Chamber News

June 25, 2020 Likes Comments

Nine ways we could make a difference (actually 10)

I’d like to begin this morning by expressing my gratitude to Quincy Miller, Colette Phillips and Darryl Settles for yesterday’s engaging conversation exploring how companies, nonprofits and individuals can support racial equality and create an inclusive economy in Massachusetts.

These three Black CEOs (all members of our chamber) shared their wisdom and advice on everything from nurturing minority owned businesses to the ways we can each lead in our current work places. I learned so much and heard from many others who said they did too.
If you missed it, we’ve posted the video below (or go here).
I also wanted to share a list Miller presented at the very end of our discussion. It’s nine things each of us individually could pledge to do each and every day to make a difference:
  1. I recognize that dismantling racial inequities requires intentional effort to change my thinking and actions.
  2. I will deliberately seek and suggest working with small Black and Latinx businesses when in need of vendors for my company or organization.
  3. I will lead in sponsoring Black and Latinx businesses.
  4. I’ll intentionally buy from Black and Latinx small business owners.
  5. I believe in the power of speaking up for the Black and Latinx community members especially when they are not in the room.
  6. I will intentionally make room at the table for diverse representation and true inclusivity around diverse voices.
  7. I’ll lead in curating brave space to unpack and address personal biases and make sure that we’re not further perpetuating oppressive behavior to be part of the solution not part of the problem.
  8. I’ll ask questions rather than lead with assumptions when entering uncharted territory.
  9. And finally, I will use my voice intentionally to make room in all spaces for black and brown representation especially in leadership roles.
“Those are the nine things you can do personally each and every day with your chamber to make a difference,” Miller concluded.
Just then, Phillips jumped in and said: “And if I could add the tenth: 'Listen. Learn. And empathize.'"
Your chamber is committed to continuing this conversation. (It's actually a pillar of our 2020 strategic plan, adopted by our board in January.) Please share your thoughts and ideas.
Today's discussion: Reopening Newton

Two months ago, Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller asked the Newton Economic Development Commission to develop recommendations to assist with the reopening of the city’s economy in the face of COVID-19.
The EDC’s recommendations covered everything from marketing to mentoring. They suggested things to do now and long-term policy changes; such as parking policy and business friendly zoning.
A copy of this citizen commission’s recommendations can be found here . Join us this afternoon at 1 p.m. when three of the report's authors will join the city’s planning and economic development directors for a presentation via Zoom on their findings and suggestions.
Are elevators safe?
Returning to the office is fraught with things to worry about, including using elevators. The Washington Post has an interesting article on the question and the short answer seems to be elevators may not be as big a concern as you might fear.
As long as riders follow recommendations listed in the article, “there’s essentially no risk in an elevator,” said infectious-disease physician Colleen Kraft, associate chief medical officer at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. “It is a short period of time… If you are wearing a mask and others are masked in the elevator, I don’t think it poses any risk.”
The article recommends being careful when touching but advises against wearing gloves. Instead, use a toothpick, a corner of shirt fabric or another barrier to touch buttons.
The Harvard School School of Public Health has these tips on elevator etiquette during COVID .
Also: Here's a video of some alternatives to touching used in China. Here’s some solutions from one elevator company. Or, perhaps you’ll want one of these hands free knickknacks?
Once you’re inside your office, Gensler offers 10 Considerations for Transitioning Back to Work in a Post-COVID-19 World, including designating an isolation room, which is a space every manager and employee knows they should go if they become symptomatic while at work.
Mixed-use project on Newton-Watertown line gets OK
Some good news: A mixed-use 40B development, just off California Street in Nonantum on the Watertown line, received the green light last week.
Riverdale will include 204 units of apartments (51 permanently affordable), along with 17,782 square feet of office/innovation space and 4,600 square-feet of retail space.
As part of the project, Criterion Development will provide the City of Newton with $1.94 million to upgrade lighting and landscaping at nearby Forte Park and undertake transportation-related improvements including pedestrian and bike safety improvements at the Los Angeles/California and Bridge/California streets intersections.
West Newton project on deck
Up next for Newton’s Zoning Board of Appeals is Mark Development’s Dunstan East, a three-building mixed-use project by that would provide 234 much-needed apartments (59 permanently affordable) and 8,318 square feet of ground floor commercial/retail space just outside of West Newton Square.
Mark Development has proposed $3 million in community benefits, including a $1.2 million affordability subsidy (for eight of the 59 affordable units), $400,000 for improvements to Cheese Cake Brook, $805,000 toward energy efficiency sustainability efforts, $145,000 for transportation improvements in the area and $515,000 for sewer upgrades.

Still have questions about the PPP?
Life is full of surprises! One of them is that Forbes decided that I'm a subject matter expert on the Paycheck Protection Program. (Thanks Bruce Brumberg for interviewing me.)
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
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