Power: The Next ­Generation

Who will be on this list in five years? Meet the city’s younger, nimbler power players, who are making bigger waves in Boston than ever before.

walsh and koh

Photograph by David Yellen

If the city becomes more Millennial-friendly, blame Mayor Walsh’s 29-year-old chief of staff, Dan Koh, who brings his generation’s technology-driven approach straight to the top. Koh’s fixation with data collection, for example, inspired Walsh to set up a digital dashboard in his office—a four-part screen that streams local and global news and stats. Watching key metrics like these, Koh hopes, will help improve city services in the months and years to come. In turn, Koh admires his boss’s well-honed (and perhaps very previous generation) listening skills. “At his very core, he’s a relationship guy,” Koh says of Walsh.

Koh is hardly the only next-generation power player. There is, of course, Boston Globe managing director Linda Pizzuti Henry, whose influence on the paper is sure to grow, as is her impact in civic circles. Second-term Representative Joseph Kennedy III has proved to be a quick study, and his ascension in Massachusetts politics will likely be rapid. Jump-starting the economies of gateway cities like Lawrence and Springfield falls on the shoulders of new state economic czar Jay Ash. Another face to watch: Justin Kang, a dynamo determined to make Boston the social-impact capital of the world through City Awake, which organized an expo last year and has big plans for this year. And if anyone is going to spark the potential power of the City Council, it likely will be Tito Jackson, who issued a subpoena in a tussle with Boston University late last year to ultimately compel BU president Robert Brown to show up. Call it brash youthfulness, but it was a power play that worked. —George Donnelly

View the full list of Boston’s 50 Most Powerful People.

Check out more of our Power 2015 coverage.