Event Speakers

2022/2023 Season 

September 20, 2023

David Paleologos, Director, Suffolk University Political Research Center

David Paleologos Bio.pdf


2021/2022 Season

September 7, 2021  

Elizabeth Shaw, Author & Strategic Consulant Davine

Elizabeth Shaw is an author, entrepreneur, and eternal optimist. Her mission is to build a world of optimism through practical guidance on how optimism is critical for individual fulfillment and success, organizational growth and longevity, and community development and flourishing. Elizabeth has over 20 years of organizational, operational, and event management experience. Her company, Davine Inc., is a strategic consulting firm dedicated to facilitating individual and organizational experiences, events, and engagement that build cultures of optimism. Known for immediately inspiring confidence with her warmth and expertise, Elizabeth’s relentless pursuit of quality and legendary attention to detail are the trademarks of her outstanding reputation. Most notable is her ability to paint a picture of what is possible and then make that possibility a reality. Sample clients and partners include: Akamai Technologies, Brooks Automation, Jonathan Fields and the Good Life Project, DisruptHR, PepsiCo, The Ritz-Carlton, Toyota, and YPO.

October 5, 2021

Sherry Niazmand, Architect Visnick & Caulfield Associates

Sherry Niazmand has over 35 years’ worth of extensive knowledge pertaining to interior design, which has earned her the recognition of having an extremely unique design approach from anyone else in the industry. Having a huge family background in architecture and a strong passion for design, she currently leads the design efforts as senior principal at Visnick & Caulfield Associates. Sherry has a wide range of projects in law firms, venture capital firms, technology and building and residential amenities, with current projects in 10 different states, and 3 overseas. Sherry has received multiple design awards for best design projects as well many publications.

November 2, 2021

Jim Brett, CEO New England Council

James T. Brett, President and Chief Executive Officer of The New England Council, has been on the Council’s board of directors since October 1996.  The Council’s membership and financial growth have been impressive under Mr. Brett’s leadership.  In the past four years, revenues have doubled and net assets have significantly exceeded historical levels.  Mr. Brett is co-host of D.C. Dialogue, a monthly public affairs program broadcast on New England Cable News. Before joining the Council, Mr. Brett served for more than fifteen years as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. 

December 7, 2021

Ralph Crowley, President and CEO Polar Beverages

Ralph is President and CEO of Polar Beverages, a Worcester Massachusetts based institution and the largest family owned beverage bottler in the United States.  A visionary business leader, Ralph, along with his siblings and several next generation family members, operate both Polar and the Wachusett Mountain Ski Area.  In addition to his national prominence in the beverage industry, Mr. Crowley is also extremely active in several business and charitable organizations throughout Massachusetts.

February 1, 2022

Bob Coughlin, Managing Director, Life Sciences, JLL 

As Managing Director of Life Sciences at JLL, Bob knows that for life science companies, solving complex human challenges is their top priority and that’s why he is thrilled to make the transition into real estate.  In this role, Bob will be a strong partner to life science companies to help them identify opportunities to optimize their portfolios, whether it’s through site selection, tax incentives or operational efficiencies. 

Bob has spent his career in both the public and private sectors. Before joining MassBio, he served as the Undersecretary of Economic Development within Governor Deval Patrick's administration, where he prioritized both healthcare and economic development issues and was a strong advocate for the life sciences industry in Massachusetts. Prior to that, he was elected as State Representative to the 11th Norfolk district for three terms. 

March 1, 2022

Kay Simpson, President Springfield Museums

Kay Simpson is an experienced and entrepreneurial President & CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the museums industry. She has a background in leading high profile curatorial and education projects that garner national attention. Ms. Simpson provides strategic direction for one of New England’s premier cultural institutions comprised of five historic museum buildings, the outdoor Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden and the childhood home of Theodor Seuss Geisel, (AKA Dr. Seuss). Under her leadership, the Museums opened the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in 2017 which resulted in a dramatic increase in attendance and coverage from regional, national, and international media outlets. A strong proponent of museums as engines of economic development and urban revitalization, Ms. Simpson helped establish a cultural district in downtown Springfield. She was instrumental in a public arts initiative that is activating a public park that had been closed for decades. Ms. Simpson passionately believes that museums and public art attract tourists and entrepreneurs, which in turn help communities foster new business growth and economic vitality for everyone’s benefit.

April 5, 2022

Meghan Shue, Group Vice President Head, Investment Strategy & Portfolio Construction at M & T Corporation

Meghan is responsible for helping manage the end-to-end asset allocation process, developing market research, and communicating the investment team’s market outlook and positioning to clients and prospective clients. She is a member of the Investment Committee, which is responsible for deriving the firm’s strategic and tactical asset allocation positioning. Meghan also oversees the firm’s portfolio construction process, including implementation of asset class views through a variety of proprietary, non-proprietary, passive, active, and factor-based solutions. She is co-chair of the Portfolio Management Committee. She is also a regular CNBC contributor, and is frequently quoted in financial media communicating the firm’s economic and market views.

May 3, 2022

Diversity Panel