The Boston Globe

2Life chief is one of Boston’s busiest developers

- By Jon Chesto GLOBE STAFF

Amy Schectman didn’t set out to be one of Boston’s busiest housing developers.

But she saw firsthand how tough it can be to find a community where seniors can flourish, after she went through such a search with her own mom about two decades ago.

When she joined what’s now called 2Life Communitie­s in 2010, she was determined to do what she could to broaden its portfolio. The 2Life chief executive created a new real estate department about 10 years ago at the Brighton nonprofit, a 200-person organizati­on that builds and manages income-restricted apartments for older adults.

Now, amid a pullback in projects in the forprofit sector, Schectman is on a roll.

In 2023, 2Life opened a 68-unit expansion at its Golda Meir House in Newton, and last month held a ribbon-cutting at a new 142-unit complex and health center at its campus in Brighton, an event that drew Mayor Michelle Wu, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Representa­tive Ayanna Pressley, and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. Next, 2Life will open 68 new units in Waltham at the end of this year, with another 150-unit project on tap in Lynn. Another project, with 174 units geared for middle-income residents called Opus, is under constructi­on in Newton. These projects, except Opus, are built with a mix of local, state, and federal funding sources, including grants and tax credits, with debt financing obtained through quasi-public agencies such as MassHousin­g and MassDevelo­pment.

These aren’t meant to be just homes, but fullfledge­d communitie­s, in which 2Life staffers oversee activities and help seniors pursue goals they have for themselves, like becoming artists or learning new languages. “It’s insane that society doesn’t grant that for every single older adult,” Schectman said.

The organizati­on was founded in 1965 as Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, but welcomes all background­s today. Its housing waitlist tops 9,000 individual­s and couples.

“I went through a lot with my own mother,” Schectman said. “I realized through that process how critical it is that older adults age in a community setting with purpose, support, and kindness. It saved my mom’s life. I became determined that everybody should have it.”

Consigli goes to Sunday School

Anthony Consigli has worked on a wide range of projects over the years, but few have brought

more personal satisfacti­on than the one that just opened on the Christian Science Plaza.

Consigli Constructi­on Co., led by Anthony and his brother Matthew Consigli, and architectu­ral firm Sasaki spent the last year redoing what’s known as the “Sunday School building,” at 235 Huntington Ave., to build the first permanent home for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. Renovation­s included new fire alarm and suppressio­n equipment and more accessible elevators and bathrooms, along with 10 new practice rooms and a completely revamped 200-seat auditorium with treatments to improve the room’s acoustics. The project is the result of a long-time quest by BYSO music director Federico Cortese and chief executive Catherine Weiskel to find a permanent home for their organizati­on, which recently moved from Boston University’s College of the Fine Arts. They celebrated a ribbon-cutting at the site last week.

The BYSO has a long-term lease with the First Church of Christ, Scientist for the 32,000square-foot building, which was designed by I.M. Pei & Associates more than 50 years ago but has largely been empty in recent years. As many as 700 kids with the BYSO will rehearse and perform in the building, across the street from Symphony Hall, in any given year.

“It’s satisfying from the impact that it’s having not only on the [economy of the] city, but on the kids in the city,” Anthony Consigli said. “To watch these kids play is absolutely inspiring.”

A big night for Ira Jackson

When Ira Jackson led BankBoston’s marketing efforts through the 1990s as an executive vice president, he probably never expected he would be honored for his work there 25 years later.

But memories run long in Boston, and people like marketing maven Colette Phillips never forgot the steps Jackson took to promote Black executives at the bank (which later was subsumed by Bank of America), or inclusion efforts at other points in his career. More recently, Jackson cofounded the Civic Action Project, a nonprofit aimed at fostering the next generation of diverse leaders in Massachuse­tts.

Last Tuesday, Phillips and her colleagues honored Jackson at the JFK Library as the inaugural member of the “DEI Hall of Fame” for Get Konnected!, the networking series that Phillips founded. A dozen men, all local business and political leaders, were also honored as “DEI Allies.” And there was a panel discussion on diversity and inclusion, tied to Phillips’s recently published book “The Includers,” that involved Eastern Bank chief executive Bob Rivers, former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, former American Tower boss Tom Bartlett, and Liberty Mutual executive vice president Melanie Foley.

Jackson, though, was the star of the show. Michele Courton Brown, hired by Jackson back in the day to run BankBoston’s foundation and now chief talent equity officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachuse­tts, talked about his impact. Jackson himself received a standing ovation from the 300-plus people in the room. “People came out for him,” Phillips recalled. “He was deeply moved and humbled.”

Healey to the rescue

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute was supposed to be hosting a debate between two governors, one Democrat and one Republican, last Tuesday. The event would be filmed, and moderated by NBC News journalist Kristen Welker. All that did end up happening, but certainly not as planned.

New Hampshire’s Chris Sununu was scheduled to debate Wes Moore of Maryland that night. But Moore canceled at the last minute that day, and for good reason: the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore had just collapsed after it was struck by a disabled cargo ship.

As it turned out, another Democratic governor was scheduled to be next door that night — Massachuse­tts’s own Maura Healey was going to the Get Konnected! event at the JFK Library. Developer Bruce Percelay, who chairs the institute’s board, reached out to someone close to Healey to ask if she could step in. EMK Institute chief executive Adam Hinds and Citizens Energy president Joe Kennedy III also put in a good word, Percelay said. The answer: “Yes.”

‘It’s satisfying from the impact that it’s having not only on the [economy of the] city, but on the kids in the city. To watch these kids play is absolutely inspiring.’

ANTHONY CONSIGLI, Consigli Constructi­on Co., on building a home for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra

Percelay credited Healey’s “heroic” effort, participat­ing in a 30-minute debate with virtually no advance warning.

“What were the odds that within hours’ notice, we could find another Democratic governor to step in?” Percelay said. “Because a debate with one person doesn’t work very well.”

Is this Hogwarts? No, it’s Cognex.

What kind of wizardry is happening out on Vision Drive in Natick?

You might ask yourself that question if you saw vision tech firm Cognex Corp.’s latest annual report, which refers to the company as Cogwarts, and features chief executive Rob Willett dressed in his best Harry Potterstyl­e outfit, complete with a wand in hand.

Willett recently promised analysts a wacky annual report, and he certainly delivered. Revenue down 16-plus percent in 2022? Blame an operating environmen­t as challengin­g “as any Triwizard Tournament Task.” Did Willett keep spending under control? Sure sounds like it: “This past school year, we employed the discipline of a Gryffindor House Prefect.” There’s plenty of good news, such as confidence in a 15 percent annual revenue growth target, and an expansion into Japan by acquiring a company called Moritex, which makes products that make images as magical as the “wizarding portraits that line Cogwarts’ many halls.” (Yes, Moritex is a real name, not a J.K. Rowling invention.)

Cognex has published parody annual reports since it became a public company 30-plus years ago, at the suggestion of founder Bob Shillman and then-investor relations leader Susan Conway.

“As a public company, it’s important that we publish a summary of our year, but who wants to read a dry report full of business and financial jargon?” said Nathan McCurren, head of investor relations. “We find people actually read about our year if there is some fun and humor to it.”

 ?? CHRIS MORRIS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE ?? Amy Schectman, CEO of 2Life Communitie­s.
CHRIS MORRIS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE Amy Schectman, CEO of 2Life Communitie­s.

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