On March 22, as the temperature in Boston rose to an unseasonably warm spring day, so did Big Sister Association. We rose early in the morning to further our mission at our annual Rise & Inspire Breakfast. Close to 300 business leaders and community members joined us at the Mandarin Oriental Boston to learn more about the importance of mentoring, and the positive effects it can have on girls, women, and the community as a whole.
After guests networked and mingled, the program began with a video that highlighted several remarkable Big and Little Sister relationships, some of which have lasted over a decade. Following the video, Big Sister CEO Deborah Re took the stage to introduce Bank of America’s Global Strategy and Marketing Executive and Northeast President, Anne Finucane. In her remarks, Ms. Finucane explained that her life did not follow the path that she had originally intended, yet she was still able to attain the important position that she holds today. Some of this success she attributes to the support of two caring and inspirational mentors. Ms. Finucane went on to describe Bank of America’s work with Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international organization dedicated to mentoring emerging women leaders in developing countries around the world. Through Bank of America’s partnership with Vital Voices, women receive guidance from established leaders so that they can realize their potential, which helps them to make a bigger difference in their country while strengthening economies at the same time. Whether you are mentoring a girl in Boston, Massachusetts or Port-au-Prince, Haiti, you have an opportunity not only to change that one person’s life, but to transform entire communities.
Boston City Councilor At-Large and Big Sister Ayanna Pressley continued the inspiring morning by sharing her own story. She said that she understood the importance of mentoring not because she had a supportive mentor when she was a child, but because she didn’t. She recognizes that she could have benefitted immensely by having an adult in her life in addition to her mother whom she could talk to, trust, and rely on. So that another girl could receive the kind of support that she herself had not, Councilor Pressley volunteered to become a Big Sister. Her Little Sister Arianna turned out to be her perfect match — their names are similar, their birthdays are two days apart, and they simply enjoy each other’s company. As a testament to the depth of their relationship, Councilor Pressley said: “I’m not an elected official who happens to be a Big Sister. I’m a Big Sister who happens to be an elected official.” She went on to enforce the importance of mentoring, explaining that when you inspire a girl, you really can transform a community. “Girls rock, and women rule,” she concluded.
Event co-chairs and board members Kerry Nelson and Maria Fernandes took the stage and told the audience that for just $1,000 Big Sister can make and support a mentoring match for a full year. The crowd responded by generously giving more than $61,000 to help Big Sister further our mission.
We thank the Big Sister community of supporters for helping to make Rise & Inspire a success. We hope that everyone will be inspired to rise with us again for next year’s annual breakfast.