Power: The 100 Women Who Run This Town

Abigail Johnson
41, President, Fidelity Management and Research
The likely successor to her 72-year-old father as Fidelity’s CEO, Johnson already runs the core mutual fund business, giving her what Money magazine calls “the fattest wallet in the universe,” with $775.4 billion in total assets under management for 18.4 million individual and institutional customers. She also controls 24 percent of the privately held company itself, putting her own net worth in the neighborhood of $10 billion. (Nice neighborhood.) Fiercely private, she’s tied into the community through Fidelity’s $306 million charitable arm, the Fidelity Foundation. Anyone who doesn’t get how closely tied are the fates of Fidelity and Boston is beginning to find out the hard way as the company continues shedding more than 5 percent of its largely local 30,000-person work force.

Cheryl M. Cronin
48, Partner, Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels
Cronin is duct tape: She can fix anything. Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the engineering group accused of making multimillion-dollar mistakes on the Big Dig, tapped her to handle its negotiations with the Turnpike Authority — a job this Democrat landed in part because of her ties to Republican Jane Swift, who she counseled during the ex-governor’s babysitter scandal. Cronin also steered House Speaker Tom Finneran, then-state Senate President William Bulger, and former Mayor Ray Flynn through potentially devastating imbroglios. And, as legal counsel for Boston’s host committee, she helped raise more than $21 million to bolster the city’s bid for next year’s Democratic National Convention.

Myra Kraft
61, President and Director, New England Patriots Charitable Foundation; Trustee, the Robert K. and Myra H. Kraft Foundation
Given their sizable bank account, Myra and her husband Bob could’ve sailed off to Tahiti years ago. But they didn’t. (“We like to work. It’s fun,” says her son Jonathan, CEO of the Kraft Group, whose holdings include box factories, paper mills, a new stadium, and one NFL franchise you may have heard of.) Before her husband acquired the Patriots in ’94, Myra Kraft was already running the family’s charitable foundation and was on the boards of the American Repertory Theatre and Brandeis (where she’s now vice chair). Since then, she’s built the Patriots’ charitable arm, which has handed out millions to needy causes. She’s joined the board of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston (she was the first woman chair.) And her clout has reached into war-torn Israel, the beneficiary of millions being used for schools and the Kraft Stadium for American football in Jerusalem.

Cathy Minehan
56, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
When Minehan talks, business listens. In addition to her role as head of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, she chairs the Fed’s Financial Services Policy Committee, which advises Alan Greenspan on national policy. She doesn’t neglect the home accounts. Few can get Boston business leaders into a room the way Minehan does. As chair of the Boston Private Industry Council, she’s pushed work-force training and education as keys to the city’s future. She’s the force behind the Creative Economy Council, which plans to pick up the slack in arts funding. For these reasons, she was named a New Englander of the Year last year by the New England Council.


Anne Finucane
50, Executive Vice President for Corporate Marketing and Communications, FleetBoston Financial
Finucane is one of three executives in charge of the entire personal financial services division of New England’s biggest bank, which has 5.5 million accountholders. She controls Fleet’s annual advertising budget — more than $100 million, making the bank the biggest customer of ad agency Hill, Holliday’s Boston office (run by fellow power listee Karen Kaplan). Finucane used to work in the mayor’s office, where she picked up something else it never hurts to have in this town: political savvy. Wife of radio talk-show host Mike Barnicle, she’s also president of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum, chair of the FleetBoston Financial Charitable Foundation (run by fellow power listee Gail Snowden), and a board member of the Boston Public Library Foundation and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Orit Gadiesh
52, Chair, Bain & Company
She stands over 6 feet tall in heels. She worked in military intelligence in her native Israel. And she runs one of the world’s largest, most elite business-consulting firms, with big-hitter clients like De Beers, ITT, and Dell. Twelve years ago, Gadiesh succeeded Mitt Romney as head of what was once called the KGB of consulting firms. Given her connections to the governor, it was no surprise when he named her to his transition team. Gadiesh was one of only two Bostonians listed the last time Fortune magazine published its female power list in 2000.

Coleen Marren
50, News Director, WCVB-TV, channel 5
Lisa Hall
31, Vice President and News Director, FOX 25
Pamela Johnston
35, News Director, WB56
Across the nation, roughly 25 percent of television news directors are women. Here in Boston, half of them are. Another newsy tidbit: According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Committee of Concerned Journalists, in an industry survey that looked at 17 large cities last year, Boston is ranked at the top of the list for the highest quality news programming.

Beth E. Myers
46, Chief of Staff, Governor Mitt Romney
Cindy Gillespie
45, Chief of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, Governor Mitt Romney
Myers, who served as a key adviser to the Romney campaign (she played Shannon O’Brien during debate preparations), oversees the governor’s operations, setting his schedule, coordinating his appearances, and deciding who gets face time with him. Meanwhile, Gillespie’s job is to push Romney’s proposals through the legislature. How much respect does she command? She’s a Democrat, appointed by a Republican governor as his top inside player. “She’s the one [Romney] looks to before he makes the final determination on just about anything,” according to Senate President Robert Travaglini.

Gail Snowden
57, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Fleet Community Investment Group
As racial tensions divided Upper Roxbury half a century ago, Otto and Muriel Snowden founded Freedom House to help the community remain racially and socioeconomically mixed. Today their daughter, Gail Snowden, is following their example as one of the city’s most powerful women executives, and a key voice in efforts to lure black executives to Boston. The first woman to run Fleet’s loan officer training program, she heads the Community Investment Group, helping low- and moderate-income businesses and residents secure loans. She also runs the FleetBoston Financial Foundation, one of the Northeast’s largest financial services philanthropies.