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At Big In Boston 2018, Sisters Did It For Themselves

Posted 11/12/2018

Deb Re and Jeanne Yozell
Mariann Youniss
Little Sister Selena
Big Sister Nicole Pogue and Little Sister Nakiya
Deb Re
Mayor Marty Walsh
Julia Cunha, MA State Representative Jeffery Sanchez, and Nataly Castro
Little Sister Angie, Big Sister Julia Mandeville, Little Sister Cierra, and Big Sister Sara Sullivan
Little Sister Lillian, Little Sister Joi, and Lisa Hughes
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In the early 1970s, New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress. At that time, she famously said: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” On Saturday, November 10, Big Sister Boston proved that in the Big Sister community, you don’t need to bring a folding chair because there is a seat for all women and girls. And, through the impact of professionally supported Big and Little Sister relationships and programs that foster women’s and girls’ personal and professional development, we are creating more seats at that table each day.

Four hundred guests joined us for Big in Boston at the Museum of Fine Arts to honor C Space Chairman, Diane Hessan, with the Believe in Girls award. We recognized Diane for her contributions to creating a seat at the table for more women entrepreneurs through her mentorship and investment of time and resources. Big in Boston chair, Board member, and Allen & Gerritsen CEO, Andrew Graff, presented the award to Diane.

Amid the evening’s other highlights were:

  • Emcee Lisa Hughes of WBZ-TV/CBS Boston was joined on stage by Little Sister Lillian—who hopes to have Lisa’s job someday.
  • Mayor Marty Walsh addressed the challenges still facing women and girls in Boston.
  • video featured Little Sister Jade taking her “seat” at Governor Charlie Baker’s table.
  • President and CEO, Deb Re, celebrated women’s achievements of the past year, including historic firsts in last week’s midterm elections, and also performed the “In My Feelings Challenge” dance with Little Sister Joi.
  • We celebrated former executive director Jeanne Yozell’s 90th birthday (yes, there was cake!).
  • Little Sister Selena and Big Sister of the Year, Claudia Rodriguez, shared a heartfelt story of their 10-year relationship.
  • We danced the night away at our Young Professional Board’s After Party!


The program also included a historic first for Big Sister Boston: 10 women—and only women—asked for financial contributions from guests. In an effort to model women and girls standing up and speaking up for what they want, need, and deserve, members of Big Sister Boston’s staff, Diversity Board, Little Sister Board, New Girls Network, and Young Professional Board, as well as Board of Directors Chair, Mariann Youniss, all solicited donations in support of our work and their respective roles in it.  Thank you to all who generously gave to the event, from our corporate sponsors to individuals. Together, we are creating a seat at the table for more of Greater Boston’s women and girls.

Click here if you would like to make a gift in support of Big Sister Boston’s work.

Check out more photos on our Facebook page.

Thank you to our chair and host committee:

Andrew Graff, Event Chair

Laura Bronner

Carolyn Clancy

Carey Cort

Jim Gallagher

Nancy Go

Linda Henry

Jill Kravetz

Kathy Kiely

Mark Lund

Kelly McDermott

Sharon McNally

Kerry Swords

Chris Woods

Mariann Youniss


Big thank you to our sponsors:

Visionary Sponsor

Mintz Logo


Leadership Sponsors


Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Logo

AT&T Logo

Kirkland & Ellis Logo

WBZ Logo


Paul & Sandy Edgerley

Mariann & Andy Youniss

The Yozell Family


Catalyst Sponsors

Allen & Gerritsen

AMAG Pharmaceuticals


Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Boston Bruins

C Space

Eastern Bank

Fidelity Investments

Goodwin Procter LLP

HDMS Health Data & Management Solutions

Hinckley Allen

John Hancock

Lewis Family Foundation

Liberty Mutual Insurance

MMB Advertising

Morgan Stanley/Peter & Pattie Bishop/Jon & Allie Bordeau

Partners HealthCare

Putnam Investments

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Joe Realmuto & Paul Korenberg

The Red Sox Foundation

State Street Corporation

Suffolk Cares

Kerry & Brendan Swords

Jean Tempel

Triumph Modular Corporation

Wolf & Company, P.C.