2018/2019 Faneuil Hall Marketplace Neighborhood Guide is Now Available!

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The 2018/2019 Faneuil Hall Marketplace Neighborhood Guide is now available and includes all the information you need to visit the historic marketplace including restaurants, pubs, cafes, retail shops, pushcarts, street performers and the world famous Food Colonnade. Hear more from Faneuil Hall Marketing Director Ed Hurley who talks about the new Guide with O’Neill and Associates SVP Ann Murphy, on “OA on Air.”

Intern Tengi on CEO Tom O’Neill Speaking to Students at Boston University

Tom O’Neill spoke at Boston University on Wednesday night to give advice to the next generation of hopeful diplomats and politicians. Mr. O’Neill spent the evening fielding questions from the members of Delta Phi Epsilon, one of the university’s  foreign service organization. He eloquently spoke on a range of topics including future political trends, the value of social media, and told stories of his career, including an anecdote from when he ran political campaigns at the age of 16 for his father, former Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. The students, who vary in major and class year, asked question after question in an attempt to learn as much information as possible about a man who has dedicated his life to politics.

As far as professional speaking events go, this one raised the bar for student expectations. The members sat engaged and excited as Mr. O’Neill spoke about his career and joked about his best angle for photographs. The students were captivated by his stories and insights,  leaving not a single moment to pass without a question or an answer. “Sorry I keep asking questions about social media,” one student said as she raised her hand yet again but Mr. O’Neill happily took her question as he did all the student’s questions.

Delta Phi Epsilon, which exists as a foreign service organization, holds professional lectures every semester, bringing in the best and brightest in a variety of fields. This semester’s speaker, Tom O’Neill is a man who transformed the public affairs industry. Once he began to speak, it became clear why he has managed to make such a tremendous impact on the industry. Mr. O’Neill captures your attention when he speaks. He is a thought-leader and a wealth of knowledge, experience, and guidance to all those he meets. As an intern at O’Neill and Associates, I have learned so much from him and the entire OA team. I look forward to continuing to grow and develop valuable skills working at O’Neill and Associates.

A Look Back At Our OA Team Members Who Ran The Boston Marathon!

With the Boston Marathon only days away, check out some of our OA team who have run in the past!

Marissa Sullivan, Account Executive (Pictured Left) 

Nairi Aprahamian, Vice President of Operations (Pictured Center) 

Tom O’Neill, Chief Executive Officer (Pictured Right with son Tom) 

Lindsay Toghill, Vice President

Matt Irish, Vice Chairman

Shelly O’Neill, Chief Operating Officer

National Braille Press Discusses Their Second Annual Tasting With A Twist

There’s an exciting dining experience coming up in Boston to benefit braille literacy, the second annual Tasting with a Twist, at the Hampshire House on April 26 at 6 p.m.  A braille reader guides guests through an interactive dinner with multiple courses as they use aroma, texture and taste to explore the evening’s menu blindfolded. It’s truly an unforgettable sensory dining experience to support the National Braille Press in their production of braille materials for the blind and visually impaired.

Braille books cost three to five times more to make than print books found in mainstream bookstores and online retailers. NBP is dedicated to ensuring equal access to books, educational materials, and technology guides by providing these materials at the same price as their print counterparts. NBP, the premier braille publisher, sparks and supports a lifetime of opportunity for blind children through braille literacy and provides access to information that empowers blind people to actively engage in work, family, and community affairs. Hear more about the Tasting with a Twist event as O’Neill and Associates SVP Ann Murphy talks to Joe Quintanilla of the National Braille Press.

 

St. Francis House Hosts A Sneaker Collection Drive to Celebrate One Boston Day

St. Francis HouseAs the City of Boston celebrates the fourth annual One Boston Day, St. Francis House (SFH) is partnering with John Hancock, hosting a citywide sneaker collection drive to benefit the St. Francis House Fresh Threads program for homeless men and women in need. The Fresh Threads Department at SFH that currently distributes 3,000 pairs of shoes each year to men and women who visit SFH. Citizens of Boston are asked to honor One Boston Day with a donation of new or lightly worn sneakers. Each pair of sneakers donated will directly benefit guests of SFH.

In addition to a collection drive on One Boston Day, Sunday, April 15, at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo at the Seaport World Trade Center, there are several collection sites throughout the city that are now accepting shoe donations. For further details visit www.stfrancishouse.org/onebostonday

  • St. Francis House, 39 Boylston Street
  • Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Square
  • Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel, 110 Huntington Avenue
  • Dr. Martens, 201 Newbury Street, #1
  • Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, 138 St. James Avenue
  • Marathon Sports Boston, 671 Boylston Street

In addition, on One Boston Day:

  • The John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo, Seaport World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Boulevard

One Boston Day serves as an opportunity for the city – and its citizens – to celebrate the resiliency, generosity, and strength demonstrated by the city of Boston and those around the world in response to the tragic events on April 15, 2013.

 

CEO Thomas P. O’Neill III on the Federal Court System

220px-thomas_p_oneill_iiiDear Friend,
Last week saw the exit of yet another high profile Trump administration official. The departure of David Shulkin, Secretary of Veteran Affairs, was no surprise after weeks of damaging headlines and rumored controversy between him and President Trump. Secretary Shulkin is one of a long list of senior officials to be ousted – the latest act of a President who seems to take actions as a means of distraction, drawing attention away from the fact that this administration is accomplishing little of what it campaigned on.
While the media stay transfixed by the weekly cascade of firings, turmoil, and policy fits and starts of this administration, one area where the conservative agenda has moved forward with efficiency is the Federal judiciary. President Trump inherited an unusual number of court vacancies, including many judicial emergencies that required immediate attention. Those vacancies existed because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used a variety of procedures to delay or prevent confirmation of virtually all of President Obama’s judicial nominees. In contrast, under the GOP-led Senate, President Trump has moved quickly to fill federal seats across the country. In fact, this President has appointed more appellate judges in his first year than any president before him. Confirmations are moving fast, but not all are assured. In a few instances, the president’s nominees were so unqualified the Senate was compelled to force their withdrawal.
This ability to flood the federal courts with conservative appointees will impact US public policy for years to come as federal judges are entitled to hold their positions for life. Generations of Americans will be affected if these nominees refuse to recognize the protections organized labor provides working men and women, that love is love no matter your gender, and that women have the right to make decisions about their bodies free from government interference. Presidents come and go, but federal judicial rulings transcend elections.
With the significant shift to the right in the courts, I believe it is more important now than ever to embrace the empowered civil commitment of our youth. Throughout our nation’s history, and especially at our most pivotal moments, it has been young people who have answered the call and taken a position at the forefront of progress. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights movement, but the involvement of young Americans, black and white, were the engine of his force for change. Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of his assassination. Reflecting on his legacy I am reminded of his message that, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” The recent success of the #MarchForOurLives and the many student walk-outs confirm the next generation will again force change. Their political courage has fostered substantive discussion about gun control and even influenced the passage of the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 – increasing funding to further secure schools against gun violence as part of the recent bipartisan Omnibus Bill passed by Congress.
On the night of Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, Presidential candidate Senator Robert Kennedy said, “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.”
This call to action rings as true today as it did 50 years ago. The youth will again lead us forward.
Sincerely,
Tom O’Neill

Legislature Considers Options on Short-Term Rentals

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By Vice President Lindsay Toghill

There are many challenges for state government as new technologies become incorporated into everyday life. Last session, the Massachusetts Legislature came to an agreement on regulation of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft after ongoing concerns about public safety.  This session, the issue of Short Term Rentals (STR) like Airbnb has become a significant priority for the Legislature as it considers lost lodging revenue and public health and safety.

The discussion has been complicated by competing interests and proposals. Governor Charlie Baker made it very clear that he is interested in addressing the issue this session by including regulation and taxation in both his Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019 budget proposals. While these inclusions do not have the force of a stand-alone bill, his interest has not gone unnoticed in the Legislature.

The House of Representatives passed a bill in late March that took an expansive view on regulation and taxation of this new industry. The bill creates a tiered taxation structure based upon the number of days and type of lodging offered, as well as requirements for a state registry and enhanced public health and safety measures. It also allows expanded municipal oversight and regulation, as well as enhanced insurance requirements for each rental unit.

The just-released Senate response contains many earlier themes with a significant focus on the potential revenue possible if STR units were taxed in the same manner and rates as conventional hotels. This bill, redrafted by the Senate Ways and Means committee looks at the benefit of expanding taxation on STR transactions as well as various online resellers such as Hotels.com and the conventional realtor industry.  By offering a very lean bill, the Senate allows for expansion of online technology in the tourism industry, while most notably allowing municipalities to regulate short-term rentals according to the specific needs and interests of their community. This bill was considered by the full Senate on Wednesday, April 4th.

It is expected that the two bills will be considered and combined into a final version by a legislative Conference Committee before the de-facto end of the legislative session on July 31. With much at stake in this new industry and in our communities, this issue will likely set the tone for future disruptive technologies in Massachusetts.

Facebook’s Data Breach Raises Concerns in the Digital Media World

Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

Last year Facebook measured 240 million monthly active users in the US, each of whom provided the tech giant with a trove personal information scattered through cookies, tracking pixels, status updates, GPS check-ins,  and other widely employed data-harvesting methods. Of that 240 million, few probably stopped to think about where their data was being was being stored, who had access to it, and how it might be used. Now, that lack of transparency is causing major headaches at Facebook HQ.

Facebook was recently confronted with allegations that social media monitoring firm Cambridge Analytica harvested the personal data of 50 million of its users. Cambridge Analytica then used the data on behalf of the Trump campaign to create targeted political ads and media campaigns in the 2016 presidential election. Users, largely unaware that this data was being collected, let alone utilized, now contend their privacy was violated.

Facebook responded to the reports and denied a data breach, saying it gave permission to Aleksandr Kogan, a professor at the University of Cambridge, to gain information from users who took his personality test via an app: “thisisyourdigitallife.” Though Kogan was allowed to access the information, sharing it with Cambridge Analytica for commercial purposes crossed a line.

This latest scandal has sparked discussion over whether targeted political ads with a skeptical relationship with the truth have reached the point of interference with the principles of democracy. When Internet users see ads on social media, the ads are unique to their browsing history and tailored to their likes, dislikes, and a myriad of other data points collected by Facebook. The ad content is strategically positioned to persuade users, sometimes including biased political sentiments and misinformation that represents a user or group of users’ world view rather than objective fact. In this way Cambridge Analytica was able to influence users’ voting attitudes with personal data they had acquired.

The news of this data breach has reached lawmakers on a state and federal level. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy recently said her office will conduct an investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Last week, top Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee–Senators John Thune (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Jerry Moran (R-KS)–stated  Mark Zuckerberg needed to testify. Additionally, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Mark Warner (D-VA),  tried to reinforce their Honest Ads Act legislation, which aims to hold tech companies to the same political ad transparency standards as radio, TV and print outlets.

The investigations, hearings, and legislation that come out of this data breach must be watched closely. Much of the internet is still seen as a digital ‘Wild West’ with few regulations and a lot of digital marketing is still largely misunderstood. As people begin to take a closer look at what goes on behind the newsfeed, the next couple of weeks will be pivotal for determining the future of social media and digital marketing as a whole.

Image provided by Chesnot / Getty Images

The Family Pantry of Cape Cod Sees Rise in Clients Following Back to Back Nor’Easters

By: Tom O’Neill 

downloadAs we await the arrival of the fourth Nor’easter this month, it is critical to keep in mind the devastating effects this winter weather has had on our neighbors and the increased damage that may result from more winter storms. Areas such as Cape Cod are especially prone to additional damage following extreme cold, high winds, prominent flooding, and days of power outages caused by back to back storms.

During the difficult times, many in the area are turning to the Family Pantry of Cape Cod for assistance. As Cape Cod’s largest food pantry, it serves over 9,300 clients and in 2017 alone distributed over 73,000 bags of groceries and over 30 tons of gently-used clothing. Year-to-date the number of clients the pantry serves is up 11 percent and new clients are up 7 percent largely due to the onslaught of storms and January’s brutal cold snap. Many times those who find themselves tight on funds will lower the heat in their homes in an effort to reduce spending. However, January’s bitter temperatures reached historic lows forcing many families to spend more on heating to keep pipes from freezing.

With services in high demand and the pantry in its quietest months for donations, Family Pantry of Cape Cod finds itself low on resources to provide essential services. Over the past month the pantry has been forced to cancel two mobile pantry deliveries and two food distributions due to severe weather. Tomorrow’s distribution remains in question.

As the snow begins to fall tomorrow please keep the Family Pantry of Cape Cod and all those they serve in your thoughts. We hope you will consider making a donation.

The Ireland Funds Hosts its 26th Annual National Gala

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On Wednesday, March 14, The Ireland Funds, a global fundraising network for people of Irish ancestry and friends of Ireland, hosted its 26th Annual National Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. The event symbolized the strong and lasting relationship between Ireland and the U.S. The Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, addressed over 750 guests at the gala, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and 25 members of Congress as well as Irish and Irish American leaders in business, government, the media, and the arts.

At the O’Neill and Associates’ table, COO Shelly O’Neill and Vice Chairman John Cahill hosted Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), and former Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA). This year’s gala recognized the work of two Irish-American Congressmen – Representative Richard Neal (D-MA-1) and Representative Peter King (R-NY-2), Chairs of the Friends of Ireland Caucus in Congress. The celebration also honored Anne Finucane, Vice Chair, Bank of America and Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions.

In his remarks, Congressman Neal passionately reaffirmed the enormous commitment embodied in the historic Good Friday Agreement. Prime Minister Varadkar received a standing ovation for his speech on the shared values of Ireland and encouraged people to strive for peace and reconciliation at all levels in Northern Ireland.

The gala raised over $1 million that will benefit a variety of causes in Ireland.