Jay Ash — President & CEO, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership
Jay Ash is the President and CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, a nonpartisan,
non-profit organization comprised of 17 of the largest business in Massachusetts. His
work there to focus on policies and initiatives that make the Massachusetts economy stronger
and more competitive comes after serving as the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Housing and
Economic Development in Governor Charlie Baker’s first cabinet.
As secretary, Ash was responsible for directing and executing Governor Baker’s agenda on
housing and community development, job creation, business development, consumer affairs,
and business regulation. During his four-year tenure, Ash headed-up efforts to retain and
attract businesses, promote the revitalization of communities, and support the prosperity of the
state’s residents. In addition to championing four major economic development bills into law,
Ash was the Governor’s lead on the attraction of GE to Boston and the PawSox to Worcester;
the implementation of more than 100 community revitalization initiatives, including the
groundbreaking of the Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield and the Paramount Theater
renovations in Springfield, and the development of strategies that led to greater state support for
workforce development and a 96% decrease in the use of hotels & motels to shelter homeless
He previously served for 14 years as the city manager in his native Chelsea, where he grew the
city’s housing stock by over 10 percent, expanded its commercial base with two dozen major
projects, led all Gateway Cities with a 15 percent increase in new employment, developed 10
new parks, secured five credit rating increases, and won two All-America City designations.
Jay previously served as co-founder and vice-chair of the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, as
past president of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, as a board member of the public
policy think tank MassINC, the staff director to the Massachusetts House Majority Leader, and
as an elected trustee of his alma mater, Clark University.
Matt Camp — President and COO, ICIC
As the President and COO of ICIC, Matt manages ICIC’s strategic direction and operations and is focused on increasing the organization’s impact on inner city economic development across the U.S. He contributes to new partnerships to help ICIC’s key stakeholders leverage the underutilized assets of America’s urban communities to drive private sector engagement and investment. Along with ICIC’s CEO, Matt leads ICIC´s talented staff who are focused on research analysis and insights, strategic advisory support and unique urban business initiatives.
Matt has served in a variety of roles at ICIC. As Senior Vice President of Urban Business Initiatives, Matt’s primary responsibility was to lead ICIC’s partnership with Goldman Sachs to build and expand the 10,000 Small Businesses Program to scale. In addition, Matt provided strategic support to ICIC’s corporate partnerships. As the Director of Development at ICIC, Matt established and executed a national strategy to engage public, private and nonprofit entities in significantly enhancing business growth in America’s inner cities. Matt was responsible for managing and implementing all activities relating to fundraising, business development and client/donor management. Matt also conducted extensive analysis on retail and construction, housing and real estate clusters as part of ICIC’s Research team.
Prior to joining ICIC, Matt worked as an independent consultant to for-profit and nonprofit organizations focused on educational and economic development issues. Matt also has over ten years of experience in the financial services industry as a Senior Financial Analyst at Liberty Mutual and OneBeacon Insurance and as a General Manager at American International Group. Matt holds an A.B. in Government at Harvard and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Matt sits on the boards of Good Sports and Madison Park Development Corporation.
Lauren Hult — Principal, Bridgespan
Lauren Hult is a principal at The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit organization that collaborates with mission-driven leaders, organizations, and philanthropists to break cycles of poverty and dramatically improve the quality of life for those in need. Lauren joined Bridgespan's New York Office in 2009.
Much of Lauren's work focuses on place-based strategies and economic opportunity. Lauren's knowledge of place-based initiatives is informed by case experience with funders and nonprofits on developing and supporting place-based strategy; this work has included consideration of the role of Opportunity Zones in philanthropic strategy and nonprofit funding models. Her recent work focused on economic opportunity includes developing strategy in youth employment and economic mobility. Lauren has conducted research on implementation models for large philanthropic investment and is the co-author of "When Building a Field Requires Building a New Organization," Stanford Social Innovation Review, May 2017. Since joining the firm, Lauren has advised clients in sectors including workforce and employment, human services, and youth development, on topics including growth strategy, performance management, organizational design, and foundation strategy.
Prior to joining Bridgespan, Lauren was a manager at Mercer Oliver Wyman. She specialized in retail and business banking and advised clients on strategic and operational issues. She also has worked at a charter school network, as well as a nonprofit supporting entrepreneurs. Lauren holds an MBA from Stanford University, where she was an Arjay Miller Scholar, and a BA from Harvard University in physics.
Steven M Kennedy — Partner, PWC
Steven is a partner with PwC’s Tax practice and a member of the national opportunity zone team. He works with clients all over the country on opportunity zone projects and engagements.
He has worked with hundreds of real estate funds, private equity funds, their stakeholders and other companies on understanding opportunity zones and forming opportunity funds. Examples of his work include educating clients on the mechanics of the program, structuring, forming and operating opportunity funds and diligencing potential opportunity zone projects.
Steve was recently named a top 25 opportunity zone influencer in Opportunity Zone Magazine.
He has a deep understanding of the opportunity zone program and is a recognized national leader in the opportunity zone space and frequently speaks on this topic at industry events and programs.
Co-author of BNA Portfolio 597-2nd T.M., Tax Incentives for Economically Distressed Areas.
Steven is also part of the PwC real estate deals network and has significant experience in real estate transactions and due diligence.
Elise Liberto — Private Equity Analyst, Brown Advisory
Elise is a private equity analyst at Brown Advisory, a global investment firm with over $70 billion of assets under management and offices in several locations including Austin, Baltimore, Boston, London, New York City and Washington, DC. Elise is responsible for sourcing and performing due diligence on fund managers operating within the private equity, venture capital, private credit and real estate sectors. Elise also is a core member of Brown Advisory’s Sustainable Development Team, a group committed to helping the firm reach sustainable investment goals across all asset classes. In particular, Elise leads Brown Advisory’s impact and sustainable investing efforts within the private markets, including the development of a new platform focused on place-based investments called Blueprint Local.
Marcos Marrero — Director of Planning & Economic Development, City of Holyoke
Marcos is the Director of Planning & Economic Development for the City of Holyoke, where he oversees the implementation of the largest urban renewal plan in Massachusetts, and serves as Executive Director to two public development corporations. He has a background in policy and public projects in areas of economic development, urban affairs and sustainability. Previously, Marcos has served in the Puerto Rico Governor's Office as Deputy Adviser on Federal Affairs, Energy & Climate Change, and has served at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Corporation. Marcos holds a dual Masters in Public Affairs and Urban & Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico. He lives in Center City Holyoke.