Interview: Linda Henry, Co-Founder of HUBweek

 |   Cathy Wissink

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Linda Henry wears many hats in Greater Boston, from her work as Managing Director at The Boston Globe to heading up the John W. Henry Family Foundation. In her capacity as co-founder of the HUBweek festival, she has been a thought leader and convener of diverse organizations, all coming together to celebrate the big ideas, innovative solutions, and creativity of Greater Boston. We were honored and thrilled to interview Linda about HUBweek, what it means to her, and her aspirations for the festival moving forward.

How would you describe your role in HUBweek?

I am a co-founder of HUBweek, a partnership between The Boston Globe, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and MIT; I am also proud to serve as the chair of the HUBweek Executive Committee.  This role has given me the opportunity to help facilitate and convene conversations among a wide spectrum of businesses, including academic and healthcare institutions, non-profits and community groups, and cultural organizations.

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What was your inspiration for HUBweek?

The inspiration for HUBweek came during a conversation with several venture capitalists who expressed concern that while Boston and Cambridge attract some of the best and brightest students out there, there is trouble retaining them and the new startup companies they create upon graduation.   The startups and graduates are often lured to other cities or to the West Coast during their junior and senior years for internships at major corporations and startups that offer unique perks and opportunities. We, as a community, do not do enough to boast about and promote all that this vibrant and thriving city has to offer — it stands at the forefront of American history; it has world renowned medical, educational, and cultural institutions; it has champion sports franchises and it has a reputation as a leader in biomed, life sciences, innovation and technology. Boston needs to proclaim its greatness.

We are well positioned to be a leader in this next great wave of the digital revolution. There is a unique confluence of art, science, and technology that is colliding here to create the future. The innovations created here are exported to the world. We need to tell our story, collaborate, and invite more ideas in to strengthen, grow, and continue to make progress.

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ILLUMINUS | Free nighttime festival on October 10th: http://www.illuminusboston.org/

What do you hope HUBweek will do for Boston? 

It is my hope — and that of the HUBweek founders — that we will have the opportunity to showcase and spark innovation, ideas, progress, and solutions for the future. By promoting the art, science, and technology that is here, we will strengthen it for the future. People who work in these fields or who are building companies with these areas of expertise will be inspired by and help further the exciting work being done here.

During the multitude of events, conversations will be generated among a wide and diverse audience that might not have connected without HUBweek; collaborations and partnerships will be created between the old guard and up-and-coming trendsetters;  HUBweek offers us the chance to celebrate Boston and everything this great city has to offer — and to create meaningful connections across different industries, neighborhoods and institutions.

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What role do you see companies and institutions playing in HUBweek?

About half of HUBweek’s 80+ events have been built by our collaborators — a community of organizations, non-profits, startups, community organizers, and artists.  There is an amazing intellectual energy amongst this group, dedicated to showcasing the work they are doing in the community and for the world; HUBweek presents opportunities to create meaningful connections — to pull back the curtain on the work that is happening here — working together to change the narrative of our city.  And there are a number of opportunities for those companies and institutions to benefit from what’s happening:

  • Opportunities to showcase mission, work force, talents, goals;
  •  Opportunities to celebrate accomplishments — to brainstorm ideas and solutions;
  •  Opportunities to facilitate conversations between companies and institutions and smaller non-profits, startups, and community groups

How can people get involved in HUBweek? 

First and foremost, they can attend an event. If what we’re trying to do sounds interesting, then come be a part of it.

If you really want to be a part of what we’re building, you can be a HUBweek ambassador or volunteer and help us make this all happen.  You can get more info on our website, hubweek.org, or send us a note at JoinUs@hubweek.org.

There are a limited number of sponsorship opportunities still available for 2015. While we are not adding any more events this year, we also  look forward to welcoming more companies and collaborators into HUBweek 2016.

How do you see HUBweek’s future after Oct 10th?

Ideally, people are walking away from HUBweek with inspiration — a spark, an idea, a question — and feeling connected to what is happening in our region.  We want to build on that inspiration and connection for HUBweek 2016.

Our vision moving forward from October 10th is that Boston and Cambridge become the place where anyone can come to solve problems — big and small.  HUBweek will continue to evolve over time.  We expect to learn from our successes and incorporate feedback on how we can do better during this inaugural year.  We expect to build off the energy that has been created.  We want to create a feeling that something big happened in October, and we want to create a desire for more, bigger, better for HUBweek 2016.

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