The Advisory Board for the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy assists Center leadership in making strategic decisions on Center policies and programming. The board is made up of some of the most experienced law and public policy leaders in New England. Click on each name to learn more about the Board member. 

Michael Caljouw

Michael Caljouw

Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Michael Caljouw is Vice President of Public, Government, and Regulatory Affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. He joined Blue Cross in May 2008. Mr. Caljouw directs the company’s activities in a wide range of policy, legislative, and regulatory issues. Prior to joining Blue Cross, Mr. Caljouw was Senior Counsel at Holland & Knight LLP. In this capacity, he represented national and local clients in administrative law, regulatory compliance, licensing, and insurance matters. Mr. Caljouw also served in senior positions in Massachusetts government for ten years. Most recently, he was the Deputy Director, General Counsel, and Chief of Staff for the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. He served as General Counsel to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance. In the Massachusetts legislature, he was Chief of Staff and General Counsel to the Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader. Mr. Caljouw is chair of the Advisory Board of the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School.

Mr. Caljouw taught Legal Writing and Research at Boston University School of Law for six years and has been a frequent commentator on topics of interest to the legal and public policy community. He has also been profiled in the Boston Sunday Globe and the Suffolk Law Alumni Magazine. Mr. Caljouw graduated from Boston Latin School, Williams College, and Suffolk University Law School cum laude. At Suffolk Law, he was an Editor on the Law Review.


Anthony J. Benedetti

Anthony J. Benedetti

Chief Counsel, Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS)

Anthony J. Benedetti is the Chief Counsel for the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), the Massachusetts public defender office. CPCS provides legal representation to 285,000 indigent clients annually in criminal, delinquency, children/family law, and mental health cases through 700 staff, including 425 staff lawyers and 2,800 assigned private lawyers. Since being selected as the head of the agency, Benedetti has overseen rapid growth in the size of the agency in response to a legislatively mandated adjustment in how the delivery of services to clients is provided.

From 1998 to 2010, he was the CPCS General Counsel, representing the agency before the executive, legislative, and judicial branches on budget and legislative issues. Prior to this, he spent five years as a public defender trial lawyer in the CPCS Brockton office where he represented hundreds of clients in the District and Superior Courts. He began his career at CPCS as an Audit Specialist in their Audit & Oversight Unit while pursuing his law degree.

Benedetti is a member of the National Association for Public Defense, National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the American Council of Chief Defenders, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is a longtime member of the Massachusetts Bar Association House of Delegates and the Executive Management Board and a member of the Boston Bar Association. He is a former member of the Massachusetts Criminal Systems History Board and the former Chair of the Massachusetts Firearm Law Review Board.

Benedetti has been an adjunct professor in the Suffolk University Criminal Justice Sociology program since 2002, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Legal Issues, Criminal Justice Policy, Child Welfare, Development of Delinquency, Introduction to Criminal Justice, and a Seminar on the Death Penalty. He was recognized in 2005 by the Suffolk Lawyers for Justice Board of Directors for his advocacy on behalf of legislation to ensure access to justice for all and in 2017 by National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) with the Champion of State Criminal Justice Reform Award for his efforts advocating for progressive criminal justice reform in Massachusetts.


James Bor-Zale

James Bor-Zale

Senior Associate, WilmerHale

James Bor-Zale is a Senior Associate at WilmerHale where he represents a wide range of clients in complex litigation matters with a focus on intellectual property disputes. Bor-Zale also maintains a robust pro bono practice and has represented clients in asylum, CORI sealing, First Amendment, housing, military discharge upgrade, and sex trafficking matters. Bor-Zale serves on the firm’s Diversity Committee and is a member of the BBA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee. 

Before joining WilmerHale, Bor-Zale was a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Scott L. Kafker of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Bor-Zale received his B.A. degree, cum laude, from Cornell University, and his J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from Boston College Law School. During law school, Bor-Zale was a 2015 Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy, served on the Executive Board of the Boston College Law Review, and was Vice President of the Law Students Association. Before his legal career, Bor-Zale taught high school math in the Mississippi Delta through Teach for America.

Kathryn Carlson

Kathryn Carlson

Executive Director, Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, Harvard Kennedy School

Kathryn Carlson is the Executive Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at the Harvard Kennedy School. She joined the Rappaport Institute in 2020 from A Better City where she was the Director of Transportation, leading the transportation research and policy agendas for the organization as well as overseeing the two Transportation Management Associations (TMAs). Previously, her professional experiences encompass research and policy positions. She spent eight years as a research analyst and economist at Fidelity Investments in Boston covering energy/commodity markets and macroeconomic modeling. From 2003-2005, Kathryn served in the Administration of Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle as a senior-level appointee at the Department of Financial Institutions – the state banking and securities regulator. She managed all legislative, policy and communications functions of the department and provided leadership on a variety of initiatives, including predatory mortgage lending legislation and the development of a public-private partnership to encourage early-stage investing, the Wisconsin Angel Network. Kathryn founded Buca Boot LLC, a bicycle product company and invented their flagship product, the Buca Boot, a patented bike-mounted storage system that won Inc. Magazine’s “Best in Class” Design Award in 2015. She is a board member of the LivableStreets Alliance in Boston and holds both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees in Economics from Wellesley College and the London School of Economics, respectively. 


R. Michael Cassidy

R. Michael Cassidy 

Professor, Boston College Law School

Professor R. Michael Cassidy teaches and writes in the areas of Criminal Law, Evidence, and Professional Responsibility. He is considered an expert on the subject of prosecutorial ethics, and provides training nationally to public sector attorneys on their responsibilities under the Rules of Professional Conduct. He is quoted frequently by the media on subjects relating to criminal law and ethics, including appearing in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald.

During his extensive career as a government lawyer prior to joining the BC community, Professor Cassidy prosecuted hundreds of serious felony cases involving narcotics trafficking, organized and white collar crime, and public corruption. He has also briefed and argued numerous high-profile criminal matters before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. From 1993 to 1996, Professor Cassidy served as Chief of the Criminal Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office under then Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.

Among his many professional and community activities, Professor Cassidy has served as a member of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission, as Editor-in-Chief of the Massachusetts Law Review, as a member of the Governor's Commission on Corrections Reform, as a hearing officer for the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, as a member of the Criminal Justice Section Council of the Boston Bar Association, as an Advisor to the National District Attorneys' Association, and as a member of the Massachusetts Judicial Nominating Commission. Professor Cassidy was recently appointed to serve a three year term on the Supreme Judicial Court's Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct. He is active in local government, youth sports and religious education in his hometown of Winchester, Massachusetts. Professor Cassidy was elected to the American Law Institute in 2012. Professor Cassidy has also served as a legal consultant to the Department of Justice on issues of police misconduct and prosecutorial ethics.

Professor Cassidy received his B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame, and his J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. Following law school he served as law clerk to the Honorable Edward F. Hennessey, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and then as a litigation associate at the Boston law firm of Foley, Hoag.

Professor Cassidy served as the Faculty Director of BC Law's Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy from 2015-2018. He served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2007-2010 and as Associate Dean for Administration and Finance from 1996 to 2002. He has four times been awarded the Emil Slizewski prize for distinguished teaching by the graduating class at commencement.


Rebekah Levine Coley

Rebekah Levine Coley

Professor, Boston College Lynch School of Education

Rebekah Levine Coley, Ph.D., is Chair and Professor of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology at Boston College. She received her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan and postdoctoral training in demography and public policy at the University of Chicago. Dr. Coley’s research seeks to delineate the key family, school, and community processes which transmit economic and social inequality to children’s development from infancy through adolescence. She uses longitudinal, multi-method, and evaluation methodologies to inform social and educational practice and policy at the local, state, and federal level.

Professor Coley’s research has been published in dozens of leading journals and edited volumes, and has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Australian Research Council, and numerous private foundations. She is the Editor of the new Child Evidence Briefs series published by the Society for Research in Child Development, and holds leadership positions in the Society for Research in Child Development, the Society for Research on Adolescence, the Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium, and the University-based Child and Family Policy Consortium. Her research excellence has been recognized through receipt of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award and a Social Policy Award from the Society for Research in Adolescence.


Joseph Curtatone

Joseph A. Curtatone

President, New England Clean Energy Council

Before stepping into the role of NECEC President, Joseph A. Curtatone forged a reputation for being one of the most innovative mayors in the United States as the nine-term Mayor of Somerville, MA. That includes Somerville being named one of only 95 cities in the world to make the CDP Cities A-List for climate planning and action. He also spearheaded a comprehensive net-zero action plan for his city with a strong focus on equity.  During his tenure, Curtatone embraced data-driven decision making, employed systems-based solutions to community issues and was an innovator in healthy city initiatives. He has forged regional coalitions to tackle issues around transportation, housing and COVID-19 pandemic response. He also worked to establish Somerville as a leader in climate technology, recruiting Greentown Labs to the city, where it has been steadily growing since 2013. Thanks to his pursuit of cutting edge industries, Somerville saw its workforce increase by more than 40% during his tenure as the city became the home to billions of dollars of new economic activity. Curtatone also did significant work to reshape the city. In 2014, Somerville opened the first new station in Greater Boston's core light rail transit system in 27 years, and soon it will open six more new stations as part of the first major expansion of that system since the 1980s. In addition, during his time in office Somerville built a network of more than 40 miles of bicycle lanes inside a city of just 4.1 square miles. He is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School, the New England School of Law and Boston College. A father of four, Curtatone also has been a longtime high school and youth sports coach.


Sean Fontes

Sean Fontes

Executive Counsel, Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training

Sean M. Fontes is a graduate of Boston College Law School and currently serves as executive counsel for the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. As executive counsel, he heads up the legal division of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training and advises the department on labor law matters, involving unemployment insurance, construction trades, fair labor standards, workers’ compensation insurance, and workforce development. Sean has an extensive litigation background in criminal, civil, and corporate taxation law. He has been an adjunct professor at Roger Williams University since 2006 and has taught courses in torts, legal research and writing, and the law of business organizations, which he currently teaches.


Lourdes German

Lourdes German

Lecturer, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Senior Advisor, The Kresge Foundation

Executive Director, The Public Finance Initiative


Lourdes German began her career specializing in public finance 15 years ago as an attorney advising state and local governments in their public finance transactions at the international law firm Palmer & Dodge (now Locke Lord, LLP). Following that work, Lourdes was one of the founding team members of the public finance department at Fidelity Investments, where she served as a Vice President who launched and led the company’s municipal finance efforts in the Northeast and opened Fidelity’s New York office for public finance investment banking. In her role at Fidelity, Lourdes worked with leaders of public authorities, cities, and states across America supporting their infrastructure financings and developed the company’s first though leadership initiative focused on educating investors with respect to municipal finance issues. Following Fidelity, Lourdes’ professional experiences include serving as General Counsel and Vice President of Municipal Investment research at Breckinridge Capital Advisors and serving as a Director of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. At the Lincoln Institute, Lourdes helped grow a global campaign on municipal fiscal health via activities that included organizing the first bi-partisan congressional briefing focused on municipal finance. Lourdes also expanded global awareness of fiscal health as an expert advisor to the United Nations (UN) and co-author of the UN global framework on municipal finance in support of the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Lourdes also served as one of the co-authors of the book, Finance for City Leaders, published by the United Nations Press in 2016.

In addition to her private sector roles, Lourdes has served as a professor in various higher education institutions. She currently teaches public finance at the Harvard Graduate School of design, and previously served on the faculty at the Boston College Carroll School of Management, Boston University, Northeastern University School of Law, and helped co-create the first certificate program in municipal finance at the University of Chicago Harris School for Policy.

Outside of her current role in higher education, Lourdes also serves as a senior advisor to the Kresge Foundation, supporting the foundation’s social investment practice, Detroit program, and the American Cities program on matters related to federal aid and municipal finance. In addition, Lourdes directs a non-profit fiscally sponsored project of Third Sector New England that provides educational programs to leaders in government, foundations, and other stakeholders focused on municipal finance issues. In that role, Lourdes is currently serving as a lead partner to Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation developing programs that approach municipal finance with an equity lens. Lourdes is also serving in her 6th year as the appointed Chair by the Governor of Massachusetts of the Massachusetts State Finance and Governance Board, where she serves as the lead public finance expert to the Governor of the Commonwealth and contributes her time to several non-profit boards.

Nikki Hadas

Nikki Hadas

Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Akebia Therapeutics 

Nikki Hadas joined Akebia as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary in 2013. From 2011 to 2013, Ms. Hadas served as the Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., where she managed the successful sale of its hemophilia assets to Cangene Corporation and Baxter International in early 2013. From 2001 to 2011, Ms. Hadas worked at Genzyme Corporation, most recently as Senior Corporate Counsel. Prior to Genzyme, she was an associate at Foley Hoag, representing biopharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers in a wide variety of matters. Ms. Hadas received a BA from the University of Michigan and a JD from Boston College Law School.


Scott Harshbarger

Scott Harshbarger

Senior Counsel, Casner & Edwards

Scott Harshbarger is Senior Counsel in Casner & Edwards’ Litigation and Nonprofit departments. For more than a decade, Scott has specialized in providing strategic counsel for business ethics, corporate investigations and defense, compliance and risk management, corporate and governance, and government regulation. His distinguished career includes positions in major public office, nonprofit executive management, private legal counsel and numerous board directorships.

Scott has had a long and successful public service career as a public defender, civil rights attorney, Middlesex District Attorney and Massachusetts Attorney General. While Attorney General, Scott was recognized as a national leader. Not only was he the elected President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), he was also recognized for being one of the first AGs to sue the tobacco manufacturers on behalf of children and public health, and for his pioneering use of Chapter 93A to promulgate hand gun safety regulations. Other major consumer and public protection initiatives include the Hospital and HMO Community Benefit Guidelines, the Elder and Disability Protection Projects, and the SCORE Conflict Resolution and Safe Neighborhood Initiatives against urban and family violence, white collar crime, public corruption, and insurance and health care fraud.

From 1999-2002, Scott served as President and CEO of Common Cause, the national nonprofit citizens’ lobby, public interest advocacy and government and corporate watchdog group, founded by John Gardner in Washington, D.C.

Since his return to private practice, Scott has continued to be involved in public policy reform. He served as the head of Governor Romney’s Commission on Corrections Reform (2003-2005) and as a member of the SJC Court Management Advisory Board (CMAB). He was also chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Pension Reform, vice-chair of the Ethics Resource Center, and chair of the SJC Task force on Hiring and Promotion in Probation, as well as in the Judicial Branch (2010-2011). 

Scott has authored numerous articles on topics in the field of corporate and nonprofit governance and regulatory strategies. He regularly speaks to state and national business groups, industry associations and legal, business and college audiences. Scott often appears in the national media and routinely appears on New England television as a commentator and news analyst.

Michael Jellinek

Michael Jellinek, M.D.

Pediatrician and Adult & Child Psychiatrist

Dr. Jellinek is a pediatrician, adult and child psychiatrist and has been on the staff of Massachusetts General Hospital for 42 years. At MGH, he served as Chief of Child Psychiatry from 1979-2012 and was the Senior Vice President of Administration. Dr. Jellinek was appointed President of Newton Wellesley Hospital from 2000-2012 and Chief Clinical Officer of Partners HealthCare from 2012-2014. After three years as CEO of Lahey Health’s Community Network, Dr. Jellinek started his own company, Ulysses Consulting. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

His son, David, graduated from Boston College Law School in 2000 and his daughter, Hannah, was a Rappaport Fellow this past summer and is expecting to graduate with a JD from Boston College Law School and MSW from Boston College School of Social Work in 2019. His son, Izzy, is an officer in the LAPD. Dr. Jellinek lives with his wife, Barbara, in Newton.


Daniel Kanstroom

Daniel Kanstroom

Professor and Rappaport Center Faculty Director, Boston College Law School

Daniel Kanstroom is Professor of Law, Thomas F. Carney Distinguished Scholar, Faculty Director of the Rappaport Center for Law & Public Policy, Director of the International Human Rights Program, and an Associate Director of the Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice. He teaches Immigration and Refugee Law, International Human Rights Law, Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and the International Human Rights Semester in Practice. Professor Kanstroom was the founder of the Boston College Immigration and Asylum clinic in which students represent indigent noncitizens and asylum-seekers. Together with his students, he has won many high-profile immigration and asylum cases and has provided counsel for hundreds of clients over more than a decade. He and his students have also written amicus briefs for the U.S. Supreme Court, organized innumerable public presentations in schools, churches, community centers, courts and prisons, and have advised many community groups. He was a co-founder of the Immigration Spring Break Trips, where students work on immigration law cases during their Spring Break. Professor Kanstroom’s newest initiative, the Post-Deportation Human Rights Project, seeks to conceptualize and develop a new field of law while representing US deportees abroad and undertaking empirical study of the effects of deportation on families and communities.

Professor Kanstroom has published widely in the fields of U.S. immigration law, criminal law, and European citizenship and asylum law. His most recent books are: Aftermath: Deportation Law and the New American Diaspora, (Oxford University Press 2012); and Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History (Harvard University Press 2007). He is also a co-editor of: The New Deportations Delirium (editor, with M. Brinton Lykes); Constructing “Illegality”: Immigrant Experiences, Critiques, and Resistance, (editor, with Cecilia Menjívar) (Cambridge University Press 2013).

His articles and short pieces have appeared in such venues as the Harvard Law Review, Yale Journal of International Law, UCLA Law Review, NYU Journal of International Law and Politics, Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, The New York Times, Journal of Social History, and the French Gazette du Palais. Professor Kanstroom has served on the American Bar Association's Immigration Commission and the Advisory Board of the PAIR Project, and was rapporteur for the American Branch of the Refugee Law Section of the International Law Association. He serves on the Advisory Board for BC Law's Rappaport Center for Law & Public Policy. He has been a visiting Professor at the University of Paris, the University of Boulogne sur Mer, Northeastern School of Law, American University, King’s College, London, and Vermont Law School.


Julia Kobick

Deputy State Solicitor, Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

Julie Kobick is Deputy State Solicitor in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. She previously served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Constitutional and Administrative Law Division, representing the Commonwealth in cases challenging state laws, regulations, and agency actions. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Honorable Michael A. Chagares of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the Honorable F. Dennis Saylor IV of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Julie is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College. Between college and law school, she was an elementary school teacher in New York City. 

Patricia McCoy

Patricia McCoy

Liberty Mutual Insurance Professor of Law, Boston College Law School 

Patricia A. McCoy, a nationally prominent scholar in financial services regulation, is the inaugural Liberty Mutual Insurance Professor of Law at Boston College Law School. In 2010 and 2011, she joined the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where she helped form the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and, as the CFPB’s first assistant director for mortgage markets, oversaw the Bureau’s mortgage policy initiatives. She teaches insurance law as well as banking regulation and a full array of other financial services regulatory courses. After receiving her law degree from University of California Berkeley School of Law, Professor McCoy clerked for the late Hon. Robert S. Vance on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and was a partner at Mayer Brown in Washington, D.C., specializing in complex securities, banking and constitutional litigation. More recently, she was the Director of the Insurance Law Center at the University of Connecticut School of Law before joining the Boston College faculty.

Professor McCoy's research interests focus on the nexus between financial products, consumer welfare, and systemic risk, analyzed through the lens of law, economics, and empirical methods. In A Tale of Three Markets: The Law and Economics of Predatory Lending in the Texas Law Review in 2002, Professor McCoy was among the first to raise alarms about the dangers of subprime loans. She has three books to her credit, the most recent being The Subprime Virus with Kathleen Engel, published by Oxford University Press in 2011. The author of numerous book chapters and articles, she has testified before Congress and been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and on National Public Radio. Previously, Professor McCoy was a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Economics Department and served on the Federal Reserve’s Consumer Advisory Council and on the board of the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association. In 2012, the American Law Institute named her as an Adviser to the Third Restatement on Consumer Contracts. She currently sits on the Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.


M. Patrick Moore, Jr.

M. Patrick Moore, Jr. 

First Assistant Attorney General, Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

Pat Moore concentrates his practice in business, administrative, and appellate litigation at Hemenway & Barnes. A former attorney in the White House and Massachusetts Governor’s Office, Pat has a unique understanding of the legislative process, government regulations, and litigation. From challenging a regulatory action to advising on ballot initiatives, Pat is a strong advocate at the local, state, and federal level.

Pat advises clients on the impact of legislation, regulation, and sub-regulatory initiatives. He also counsels clients on a variety of election law, election recount, ballot, and campaign finance issues, including political action committees (PACs) and super PACs.

Pat has litigated at each level of the Massachusetts court system and in federal district and appellate courts throughout the country. In addition to advocating before federal and state regulatory agencies, Pat also represents clients before professional licensure boards.

Before joining Hemenway & Barnes, Pat was an Associate Counsel and Advisor for Presidential Personnel at the White House in the administration of President Barack Obama. There, he vetted prospective Presidential nominees for executive, judicial, and independent agency positions; evaluated clemency petitions; and analyzed innumerable legal issues inherent in the administration of the federal government.

In addition, Pat was a Deputy Counsel in the Office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, under Governor Deval L. Patrick and Governor Charles D. Baker. Among other responsibilities, Pat analyzed and provided actionable advice on the many constitutional, legislative, and regulatory issues that affect (or can be affected by) the Office of the Governor.

At the outset of his legal career, Pat practiced for several years at a large Boston firm, a period that included a fellowship in the Government Bureau of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. He served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Maryanne Trump Barry of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and to the Honorable Robert J. Cordy of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.


Mariatu Okonofua

Mariatu Okonofua

2023 Graduate, Boston College Law School and Boston College Lynch School of Education

Mariatu Okonofua is a 2L J.D/M.Ed candidate at Boston College Law School and the Boston College Lynch School, and a Public Service Scholar. A native of Memphis, TN, she graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Policy Studies and Sociology from Elon University in 2019. At Elon, Okonofua served as a member of the President’s Student Leadership Advisory Council, as an Executive Intern in the Office for the Provost of Inclusive Excellence, and as a Student Coordinator for Black Initiatives in the Center for Race Ethnicity and Diversity Education. Prior to beginning law school, Okonofua worked as a Kenan Community Impact Fellow with Alamance Achieves where she facilitated conversations and county efforts to improve third-grade literacy and access to early childhood education. Okonofua also served as a 2021 Rappaport Fellow for Law and Public Policy, interning at the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.


Phyllis Rappaport

Phyllis Rappaport

Chairperson, Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation

Phyllis Rappaport is the chairperson for the Phyllis & Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation. She is also a Director of the New Boston Fund, Inc., a real estate investment company with $1.5 billion in assets under management, and Co-Founder and Director of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.

Ms. Rappaport has an extensive background in public and non-profit service, including serving as an elected member of the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional School Committee for seven years. She serves on college, hospital, museum, and public policy boards throughout the region including the President’s Council of Massachusetts General Hospital, the DeCordova Museum, and the Advisory Board for Harvard University’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government.

Previously, Ms. Rappaport held leadership positions at corporations such as Hewlett Packard and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ms. Rappaport graduated from Smith College and Simmons Graduate School of Management. Over the years, Ms. Rappaport has been a dedicated and generous contributor to numerous charitable and civic organizations in Boston, and the Rappaport Foundation will continue that tradition.


Tanisha M. Sullivan

Tanisha M. Sullivan, Esq.

Associate General Counsel, Sanofi Genzyme; President, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Boston Branch 

Tanisha M. Sullivan is the president of the NAACP Boston Branch.  With one of the largest membership rosters in New England and a legacy of committed service, the NAACP Boston Branch is a leading voice on issues of racial diversity, economic justice, equity and opportunity in public education and the elimination of health disparities in and around the City of Boston. 

Professionally, Ms. Sullivan is Associate General Counsel to a biotech company in Cambridge.  Prior to joining the company, Ms. Sullivan practiced corporate law with large firms and major corporations in the Greater Boston and New York City areas focused on venture capital, private equity, and M&A.  Committed to public service, from 2013- 2015, Ms. Sullivan left corporate practice to serve in a senior policy role with the Boston Public Schools as the district’s Chief Equity Officer.

Ms. Sullivan earned a BA in Government from the University of Virginia, a JD from Boston College Law School and an MBA from Boston College Carroll School of Management.  Having served on a number of non-profit boards in the Greater Boston Area, she currently serves on the regional leadership team of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and is a member of the WGBH Board of Advisors. Ms. Sullivan is the recipient of several prestigious civic and professional recognitions, including the 2018 Leading Woman award from the Girl Scouts of Eastern MA, the MLK Legacy Award from St. Cyprian’s Church, and the BBJ 40 Under 40 recognition.


Bill Walczak

Bill Walczak

Bill Walczak is President and CEO of the South End Community Health Center. Previously he was President of Codman Academy Charter School, President of the Lewis Family & Grand Circle Foundations, and Vice President of External Relations at Shawmut Design and Construction. Mr. Walczak is founder of the Codman Square Health Center, a multi-service center where he was CEO from 1980- 2011.

Mr. Walczak was a founder of the Edward Kennedy Health Careers Academy. From 2011-2012, he was President of Carney Hospital, and in 2013, he was a candidate for Mayor of Boston. He is on the board of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education and the Urban Food Initiative/Daily Table. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, is a member of the Friends Council of the Friends of the Public Garden, a member of the Boston Leaders for Education coalition, the Haiti Fund, and the Epiphany School Advisory Board. He served on Governor Deval Patrick’s and Governor Charlie Baker's Health Care Transition Committee and on the New England Steering Committee for the Barack Obama presidential campaign.


Michelle Wu

Michelle Wu

Mayor, City of Boston

Michelle Wu is the Mayor of Boston. She is a daughter of immigrants, Boston Public Schools mom to two boys, MBTA commuter, and fierce believer that we can solve our deepest challenges through building community. 

First elected to the Boston City Council in November 2013 at the age of 28, Wu is the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Council. In January 2016, she was elected President of the City Council by her colleagues in a unanimous vote, becoming the first woman of color to serve as Council President.As a Councilor, Mayor Wu was the lead sponsor of Boston's Paid Parental Leave ordinance and Healthcare Equity ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity — both of which passed unanimously through the Council and were signed into law by former Mayor Martin J. Walsh. She also authored Boston’s Communications Access ordinance, which guarantees translation, interpretation and assistive technology for access to City services regardless of English language proficiency or communications disability.

Wu got her start in City Hall working for Mayor Thomas M. Menino as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy, where she created the city’s first guide to the restaurant permitting process from start to finish, and was also a driving force to launch Boston’s food truck program. She later served as statewide Constituency Director in the U.S. Senate campaign of her former law professor, Elizabeth Warren.

As a former restaurant owner, legal services attorney, and legal guardian of her younger sister, Wu understands firsthand the barriers that families and communities face.  She has a background in community advocacy, having worked at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain, providing legal advice to low-income small business owners, as well as at the Medical-Legal Partnership at Boston Medical Center on immigration law cases for survivors of domestic violence.In 2016, Councilor Wu was honored as one of Ten Outstanding Young Leaders by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and as part of Marie Claire magazine’s New Guard: The 50 Most Influential Women in America.Mayor Wu graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She is fluent in Mandarin and Spanish, and lives in Roslindale with her husband Conor and her sons Blaise and Cass.