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    Charlie Baker a champion Salvation Army bell ringer

    Charlie Baker volunteering for the Salvation Army
    Charlie Baker volunteering for the Salvation Army


    Add this to Charlie Baker’s long list of accomplishments: champion Salvation Army bell ringer.

    The governor-elect solicited holiday donations for the charity organization at Downtown Crossing in 2010 and was not only charming, but stayed well past his hour allotment, even though it was bitterly cold out and he had just lost an exhausting gubernatorial race.

    The 6-foot-6 Baker was positively Menino-like, according to the Salvation Army worker who was with him that day, kneeling down to let children ring the bell and asking their parents about themselves.


    The fund-raising done during the roughly six-week holiday season accounts for much of the Salvation Army’s budget for soup kitchens, food pantries, and other services, said Danielle Degnan, the group’s community relations director in Massachusetts.

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    Local celebrities such as Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh, who will ring the bell at Downtown Crossing next week, are a key part of that effort. Degnan said the Massachusetts Salvation Army is trying to raise $3.4 million this year but would not say how much celebrity bell ringers typically bring in.

    Baker enjoyed the experience because he is a people person, said his spokesman, Tim Buckley, noting that he called his time in front of Macy’s a “cool opportunity to do something nice for a great organization that helps a lot of people.”

    The Salvation Army plans to invite the soon-to-be-governor to sound the fund-raising chime again this year, and Buckley said Baker is happy to oblige.




    Of nerds and shark tanks


    Boston startup HourlyNerd has been connecting small businesses to freelance consultants for more than a year now but never like this: The newest consultant to agree to offer advice through HourlyNerd is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, known to entrepreneurs as one of the “sharks” on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

    Cuban is an investor in HourlyNerd, an online forum where companies seek out short-term consulting gigs, such as help with a marketing campaign or an acquisition. Consultants, who are often MBA students, bid for the posted jobs.

    As a promotion for HourlyNerd, the famously opinionated billionaire agreed to spend an upcoming hour sharing tips with one randomly selected company listing a project on the site. The winner is custom T-shirt maker Viralstyle of Tampa, Fla., which said it needs help writing a business plan it can use when pitching venture capitalists.

    “Strategy, VC, consulting, and/or apparel experience preferred,” the job post read.

    We figure Cuban is qualified.




    A new corporate challenge

    Two months ago, Deval Patrick set a goal of signing up 100 Massachusetts companies by the end of the year to join his “Getting to More” corporate challenge.

    How is he doing? He’s gone from 14 to 89 companies. Our lame duck governor still has sway.

    Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business is leading the challenge, which is a multiyear initiative for organizations to share ways to advance women in the workplace.

    Some of the new companies include Boston Medical Center,, Century Bank, Skanska, Vericode, Tufts Health Plan, and Walgreens. Even journalists are getting in the act: The Boston Globe and Greater Media Boston.

    Betsy Myers, the founding director of the Center for Women and Business, tells us the number one question she gets from prospective companies is whether the new guy, Charlie Baker, will continue the challenge.

    We recently got a chance to ask him. His response: “Absolutely.”

    The governor-elect has been a longtime advocate of promoting women. For seven years, he served as the chair of the advisory board of The Boston Club, which helps put women on corporate boards. When he ran Harvard Pilgrim, women made up half his management team and seven of his 12 board members.

    And so far, half of his four Cabinet chiefs are women.



    The Paris of the Northeast

    Seems like European pharmaceutical chieftains can’t resist the magnetic pull of Greater Boston.

    First came Henri Termeer, the Dutch executive who became a biopharma legend when he pioneered a model for treating rare genetic disorders and, as CEO, built Cambridge-based Genzyme Corp. into an industry leader.

    German-Canadian dual citizen Christopher Viehbacher, CEO of French drug maker Sanofi, paid $20.1 billion for Genzyme in 2011 and, three years later, decided to move his personal residence from Paris to Boston.

    And when Danish doctor-turned-businessman Flemming Ornskov was named CEO of Shire last year, his first move was to relocate to the Irish drug giant’s US campus in Lexington.

    But there’s sometimes a price to be paid. Sanofi’s board, chafing over Viehbacher’s lack of communication, fired him in October. On a recent visit to Genzyme, Sanofi chairman and acting CEO Serge Weinberg said he likes visiting Boston but has no plans to move here.


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