The Commonwealth Institute, in partnership with the Globe Magazine, recently announced that Northeast Arc, took the eighth spot in its 21st annual list of the Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts.  This is the fourth year in-a-row that Northeast Arc ranked in the top ten on this prestigious list.

The Northeast Arc, a not-for-profit organization that helps children and adults with disabilities become full participants in the community, is led by Jo Ann Simons of Swampscott, who has dedicated her career to helping people with disabilities.

“It is an honor just to be included on the list of the Top Women-Led Businesses, but to be ranked in the top 10 for the fourth year in-a-row year is very humbling.  It is a testament to the tireless effort everyone at the Northeast Arc puts in every day to ensure people with disabilities have every possible opportunity to succeed,” said Jo Ann Simons, President & CEO, Northeast Arc.

When asked how they build and support successful teams, even amid crisis, the resounding response among the leaders polled by The Commonwealth Institute and Globe Magazine was to focus on the people who work there.  Simons’ key advice is to raise wages and support immigration.  “An increase of $2 an hour isn’t going to move the needle,” said Simons, noting that direct care staff at Northeast Arc are primarily women and people of color.  “Human service providers need an increase to $25 an hour to be benchmarked with other entry-level positions. In addition, immigration policies need to quickly address the shortage in the human service field.”

The Commonwealth Institute, a nonprofit that supports female business leaders, creates the annual list of the Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts by examining revenue or operating budget as well as other variables, including number of full-time employees in the state, workplace and management diversity, and innovative projects.


About The Northeast Arc

Northeast Arc (NeArc) changes lives for people with disabilities — and children at risk of developing them — and their families. The agency, which opened the Center for Linking Lives at Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers in 2020, serves more than 15,000 people in 190 Massachusetts cities and towns each year. NeArc is the largest Arc in the state of Massachusetts and the 2nd largest (of 700) in the country. Services include: Adult Family Care, the ArcWorks Community Art Center, Autism Services, Black Box Theater, Breaking Grounds Café, Continuous Care Nursing Services, Day Habilitation, Deaf Services, Early Intervention, Employment Services, Family Support, First Steps Childcare & Preschool, Fiscal Intermediary, Personal Care Assistance, Recreation, Residential, Shared Living and Transition, and Skilled Intermittent Home Health Care. Learn more at

About The Commonwealth Institute

The Commonwealth Institute (TCI) is a non-profit organization devoted to advancing businesswomen in leadership positions in Massachusetts and Florida.  We are ambitious, success-oriented women committed to growing our respective organizations and to supporting each other as we accomplish our individual goals. Our membership includes CEOs, senior corporate executives, entrepreneurs, executive directors of nonprofits and solo professionals who are committed to building successful businesses, organizations and careers. We come from a range of industries and from a variety of backgrounds.  We run large companies, we lead small companies, we manage nonprofits, we work as sole proprietors.  We are a community of women offering a collaborative brain trust for fellow members and a platform for each of us to achieve our goals.

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