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 five women worth watching, who make success look easy, on their own terms.
Let’s hear it for girl power!
Women Making Headlines in the Northeast
Beth Kirsch: Founder & Chocolatier, Beth’s Chocolates
Kirsch began her career in children’s media, winning Emmys for a PBS literacy series.
But, then, she started winning international chocolate awards — six in 2018, alone. Kirsch founded Beth’s Chocolates in Newton, Mass., and hand makes small batches of artisan chocolate with no preservatives and next to no added sugar.
She has earned a Professional Chocolatier certificate from the Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts and trained in France as a Master Chocolatier at the Valrhona École du Grand Chocolat in Tain-l’Hermitage.
Her confections are available in local boutiques, and custom orders are piling up. Looks like Kirsch is poised to take on the confections world.
Aisha Moodie-Mills: Political Strategist & Social Impact Advisor
As former President and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and Institute, Moodie-Mills is the first African-American woman to lead a national LGBTQ organization.
For close to 20 years, the social justice warrior has been running (and winning) campaigns that build political power for people at a disadvantage because of diversity, gender and sexual preference.
These are personal battlegrounds, as well as political, for Moodie-Mills. She and her wife were among the first same-sex couples to receive a marriage license in the District of Columbia. This after she led a successful campaign for marriage equality in 2009.
Now, fresh off a spring fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, Moodie-Mills is destined to continue her change-making legacy.
Amanda McSharry: Owner, The Sailmaker’s House and Water Street Inn
When it comes to hospitality in Portsmouth, N.H., McSharry and her husband and business partner Jay, have it on lock.
The duo own nine of Portsmouth’s hottest restaurants and, in the last few years, have opened two trendy inns, The Sailmaker’s House and the Water Street Inn, located just over the bridge (and state line) in Kittery, Maine.
High on McSharry’s priority list is a commitment to history. She renovated both inn properties, former historic homes, to maintain the charm and details of Portsmouth’s early New England history.
McSharry bought a former Salvation Army building earlier this year. For their next venture, she plans to restore it into an upscale hotel, a peek into glamorous old-world seacoast living.
Trisha Prabhu: Founder & CEO, ReThink, and Harvard Undergraduate
Prabhu is the founder and CEO of ReThink, an innovative technology that detects and stops online bullying by identifying negative messages and asking to reconsider before publishing the negative comments.
Her research indicates that with ReThink, 93 percent of online bullies decide not to post their message.
Among many other accolades, Prabhu was awarded the MIT INSPIRE 2016 Aristotle Award and was invited by President Obama to the White House Science Fair and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University.
She’s currently pursuing her undergraduate education at Harvard College — because, why? She’s only 18 — so we’ll be right across the river when she gets rolling with her next innovation.
Brenda Cassellius, Ed.D.: Superintendent, Boston Public Schools
Cassellius has spent three decades working in education. Most recently, she was Minnesota’s commissioner of education. During her tenure, she enacted all-day kindergarten and state-funded preschool for 25,000 three- and four-year-olds. She also achieved the highest high school graduation rates on record.
While she was commissioner, she served on the board of directors of the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). As such, Cassellius developed 10 Equity Commitments, now adopted across Minnesota.
Earlier this year, we were introduced to her as the newly appointed Boston Public Schools Superintendent. She started her job July 1, 2019, and, as school gets underway, she no doubt has big plans.
Read up on some additional high achieving women, including an artist, a surfer and Boston Public Market’s director, or a city councillor and a drug policy activist.