In my job as Civic Engagement Manager, I have the distinct pleasure of interacting with many amazing women who are influencing civic engagement and fueling innovation in Boston. In honor of Women’s History Month, Microsoft New England asked a number of inspiring women what empowers them. Check on their responses below and don’t forget to share and tweet these posts to spread the word about the great work these women are driving in Boston!
— Aimee Sprung, Civic Engagement Manager, Microsoft New England
This city is unique in its tenacity to attack difficult problems and work towards betterment for all.
I moved to Boston back in November of 2013; I knew no one and didn’t even see the apartment I was moving into beforehand. My first clue into recognizing this city as a place of real change was when speaking at my first event with Boston New Tech later that November. Boston New Tech took a chance on an unknown girl and her organization to let me speak to a room full of 200+ entrepreneurs about the need for change in immigration policy for our community. I was met with encouraging nods and spoken appreciation from countless audience members who shared their story and why they supported me in this effort.
Flash forward to this year, six months into a new pilot program where community leaders gather together monthly to advocate for change. Over 300 community members, men and women, have joined our movement and continue to mobilize this community to have a voice in policy. Every day, these committed volunteers contact their members of Congress, circulate policy information to the community, sign petitions, and all work towards something bigger than us all. It’s been incredibly humbling to witness their hard work actually make lasting change in this community. For all the disenfranchisement brought about by inaction and entrenchment, we have a group of activists, problem solvers, and people who just won’t take no for an answer when they see a problem that needs to be fixed. Beyond personal gain, advancement, and profit, this group of individuals empower themselves to change the status quo.
Beyond the civic nature of most Bostonians, organizations and companies emulate this same civic focused attitude. Countless organizations have offered free space, sponsored catering for events, and offered endless resources! Special shout out to the Cambridge Innovation Center. We have other community partners creating annual summits like City Awake—recognizing Boston as a leader in social innovation, to TUGG working to engage the best and brightest to own and give back to their community. We have city officials whose care for this city is tangible in the way they speak and the resonance of their actions. To community leaders like Malia Lazu, Molly Fohn, Ali Procopio and CA Webb, Kitt George who finds ways every day to inspire and motivate this community to accept nothing but the best. I stand beside these powerful women and men and count myself lucky to be involved in such an incredible city—leading the way for the rest of the country to follow.
The people you surround yourself with are what allows you and me to be empowered. With the help of so many—I have influenced and changed policy. I’ve helped bring new resources and opportunities to those who deserve the chance. I can’t tell you what that feels like, but it’s a feeling I will chase the rest of my life. This community has empowered me to know in my heart of hearts that one person can begin a movement and inspire real change.
Andi Dankert is Boston Regional Organizer for FWD.us
Tags: activism, Ali Procopio, Ali Procopio and CA Webb, Boston, Boston New Tech, cambridge, Cambridge Innovation Center, City Awake, Civic Tech, entrepreneurs, FWD.us, immigration policy, Kitt George, Malia Lazu, microsoft, Microsoft New England, Molly Fohn, social innovation, technology, women, Women In Tech, Women’s History Month