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ABC’s Martha Raddatz says she owes her career to Boston

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Martha Raddatz.REUTERS

Martha Raddatz was about to board another flight, bound to Baghdad Tuesday night. But before she headed to Logan Airport, she had a few things to say to Boston's business community: The long road to her career in foreign affairs journalism can be traced right back to this city.

As the keynote speaker for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting on Tuesday, Raddatz's speech easily fit the theme of the evening, "Boston: A global city." The ABC News correspondent talked about why she continues to head to war-torn areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I have taken risks, a lot of risks, since 2001 and I never intended to do that," Raddatz told the crowd of roughly 1,800. "I'm not an adrenaline junkie. To me, what drives me is telling these stories and helping you and others stay informed."


Raddatz said her time covering Boston and engaging with the community — she worked at WCVB-TV from 1979 through the early 1990s — motivated her to devote her life to journalism. She moved here at the age of 26 from her native Utah. "I am not kidding when I say I really owe my career ... in so many ways to this city," said Raddatz, who jokes that she'll always be known here by her former name, Martha Bradlee.

Earlier in the evening, Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh continued their "GE Victory Tour." Baker focused his remarks on what made Boston attractive to General Electric — the city's smarts, the ease of access to Logan. And Walsh offered examples of how to build on the success of landing GE's headquarters. In particular, the mayor said Boston's success will depend in part on the city's ability to work regionally, in cooperation with other communities.

Then, an annual meeting tradition: more inductees into the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians, the chamber's "Hall of Fame" for business and community leaders. The three newcomers to the ranks this year were: Margaret Marshall, senior counsel at Choate Hall & Stewart and former chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court; Joe Grimaldi, former chairman at ad agency MullenLowe; and Desh Deshpande, the venture capitalist and tech entrepreneur.


Chamber CEO Jim Rooney said the three honorees each played important roles in helping make Boston a "global city." We used to relish in our underdog status, Rooney said. But "the days of the underdog are long gone," Rooney said. "Today, the world is watching Boston."

Jon Chesto can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.