Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
The MMA Annual Meeting draws nationally recognized speakers who offer their insights on issues of concern to local governments. Each Annual Meeting concludes with a banquet dinner capped by quality entertainment.
While we work to finalize the lineup of speakers for the 2020 Annual Meeting & Trade Show, read about our 2019 roster below.
Keynote Address: Anna Maria Chávez
Friday, January 18, 9:30-11 a.m.
Ballroom B, 3rd floor, Hynes Convention Center
Anna Maria Chávez, named one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders” by Fortune magazine, is a former CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, worked closely with local officials as Arizona’s director of intergovernmental affairs, and held several posts in President Bill Clinton’s administration.
Chávez uses her 25 years of public service and nonprofit leadership experience to teach others about teamwork, inclusion and diversity, resilience, leadership and motivation. Her recent speaking engagements include conferences of the National League of Cities and the International City/County Management Association.
Fortune named Chávez to its list of greatest leaders in 2016, alongside Pope Francis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, citing Chávez’s transformative work as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA from 2011 to 2016.
“When Chávez, the first person of color to head the [Girl] Scouts, took the helm in 2011, the 104-year-old institution seemed to be creeping toward anachronism,” Fortune wrote. “Not anymore. Chávez has added new badges in fields like financial literacy and STEM education.”
Chávez’s work with the Girls Scouts, which included an organizational redesign, led to her induction into the U.S. News & World Report’s STEM Leadership Hall of Fame in 2016. In 2014, Fast Company honored her as one of the most creative people in business.
Along with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization, Chávez led the creation of the “Ban Bossy” campaign, which aims to eliminate the stigma associated with the word “bossy” and encourage girls to become leaders.
Chávez’s personal experiences growing up in rural Arizona developed her passion for public service and social engagement. After completing her law degree, she went to work in President Clinton’s administration, including posts as a senior policy advisor to Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and to Small Business Administration Administrator Aida Alvarez.
Under then-Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Chávez served as the director of intergovernmental affairs, where she established a close working relationship with local elected and appointed officials across the state. She also served as Napolitano’s deputy chief of staff for urban relations and community development, where she launched the governor’s Aging 2020 initiative and created the Arizona Division of Aging and Adult Services.
Chávez, 50, is now helping to improve the lives of older adults as the executive vice president and chief growth officer at the National Council on Aging, the nation’s oldest advocacy organization dedicated to helping Americans navigate the challenges of aging. Chávez is responsible for advancing the council’s mission to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020.
For her work supporting and empowering Hispanic communities, Chávez received the Excellence in Community Service Award in 2013 from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where she also serves on the Board of Directors. She received the Graciela Olivarez La Raza Award from UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza) in 2013.
Chávez earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a juris doctorate at the University of Arizona. She received the Law College Association Award in 2013 and an honorary doctor of laws degree from her law school alma mater in 2014.
She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Robert, and their son Michael.
WEMO Leadership Luncheon: Karen Spilka
Friday, January 18, noon-1:30 p.m.
Ballroom C, 3rd floor, Hynes Convention Center
Please note: This event is sold out.
Sen. Karen Spilka, who in July became the third woman elected president of the Massachusetts Senate, has served 17 years in the Legislature and been a force on economic and technology issues, and in advocating for children and those with disabilities.
The following biography is reprinted, with permission, from https://karenspilka.com:
Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) represents the MetroWest communities of Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton and Medway, which comprise the 2nd Middlesex & Norfolk district.
Before being voted in as president by her Senate colleagues, she served as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means beginning in January 2015. Prior to that, she served as the Senate Majority Whip (2013-2015), Assistant Majority Whip (2012-2013), Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies (2009-2012), and Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities (2005-2009), a committee she helped originate. She began her legislative career as a State Representative for the Seventh Middlesex district in 2001.
Prior to becoming a legislator, Senate President Spilka was in private practice as an arbitrator and mediator, specializing in labor and employment law and community and court mediation. In addition, she has been a facilitator and fact finder in disputes in the public and private sectors, as well as a trainer of adult mediation and school-based peer mediation programs, collaborative-based collective bargaining and conflict resolution strategies. She has also previously worked as a labor and employment attorney on behalf of employees, unions, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and the Commonwealth.
Senate President Spilka is a graduate of Northeastern Law School and holds a B.S. in Social Work from Cornell University. She has been married for more than 35 years to Joel S. Loitherstein, an environmental engineer, and has one adult step-daughter two adult sons—Heather, Scott and Jake—and a rescue dog named Lincoln.
Friday Dinner Speaker: Matt Light
Friday, January 18, 7-9 p.m.
Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor, Sheraton Boston Hotel
Former New England Patriot Matt Light, protector of Tom Brady’s blind side at left tackle for 10 seasons, now runs The Light Foundation, which provides youth with outdoor learning experiences to help instill the values of responsibility, accountability and hard work.
Light’s foundation seeks to help young men become responsible members of their communities who can pass on the torch of leadership and achievement to their friends and families.
The foundation purchased and developed more than 400 acres of land in Ohio to create its Chenoweth Trails facility, where each summer it holds an outdoor leadership camp called Camp Vohokase.
A variety of programs are held at Chenoweth Trails, and the foundation works with other nonprofits to serve the needs of the community. The organization also provides academic scholarships to young student leaders in Ohio and New England.
All Sports United, a nonprofit organization, honored Light in 2014 with its Humanitarian Award for excellence in philanthropy. In 2008, Light earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President George W. Bush.
A starter in his rookie season in 2001, Light, 40, served as the anchor of an offensive line that over a decade helped the Patriots win seven division championships, four conference titles and three Super Bowls.
Named to the Associated Press All-Pro first team in 2007 and the AFC Pro Bowl team in 2006, 2007 and 2010, Light is one of only four Patriots offensive tackles to be named to the Pro Bowl since 1970, along with Patriots Hall of Famer Bruce Armstrong, Leon Gray and Brian Holloway.
Light accomplished all these things while dealing with the inflammatory bowel disorder Crohn’s disease. Only months after he earned his second Super Bowl ring in 2004, Light thought his football career might be over after doctors removed a 13-inch section of his intestines. He hadn’t eaten in a month and lost 50 pounds, he disclosed to Men’s Journal after his retirement.
“Having retired, and having the platform I have, it’s just a natural thing to be able to share my story with people,” he told the magazine. “If I can play professional sports and find a way to live with this disease, then you have some hope. Everybody battles it differently, but your mindset and staying positive are so important.”
Light was known as the Patriots’ resident prankster, having once filled Brady’s car with packing peanuts and removing the tires from quarterback Matt Cassel’s car and putting two of them in his locker. Even head coach Bill Belichick fell victim to Light, who hooked up a trick mouse to the coach’s computer that shocked the person who touched it. Light told NESN that Belichick shocked himself twice and lost a computer file, which led to a “lengthy meeting” between player and coach. That didn’t stop Light from pulling the same prank later on offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.
Always comfortable in media interviews, Light had a short stint as an analyst at ESPN, for which he still contributes content from time to time.
Light and his wife, Susie, have two daughters and two sons. An Ohio native, Light and his family now live in Massachusetts.
Closing Session: Jim Braude and Margery Eagan
Saturday, Jan. 19, 3:45-5:15 p.m.
Ballroom A, 3rd floor, Hynes Convention Center
Braude and Eagan will host a “radio show” (with call-ins) with two special guests: former Acting Gov. Jane Swift and former Public Safety Secretary Andrea Cabral.
Jim Braude and Margery Eagan are the hosts of WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio,” widely considered one of the most important public affairs programs in Massachusetts.
On their midday radio show, leaders and thinkers from across the state face fair and firm questions from award-winning journalist Eagan and former political advocate Braude.
Deploying banter between themselves and with guests, who include state officials, members of Congress, city councillors, and local and national media figures, Braude and Eagan’s show has become a required appearance for Bay State leaders.
Braude and Eagan teamed up for more than a decade on WTKK before the station switched to a music format in 2013 and the duo moved to WGBH. The pair’s on-air chemistry first became apparent on the New England Cable News weekend show “Talk of New England,” which led to the show on WTKK.
Eagan, 64, had established her journalistic bonafides by that point. A Fall River native born to a traveling tire salesman and a pianist mother, Eagan graduated from Stanford University in 1976, wrote for her hometown newspaper, The Fall River Herald News, and joined the Boston Herald in 1981 as a general assignment reporter.
She became a columnist shortly after and earned recognition for her incisive opinions on local and national stories and for her investigative chops, which revealed misconduct by caseworkers for the Department of Children and Families.
After 27 years at the Herald, Eagan moved to the Boston Globe. As the Catholic spirituality columnist for the paper’s CruxNow website, she won first place for religion commentary in 2015 from the Religion Newswriters Association.
Braude, 69, got his start not as a journalist but as an advocate, lawyer and labor organizer. Born in Philadelphia, he worked as a legal services lawyer for housing and prisoner’s rights in the South Bronx after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and earning a law degree from New York University.
He founded and became the first president of the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, a union representing staff in civil legal offices for the poor in 35 states. The organization helped lead the fight to preserve the national program when President Ronald Reagan proposed its abolition.
After meeting his wife, Kristine Rondeau, a Cambridge labor organizer, and moving to Massachusetts, Braude burst onto the political scene here in 1987 as the foil to Barbara Anderson, head of Citizens for Limited Taxation and the force behind Proposition 2½.
Braude became director of the new Tax Equity Alliance of Massachusetts (TEAM), and he and Anderson would hold public debates, most notably in 1990 over Citizens for Limited Taxation’s ballot question to roll back income tax increases. Braude and Anderson would ride in the car together to debates, where they put on informative and energetic arguments for attendees.
Braude continued his advocacy and served one term on the Cambridge City Council, from 2000 to 2001. He eventually joined the just-launched New England Cable News, where he hosted a nightly news analysis show until 2015, when he took over hosting duties on WGBH’s “Greater Boston” from Emily Rooney.
Saturday, Jan. 19, 7:15-9:15 p.m.
Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor, Sheraton Boston Hotel
The world famous, high-energy dueling pianos of Howl2GO will cap off an exciting two-day MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show with top-of-the-line entertainers delivering a dynamic live music experience.
Howl2Go brings audiences to their feet with renditions of classics, dance hits, and party anthems played on two baby grand pianos.
The players take requests and entertain with a mix of oldies, pop, country, rock and more. The travelling live show comes from Howl At The Moon, a popular dueling piano bar with locations in downtown Boston and other major cities across the country.
Bring your dancing shoes, get ready to sing along, and enjoy a boisterous conclusion to the conference.