all-female lineup of honorees, keynote speakers, and co-chairs.

 Each year at the Annual Meeting, the Chamber inducts members of the business community into its prestigious Academy of Distinguished Bostonians. The honor recognizes leaders who have not only demonstrated an exemplary career of outstanding leadership within their organizations and their industries, but who have also been committed to making Greater Boston the best place for people and businesses to thrive. In addition to all of the above credentials, this year’s inductees into the Academy have made it their priority to support and advance professional women at all levels of their careers.

 Our 2019 honorees include Sandra Fenwick, CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital; Deborah Jackson, President of Cambridge College; and Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder, Chairwoman and CEO of Care.com. Fenwick, Jackson, and Lirio Marcelo will join an accomplished group of Academy members, including business leaders, philanthropists, local and national elected officials, cultural dignitaries, and sports greats. 

“I can’t think of a better way to mark a major milestone year for the Women’s Network than by honoring these three remarkable leaders,” said James E. Rooney, president and CEO of the GBCC. “Sandra, Deborah, and Sheila are the definition of Distinguished Bostonians, and their contributions resonate far beyond Boston. We look forward to celebrating them, and all Greater Boston women in business, at this year’s Annual Meeting.”


Sandra Fenwick is the Chief Executive Officer of Boston Children’s Hospital. As the leader of the nation’s #1 pediatric hospital and the leading center of pediatric research, Ms. Fenwick has been instrumental in developing and executing strategies that have elevated the hospital’s standing in its field. Under her leadership, Boston Children’s Hospital is harnessing its powerful combination of clinical care and biomedical research to drive breakthroughs that advance and improve child health worldwide.  Prior to her arrival at Boston Children’s, Ms. Fenwick served as senior vice president of System Development for CareGroup, Inc. From 1976 to 1996, she served in a number of senior executive roles at the Beth Israel Hospital in operations, strategy and business development. In addition to her leadership at Boston Children’s, Ms. Fenwick serves on several Boards including CIRCO, LTD., Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically-inspired Engineering, the Children’s Hospital Association, and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, to name just a few.

"I'm pleased to accept this award on behalf of the entire Boston Children's team, whose extraordinary work and dedication benefits thousands of patients and families every day, and advances and improves the health and well-being of children throughout the world.  I applaud the Chamber for its longstanding commitment to workplace equality, and for all it has done – and continues to do – to ensure that Boston is the best place for women to contribute and succeed professionally," said Fenwick.


Deborah Jackson is the fourth president of Cambridge College. Since she joined the institution in 2011, the college has been named one of “America’s Top 100 Graduate Degree Producers” by Higher Education magazine and the School of Management ranked third in awarding master’s in business/commerce degrees to African-American students, higher than any other private, non-profit college in the nation. Prior to joining Cambridge College, President Jackson served for nearly a decade as CEO of the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts, and, before that, as vice president of the Boston Foundation. She has also held the position of Senior Vice President at Boston Children’s Hospital and CEO of Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, Inc. She is currently the Lead Director of the Board of Directors of Eastern Bank and serves on the boards of the Eastern Bank Foundation and the Massachusetts Women’s Forum. She is the former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts.

“I am honored to receive this award from the Chamber and to join the ranks of the many Boston leaders who I admire and who have been my role models over the years. At Cambridge College our mission has always been to open doors for those who have not had equal access. The Chamber’s work with advancing women and most recently minority businesses is so aligned with our values and it makes this award especially meaningful for me. And I am also delighted to be in the company of two amazing women – Sandi and Sheila,” said Jackson.


Sheila Lirio Marcelo founded Care.com in 2006 after her firsthand experience as a working mother seeking care for her two small children and ailing parents. Today, her company is now the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care, serving more than 30 million people across 20 countries. Prior to founding Care.com, Ms. Lirio Marcelo was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Matrix Partners and held executive positions at Upromise, helping families save for college and at executive search engine TheLadders.com. She sits on the Boards of Northwestern Mutual, Boston Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees, the U.S. Library of Congress Trust Fund, and the Philippine Development Foundation. 

“I’m honored and deeply humbled to be inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians alongside Sandra and Deborah, two women I greatly admire. The Chamber has always been a champion of and advocate for the advancement of women in all walks of life, understanding that when women thrive, we strengthen families and the economy throughout the region,” said Lirio Marcelo.

The Greater Boston Chamber’s 2019 Annual Meeting will be jointly chaired by Linda Dorcena Forry, vice president, diversity, inclusion and community for Suffolk, and Marianne Harrison, president and CEO of John Hancock. The event is a signature convening for the region, and one of the largest gatherings of the Greater Boston business community, attracting more than 1,800 business, government and civic leaders. More information on the Annual Meeting and a list of past inductees are available online.