From 2005 to 2014, Barbara Berke served as an advisor to Mayor Menino and his cabinet on the Mayor’s cross-organizational agenda and initiatives. She worked on a broad spectrum of issues ranging from eliminating achievement gaps and health disparities to creating jobs, workforce housing and new sources of revenue for the City. She assisted the Mayor with goal setting, performance management and cabinet development and has worked closely with cabinet members and department heads to support them in leading transformative change. Initiatives she worked on included Thrive in Five to support kindergarten school readiness; BOSTONavigator a citywide out-of-school time database; the Boston One Card – integrating school ID, MBTA pass library and community center card for Boston high school students; the New Bostonians Agenda for K-12 education, ESOL and access to jobs; and the Boston Opportunity Agenda, a historic partnership between the City, Boston Public Schools and the cities leading charities and foundations focused on student success. For several years, she led a cross-departmental initiative to examine and reduce student chronic absenteeism in Boston Public Schools. She worked with Boston Police, Fire and Emergency Services to plan for a new, integrated Computer-aided Dispatch system to support 911 response and Emergency Preparedness and with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Department of Neighborhood Services to improve account management and services to business. In addition, she led several initiatives engaging Kennedy School of Government teams with City staff to develop recommendations and plans for streamlining business permitting. Under the Mayor’s direction, she worked with residents, community leaders, local service providers, and City department representatives to launch a model data- and information-rich approach to community engagement, joint agenda setting and change leadership in Bowdoin Geneva.
Previously Ms. Berke served Governor Romney as a member of his cabinet. Appointed in 2003 as the Secretary of Economic Development, Barbara oversaw the Mass. Office of International Trade and Investment, the Mass. Office of Business Development, the Mass, Office of Travel and Tourism, the State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance, the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Office of Industry and Technology Competitiveness.
Prior to joining Governor Romney’s administration, Ms. Berke was a partner and Vice President of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global strategy consulting firm. As a founding member of BCG’s Operational Effectiveness Practice Group, Ms. Berke has specific expertise in achieving global competitiveness and in managing large-scale change.
Since leaving government, Barbara has continued her work on economic development as a board member of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. She has served on the Advisory Board of Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the board of Moving from Debt to Assets (a nonprofit teaching financial literacy and empowerment in six languages to underserved populations).; and currently serves on the board of More Than Words (a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business) and the Strategy Team of Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO).
Barbara lives in Brookline, MA with her husband, two children of her own and a “Lost Boy” from South Sudan.