Commissioners & Staff

MCSW is comprised of 19 volunteer commissioners and two dedicated staff members

MCSW is composed of women from diverse backgrounds, representing counties and municipalities from across the state. Their commitment to improving the status of women in society is evident within their professional endeavors, and their contributions to MCSW stand true to its underlying mission. Their biographies highlighting some of their notable work within and outside of MCSW are linked below.

All Commissioners are appointed by one of the four appointing authorities: Five Commissioners are appointed by the Governor, four by the Senate President, four by Speaker of the House, and six by the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. The Commissioners are sworn in by the Secretary of State or another authorized designee and serve for up-to 3 terms (renewable). 

Interested in becoming appointed as a Commissioner? Contact one of the appointing authorities to find out their respective policies and timelines for appointments. Prospective Commissioners may also contact Executive Director, Jill Ashton (jill.ashton@state.ma.us), for additional information regarding the nomination process and expected responsibilities.

As a Commission, we are empowered to: 

  • Study, review and report on the status of women in the Commonwealth
  • Advise executive and legislative bodies on the effect of proposed legislation on women
  • Inform leaders of business, education, health care, state and local governments and the communications media of issues pertaining to women
  • Provide referrals and serve as a resource of information on issues pertaining to women
  • Identify and recommend qualified women for positions at all levels of government
  • Promote and facilitate collaboration among local women's commissions and among women’s organizations in the state
  • Serve as a liaison between government and private interest groups concerned with issues affecting women
  • Assess programs and practices in all state agencies as they affect women

    Commissioner Bios

     

     

     Rebecca Bact, Auburndale

    Rebecca Bact, Auburndale

    MCSW Secretary

    Program and Planning Committee Vice Chair

    Upper Middlesex Commission Co-Liaison

    In November 2017, Rebecca was appointed to the Commission by the Governor. Rebecca currently serves as Senior Associate of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. Rebecca represents clients in litigation matters, concentrating on intellectual property and appellate matters. Rebecca is committed to her pro bono practice, which focuses on GLBT rights and immigration matters. Rebecca also serves as a member of WilmerHale’s Diversity Committee. Before beginning at WilmerHale, Law Clerk for the Honorable Norman H. Stahl of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Prior to law school, Rebecca worked as an investigator for the Office of the Bar Counsel of the Board of Bar Overseers of the Supreme Judicial Court. Rebecca earned a BA in English Language and Literature and French Studies from Smith College and her JD from Northwestern University School of Law.

     

    Penny Blaisdell, Marblehead

    Penny Blaisdell, Marblehead

    Program and Planning Committee Secretary

    Essex County Commission Co-Liaison 

    Penny was appointed to the Commission by MA Speaker of the House, Robert A. DeLeo, in 2014. She leads the Commission's Speakers Bureau. She has had an extensive career serving as a Healthcare Advocate in her practice, HealthCareSOS, as well as serving as a patient advocate for the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the American Association of Cancer Research. She also serves as a Consumer Reviewer/Consultant for the US Department of Defense (DOD), Breast Cancer Research Program. Her goal is to empower patients to make informed decisions about their healthcare choices and to provide guidance and resources to those who have encountered healthcare challenges. Because of the dramatically rising drug abuse issues in Massachusetts, she has become an advocate for explicit pain care management by hospitals and doctors to ensure patients understand the challenges and potential addiction of using opioid medications. She is a member of the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (NAHAC) and The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates (APHA). Prior to her healthcare career, she held many executive Marketing, Public Relations and Corporate Communication positions in the high technology and higher education industry.

     

    Ruth Bramson, Boston

    Ruth Bramson, Boston

    Ruth has over 30 years of experience leading diverse teams and executing strategic and business development plans across sectors. She joined the Commission in 2017, having been appointed by the Governor. Ruth’s lifetime achievement has been advancing leadership opportunities for women includes advocacy for gender equity across corporate, government and non-profit sectors. Ruth served as the first CEO of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, a position she held for over 5 years. Prior to that, Ruth was Senior Vice President of Human Resources for National Grid and Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Shaw’s Supermarkets/Star Markets, where she was also the first woman senior executive and Board member. Ruth continued to break ground with the development of a progressive “Women at Work” campaign, significantly increasing the number of women in managerial roles, and the establishment of Suited for Success, a nonprofit that supports economically disadvantaged women towards self-sufficiency, which Ruth led for six years. Appointed as the first Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Diversity Officer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Romney Administration, Ruth received the Shared Services Leader of the Year for North America Award for innovations in state government. In 2013, Ruth was one of 16 women appointed to Mayor Menino’s Women’s Workforce Council, which is working to help the women of Boston achieve pay equity. Ruth previously served as a commissioner at the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women from 2006-2009.

     

    Denella Clark, Hyde Park

    Denella Clark, Hyde Park

    MCSW Vice Chair

    Eastern Regional Commission Liaison

    Denella has over 25 years of experience in management, spanning academic medicine, health and human services, and education organizations. She was appointed to the Commission by the Governor. For the past 18 years, she has held leadership positions in the areas of management, philanthropy, communications, strategic planning, and marketing. She is viewed as a highly motivated leader, deeply committed to creating quality fundraising initiatives, and executing campaign strategies that yield results and advance mission. Throughout the course of her career, she has raised hundreds of millions of dollars, led $25MM capital campaign for Dimock, served on leadership team for $100MM campaign at Joslin Diabetes Center, and has established an endowment at Dimock. Denella is a creative thinker known for her keen ability to win community support, increase funding base, and build teams. An effective manager and thoughtful leader of high-performing teams, she approaches her work as a coach and collaborator: “In coaching and motivating teams, my goal is to inspire and to convey a shared sense of purpose. A team has to believe that we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves." She is an active volunteer currently serving on the Board of Directors of METCO, Chairwoman of Membership, NAACP New England Area Conference. 

     

    Jean Cotter Fox, Freetown

    Jean Cotter Fox, Freetown

    Jean was appointed to the Commission by MA Speaker of the House, Robert A. DeLeo, in 2017. Jean currently serves as the manager of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s South Coast Rail project, ushering the project through environmental review and into design and construction. Jean is active in her hometown of Freetown as well as the South Coast. A former Freetown Selectman, Jean has participated on numerous educational boards and committees in the South Coast and was a founding board member of the Alma del Mar Charter School and a SMILES mentor for years. She is Chair of the Freetown-Lakeville Regional School Committee and Chair of the Global Learning Charter Public School Board of Trustees. Prior to joining MassDOT, Jean was the Youth Council Director and LiteracyWorks Entrepreneur at the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board. Jean also served on the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) Commission, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the SRTA Advisory Board. She has been active in bringing much-needed attention to the transportation needs of the region, working on a Transit Development Plan in New Bedford as well as advocating for reliable transportation for women and students to get to and from work, jobs, education, healthcare, and childcare. She was named a Woman of Distinction by the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts in 2013, and received the Lifelong Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees in 2010.

     

    Marianne Fleckner, Westford

    Marianne Fleckner, Westford

    Upper Middlesex Commission Co-Liaison

    Marianne is currently the Director of Human Resources for the Town of Acton, since 2008. Before joining Acton, Marianne worked for the Commonwealth for over 20 years in various administrative capacities for 11 State Agencies, specializing in mergers from a Human Resources standpoint. She worked directly for 5 different Governors serving in such capacities as Chief Secretary and Deputy Commissioner. She appointed to the Commission by the Caucus of Women Legislators. Previous to joining the Commonwealth, Marianne worked in private industry. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Westfield State University and possesses a graduate-level Human Resources Certificate from Bentley University. Marianne is involved with a number of organizations such as the Domestic Violence Services Network, the Center for Hope and Healing, Acton/Boxborough Rotary, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, the Westford J.V. Fletcher Library and the League of Women Voters. Marianne also volunteers her time to the family’s bagel business, Bagel Alley, and at various Farmer’s Markets.

     

    Liz Friedman, Northhampton

    Liz Friedman, Northhampton

    Legislative and Public Policy Committee Chair

    Hampshire-Franklin Regional Commission Liaison

    In October 2017, Liz Friedman was appointed to the Commission by Speaker Robert DeLeo. Liz is a national leader on perinatal mental health and the former Program Director and founder of the Postpartum Support Initiative of MotherWoman, where she developed innovative models to ensure system change for families struggling with emotional challenges during and after pregnancy. Liz is a founder of the National Coalition for Perinatal Mental Health, now part of 2020 Mom Project, which successfully ensured inclusion of screening and treatment for maternal mental depression in the 21st Century Cures Act. Liz is co-author on research that examines the barriers to care for mothers suffering from postpartum depression and is co-investigator on the efficacy of support groups as primary forms of mental health treatment for mothers. The Community-based Perinatal Support Model, which Liz both developed and led implementation, received the Innovation Award from the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs in 2016. She was chairwoman of the state-wide coalition and lead advocate for the MA Pregnant Workers Fairness Act which was signed into law by Governor Baker in 2017. She is founder of GPS Group Peer Support, whose innovative approach to addressing mental health issues brings much needed resources to communities, with special focus on parenting, first generation college students and international mental health. 

     

    Allison Goldberg, Marblehead

    Allison Goldberg, Marblehead

    Essex County Regional Commission Co-Liaison

    In October 2017, Allison Goldberg was appointed to the Commission by the Governor. Allison started off her career as an Account Executive for the NPD Group, where she managed accounts of restaurants and analyzed product trends. Allison continued on with this work when she joined O’Connell, Norton and Partners, as the Director of Strategic Marketing. Allison has also served as Director of Clients Services at Coolsavings, Inc. Currently, Allison is the owner of New England Cranberry Co., which is a privately held, specialty food company that encompasses many brands. Allison oversees marketing and development for three individual specialty brands. Allison earned a BS from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and an MA in International Marketing from ESSEC-IMHI in France. Allison is a visiting lecturer at both Boston University and Boston College, in their School of Hospitality Administration and Carroll School of Management respectively. Allison is also on the Board of Directors for Cohen Hillel Academy, in addition to serving as a member on their Marketing and Gala Committees. Allison serves on Cornell University’s Hotel School Alumni Association and on the board of Epstein Hillel School in Marblehead.

     

    Audrey Hall, Framingham

    Audrey Hall, Framingham

    Legislative and Public Policy Committee Vice Chair

    MetroWest Regional Commission Liaison

    Along with a robust career in Mass Communications, Audrey has served as an advocate for public education, an elected official, and a community volunteer. Senate President Karen E. Spilka appointed Audrey to the Commission in 2018. Audrey was President of the Alliance for Educational Equity advocating for changes in the Chapter 70 funding formula. She engaged parents to rally and testify at the State House with Stand for Children. As a three-term President of Framingham’s Town-Wide Parent Teacher Organization (TWPTO) she led the TWPTO to become a strong umbrella organization for 13 PTOs, raising the voices of parents and students. She developed a proposal for full day kindergarten which was adopted by the school committee, making it available to all students. Audrey was elected to Town Meeting and served for 19 years, 12 as Chair of the Ways and Means Committee which analyzed the annual municipal budget and all financial articles and made voting recommendations to town meeting. She was appointed by the Board of Selectmen, Superintendent of Schools and Town Manager to serve on search committees and special task forces. After Framingham adopted a city charter in 2017, Audrey served as Director of Communications for the Committee to Elect Yvonne Spicer. Spicer was elected in November, 2017 as Framingham’s inaugural Mayor, the first African American woman popularly elected Mayor in Massachusetts. Many community leaders and elected officials appear as guests on The Audrey Hall Show which she has Produced and Hosted for 15 years. The hour-long talk show airs on RCN, Comcast and Verizon. Audrey developed a passion for media while earning a B.A. degree in Mass Communications from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She worked as a news reporter and journalist in TV and Radio before entering the Advertising Agency business in New York City. It led her to a groundbreaking career in cable advertising, which grew into media management roles in marketing, advertising and public relations. Audrey specialized in developing customer acquisition and retention marketing campaigns which delivered on all financial goals. She became the first woman hired as General Manager for Framingham Cablevision, Regional General Manager for Cablevision of MA and General Manager of the NPR affiliate WICN Public Radio. Audrey looks forward to breaking ground for all women as a Commissioner on the MCSW.

     

    Patricia Hohl

    Patricia Hohl, Framingham

    Budget and Personnel Committee Secretary

    Patricia was appointed to the Commission by Senate President Karen Spilka in November 2019. She is the Director at Voices Against Violence in Framingham where the mission is to save lives, rebuild lives, and secure safer futures for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Prior to taking the helm at Voices, Patricia worked at the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center as a national training and technical assistance provider implementing Domestic Violence High Risk Teams across the country as part of the Office on Violence Against Women / Dept. of Justice Demonstration Initiative and Technical Assistance grants. Patricia is an attorney with over two decades of nonprofit management experience. She holds a B.S. in Business from UMASS Lowell, a M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Boston University, a graduate certificate in Gender Leadership and Public Policy from UMASS Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy & Global Studies, and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. Until her appointment, Patricia had been a Commissioner on the MetroWest Commission on the Status of Women since its inception in 2015, where she served at different times as Chair and Legislative Director. She volunteers as a member of the Jane Doe Inc. Policy Advisory Committee and is active in the League of Women Voters of Framingham.

     

    Nina Kimball, Plymouth

    Nina Kimball, Plymouth

    MCSW Chair

    Cape Cod & Islands and Plymouth County Regional Commissions Liaison

    Nina was appointed to the Commission by Senate President Stan Rosenberg in December 2016. She is a founding partner in Kimball Brousseau LLP, a boutique employment law firm in Boston where she advises individuals, executives, non-profit organizations, and small businesses on employment matters. Nina’s practice addresses many issues that affect women in the workplace including taking on pregnancy discrimination, wage discrimination and glass ceiling issues; advising women negotiating compensation packages or facing gender harassment or sexual harassment at work; and advising employers and employees about family and medical leave issues. As a member of the Women’s Bar Association, Nina co-chaired its Pay Equity Task Force and helped draft a comprehensive bill to amend the state’s Equal Pay Act that was passed into law in 2016. Nina was named a Top Women of Law for 2012 by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. She has also been named Massachusetts Super Lawyer since 2006 and New England Super Lawyer since 2008. 

     

    Leslie-Ann McGee, Kingston

    Leslie-Ann McGee, Kingston

    Leslie-Ann McGee is the Assistant Director of the Center for Marine Robotics at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and is responsible for program management of a number of WHOI initiatives.  Leslie-Ann is responsible for developing strategic vision and leadership, managing external relations and partnerships and retaining primary responsibility for organizational and program management of CMR.  She provides leadership on customer relationship management for industrial clients and government sponsors and supports CMR’s acceleration of a robust robotics program at WHOI. Ms. McGee is also the Program Manager for the Cape Cod Blue Economy Project in association with the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the Cape Cod Blue Economy Foundation. She is an expert in ocean and coastal issues in both the domestic and international arena and has a diverse background working with and for state, regional, national, business and environmental entities globally. She also maintains a consulting practice through her firm, Full Sail Consulting based in Kingston, MA. Ms. McGee served as the Director of Coastal Zone Management for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, McGee was the Director of Programs for the World Ocean Council, Director of Ocean and Coastal Solutions at Battelle Memorial Institute and held state and federal positions with NOAA, the New England Fishery Management Council and the MA Department of Fish and Game. Ms. McGee is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. She conducted her graduate research on Bluefin Tuna at the New England Aquarium. Leslie-Ann lives in Kingston, MA with her husband, Dan Shropshire, and their two children, Coyle and Holden. And, one very large Bernese Mountain Dog, Tanner.

     

    Maria Puppolo, Springfield

    Maria Puppolo, Springfield

    Hampden Regional Commission Liaison

    Maria currently heads the Law Office of Maria T. Puppolo, representing clients in probate, mental health, alcohol and drug-related civil commitment proceedings and debt collection cases. Maria is an Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Springfield Law Department, and also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Springfield College, American International College and Bay Path University, where she teaches criminal justice and business law courses. She was appointed to serve on the Commission by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators. A lifelong resident of Springfield, Maria earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology at Mount Holyoke College, a Juris Doctorate at Western New England University School of Law and a Master of Business Administration from Springfield College. She is a recent graduate of the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact and the Springfield Citizen’s Police Academy. Maria is active in the Springfield community, including as a member of the Hampden County Bar Association’s Education Committee, the Recovery with Justice Advisory Committee at the Springfield District Court, the Professional Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts League of Women Voters, and an Advisory Board member of the YMCA of Western MA.

     

    Marlene Sallo, Marina Bay

    Marlene Sallo, J.D., is the Executive Director of Disability Law Center in Boston. Marlene has held several roles throughout her career where she has continuously advocated for human and civil rights. Previously, she served as Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel for the U.S. Dept. of Justice Community Relations Service. Appointed by President Obama, Marlene also served as the Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Marlene has dedicated her career to protecting the rights of disenfranchised and vulnerable children through her work as a case manager, special education teacher, and child welfare attorney. Marlene holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Manhattanville College and her J.D. from Florida State University College of Law. In addition to serving on many boards throughout Boston and beyond, Governor Charlie Baker appointed Marlene to serve on the Restrictive Housing Oversight Committee and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. Marlene also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Boys & Girls Club of Boston. 

     

    Sara Schnorr, Holliston

    Sara Schnorr, Holliston

    MCSW Treasurer

    Budget and Personnel Committee Vice Chair

    Sara was appointed to the Commission by the Governor in April 2016. She is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. She received her B.A. (cum laude) in German Literature and Language from Harvard in 1970 and studied as a Fulbright Fellow in Munich in 1970-71. Sara earned a M.A.T. at Wesleyan University in 1972 and went on to teach high school German and English in Kingston, MA and North Haven, CT. She received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law i1979 where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Journal of International Law, winning the Hardy Cross Dillard Award for her Student Note “Trust-Busting with a German Accent: The Control of Merger and Acquisition Activity Under Increasingly Aggressive West German Law,” 19 Virginia Journal of International Law 595 (1979). In 1979 the Sara joined Boston law firm Palmer & Dodge (now known as Locke Lord LLP) and became partner in 1987. She currently is Of Counsel. Sara’s practice focuses on complex commercial real estate development, acquisition, leasing, financing and permitting, with specialties in the biotech, telecommunications, and affordable housing and community development industries. She is a former member of the firm’s hiring committee, and a current member of the Boston Office’s diversity, pro bono, and legal opinion review committees. In 2009 she transitioned as a transgender full time while a partner in her law firm. Since 2008, Sara has been a peer-rated “Massachusetts Super Lawyer” and in 2012 was identified as one of the top women lawyers in Massachusetts. She has served as a member of the Founders’ Circle of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project, SpeakOUT Boston, the American Bar Association, and the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association.

     

    Shaitia Spruell, Springfield

    Shaitia Spruell, Springfield

    Legislative and Public Policy Committee Secretary

    Shaitia Spruell is a proud young mom-- born and raised in Springfield, Ma. She was appointed to the commission by the Caucus of Women Legislators in 2019. Before joining the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of women, Shaitia served as a regional commissioner on the Hampden County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls for two years. Shaitia works for the State Treasury as their Senior Program Officer for the Office of Economic Empowerment. Her passions include advocacy for women of color, youth empowerment and rebuilding communities rattled by injustice. She currently serves as the chair of Neighbor to Neighbor’s Education Fund. It was with Neighbor to Neighbor, where she jumped into organizing and educating young people around the School to Prison Pipeline campaign in 2015. She has her A.A. in Liberal Arts from Holyoke Community College and her B.S. in Business from Bay Path University. She is currently enrolled at Fitchburg State University pursuing her MBA. When she isn’t fighting for justice or organizing her community, she is building memories with her family and son, Aaden.

     

    Wendy Silver, Needham

    Wendy Silver, Needham

    Budget and Personnel Committee Chair

    Wendy Silver was appointed to the Commission in 2018 by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators. She is the founder and President of Beyond the Workplace LLC, a boutique HR consulting company specializing in employee relations. Before transitioning into HR, Wendy was an Attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. With over 20 years of experience in law and HR, Wendy has worked in a variety of industries including higher education, health care, and hospitality. Her unique combination of legal knowledge and HR operational know-how has made her a successful, valued, and highly trusted advisor at all levels of an organization. Wendy is passionate about inspiring, promoting and creating great places to work and challenges organizations to think outside the box to create workplace cultures that support business growth and employee success. Wendy holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and received her JD from Suffolk University Law School. In addition to her professional work and her work on the Commission, Wendy is a Mentor for the Women Accelerator’s program, a member of the Newton/Needham Chamber of Commerce, and a member the League of Women Voters of Needham. Wendy lives in Needham, MA with her husband and two teenage children.

     

    Phyllis Smith, Franklin

    Phyllis Smith, Franklin

    Phyllis was appointed to the Commission by Senate President Karen Spilka in January 2019. She currently serves as a member of the Legislative Committee. A native of Georgia, Phyllis earned an MBA from Simmons University and a B.S. from the University of Georgia. She has more than 20 years of experience in Project Management, Sales and Operations in the Healthcare, Financial Services, and High-Tech Industries.  Phyllis lives in Franklin, Massachusetts where she currently serves on the Franklin Democratic Town Committee. She also serves as the Affirmative Action Outreach Officer for the committee. Phyllis has served on various community boards and committees including the Franklin Cultural Council, Agassiz Neighborhood Council, Cambridge Community Television and the MIT Parents Association. Phyllis is also a member of several professional organizations including the National Black MBA Association, The Partnership, Inc., the Project Management Institute, and the Network of Executive Women. Phyllis is a graduate of the Network of Executive Women’s NEW Leadership Academy.

     

     

    Marydith Tuitt, Boston

    Marydith Tuitt, Boston

    Program and Planning Committee Chair

    MetroWest and Worcester Regional Commissions Liaison

    Mary-dith was born on the Island of Montserrat in the British West Indies to Henrietta and Michael Tuitt. In the mid 1970’s Mary and her three brothers came to America to join their parents. She was appointed to the Commission by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators in 2011. She served as Chief of Staff for State Representative Gloria L. Fox, where she worked as Constituent Services Coordinator for a Boston City Councillor, providing support to the under-served communities of Boston, and has worked on various political campaigns. Over the years Mary has always been involved and invested in enriching, enhancing and empowering her Community. She served as a volunteer with Boston Public schools, with various community youth groups, and with her church St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Columbia Road in Dorchester. An alumni of the Boston Public school System she graduated from Boston Technical High School in 1985 and entered the United States Navy, where she served fourteen years as a Navy Aviation Machinists Mate, first on active duty and then in the active & inactive Reserves. Mary started her own business doing Special Events in 1987 her company designs and débuts weddings and events which involved degrees of planning, floral designing, church & hall decorating, procurement and assisting her clients in making their dreams a reality.

    Staff Bios

    Jill Ashton, Clinton

    Jill Ashton, Clinton

    Executive Director 

    Jill is a leader and activist in the women’s advancement community. Since 2009 she has served as the executive director of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. In the 2015-2016 Massachusetts legislative session, Jill led the coalition of organizations that successful stewarded the passage of the Equal Pay Act, a piece of groundbreaking economic justice legislation that, among other provisions, prevents hiring managers from inquiring about salary history. She continues to work with colleagues inside Massachusetts to ensure full and effective implementation of the law, as well as partners across the nation to support the advancement of similar policies.

    Jill is committed to developing talent among young women and men, having mentored more than 150 students through the commission’s robust internship program and beyond. She currently serves as co-president of the National Association of Commissions on Women, with which she has increased peer-to-peer learning opportunities to encourage the success of member commissions. A graduate of the Program for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMass-Boston, she now proudly serves as a member of the program’s advisory board.

     

    Head shot photo of Sasha Heggie-Jackson

    Sasha Heggie-Jackson

    Program Director

    Sasha Heggie-Jackson is an advocate, mentor, and educator. In addition to her role as Program Director at the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, she serves as the CEO of Jackson’s C.L.A.S.S., Inc., a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts that she Co-founded with her wife, Patricia.

    Sasha has devoted over ten years to improving the access of services, as well as the quality of services in underserved communities. Her community-based work focuses on providing support inclusive of: education and advocacy for survivors of violence, LGBTQ+ peer social support, eviction prevention, and trainings for providers. Sasha previously held positions of Board Member on the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ+ Youth, Committee Member of the National Association of Social Workers, and Public Speaker and Trainer for Greater Boston PFLAG and SpeakOUT. With her Masters in Social Work and Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from Wheelock College, Sasha engages in social justice work through a cultural and intersectional lens.

     

    Melanie Soto

    Melanie Soto

    Communications and Events Coordinator

    Melanie Soto is a Boston native and a youth worker at heart. During her time as a youth worker from the ages of fourteen to eighteen, she was provided with support by community members to pursue her passions in both writing and higher education. Growing up in the city allowed her opportunities to work with various nonprofit organizations in both her undergraduate and graduate experiences. With the help of those in her community, she graduated Wheelock College with a Bachelors in Social Work and Juvenile Justice and earned a Masters in Social Work at Bridgewater State.

    As the Communications and Events Coordinator, Melanie will increase engagement of local policy discussions and action through MCSW’s social media channels with those across the state. She aims to make information accessible to all age groups while also supporting and showcasing advocacy that is happening within our communities that may go unnoticed

    Commissioners Emeritae

    Victoria Budson, Wellesley

    Kathy Casavant 

    Linda Cavaioli, Worcester

    Chris Chanyasulkit, Brookline

    Maureen Curley, Medford

    Joanne Fitzgerald McCrea - springing

    Elizabeth Hart, Malden

    Clare Higgins, Northhampton 

    Denise Hurst, Springfield

    Ruth Nemzoff

    Margot Parrot, Athol - springing

    Susana Segat

     

     

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