On Tuesday, March 27th, over 50 corporate leaders, education advocates, and academic mentors joined us at Two Financial Center for a Leadership Breakfast hosted by our partners at KPMG.

In addition to serving as a preamble to our upcoming Big Cheese Reads Gala on May 3rd, the Leadership Breakfast aimed to open a dialogue around the influx of influential companies moving into Boston, and its inherent connection to the city’s youth and education.

Darren Donovan, Managing Principal (Boston Major Market) at KPMG served as keynote speaker for the event, providing insight behind Boston’s growth as a technology hub.

“Boston is a world-class city,” said Donovan. “It attracts a lot of talent and money. But we need to get young people into organizations here in Boston. These talented young people are why companies are coming here.”

Remarks from Board Chair Mike McKenna and Executive Director Erin McGrath helped shape the morning’s theme: Boston is going through a moment of growth and prosperity and it’s up to the city’s leaders and community members to foster a workforce pipeline to sustain the success of the city.

“We want to see the students we talk to in the Big Cheese Reads program in the professional world with us, right here in Boston,” said McKenna. “It’s our responsibility to show students that these opportunities exist.”

Guests were also joined by students Sophia, Teyah, and Steve from the Jeremiah E. Burke High School Science Club, along with their teacher, Dr. Carl Reid, for a panel discussion about their second-place finish at this year’s Citywide Science Fair. The Science Club, which Dr. Reid founded, relies on mentor support to help students research and create their own projects.

“Every Monday we met after school with our mentor,” said Sophia, a Burke High School student. “We looked at things that were interesting to us; we did research and read articles; we took notes and decided how we wanted to construct a project. Our mentor was very helpful and insightful. She helped us make a great project better.”

Students like Sophia, Teyah, and Steve are shining examples of the talented local youth that we must help direct to the STEM jobs so in-demand in our city. The conversation during this year’s Leadership Breakfast represents progress. We will continue to move this conversation forward as we highlight the importance of literacy in STEM education at the Big Cheese Reads Gala in May.

Thank you to KPMG, to our Big Cheese Readers and academic mentors, and to all who attended to the Leadership Breakfast. We hope to see you at the Gala.