Boston's innovation economy might be humming along, but let's be honest, there are still aspects of doing business here that can seem a bit stodgy. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, for example.
But don't take our word for it. Mike Baker — CEO of the fast-growing Boston startup DataXu says, "Even the word 'chamber' connotes a closed, negative space where people are held captive."
But the chamber is making changes. Its newest chairman is a relative newcomer to the city.
Nav Singh has been in Boston for less than three years. He's managing partner in the Boston office of McKinsey & Company, and he has particular experience in pharma and biotech, key expertise for success in this region.
But even more important, Nav Singh is an Indian immigrant to America, and he says it's the particular gusto required of a stranger in a strange land that's helped him vault right into the heart of the Boston business community.
Navjot Singh, chair of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and managing partner of McKinsey & Company's Boston office.
- Singh, who is managing partner of McKinsey’s Boston office, first got involved in the chamber leadership when he took David Fubini’s spot last year after Fubini retired from McKinsey. “That’s a myth that people have about Boston,” Singh said, “that it’s a closed city, that you can’t break in.”
- But ask an actual innovator in Boston what they think of the Chamber, which ostensibly promotes business in the city, and you get some pretty harsh replies. “The Chamber of Commerce is largely irrelevant to my cohort,” says Tom Pincince, chief executive of the lighting company Digital Lumens. Here’s Micah Adler, CEO of the mobile marketing company Fiksu: “I can say that I have never had any dealings with them, nor do I know of any fast-growth company that has.”
This segment aired on May 6, 2015.