WhoIsShe? SheGives Member Meredith Basque

STAT BOX

Favorite book is the Fountain Head by Ayn Rand

Enjoys watching the Voice, Homeland, and Downton Abbey

Has a hard time choosing one favorite!

Has 2 daughters

Happily married

Q: What is something interesting about yourself?

A: Rumor has it I’m a great interior designer, listener, and friend. I enjoy actively listening to people and engaging in meaningful conversations -  sometimes too intense :D. I have a calming effect on people and almost always look at things from multiple points of view.

Q: Sounds like you’re a great person to have around! So where might we find you when you have some free time?

A: With family and friends, relaxing, eating, drinking, and traveling, training and playing with my puppy Ruby (a feisty schipperke), listening to The Moth Hour or other great shows on BUR, watching movies, TV and exercising.

Q: Where are some of your favorite places to travel and things to do when you’re traveling?

A: I enjoy shows, museums, shopping, and eating in NYC. I also enjoy skiing, hiking, attending Sundance Film Festival in Deer Valley Utah, cycling, and going to the beach in Falmouth!

Q: Finally, who brought you into SheGives and what do you like best about her?

A: Jackie Segel invited me to join. I love her warmth and her wit! 

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

WhoIsShe is a regular column featuring an appreciative but sometimes irreverent conversation with a SheGives Member.

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Don’t Miss This: STEM Story Slam

Have you ever wondered about the story behind the incredible women in Boston’s tech and innovation fields? On October 27, you can hear their stories first hand at Microsoft NERD (New England Research and Development Center). Women from across Boston’s STEM industries will be telling their stories of how they grew from geek girls to successful tech professionals. 

The event, called “Women in Tech: A Story Slam,” was created by Erica Orthmann, vice president at LaunchSquad, with the goal of providing encouragement for girls who have dreams of a career in STEM but don’t necessarily have a support system telling them they can achieve these dreams. The event will be held in a similar format to The Moth Radio Hour’s “story slam” and will feature women from across STEM industries (engineers, product managers, investors, researchers, company leaders) telling 10-minute personal stories about their experiences.

Science Club for Girls mentor Laura Major, an analytics and human systems lead at Draper Labs, will be telling her story at the event. “I want to convey to other women that a career in technology is not only within their reach, but it leads to a great, fulfilling adventure that is worth pursuing. Like many women, I’ve faced hurdles and insecurities and I want to encourage women that they are not alone in these experiences and they can prevail!” Major told BetaBoston, an innovation and tech site associated with the Boston Globe.

The event will feature such women as: Mary Finlay, former CIO of Partners Healthcare and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Board Member of Mass TLC, and professor at Simmons School of Management; Jessica Iandiorio, VP of product marketing at Acquia, one of the fastest-growing software companies in the U.S.; and Jillian Kando, CTO of educational field trip company EdTrips and member of the 2014 TechStars Boston class. The event will take place from 7-9pm followed by an after party and networking at Firebrand Saints. It is free for students and a suggested donation of $10 for non-students. Proceeds benefit Science Club for Girls. To register for the event or for more information, click here.

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SheShinesOn…Ayele Shakur, BUILD

STAT BOX

Regional Executive Director for BUILD Boston

Launched BUILD in Boston in 2010

Grew up in Roxbury, MA, where she currently resides

Responsible for setting the vision and strategy for BUILD’s work in Boston, working with the Local Advisory Board, and generating financial support

Q: You’ve had a significant career in education. What did you do before launching BUILD?

Prior to coming to BUILD, I served as President and CEO of my own nonprofit, the Boston Learning Center, for 15 years. Under my leadership, the Center expanded from serving 100 students annually in Boston to 700 students across the state of Massachusetts. When I heard that BUILD was coming to Boston, I was so compelled by it’s mission and programs that I new I had to lead the Boston launch.

Q: What job or training best prepared you to work here?

I bring over two decades of experience as an innovator in urban education. I taught for eleven years in the Los Angeles area and in the Boston Public Schools, and co-authored the book Boost School Performance – A Parent’s Guide to Better Grades Fast. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Boston University and a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

Q: Tell us about your experience living and working in Roxbury.

I’m a child of the 60’s who grew up in Roxbury, Mass. My father was a successful defense attorney and although we had the financial means to move out to the suburbs like many middle class Black families, he firmly believed that the best way to impact a community is to stay, walk among the people, and be a living example of the change you want to create.

Today I carry on my father’s legacy. I’m proud to live in Roxbury, to work with students from Boston’s “inner city”, to spot them at the neighborhood supermarket and to worship beside them at Sunday service. The work that I do with young people is deeply personal because their community is my community. I live here, I raised my son here, and their success is my success.

Q: What would the world be like without BUILD?

You cannot drive down any street in Roxbury, Dorchester, or Mattapan without being struck by the lack of economic growth and advancement. Education is the way up and out of poverty and oppression. But along with education, our young people need to understand economics, financial literacy, and access to capital. In America, these are the engines of growth and change. That’s why I’m so excited about BUILD.

BUILD’s mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. In an age where 80% of high school dropouts say they left school because they were bored and didn’t see the relevance of school in their daily lives, BUILD blends hands on real-world learning, entrepreneurship education, and academic support that gets results. Our students launch real businesses with bank accounts and investors, and we surround them with mentors, tutors, and academic advisors to help them chart a brighter course. We work with students who are both disadvantaged and disengaged – the ones many people have given up on, who are most at risk for failing and dropping out of high school. Not only do BUILD students beat the odds to graduate from high school, but they go on to succeed in college with the skills and self-efficacy needed to persist towards earning a degree.

As one student put it, “BUILD teaches me to take risks, to be even more creative, and connect with others on a business level. It opens doors for me. BUILD is giving me the tools I need to get to college and win. It’s teaching me to build my own business and how to BUILD a better life.”

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BUILDFest to Present BUILDer Award for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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The 4th annual BUILDFest gala will take place at the Westin Copley Place on Thursday, October 30th from 6-10pm. This gala will feature a Student Business Expo, where BUILD students can show off their businesses and sell their products.

This year, the bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss, will be presented with the BUILDer Award for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Ferriss is an angel investor and advisor, runs an award-winning blog and does philanthropic work in education reform.

Senator Ed Markey will be the Honorary Event Chair for the evening. John Barros, Chief of Economic Development in Boston, and Steve DiFillippo, CEO of Davio’s Restaurant Group, will also be honored.

To top it all off, We have a SheGives table and would like to invite members to join!  First come, first serve – reserve your seat by emailing our Operations Manager, Carrie, at cg@shegivesboston.org.  And hurry,  these seats won’t last long!  

BUILD equips students from under-served communities for high school, college and career success through learning that centers around entrepreneurship. The Boston site was launched in 2011 and now serves more than 200 students in Dorchester, Charlestown and Brighton.

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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WhoIsShe? SHEGIVES Founding Board Member Laura Gassner Otting

STAT BOX

Killer networking pro

Served on the team that created AmeriCorps

Founder of Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group

Married mother of 2

Ran the 2012 & 2014 Boston Marathons and the 2012 Chicago Marathon

Q: What is the most exciting thing happening in your life right now?

A: I just got back from celebrating the 20th anniversary of the launch of AmeriCorps, with Presidents Obama and Clinton, on the South Lawn of the White House.  I was lucky to be part of its founding so many years ago, and was honored to be on the South Lawn with old friends as 500 new AmeriCorps members took that original oath of service. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed some tears.

Q: That sounds amazing! So what is something interesting about yourself?

A: I have the distinct privilege of being the mother to a 12 year old Roman history buff, and to the Junior Sartorialist (juniorsartorialist.com), my ten year old TEDx’er fashion blogger who has been written about in over 20 different languages all around the globe. 

Q: Finally, who brought you into SheGives and what do you like best about her?

A: Kirstan Barnett sat me down in a coffee shop about two years ago and laid out this idea of kick ass women getting together in super fun events to support highly vetted nonprofits, and before she’d even finished her first sentence, I said, “What can I do to help?”  To know Kirstan is to be energized by Kirstan; she is idealism and brilliance and fast forward in a bottle.

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

WhoIsShe is a regular column featuring an appreciative but sometimes irreverent conversation with a SheGives Member.

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SheGives Celebrates Ada Lovelace Day

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Hulton Archive, via Getty Images

In the history of computer sciences, the contributions of women are often omitted. History has always wanted heroes, individuals who do not need to collaborate to create world-changing work. In these cases, history books show that it is usually the man who gets the credit and is remembered. This is the way the story goes for many women in STEM fields and it is the way the story goes for Ada Lovelace.

Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer who lived from 1815 to 1852. She wrote the first computer algorithm in 1842 and thought up the idea of artificial intelligence. In 1843, Lovelace presented her notes on computing to the English scientific journal Scientific Memoirs. The editors of the journal told her colleague, Charles Babbage, that he should sign his name to the notes. Thus, Lovelace was written out of history and someone else received credit for her work.

This is far too common, leaving girls without historical role models, without proof that women are  capable and have been successful in this field before. This leaves young people with the view that men have always been the successful, active members of the technology field and allows for the stereotypes that men are simply better at math to pervade our culture. The lack of role models and the stereotypes about men being better at STEM fields creates a culture in which girls are not supported in their interest in computer science and lose their passion for it early, leaving only .4 percent of female college freshmen to state they are pursuing a major in computer science. 

“If women had been more prominently talked about tin computing, both in the history books and schools, we literally would not have the lack of women programmers that we do today. It’s about role models. You can’t be what you cannot see.” says Reshma Saujani, founder and chief executive of Girls Who Code, in this New York Times Article.

So how can we change this? We can start by celebrating Ada Lovelace Day, celebrating women in science, technology, engineering, and math. And we can continue to talk about women’s role in the history of technology every day of the year.  

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SheShinesOn…Beth Niernberg, My Life My Choice

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Clinical Director at My Life, My Choice for 4 years

She provides professional development and clinical support to the whole MLMC program, staff and children.

She's a phenomenal personal chef and mother to three boys and two dogs

Grew up in New York

Q: Tell us a little more about what you’ve done in this field.

I have been a clinician for 20 years. I have a great deal experience working with folks with a great deal of trauma, multigenerational trauma and poverty. I have extensive experience working with systems of service delivery in and around the Boston area.

Q: What previous job or training best prepared you to work here?

Working with trauma and poverty, abuse, and neglect in all of my previous positions has prepared me for working with exploited children, but the best training I have had was actually sitting and listening to the people I have had the honor to work with.

Q: What did you have to learn to do in order to be able to do your job with MLMC?

I’ve learned to deal with uncertainty and sometimes a lack of control over how to help change things for folks.

Q: What would the world be like without MLMC?

Children in our community would be at huge risk for exploitation.

Q: What advice would you give to people who are interested in your org’s type of work?

Find ways to contribute a little bit at a time. You don’t have to commit your whole life – just stick your toe in.

 SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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Pygmalion Effect for Teachers and Students

The Pygmalion effect links expectations placed upon people with their performance. The higher the expectations, the better they perform.

The Center for American Progress recently conducted a study on teachers and the expectations for their students. The study found that teachers don’t always have high expectations for all students, especially ones of color or those who are poor. The achievement of these students, therefore, may be influenced by the teacher’s low expectations.

A study by the National Center for Education Statistics showed that students whose teachers had high expectations for them graduated from college at three times the rate of the students whose teachers had low expectations.

Teacher expectations have been very predictive of a student’s success. It was found that teachers can predict the success with more accuracy than parents or the students themselves.

One of the nonprofits on our slate, Teach Plus: T3 Initiative, is a program that recruits, develops and supports effective, experienced teachers to serve as teacher leaders in low-performing schools. The “T3″ stands for Turnaround Teacher Teams. These teachers can really make a difference by going in and having high expectations for all students, regardless of demographics.

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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SheGives celebrates the launch of its second year with a party with RAW Art Works



Picture1On Monday October 6, SheGives held a celebration with Raw Art Works at Space 57 in Boston’s Back Bay to launch its second year. The walls were lined with incredible art pieces by RAWstudents that SheGives members were able to discuss and explore with other member and members of the RAW community. Art reflected the students’ views of themselves, aspects of their lives, and their reactions to the world around them. RAW founder Mary Flannery was on hand during the evening’s cocktail hour to answer questions about the art and RAW Art Works. Members spent  the first half of the evening enjoying drinks and hors d’oeuvres provided by Space 57.

 Cocktails were followed by a presentation by RAW staff members. Mary Flannery, Kit Jenkins, Kathe Swaback, and Masiel Encarnacion took turns speaking about the importance of RAW and what RAW does for students in the Lynn area. RAW students provided a heart-warming short film showcasing how they felt about RAW: RAW is a second home for students who want and need a sense of belonging. SheGives members were provided with a better understanding of RAW, how it operates financially, and how it has expanded and how it plans to expand in the future.shegivesRAW124

The presentation ended with Mary Flannery leading SheGives members in a guided art therapy session. Members teamed up with the woman sitting directly opposite them and told to draw each other without looking down at the paper. A feeling of nervousn
ess was quickly replaced by a palpable sense of fun and bonding as everyone let go of their worry about doing a poor job of drawing their partner and focused on having fun with the task at hand. After the drawing was complete, everyone colored their portraits and had their pictures taken next to them. The portraits were taken home as souvenirs on RAW clipboards. 

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SheGives Founder and President, Kirstan Barnett finished off the evening by informing members about what they can expect from SheGives this year. This year, SheGives will be selecting four new nonprofits to add to the slate. These nonprofits will be chosen from one of four different tracks. Members who wish to get involved with choosing can contact Carrie Greenaway for more information. 

A special thanks to Samantha Yanofsky, the talented force behind SLY Photography, for her incredible photos capturing the evening.  To see more photos from the event, visit SLY Photography’s gallery here.

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SheShinesOn…Emma McCarthy, Lovin’ Spoonfuls

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Lead Development Officer since June 2012

Grew up in Atlanta, GA

Would love to have a dog, but is currently stranded in a no-pet building

Formerly worked at Flour Bakery, one of Lovin' Spoonfuls' key partners

Q: Lovin’ Spoonfuls runs a tight ship – tell us about your role.

My job revolves around raising funds for the organization, but since our team is so small, I have a hand in a lot of other areas as well.

Q: What have you done previously that’s influenced your work with Lovin’ Spoonfuls?

Working at other small non-profit organizations prior to this one helped provide a bit of context to the nature of the job, but every day is a learning experience – even after 18 months of working here!

Q: What advice would you give to people who are interested in food rescue?

The most effective and immediate way for people to have an impact (aside from donating to Lovin’ Spoonfuls!) is to reduce their own food waste footprint at home. Simple things like eating leftovers, taking advantage of the freezer, making shopping lists and planning out meals can really make a difference – on both your environmental footprint and your wallet!

SheGives Black Circle Logo[2]

SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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