Nancy Nager, MSN RN is many things: psychiatric nurse, President and CEO of Specialized Healthcare Services, and, as of last year, President of The Boston Club. Established in 1976 and located in Marblehead, MA, The Boston Club is a nonprofit that aims to help promote women to leadership roles. The organization primarily serves New England-based professionals. However, it also maintains a national presence through its virtual programming.
The Boston Club’s membership consists of almost 700 women. These women work in various industries, including business, finance, marketing, science and nonprofit management. Members have access to webinars, organizational events, affinity groups, networking opportunities and peer mentors. In addition to providing programming, the organization releases a yearly Census that charts the levels of diversity on boards and executive suites.
“We really consider ourselves a force for change,” Nager said. “We’ve been very successful in changing the look of the boardroom. Our mission is to advance women into senior positions where we have a voice. Women need to have a voice in policies that impact women.”
Uplifting women’s voices
One of those issues is access to childcare. The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its ramifications for working moms in particular, have been well-documented over the past year. “The access, the cost, and the availability [of childcare] have set women back ten years in their career,” Nager said. “[The pandemic has] highlighted the fact that without this childcare issue being addressed, women are really at a disadvantage.”
Since Nager herself has served on many corporate, nonprofit, and private advisory boards, she knows the importance of bringing more women’s voices into those environments. “In my board experience…the more women that are present, the richer the discussions,” she said.
Power in diversity
Nager believes that The Boston Club provides a community for like-minded women from different industries to come together and create change. “What differentiates us, I think, is that we’re there for the women who are our members, throughout their personal and professional journeys,” Nager said. “No matter where they are on that particular journey.”
While The Boston Club has made considerable strides in promoting women leaders, multiracial representation is still a major goal. The Club has partnered with organizations such as the Association of Latino Professionals For America, the National Association of Asian American Professionals and The Links, to create a diversity consortium. The consortium’s intends to address the need for women of color to have better access to leadership roles.
Looking forward, The Boston Club also intends to increase its influence in shaping policy. Issues such as childcare and wage equality are particularly important. Promoting women to legislative boards is a step in the direction toward that goal.
“I think when women get together, we have a lot of influence,” Nager said. “So get involved, do something that…helps your community of women.”
In this video, Nancy Nager discusses her own board experience, what it takes to be a board member, and what it was like assuming this high-profile position during such a chaotic year.