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PwC chief aims to tackle a tough topic: race in the US

Tim Ryan, US chairman of PwCchris morris for the boston globe

As Tim Ryan embarked on his new role as US chairman of PwC, the accounting and consulting giant, he had no idea that the topic of race would end up consuming much of his time.

Then the Dallas shootings occurred, in which five police officers were killed in July, during his first week in the job. Following that event and several high-profile shootings of black men, Ryan knew he had to find a way to make his 47,000 US employees comfortable about discussing race. So on July 21, he held race discussions throughout the company’s US offices.

Now, Ryan is trying to move the talk beyond PwC’s office walls.


The Walpole resident has been reaching out to chief executives at other major national companies to figure out how to address race in the workplace. He hopes the business community can come together to convey a unified message and should have more details later this fall.

“We need to come out as a bigger group,” Ryan says. “For many, it’s a third-rail issue. [But] there’s a real opportunity here to show people that we have an important role in the CEO community to play.”

Ryan’s entrance into the accounting world was almost by accident. He grew up in Dedham and attended Babson College, with a goal of opening up a sub shop after he graduated. A professor encouraged him to give accounting a try, and he ended up in Price Waterhouse’s Boston office in 1988.

He’s worked his way up the PwC ladder ever since, specializing in the financial services industry.

Now that he’s at the top of that ladder, he seems determined to make his time there count for something.

“You can be average or you can really try to have an impact on society,” Ryan says.

He’s already decided which way he wants to go. — JON CHESTO


A governor can love the Museum of Science, too

Michael Bloomberg isn’t the only one who has fond memories of the Museum of Science. So does Governor Charlie Baker.

At an event Tuesday marking Bloomberg’s $50 million gift to the museum, Baker recounted how the museum’s planetarium left a deep impression on him when he was a kid.

“The first time I was here I went to the planetarium, and I never looked up at the sky quite the same way ever again,” Baker said.

Bloomberg, who grew up in Medford, took Saturday science classes at the museum. He credits the experience with helping to shape who he became: a self-made billionaire and a three-term mayor of New York. Bloomberg left City Hall in 2013, but remained in New York to run his financial news and information company, Bloomberg LP.

Baker also recalled his own first-hand experience with Bloomberg’s philanthropy. Years ago, before he was governor, Baker served on the original board of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, which was raising money for the Mother’s Walk. Senator Ted Kennedy himself approached Bloomberg to kick off the campaign.

“Apparently it took exactly five seconds for Mayor Bloomberg to decide on behalf of his mother he wanted to make a major contribution,” Baker said.

By the time he had finished his remarks, it was clear Baker was in a jovial mood, to which he explained:

“I have to tell you any time we can take $50 million from New York, I’m all for it.” — SHIRLEY LEUNG


An ‘abysmal’ child welfare system

As we’ve mentioned in this column, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation — which has a Boston office and whose CEO is Jim Bildner, founder of the Boston-based grocery chain J. Bildner & Sons — funds what it calls “the brightest stars of the nonprofit sector.”

It recently announced a new member of that constellation: Foster America, a Washington, D.C., startup that wants to improve the country’s child welfare system. The group has just launched a fellowship program to cultivate leaders who can, for example, find ways to improve the quantity and quality of foster and adoptive parents.

The inaugural fellows were introduced Monday and will be trained this week at Harvard. Among the faculty they’re meeting with: Kennedy School social policy lecturer Julie Boatright Wilson and Government Performance Lab director Jeff Liebman.

One of the fellows is Adam Williams, a Boston University MBA who will spend his fellowship at the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families. He previously worked for the Five District Partnership, an effort to improve the schools in Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Revere, and Winthrop.

“The outcomes of kids in the child welfare system are abysmal,” said Foster America founder Sherry Lachman, “so we’re aiming to create a movement of reform-minded people who can work together to improve the system.” — SACHA PFEIFFER

Former ‘Apprentice’ at Dana-Farber

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is glamming up its fund-raising gala. The cancer center has invited reality TV stars Giuliana and Bill Rancic to host a glitzy party Saturday at the Mandarin Oriental.


Giuliana is the E! News fashionista known for her Red Carpet commentary. Bill rose to prominence after he was the inaugural winner of “The Apprentice,” the reality competition show formerly hosted by one Donald Trump. The couple also had their own reality TV show on E!

More relevant to Dana-Farber is the fact that Giuliana is a cancer survivor who has publicly shared her experience of deciding to get a double mastectomy.

This is the first time Dana-Farber has had celebrities hosting the event. It hopes to raise more than $200,000 for research and treatment. The Rancics were invited by Sam and Jessica Slater, who are “good friends” of the couple, a spokeswoman said.

“The Rancics are a great fit to host the event,” spokeswoman Molly McHale said. “She will most likely talk about her cancer experience.”


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