Annual Dinner

Held each fall in Boston, the Annual Dinner brings together business, non-profit, and academic leaders from throughout New England to celebrate the New England Council’s accomplishments, and to honor those who have made significant contributions to the region with the New Englander of the Year Award.

2017 Annual Dinner – New Englanders of the Year Announced!

NEOTY Headshot Collage

The New England Council’s 2017 Annual Dinner will take place on the evening of Monday, October 30, 2017, at the Seaport Hotel/World Trade Center in Boston, MA.  The evening will begin with a reception at 4:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:00 p.m. We are pleased to announce our 2017 New Englanders of the Year:

The Honorable Charles D. Baker
Governor, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Governor Charlie Baker was inaugurated as Massachusetts’ 72nd Governor in January 2015 after a long and successful career in both public service and the private sector. As Governor, he has worked in a bipartisan manner to advance a pro-growth agenda for the Commonwealth, and has collaborated with fellow New England Governors on issues of importance to the region, including energy, transportation, and responding to the opioid epidemic. As a result of his strong leadership, Massachusetts was named the #1 best state in the nation by U.S. News and World Report earlier this year, and the Governor has consistently ranked as one of the most popular Governors in the country. Earlier in his career, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, and was the Chairman of The New England Council.

Collette Divitto
Founder, Collettey’s Cookies

Connecticut native Collette Divitto was born with Down Syndrome, as well as an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for baking. After graduating from Clemson University’s LIFE program, Collette struggled to find employment because of her disability. Undeterred, she put her love of baking to use and launched Collettey’s Cookies with her mother and sister in 2011. The business has attracted local and national media attention and a strong social media following, and has sold over 50,000 cookies since its launch. Today, as her business continues to grow and thrive, Collette employs two other people with intellectual disabilities and has become an advocate for employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Joseph L. Hooley
Chairman and CEO, State Street Corporation

Jay Hooley is Chairman and CEO of State Street Corporation, one of the world’s leading providers of financial services for institutional investors. Since joining State Street in 1986, Hooley has held diverse leadership positions with increasing responsibility across the firm. He was appointed president and chief operating officer in 2008 and assumed his current role overseeing all aspects of State Street’s global business in 2010. Since then, Hooley has led State Street’s continued global expansion and growth while investing in technology to position the company as a digital leader in financial services. He is a passionate supporter of community service organizations and devotes a great deal of time and energy to charitable and civic activities. He’s also a vocal champion for increasing diversity at State Street and across the financial services industry and beyond.

Navyn Salem
Founder and CEO, Edesia
Navyn Salem is the founder and CEO of Edesia, a nonprofit social enterprise and manufacturer of specialized foods that help treat and prevent malnutrition for children enduring the extreme hardships of poverty, conflict, natural disaster, disease outbreak, or famine worldwide. Salem first saw the urgent need to extend the global reach of Plumpy’Nut® — a peanut-based ready-to-use therapeutic food that cures severe acute malnutrition in children with a 90 percent success rate — after watching a 60 Minutes segment with Anderson Cooper featuring its near-miraculous impact in drought-strick- en Niger. Salem soon after established a factory in Tanzania, her father’s home country, and then two years later in 2009, founded Edesia in Rhode Island, her home state. Since production began in March 2010, Edesia’s ready-to-use foods have reached over 5.5 million malnourished children in 50 countries through the work of UNICEF, the World Food Programme, USAID/USDA, and other humanitarian aid agencies. Today, Edesia employs 70 people who hail from over 20 countries.

For information on sponsorship and individual tickets, please contact Larry Zabar at or 617-723-4009.

Click here to view Sponsorship Levels.

2016 Annual Dinner Draws 1,800 Guests


On the evening of November 1, 2016, some 1,800 New England Council members and other guests gathered at the Seaport Hotel/World Trade Center for the Council’s 2016 Annual Dinner, making it the largest dinner in the organization’s history.  The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2016 New Englander of the Year Awards to four remarkable honorees:

  • R. Nicholas Burns, Ambassador (Ret.), Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Abbey D’Agostino, U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team
  • Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE
  • The Honorable Gina M. Raimondo, Governor, The State of Rhode Island

The New England Council is grateful to the many businesses and organizations who sponsored the 2016 Annual Dinner, and in particular, to the co-chairs of this year’s event: Jay Hooley, CEO of State Street Corporation, and Michael Mahoney, CEO of Boston Scientific.

Learn more about our 2016 New Englanders of the Year in a press release about this year’s dinner, or in some of the local media coverage:

We are also pleased to share copies of several of our honorees acceptance speeches:


About the New Englander of the Year Awards

The highlight of each year’s Annual Dinner is the presentation of the prestigious “New Englander of the Year” awards.  First presented over 40 years ago, the award is meant to honors residents of the New England states for their commitment and contributions in their fields of work, as well as their leadership and impact on the New England region’s quality of life and economy.  Over the years, has honored leaders from both the public and private sectors, including U.S. Senators and Representatives, Governors, cabinet secretaries, college presidents, non-profit executives, and CEOs of some of the region’s most respected and successful businesses.

View past New Englander of the Year Award recipients

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