Luncheon Speakers

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

William Gross
Boston Police Department

William Gross is the City of Boston's first African American Commissioner. Gross is a 33-year veteran of the Boston Police Department. As a Patrol Officer he spent many years in the Gang Unit and Drug Control Unit, as well as serving as an Academy Instructor. He rose through the ranks, achieving the ranks of Sergeant and Sergeant Detective, and was promoted to Deputy Superintendent in 2008, where he became a member of the Command Staff of the Department.

As Deputy Superintendent, Gross served as the Commander of Zone 2, which is comprised of Area B-2 Roxbury and Mission Hill, Area B-3 Mattapan, Area C-11 Dorchester, and Area C-6 South Boston. In this role, he coordinated with District Captains in their development of strategies to address crime trends, and attended community meetings to address specific neighborhood crime concerns.

In 2010, Deputy Superintendent Gross became the commander of the Field Support Division, which included command over the Youth Violence Strike Force (Gang Unity), and the School Police Unit. In 2012, he was promoted to Superintendent, Night Commander, responsible for oversight of all police responses to incidents on a citywide basis in the evening hours. Throughout his career, Superintendent Gross has maintained a strong connection with the community, and has been awarded numerous awards for bravery, meritorious service and community partnership.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Pam Y. Eddinger
Bunker Hill Community College

Dr. Pam Y. Eddinger is President of Bunker Hill Community College, the largest community college in Massachusetts with more than 14,000 students on campuses in Boston and Chelsea and at three satellite locations. Dr. Eddinger previously served as President of Moorpark College in California and was Executive Vice President at Massachusetts Bay Community College. Dr. Eddinger has served community colleges since 1993 in various leadership roles, including instruction, student services, marketing, institutional advancement and legislative relations. She also served as adjunct lecturer at Boston University in Modern Japanese Literature. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English from Barnard College in New York City and earned both her Master’s degree and Doctorate in Modern Japanese Literature at Columbia University.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Jay Ash 
Former Secretary/ Current CEO
President and CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership

Jay Ash serves as the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Secretary Ash is responsible for directing and executing Governor Charlie Baker’s agenda on housing and community development, job creation, business development, consumer affairs, and business regulation. He previously served as the city manager in his native Chelsea, a position he held from 2000 to 2014. In Chelsea, Secretary Ash’s leadership produced both economic expansion and fiscal stability. He grew the city’s housing stock by over ten percent, expanded its commercial base with two dozen major projects, led all Gateway Cities with a 15% increase in new employment, developed 10 new parks, secured five credit rating increases, and won two All-America City designations for Chelsea. Secretary Ash has led statewide initiatives on health insurance, youth violence, transportation infrastructure and expanded gaming in Massachusetts. He previously served as co-founder and vice-chair of the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, as past president of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, as a board member of the public policy think tank MassINC, the staff director to the Massachusetts House Majority Leader, and as an elected trustee of his alma mater, Clark University.

Monday, December 2, 2019  

Jon Keller
Political Analyst

Jon Keller is Political Analyst for WBZ-TV News, and his “Keller At Large” reports on a wide range of topics are regularly featured during WBZ-TV News at 5PM and 6PM. Keller’s commentaries are also seen weekday mornings at 5:30am on WBZ This Morning.

Jon is widely regarded as the top political analyst in New England. He is a favorite of the region’s viewers because he is smart, witty and local, and asks the tough questions everyone wants to have asked. The politicians respect him too because he has a reputation for being non-partisan, accurate, and dedicated to serving viewers. Although ‘Keller at Large’ primarily tackles politics, Keller also offers social and cultural commentary on news of the day and pop culture.

Before joining WBZ-TV in 2005, Jon was Political Analyst for “The Ten O’Clock News” on WLVI-TV in Boston for 14 years. Previous credits include op-ed columnist for The Boston Globe, chief political reporter for The Boston Phoenix, and reporter, columnist and editor for The Tab Newspapers. His freelance writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, the Chicago Tribune and other publications.

Jon has been honored with ten New England Emmy Awards for commentary and reporting, and was named “Best TV Political Analyst” twice in Boston Magazine’s annual “Best of Boston” issue.

Born in Washington, DC, Jon was raised in Cambridge and graduated from Brandeis University in 1977 where he earned Cum Laude honors in history.


Tuesday, January 7, 2020  

Joe Seydl
JP Morgan

Joe Seydl is a Capital Markets Economist and Vice President at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in New York. His research, which spans across geographies, including both advanced economies and emergingmarkets, supports the firm’s longer-term views and influences client portfolio positioning. Joe’s expertiseis in the domain of monetary policy, international trade and labor market dynamics.

Prior to joining J.P. Morgan in 2015, Joe worked as an Economist in the Global Economics team atCitigroup, under the firm’s Chief Global Economist Willem Buiter. At Citi, his research at Citi was cited by various media outlets and academic organizations, including at the American EconomicAssociation’s Annual Meeting.

Prior to joining Citigroup, Joe worked as an Economic Research Analyst at Wells Fargo, covering U.S. state, local and macro trends.

Additionally, Joe has produced original research published in several peer-reviewed academic journals, including Business Economics, Economics Letters and the Journal of Post Keynesian Economics.

Joe holds a Master’s degree jointly in Economics and Philosophy from the London School of Economics. He also has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree, summa cum laude, in Mathematics andEconomics from Lehigh University. In his spare time, Joe volunteers with New York Needs You, a non- profit organization devoted to improving economic opportunities for first-generation college students in New York City.



Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Robert Lewis, Jr.
Executive Director
The Base

Robert Lewis, Jr. is a nationally recognized thought leader, public speaker and passionate advocate for urban youth.  Known as a bridge-builder and catalyst for collaboration between diverse business, civic and public sectors, Robert has deep experience with grassroots, community-based organizations throughout Greater Boston and government entities, colleges, sports franchises and philanthropic foundations throughout the country.  A 2015 Boston Magazine cover story listed Robert among the city’s 50 Most Powerful Leaders, calling him “a tireless advocate for inner-city kids.”

Robert’s impressive career trajectory has included important roles such as Executive Director of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, President and Executive Director of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Senior Vice President of City Year’s national operations and Executive Director of City Year Boston, and Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation where he directed the distribution of $16 million+ in discretionary grants.

He was the chief architect of two important initiatives during his tenure at the Boston Foundation:  StreetSafe Boston – the country’s only privately-funded ($15m) gang program with a mission to dramatically reduce gun violence in the city; and CHAMPS Boston – which promotes positive youth development through sports by training over 5,000 youth sports coaches in Greater Boston.

In 2013, Robert left his high profile position at The Boston Foundation to pursue a lifelong dream to launch The BASE. The BASE is a model and methodology that changes the paradigm for urban youth by providing student athletes with the opportunity, knowledge, skills and confidence needed to develop a winning game plan for success both on and off the field.  The BASE embodies everything Robert learned as founder of the Boston Astros, a youth baseball team he launched in 1978.   Legendary baseball writer Peter Gammons has called The Astros, “Hands-down the best urban baseball program in the country,” and Triple Crown Sports awarded the Astros the 2012 “Team of the Year” award from a field of 40,000.


Tuesday, March 3, 2020 

Tom Grilk
Executive Director 
Boston Marathon 

Tom Grilk is the Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association, which annually conducts the B.A.A. Boston Marathon as well as a number of other athletic and community service events.

He is a long time member of the Boston Athletic Association, having served on its Board of Governors since 1990 and as its President (outside Board Chair) from 2003-2010. In 2011 he assumed the role of Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association, with responsibility for the day to day management of the organization. During his tenure he has worked with the B.A.A. Board and staff to strengthen the B.A.A. as an organization, especially from a managerial perspective. He has also worked with the Board in shaping the B.A.A.’s short and long-term development across all areas of the B.A.A.’s activity: the conduct of athletic events, the operation of community service initiatives, and the training and development of athletes.

He practiced corporate and business law over many years in and around Boston, both with the Boston law firm Hale and Dorr and serving as counsel and general counsel to several well-known companies in the information technology and semiconductor fields, including Digital Equipment Corporation, Teradyne, Inc. and Brooks Automation, Inc. As a lawyer he worked in the fields of securities law, M&A transactions, corporate governance, compliance, dispute resolution, competition law, commercial law and intellectual property. He is a graduate of Cornell University and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School

In addition to his duties as Executive Director, Grilk has had his share of hands-on experience with the Boston Marathon, the B.A.A.’s premier event. He has been the marathon’s finish line announcer since 1979 and is a former competitor, having run a personal best marathon time of 2:49:03 in 1978 and a Boston Marathon personal best of 2:54 that same year.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 

Vikki Spruill
Executive Director
NE Aquarium 

Throughout her career, Vikki N. Spruill has worked to strengthen ocean conservation. As president and CEO of the New England Aquarium and its research and conservation institute, the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium, Ms. Spruill seeks to combine the convening power of the Aquarium’s 1.4 million annual visitors with cutting-edge scientific research and education to advocate for vital and vibrant oceans. She previously served as president and CEO of the Council on Foundations, the largest association of philanthropic grant-making organizations, and Ocean Conservancy, one of the nation’s foremost science-based advocacy organizations dedicated to the oceans. Ms. Spruill founded the Trash Free Seas Alliance, an industry collaborative that has produced seminal research on the impacts of plastic in the ocean, and helped found and currently serves on the board of COMPASS, which works to empower scientists to better engage in the public discourse on environmental issues. She was also the founding director of SeaWeb, an innovative initiative that worked at the intersection of policy, science, and communications in support of ocean conservation. Her research and leadership helped catalyze the sustainable seafood movement.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Beth Chandler
YW Boston

Beth Chandler joined YW Boston as Vice President of Programs in November 2012, with more than 20 years of experience in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors.  In August 2018, she was appointed President & CEO. She is a graduate of YW Boston’s LeadBoston program, focused on inclusive leadership skills. Her breadth of work experience encompasses program development, delivery and evaluation, business development, and operations.Prior to working at YW Boston, Beth served as vice president at the Achievement Network, a national non-profit dedicated to helping urban public and charter schools close the achievement gap. Beth also held positions at Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, the largest funding source for civil legal aid programs in the Commonwealth and Neighborworks America, one of the country’s preeminent leaders in affordable housing and community development. Beth also worked as a corporate banking associate with Bank of America in corporate banking and began her career as a research and evaluation analyst with the Urban Institute. Currently, Beth serves on the MA Conference United Church of Christ Board of Directors, the Women’s Workforce Advisory Council and the Leadership Circle of Hope Central Church. She’s been named to Get Konnected’s list of the 25 most influential LGBTQ leaders of color. Beth received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. While at Harvard, she was a 2 year captain of the basketball team, named to the all-Ivy team,  and helped Harvard win its first Ivy League title in women’s basketball. She went on to play basketball professionally for 2 years in Austria. Originally from Connecticut, Beth resides in Roslindale with her spouse, 2 children and 2 dogs. In her free time, Beth is active in her church, a long-running book club and trying to visit all 50 states (44 to date).