Boston’s 50 Most Powerful People: The List

In Boston’s shifting power economy, some are up, some are down, and some are exactly where they’ve been for decades.

⬆︎ 31. Gloria Larson

President, Bentley University

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Brilliant yet accessible, this former Patrick administration cabinet member transformed Bentley College into a top-tier business university in just eight years. Meanwhile, she’s the gifted collaborator every major board wants on its team.

Read more about Gloria Larson.

⬆︎ 32. Veronica Turner-Biggs

Executive vice president, Local 1199, SEIU United Healthcare Workers East


Once the SEIU endorses a candidate or supports a law, you can consider it a done deal. That’s in large part because of Turner-Biggs, who’s widely regarded as the toughest labor leader in town.

⬆︎ 33. Tracy Campion/Kevin Ahearn

Principal and owner, Campion and Company/President and owner, Otis & Ahearn

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Campion in the Back Bay and Ahearn downtown have long dictated what luxe living means in the city. No developer would break ground without consulting one of these real estate merchants.

⬆︎ 34. Jeffrey Bussgang

General partner, Flybridge Capital Partners


Boston’s innovation economy needs more champions, and Bussgang is a good one. When Charlie Baker wiped out his beloved pilot program to attract foreign student entrepreneurs, Bussgang convinced the administration to throw the program a lifeline.

Read more about Jeffrey Bussgang.

➡︎ 35. Bill and Alli Achtmeyer

Chairman and managing partner, the Parthenon Group/ Philanthropist


Bill has used his wealth to steer Boston’s cultural brands, including the BSO and the MFA. Alli is the consummate committeewoman, enriching nonprofits like UNICEF and MGH, one ball at a time.

⬆︎ 36. Rafael Reif

President, MIT


Reif presides over an institution that continues to transform Kendall Square into a hub of innovation and expense accounts. And it’s engaging Boston as well, partnering with Boston 2024 and Linda Pizzuti Henry’s upcoming HUBWeek festival.

➡︎ 37. Thomas Glynn

CEO, Massport


He’s the man who’s bringing Massachusetts to the world, and vice versa. Under Glynn, Boston has gone increasingly global, attracting new nonstop flights to Beijing, Dubai, Istanbul, and Panama. Soon, we’ll add Mexico City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tel Aviv as well.

➡︎ 38. Swanee Hunt

Founder and chair, Hunt Alternatives


The daughter of an ultra-right Texas oil billionaire, Hunt has spent her life (and fortune) funding progressive causes. Her latest push? Persuading Mayor Walsh to adopt Demand Abolition, an anti-prostitution initiative to prosecute johns rather than sex workers.

⬆︎ 39. Atul Gawande

Professor of surgery, Harvard Medical School


A gifted surgeon, New Yorker staff writer, and educator, Gawande recently founded Ariadne Labs, a nonprofit that’s making healthcare safer, cheaper, and more accessible for patients, whether they’re at the Brigham or a clinic in India.

Read more about Atul Gawande.

⬇︎ 40. Ralph de la Torre

Chairman and CEO, Steward Health Care System

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He’s leading the largest for-profit community-care organization in New England—17,000 employees, 11 hospitals—and betting on private healthcare. But with the closing of Quincy Hospital last year, many wonder: Is this experiment over?