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GBCC Announces 2018 Impact Report & 10 New Pacesetter Companies

February 04, 2019

Today the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce released a year one Impact Report for its groundbreaking Pacesetters Program - a partnership of large and midsized Greater Boston Chamber member organizations who have committed to leveraging their collective purchasing power to create opportunities at scale for local enterprises of color. The report highlights the benefits of the program to Pacesetter companies and participating minority owned businesses (MBEs), called Pacesetter Priority Suppliers. The report is attached and can be viewed online here.

In its first year, the Pacesetters program resulted in 13 new business deals between Pacesetters and Priority Suppliers, resulting in $3 million in new revenue for MBEs. In addition, the Chamber added 68 MBE companies as Pacesetter Priority Suppliers by working with business support organizations such as Eastern Bank’s Business Equity Initiative, Commonwealth Kitchen, and Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, to name just a few. Pacesetter companies experienced valuable peer learning, shared best practices, referred MBEs to one another, and were able to directly connect with vetted MBEs through Chamber-facilitated networking programs.

In addition to releasing the report, the Chamber also announced the addition of 10 new Pacesetters, bringing the total number of participating companies to 21.

New Pacesetters include:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA
  • Citizens Bank
  • Encore Boston Harbor
  • Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation
  • National Grid
  • Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP
  • State Street Corporation
  • University of Massachusetts
  • Verizon
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Pacesetter companies are Chamber members who understand the business case of economic inclusion and who are committed to increasing their contracts with minority-owned businesses as suppliers of their companies’ products, supplies, and services. Together, they work to set aspirational goals to enhance their individual existing supplier diversity programs and inspire the entire business community to do the same. The new 10 companies join the Boston Red Sox, Comcast, Eastern Bank, Gilbane, John Hancock, Fidelity, Northeastern University, P&G Gillette, Partners HealthCare, Tufts Health Plan and the Greater Boston Chamber itself to make 21 total Pacesetters. In addition to serving as a Pacesetter, John Hancock is an overall sponsor of the Chamber’s economic opportunity initiatives.

We are incredibly pleased with our first year of results from the Pacesetters program, but more importantly excited about the insights year one provided in setting the bar even higher for 2019,” said James E. Rooney, president & CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber. “Together with our Pacesetters and the many business support organizations as our partners, we are creating an ecosystem where minority owned businesses can get off the ground, get connected, grow and keep growing. It is a long-term initiative, but we’re already seeing the impact we can make when the business community comes together to raise the bar.

“At Blue Cross, we strive to create a more inclusive and culturally competent organization so we can better serve our members across the Commonwealth,” said Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “We’re proud to join the Pacesetters initiative to increase opportunities for minority business enterprises, since we know a more equitable city will create a competitive advantage for Boston, allowing business and the community to thrive.” 

“Greater Boston’s diverse business community is integral to the state’s economic success, and we all have a responsibility to ensure it is thriving,” said Jerry Sargent, president of Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “The Boston Chamber has long championed a proactive, collaborative approach to addressing challenges and fostering inclusion. We are proud to join them in the Pacesetters initiative focused on supporting diverse suppliers and inclusive growth, which will strengthen businesses and communities for generations to come.” 

"Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) was founded on six core values, one of them being that the benefits of expanding community investment should flow to the minority workers and the minority-owned businesses (MBEs) in those communities. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Pacesetters Initiative is a fantastic opportunity to join like-minded companies working towards a more inclusive and equitable marketplace. MHIC looks forward to sharing best practices, learning from others, and creating more access and opportunities for Greater Boston's MBE community."

 “National Grid is strongly committed to the communities we serve, and supports programs designed to help improve our customers’ experience. We are proud to work with the Boston Chamber and the Pacesetters programs as we seek to increase economic opportunities for all Greater Boston minority business enterprises.” – Marcy Reed, National Grid, President, MA Jurisdiction

“Nutter is proud to support the Pacesetters Initiative. As diversity and inclusion are core values of the firm, we genuinely take an interest in ensuring that minority-owned businesses are given the opportunity to flourish in our communities.” – Deborah J. Manus, Managing Partner, Nutter.  

 “UMass has a singular role in the Commonwealth in promoting economic and social mobility in minority communities, from delivering a transformative education to a diverse student population to purchasing nearly $20 million in goods and services annually from minority-owned businesses,” said University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan. “We are proud of our longstanding commitment to supplier diversity in the Commonwealth and our support of the Chamber’s supplier diversity initiatives in Greater Boston, extended now through our participation in the Pacesetters Initiative.”   

“Verizon is committed to fostering an inclusive environment and applauds the Greater Boston Chamber’s leadership in creating the Pacesetters program. Verizon builds long-term value for our customers by continuously identifying and expanding effective business partnerships with diverse suppliers. These mutually beneficial relationships enable us to provide excellent service and innovative solutions for our customers, while broadening our reach in the competitive marketplace. Diverse suppliers are one of Verizon's most valuable resources.”  - Donna Cupelo, Region President, Verizon New England 

“We at Vertex are committed to improving diversity & inclusion across every aspect of our business, and our suppliers and partners are a critical component of that effort,” said Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vertex. “We’re proud to join the Pacesetters program and support the Chamber in our collective efforts to foster a more inclusive innovation ecosystem.”

Launched in January 2018, the Pacesetters program is the result of a year-long collaboration between the Chamber, its Committee on Economic Opportunity - a sub-group of the Executive Committee charged with developing the united response of the business community to economic inequality. The program is modeled after the Minority Business Accelerator out of the Cincinnati Regional Chamber. Learn more at BostonChamber.com/programs-events/pacesetters

To celebrate year one and kickoff year two, a Pacesetters event and reception will be held tomorrow evening from 5:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. at the Chamber’s Offices at 265 Franklin Street on the 17th Floor. The following individuals will offer brief remarks:

  • James E. Rooney, President & CEO, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
  • Sheena Collier, Director of Economic Growth, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
  • Jen Faigel, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Commonwealth Kitchen
  • Marianne Lancaster, President, Lancaster Packaging
  • Marty Meehan, President, University of Massachusetts