The Boston Redevelopment Authority is in the market for a new voice.
After two-and-a-half years on the ninth floor of City Hall, BRA spokesman Nick Martin is leaving the development agency at the end of this month, for a new job running public affairs for Coca-Cola in New England.
A veteran of Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s final term, Martin was spokesman for the Boston Public Health Commission before jumping to the BRA under Mayor Martin J. Walsh and BRA director Brian Golden. Approachable and unflappable, Martin played a key role in Walsh’s push to open up the often-opaque agency, managing communications around two critical audits, a controversial urban renewal extension and an epic building boom.
But after eight-plus years in city government, Martin said, he wanted some private-sector experience. Coca-Cola offered a great opportunity (he’ll succeed, and work with, another former Menino hand, Jennifer Cruikshank.) So he’s moving on. And now Martin’s job could be yours.
Last week, the BRA advertised an opening for a director of communications, with a salary range of $100,000 to $125,000 and the usual Boston residency requirement.
Whoever gets it will likely have a big hand in the agency’s rebranding — the so-called nextBRA project that design firm Continuum is working on this summer. And in the city’s ongoing Imagine Boston 2030 planning effort.
Of course, they’ll be on the receiving end of a lot of phone calls from reporters. So while among the BRA’s job requirements is “media relations experience,” we at Bold Types would suggest that they might add “media relations enthusiasm” to the list. Martin had it. And the BRA’s new spokesperson will need some too. — TIM LOGAN
A decade of change for women-led businesses
When Aileen Gorman started ranking the “Top 100” women-led businesses in the state 15 years ago, few, if any, on the list cleared $10 million in annual revenue.
Now that’s almost the bare minimum for entry.
It’s one of Gorman’s points of pride as she prepares to retire from The Commonwealth Institute after nearly two decades as its executive director: calling attention to such a wide range of businesses and the women who run them.
The nonprofit was launched by Lois Silverman in 1997, as a way to encourage female entrepreneurs in the area. The institute became an important force for networking, mentorship, and training opportunities for women.
Gorman joined soon after its inception, and was instrumental in launching the “Top 100” list. Annual revenue is just one piece. The group also looks at workforce size, innovation, and management diversity. (PR firm Weber Shandwick, whose New England operations are led by Micho Spring, topped the list last year.)
“Women-led businesses are just as effective as men,” Gorman said. “We don’t have as many, but they’re just as effective.”
She recently turned 70, and is looking forward to spending more time on travel and painting. She’ll retire later this year, to give the institute time to hire a replacement.
“You kind of reach a point where you realize, ‘I think it’s time for new ideas, somebody who gets more excited about things like tweeting and blogging, and things like that,’ ” Gorman said. — JON CHESTO
Overhead: not always a bad thing
Dan Pallotta is taking his pro-overhead crusade international.
The founder of Topsfield-based Charity Defense Council has railed for years against the conventional wisdom that nonprofits should spend little on overhead costs like fund-raising. He argues the opposite: that if nonprofits spent more on overhead, they could do more charitable work, since raising more money would result in more resources.
Now he’s bringing that message to Canada, where he’s launching a digital ad campaign that includes head shots of employees of Furniture Bank — a Toronto charity that provides used furniture to families in need — declaring, “I’m overhead.” They also describe the work they do, like marketing, which is classified as an overhead expense.
“Many people in the general public see overhead as a bad, wasteful thing,” said council spokesman Jason Lynch, “but if overhead is used in the right way it can spur a lot of growth . . . and big social change is not going to happen unless you invest in things that will help you grow.”
The campaign will also feature Bruce MacDonald, CEO of Toronto-based Imagine Canada, which promotes the charitable sector, discussing social impact.
Also: Lynch says Charity Defense Council will soon have a Boston presence at Impact Hub, a collaborative working space on Milk Street.
— SACHA PFEIFFER
When the farm is at your table
You’ve heard a lot about the farm-to-table movement, but rarely is the farm quite this close.
Sonia Lo, a Harvard Business School graduate, trained chef, and self-described farmer and entrepreneur, has plans to open a quick-stop salad restaurant in Boston, with a hydroponic garden under its roof.
The idea of using “the latest in indoor agriculture technology” to create “the shortest harvest-to-plate time in the produce industry” might seem a little unappetizing. But Lo has some well-known backers. She has raised $1.5 million from angel investors that include Boston Market founder George Naddaff and former Dunkin’ Donuts president Will Kussell.
Lo is not new to the world of hydroponic farming — where crops are grown with LED lights and no soil. She is chief executive of FreshBox Farms, a startup founded in 2013 that grows greens in corrugated container cars inside a Millis warehouse. The company supplies lettuce to Roche Bros. and other area supermarkets.
Some alternative medicine experts claim there are health benefits associated with eating food soon after harvesting because of an abundance of phytonutrients. Lo offered a simpler reason for eating fresh-grown greens.
“I just think it tastes better,” she said.
No word yet where the new restaurant will be located.
— MEGAN WOOLHOUSE