Boston UpFront brings together local leaders

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and 450 of Boston’s top young professionals, business leaders and students came together Wednesday evening for the premiere of Boston UpFront, a compilation of three films about Boston’s recent and upcoming development.

“The fact is, we have the work force, and we have the ability to deliver things and in some cases, cheaper than other cities around the country,” Walsh said in the film. “We have a very educated work force, and we also have a work force that when we have people coming into these industries, we have the ability and the facilities to train them.”

Joining Walsh were Chief of Economic Development John Barros, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority General Manager Beverly Scott, and Walsh’s Chief of Staff Daniel Koh. All took part in the making of the films. The event was spearheaded by BostInno and Streetwise Media and sponsored by data engineering venture Visible Measures and Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business, among other organizations.

“Economic development in Boston is about more than real estate development,” Barros said in the film. “It’s about creating the kind of city that attracts young entrepreneurs, that attracts those that want to innovate, those who are looking to solve society’s problems, and it’s about creating the kind of city that supports that.”

The Leaders of the New Economy, the first of three films, featured interviews from the leaders and top influencers of Boston’s New Economy, which will encompass all changes and innovation coming to Boston. Brian Shin, CEO of Visible Measures said the best path to success is learning from mistakes in an effort to improve.

“When I got started as an entrepreneur, I was one of the few young people,” he said. “There is so much to bring us here. The thing that we have to do better is we have to celebrate it. You can be a failure and still be a success.”

The second and third films, Educating for the New Economy and Infrastructure of the New Economy, dealt with the future of higher and alternative education as a part of the New Economy, as well as the challenges in opportunities and infrastructure in Boston, including neighborhood development, policy and transportation.

“There are so many young people with so many interesting ideas, and we lose so many of them every year,” Koh said. “We export talent, and that’s okay, but if we’re losing them because they don’t feel that they have a welcoming place to start their businesses, that’s on us. It’s really important for us to provide that space and that mentorship to expand on these organizations.”

Liz Gottbrecht, marketing director for BostInno, said these films provide an in-depth look at the changes and opportunities to come as a part of Boston’s New Economy.

“With the new mayor and the amount of innovation coming into the city, along with the development and focus of keeping talent here, it’s a look at what we can do to develop the city even more,” she said.

Several attendees said they are glad to be kept aware of the innovation and change being made in the City of Boston.

Mallory Russell, 29, of Boston, content editor for Visible Measures, said she supports the films because she believes in the start-up culture of Boston.

“I am proud to be proud of that start-up culture,” she said. “Personally, I am from the West Coast, I’m from San Francisco, and that area has got a huge start-up culture. I see the same kind of energy here in Boston.”

Tucker Marion, 40, of Holliston, is a professor of technological entrepreneurship and innovation at Northeastern University, and he said he believes in the ecosystem of innovation in Boston.

“I hope this shows people how unique Boston is, both in the United States and globally,” he said. “This shows that Mayor Walsh is continuing the tradition of being an active mayor who really wants to make the city better. It seems like he’s trying to increase the benefits for all the citizens and companies and universities in the area.”

Catherine Bassett, 43, of Roslindale, senior production manager of Rue La La, said she supports start-ups and sees them as being one of the most important aspects of the city’s innovation.

“Although Rue La La itself is not a start-up, I’ve been working in tech and startups for over twenty years,” she said. “The inn sector of this city is so important to me. It’s the center of what makes this city so great, and it’s what our future is all about. If you open up things like innovation to every sector, hopefully that rising tide will lift all boats.”


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