Bold Types: Council is a big draw
As originally appearing in The Boston Globe

By Jon Chesto

Jim Brett likes to think of the New England Council’s annual dinner as his group’s report card, in part because it’s also the organization’s main fund-raiser, covering more than a third of its $5 million annual budget.

So it looks like Brett and his eight-person staff may have earned an “A.” He said nearly 1,700 people attended the annual meeting last week at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center.

“They really stepped up to the plate,” Brett says.

The council honored another round of “New Englanders of the Year.” Here’s the Class of 2018: Vertex Pharmaceuticals CEO Jeff Leiden; retiring congresswoman Niki Tsongas; General Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (and a Quincy native); and retired Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, a quadruple amputee whose Maine foundation helps injured veterans.

Brett says the event draws people from all over New England and from all corners of the region’s economy. “It’s all of New England coming together,” Brett says. “That’s what makes it special.”

Meanwhile, the council’s board of directors welcomed some new faces: Mo Cowan, General Electric’s president of global government affairs and policy; John Pantano, alliance director at Philips Healthcare; Kevin Rasch, vice president of government affairs at Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare; Peter Sherlock, chief operating officer at MITRE Corp.; and Alison Weiss, head of federal government relations at MassMutual.

The board added two board seats to accommodate Sherlock and Weiss. Cowan replaces GE’s Alex Dimitrief; Pantano takes over for Laurel Sweeney, who left Philips earlier this year; and Rasch replaces former CEO Eric Schultz, who abruptly departed Harvard Pilgrim in June.

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