Mayor’s Column: Women Strengthen our Community

Mayor Martin Walsh at State of the City Address (Photo by Jeremiah Robinson, Mayor’s Office)

A note from Mayor Martin J. Walsh:

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I want to highlight the work women do every day for Boston. When I became Mayor, one of the first things I did was create the Office of Women’s Advancement. Our Office has many women in leadership roles, and women are taking center stage in policy formation and advocacy. I’d like to introduce you to some of the diverse and dynamic women who serve the City of Boston:

As the Director of Human Resources, Vivian Leonard, works to attract, motivate, and retain the qualified, dedicated public servants in our 18,000-strong workforce. A life-long Boston resident currently living in Hyde Park, Vivian is the first woman to hold the position. Outside of her responsibilities at City Hall, she is the Chair for the YMCA Training Inc. program.

Disability Commissioner Kristen McCosh strives to reduce architectural, procedural, attitudinal, and communication barriers that affect people with disabilities. Kristen lives in South Boston and serves on the Quality Home Care Workforce Council of Massachusetts.

Another South Boston resident, Laura Oggeri, serves as Chief of Communications for the City of Boston. Laura focuses on providing the public with information on all our policies and efforts to enhance life in Boston.

Gina Fiandaca, Commissioner of Transportation, oversees Boston’s vast, intricate transportation network. In the GoBoston2030 initiative, Gina is mapping out a 21st-century update to Boston’s existing system. Gina is an East Boston resident and record holder in the Maine Track Club’s Farm to Farm Ultra 50 Mile Marathon.

Sheila Dillon, Chief of Housing and Director of the Department of Neighborhood Development, is striving to make Boston the most livable city in the nation, by enhancing neighborhood vibrancy, all-income access, and strong, safe communities. She also serves on the board of the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, and as Chair of the High Cost Cities Housing Forum. Dillon resides in South Boston

Emily Shea, Commissioner of Elderly Affairs, works to enhance the quality of life for Boston’s older adults. Shea lives in Charleston and serves on the board of the Massachusetts Service Alliance.

Lauren Lockwood, Chief Digital Officer, is strengthening the City’s digital assets. She leads a digital team responsible for transforming citizen experience in three major areas: digital media, digital services, and digital engagement. Lockwood resides in the South End.

Rene Fielding, Director of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), coordinates emergency management, emergency preparedness, and homeland security programming for the City of Boston. Rene lives in Dorchester.

Freda Brasfield, Deputy Chief of  Diversity, is strengthening diversity within local government by looking at hiring practices and procurement within city contracts. Freda is a resident of Hyde Park and sits on the board of the Mattapan Patriots Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading teams.

Joyce Linehan, Chief of Policy. works across all departments, developing policy that shapes the lives of Boston residents, from economic development to environmental stewardship. Joyce is a resident of Dorchester and sits on the board of Interim House in Fields Corner, a residential substance abuse treatment center founded by her mother in 1972.

Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture, is currently working on Boston’s Cultural Plan. As an advocate for the arts community, Burros as been striving to integrate arts into the daily lives of residents and visitors. Julie resides in the West End.

Megan Costello, Director of the Office of Women’s Advancement, works to  provide a permanent, effective voice for all female residents of Boston by working inclusively with public, private, and nonprofit partners on key issues that significantly affect women and girls. Megan serves on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice America and resides in Dorchester.

Alejandra St. Guillen, Director of the Office of New Bostonians, plays an active role in strengthening diverse communities to become active in City life. The Office of New Bostonians provides access for immigrants, and strives to highlight the invaluable contributions of the immigrant community, both past and present. Alejandra serves on the board of Higher Ground, and currently lives in West Roxbury.

Giselle Sterling, Commissioner of Veterans’ Services, is passionate and steadfast in ensuring that veterans and their families are provided services and assistance in times of need. Giselle served in the United States Marine Corps, with one deployment to Afghanistan, and was honorably discharged in 2004. She also serves on the Boston Veterans Advisory Council, the Greater Boston Veterans Collaborative and the Massachusetts Women Veterans’ Network. Giselle resides in the North End.

Trinh Nguyen, Director of Office Jobs and Community Service, works to promote economic self-sufficiency to ensure the full participation of all Boston residents in the city’s economic vitality and future. Trinh also serves on the Department of Transitional Assistance, the US Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, and the Board of Trustees for the Neighborhoods Jobs’ Trust. She currently resides in South Boston.

My administration is dedicated to a better Boston, one where everyone can enjoy economic, social and cultural progress. We are determined to achieve equity in Boston in all spheres. Boston has come a long way, but there is much work left to be done. Together, we continue to work toward a more equitable tomorrow.