Outstanding Women in Business: 2014 Alumnae
Current role: CEO of Girls Inc. in Worcester
Since Girls Inc. of Worcester CEO Victoria Waterman won her Outstanding Women in Business Award in 2014, some things have not changed. She is still CEO. She still reads before bed. The need for girls’ empowerment still exists, except now it’s ramped up by the #MeToo movement – putting advocacy issues on the front burner.
“It’s a very important conversation focused around women, not girls. But Girls Inc. platforms combat bullying, sexual harassment and sexual violence,” Waterman said. “One in every five girls has experienced that.”
The national effort has sparked the multiyear Girls Inc. campaign #GirlsToo, with the tagline “Respect starts young” and brought renewed relevancy in context of the headlines of the day.
A child who grew up speaking Armenian at home in Rhode Island along with her twin brother, Waterman found her voice and her way to make a difference almost by accident.
A mortgage company employee, the housing crash of 2007-2010 had Waterman looking at options.
“I had to reinvent myself, overnight. One of my successes at the mortgage company was an article I wrote on what to do with your house when you divorce. It turned into a program and success story for the organization,” she said, “starting organically, very unintentionally.”
That led to Waterman’s presidency with Leading Women of Massachusetts and then to Girls Inc., first serving on its board, then as president. Part of Waterman’s role has been to ensure its financial stability. Girls Inc. turned 100 years old in 2016.
A four-year STEM leadership program for girls from 8th to 12th grade has them spending time at four colleges and doing externships at companies like Boston Scientific and EcoTarium, she said. The first cohort just emerged, with a 100-percent graduation rate and more than $1 million earned in college scholarships. Over half will be the first generation of their families to attend college, Waterman said.
The group’s successes continue to grow, as does its necessity and Waterman’s passion for the cause.
Current role: Chairwoman and treasurer of Coghlin Electrical Contractors, Inc. in Worcester
What have been your career highlights since being a 2014 honoree? Awarded the MGM & Wynn Casino jobs in Massachusetts
How about your personal highlights? My husband Jim & I are enjoying our new grandson.
How has the professional world changed since 2014? We are gaining more visibility and recognition as a diverse company in this changing climate. Speaking on behalf of women at all levels, we are increasingly bringing diversity to the forefront of the construction industry.
Ann K. Tripp
Current role: President of Opus Investment Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hanover Insurance Group in Worcester
What have been your career highlights since being a 2014 honoree? Named to the Partner Group at The Hanover Insurance Group, the company’s most senior leadership team; named to 100 Top Corporate Women Leaders in STEM in 2017; named to Power 50 by Worcester Business Journal in 2018.
How about your personal highlights? My personal life continues to be highlighted by my wonderful husband, Dale Perkins, and children, Elizabeth Tripp and Samuel Tripp.
How has the professional world changed since 2014? I have seen increased focus on inclusion and diversity, which is a positive move forward for women and minorities. A McKinsey study says companies embracing I&D generally have stronger financial returns:
• Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
• Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
Donna M. Truex
Current role: Partner at Worcester law firm Bowditch & Dewey, LLP
What have been your career highlights since being a 2014 honoree? Being elected partner to the firm I have built my career with of more than 21 years, starting as a paralegal in 1993, attending law schools night and becoming an associate in 2001.
How about your personal highlights? My son’s graduation from high school in 2017 and attending Wentworth Institute of Technology and making the dean’s during his first year; and my daughter becoming a commercial real estate broker in Worcester with NAI Glickman Kovago & Jacobs, which is a field without a significant amount of women.
How has the professional world changed since 2014? Awareness of the need for diversity and succession planning has peaked. The implementation of needed changes has been slow in progress toward equilibrium, but it is making progress in the right direction. I am proud to be part of that evolution.
Read more about the 2018 Outstanding Women in Business:
Read about the nine previous years of Outstanding Women in Business award winners:
Check out a column from this year’s Innovative Business Leader of the Year on the importance of women business leaders in the Central Mass. community