As a rule, the city’s proliferating invite-only breakfast groups don’t talk about what goes on behind closed doors. But we managed to get a glimpse inside these confidential circles of power.
Jobs for Mass.
Date Founded Early ’70s
The Venue 31st-floor conference room at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Start Time 8 a.m.
The Menu Self-serve continental breakfast
The Crowd Your boss’s boss’s…boss. Includes: Senate President Bob Travaglini; House Speaker Sal DiMasi; departing Boston Fed president Cathy Minehan; Bob McCarthy of the firefighters union; execs like Ted Kelly of Liberty Mutual, Tom May of NStar, Donna Cupelo of Verizon
House Rules Principals only, and invitations are nontransferable
The Vibe Mount Olympian. The mission, as the name suggests, is to stimulate commerce and job creation; the group also had a say in shaping last year’s historic healthcare reform bill.
Kevin Phelan’s Breakfast Group
Date Founded 1976
The Venue Conference room at Meredith & Grew’s offices on Federal Street
Start Time 8 a.m.
The Menu Coffee, OJ, doughnuts
The Crowd Bleeding-heart bigwigs, upwardly mobile civic leaders. Includes: Jim Segel, special counsel to Barney Frank; Goodwin Procter attorneys Wayne Budd and Richard Soden; developer Ron Druker; Boys & Girls Clubs boss Linda Whitlock; Judge Sandra Lynch; former City Councilor Larry DiCara; Lisa Signori, CFO for the City of Boston; concert king Don Law; MBTA Police Chief Joe Carter; Harvard community relations director Kevin McCluskey; PR honcho George Regan; Babson College president Brian Barefoot
House Rules Spotty attendance is a no-no. Word is, you miss three consecutive meetings, you risk losing your slot.
The Vibe Rarified, yet informal (see “The Menu”). Phelan’s gatherings help set the tone for civic engagement in Boston, and have spawned at least two imitators (see below).
Bill Kennedy’s Breakfast at Nutter
Date Founded 2001
The Venue Conference room at Nutter McClennen & Fish’s offices in the South Boston Seaport District (the possible next frontier for not only developers, but the breakfast group trend as well?)
Start Time 7:45–8 a.m.
The Menu The rare breakfast group actually known for its food. Kennedy, a Nutter McClennen attorney who was the chief aide to former Speaker Tom Finneran, feeds his guests hand-cut doughnuts from Mike’s on Mission Hill or O’Brien’s in Wollaston and treats like fresh raspberries.
The Crowd Off-the-clock Beacon Hill schmoozers, legal potentates with agendas, education czars. Includes: Convention Center Authority head Jim Rooney; MassDevelopment CEO Bob Culver; Hill Holliday honcho Mike Sheehan and his ex-boss, Jack Connors; lawyer and political fixer Cheryl Cronin; Suffolk University VP John Nucci; Suffolk DA Dan Conley; developers John Drew and Bob Walsh; state Treasurer Tim Cahill; UMass Medical School vice chancellor Albert Sherman; UMass president Jack Wilson
House Rules Kennedy is flexible about accommodating his presenters. When Globe columnist Steve Bailey couldn’t fit a morning appearance into his schedule, the group convened for lunch instead.
The Vibe Free-wheeling, as these things go
The Junto Group
Date Founded 2006
The Venue Function room at the Langham
Start Time 7 a.m. sharp; out by 8:30
The Menu “Carbs and coffee”
The Crowd Young Turks with LinkedIn accounts and Phelanesque ambitions. Includes: twentysomething founders Michael Salguero of JPI real estate development, Seth Rosen (who works closely with Phelan at Meredith & Grew), and Zev Steinmetz of William Raveis Real Estate; Haril Pandya of CBT architects; Brandon Dickason of Jones Lang LaSalle real estate; Hannah Commoss of the state’s Pension Reserves Investment Management Board
The Vibe Über-earnest. (The group takes its name from a self-improvement society founded by Ben Franklin in 1727 after the young Franklin had ditched Boston for Philadelphia.) The well-intentioned members admit they aren’t movers-and-shakers yet, but they intend to be.
James Skeffington Jr. and Tom Burton’s Breakfast Group
Date Founded 1999
The Venue Boston College Club
Start Time 7:45 a.m.
The Menu In the early days, it was just omelets and waffles. Now, this growing breakfast group is decidedly uninterested in the actual breakfast part—the muffins, bagels, and fruit on offer usually go untouched.
The Crowd Thirtysomething go-getters, VIP progeny, combinations thereof. Includes: hotshot BC grad cofounders Burton and Skeffington; Surface Logix general counsel Winston Henderson; former Romney press secretary Shawn Feddeman; City Councilor Michael Flaherty; Douglas Karp (son of developer Steve Karp); Erin Purcell (daughter of Herald publisher Pat Purcell); Lauren Phelan (daughter of original breakfast clubber Kevin Phelan)
The Vibe Civic-duty sincerity. The group’s founders shun publicity for their group, which regularly issues invites to charities to come pitch their causes.