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WTS-Boston congratulates Senator Karen E. Spilka on being selected for the 2016 Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award!


WTS-Boston congratulates Senator Karen E. Spilka on being selected for the 2016 Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award!

Senator Karen E. Spilka
Senator for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Senator Karen Spilka is a trailblazer for promoting and supporting the appointment of women in leadership roles on public and private boards. Combined with her longtime advocacy for transportation investment and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives, Senator Spilka is deserving of the 2016 Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award. She just doesn’t “talk the talk” ~ she walks the walk!”

As the Chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Senator Karen Spilka is a leader in her own right and she uses her position to advance the leadership opportunities for other women. Earlier this year, Senator Spilka’s legislation, S.1007, referred to as the “Women on Boards” Resolution, was unanimously passed by the Massachusetts Senate by a vote of 38 to 0. Senator Spilka worked her legislative magic and persuaded the House to act on the Resolution too. On October 21, 2015, it passed the House with a vote of 156 to 0. Because of her leadership, advocacy, and commitment to women and through her determination, Massachusetts companies are now encouraged to adopt policies and practices that put women on their Boards, with three women for Boards of nine or more members and two women on Boards of fewer than nine members. The resolution also calls for gender diversity in leadership and senior management and measurement for meeting annual goals. The goal for appointments is December 1, 2018. Senator Spilka is also a co-sponsor this session of the Equal Pay bill, which seeks to bridge the wage gap by ensuring equal pay for comparable work, establish pay transparency, and require fairness in hiring. Last session, Senator Spilka was the sponsor of legislation which was successfully signed into law that created the MetroWest Commission on the Status on Women. This is a nine member commission charged with examining all issues concerning women and girls in the area.

Throughout her legislative career, which began in the House of Representatives in 2001, and then moved over to the Senate in 2005 where she continues her career today, Senator Spilka has always been an advocate for investing in transportation. Whether roads, bridges, public transportation, or other investments, she has been a long-time supporter of transportation. In her current Ways and Means capacity she is directly involved in the challenging task of addressing the statewide transportation funding needs, including the finances of the MBTA. STEM advocacy is near and dear to Senator Spilka. She has served as a member of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and served on the Goddard Council for STEM Education. She is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about STEM and the need for a well-trained, educated, and competitive workforce.  

Learn about other 2016 award winners.



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