Blog Post Banner: Q&A With New Board Member Ann Merrifield

IINE is thrilled to welcome Ann Merrifield to our Board of Directors. With decades of board experience at both public and private companies, a successful career in the life sciences sector, and a deep dedication to supporting those in need, Ann will play a key role in our organization’s continued growth.  

Ann joins our board at an exciting and busy time. We recently completed fiscal year 2023, serving a record 10,047 clients – more than double the number we served the previous year. As Massachusetts and New Hampshire continue to be enriched by the arrival of refugees and immigrants, IINE is committed to providing these new community members with the support and resources they need to succeed.  

We recently spoke with Ann to learn more about her shared commitment to our mission, how she defines an effective board member, and what she is looking forward to most in this new role.  

Can you share a bit about yourself? 

I was born and raised in southern Maine. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Zoology and a Master of Education from the University of Maine, and then an M.B.A. from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College. Shortly after, in 1982, I moved to Boston, and I have been here ever since! My husband and I raised our three children on Beacon Hill. We have a long history with the city and feel lucky to call it home.  

In terms of my career, my first role after coming to Boston was at Bain & Company, a management consulting firm. I stayed there for more than a decade, ultimately becoming a Partner, before moving to Genzyme Corporation. At the time, it was a fledgling biotech company. During my 18 years there, I had multiple roles, including leading global business strategy and operations for the Biosurgery division, and helping develop a start-up genetic diagnostics business. It was a wonderful organization and culture, and being able to help so many people from a healthcare perspective was truly a highpoint of my career. Since retirement, I have primarily been engaged with board work, supporting a number of life sciences and nonprofit organizations.  

Tell us about your journey to the International Institute of New England.  

As a small-town kid from Maine, joining global companies such as Bain and Genzyme really expanded my perspective. I had a chance to travel around the world and meet people from backgrounds very different from my own. That helped me form a more global point of view.  

The first time I learned of IINE was when the organization honored Henri Termeer, a Dutch immigrant and CEO of Genzyme, at the Golden Door Award gala. I became more familiar with IINE through Zoltan Csimma, who oversaw human resources at Genzyme, and would become IINE’s Board Chair for many years. With each event I attended and conversation I had, I became increasingly impressed by IINE’s incredible work and impact. I became a member of the Leadership Council and stayed engaged in that way until this year, when I took on the role of a board member.    

What do you consider the most important contributions of a board member? 

Naturally, there are governance and fiduciary responsibilities. IINE is very well-run and effective in those areas, so I think the most important aspect of my role as a board member becomes the advisory responsibility – helping IINE remain focused on its mission and its future. It has been exciting to take on this role while IINE is in the midst of developing a new strategic plan and preparing to increase its investment in private philanthropy. I have been so impressed by how IINE has risen to challenges over the years. Ensuring we can continue to weather any storms that come our way requires strong fundraising, and I am looking forward to supporting this work.  

I think IINE has done a commendable job of assembling a board of very talented individuals with diverse experiences and perspectives. It creates a robust dialogue. I’m looking forward to bringing my career perspective and philanthropy expertise to bear on our work as a group.  

What excites you most about IINE’s future? 

I’m a lifelong learner, so more than anything, I’m excited to learn! IINE’s business model is very complex, in terms of the multiple funding streams. Everyone has worked incredibly hard to get IINE to the level of impact it has reached today, where the organization is serving thousands of refugees and immigrants. I look forward to learning from my fellow board members and IINE leadership.  

What inspires your philanthropy? 

My sister and I were raised by an incredible mom, who supported our family on her own as a dedicated schoolteacher. With my family’s support, as well as a number of wonderful opportunities and scholarships, I was able to succeed. I feel very fortunate, and it’s important for me to give back, to help others find opportunities and success, too.  

IINE’s Board of Directors includes corporate and community leaders from across New England. View our members and leadership team here.