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  • Writer's pictureFletcher Consulting

Thank You, Beth Chandler

"I believe that with a little courage, people do the right thing." Beth Chandler, President & CEO, YW Boston

Beth Chandler has made an indelible mark on our city.

I’ve had the honor of serving on the Board of YW Boston since 2018. That was the year that Beth began her leadership as President & CEO of this crucial Boston organization. In 2020, I became the Board Chair, which gave me the opportunity to work more closely with Beth.

Beth is stepping down this summer, after 12 years with YW Boston and six as its head.

With her guidance and advocacy, YW Boston has made Boston a more equitable place for the benefit of all residents, in particular women of color. Beth stewarded the non-profit through historic challenges, from a complex strategic planning process to navigating the pandemic to selling the landmark Back Bay building. She also seeded the growth of diversity and inclusion throughout our institutions.  

I’ve learned a lot from Beth over the years. 

From her strength—she’s very direct, and stands up for what she believes to be right. 

From her willingness to listen to different opinions and perspectives, and change her mind. 

And I particularly appreciate the combination of vision and strategy that Beth demonstrated. Anyone who wants to make transformative change in their organizations can learn lessons from her tenure. 

When she led us in a deep probe into the meaning of our mission, she helped us focus on who our beneficiaries really are: not just the clients we consulted or the participants in the program, but the colleagues and clients of those people. She saw how YW Boston was a catalyst, inspiring and supporting people to be change agents in their own organizations. 

I vividly remember when the Board was discussing a tough decision. We’d been losing money on a volunteer-facilitated service. She wanted to hire staff to deliver it more effectively and charge a fee. We were anxious about the risk of hiring people with a budget deficit. 

Beth presented the alternatives clearly: we could gradually bleed out over time, or we could take this risk and build toward a sustainable model. 

She recognized it was the time for bold moves. We agreed. 

And when the demand for DEI services exploded, we had the people we needed and we were well positioned to provide the services. 

She also knew that boldness isn’t always about expansion. When I joined the board, YW Boston had 10 or 12 programs—we were spread a little thin. Beth and the leadership team honed the portfolio basically to three: Inclusion Boston, LeadBoston, and FYRE. These, along with advocacy campaigns like parity on boards and United Against Racism, share a theory of change: they build a group of people who have a real deep understanding of equity and inclusion, so that they can go back to their organizations and create change. 

That vision has helped create a better climate for everyone. 

I give Beth my gratitude and my personal admiration, for all that she’s done—for YW Boston, for so many organizations that have worked with us, and for the City of Boston. 

Thank you, Beth.


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