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Year of the Million Dollar Woman: Women on Boards

The Enterprise Center at Salem State University

121 Loring Ave | Salem, MA 01970

Wed, Sep 16, 2015 @ 8:00 am - 10:00 am

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Women are joining corporate and non-profit boards across Massachusetts, but the numbers are still not as strong as they should be.  Why?  What are the benefits to joining a board and what should your expectations be if you do join?  And if you are interested in joining a board how do you make this happen? Who do you talk to and how do you access this network?
Come listen to three women who have served on boards and are working hard to get others to do the same.  Learn what they are doing, why this is important to you and what you can do if you want to join a board.


JoAnn Cavallaro

Throughout her career, JoAnn has been dedicated to the development of talent with a specific focus on advancing women into positions of leadership and influence. She continues to actively carry out this commitment by working to achieve gender equity in the boardroom.

JoAnn is the President of ION, the national consortium and stakeholder organization whose mission is to increase the number of women appointed to corporate boards and the executive suite. She is the immediate past president of The Boston Club, the largest executive women’s membership organization in New England and a senior member and former chair of the Corporate Board Committee a group of women who, since 1997, have pioneered the advocacy for gender equity in the boardroom. They have dedicated themselves to changing the landscape for women and have placed over 90 women on corporate boards.

In her “other” professional work, JoAnn is the founder and principal of DeCava Consulting & Advisory Services. Prior to launching her consulting practice, she had a corporate career in the telecom & broadband industries serving in key senior executive operating and strategic planning roles. She has served as CEO of an early stage software company, and she is also engaged as an interim executive by both the private and nonprofit sectors. JoAnn serves on the boards of WomenLEAD Inc., Coastal Soundings and Thirty Percent Coalition. JoAnn was recently honored as one of Boston’s Most Influential Women by the Women of the Harvard Club.


Malli Gero

Malli Gero is Co-founder and President of 2020 Women on Boards, a national campaign to increase the number of women on corporate boards to 20% or more by the year 2020. She served as Executive Director until August 2014.

Before launching 2020 Women on Boards, Malli had a long career in marketing communications and public relations. She was principal of Gero Communications, a boutique PR firm founded in 1985, specializing in b-2-b, non-profit and hospitality sectors with a special emphasis in women’s leadership. She also worked as an account executive for public relations agencies in New York and Boston.

Malli is an active community volunteer. She was appointed to the Mayor's Commission on Women in June 2014 and serves on the board of More Than Words, an innovative social enterprise. She is past chair and president of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation in Brookline, MA.

She received her BA from Hunter College, and lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts with her husband, Michael.


Patricia Maguire Meservey

Patricia “Pat” Maguire Meservey has served as Salem State University’s 13th president since July 2007. Salem State is one of the largest state universities in the commonwealth and the largest in the north of Boston region. The institution enrolls 9,500 students in 28 undergraduate and over 50 graduate programs in the liberal arts, human services, and business and has a large offering of continuing education programs.

An active member of many regional boards, Patricia Maguire Meservey’s strategic vision and insight make her current leadership roles as chair of The Salem Partnership, chair of the board of directors for the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development and chair of the Commission in Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges invaluable. Other boards on which she serves include the North Shore Workforce Investment Board, the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, and New England Council. She has recently been appointed as a trustee for Eastern Bank and member of the board of directors for Bottom Line, MA.

President Meservey came to Salem State from Suffolk University, where she served as the first provost and academic vice president of that institution. Previously, she held several positions at Northeastern University and Boston University as both a faculty member and administrator.

Patricia Maguire Meservey holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Boston College, an M.S. in parent-child health nursing and a B.S. in nursing, both from Boston University, and a diploma in nursing from Faulkner Hospital. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Patricia Maguire Meservey

Salem State University

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