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Public Programs

Women in Leadership: Massachusetts Trailblazers

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 7:00 PM

On March 19, the Institute hosted its third Women in Leadership program, “Massachusetts Trailblazers”, featuring five women serving the Commonwealth who are creating change in their communities and are inspiring examples of civic leadership. Moderated by Janet Wu, Anchor of On the Record and Political Reporter at WCVB, the conversation featured:

Council President Andrea Campbell, City of Boston, @CampbellforD4

Mayor Kim Driscoll, City of Salem, @MayorDriscoll

State Representative Hannah Kane, 11th Worcester, @HannahEKaneMA

State Representative Tram Nguyen, 18th Essex, @TeamTram

Council President Damali Vidot, City of Chelsea, @DamaliVidot

These political leaders shared their personal stories of why they chose to run for office and how they are creating change now that they are elected. The conversation underscored the importance of authentic leadership, the inherent value of including diverse perspectives, and pulling up chairs for others to have a seat at the table. Audience members asked questions about practical tips for first-time candidates and opportunities for young women to be civically active. A portion of each of these leaders inspiring words are included below, and we invite you to watch the full conversation. You can also explore photos from the event here.

Top quotes

Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell: “Not all women are a monolith, we’re not all the same… we each come with unique experiences and backgrounds and passions for the work that are different and we work to support each other.”

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll: “Being a leader means exhibiting [decision-making] skills and it really doesn’t matter whether you’re in heels or flats making those decisions.”

State Representative Hannah Kane: “I grew up in Maine and when I was born in 1971, Margaret Chase Smith was the senator. She was the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate, and it never once in my life occurred to me that that wasn’t something you can do if you wanted to do it.”

State Representative Tram Nguyen: “There is value in diversity in and of itself. New voices, fresh perspectives, different backgrounds make for richer conversations and more innovative solutions.”

Chelsea City Council President Damali Vidot: “Leadership doesn’t have a face, leadership doesn’t have a dress code. As long as you’re willing to put your neck on the line and go out there and represent the people authentically, you just go ahead and do it.”

Community Partners

The Kennedy Institute was proud to work with the following community partners to host this panel: AAUW Work Smart in Boston, Asian American Women’s Political Initiative, Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Chica Project, City of Boston, Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, Emerge Massachusetts, Gloria Cordes Larson Center for Women in Business at Bentley University, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, The Latina Circle, League of Women Voters Massachusetts, Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, Spark Boston, Strong Women, Strong Girls, and YW Boston.

Partner Montage

Social summary

See some of the tweets the Institute shared during the program on our tagboard.

For more

This program was part of the Kennedy Institute’s Women in Leadership initiative, which convenes women from political and civic life to demonstrate the importance of women’s political participation and representation and highlight the diverse pathways to civic leadership. Programming includes inspiring speakers, workshops, and community partnerships. To learn more about the Kennedy Institute’s Women in Leadership programming, please contact Claire Cooper, Director of Community Engagement, at

IMAGES (Click here to view Flickr album) Women in Leadership: Massachusetts Trailblazers

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