City Focus: Boston
Welcome to Boston, a city brimming with history and culture, but powered by a nation-leading commitment to the medical, biotech and finance sectors.
Facts and Figures
The capital of Massachusetts, Boston is the largest city in the New England area of the United States, the 23rd biggest city in the country. Despite covering only 90 square miles, its 685,094 inhabitants make it one of the most densely populated areas in the United States, with a density of 13,841 people per square mile, according to World Population. The Greater Boston area is the fourth most densely populated region in the United States, only behind the New York Metro Area, Greater Los Angeles and the South Florida Metro Area. The population of Boston is affected heavily by the day-night cycle. Findings by World Population place 1.2mn people within the city limits during work hours and 2.0mn people in the city for special events. Due to its participation in several important historical events, Boston has a year-round tourism industry. One of the top 10 tourist attractions in the US, according to City Date, the city features almost 2,000 restaurants and 62 historical sites.
According to the Boston Planning & Development Agency Research Division, May 2018, Boston’s economy has been on an upward trajectory since 2013. Per capita income for residents of Boston stands at USD$40,000. In terms of unemployment, Boston’s rates are below the state and national averages. While the country’s unemployment rate currently stands at 3.7%, Boston’s has managed to stay below 3%. The city has seen its unemployment rate in steady decline since the 2009 high of 7.6%.
Starting in the late 20th century, Boston’s forays into the medicine, technology and higher education industries have turned it into a national leader. The largest industry in Boston is healthcare, which made up 18.3% of its job market in 2016, employing 144,957 people. According to the Boston Planning & Development Agency Research Division, its major industries are professional, scientific and technical services (with 12.5% or 98,933 employees), finance and insurance (11.5% or 91,323 employees), government (with 9.7% or 76,940 employees), accommodation and food services (7.9% or 62,609 employees), and educational services (7.5% or 59,414 employees).
Among the 10 largest employers in Boston, four are hospitals: Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With regards to higher education, Boston has been ranked the 12th best student city in the United States, according to Top Universities, with 54 institutions in the greater metro area and three research universities in Boston itself: UMass Boston, Boston University, and Northeastern University.
Over the past few decades, Boston’s employment scene has shifted from the traditional labor-intensive job to those in technology and service. These changes have been facilitated by structural management. The Office of Business Development in Boston offers support for small businesses in the city, from facilitating loan acquisition to referrals, allowing them to thrive. According to the Boston Chamber of Commerce, there are over 40,000 small businesses in the city, employing 170,000 people and generating $15 bn in annual revenue. With the induction of the Innovation District into the South Boston Waterfront, Boston has become a hub of financial and research institutions and tech incubators. According to the Boston Planning & Development Agency Research Division, May 2018, companies that have been attracted to Boston include: General Electric, Reebok and Amazon, as well as many new cybersecurity and biotech startups. Strong in the financial and insurance sphere, Boston sees a large number of its residents working at State Street Bank, Fidelity Investments, Liberty Mutual and John Hancock.
Biotech in Boston is an up-and-coming industry. The Boston Planning & Development Agency Research Division suggest that Boston is one of the best locations in the United States to seek out a career in the biotech field. This is facilitated by the high concentration within Boston of research industries and high-end hospitals.
The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), a trade group, recently reported that the quantity of people employed within local biotech and pharmaceutical companies has had its largest year-to-year increase in a decade. This 6.4% jump means the state of Massachusetts offers over 74,000 jobs in the industry, with an average salary of over $138,000. MassBio reports that 18 of the top 20 drug companies in the country and all 10 of the top medical device companies have a presence in Boston. The last decade has seen the city build over 11mn square feet of lab space, bringing the total designated lab space to 28mn square feet.
As a result, the city hosts a yearly Biotech Week, which is designed to accelerate and celebrate the biotech industry. Biotech Week Boston is created in collaboration with the City of Boston’s Mayor Office, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and MassBio. It takes place over three days, with over 300 exhibits and over 5,000 qualified attendees. Over 37 countries are represented in this event. 2020 will see the exhibition taking place between September 21 and September 24, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC).
For more information on business topics in the United States, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief USA.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.