Helene is a Woman of FIRE. Now, tell me something we don’t already know.

Banker & Tradesman made it official this week when they named Helene among this year’s distinguished Women of FIRE, honoring the most talented, ambitious, innovative and philanthropic female leaders in the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors.

I am thrilled to see her acknowledged for what I have always known and most admire about Helene: her fiery passion to do work that matters and her fiery commitment to issues that matter to her. Those attributes have fueled her successful career in Boston. I have witnessed them daily as we have worked side by side for 23 years.

Even before I first met Helene, she demonstrated passion and courage as a young transplant from New York, learning how things got done in the City of Boston when she worked in Kevin White’s administration.

I still don’t believe this, but Helene said she was shy early in her career and running for office twice – for Boston City Council and State Representative – cured her of said shyness.

She has built three successful businesses: her own agency, another that I was part of for 10 years and Solomon McCown, our business together.

I think what Helene and I have in business and in life is rare. We are business partners and great friends and from our more than two decades together I have taken some valuable lessons from her:

  • Build and nurture relationships. They will sustain you intellectually and emotionally. They will challenge you when you need to be challenged. They can be a feeder for business and for inspiration and connections.
  • Find your passion—in business and in life.
  • Maintain the courage of your convictions—especially in trying times.
  • Push yourself outside your comfort zone: it’s how you grow and find out what you are truly capable of.

While the tools and technology we use in our trade have changed over the years: gone are the days of faxing and mailing press releases to reporters and pasting up new clips, these lessons are timeless and should fuel the next generation of Women of FIRE, one of whom may even be amongst us here at SM&.

Congratulations, Helene! We are so proud and happy for you.