(Photo courtesy of UMass Lowell) Chancellor Jacquie Moloney will be stepping down in June 2022.
The latest release of the Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts continues UMass Lowell’s five-year streak of recognition among the top 20 businesses. Led by Chancellor Jacquie Moloney, the university ranked as number 19 on the list.
The Commonwealth Institute (TCI) partners annually with the Boston Globe Magazine to recognize and honor the work of female business owners. TCI is a Boston-based nonprofit that encourages women leaders in all levels of the workplace. While ranking businesses for the list, judges methodically look at each organization through specific criteria such as employee quantity and diversity, financial standing and influence on the surrounding area.
Leading a business onto this Top 100 list during the COVID-19 pandemic is no minor feat. The necessity to protect the general public’s health led numerous companies to conduct their work online, and the virtual landscape created financial burdens for businesses who struggled to maintain their workforce as well as the quality of their production. For universities, health is a priority, yet even as a portion of classes remained in-person or hybrid, moving some courses online posed a threat to the value of education.
While the first half of the 2021 academic year consisted of this difficult and uncertain balance between the virtual and in-person landscape, universities then had to reorder the organization to suit the transition back to in-person courses during the fall. The Top 100 Women-Led Businesses list for 2021 reflects the women leaders who endured the complexities of the pandemic and guided their organizations to success.
In light of the pandemic, leaders of successful businesses in Massachusetts require the integrity and dedication that Chancellor Moloney shares with the other 99 women leaders on the list. Moloney encouraged the endurance of the university through the pandemic with an appreciation of the community within UMass Lowell.
Moloney became the first woman appointed into the role of UMass Lowell’s Chancellor in 2015 following her position as the executive vice chancellor under the leadership of (current President of the University of Massachusetts) Marty Meehan.
“We got through something very tough here,” Moloney said, “and I think the students really helped each other. I think the faculty were very compassionate and saw what the students were going through, so they worked extra hard to try to make it interactive and engaging online.”
She assisted in Meehan’s rigorous transformation plan of UMass Lowell while he was the chancellor, and she continues his efforts today. While remarking on the university’s improvement since a few decades ago, Moloney said, “There were a lot of us here who had great hope for the university when Marty Meehan came in with a fresh new way of looking at things. He appointed me as executive vice chancellor because I had a great love for the university where I had worked for more than 30 years and a strong relationship with the faculty and the staff.”
The transformation includes new buildings, the renovation of older ones and the creation of grass spaces on campus.
“This university that you’re at today is not the one we were at ten years ago. It is a reminder that when people work together and go in the same direction and are motivated by a love of a place, then you can do a lot, and that’s what we did here.”
For some of Moloney’s more recent projects, the university raised $40 million beyond their goal of $125 million by 2020 in their fundraising campaign, and they built and renovated an impressive 19 buildings within the last decade. This past September, Moloney joined the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the reopening of Coburn Hall.
The community on campus is another aspect that supports UMass Lowell’s success.
“I am so proud of who our students are,” Moloney said. “I love to go out and talk about you because our students are so authentic, they’re very gracious, respectful of each other, so hold on to that community. Build it as much as you can. Make as many friends as you can because the people here are special.”
A strong supporter and demonstrator of female leadership, Moloney established an annual Women’s Leadership Conference. Soon afterward, the Boston Business Journal awarded her with the Women Who Mean Business honor in 2017, and in 2019, she was selected as a finalist for the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council CEO of the Year award. Her actions empower the female population on campus.
As a note of encouragement for the continued success of the university, she said, “Take pride in who you are as a person and also of the community you’ve chosen to be in, and that will take you a long way.”