Tiziana Dearing, Chief Executive Officer of Boston Rising
Boston Rising is an antipoverty fund. Our mission is to end the cycle of poverty in Boston by clearing the way for the Rising Class. We do two things: we catalyze resources and we invest for huge impact.
Please share with us how you got involved with Boston Rising ( as well as the other notable charitable organizations you’ve spearheaded: Catholic Charities, Hauser Center for Non-Profits)?
I knew from the beginning of my career that I wanted to work in nonprofits at least once, if not more. I grew up in a family full of entrepreneurs (my father started a business with 7 children and an 8th on the way), but also full of volunteers and people who cared about social justice. My first job out of college was in microlending in Chicago. After a stint in Fortune 100 consulting, it was clear to me that I wanted to work with organizations whose missions were socially focused. That brought me back to nonprofits, and eventually, senior leadership in places like the Hauser Center, then Catholic Charities, and now Boston Rising.
There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.
My day starts with my kids. Depending on the day of the week, it may include getting them ready for school and walking them, or handing them off to our nanny while they are still in their PJ’s eating breakfast. I spend my day in a combination of meetings that include usually one or two internal operations conversations, at least two networking/fundraising meetings, some writing, and two or three nights a week, an event. At home at night, it’s back to motherhood, preparing lunches, schedules, backpacks, etc. for the next day.
What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?
My iPhone, for sure. I use the Google Maps app a ridiculous amount. I also thrive on TweetDeck for my laptop. My laptop is a good quality Windows tablet. Wouldn’t trade it.
What are your tricks for time management?
An outstanding assistant to help me with it, for one. I think that’s actually really important. You have to have someone who has your back. Blocked time to focus when I have work product to create, too. Otherwise, if you aren’t careful, your day can be absorbed in meetings.
What was the best advice you received when you started your career?
Always seek out mentors. I always have, and it makes a huge difference.
Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of Boston Rising for short term and long term growth?
Building awareness comes from a combination of the strength of your ideas, constant networking at all levels of the organization (meaning all of our staff build networks), and good early impact. Our long-term growth comes from sustained fundraising efforts, combined with building and deserving constant trust with the people we seek to support.
What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?
I guess I don’t really think that way. I feel like I have accomplished very little in my life that I did truly on my own. It’s almost always a group effort, and I think a successful entrepreneur, or any successful leader, remembers that and stays focused there.
How do you achieve balance in your life?
For me, the key is remembering that you absolutely can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once. So what’s important now? What was yesterday’s gift, and what can wait until tomorrow? Being at peace with those trade-offs is critical to finding balance, I believe.
Your top 3 book recommendations?
They change over time. Right now? Probably:
- Destiny of the Republic by Candace Millard
- Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?
I serve on several nonprofit boards, in addition to running a nonprofit. I consider the whole field rewarding.
Who has influenced your career the most?
A long-time mentor and friend named Fr. Bryan Hehir. He has been an academic, spiritual and professional guide throughout the years. I respect him deeply.
What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is an unstable existence. You have to enjoy the ride. You also have to find other parts of life to provide you some stability. I learned a long time ago that all the parts can’t be moving at the same time. Fix one or two in place, and then the rest can be in flux. What can you tolerate being in flux for you? What needs to be stable and in place?
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BOSTON RISING