A Sit Down with Honoree Carol Fulp

Monday, January 14, 2013
On the evening of Saturday, January 26th the Boston Bar Foundation will honor Carol Fulp at its John & Abigail Adams Benefit. She is President and CEO of The Partnership, New England’s premier organization dedicated to leadership development for professionals of color.  Prior to joining The Partnership, she spent more than a decade as Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Brand Initiatives at John Hancock Financial.  There Carol led the company’s $12 million philanthropic giving program and created the largest corporate summer jobs program of its kind in the country.

Recently BBA Week sat down for a quick Q&A session.

What are the three things in life of which you are proudest?

1) The fact that I was selected by President Obama to be the United States Representative to the 65th General Assembly of the United States. This gave me the opportunity to bring my private sector business insights to the work of the delegation. (The position has been held by other illustrious women, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Coretta Scott King, and Pearl Bailey.)
2) My success in  bringing together a group of 35 Boston business and civic women (including Diane Patrick and Angela Menino) to raise money and build a home in Post Katrina New Orleans. Part of NOLA’s rebuilding effort, this home became known as The Boston House. Built in the largest Habitat for Humanity Village, this new home went to a single mother who had lost everything to Katrina.

3) On a personal note. . . my marriage to Cyrus “Bernie” Fulp. He serves as my foundation, enabling me to be all that I can be. (Carol and Bernie, Chairman of Go-Biz Solutions and Founder of Middlesex Bank Trust Company, have been married 13 years and live in Boston.)

What examples can the Boston Bar Association and the Boston Bar Foundation – both strongly committed to diversity and the promotion of people of color in leadership positions – learn from The Partnership’s experience?

First and foremost, diversity is a business imperative, in addition to a social justice issue. We live in a global society and a global marketplace, and our economic survival requires that we be able to work with individuals of all cultures. As such,  it is important that our organizations mirror that global society.

Boston has always been rich in innovation. To be truly innovative, you have to have different voices engaged in our workplaces. It is to our advantage to have individuals who see things through different lenses, and you want the best and the brightest of all at the table.

What do you see as the biggest areas of need in our community, and what would be effective ways for lawyers and law firms to get more directly engaged in community service activities?

Develop the next generation.  In particular, mentor young people in need.   If you are able to reach one child you have changed generations; it is like throwing a pebble into the water and watching the ripple effect.

Educating young people is not only the School Department’s responsibility;  it is the responsibility of business. Lawyers and law firms play a huge part in helping to develop the pipeline for the future.