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    Looking for Arianna Huffington? Try Instagram

    Arianna Huffington will headline the first Boston Business Women Innovation Conference.
    Chris Morris for The Boston Globe
    Arianna Huffington will headline the first Boston Business Women Innovation Conference.

    Social networks can be great equalizers. Just ask Kristina Tsipouras. The Boston entrepreneur had wanted media mogul Arianna Huffington to headline the first Boston Business Women Innovation Conference in May. But Tsipouras didn’t want to go through a middleman, and she thought an e-mail request might get buried in Huffington’s in-box.

    So she connected with Huffington on Instagram, the photo-sharing site. It didn’t take long for Huffington to confirm.

    “I was shocked when she said, ‘Yes,’ ” Tsipouras said. “Instagram is a great tool to engage with celebrities who might not respond to e-mails [because] they’re getting thousands of e-mails every week.”


    Huffington represents just the kind of brand-name firepower that Tsipouras and co-organizer Megan Marini, a digital strategist at Marketing Superheroes, wanted to get the inaugural conference noticed. But they also received commitments from a number of local execs for the event, scheduled for May 9. The list of panelists includes Hollister Staffing founder Kip Hollister, IdeaPaint’s Jen Reddy, and Happier cofounder Nataly Cogan.

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    Tsipouras launched her Boston Business Women networking group in late 2014, and it has more than 2,000 members today. Tsipouras said she wanted a big annual event to meet the local demand for marquee business events aimed at female entrepreneurs: “It became clear there was a hole that needed to be filled.”

    Bluestone no longer running Dukakis Center

    Aside from former governor Michael Dukakis, few people have been linked so closely to Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy as Barry Bluestone.

    Bluestone was until January the center’s long-running director. He served as the lead on many of the center’s most prominent research papers on regional topics such as housing and economic development.

    But now Bluestone has moved to a part-time role as a senior research associate. He declined to comment about the leadership change. The center has launched a search for a new director and plans to start advertising for the position nationally next week, said Jack McDevitt, the center’s interim director.


    The transition has been planned for while, McDevitt said, and will allow Bluestone to cut back on his hours and do more teaching.

    Northeastern wants the Dukakis Center to remain a go-to resource for regional policy makers on issues such as transportation, housing, and economic development, McDevitt said. The school has also been conducting a local search, reaching out to candidates with backgrounds in both policy and politics.

    Convention Center’s change of ‘Hart’

    Stepping down from the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority board might not have been a risk for Jack Hart. After all, he had a shot at regaining the seat if he wanted it. But the former state senator, now a partner at law firm Nelson Mullins, still sounds happy to be back.

    Hart left last summer so he could be considered for the agency’s top job — the executive director post that opened up when Jim Rooney exited to run the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Hart had been one of the three mayoral appointees on the 13-member board and he was reassured by Mayor Martin J. Walsh that he could have his seat back if Rooney’s old job didn’t pan out.

    Hart bowed out of that search process last October, opting instead to remain with Nelson Mullins. (Hotelier David Gibbons was eventually hired in December.) So Walsh made good on his word and reinstated Hart, a friend from their days in the Legislature together.


    Board chairman John McDonnell said he was glad to have Hart return last week, in part due to his familiarity with the agency. Hart helped write legislation in the 1990s creating the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

    “He has a wealth of knowledge that all of our new board members can tap into,” said McDonnell, managing director for Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

    McKenna’s advice to Coakley

    Suffolk University president Margaret McKenna has not talked to the other woman.

    That would be Martha Coakley, who for a time was considered as a replacement for McKenna.

    As we know, a group of Suffolk board members tried to push McKenna out, but students and business leaders rallied to her side. She inked a deal to stay until 2017 in exchange for boardroom reforms.

    The two women know each other. Coakley, the former attorney general and gubernatorial candidate, visited McKenna at Suffolk last October. McKenna was also a guest lecturer at one of Coakley’s classes last spring when she was a fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government.

    Ultimately, Coakley decided not to pursue the Suffolk job, but would McKenna advise her to do so now?

    “I think that’s up to Martha,” said McKenna. “I will say that the Suffolk job is not for the faint of heart. It’s probably not the kind of thing you would want to do as a first-time president, but I leave that up to individuals.”

    Coakley declined to comment. But she has time to mull it over. A search for the next president won’t begin until after May. — SHIRLEY LEUNG

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