NEC to Honor Historic All-Female Lineup of 2021 New Englanders of the Year

Business Organization to Honor U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Former Boston Children’s Hospital CEO Sandra Fenwick; Vertex CEO Reshma Kewalramani, M.D.

BOSTON – For the first time since first presenting its prestigious New Englander of the Year awards in 1964, The New England Council has selected three women as award recipients this year.  The Council today announced that the 2021 New Englander of the Year honorees are:

  • U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee;
  • Sandra L. Fenwick, Chief Executive Officer 2013-2021, Boston Children’s Hospital; and
  • Reshma Kewalramani, M.D. CEO and President, Vertex.

The awards will be presented during the organization’s virtual 2021 Annual Celebration on Monday, October 18, 2021.

More about the honorees.

The Council traditionally presents the New Englander of the Year Awards each fall at its Annual Dinner in Boston, an event that has drawn over 1,700 guests from throughout the region in recent years.  Because of the COVID-19 global public health crisis, the Council transitioned to a virtual program in 2020, and in an excess of caution, will again present a virtual Annual Celebration this year.  The program will be streamed online on Monday, October 18, 2021, at 4:00 p.m.

The 2021 Annual Celebration co-chairs are Becca Gould, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at American Tower Corporation, and Dennis Leonard, President and CEO of Delta Dental of Massachusetts.

“Over the last year and a half, our region and our nation have faced unprecedented challenges.  But by working collaboratively, and with the leadership of incredible individuals in both the public and private sectors, New England is coming out of this crisis stronger and more united,” said James T. Brett, President & CEO of The New England Council.  “This year, for the first time in the 57-year history of our New Englander of the Year award, we will honor three remarkable women who have each played a role in our region’s recovery and continued economic growth.  We are grateful for their meaningful contributions, and proud to call them New Englanders.”

The New England Council’s Board of Directors selected this year’s honorees based on their commitment to the community, distinguished careers and countless contributions to the region and the nation:

  • The Honorable Rosa DeLauro, U.S. House of Representatives, Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional DistrictU.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro was first elected to Congress in 1990, and is currently serving her 16th term representing Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District, which stretches from the Long Island Sound and New Haven, to the Naugatuck Valley and Waterbury.  In December 2020, House Democrats elected her as the Chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for funding the federal government.  She is also a member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee where she helps shape the House Democratic Caucus’ agenda.  Throughout her remarkable career in public service, Representative DeLauro has been a champion for America’s working families, working to strengthen the economy and create good middle class jobs. She has advocated tirelessly to increase investments in health and education, to raise the minimum wage, to ensure equal pay for all workers, and to provide employees with paid family and medical leave.
  • Sandra L. Fenwick, Chief Executive Officer 2013-2021, Boston Children’s HospitalSandra L. Fenwick served as the Chief Executive Officer of Boston Children’s Hospital for eight years, retiring in March 2021.  As CEO, Ms. Fenwick led a team of 20,000 people dedicated to improving and advancing child health through life-changing work in clinical care, biomedical research, medical education, and community engagement.  Under her leadership, Boston Children’s Hospital was named the #1 pediatric hospital in the country by U.S. News and World Report for eight consecutive years.  She first joined the world-renowned hospital in 1999 as Senior Vice President for Business Development Strategy, was promoted to Chief Operating Officer that year, and in 2008, was named President.  Earlier in her career, she held several senior executive roles at Beth Israel Hospital.  Ms. Fenwick serves on a number of Boards of Directors, and her contributions to healthcare have been recognized with numerous awards and honorary degrees throughout her career.
  • Reshma Kewalramani, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and President, VertexReshma Kewalramani, M.D., was named the next Chief Executive Officer and President of Vertex in July 2019 and transitioned to the role on April 1, 2020.  Dr. Kewalramani has dedicated her career to improving the lives of patients, including spending the last 15 years working to develop new medicines to treat life-threatening diseases.  She previously served as Vertex’s Chief Medical Officer, and prior to Vertex, she spent more than 12 years at Amgen where she held a variety of roles across Research and Development.  Dr. Kewalramani is passionate about developing and supporting the next generation of scientists and giving back to her community, serving on the boards of directors of the Biomedical Science Careers Program, an organization dedicated to supporting underrepresented students to pursue a career in STEM, and RIZE Massachusetts, a nonprofit foundation focused on ending the opioid epidemic.

The “New Englander of the Year” awards are presented each year by The New England Council and honor residents or natives 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.  First presented in 1964, over the years the award has been presented to government leaders including U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz; U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power; Governors Charlie Baker and Gina Raimondo; Senators Ted Kennedy, Jack Reed, Jeanne Shaheen, Kelly Ayotte, Susan Collins and John Kerry; Congressmen Richard Neal, Ed Markey, John Larson, and Jim McGovern.  Business leaders honored in recent years include Marianne Harrison of John Hancock, Abigail Johnson of Fidelity Investments, Robert Reynolds of Putnam Investments, Anne Finucane of Bank of America. Other notable past honorees include author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, veterans advocate Travis Mills, and Ibram X. Kendi, Founder of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University.

The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, is an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region.  The Council is dedicated to identifying and supporting federal public policies and articulating the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England.  The NEC is also committed to working with public and private sector leaders across the region and in Washington through educational programs and forums for information exchange.  For more information, please visit:

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