By its own admission, Boston Magazine’s just-released list of the city’s most influential movers and shakers is “delightfully subjective.” Who’s to say whose contribution — of ideas, expertise, or economic resources — has the most impact on the city and its people?
Still, the list of 100 arrived at by the masthead at Boston Magazine is, by any measure, intriguing. At the very least, it doesn’t live up to the stereotype of Boston as a place run, mostly from behind closed doors, by a bunch of stodgy men with white hair and red noses.
In a note accompanying the ranking, contributing editor David Bernstein explains that the mag “wasn’t looking for the richest people in Boston, or even the smartest. Instead, we sought out the businesspeople, tech moguls, politicians, and tastemakers that the rest of us are all watching, the folks who are truly shaping the city.”
With the caveat then that the list is less than scientific, we’re pleased that Boston Globe Managing Director Linda Pizzuti Henry gets the top spot. Diane Hessan, chairwoman of the Boston marketing company C Space — she also makes the list — calls Henry a “super-convener” with a can-do attitude. (See HUBweek, a festival that convenes big thinkers, tech giants, a documentary film festival, and assorted art events.)
“[Henry’s] willing to put in the time and will ask everybody she can think of for help. And even though she wants to have a great plan, she doesn’t hold off because there’s a chance that it won’t be perfect — it’s always ‘How do we make things better?’ ” Hessen writes. “That’s why everybody wants her on their board, as their leader, and in their corner — she is our most extraordinary civic entrepreneur.”
Turns out Boston Magazine assembles this sort of list periodically. The first one, in 1997, had Fidelity Investments’ former CEO Ned Johnson in the top spot.
Rounding out the top 10 this time are Mayor Marty Walsh, Governor Charlie Baker, Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson, Suffolk Construction’s John Fish, Partners HealthCare CEO David Torchiana, Barr Foundation President Jim Canales, Eastern Bank CEO Bob Rivers, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Rooney, and Attorney General Maura Healey.
Of course, there are plenty of the usual suspects — Senator Elizabeth Warren, Putnam Investments CEO Bob Reynolds, WGBH President Jon Abbott, publicist George Regan, and the presidents of MIT, Emerson, Harvard, Berklee, and Wellesley — but also a few not-so-familiar faces, including Travis McCready, CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the Dimock Center CEO Myechia Minter-Jordan, Globe columnist Shirley Leung, Hyams Foundation Executive Director Jocelyn Sargent, and billionaire developer Gerald Chan of the Morningside Group.
In case you’re wondering, John Henry, the owner of the Globe and the Red Sox, and Linda Pizzuti Henry’s husband, doesn’t make the list.