The 50 Most Powerful Women in Boston
Superintendent Boston Public Schools
Power demo: It’s too bad that every time Carol Johnson’s name turns up in the paper these days, somebody seems to be criticizing her. She’s been forced to institute budget-trimming initiatives such as closing or merging more than a dozen schools, and she’s set about firing or reassigning underperforming teachers — hardly a recipe for positive PR. Still, Johnson has been taking care of business since arriving from Memphis in 2007: The city’s test scores are up, the dropout rate is at its lowest point in two decades, and BPS was named one of the 20 most-improved school systems in the world in a 2010 McKinsey & Co. report. — Tanya Pai
Vice President/New England Market Manager, Entercom
Power demo: Calling the shots at some of New England’s top-rated radio stations, such as WEEI, WRKO, and WAAF.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Chair/Director, Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative
Power demo: Spreading innovative leadership strategies; winning the Association of Leadership Professionals’ International Leadership Award.
President, Hill Holiday
Power demo: Growing the ad agency’s annual billings to more than
$1 billion, with clients ranging from Dunkin’ Donuts to Bank of America and Verizon Wireless.
Victoria Reggie Kennedy
Former Partner, Keck, Mahin & Cate
She’s known to most as the late Ted Kennedy’s wife. But Vicki Kennedy has quickly become a major force in local and national political circles. After the senator’s passing, it’s said that her support helped install longtime aide Paul Kirk to keep the seat warm until — much to her chagrin — it was captured by Scott Brown. And over the last year, she’s become a sought-after endorsement, stumping for several Democratic candidates in November and working the social circuit with gusto. She’s popped up at benefits and openings galore, and has delivered multiple high school and college commencement addresses — all in addition to one of her biggest charitable endeavors, fundraising for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. Though the former lawyer found herself on many Dems’ shortlists of potential challengers to Brown in 2012, she’s wound up brushing off speculation regarding a future candidacy — for now, anyway. — Donna Garlough
Philanthropist; President New England Patriots Charitable Foundation
Power demo: Injecting more than $100 million into dozens of causes — from tiny grassroots campaigns to major universities — through organizations like the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation and the Robert K. and Myra H. Kraft Foundation, both of which she coestablished.
Art Collector; Honorary Trustee, MFA
Power demo: Making the careers of starving artists simply by adding their works to her esteemed collection.
President, Bentley University; Former Chair, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
Power demo: Driving the massive $800 million Boston Convention and Exhibition Center project.
Philanthropist; Fouder Barbara Lee Family Foundation
Power demo: Conceiving and funding contemporary-art and women-in-politics programs — and helping to elect just about every sitting woman Democratic senator and governor nationwide.
President, Unite Here! Local 26
Power demo: They call her a bully, but a compassionate one. And on both counts, with good reason: As the protector of 5,000-plus Boston hospitality workers, Loux has picked fights with — and won concessions from — big players like Hyatt (getting new positions offered to the 98 housekeepers replaced by lower-paid subcontractors) and the Liberty Hotel (the city postponed its approval of the hotel because it hadn’t signed with the union). Under Loux, Local 26 has doubled its membership and become one of New England’s largest private-sector unions, and the percentage of Boston’s unionized hotels has shot up from 40 to 60. Loux comes by her trade naturally — her mother was the hotel waitress who took on the all-male bartenders union and got it to admit women. — Alexandra Hall