WEMO luncheon speaker: Boston Councillor Ayanna Pressley

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Friday, January 24, 2014, beginning at noon
Ballroom C, 3rd floor, Hynes Convention Center

WEMO luncheon speaker: Boston Councillor Ayanna PressleyAyanna Pressley was first elected to the Boston City Council in November 2009, becoming the first woman of color to win election to the council in its 100-year history. In 2011, she became the first woman in 30 years and the first person of color ever to top the Council ticket. In 2013, she made history again, decisively topping the ticket in another competitive re-election race.

Pressley founded and chairs the City Council’s Committee on Women and Healthy Communities, which focuses on issues on which she has worked throughout her career, such as stabilizing families and communities, reducing and preventing violence and trauma, and combating poverty. The committee is primarily concerned with adequate delivery of city services and programming for youth, families, seniors, and new Bostonians, with a focus on girls and women. Pressley is a passionate advocate, unafraid to tackle the most challenging social ills.

A native of Chicago, Pressley, 39, attended Boston University and then worked as a senior aide for Congressman Joseph Patrick Kennedy II and U.S. Sen. John Kerry. During 2009, Pressley served as Kerry’s political director, responsible for managing his relationships with elected officials at the city, state and federal level and with various community leaders.

In addition to her work in government, Councillor Pressley has also been an active leader in the nonprofit community on issues related to women and girls, civic engagement and diversifying the political pipeline. She has served in leadership positions with groups such as the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus and the Young Professionals Preventing Child Abuse of the Children’s Trust Fund.

She also serves on the Boards of several Boston and statewide organizations, including the UMass Boston Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, Emerge Massachusetts, Action for Boston Community Development Inc., and the Young Black Women's Society. In addition, she is an active “Big Sister” with the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.

Her work with young people on violence prevention has earned her national acclaim, and she has been recognized by Ebony Magazine, The Root, the Boston Globe, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, Big Sisters of Greater Boston and others as an emerging leader with vision and values.

Pressley is passionate about youth mentorship and civic engagement and has launched ABC - Ayanna’s BIG Challenge - a yearlong initiative to recruit mentors for children living in the Boston neighborhoods with the longest waiting lists for adult mentors.

She is a resident and homeowner in the Ashmont-Adams area of Dorchester, Boston’s largest neighborhood.

Pressley is an Aspen-Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership (2012) and a Truman National Security Project Partner (2012).