Pictured left to right with Jo Ann Simons are Heidi Ellard, Vice-Chair of the Northeast Arc Board of Directors, Emily Derr, Jo Ann’s daughter, and RoAnn Costin, Chris Mackenzie, and Steven Rosenthal, all members  of Northeast Arc’s Advisory Board.

Jo Ann Simons, President and CEO of Northeast Arc, has been named one of six Women Who Mean Business honorees by the Boston Business Journal, recognizing women in the Boston area who do outstanding work in their industries.

Each woman was selected based on her professional achievements, leadership, entrepreneurial skills, and dedication to the community. They include leaders in sectors including nonprofits, real estate, transportation and logistics, higher education, finance, and employment.

“It is an honor to be included among the women being recognized by the Boston Business Journal for this honor,” said Jo Ann Simons, President & CEO, Northeast Arc. “I do not do this work alone and share this accolade with everyone at Northeast Arc who is changing the lives of people with disabilities and their families every day.”

“Jo Ann Simons is a compassionate, committed, and creative leader whose energy and determination are boundless,” said RoAnn Costin, President of Wilderness Point Investments and a member of the Northeast Arc’s Advisory Board, who nominated Simons for this recognition.  “With her vision of helping people with developmental disabilities become full participants in their community, Jo Ann has not only had the courage to challenge professionals who did not believe these individuals could attend school, develop friendships, reside independently and work productively, she has developed businesses, programs and systems that positively impact the lives of more than 10,000 children and adults with disabilities and their families in nearly 200 Massachusetts communities.”

In addition to Simons, the other honorees were Melissa Fish-Crane, Principal & CEO, Peabody Properties, Aisha Francis, PhD., President and CEO, Benjamin Franklin Cummings institute, Michelle Keefe, CEO, Mom Up, Minmin Yen, CEO, PhagePro, and Lisa Wieland, President & CEO, MassPort.  The women spoke about their experiences as part of a luncheon event at the Boston Harbor Hotel on Wednesday, December 7.

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