High-achieving women are a big part of what makes Boston, and really, the entire Northeast region, such a player in many industries. Each season, we select a handful of women worth watching, who make success look easy, on their own terms.
Owner, Sweat Fixx
In January 2017, Elisa Caira launched Sweat Fixx with no financial safety net. Since, she’s grown her a low-impact, high-burn fitness studio company from a five-person team to a staff of 40-plus in just two and a half years.
Caira is the very definition of strength, both physically and emotionally, and life has brought the Massachusetts native challenges. When Caira’s college basketball career was cut short by torn ACLs in both knees, she channeled her sports knowledge, her masters degree in accounting and her CPA into a new way to work out.
Just before opening her second Sweat Fixx location, Caira was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, which is incurable. She has persevered, continuing to develop low-impact workouts that burn, as well as a monthly workout that donates to philanthropic causes.
Caira hopes to motivate other women to build their strength, both inside and out. Today, Sweat Fixx has five locations around Greater Boston — the most recent, this year in Amesbury.
Owner, Curds and Co.
Jenn Mason, founder of Brookline cheese shop Curds and Co. is turning her industry on its head. Mason spent years working in marketing, helping other businesses bring their visions to life. But what she really wanted to do was to nurture her own vision: Making cheese accessible to an everyday audience.
Seems simple, but once you get past the sharp cheddar selection at your local deli, you’ll find that cheese is actually complex and its variety quite broad. At her store, Mason uses easy-to-understand signage (“Creamy,” “Funky,”). She hosts pairing workshops and endless educational opportunities to bring cheese to the masses. “I get thanked a lot for opening this store,” she says. “It’s a place that brings people constant joy.”
Fitting for the times, Mason has also developed an app, which helps shoppers pair flavors and keep track of personal preferences. She offers a subscription service called CURDBOX, and she expects to expand it nationwide. Looking ahead, she is opening additional brick-and-mortar locations — the latest is in Boston Public Market.
Leslie Salmon Jones
Founder, Afro Flow Yoga
Professional dancer, certified holistic personal trainer, wellness coach and yoga instructor Leslie Salmon Jones launched Afro Flow Yoga a little more than a decade ago. Taught in Boston and New York City, it is an empowering blend of yoga and spirituality that pulls on the principles of dances and music of the African diaspora.
Healing is at the base of Jones’s work and she hopes to bring peace to people of all backgrounds who engage in her practice. “Afro Flow Yoga hasn’t come from a place of ego, it has come from spirit,” says Jones. “It’s out of love, and it’s out of uniting. We’re all connected at the root even though we’re different and unique.”
Her practice has been featured nationally in O Magazine, Self and The New York Times. This past July, Jones was filmed as part of the documentary “Dark Girls 2,” which will premiere on Oprah’s OWN Network in 2020.
Director, SOAR Boston
Thanks to Mayor Walsh’s July appointment of Talia Rivera, the City of Boston has a new female director — a first for SOAR Boston (Street Outreach, Advocacy and Response), formerly known as the Boston Centers for Youth & Families Streetworker Program.
Rivera says, “I know how challenging it can be for our communities to gain solid footing and climb the ladder to success.”
Rivera has over 20 years of experience working with children and families. At SOAR, she works to reduce violent activity among young people and to create alternative pathways for gang-involved youth in the city.
She most recently served as executive director of the Boston TenPoint Coalition, advocating for black and Latino youth, and before that as director of connectivity and learning at Boston Rising, an anti-poverty fund focused on breaking the cycle of generational poverty.
Of Rivera, Walsh says, “I am grateful to have Talia as the program’s director. Her insights will bring SOAR Boston to great successes, giving way to better outcomes for our young adults throughout the city.”
Tobi Baker-Daigle and Christine McMackin
Owners, New England Skin Center
Skin care gurus Tobi Baker-Daigle and Christine McMackin opened New England Skin Center in Weymouth in late 2018 with a mission to make women feel like their best selves — in all the roles they play: mom, wife, friend, professional. The native New Englanders are both moms themselves, and they understand how much working women give to others on a daily basis.
With decades of experience between them, the registered nurse and registered nurse practitioner, respectively, have tried all the services themselves and only offer what they can endorse first-hand.
Every detail and service (from allowing mothers to bring their children with them to including water soluble vitamins in their IV drips) at New England Skin Center is designed to give that love back to the women they treat. The first priority is creating healthy skin, and then to provide whatever treatments make women feel as amazing as they are.
“You have to take time for self care and self love,” says McMackin. “Give to yourself a little bit what you give to everyone else.”