Carole Wedge has come a long way from the mailroom at architectural firm Shepley Bulfinch. But in one way, she hasn’t come that far at all: She spent her entire career there before retiring on Friday.
Wedge’s tenure began with sorting envelopes and packages back in 1986 and included nearly two decades as the firm’s chief executive, before handing over the reins to Angela Watson in 2021.
The 183-person firm’s roots go back to the late 1880s, to a predecessor firm started by the famed architect Henry Hobson Richardson, perhaps best known for designing Trinity Church in the Back Bay. In recent years, the firm has been known for its institutional work with schools and hospitals.
It was important for Wedge that Shepley Bulfinch set its sights on going national. It now has offices in Durham, N.C., Houston, and Phoenix — all opened under her watch — as well as Boston and Hartford. Part of the motivation, as Wedge tells it, was that there simply wasn’t enough local work to go around for all the architects who work or attend school in Boston.
“There are great opportunities in other markets, in cities that are growing,” Wedge said. “I don’t know there will be more [new cities] immediately but it’s amazing what opportunities you get led to.”
Wedge might no longer be designing school libraries or hospital expansions but she will be busy. She plans to continue to mentor younger architects and do some executive coaching. There will be renovations at the house she shares with her husband in Concord, and more beach days on Plum Island.
She’s proud of the efforts she took while chief executive to improve the firm’s diversity, as well as the relationships that it built up with numerous universities.
Her one big professional regret: not pushing harder on environmentally resilient design. “Maybe I drove the Shepley car at 40 miles per hour and I should have been going at 80 miles per hour,” she said. “I just feel like we squandered some decades.”
Toward that end, she serves on the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, a group charged with ensuring Boston is better prepared for climate catastrophes. She will continue that role, although she said she’s talking with commission executive director Amy Longsworth about possibly recruiting someone to take her place — someone with the time, ambition, and interest. Those are big shoes to fill.
Manatt is on the move
If you haven’t heard of Los Angeles-based law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, it probably won’t be long until you do.
Manatt has grown quickly in Boston since 2019, when it opened an office here with a team led by Scott Lashway, formerly of Holland & Knight. Today, the Boston office has more than 20 professionals.
Make room for two more: Longtime friends Joan Lukey and Marty Murphy just joined Manatt’s Boston office. They’ve always wanted to work together at the same firm. Now they get their chance. Murphy is from Foley Hoag, while Lukey joins from Choate, Hall & Stewart. Both attorneys joined the firm’s trial, white collar, and investigations practice.
They said they were drawn by Manatt’s culture and unique business model. Unlike most law firms, Manatt is an integrated legal and consulting firm, with lawyers and consultants working closely together.
“I love the idea of going to Manatt because of the model it represents,” Lukey said. “[But] I will be honest, a real big selling point for me was, it was Marty who called me. We have wanted to practice together for a long time.”
Outside of its home turf in California, the firm has offices in New York, Chicago, and Washington. Chief executive Donna Wilson said she wanted a Boston presence because of the dominant sectors here, like life sciences and technology. “The strengths of the economy in Boston paralleled perfectly the industries in which we focus,” Wilson said.
Lunch with Lynch, for a good cause
How much is lunch with famed investor Peter Lynch worth?
Apparently, the answer is $73,100.
That’s how much the winning bidder in a just-completed auction agreed to pay to break bread with the former Fidelity Investments executive and fund manager. Lynch will host the winner, whose name has not yet been announced, and seven friends at one of his homes. Lynch is a big supporter of the Catholic Schools Foundation. But this was the first time Lynch raised money via a lunch auction for the nonprofit, which gives scholarships for low-income kids at Boston-area Catholic schools.
Meanwhile, the big money was raised at the foundation’s annual dinner at the Marriott Copley hotel, where Lynch was feted last week. Speakers included State Street chief executive Ron O’Hanley, former Channel 5 host Natalie Jacobson, Suffolk Construction owner John Fish, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. About 1,200 people attended, according to executive director Mike Reardon, raising nearly $6 million. And it was announced that another $15 million was raised in previous months, in Lynch’s honor. That translates to a lot of scholarships.
Van Saun keeps looking ahead
Citizens Financial Group has come a long way since its spinoff from the Royal Bank of Scotland nearly a decade ago. Now, the accolades are racking up. Euromoney named Providence-based Citizens the top US bank in 2021, and a Financial Times offshoot named Citizens bank of the year in 2022.
Last week, chief executive Bruce Van Saun came to Boston to collect more hardware. The New England chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors named the Citizens board the public company board of the year. (L.L. Bean’s board won for best private company board.)
Net deposit levels have remained stable at Citizens during the storm affecting midsized banks that began with Silicon Valley Bank’s failure. But Citizens stock is down by roughly one-third from early February, amid broader investor skepticism of the banking sector.
Maybe that was on Van Saun’s mind when he said that while the NACD award is a big honor, the bank can’t rest on its laurels.
“I always tell our people that we can enjoy that for like 15 minutes,” Van Saun said. “Then we have to get back to building a great bank.”
A case of mistaken identity
It turns out people have been confusing Gloria Larson and Micho Spring for 25 years — maybe because the two friends bear a passing resemblance to each other, are similar in age, and rose to prominence in Boston around the same time. So it was only appropriate that Larson, the former Bentley University president, would step in at the last minute to introduce Spring, former chief reputation officer at PR firm Weber Shandwick, at the National Association of Corporate Directors meeting last week at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. Spring was being honored for her nonprofit service.
Jack Leslie, former chairman of Weber Shandwick, was supposed to give the intro speech. But his flight was late. Meanwhile, Larson’s flight from South Carolina landed at Logan on time. So Spring texted Larson that afternoon, asking for help.
Larson came to the dinner with stories about how people regularly mixed them up. She would be asked about her kids and grandkids (Larson doesn’t have any) while Spring would be asked for advice about getting into Bentley. Larson also recalled how US Senator Ted Kennedy once told Micho Spring, “Gloria, thanks for coming,” at an event at the JFK Library. Spring responded by noting that her husband was by her side: “Senator, it’s me, Micho, and why would Gloria be here with Bill Spring?”
The women might not be as involved in the Boston business scene as they once were. But the confusion continues, as evidenced by an encounter Larson had on her way to the NACD event.
“A woman I kind of recognized literally says, ‘Micho!’ as I’m getting off the elevator,” Larson said, “just demonstrating that it is still current.”