The 50 Most Powerful Women in Boston

By Alexandra Hall | Boston Magazine |

Devra First

Restaurant Critic, Boston Globe

Power demo:  Steering legions of diners toward (or away) from the city’s eateries, oftentimes determining a business’s success or failure. Her identity remains so secret we couldn’t even illustrate her for you.



Carol Fulp

Senior VP of Brand Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, John Hancock Financial

Power demo:  Presiding over an $11 million corporate-giving program. (And getting nominated to represent the U.S. at the UN.)


Orit Gadiesh

Chairman, Bain & Company

Power demo:  Rocking the World Economic Forum as a regular speaker.



Drew Gilpin Faust

President, Harvard University

Power demo:  Somehow making Harvard even more global, building partnerships in Asia and recently creating a teacher-education initiative in Soweto, Africa.



Anne Hawley

Director, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Power demo:  Hawley began at the Gardner more than 20 years ago with a bang — just before thieves walked off with $500 million in fine art. She’ll kick off 2012 with a different sort of excitement: the unveiling of the museum’s Renzo Piano–designed wing, a $114 million modern wonder featuring a 300-seat performance hall, a 2,000-square-foot special exhibition gallery, even an adjoining greenhouse area. The project tested Hawley’s considerable skills, given that the founder of the museum had written it into her will that the collections must never be modified. Hawley not only needed to convince the Supreme Judicial Court that the expansion wouldn’t change the original building or its contents — she also had to overcome the objections of disapproving neighborhood preservationists.  — Brittany Jasnoff


Regina Herzlinger

Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Power demo:  Acting as the intellectual parent of our state’s universal healthcare plan.


Susan Hockfield

President, MIT

Power demo:  Captaining a $300 million energy-research and -education push to develop new wind turbines, solar cells, and strategies for better utilizing our existing power sources.


Barbara Hostetter


Power demo:  Cofounding the Barr Foundation, the state’s largest private charity, which has given more than $418 million to environmental, educational, and arts and culture causes.


Swanee Hunt

Philanthropist; Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government

Power demo:  Creating the Hunt Alternatives Fund — it’s delivered $130 million to promote female political leadership and arts for disadvantaged kids.


Abigail Johnson

Vice Chairman/Director FMR President Fidelity Personal, Workplace and Institutional Services

Power demo:  Being poised to succeed Ned Johnson, her 80-year-old father, as the CEO of one of the nation’s biggest financial services companies. She is routinely listed among the richest women in America.

  • Lesley

    Doesn’t United States Attorney General trump Massachusetts Attorney General? Where is Carmen Ortiz? You’ve overlooked an amazing woman with an inspirational story of achieving the American dream.

  • Doug

    Not only did you miss Carmen Ortiz but how is first Lady Diane Patrick who is also a partner at Ropes and Gray not on this list?