Celebrating the Women in 2018 Who Have Inspired Us

By Satta Sarmah Hightower | December 20, 2018 | 5 Minute Read

From making sure that our city is more diverse and inclusive to elevating women in the corporate world and higher education, women leaders have made a significant impact within their communities this year. Here’s a recap of the women in 2018 whom Eastern Bank has highlighted for their groundbreaking work.

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion

As the President and CEO of the Partnership, Inc., an organization focused on diversifying New England’s workforce, Carol Fulp is a changemaker. Named one of Boston’s 50 Most Powerful People, Fulp says fostering diversity isn’t only the right thing to do—it’s essential for a business’s success.

Fulp isn’t the only leader with this mission. Dr. Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, the CEO of Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA)—a nonprofit focused on helping Massachusetts families find affordable housing, education and employment—has spent the last 15 years working with policymakers, law enforcement, and other cross-functional groups to propel change in the city and provide more opportunities for multicultural communities.

A Dedication to Community Activism

The Shaws are no strangers to caring for a community. Sarah-Ann and her daughter, Klare, have championed several causes focused on fostering more equity and justice in the city.

During the Civil Rights Era, Sarah-Ann played a large role in coordinating voter and housing education efforts. Klare’s career has focused more on working with organizations to better the state of Massachusetts and Boston public schools.

Even though they’ve been activists for decades, the Shaws say there’s still more work to do.

“People ask me what’d I’d like to see happen,” says Sarah-Ann. “I would like to see a more level playing field. Whether that’s people sitting on boards, people getting jobs, people getting a proper education, people getting a house—a roof over their heads.”

Building a Legacy of Higher Education

Pat Meservey, the president emerita of Salem State University, has spent her career working to advance women in leadership and education.

Under Meservey’s leadership, Salem State’s graduation rates increased, especially among minority students. Like the Shaws, she works to create a more level playing field where everyone has the same opportunities.

“How important is equal opportunity? It’s essential for our society,” she says. “If we’re able to provide education across all economic groups, then everyone is going to have an opportunity to succeed and that’s going to make for a better society.”

Opening Doors for Women in STEM

In 1989, Judy Nitsch launched Nitsch Engineering, one of the state’s top 25 engineering firms. And over the last 30 years, she’s been a vocal champion for advancing women and helping them to receive the same opportunities that she struggled to earn early in her career.

Today her engineering staff at Nitsch Engineering is 37 percent women, versus 12 percent for civil engineering nationally. For the last 16 years, Nitsch also has hosted “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day—empowering young girls to seek out opportunities in STEM.

Advancing the Rights of the LGBTQ Community

For more than 40 years, Catherine D’Amato has worked to safeguard the rights of the LGBTQ community. She was the founding incorporator of the world’s first LGBTQ foundation, the Horizon’s Foundation, and served on the New England regional board and the national Board of Governors for the Human Rights Campaign in Boston. Along with this advocacy work, for 23 years D’Amato has led the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Like D’Amato, Nancy Stager, Eastern Bank’s executive vice president for human resources and charitable giving, has dedicated herself to civil rights causes. She’s an advocate for full transgender equality, works on climate change issues, and volunteers her time throughout the year to various charitable initiatives.

Learn more about the women leaders who are affecting change within their communities.

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