On September 14, 2022, Castle convened a group of leaders impassioned about creating a positive impact in Massachusetts for our Mission to Motion panel at the MassChallenge Seaport Office, part of City Awake’s 2022 Fierce Urgency of Now Festival. The panelists, moderated by GBH “Morning Edition” co-host Paris Alston, shared how they merge their “day jobs” with their personal commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion to both quietly and loudly create forward motion for the Boston area and beyond. Attendees were able to network with the panelists to discover ways to apply their own mission and create positive action. Here are just some of the many powerful messages from a few of our panelists:
“There’s truth in what you love to do. And whatever your resources are, use those to make a difference in a real way to people.” – Asia Mei
“We’re at a moment right now that we could make a significant difference…we’re in a fierce urgency of now. And things need to happen today.” – Robert Lewis, Jr.
“My personal motto is to make an impact and do cool sh*t.” – Che Anderson
“The relationships are the most important thing for everything you’re trying to do, so find a community and build a community of people that care about what you care about.” – Sandy Lish
Learn more about the panelists:
Co-Host of “Morning Edition” at GBH News
Paris Alston is co-host of “Morning Edition” at GBH News. She was a host of the NPR podcast “Consider This,” produced in conjunction with GBH and WBUR. Paris served as the host of GBH’s digital series “Keep it Social” about social media trends targeted at millennial and Gen-Z audiences. Prior to that, she interned at UNC-TV in North Carolina and NBC10-Philadelphia. She has reported on stories from Southeast Asia, Morocco, Panama and Brazil. A North Carolina native, Paris is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied media and journalism and global studies. She has worked extensively with print, digital, video, audio and social media.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for City and Community Relations of UMass Chan Medical School
Che Anderson is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for City and Community Relations at the UMass Chan Medical School where he serves as a human bridge between the institution and external stakeholders. An avid lover of street art, Che has led efforts to increase Worcester’s public art, most notably serving as founding Director of POW! WOW! Worcester, an annual placemaking festival that brings internationally acclaimed muralists, illustrators, and installation artists to Central Massachusetts to activate vacant and underused spaces, promote diversity and stimulate dialogue in the City of Worcester. His recent endeavors include serving on the board of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Food and Convo, a storytelling platform that explores the intersectionality of culture and cuisine through the lens of diversity with a focus on creatives, makers, innovators, and entrepreneurs.
Robert Lewis, Jr.
President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston
As Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston’s new Nicholas President and CEO, Robert Lewis, Jr. is a nationally recognized thought leader, public speaker, and social innovator. He’s a tireless advocate for our urban youth, believing it is our moral obligation to help them succeed. Robert’s advocacy has brought him numerous awards and honors, including: King Boston’s Embrace Award (2022) and The Boston Business Journal’s Power 50 (2019, 2020, and 2021).
Robert launched The BASE in 2013 to shift the national mindset about what it takes for urban youth to succeed. The BASE leverages their passion for sports to create pathways to higher education and meaningful careers through scholarships, academic support, and internships. Before The BASE, Robert served as senior vice president of City Year’s National Operations and executive director of City Year Boston, and has held roles at National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF), and The Boston Foundation.
He serves as executive in residence at the Institute of Social Innovation at Babson College, and among others, sits on the Board of Directors for Point32Health Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Co-Founder and Principal of The Castle Group
Sandy Lish is principal and co-founder of The Castle Group, a 26-year-old women-owned PR, public affairs, marketing, crisis and event management firm based in Boston. Sandy works with corporate, education, healthcare, startup and nonprofit clients on strategic communications initiatives around visibility, launches, branding and thought leadership. She’s also a nationally recognized expert on crisis communications.
Castle is a five-time Boston Business Journal Best Place to Work and has won numerous local, national and international awards. Most recently, Castle was named a Forbes Best PR Agency, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Small Business Champion of the Year, and PRNEWS’ Agency Elite100. Sandy has personally been named to the Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame and is a Women’s Enterprise USA Top WBE CEO and Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle award winner, among other honors.
Sandy’s community engagement includes serving on the boards of Mass. Bay Community College, Center for Women and Enterprise (now Emeritus), and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Sandy has served on the executive committee of the Public Relations Global Network, an exclusive worldwide alliance of best-in-class, privately held PR firms; Castle is the network’s New England affiliate.
Owner and Head Chef of Moonshine 152
Chef Asia Mei was born and raised in Fremont, California, and attended Boston College before declaring Boston her permanent new home. After a lifetime of Biology and Economics driven academia, she also stretched her horizons with a lifetime of sports, Hollywood stunt work, and elite level gymnastics/kung fu competition.
At Moonshine 152, her first solo chef-owned venture, Mei and her team continue to redefine industry standards and forge its unique place in Boston’s small business community. Chef Mei is impassioned by all things comfort/street food, local, and art-driven. Fueled by the neighborhood’s energy and evolution, the restaurant focuses on maintaining a fun, sustainable, delicious take on bar and kitchen offerings for both award-winning weekend brunch and dinner. Having received numerous accolades from Best Small Business 2020 and Best in Boston Fried Chicken, to Best Brunch and Most Eclectic Restaurant, Moonshine is a true fixture in the Southie community, and continues to draw inspiration from it for everything from the spirit of the food to the drinks and warm, inviting atmosphere.
In her time off the hot-line, you can daily find Chef working both sides of the restaurant, advocating for the hospitality and small business industries in Boston, and championing her love for animal rescue and the Southie/Dorchester neighborhoods.
Senior Legal Counsel of Fidelity Investments
Gary Prado is Senior Legal Counsel at Fidelity Investments, where he serves as chief counsel to Fidelity’s private equity/venture capital business, Devonshire Investors. Prior to Fidelity, Gary was an associate at Ropes & Gray, practicing in its private equity transactions group, where he represented private equity firms and public and private companies in leveraged buyouts, direct investments, and other strategic transactions. Before that, Gary clerked for Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island and Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr., of the Third Circuit Court of Federal Appeals.
Gary serves on the boards of the Conservatory Lab Charter School, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, The Friends of the Rafael Hernandez School and the Pipeline to Practice Foundation.
ABOUT FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW
The Fierce Urgency of Now Festival brings together more than 1,000 diverse, young professionals of color and allies for 30+ transformative events. Organized by City Awake, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s young professional platform, this is the ultimate festival to build connections, advance careers, and ignite positive change. This festival is inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s. speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where he described “the fierce urgency of now” — the pressing need for immediate action and lasting change in the face of racial injustice. Today and every day, we are answering this call to action to forge a more equitable, inclusive future for Greater Boston.