Natick’s Lisa MacDonald Elected to the MetroWest Commission on the Status of Women
Lisa MacDonald of Natick was recently elected a commissioner for the MetroWest Commission on the Status of Women. (Photo/supplied)
By Cynthia Whitty
Lisa MacDonald brings her experience and passion for promoting social justice to all aspects of her work and personal life.
A resident of Natick, MacDonald was recently elected a commissioner of the MetroWest Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW), a state-established body, “charged with reviewing the status of women in Massachusetts and offering recommendations regarding policy that would improve access to opportunities and equality,” according to the website.
MacDonald works at MassBay Community College (MBCC) as the Director of Equity Compliance and Title IX Coordinator/Affirmative Action Officer. In addition, she provides professional training and development for organizations through her independent business, Elleminc.
She grew up in Staten Island, New York, attended the University of Hartford, and then spent a year working at Colby-Sawyer College where she met her husband, Trevor. The couple moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, where she completed her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
“We moved to Natick in the summer of 2019 with our daughter Jovie, age 7, who is currently a student at Lilja Elementary School, keeping busy in the town’s soccer program and Girl Scout troop, and as a piano student at the Allegro Music School,” MacDonald said. “We love Natick, its local businesses, especially the cannoli from Lola’s, and so thankful for the wonderful families we’ve met and new friends we’ve made.”
“My day-to-day interests are reading, staying active, and baking while always having a cup of coffee in my hand. I am also an avid sports fan—Patriots, college basketball, and the New York Yankees—I know that will make me lose some points around here, but it’s the truth.”
Natick Local Town Pages asked MacDonald about her work at MBCC and her new role on MCSW.
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Whitty: What does being a commissioner for MCSW entail?
The MetroWest Commission on the Status of Women are a group of commissioners that seek to advocate on behalf of women in towns and cities, including Natick, that make up the MetroWest region. Commissions work together to highlight the issues impacting women and girls—we do this through listening, hosting events to promote awareness of such issues, and through supporting/advocating for pending legislation that impacts women and girls in the state.
Whitty: How did you become a commissioner?
During my time as a member of the 2019-2020 cohort for the MetroWest Leadership Academy, a fellow cohort member, Patricia Hohl, who is on the State Commission for the Status of Women and the director of Voices Against Violence, asked me to be a panelist for two events the Commission hosted in partnership with state legislators on Reproductive Justice. As a panelist, I had the opportunity to speak about current state legislation that addresses sexual violence in higher education. Following these events in November 2019 and February 2020, respectively, I was inspired to apply to become a member [of MCSW] and found out on my birthday in February 2021 that I was elected.
Whitty: What do you hope to accomplish?
Honestly, while I am so new and only attended one official meeting so far, my goal is that I hope to be half as good as the other eight women serving in this group! Talk about an amazing group of women, I am in awe of their dedication, intelligence, and passion for their individual and collective call to action in addressing the needs impacting women and girls, giving women and girls a voice, and striving for gender equality.
Whitty: Why is your work at MBCC important?
I began working at MassBay in the summer of 2018. My title is Director for Equity Compliance where I serve students, faculty, and staff as the College’s Title IX Coordinator, Affirmative Action Officer, and ADA/504 Coordinator. I facilitate trainings and prevention workshops around harassment, discrimination, and sex-based misconduct and conduct investigations alleging any type of harassment or discrimination on the basis of protected class(es).
I also serve on a number of different committees working on the College’s Equity Agenda, including having the opportunity to co-chair a review of the College’s policies and procedures for systemic racism. Equity is a top priority at MassBay. Lead by President David Podell, we are committed to serving our diverse student population with an experience in both the classroom and within the community that yields successful outcomes for every enrolled student.
In thinking about why this work matters, I’m continuously reminded of something shared during a professional development keynote speech by Dr. Kermit Crawford, who pointedly stated that, “Until a system works for everyone, it doesn’t work. Period.”
Whitty: What has motivated you to do this work?
I consider myself a mission-driven person, and for me, the lines of work and personal life naturally become interconnected. I tend to bring my whole self to my work, and what I gain through my work tends to foster the conversations at home. It’s just who I am. From early on, I have had a passion for taking action towards gender equality and then, through the various life experiences I have been afforded and benefitted from, I want to do whatever I am able as an honest ally to advance racial equity and promote social justice.
With all of that, I believe in the power of community and that community development begins with creating and maintaining positive, authentic one-on-one relationships. I wished more people recognized that every single interaction you have likely influences and makes a difference—positive or negative—in the overall community in which you are taking part. All of this is what motivates me to get out of bed everyday—to show up, to speak up, and to continue learning to do better.