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From Presidents to Paralympians, our Ten Outstanding Young Leaders stand out

Posted by Haley Glenn on August 13, 2019

We're glancing back at the movers and shakers who have forever changed our city before we usher in the 2019 class of Ten Outstanding Young Leaders (TOYL).

Inspiring. Ambitious. Passionate. Visionary. Motivated. 

These are the adjectives that describe this generation of young professionals. Thinkers and doers. Brilliant and bold. Movers and shakers.

Boston has always been a city brimming with talent. From politicians to professors, advocates to entrepreneurs, and everything in-between, our young leaders make moves. 

When President JFK (TOYL ’52) felt his country’s dissatisfaction, he ushered in a “time for greatness.”

When Ayanna Pressley (TOYL ’14) noticed problems, she pushed for policy.   

When Natalya Bailey (TOYL ’18) faced rejection in her pursuit to be an astronaut, she blazed ahead as a rocket scientist instead. 

What will the 2019 class of young leaders do?

What will your young leader do? 

What are the Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Awards?

The Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Awards began as a program of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce as a way to recognize the most prominent and influential young leaders in Boston. Now, more than half a century later, this award has evolved to spotlight young professionals across all sectors who fiercely strive to enhance our city and improve this world.

Today, we’re highlighting three past award recipients, sharing the work they’ve done to make Boston better for everyone. 

Dr. Cheri Blauwet (TOYL ’16) is a doctor, an Olympian, and a marathon champion. A childhood incident left Cheri with a spinal cord injury, resulting in her need for a wheelchair. A high school coach encouraged her to begin racing, a passion of hers which continued into college and led her all the way to Australia for the 2000 Olympics. Throughout the challenge of living with a disability, Cheri demonstrated both perseverance and grit in every part of her life. She didn’t reinvent the wheel; she learned how to race with it. She’s now traded her medals for medicine as the Director of the Kelley Adaptive Sports Research Institute at Brigham & Women’s and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. It was her tenacious spirit and ambition that led the committee to award her as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Leaders of 2016.

Latoyia Edwards (TOYL ’13) anchors for both NBC 10 Boston and NECN. In the 2000s, she graced the pageant stage as Miss Massachusetts 2002, and six years ago, she graced the Boston Chamber’s stage as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Leaders 2013. As a young girl in the 1980s, Latoyia tuned in nightly to watch Liz Walker, the first black female anchor on Boston TV. Inspired by seeing representation in the media, Latoyia has, in turn, followed in the footsteps of Walker and inspires thousands to tune in. NECN colleagues share that Latoyia is gracious yet authoritative, bright and personable. Latoyia’s inspiring example earned her a spot as an outstanding leader.   

Tip O’Neill (TOYL ’74) served as the Speaker of the House (1977-1987) and as a representative of Northern Boston (1953 – 1987), one of the longest serving Speakers of the House in history. As a young college student, he ran for a seat on the Cambridge City Council, but lost. His first (and only) defeat taught him a lesson that was with him the rest of his career, that “all politics is local. His love for not just politics and government, but people, led him to be named one of our outstanding leaders, but also led him to a successful career serving the people of Massachusetts. 

Why should you nominate?

Data from our 2017 report shows that millennials compose more than one third of the population. Here in Boston, we believe in the power of young people. We know that change can happen when those with vision and verve step up to lead. We want to integrate, incorporate, and elevate young leaders. We invite you to join us as we highlight those already shining bright. By nominating a young leader in your network, you are showing that you believe in the power of young people. You are helping to craft a culture of empowering young leaders to catalyze change in our city. 

Whether they built businesses, lead nonprofits, or advocated for advancement, these young leaders have exemplified what it means to be outstanding.

We’re searching for the movers and shakers of today and tomorrow. You don’t want to miss out on helping someone be in the room where it happens. There’s still time left to nominate an outstanding young leader who you know.