The Boston Public Library Board of Trustees oversees the Library’s operating and administrative policies, votes on and establishes Library policy, sets the institution’s strategic goals, and acts as an agent of public trust governing the Library. The Trustees work together with the Library president to carry out governance and policy-making responsibilities, as well as finance and development oversight and strategic planning. Trustees are appointed by the Mayor of Boston.
Priscilla H. Douglas, Chair of the Board
Priscilla brings over thirty years of experience from leadership roles in business, government and academics to her firm PHDouglas & Associates. An executive coach to fortune 500 companies she has guided thousands of leaders individually and in workshops to address the changing business landscape with energy, insight, and understanding. Many view her work as transformational.
In executive roles at General Motors, Xerox and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Priscilla led and introduced innovative practices and programs. Her experience in government spans decades and many roles. At the federal and national level, she was the special assistant to William H. Webster, director of the FBI, as a White House fellow, a senior advisor for Barbara Bush Adult Literacy Project, and a Presidential appointee to the National Institute of Justice. In Massachusetts, as Secretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations, she provided consumer protection to end predatory payday loans and usury check cashing fees. Appointed by Governor William Weld Priscilla was the first Black woman to hold a Cabinet position in the history of the Commonwealth. She created the Domestic Violence Commission and Hate Crimes Task Force as Assistant Secretary for Public Safety and the publication of the first hate crimes report.
Priscilla generously shares her time and talent: Co-chair of the 2015 International Women’s Forum (IWF) Conference that welcomed 828 leaders from thirty countries to Boston; currently, she chairs the [WF] Ideas Remaking the World Committee. Priscilla delivered keynote speeches at conferences worldwide, from the prestigious Aspen Institute and Club of Rome to forums in Singapore, Australia, South Africa, Japan, and beyond. Currently, her interests are reflected in board memberships of Leader Bank, Massachusetts Women’s Forum, American Repertory Theater, and the Boston Museum of Science. A former instructor in the masters program for Harvard University Radcliffe Seminars, Priscilla taught courses in management, leadership and organizational behavior.
The author of Getting There & Staying There and Woke Leadership: Profits, Prophets and Purpose to be released in 2021. An avid skier, scuba-diver, cyclist, and theatergoer, she fully embraces a life of action. Honors include a Distinguished Service Award from the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, and the Abigail Adams Award. Priscilla holds Bachelor of Science and Masters of Education degrees from Northeastern University and a Doctorate of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where her thesis “Black Working Women” was accepted with distinction.
Evelyn Arana-Ortiz is a Healthcare IT Executive with twenty-plus years of domestic and international healthcare information technology experience, who has demonstrated the ability to improve business operations by increasing customer satisfaction and exceeding financial targets. She is an exceptional leader earning numerous company awards for outstanding performance managing highly complex situations for health care enterprises.
Mrs. Arana-Ortiz is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, currently working at athenahealth. She is very committed to serving the community and has served at 826Boston, currently chairs the BPL Trustees Finance and Audit Committee and the Fellowes Athenaeum Trust Fund Advisory Committee and is presently the Treasurer at the Boston Arts Academy Foundation.
Navjeet K. Bal is Managing Director and General Counsel at Social Finance, Inc., a Boston based national nonprofit organization founded in 2011, and dedicated to “mobilizing capital to advance social progress.” Social Finance partners with governments, nonprofits, foundations, impact investors, and financial institutions to create innovative financing solutions to improve social outcomes.
In addition, Navjeet has over 25 years of experience at private law firms as a public finance attorney and as an appointed public official, having served as the Commissioner of Revenue for Governor Deval Patrick from 2007-2011. As Commissioner, she was responsible for overseeing a 2,000 person agency with three lines of business: Tax Administration, Child Support Enforcement and the Division of Local Services overseeing city and town finances.
Throughout her career, she has been a leader in creating innovating financing solutions for social and environmental issues. As bond counsel to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Navjeet created the legal structure for the first issuance of Green Bonds in the municipal finance market, now a multi-billion dollar segment of that market. She is also a pioneer in creating Social Impact Bond financings.
Navjeet has held many leadership positions in legal, community and professional organizations. She is currently on the Board of the Gaudino Fund at Williams College, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, New Hope Community Capital, South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston, Advisory Board member and the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. She has also served on the Boston Bar Association Council, the Supreme Judicial Court’s Access to Justice Commission, and was the past Treasurer of the Boston Public Market.
Navjeet has also received several awards including the Grunin Prize in 2019 recognizing legal innovation in social entrepreneurship; the Circle of Excellence from Massachusetts Lawyers’ Weekly recognizing women leaders in the legal profession, the North American South Asian Bar Association Cornerstone Award, and the Williams College Bicentennial Medal in 2011.
Navjeet graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in Philosophy, and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.
Joseph S. Berman is the general counsel of the Board of Bar Overseers of the Supreme Judicial Court, having been appointed by the justices of Court in 2017. As general counsel, Mr. Berman oversees the enforcement of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct, the code of ethics for Massachusetts lawyers. He writes and speaks frequently on legal ethics. Prior to holding this position, Mr. Berman practiced commercial litigation for more than twenty-five years and worked exclusively as a mediator and arbitrator for two years. In connection with his position at the BBO, Mr. Berman serves on the board of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, an agency funded by the legal profession to assist lawyers in need of mental health services. He is the President of the National Council of Lawyer Disciplinary Boards and serves on the editorial board of the Massachusetts Law Review.
In addition to his legal work, Joe is involved in several philanthropic endeavors. Long active in the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), he currently serves as the Chair of the ADL’s New England Regional Board. The ADL’s mission is to, “Stop the defamation of the Jewish people and secure just and fair treatment to all.” He also serves on a national level as chair of the ADL’s Legal Affairs Committee. In that position, he oversees the League’s litigation activity, including the filing of amicus curiae briefs in state and federal appeals courts. Joe recently completed two terms on the board of the Associates of the Boston Public Library, which works to preserve the library’s extensive collection of rare books, prints, and manuscripts. He is the Chair of the Conservation Commission in his hometown of Weston, Massachusetts.
Joe has received numerous awards for his legal and civic work. In 2007, he was one of several recipients of the Boston Bar Association’s President’s Award for his work on behalf of a client detained by the United States military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The ADL has bestowed on him its Young Leadership Award and the David A. Rose Civil Rights Award.
Joe graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1986 and cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School in 1990. Immediately after law school, he clerked for the Honorable Richard Matsch of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.
Jim Canales is president and a trustee of the Barr Foundation, which focuses on elevating the arts, advancing solutions for climate change, and helping all young people thrive in high school and beyond. In 2023, Barr’s grantmaking is projected to be $150 million.
Prior to Barr, Jim spent over two decades at The James Irvine Foundation, including service as president and CEO from 2003 through 2014. Before working in philanthropy, Jim was a high school English teacher, after earning a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in education from Stanford University.
Jim currently serves as vice chair of the Kaiser Family Foundation and a trustee of both the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Eastern Bank Foundation. Jim’s prior board involvement includes a ten-year term as a Stanford University trustee. He has also served as chair of the boards of the College Futures Foundation, KQED Public Broadcasting, the Stanford Alumni Association, and Larkin Street Youth Services, and as vice chair of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
With over thirty years of legal and political experience, Cronin has earned an impressive record of managing major issues and challenges to successful conclusions. Cronin’s professional work has involved legal matters and high-profile, complex public matters involving a variety of city, state, and federal agencies and the private sector.
A graduate of Boston College Law School and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, summa cum laude, Cronin began her professional career as the first General Counsel of the Office of Campaign & Political Finance, where she was responsible for bringing to fair conclusion many public and sometimes controversial matters. She served as Legislative Counsel to the Attorney General of the Commonwealth and was responsible for the drafting of comprehensive legislation and playing a key role in advancing legislation through the legislature and the Governor’s office. In private practice for many years since her public service, Cronin has represented individuals, nonprofit organizations, and small and large companies in matters before public agencies at all levels of government. She has also represented public agencies on legal and political matters in a range of substantive areas.
Cronin has also been an active participant in public, professional, and community organizations, with a particular interest in those with goals of bringing others to Boston and the Commonwealth and in preserving and improving the vitality of the city. She has served on the Board of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and the Strategic Development Study Committee, which authored “A Civic Vision for Turnpike Air Rights in Boston.” She served as Chair of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the development of “Boylston Square,” Boston. She was the General Counsel and a Board Member for the Host Committee for the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. She served as a Member of the Board of the Greenway Conservancy. She was a member of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation Board, a member of the Board of the Alliance for Business Leadership, and a member of the Board of the National Center for Time & Learning/Mass 2020. She has served as a finance chair for numerous state and federal political campaigns. In addition to other volunteer activities, she currently serves on the Board of Sail Boston, which worked with Mayor Walsh to bring the Tall Ships to Boston in 2017.
Cronin has been the recipient of awards and recognitions. She was named a Massachusetts Lawyer of the Year for her work related to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. She received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award from the Massachusetts Democratic Party and the Abigail Adams Award from the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus. She has been on Boston Magazine’s lists of "50 Most Powerful Women in Boston." She resides in Boston with her husband and sons.
Mr. Hailer is the President & Co-Chief Executive Officer of 1251 Asset Management of the 1251 Capital Group, a financial services holding company with deep industry operating experience. As former President & Chief Executive Officer—The Americas and Asia of Natixis Global Asset Management, Mr. Hailer was responsible for distribution strategies worldwide and oversaw the business activities of the firm’s asset management affiliates in the United States and Asia.
Mr. Hailer joined the firm in 1999 and was named Chief Executive Officer of what was then IXIS Asset Management Advisors Group that same year and Chief Executive Officer of Natixis Global Associates in 2006.
In these roles, Mr. Hailer developed a strategic global strategy that has repositioned the firm as a solutions provider. His mission was to ensure that the company’s asset management business is responsive to the needs of institutions, intermediaries, and individuals by providing relevant solutions globally.
Before joining the company, Mr. Hailer was with Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company (FIIS), where he was responsible for new business development in North America and Latin America, directing product and marketing development for institutional channels.
Before joining Fidelity, he was director of retail business development for Putnam Investments, spearheading the development of pricing models, product offerings, and marketing strategies for multiple distribution channels as well as development of international products.
Mr. Hailer received his BA from Beloit College and is a former member of the college's Board of Trustees. He is Chairman of the Board for the New England Council and the Back Bay Association and served more than twenty years on the Board of Directors of The Home for Little Wanderers, the oldest continuous children’s charity in the United States. Additionally, Mr. Hailer serves as a trustee on several other boards, including Boston Medical Center and the Newport Festival Foundation as well the Boston Bruins Foundation Board.
Jeff Hawkins is the Deputy Managing Partner of Bain Capital Credit and Special Situations, the $57 Billion credit arm of Bain Capital, one of the world’s leading multi-asset alternative investment firms. Founded in 1998, Bain Capital Credit has organically grown into a global organization of more than 400 employees operating from a network of fourteen offices around the world. Jeff is involved in a number of philanthropic activities and currently serves as the Chair of the Boston Public Library Fund and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Trinity College and Buckingham Browne & Nichols. Jeff received a B.A. in Soviet Studies from Trinity College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Dr. Ray Liu is the Vice President of Mass General Brigham Global Advisory, serving as the leader of the system wide international advisory services team, with direct responsibility for strategy, operations, and financial performance of Global Advisory. Global Advisory collaborates with governments, international institutions, healthcare systems, and investors to drive transformative, sustainable change that delivers best in class local and community health care. Global Advisory leads enterprise-wide international advisory efforts, focusing on strategy, system coordination, business development, and project delivery on behalf of Mass General Brigham healthcare system and its member hospitals.
Dr. Liu brings over a decade of experience and leadership in clinical and hospital operations through his previous roles at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Liu previously served as the Associate Chair for Business Strategy and Analytics for the Department of Radiology, the Director of the Radiology Consulting Group, and the Service Chief for Operational Redesign. His portfolio includes extensive work in operational efficiency, data analytics, and new business development, building upon his experience as a healthcare consultant for McKinsey & Co. Nationally, Dr. Liu serves on the Board of Directors for the Society of Interventional Radiology, where he is a Fellow, Treasurer, and former Chair of the Health Policy & Economics Division.
Dr. Liu graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School and went on to complete dual residencies in pediatrics and diagnostic radiology at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University. Dr. Liu returned to Boston to complete his fellowship in interventional radiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, including training at Children's Hospital of Boston.
Dr. Liu has focuses his clinical interests in the fields of interventional oncology and pediatric interventions with a special interest in Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia and the treatment of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations. His research interests are focused on economics of interventional radiology, operational efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Dr. Liu lives in Brookline, MA with his wife and three children.
José Masso is the host and producer of “¡Con Salsa!” a weekly bilingual program that airs on WBUR 90.9FM, National Public Radio in Boston.
José was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2010. He has the distinction of being the first Puerto Rican/Latino to join such a renowned group of radio and television broadcasters throughout the Commonwealth and received the prestigious gold medal for service to National Public Radio in 2015.
For nearly half a century “¡Con Salsa!” has served as a musical and cultural bridge for a diverse audience and José was recognized by the Jazz Journalists Association as one of the 2021 Jazz Heroes, as an advocate who has had significant impact in their local communities.
He began as a bilingual teacher in the Boston Public Schools at Copley Square High School (now the Muriel Sutherland Snowden International School) and later working for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under Governor Michael Dukakis. Followed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration and ending at Massport. In 2021 José retired from Massport as the Director of Policy.
José serves as principal of JCMIII Consulting LLC. His nearly five decades of experience are now providing professional consulting to corporate, public, academic, and non-profit organizations in the areas of Policy, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Community Relations, and Government Affairs.
He is a respected leader in these areas and has used his unique skills and expertise in strategically building the skills and knowledge of his clients that result in transformational change.
Then, Mayor- elect Michelle Wu appointed José to her Transition Team as an advisor after the 2021 mayoral elections for his leadership and community service. In 2022 Boston Magazine named José one of the 100 Most Influential Bostonians.
A native of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, he is fluent in Spanish and skilled in cross-cultural communications. José and his wife Divina reside in their home in Hyde Park with Jett, their Yorkshire Terrier.
Porsha Olayiwola is a native of Chicago, IL who writes, lives, and organizes in Boston, MA. Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator, and curator who uses Afrofuturism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diasporas. She is an individual World Poetry Slam Champion and the founder of the Roxbury Poetry Festival. Olayiwola is the 2021 Artist-In-Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum as well as a 2020 Poet Laureate Fellow with the Academy of American Poets. Olayiwola is currently teaching in her role as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-In-Residence at Brandeis University. She is the author of i shimmer sometimes, too. Olayiwola is the current poet laureate for the City of Boston. Her work can be found in or forthcoming from TriQuarterly Magazine, Black Warrior Review, The Boston Globe, Essence Magazine, Redivider, Split This Rock, The Academy of American Poets, Netflix, Wildness Press, The Museum of Fine Arts, and elsewhere.
Olayiwola is the co-founder of the literary gathering space Words as Worlds and just Book-ish, opening in 2024 in Fields Corner.
Mike Rush is the Majority Whip of the Massachusetts State Senate. He proudly serves the people of the Norfolk & Suffolk District, which includes five neighborhoods in the city of Boston and the towns of Dedham, Dover, Needham, Norwood and Westwood in Norfolk County. Prior to being elected to the Senate, Mike served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he was Chair of the Boston Delegation.
Mike is a former high school history teacher, an Iraq War Veteran and a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy Reserves. He holds a JD from Southern New England School of Law and holds both a MA Degree with distinction and a BA Degree from Providence College. He is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the International Honor Society for Historians, an Adjunct Instructor of History and an Eagle Scout.
He has received recognition for his legislative advocacy for our state’s Veterans, their families and our Gold Star Families as an award recipient from; the Massachusetts Marine Corps League, the Massachusetts Veterans Service Officers Association, DAV Massachusetts awards. He has been named a recipient of many other awards for his advocacy on issues of importance to the people of the Norfolk and Suffolk district.
Currently, Mike sits on the national Board of Trustees for the US Navy Seabee Historical Foundation. He and his wife live in West Roxbury with their three children who attend Boston Public Schools.
Chynah Tyler was born and raised in Roxbury, MA which established a special place in her heart for the district. She credits programs offered to her as a youth with an authentic sense of pride as a Roxbury native. This pride, coupled with much prayer encourages her to represent the residents of Boston.
She attended Boston Public and Charter schools. In addition to being a dedicated athlete, she excelled academically and was accepted into the Crimson Summer Academy at Harvard University. Upon completion of high school and simultaneously graduating from the Crimson Summer Academy, she continued her education earning her Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Law, Policy, and Society from Northeastern University.
She began her career as a Case Manager for Federal Inmates assisting those nearing release with securing employment, housing, and most importantly, community support. Tyler realized there are a host of barriers that contribute to recidivism. Because of that, grew to understand the importance of the role state government plays in delivering valuable resources to the most vulnerable populations.
Her career focus shifted as a Legislative Aide in the Massachusetts State Senate, working to secure funding for programs like Residential Assistance for Families in Transition Program (RAFT), community college reform, environmentally-friendly organizations, as well as volunteering at the Probation Department of the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court.
In 2016, at just 26 year old, Tyler ran a successful campaign to succeed long-time incumbent for the Massachusetts House of Representatives, representing the 7th Suffolk District. She is currently serving her second term as a Massachusetts State Representative, and is the Vice-Chair of the Public Health Committee and Chair of the Boston Delegation.
Christian J. Westra is a partner at Ropes & Gray LLP. He represents private equity firms and institutional investors in mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts and other investments. Christian regularly advises private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies on add-on acquisitions, dispositions and general corporate governance matters.
Prior to joining Ropes & Gray, Christian worked as a management consultant with the Monitor Group and served as a Rosenthal Fellow in the Office for European and NATO Policy at the Pentagon.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Christian led the foundation of the COVID Relief Coalition, a private and public sector partnership to help non-profits and small businesses navigate the economic downturn prompted by COVID-19. In recognition of his leadership, Christian was awarded the Adams Pro Bono Publico Award by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. In addition to other recognitions, the COVID Relief Coalition received the Boston Bar Association’s Beacon Award for Empowerment, which recognizes an outstanding commitment to the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Christian serves on the boards of directors of the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. In addition, he leads the Ropes & Gray Pan-Mass Challenge team.
Christian lives in Boston with his wife, Sophie, and his three sons, Jack, George, and James. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Boston College Law School and also holds degrees from the University of Cambridge and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten, a seasoned academic and an expert on organizational development and transformation, is the ninth president of Simmons University and the first African American to lead the institution.
Specializing in crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, and positive leadership, Dr. Wooten is an innovative leader and prolific author and presenter. She is the co-author of the Wall Street Journal best-selling book Arrive and Thrive: 7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership, which was released in April 2022. In addition, she has authored two additional books, nearly 30 journal articles, and more than 15 book chapters.
Dr. Wooten came to Simmons from Cornell University, where she was the David J. Nolan Dean and Professor of Management and Organizations at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Prior to that, she served on the faculty of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business for nearly 20 years.
A resident of Brookline, Dr. Wooten is actively involved in the Boston philanthropic and civic community. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the International Women’s Forum of Massachusetts, the Fenway Alliance, and MASCO. In addition, Dr. Wooten serves on the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Trustee Advisory Board, the JFK Library Foundation Board of Advisors, and the WBGH Board of Trustees. Dr. Wooten is also an active member of several national volunteer leadership organizations and university boards of trustees.
Dr. Wooten holds a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University, where she was valedictorian; an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business; and a doctorate from the University of Michigan. In addition, she received a Certificate in Advanced Educational Leadership from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Dr. Wooten is married to David Wooten, a chaired marketing professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. They have two children, Justin and Jada.