I asked more than 50 leaders what they will be working for in 2023. as the new year approaches, hear their answers and share your own!

I asked more than 50 leaders what they will be working for in 2023. as the new year approaches, hear their answers and share your own!


I am fond of saying that true leaders don’t just check the temperature — they set the temperature. My greatest wish for 2023 is that we each develop next level knowledge, skills and attitudes that bring us new power and the possibility of doing just that with greater impact. The times we live in require nothing less. Before they shut it down for the holidays I asked some leaders I admire what was on their minds – or their agendas – for 2023. Here’s what I heard from clients, colleagues and friends nearby and around the world:

René Redwood

Rene Redwood, CEO, RedwoodEnterprise.com: “One of the biggest challenges for leaders in 2023 is the practice of accountability for “public” service by demonstrating integrity. It requires they act in the interest of ALL the people and not be self-serving or unethical in their conduct.”

Paul Lindley OBE

Paul Lindley OBE, Founder Ella’s Kitchen; Author, Little Wins; Chair, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK: “This year I’m publishing a book showing that a country only prospers when its children – from all walks of life – thrive, and why the United Kingdom now faces some consequential choices. It will build a compelling case as to how we can nurture smart, strong and kind children to one day inherit the stewardship of society. It will set out big public policy ideas to reframe political success to ensure the future strength of our communities, environment and economy. I hope.”

Mike Troiano, Partner, G20 Ventures: “The world is drowning in bullshit and we’ve lost trust in the institutions of our government, the agents of our collective health, the markets that unlock our potential, the citizens with whom we must find common cause. Blockchain technology offers a way out – as deeply ironic and naive as that sounds in the current moment – and I only hope it can capture that idea in the public consciousness in 2023, because when nobody trusts anything, the bad guys always win.”

Sara Fraim

Sara Fraim, CEO, Mass. Technology Leadership Council: “I think the the biggest challenge for businesses is navigating the next 12-18 months of economic turmoil, including balancing right-sizing their organizations with a need to fill hard to fill roles; and the balance of urging and demanding employees come back to the office, at least part of the time.”

Beth O’Neill Maloney

Beth O’Neill Maloney, Executive Director, Kendall Square Association: “Hunt Joy.  My one big goal is to hunt joy every day in 2023. When you hunt joy you experience the world differently. The beauty of a single raindrop.  The warmth of caring people. The possibilities of purposeful work. You create your own narrative, and define how you respond to challenges, large and small. That’s my goal in ’23: to hunt joy every day. Credit Dr. Colleen Hacker who introduced me to the idea of hunting joy.”

Bill Hughes, President & CEO, Education Design Lab: “Growing during a time of great uncertainty. Post-secondary education is traditionally counter-cyclical, but it is also in crisis. We are focused on the shift to skills-based credentials and hiring; but how fast will that shift be, especially with recessionary headwinds?”

Turahn Dorsey

Turahn Dorsey, Chief Impact Officer, Eastern Bank Foundation and Board Chair, Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology: “In 2023 I’ll continue working to expand the possibilities for economic self-determination for people of color in Boston and throughout the region. Full stop.”

Dominique Morgan, Healthcare Innovator: “Ability to hire and retain qualified employees at a salary range that both meets our budget and their requirements in this age of inflation.”

Daniel Pelaez, CEO, Cyvl.ai: “I am excited for the opportunity to use technology to help communities improve their infrastructure management and inspection processes. Managing a startup is a challenge, but the reward of knowing that our work is making a difference keeps me focused on finding new and innovative paths forward.”

Adi Ignatius

Adi Ignatius, Editor in Chief, Harvard Business Review & Host of The New World of Work: “I worry that, if we end up in a dire recessionary moment, companies will be tempted to deprioritize the hard work they’ve put into things like sustainability, DE&I, and broader stakeholder responsibility. (And that twitter might not be around much longer to troll them about it!)”

Ed Shapiro, Co-Founder and Trustee, The Shapiro Foundation: “How do we accomplish the ultimate win-win: help make a dent in inflation/job vacancies while providing refuge for Ukrainian families in harm’s way? The Uniting for Ukraine program provides the opportunity: unlimited and immediate sponsorship of Ukrainian families.”

Aaron Agulnek, CEO at 27 South Strategies: “I often think about the wisdom within [the Jewish teachings known as] Pirkei Avot that “you are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to ignore it.”  This year, I am motivated to bring together friends in the Black and Jewish communities for meaningful business collaborations. It’s not only for the Dr. Kings or Rabbi Heschels among us to work with purpose.”

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts 2007-2015 & Co-Director of the Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School: “I’m working on a “deep listening” project, chasing a hunch that Americans are not as divided as we are lead to believe, that there is shared hurt and shared aspiration. I’ll let you know what I learn.”

Jennifer Nassour, Co-Founder & President at Pocketbook Project: “I wish for leaders who lead and understand the art of compromise. Ones that understand that true leaders don’t stick their heels in the ground and say it’s my way or the highway, but listen to opinions of the opposition as well as their own party (FYI: talking both parties!)”

Jason Dyett, Vice President and Co-founder, Uninter Global Hub (Brazil) “How can we inject more pandemic-driven creativity, eyeballs, and scale in online entertainment into quality higher ed content in 2023? Can we apply a YouTuber’s nudge to stodgy (but sound) academic content in 2023 to get those 10 views a shuffle closer to 10 million?”

Steve Goldstein, European Bureau Chief, MarketWatch (London): “Working on developing new employees while focusing my own work on highest impact stories.”

Betty Franciso

Betty Francisco, CEO, Boston Impact Initiative: “Foster more cooperative ownership and employee ownership of businesses to build community wealth, power and decision-making.”

Padraig O’Malley

Padraig O’Malley, John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation at UMass Boston: My next (and last) book, The Pearls & Prospects of a United Ireland will be published in Ireland in March, weeks before the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. I expect to spend several months in Ireland & the UK arguing the merits of my case that a united Ireland is nowhere imminent and also that the Good Friday Agreement is broken and needs to be rebooted to take account of present day realities. Heading into my final decade, turning attention again to where my work all began.”

Tavares Brewington, EVP & General Counsel at Keolis North America & Founder, Street2Ivy: “My primary goal for 2023 is to spend more time with friends and family. I also want to be more intentional about leaving a positive social footprint.”

Jerren Chang
Nicole Obi

Jerren Chang, Co-founder & CEO of GenUnity: “To solve our most entrenched social issues, we need to create spaces for residents to come together across difference – from proximate experts who are directly experiencing an issue to siloed experts working in institutions to address them. In 2023, GenUnity will continue to build towards this ‘community by everyone, for everyone’ in Boston.”

Nicole Obi, President & CEO, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA): “We all face supply chain delays, tight labor markets, inflation and high interest rates but for small Black business owners, these issues are particularly acute.  Massachusetts will only realize its full potential by being intentional, transparent and equitable in our transportation, housing, workforce development as well as access to affordable capital and fair contracting.”

Feras Nasr, Innovation Manager, UK Palestinian Tech Hub (Ramallah): “One challenge I think about is how to hold on to our team members in a time when remote work has become so popular and simple. In the past, we were concerned that the local competition would attract our best employees, but now it can be any employer anywhere in the world.”

Valerie Fletcher

Valerie Fletcher, Executive Director, Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD): “I’m grateful and eager to respond to a growing client appetite for design that anticipates and includes everyone. But I am also committed to creating an IHCD Media Studio that delivers webcasts, podcasts, interviews, stories et al that feed an appetite, particularly among young people, for doing design that changes people’s lives.”

Scott Bailey, Co-Founder, BeQuall: “Now, more than ever, America needs more housing faster. Bequall is excited to accelerate housing creation through innovative housing policies and construction methods, especially during challenging economic times.”

Hauwa Bako Mohammed

Hauwa Bako Mohammed, Chief Operating Officer, Bako Kontagora Development Foundation & .Co-Founder, Pro Agro Systems (Nigeria): “Agricultural productivity keeps declining and climate change is one of the most disruptive challenges aggravating this course. In 2022, the Nigerian agricultural food system was faced with catastrophic flooding events which escalated the crisis. One of my key interests is ending hunger and malnutrition in all forms. I’m optimistic that producing affordable and accessible nutrient-fortified food products for displaced and marginalized communities would foster food security in 2023.”

Derek Mitchell

Derek Mitchell, President, LEADS: “Zoom meetings have changed the calculus in our work of bringing together geographically separated, cross-sectoral leaders. On the one hand, it’s an opportunity to finally bridge age old-gaps that keep people and resources disconnected; on the other hand, the barrier of building trust (the only true currency of working relationships) over a virtual platform remains and we have to overcome it.”

Michael Smith, Chief Strategy Officer, Urgently: “The first of my priorities for 2023 is to do more to provide educational opportunities for those lacking them. And within my next leadership role, I hope to build and inspire great teams to do amazing things, both professionally and personally.”

Tracy Palandjian

Tracy Palandjian, Co-Founder and CEO, Social Finance: “Why am I excited about 2023? There has never been a more opportune time to rewire the education and training system to advance economic opportunities for more people, with once-in-a-generation federal legislation, such as the BIL, IRA, and CHIPS.”

Fredi Shonkoff, Executive Leadership Coach: “How to build the connections and shared passion for work with hybrid schedules and so much preference for remote participation. The ‘office’ used to be fun….a place to build all kinds of relationships with purpose and meaning.”

Joshua Boger, Founder, Vertex Pharmaceuticals: “We need to figure out how to publicly finance all federal elections with sufficient monies to dissuade personal or PAC contributions. Then make all federal elections and federal election primaries be held as ranked-choice.”

Dan Winslow

Daniel Winslow, President, New England Legal Foundation: “As the specter of recession looms large in 2023, many people understandably plan to hunker down. At NELF, we plan to double down. Free enterprise and economic growth are the best remedies for economic malaise and our mission of advancing free enterprise and economic liberty will be more important than ever in the coming year.”

Don Calloway

Don Calloway, Impact Investor, Executive, MSNBC Commentator: “I got what I needed in 2022: confirmation that I’m capable, qualified, and have everything I need to go from here. My commitment for 2023 is to convince everyone I know that they are also enough, they are prepared, and they are ready. We are the grown ups now.”

Andrew Dwyer, Ph.D, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Boston College Connell School of Nursing: “One big challenge for leaders is how to listen and be present for employees as they navigate redefining work post “acute” COVID era. Specifically how do we respect autonomy and balance (i.e. remote work) yet encourage a meaningful connection (i.e.. In person) essential for creative collaboration.”

Folkert Bloembergen

Folkert Bloembergen, Associate Director Global Business Processes & Systems Solutions, LyondellBasell (Netherlands): “LB is a leading petrochemical company in serious transition on many fronts to equip itself for remaining a leader in the next 15 -20 years. My challenge is to help shape that transition. Life is very good were it not for the external factors such as the war in Ukraine and the too-low level of action of governments on the climate crisis. Trying to make a difference personally and professionally is what drives me in 2023.”

Tod Loofburrow, CEO, ViralGains: “Don’t let all this talk of recession in 2023 take you off your game – focus on the long-term and do what you need to do to make 2023 an epic year no matter the macro environment!”

Liseth Velez

Liseth Velez, Founder & CEO, LJV Development: “In a time where contracts come with so much risk, it’s important to keep in mind that compromise is the essence of cooperation. We need to cooperate with each other more than ever and that’s why next year, I am hopeful that more people fall back to the basics and follow through with their actions. Integrity and transparency need to be at the forefront of any worthy negotiations in years to come.”

Mark Handin

Mark Handin, Chief Operating Officer, Maersk Supply Service (Copenhagen): “As an energy executive, I try to actively take part in solving the energy challenges of tomorrow.  The green transition is an important part of our collective future, but it is much more than a vision, with a broad array of tangible technology developments and actions required to make it a reality.”

Kristin Van Busum, CEO & Founder, Project Alianza: “In a world that is becoming increasingly remote and overloaded with distractions how can we work together to find a sense of individual and shared purpose. How do we ignite that from within our organizations as leaders?”

Cassandria Campbell

Cassandria Campbell, Co-Founder & CEO, Fresh Food Generation: “Other than world peace, creating high quality jobs for low-income workers that allow for upward mobility.”

Fernando Rodriguez-Villa, CEO AdeptID: “We want to balance two things in this “crucible moment”: Make sure that every dollar we spend (whether on staff, tools, travel, or swag) is making our offering more valuable, and leading to sustainable revenue. At the same time, we don’t want to become fearful and we miss out on opportunities that we might not have in “normal times”.

Yahya Al-Salqan

Yahya Al-Salqan, Ph.D., CEO Jaffa.Net Software (Ramallah): “Leaders need to think about the generation gap – especially after the COVID-19 crisis. The fact that the system was disturbed for a longer time than expected means the new generation built new norms that are far from the older generation. Leaders these days also need to embrace the shift in the economy towards Blockchain and crypto-based services to be ready for the new Web3 Internet.”

Dave McLaughlin, Partner & EIR, Alpha Miner: “Building a new set of businesses that integrate web3 tools and tactics — think tokens and smart contracts. The big idea is to give more agency and clearer governance rights to customers, allowing them to both steer and share in the growth they help to drive. I’m envisioning companies that grow faster and stay more in tune with their constituencies.”

Gary Tanguay

Gary Tanguay, Television and Radio Broadcaster: “I am striving to enter a new arena for me: development and fundraising in the healthcare field. Time to pay it back. Now more than ever, we need take care of each other.”

Adam Strom, Executive Director, Re-Imagining Migration: “One of the keys for us is how to scale our work effectively without breaking our staff and watering down our work.”

Dan Deutsch, Executive Director, Temple Israel of Boston: “I’m thinking a lot about retention and support of our staff. Like most non-profits our human capital (professional and lay leaders) is our secret sauce and taking care of them is certainly at the top of my list for 2023.”

Kim Dukes

Kim Dukes, Managing Director, Koya Partners: “Consciously making the decision to live in gratitude, remembering to exercise and ask for grace when I stumble. Be kind, we need that. And helping leaders find their true calling – or at least their next calling. We need that too.”

Socrates De La Cruz, Esq., CEO of De La Cruz Properties: “This year I will be continuing to work on growing my spiritual, relational and business life. My daily goal is to stay an enemy of the status quo.”

Bob Allard, CEO Extension Engine: “2023 will be a year where I make serious efforts to deliver on the promise that great online learning can bring to people who are in serious need. Prison-to-work programs are at the top of my list.”

Thomas Welch

Thomas Welch, Executive Vice President, Colliers International: “How do we try to anticipate the potential impact of this year’s heavily front loaded restrictive monetary policy? And, what does that mean for our business, our clients’ businesses and investments, the overall workforce – and households generally?”

Zac Bears, City Councillor, City of Medford, MA: “Cities and towns are facing the first budget year of inflation-driven real property tax revenue losses after years of revenue stagnation caused by Proposition 2.5. It’s time for Massachusetts municipalities and state government to come together around real solutions to fund our schools, fix our roads and sidewalks, and invest in our communities.”

Omari Jahi Aarons, Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer, National African American Insurance Association: “For 2023, I’m focused on how corporate industry ecosystems can best align to drive sustainable change in diversity and inclusion. It’s (still) the right moment to leverage the critical mass of attention and effort to move to the next level.”

Mark Dixon, Executive Head, Padiham Green Primary School (England): “Two weeks ago we welcomed a Ukrainian refugee into our home [in Lancashire, England] to live with us. Having taught for 35 years with the last 25 years as the Headteacher of three schools, I retire at the end of this academic year so my challenge for 2023, is to retire but not before finishing my EdD thesis. I have always wanted the children, who have always followed my EdD progress, to see me as a learner too. I would dearly love them to see me graduate.”

David Bunis

David Bunis, SVP & General Counsel, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI): “Helping WPI catch and ride the huge STEM-related waves of 2023 set off by the US government’s historic 2022 investments in semiconductor research, manufacturing and on developing the infrastructure needed to charge electric vehicles on a massive scale. Success will mean that we have substantially increased federally funded research by WPI faculty in these areas and substantially increased financial aid for our students.”

Tom Dretler, CEO Shorelight Education: “To what extent does American business need an alternative to China as a key trading partner going forward? And if so, what country other than potentially India can play that role?”

Jenny Yang

Jenny Yang, Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, US Department of Labor: “As our nation makes historic investments in our infrastructure, we are working to remove barriers to opportunity to ensure that new good jobs are available to all Americans. This means expanding pathways to training programs in the construction trades, strengthening recruitment and hiring practices, and improving worksite culture.”

Biplaw Rai, Managing Partner, Comfort Kitchen Boston: “Working on getting Comfort Kitchen up and running the first week of the New Year. And working on slowing down to appreciate life and what it has to give us all. It’s a work in progress.”

Maureen Pompeo, Board Chair Project Hope and Business Planning Consultant: “After a couple of years of collective not knowing, collective anxiety and at times collective retreat; I will be looking forward, with all of you; looking beyond the what “ifs” and why “nots” and ready to make only new mistakes. Professionally, I am grateful to be working with stellar clients like Acadia Behavioral Health to increase mental health care in New England. I also plan to finish my thesis on the role of music in spiritual experience, And learn to sing No Regrets – in French!”

Max Chaiken

Max Chaiken, Rabbi, Temple Emanuel of Andover, MA: “I’m thinking about all the ways we can help one another in moving our world a little closer to a shared vision of “what could be,” rather than “what is.” I’m thinking about challenges we face at every level of society, from the personal to the local to the national or global, and hoping that the new year will inspire us to come together across differences. We need the power of personal and communal action towards progress.”

Natalia Urtubey

Natalia Urtubey, Foundation Fellow, Eastern Bank: “As we gear up for 2023, it is imperative that we move toward deeper collective impact. I am optimistic that by working together, we can improve business sustainability, growth, and visibility.”

Tim Fullerton

Tim Fullerton, Vice President, Content & Channel Marketing at WeWork: “I’m looking forward to having more thoughtful and engaging conversations on social media in 2023. Social has become more negative than good, but I’ve seen signs of people tiring of the toxicity we see and wanting more out of our digital world. I’m hoping to be part of making that a reality next year.”

Diane Danielson

Diane Danielson, Chief Operating Officer, Matmarket LLC: “Due to our business operating mostly out of Asia, we are closely watching what’s happening with the end of the Zero Covid policy in China with both an eye on business, but also with great concern for our colleagues and advisors. On a more long-term view, we all need to be thinking how AI is going to affect business as we know it; this will be as revolutionary as the onset of the internet.”

Andy Tarsy is a strategy advisor and coach, empowering leaders to align their vision with their values and reap the results in impact, distinction, advantage and fulfillment. Shouldn’t we be working together?

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