Boston Finance Professionals Join Together to Make a Difference

June 14, 2019

By By Ward Mooney and Kevin Murtagh

In the spring of 2016, a few Boston corporate finance professionals attending a conference in New York City decided to meet for dinner to spend some quality time catching up.  A wide variety of industry topics were discussed, and towards the end of the evening, the importance of the Boston corporate finance professionals giving back to their community became a lively topic of discussion. Soon after, the Boston Corporate Finance Community (BCFC) was founded by Cheryl Carner, Crystal Financial; Ken Frieze, Gordon Brothers; Keith Vercauteren, Wells Fargo and the authors, Ward Mooney, Crystal; and Kevin Murtagh, Riemer & Braunstein LLP.  Many examples of various corporate finance industry events that honored industry leaders and provided support to not-for-profit enterprises were identified and celebrated. 

Although the Boston corporate finance community has established a strong reputation for its collaboration and leadership in all aspects of the corporate debt capital markets, we realized that we had not united together to organize an important event to support the needs within our community. That evening we decided that we would bring the BCFC together to establish a new networking event in partnership with a local game-changing not-for profit enterprise. Of course, time passes quickly, and months later we were still discussing the possibilities, but we had not developed a call to action.  Finally, in February 2018, we established a steering committee of corporate finance professionals whose objective was to establish an annual and unique celebration that would not only be a premier networking event, but, more importantly, would provide the BCFC with an opportunity to create a long-term partnership with an outstanding Boston not-for-profit.

We chose an untraditional, exciting venue, City Winery Boston.  We interviewed and visited many outstanding non-profit enterprises, and ultimately selected More Than Words (MTW).  MTW has achieved immense success in rescuing and empowering the most vulnerable and disadvantaged youth by teaching them life-changing skills that provide a path to self-sufficiency and economic empowerment.  These results are achieved through the innovative use of an entrepreneurial environment as a laboratory and classroom.  Each year at-risk youth take charge of their lives by making a three-year commitment to join a flourishing, successful retail/wholesale used-book enterprise. Finally, we selected our first honoree, Bob Duffy, managing director, Berkley Research Group, LLC. Bob is an impactful leader and consummate professional in the BCFC.  He embodies the importance of teamwork and collaboration, as well as working with vulnerable youth to change their worlds.

We, as full-time corporate finance professionals and not full-time event planners,]quickly learned that we were facing numerous challenges to successfully convert our vision into a reality: establishing our credibility, venue planning, marketing, administrative systems, invitations, and fund raising—all on a volunteer basis!  Fortunately, through the dedicated efforts of the steering committee and various organizations who donated their services, it all came together on the evening of October 25, 2018, when 325 members of the BCFC “Gathered to Give Back” and to show their support for MTW by delivering a check to them for $350,000, and to share our enthusiasm for our industry, and our commitment to give back annually to our community.

Inspired by the success of our inaugural event, we are now planning this year’s event, which is scheduled for October 10, 2019 at the InterContinental Boston where we will continue to show our support for MTW and will be honoring Bill Mayer, executive vice president of Wells Fargo Bank.  

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About the Author

Ward Mooney is chairman of Crystal Financial LLC. Kevin Murtagh is a senior partner with Riemer & Braunstein LLP.