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Ten Outstanding Young Leaders (TOYL) Awards is about Boston's present and, more importantly, Boston's future. Past recipients often become transformational leaders in our region's economy and beyond. Nine years before his mayoral run, Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh was one of the ten. While still pursuing a master's in public administration, the 1999 class of TOYL winners included Melissa MacDonnell, current President of Liberty Mutual Foundation. In recent years winners include a doctor on the front lines of teen addiction, a rocket scientist, a leader advancing the voices of women in corporate America, a founder whose pharmaceutical start-up was recently acquired by Amazon, and so much more. 

This award recognizes the accomplishments of young professionals who have made the Greater Boston region the best place for all businesses and all people to thrive. We are explicitly awarding individuals who address barriers and support equity. They are leaders whose principles embody what it means to create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment, culture, organization, or community.

About City Awake

City Awake centers young professionals, seeking to welcome and retain them in Greater Boston with an intentional strategy of cross-sector collaboration to increase their social capital through a blend of programming. Its programming is designed to promote civic engagement; connect them to personal and professional networks across industries and communities; and strengthen the region’s inclusivity efforts while highlighting its cultural vibrancy.

Questions? See the FAQs tab or contact Program Manager, Erica Deese.


Below are the eligibility criteria for the TOYL awards. If you know of anyone who fits these criteria, nominate them today. 

  • The nominee has held a leadership position within their organization or community.
  • The nominee is under 40 years old by Wednesday, November 1, 2023. 
  • The nominee must be an inclusive leader who supports and encourages an equitable and diverse culture.
  • The nominee must live or work in Greater Boston for 1+ years 
  • The nominee demonstrates one or more of the following qualities: 
    • Collaborative: WWorks across a diverse network to enhance their community and organization making Greater Boston the best place to live and work. 
    • Adaptable: Embraces and encourages new and different ideas, opinions, and ways of working together in order to propel the Greater Boston community.
    • Influential: Uses formal or informal influence to advance the mission and goals of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce by using their individual platform for good (examples include climate change, economic opportunities, women’s rights, rights for people of color, supporting small businesses, elevating the next generation, etc.). They speak up against injustices and elevate the voices of those around them.
    • Accountable: Demonstrates reliability, trust, and strength of character to their colleagues and community members.
    • Resilient: Clear track record of overcoming obstacles successfully with a clear path for growth.
    • Ethical Leadership: Demonstrates exemplary and ethical leadership that has made a tangible, positive difference within their organization or network. 
    • Empathetic: Lifts others while they climb and leads with empathy and soft skills. 


The application process is two-fold: we ask for a nomination application, followed by a nominee application. A nominator must apply in order for the nominee to receive an invitation to complete their form. Please note that completed applications must be submitted on time to be considered for this award. 

How it works: You may nominate yourself or someone else. That individual will then get notified to fill out a nominee profile. Filling out this profile is required to move to the final round of applicants. After the deadline, a committee will review all applicants and vote for the top 10 best applicants. Winners will be notified and informed about next steps. All honorees will be featured during a fully virtual campaign in November 2023 and the opportunity to participate in the 2024 Co-hort for Young American Leaders Program (YALP) hosted by Harvard Business School. 

Submission Timeline:  

  • Nominations Open: August 23, 2023 

  • Nominations Due: September 27, 2023  

Please note: Nominations for this award may be made by both Chamber member and non-member organizations. 

Once nominations are in: 

  • Nominee Due Date: Nominees must submit a nominee profile by October 6.

Submissions: All applications must be electronically submitted here.



Thank you to our City Awake sponsors!