Join Mayor Michelle Wu and other women leaders for an MWPC and GBH sponsored discussion about DEI in government and education, and the private sector.

Chief Secretary April English, Mayor Michelle Wu, Town Administrator Lisa Wong, BPS Superintendent Mary Skipper, and The Partnership COO Carmen Arce-Bowen will join us for conversations moderated by Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates and Meg Woolhouse.

+ BIO: Michelle Wu

Michelle Wu is the first woman and first person of color to be elected Mayor of Boston. The daughter of immigrants, a Boston Public Schools mom, and an MBTA rider, Mayor Wu believes that the key to solving our deepest challenges lies in building community and embracing possibility. In her first official act as Mayor, Wu signed an ordinance divesting City funds from fossil fuels, private prisons, and the tobacco industry. In her first week, she worked with the City Council to make three Boston bus lines—which serve predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods—fare-free for two years.

To take decisive action against climate change and improve conditions for Boston Public Schools’ students, teachers, and families, Mayor Wu has launched a Green New Deal for BPS: A district-wide effort to dramatically reduce building emissions, renovate old facilities and construct new ones, and modernize Boston’s education system. And, following the science on the critical role that early childhood plays in determining life outcomes, Mayor Wu has expanded early childhood services—granting thousands more 3- and 4-year-olds access to high quality, culturally-relevant education and care.

In addition to creating a new Office of Early Childhood to oversee these changes, Mayor Wu also established Boston’s first-ever Offices of Food Justice, Black Male Advancement, LGBTQ+ Advancement, and Worker Empowerment. Together, these achievements align Boston’s climate, infrastructure, education, and investment strategies with Boston’s values, laying the foundation for a greener, more efficient, more equitable city for generations to come.
Mayor Wu got her start in public service interning at City Hall under Mayor Tom Menino while studying at Harvard Law School. She is an alumna of the Rappaport Fellows Program in Law and Public Policy, the recipient of the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Award, and was named one of The Boston Globe’s 2021 Bostonians of the Year. Mayor Wu lives in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston with her husband, Conor, and their two boys, Blaise and Cass.

+ BIO: Superintendent Mary Skipper

n June 2022, the Boston School Committee selected Mary Skipper to serve as the Superintendent of Boston Public Schools (BPS). Superintendent Skipper’s agenda at Boston Public Schools is focused on ensuring students have equitable access to quality education and experiences. She and her leadership team are focused on prioritizing and accelerating academic performance; strengthening access to social-emotional learning; streamlining operations and ensuring student safety; developing authentic family and community engagement practices; improving internal and external communication with families and staff; and, increasing accountability for both the central office and our schools.

Among her most notable accomplishments, Superintendent Skipper helped launch TechBoston Academy (TBA) as the founding school leader in 2002. Under her leadership, at the time, TBA grew from a 9-12 high school serving 75 students, to a 6-12 school with a staff of more than 100 serving a diverse student population of more than 1,000, 30% of which were English Language Learners and 25% of which were Special Education students. Following her outstanding career at Boston Public Schools, Superintendent Skipper joined Somerville Public Schools (SPS) in July of 2015, serving as SPS’ superintendent. Skipper quickly made her mark in Somerville as an innovative and visionary thinker, a passionate advocate for all youth, and a strategic systems builder whose approach focused on leveraging community resources to support students.

Superintendent Skipper holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Latin, along with a Master’s degree in Classics from Tufts University. She earned a Master’s in Education Policy from Harvard and a Master’s in Education Leadership from Columbia Teachers College. Superintendent Skipper and her husband, Peter, have resided in their family home in Dorchester for 25 years.

+ BIO: April English

April English serves as the Chief Secretary to Governor Maura T. Healey. As Chief Secretary, she oversees the administration’s efforts to fill appointments on boards and commissions and throughout the administration. Prior to joining the Governor’s office, Chief Secretary English worked in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office for over 19 years. She began her career in the Attorney General’s office working as an Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division. As a civil litigator, Chief Secretary English handled a wide range of cases including matters of telemarketing fraud, telecommunications, lead in children’s toys, debt settlement and credit counseling, false advertising, and mortgage fraud. Eventually, Chief Secretary English transitioned to the Criminal Bureau where she served as Deputy Division Chief and as Director of the Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division/Unit. As a prosecutor in the Criminal Bureau, she investigated and prosecuted those who committed fraud against insurers and against the Commonwealth’s unemployment insurance and worker’s compensation system.

During her last 6 years at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Chief Secretary English served as the Chief of Organization Development & Diversity/Inclusion. In this role, she oversaw the workplace composition and culture across the Office, and helped manage recruitment, professional development, mentoring, diversity, inclusion, retention, and racial justice and equity throughout the work of the office.

Chief Secretary English also worked as a Law Clerk to the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court from 2001-2002. She received her undergraduate degree from Spelman College in 1997 and her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in 2000.

+ BIO: Lisa Wong

Lisa Wong has been a municipal leader for over two decades. She is the Town Administrator in South Hadley, the former Town Manager in Winchester and served four terms as the Mayor of Fitchburg.

Lisa served as a Distinguished Public Service Fellow at UMass Boston’s Center for Women in Politics and Public Police, a Senior Fellow for Governing, and a Fellow for the Women’s Pipeline for Change.

Lisa serves on the Advisory Board at Boston University, and on the Boards of MassINC, ACLU of Massachusetts, and the Chinese Historical Society of New England. She is the Chair Emeritus Ivy Child International and was recently the Vice Chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Local Government Advisory Group.

She received awards from the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, MassINC, Boston University, Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Ocean River Institute, Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg Access TV, and the Trustees of Reservations.

+ BIO: Carmen Arce-Bowen

Carmen Arce-Bowen is the COO The Partnership, a Boston based organization focused on attracting, developing, and retaining professionals of color in the region.
Prior to joining The Partnership, Arce-Bowen served as Director of Personnel and Administration in the office of Governor Deval Patrick overseeing and managing all matters related to high-level personnel transactions in the executive branch.
She currently serves on the board of Buckingham Browne and Nichols School, WBUR, the leadership board of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the newly created Governor’s Council on Latino Empowerment. She also served on the boards of Emerge MA, the MA Commission on the Status of Women, MassVote and the Chelsea Collaborative.
In 2022, Tufts University recognized Arce-Bowen with a 2021 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. The Boston Business Journal named Arce-Bowen as one of its 2018 40 Under 40 honorees.
Originally from Mexico, Arce-Bowen graduated with a LL.B from Universidad Panamericana Law School in Guadalajara Mexico, a LL.M from Suffolk University Law School and a MALD degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

+ BIO: Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates

Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates is GBH’s first Chief Inclusion and Equity Officer. She develops strategies using a data driven approach in initiatives and practices that support and advance a respectful and inclusive workplace, building on GBH’s commitment to create a more diverse environment and to have inclusion and equity reflected both in our organization and our work. She works closely with members of the Executive Leadership Team and collaborates with staff members across the organization. Oloruntola-Coates calls herself an inclusion architect and has been leading diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives for more than 15 years, implementing culturally responsive practices and shaping an understanding of the role that diversity plays within organizations and communities. She joined GBH in 2021 from Baystate Health in Springfield, MA where she served as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Prior to that she was System Director of Diversity and Patient Care Civil Rights at Lee Health in Florida, which during her tenure twice was recognized by Forbes Magazine as best employer for diversity and women. With extensive experience in DEI education and training, Oloruntola-Coates also has worked and studied internationally as a teacher and cultural ambassador in Japan, and as a Fulbright Fellow in West Africa. She is a member of the Conference Board Executive Diversity Council, a faculty member of Healthcare Management Institute, published two white papers, “How Diversity and Inclusion Strategies Enhance Organizational Readiness for Global Nursing Recruitment” in Nurse Leader magazine, and “COVID-19 mitigation for high-risk populations in Springfield Massachusetts USA: a health systems approach” in the International Journal for Equity in Health. Oloruntola-Coates has been recognized with numerous awards, including being honored as one of the 2021 Top 100 Diversity Officers by Diversity First, National Diversity and Leadership Conference and 2022 Color Magazine Power 50 CDO’s. She holds a BA degree from Hofstra University and MA degree from the University of Florida.

+ BIO: Megan Woolhouse

Meg Woolhouse is the Education Editor of the award-wining Education Unit at GBH News. She is a former K-12 education reporter for GBH News and she worked as a staff reporter for The Boston Globe. Working with her team at GBH, Meg strives to center students, educators, parents and professors who have the greatest stake in the system’s success.

Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus