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GBCC Launches Pacesetters Initiative Aimed at Uniting the Business Community's Response to Economic Inclusion

January 17, 2018

Program is a partnership of Chamber member organizations committed to collectively increasing contracts and dollars spent with enterprises of color

Boston, Mass. – The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is pleased to officially announce the launch of its Pacesetters Initiative, a partnership of large and midsized Greater Boston Chamber member organizations who have committed to leveraging their collective purchasing power to create opportunities at scale for local enterprises of color. Pacesetters is a pillar of the Chamber’s overall Economic Growth Initiatives, aimed at increasing economic opportunity for all Greater Boston businesses, particularly minority business enterprises.

The Pacesetters Initiative launch is the result of a year-long collaboration between the Chamber, its Committee on Economic Opportunity - a sub-group of the Executive Committee charged with developing the united response of the business community economic inequality – and select Chamber members, including the ten inaugural Pacesetter organization which include:

  • Boston Red Sox
  • Comcast
  • Eastern Bank
  • Gilbane Building Company
  • Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
  • John Hancock
  • Northeastern University
  • P&G Gillette
  • Partners HealthCare
  • Tufts Health Plan

Pacesetter companies are Chamber members who understand the business case of economic inclusion and who are committed to increasing their contracts with minority-owned businesses as suppliers of their companies’ products, supplies, and services. Together, they will work to set aspirational goals to enhance their individual existing supplier diversity programs and inspire the entire business community to do the same. Through the year, these Pacesetters will measure, report and increase spending with local minority-owned businesses; exchange best practices; and participate in the Chamber’s educational, networking and matchmaking events and programs. 

The Pacesetters Initiative is about seizing an opportunity to address the persistent issues of inequality in Greater Boston and building generational wealth for our region’s minority-owned businesses and communities of color. We are incredibly grateful to our initial Pacesetter organizations for coming together with our Committee on Economic Opportunity to design an initiative that is built to not only succeed, but inspire the rest of the business community to join us in this important work. We look forward to sharing our results and announcing more and more Pacesetters as we grow this exciting initiative. - James E. Rooney, Chamber President & CEO

We applaud the Chamber for its leadership in launching this important program and are pleased to be the presenting sponsor for all of their economic opportunity initiatives this year. Our company is committed to healthy more equitable communities, and we recognize a strong supplier diversity program helps meet the needs of our business while creating value in society. - James D. Gallagher, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, John Hancock

The Chamber spent 2017 recruiting a core group of Pacesetters to serve as early adopters and working with these companies to establish criteria for measuring program success, collective goals to achieve, defining key terms and creating ground rules for data sharing and eligibility criteria of potential suppliers. Now, the Pacesetters will set their targets, participate in forums for problem solving and sharing of best practices, and attend match-making events designed to connect qualified suppliers with Pacesetter organizations. The program is modeled after the Minority Business Accelerator out of the Cincinnati Regional Chamber.

In addition to being one of the initial ten Pacesetters, the Greater Boston Chamber will also serve the role of convener, bringing the Pacesetters together and facilitating matchmaking events. The Chamber has already established a strong partnership with Eastern Bank’s Business Equity Initiative, which is focused on growing enterprises of color by leveraging Eastern’s networks and philanthropic dollars as well as providing targeted, customizable growth tools including embedded trusted strategic advisors, operational support, growth capital, and market access to enterprises of color positioned for growth. As the list of suppliers grows, the Chamber also plans to grow the number of participating Pacesetter organizations. Interested organizations and suppliers can find more information about getting involved at BostonChamber.com/programs-events/pacesetters.

A launch event and reception will take place this evening at the Chamber’s Offices at 265 Franklin Street from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The brief speaking program includes Jim Rooney and Sheena Collier of the Chamber, Peter Hurst of the New England Minority Supplier Development Council, and Ryan Hutchins of Gilbane Building Company.

For building security purposes, please RSVP to Katie Hauser if you plan to attend.

Quotes from our Pacesetters:

“Making a commitment to work with diverse suppliers is critical to having a strong and successful community,” said Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy. “We know that when minority-owned businesses thrive, their communities thrive, too, and I applaud the Chamber for creating this important initiative that directly connects some of Boston’s biggest companies with local, minority-owned businesses.”

“Comcast is proud to participate in the Boston Chamber’s Pacesetters program. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is built into everything we do. When we bring all of our unique ideas together, we accelerate the pace of innovation, become closer to our customers and strengthen the communities we serve. Diversity and inclusion is what enables us to offer rich and authentic programming and develop products that better serve millions of customers. Together with the Chamber and other Pacesetters participants, we look forward to fostering an environment in our community that gives everyone a voice, celebrates differences and deepens relationships with diverse partners.’’ – Tracy Pitcher, Senior Regional Vice President, Comcast Greater Boston

“We believe that large and mid-sized companies and anchor institutions can play an important role in helping to address the significant racial and economic disparities in Greater Boston by significantly increasing their spending with minority business enterprises,” said Bob Rivers, Chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank.  “We applaud the Chamber’s leadership in establishing the Pacesetters initiative to encourage more companies to become champions of local supplier diversity.” 

“Gilbane Building Company is honored to join together with fellow companies and institutions who share our dedication to growing minority businesses in the greater Boston area. Together through the Pacesetters Initiative, we will be committed to sharing resources in a collective effort to build awareness and support the development of creative opportunities for minority-owned businesses in Boston and beyond,” said Ryan Hutchins, Senior Vice President and New England Division Leader, Gilbane Building Company.

“Boston’s diverse communities form the bedrock on which Northeastern stands,” said Joseph E. Aoun, President of Northeastern University. “We are committed to supporting entrepreneurship and the economic success of our surrounding neighborhoods, and the Pacesetters Initiative is a crucial step forward in securing their future as diverse, inclusive, and economically robust places to live, work, and learn.”

“As an inaugural member of the Chamber’s Pacesetters Initiative, we plan to build on our robust supplier diversity program to increase our purchasing from minority-owned suppliers,” said David Torchiana, MD, President and CEO of Partners HealthCare. “This effort is an important element of creating additional economic opportunity and improving health in the communities we serve.”

“At P&G, Diversity and Inclusion is deeply rooted in our Purpose, Values and Principles. It is who we are and who we aspire to be,” said Charlie Pierce, Group President, Global Grooming. “We have taken some big strides to foster a diverse supplier network globally, and we’ve seen the incredible impact that this diversity can have on our organization, our partners’ organizations and across the communities in which we live and work.   We are proud to be part of such an important effort in Boston, home to our Gillette business for well over a century.”

"Diverse suppliers provide innovative solutions, helping us meet the needs of our members with competitively priced, quality offerings. We believe strongly that our business should not only be a reflection of our community, but also play an integral role in ensuring local small businesses thrive,” said Tom Croswell, Tufts Health Plan president and CEO. “For these reasons and more, supplier diversity is a key element of our diversity and inclusion strategy.”

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