The voice of urban opportunity
ICIC’s nationally recognized Board of Directors includes CEOs, scholars, venture capitalists and community leaders.
Professor Michael E. Porter
Founder and Chairman, ICICShow Bio
Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School
Michael E. Porter is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School. A leading authority on company strategy and the competitiveness of nations and regions, his work is widely recognized in governments, corporations, non-profits, and academic circles across the globe.
Professor Porter’s core field is competition and company strategy, and this remains the focus of his research. His work has also re-defined thinking about competitiveness, economic development, economically distressed urban communities, environmental policy, and the role of corporations in society. He is the author of 18 books and numerous articles. In 1994, he founded the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), where he serves as chairman.
Recently, Professor Porter has devoted considerable attention to understanding and addressing the pressing problems in health care in the United States and other countries. His book, Redefining Health Care (with Professor Elizabeth Teisberg), develops a new strategic framework for transforming the value delivered by the health care system, with implications for providers, health plans, employers, and government, among other actors. His New England Journal of Medicine research article, “A Strategy for Health Care Reform—Toward a Value-Based System” (June 2009), lays out a health reform strategy for the U.S.
In addition to his research, writing, and teaching, Professor Porter serves as an advisor to business, government, and the social sector. He has served as strategy advisor to numerous leading U.S. and international companies, including Caterpillar, Procter & Gamble, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Royal Dutch Shell, and Taiwan Semiconductor. Professor Porter also plays an active role in U.S. economic policy with the Executive Branch and Congress, and has led national strategy programs in numerous countries. He is currently working with the Presidents of Rwanda and South Korea. For more information, see the web site of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness.
Ronald A. Homer
Vice Chairman, ICICShow Bio
President, Access Capital Strategies LLC
Ronald A. Homer is a member of the client service portfolio management team of RBC Global Asset Management (US) Inc. where he communicates with Access Capital clients and coordinates efforts to ensure that each client receives the most appropriate investment solutions and service. He also serves as president of the Access Capital Community Investment Fund.
Before joining RBC, Ronald served as the chief executive officer of Access Capital Strategies LLC, which he co-founded. Prior to this position, he was the president and chief executive officer of the Boston Bank of Commerce, New England’s largest minority-owned financial institution. During Ronald’s tenure, the bank was a leading lender in affordable housing, home mortgages, small business and community development in Boston. He also formerly served as a director at Sallie Mae and the Nynex telephone companies.
Ronald is the vice chair and a founding board member of ICIC. He is a past chairman of the National Bankers Association and a former member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Consumer Advisory Council. He was the founding chair of the American Bankers Association Center for Community Development.
He earned an MBA from the University of Rochester and a BA from the University of Notre Dame. Ronald also holds honorary degrees from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and Cambridge College.
John W. Bachmann
Senior Partner, Edward JonesShow Bio
John W. Bachmann is a senior partner of Edward Jones. Prior, John served as managing partner of the firm for 24 years, during which time he built upon the philosophy of serving individual investor needs from one-investment-representative offices using technology that directly and transparently benefited individual investors. Through his efforts, Edward Jones grew to over 9,000 offices throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Before becoming managing partner, John gained experience in strategic planning, corporate finance and technology, spent seven years as a retail investment representative and, as a partner, was responsible for fixed-income product marketing. He began his career at Edward Jones as a college intern in 1959.
John’s current activities include: Canadian Honorary Consul in Missouri, emeritus trustee of Wabash College, chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Peter F. Drucker Center, trustee of the Claremont Graduate University, trustee of Washington University in St. Louis, Senior Council Board Member of United States Chamber of Commerce and director of AMR Corporation, American Airlines, Inc., The Monsanto Company and Missouri Baptist Medical Center.
John received an MBA in finance from Northwestern University, a bachelor's degree in economics from Wabash College and is the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws from Wabash College and an honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Senior Policy Advisor, Mayor Thomas Menino, City of BostonShow Bio
Since 2005, Barbara Berke has been serving as an advisor to Mayor Menino and his cabinet on the Mayor's cross-organizational agenda and initiatives. She has worked on a broad spectrum of issues ranging from eliminating achievement gaps and health disparities to creating jobs, workforce housing and new sources of revenue for the City. She has assisted the Mayor with goal setting, performance management and cabinet development and has worked closely with cabinet members and department heads to support them in leading transformative change. Initiatives she has worked on include Thrive in Five to support kindergarten school readiness, BOSTONavigator a citywide out-of-school time database, the New Bostonians Agenda for K-12 education, ESOL and access to jobs, and the Boston Opportunity Agenda, a historic partnership between the City, Boston Public Schools and the cities leading charities and foundations focused on student success.
Previously Ms. Berke served Governor Romney as a member of his cabinet. Appointed in 2003 as the Secretary of Economic Development, Barbara oversaw the Mass. Office of International Trade and Investment, the Mass. Office of Business Development, the Mass, Office of Travel and Tourism, the State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance, the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Office of Industry and Technology Competitiveness.
Prior to joining Governor Romney’s administration, Ms. Berke was a partner and Vice President of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global strategy consulting firm. As a founding member of BCG’s Operational Effectiveness Practice Group, Ms. Berke has specific expertise in achieving global competitiveness and in managing large-scale change.
Since leaving state government, Barbara has continued her work on economic development with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. She also serves on the Advisory Board of Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.
Barbara lives in Brookline, MA with her husband, two children of her own and a “Lost Boy” from south Sudan.
Mark F. Blaxill
Founding Partner, 3LP AdvisorsShow Bio
Mark F. Blaxill is a founding partner of 3LP Advisors, a firm which offers intellectual property strategy and transaction services to executives and investors. He has over 25 years of strategy consulting experience, with extensive knowledge in technology-related industries.
Prior to 3LP, Mark was a senior vice president at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he led the firm’s strategy practice investments, launched the IP strategy practice and recruited BCG's core IP strategy team.
Mark is a co-author of The Invisible Edge, a book which focuses on IP strategy, and has been named one of "The World's Leading IP Strategists" by Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) magazine.
He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and is a graduate of Princeton University.
Thomas H. Castro
President, El Dorado CapitalShow Bio
Thomas H. Castro is the founder and president of El Dorado Capital, a boutique investment firm that partners with a select number of growth companies. He is a part-time operating partner of the Pinto America Growth Fund, LP, a private equity firm that invests in and manages fast-growing companies serving Hispanic consumers.
Thomas has raised more than $350 million of capital for his U.S. and Latin American businesses and founded and managed four companies in the media and energy export sectors, including the largest privately held Hispanic radio company in the country. He co-founded a marketing firm hired by the Department of Justice under the Reagan administration to conduct a domestic advertising campaign in 42 languages that resulted in three million undocumented immigrants becoming legalized. This effort has been Thomas’ most rewarding professional achievement.
Thomas is active in civic and community affairs and has worked with locally and nationally elected officials including the U.S. Senate, National Democratic Party and presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John Kerry.
Along with ICIC, Thomas serves on the boards of Time Warner Cable, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Council of La Raza, Teach for America, the NDN Public Policy Center, the Discovery Green Park Conservancy and the Surdna Foundation.
Thomas was educated at Harvard College, the University of Madrid in Spain and CIDOC in Cuernavaca, Mexico. He has been recognized for his work in the broadcasting and marketing fields by Ad Week, Radio Ink and Newsweek.
Managing Partner, Next Street Financial LLCShow Bio
Tim Ferguson is the managing partner of Next Street Financial, where he focuses on business strategy and management, investment strategy and investor relations.
With an investment banking career spanning almost three decades, Tim’s duties have ranged from hands-on management to top-level strategic planning and decision-making. He has built relationships with a broad base of individuals and businesses and acquired an in-depth knowledge of inner city economics.
Most recently, Tim was senior managing director of Putnam Investments. Under his leadership, the company experienced rapid growth with assets amounting to over $400 billion and headcount increasing to almost 500 people. Prior to joining Putnam, Tim was CEO of HSBC Asset Management, where he supervised institutional and retail investment management, life insurance and private equity businesses. He also worked as CEO of County NatWest Securities, taking on responsibility for the bank’s worldwide equity securities business, having already successfully established a Tokyo office. Tim started his career in the graduate trainee program of Hambros, the English merchant bank.
Along with serving on the ICIC board, Tim is a trustee of the Institute of Contemporary Art, a director of the Boston Center for Community and Justice and a director of the Boston Children’s Chorus. He recently joined the founding board of the School of Social Science, Urban Affairs and Public Policy at Northeastern University.
Tim holds a BA in politics, economics and law from the University of Buckingham.
Founder and Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, Clark UniversityShow Bio
As founder and director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program at Clark University, George Gendron inspires and fosters the entrepreneurial spirit of students.
George served as editor-in-chief of Inc. magazine for two decades, growing the renowned publication into the premier magazine for small- to mid-sized growing companies. Among his greatest achievements was the creation of the Inc. 500, the first list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. The list has identified many of the world’s leading entrepreneurial organizations when they were virtually unknown, including Microsoft, Oracle, Patagonia, Timberland, Domino’s, Intuit and Charles Schwab.
In 1997, George formed a joint venture with Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School to publish the ICIC’s Inner City 100, a ranking of the fastest-growing companies in America’s inner cities. This list has gone on to play a major role in focusing public attention on the importance of entrepreneurship in creating jobs and wealth in America’s most economically distressed areas.
A well-known speaker and frequent commentator on entrepreneurship, George has been interviewed for 20/20, 48 Hours, CNBC, CNN, National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and other major media.
For the past 20 years, George has been extremely active in the philanthropic arena, serving on ICIC’s board, as well as those of City Year, Community Wealth Ventures, the Literary Venture Fund and many others.
George received a B.A. from Manhattan College.
CEO, Green & Associates, LLCShow Bio
Dennis Green is the CEO of Green & Associates, LLC, a premier retail supply chain logistics consulting company started in 2001. He specializes in working with retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, in both the United States and South America, to enhance and improve their supply chain logistics, as well as positioning them to support growth objectives in their organizations.
Mr. Green has spent over 40 years in the retailing industry. His background includes experience in logistics, operations, inventory planning, real estate, asset protection, and project management. He was an executive with Target/Dayton Hudson for 20 years, his last position with them was Senior Vice President of Logistics at Mervyn’s.
Mr. Green has been a guest speaker at the Council of Logistics Management, National Retail Federation and other trade conferences. He has had speaking engagements to consulting groups and at retail symposiums throughout the country. Mr. Green has also authored articles for several industry publications, including “Stores” and “Chain Store Executive”.
Mr. Green was the co-winner of the Smithsonian award for technology excellence in 1993.
Mr. Green’s involvement with ICIC began as a Board Member for Inner City Advisors in Oakland, California in 1996. His stated belief is the future of this country’s economic viability is based on the viability of its cities, particularly the inner cities, and small business/entrepreneurial success. He grew up in the inner city and knows firsthand of the untapped potential that resides in these venues. He supports ICIC as the thought leader and convener within our country to raise the visibility of these factors to public policy, corporations, and the nonprofit communities.
CEO, ICICShow Bio
As CEO of ICIC, Steve leads a dynamic and growing team of professionals dedicated to achieving economic prosperity in America's inner cities. Steve is focused on setting ICIC's strategic direction, leading the organization through a period of rapid growth and extending ICIC's national visibility and brand. He directs ICIC's efforts to secure new partners and drive private sector engagement and investment.
Prior to joining ICIC, Steve was elected Treasurer of Massachusetts in 2010 and served in that position from 2011 until 2015. One of his principal achievements in that office was the creation of the Small Business Banking Partnership, a pioneering initiative that was responsible for moving almost $400 million of state deposits into community banks that used these funds to make more than 10,000 loans with a value of over $1.6 billion, with a principal focus on businesses owned by women, minorities, immigrants and veterans.
Prior to taking office, Steve served for 35 years as President of Grossman Marketing Group, a fourth-generation marketing communications firm started by his grandfather. Steve has been an active leader in many civic, philanthropic and political organizations. These positions include former board chair of Brandeis University, former national chairman of the Democratic National Committee, former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), founding board member of MassInc and life trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts. He currently chairs the advisory board of Cambridge College.
Steve graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar. He is married to Dr. Barbara Wallace Grossman, a theater historian and director, who is a professor in the Department of Drama & Dance at Tufts University and serves as vice-chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Steve and Barbara have three sons, David, Ben and Josh, and five grandchildren.
President & CEOShow Bio
Baltimore Development Corporation
Brenda McKenzie is the president and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation, a nonprofit contracted with the City of Baltimore to provide economic development services. With a mission to retain and expand existing employers and attract new ones to Baltimore, Brenda works collaboratively within City government, and with private partners, to deliver services that will help business grow.
Brenda previously served as Director of Economic Development for the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the BRA’s Board of Directors beginning in July 2008. McKenzie brought to the role over 15 years in the community development arena, including development finance, community revitalization, asset management and public affairs with a focus on sustainable and inclusionary development.
In her role as Economic Development Director, McKenzie oversaw major projects including, a green industrial corridor retrofit, the redevelopment of South Boston’s waterfront, and growth of the medical and educational institutions.
McKenzie brings a multi-disciplinary approach to development with both private and public sector perspectives. As Deputy Commissioner for Neighborhood Development with the City of Chicago, McKenzie facilitated over $2 billion in private commercial, industrial, residential and mixed-use development while maintaining community focus. Her experience is rounded with a record of private sector accomplishment as an asset manager, a broker representing a national client base and in global affairs with Starbucks Coffee. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Business and a Masters of Public Administration from the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.
Managing Director, MMI LLCShow Bio
Georgia Murray is the managing director of MMI, LLC. A founding board member of First Commons Bank in Newton, MA, Georgia was also an active board member of Capital Crossing Bank, participating in the strategy which led to the bank’s sale to Lehman Brothers. Georgia has been president of the Multifamily Housing Institute, a trustee of the Urban Land Institute, director of the National Multifamily Housing Council and has spoken on national and local panels about affordable housing. Georgia was a senior advisor to the Harvard Graduate School of Design on the Public Housing Operating Cost Study and co-authored a case study on affordable housing finance which she co-teaches at the Tuck School and Harvard Business School. She was a member of the executive committee of the Commonwealth Housing Task Force.
Georgia currently serves as a member of The Victims Rights Law Center and is a founding member of CounterQuo, an organization that seeks to challenge the way our culture responds to sexual violence. She served as the first director of the ICIC’s Inner City Economic Forum (ICEF). She also serves on the boards of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, the Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. and Franklin Street Properties.
Carl W. Stern
Chairman of the Board, The Boston Consulting GroupShow Bio
Carl W. Stern is chairman of The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. (BCG), a global management consulting firm that advises clients on issues of direction and performance and widely recognized as the pioneer in the field of corporate strategy.
Before becoming chairman of the board, Carl served as president and CEO of BCG from 1998 through 2003. Prior to that, he headed BCG’s Americas region for six years and led the firm’s Chicago office for 10 years. He joined BCG in 1974 as a consultant in the San Francisco office.
Carl assists a number of global companies –consumer, industrial and financial – in developing competitive strategies and shaping their corporate portfolios. He spends a quarter of each year in Asia. Carl has published several articles in BCG’s widely read Perspectives series and is co-author of BCG on Strategy.
Along with serving on the boards of ICIC and the Friends of the World Food Program, Carl is a trustee or member of several organizations including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Rush University Medical Center, the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago and the Chicago Club.
Prior to joining BCG, Carl served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant. He earned an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and graduated from Harvard, cum laude, with a BA in economics.
Kirk A. Sykes
President and Managing Director, Urban Strategy America Fund LPShow Bio
Kirk A. Sykes is the president and managing director of the Urban Strategy America Fund, L.P., an urban investment, development and redevelopment fund for select institutional investors offering investors an opportunity to transform urban and economic development areas in their states, regions and cities while achieving an attractive return on their investment. He is responsible for the supervision of the partnership equity placement, identification of investments and day-to-day operations of the USA Fund.
Kirk’s training and experience in development, design and construction has enabled him to create customized responses to the complex issues of urban real estate development. His approach is grounded in the bottom-line driven perspective gained during his tenure on the advisory boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Fleet Bank, BankBoston’s First Community Bank and other for-profit and non-profit board affiliations.
Along with ICIC, Kirk currently serves on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, National Association of Securities Professionals, New England Chapter, Responsible Property Investing Steering Committee (RPI), Real Estate Executive Council, Progressive Business Leaders Network and Urban Land Institute’s New England Executive Committee & Responsible Property Investment Project.
Kirk attended the Harvard University Business School, Owners and Presidents Management Program, the MIT Center for Real Estate Development, Commercial Development Executive Program and the L’Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, France. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University.
Willie E. Woods
Managing Director and President, ICV PartnersShow Bio
Willie E. Woods is the president and managing director of ICV Partners, a leading private investment firm with over $440 million in capital which partners with management teams of companies in the lower end of the middle market. ICV boasts a special partnership with ICIC, an institutional co-sponsor which provides invaluable resources such as deal flow, institutional expertise, back-office support, best practices and industry connections.
Prior to co-founding ICV, Willie was a vice president in investment banking at Deutsche Bank Alex Brown where he was responsible for deal origination and execution of merger and acquisition, leverage loan, high yield bond and equity transactions with a focus on financial sponsors in the basic industries.
Willie has also worked in private equity at Levmark Capital, investment banking at Lehman Brothers Inc. and corporate banking at NBD Bank. Along with serving on the ICIC board, he also serves on the board of directors of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and the Apollo Theater Foundation.
Willie has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in accounting from Morehouse College.