Interview with Boston Pride’s Jessie DeStefano – Social Media Manager, Boston Pride Guide Co-Editor-in-Chief


Boston Pride Week will be held June 1 – June 10 and the Pride Committee is gearing up for lots of events, programs and festivities for the LGBTQ community and its allies. Pride Week culminates with the annual Pride Parade, New England’s largest continually operating parade that features 20,000 marchers, hundreds of floats and an estimated 500-thousand spectators that line the route from the Back Bay to the South End to Beacon Hill ending at City Hall Plaza where the Pride Festival takes place. O’Neill and Associates SVP Ann Murphy spoke to Pride Committee Member Jessie DeStefano who gave us an update on Boston Pride Week.

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

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

  • 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.


Former Chicago Bears QB Jim McMahon and Sports Broadcast Legend Bob Lobel to Headline 2018 New England Cannabis Convention



As Massachusetts prepares for the July 1, 2018 start of retail marijuana sales for recreational use, some businesses are already looking towards a green future. And, in a few short weeks, the most established and successful players will be under the same roof at the New England Cannabis Convention (NECANN) Boston 2018.

NECANN, the only B2B cannabis convention designed specifically to cater to New England companies and advocates, has grown dramatically since its first show in 2015. This year, the show will feature 225 vendors, over 100 speakers spread across 4 stages, and an expected attendance of over 6,000 visitors.

NECANN focuses on the established medical marijuana industry in Massachusetts, and the businesses that will soon drive the recreational marijuana industry here and in other parts of New England. This year’s featured speakers include former Chicago Bears QB Jim McMahon and revered sports broadcaster Bob Lobel in a panel discussion on using cannabis to treat sports injuries.

Check out the full release below and be sure to sign up for the premiere cannabis industry convention in New England.

Former Chicago Bears QB Jim McMahon and Sports broadcast legend Bob Lobel to headline 2018 New England Cannabis Convention in Boston

Treating sports injuries with marijuana and cannabis entrepreneurialism highlight NECANN trade show March 24-25th at Hynes Convention Center

Boston, Mass (March 1, 2018) – Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon and local Boston sports broadcast legend Bob Lobel are among the featured speakers that will highlight the 2018 New England Cannabis Convention in Boston, which returns to the Hynes Convention Center on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25.

“The cannabis industry in Massachusetts is expanding exponentially and the New England Cannabis Convention has grown three-fold from our first show in 2015,” said Marc Shepard, co-founder and President of NECANN.  “NECANN Boston 2018 will be the biggest cannabis industry event ever in New England, and the speakers, programming and vendor lineup represent the very best this industry has to offer.”

Over 200 vendors and more than 6,000 attendees are expected to attend the two-day NECANN Boston convention, one of the largest and most influential events of its kind in America. Other highlights include a panel discussion on alternative healing for U.S. military veterans; cannabis as the new cash crop for Massachusetts farmers; and the latest research and development advancements in the Bay State marijuana industry. The NECANN Boston show’s return to the Hynes Convention Center comes as retail sales of marijuana for recreational use are set to debut in Massachusetts on July 1, 2018.

McMahon, the irreverent former Chicago Bears quarterback and Super Bowl champion, will join Boston sports broadcasting legend Bob Lobel for the premiere of “The Doc and the Jocks” – a live panel discussion on the role of cannabis in treating sports-related injuries. Moderating the panel will be Dr. Uma Dhanabalan – a Natick-based family medicine practitioner and cannabis therapeutics expert.

“We like to say if it isn’t NECANN then it’s not New England, because we are relentlessly focused on promoting and serving cannabis entrepreneurs in this region,” said Jeff Lawrence, CEO of the New England Cannabis Convention and a NECANN co-founder. “But our mission is also educating the public and the business community about the economic potential of what we believe is the most important regulated industry to emerge in over a century.”

The New England Cannabis Convention is an essential hub for local businesses, investors and entrepreneurs to meet, network and grow. With the Massachusetts cannabis industry projected to reach $2 billion by 2020, programming for NECANN Boston 2018 will feature four separate tracks:

1) Marijuana as medicine

2) Local Cannabis legal, businesses, and investment news

3) Live demos on growing, cloning, making salves and tinctures, and more.

4) Cannabis career and entrepreneurial opportunities

Attendees can network with the over 200 local and national cannabis industry businesses, talk with doctors and health care providers, explore investment & career opportunities, connect with advocacy groups, see the latest developments in lighting, soil, and growing equipment, and purchase a wide variety of accessories. Every facet of the cannabis industry is represented at NECANN Boston 2018. A full list of exhibitors is available at

“Massachusetts has made a commitment to establishing a vibrant cannabis industry, and part of our job at NECANN is to help entrepreneurs work together as a community and keep a majority of the capital circulating locally,” said Shepard. “If we are working together, serving each other, hiring locally and building a business infrastructure for cannabis, then it really can be a $2 billion industry right here in New England.”


Since 2015, NECANN has hosted the largest, most comprehensive Cannabis Industry event series in the northeast.  Our 2018 schedule includes six conventions (Boston, Providence RI, Portland, ME, Northampton, MA, Burlington, VT, and Reno, NV), making it the largest series in the country as the legalization of recreational cannabis use in both Maine and Massachusetts bring ever greater national attention to New England.  Registration for NECANN events is available online at  A limited amount of tickets will also be sold on-site on the days of the shows.  The full programming schedule is available at

Media Contact

Brook O’Meara-Sayen

617-646-1029 (m) 617-987-7458

New Hire Spotlight: Welcome Ashley Lokken and Chase Schaub



O’Neill and Associates welcomes Ashley Lokken and Chase Schaub as two additions to our Boston office.

Ashley Lokken is an account coordinator in our public relations practice. In this capacity Ms. Lokken provides client support to the public relations team. Ms. Lokken also assists the company with day-to-day operations.

Before joining O’Neill and Associates Ms. Lokken was a legislative intern for State Representative Paul Brodeur at the Massachusetts State House. Previously, Ms. Lokken was a social media intern for The Esplanade Association and a communications intern for WGBH and the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Ms. Lokken graduated from Emerson College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. In college she was the social media director for Emerson’s student publication The Berkeley Beacon. She currently resides in East Boston.

Chase Schaub is an account executive within the O’Neill and Associates communications practice. In this capacity, Mr. Schaub provides client support, including messaging and branding, media relations, marketing, and social media strategy and implementation.

Mr. Schaub is an alumnus of O’Neill and Associates’ internship program, where he assisted the public relations division in creating social media content, conducting research, and drafting and distributing press releases.

Prior to joining O’Neill and Associates, Mr. Schaub was a Real Estate Portfolio Planning and Research intern at Fidelity Investments. At Fidelity, Mr. Schaub worked on a variety of projects including a “GenZ” real estate and workplace strategy.

Mr. Schaub will receive his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Communications from Boston College in May 2018 and will join the firm full time in June. Mr. Schaub is involved in the Marketing Academy, The Corcoran Center for Real Estate and Urban Action, and WZBC Sports Radio. He has also written for The Heights, Boston College’s student newspaper. Mr. Schaub currently resides in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.


O’Neill and Associates Expects the Positive Momentum in Boston to Continue with Mayor Walsh’s Second Term



Mayor Martin J. Walsh was sworn in to serve a second term.*


As Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh begins his second four year term, O’Neill and Associates expects the positive momentum in Boston to continue. We find ways to help the administration’s vision for the City while we work to advance our clients’ goals. January 1st was a historic day of pomp and circumstance as former Vice President Joe Biden was on hand as Mayor Walsh took the oath of office at the historic Cutler Majestic Theater on Tremont St.

Mayor Walsh impressed many insiders throughout the 2017 campaign. He chose not to simply rest on his laurels during the campaign, and showed a tenacious campaign spirit and an organized team in every ward and precinct throughout the City. The results spoke for themselves; Mayor Walsh garnered 66 percent of the vote in his reelection, and he sent a strong message that he is committed to his vision and leading this City into the 2020s.

Boston is a city on the move. Mayor Walsh helped bring General Electric’s world headquarters to the Fort Point Channel. This global corporate giant is already making an impact on the City through its charitable giving. It also has become a fan of the home team by flashing its logo on the jerseys of the Boston Celtics in a partnership in which it will provide the historic team with 21st century data analysis, and partner with the team to support community initiatives.

The development boom has continued and once completed, will be the biggest in the City’s history as Mayor Walsh aims to stabilize housing prices in a City that has continued to see its population rise. The Mayor also has also been praised for his accessibly, his modernization of City Hall and how it tracks progress and civic engagement, and the creation of over 70,000 new jobs.

The Mayor says that his second term will prioritize the implementation of ideas established in his first four years in office. Among the second term goals that Walsh laid out in his inauguration speech were stabilizing the City’s middle-class by improving school curriculums and school buildings, as well as creating more homeownership opportunities and assistance. He also announced an effort to help the most marginalized citizens by housing more homeless people and rebuilding the Long Island Bridge to support and assist those affected by the opioid crisis.

O’Neill and Associates respects the productive relationships we have with the Walsh Administration. The reach and results of our client engagements extend to Boston City Hall and municipal government because of our deep knowledge of the city and our skill sets with municipal relations. Whether it’s cutting through departmental requirements and procedures, earning key approvals at Boards like the Zoning Board of Appeals or Boston Licensing Board or traversing through the arduous processes of the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), O’Neill and Associates is prepared to help make Boston even better. We congratulate Mayor Walsh and look forward to more progress in 2018.

*Image from

Blink! 2017 at Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Faneuil Hall Marketplace’s annual Holiday Blink! show is captivating visitors from near and far. The new and improved Holiday Blink! lights up the Marketplace for five weeks from November 29 to January 1, 2018 and hosts a new series of weekly events called “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” for charity.  Faneuil Hall Marketplace continues the annual tradition of having the largest tree in the northeast, an 85-foot tree adorned with decorations, sparkling lights and synchronized to music to provide entertainment for visitors who want an authentic New England holiday experience.

Holiday Blink! was launched during a live television special on WBZ-TV, Ch. 4 on November 28th at 7:30 p.m. hosted by WBZ-TV news anchors Lisa Hughes and David Wade with special appearances from Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots, Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh, Boston Children’s Chorus, Blue Man Group and Santa.

On Saturdays, the new Holiday Blink! show features live music and dance parties for “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree for Charity”  where a different charity is the beneficiary of the day’s event.

This year, there are a few new twists to Blink! that has been redesigned to feature more lights that can morph into all colors of the spectrum, more sound with a variety of holiday songs being piped throughout the Marketplace.  Every day through January 1, 2018, the tree lights up at 4:30 p.m. with a light and sound show every half hour until 10 p.m.

On December 16th, the Upper Rotunda at Quincy Market will be transformed into a giant Candyland Playathon to benefit the nonprofit organization, Pitching In For Kids that supports children’s charities in New England. For $10 admission, you can play the popular children’s game board with hundreds of others and enjoy live entertainment, food from Faneuil Hall Merchants and every child will leave with a Hasbro toy!

On Saturdays, the new Holiday Blink! show features live music and dance parties for “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree for Charity”  where a different charity is the beneficiary of the day’s event.

On December 16th, the Upper Rotunda at Quincy Market will be transformed into a giant Candyland Playathon to benefit the nonprofit organization, Pitching In For Kids that supports children’s charities in New England. For $10 admission, you can play the popular children’s game board with hundreds of others and enjoy live entertainment, food from Faneuil Hall Merchants and every child will leave with a Hasbro toy!

Also appearing on December 16th and December 23rd, in addition to the live entertainment, there’s “Selfies with Santa” as Santa Claus greets visitors throughout the Marketplace taking photos from noon to 4 p.m.

If you are looking to do something on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, then Faneuil Hall Marketplace is just the spot for you.

Ring in the New Year on December 31st for an afternoon Dance Party with Karson from Mix 104.1 FM from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  But that’s not all!  The Marketplace is one of a dozen-plus sites around the Boston Waterfront to host ice sculptures for the Interactive Ice Sculpture Stroll in partnership with Boston Harbor Now, Friends of Christopher Columbus Park and the Wharf District Council.  Hop on the Blink! Bench which is perfect for family photos and selfies. You will be in for a treat with post-holiday sales at Faneuil Hall Marketplace shops, and lots of places to grab a bite to eat to usher in the New Year.  Be sure to catch the final shows of Blink! at the 85-ft holiday tree that run every half-hour from 4:30 – 10 p.m. through January 1, 2018.

Huzzah! The Midnight Harbor Fireworks return!  Start 2018 off with a spectacular fireworks show on New Year’s Eve at midnight with great viewing from the waterfront at Christopher Columbus Park, just a short walk from Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  For a complete schedule of all events at Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Blink! visit



Faneuil Hall Marketplace Announced Holiday Blink! Show and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” for Charity

Faneuil Hall Marketplace announced that it will be launching a new Holiday Blink! Show that will light up the Marketplace for five weeks beginning on November 29, 2017 and a new series of weekly events called “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” for charity. Faneuil Hall is continuing the annual tradition of having the largest tree in the northeast, with an 85-foot fir tree adorned with decorations, sparkling lights and synchronized to music to provide entertainment for visitors who want an authentic New England holiday experience.

A special preview of the all new Holiday Blink! show will be on Tuesday, November 28th at 7:30 p.m. for a live broadcast. The preview show will be hosted by WBZ-TV news anchors Lisa Hughes and David Wade, featuring holiday entertainment and the New England Patriots Holiday Toy Drive.

This year Blink! has been redesigned to feature more lights throughout the Marketplace that can morph into all colors of the spectrum and a variety of holiday songs that will be piped throughout the property with animation. Every day from November 29th to January 1st the tree will light up at 4:30 p.m. and every half hour will transform the Marketplace into a glittering spectacle of light and sound until 10 p.m. In addition, the new Holiday Blink! show will feature holiday tunes for sing-a-longs, dancing and outdoor entertainment both during the day and at night. The new “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” events for charity will be held on four Saturdays in December in partnership with CBS Radio in Boston and local charitable organizations.

Bridge Renamed to Honor Memory of the Arredondo Brothers

Arredondo Family Foundation Logo 1

On Thursday September 28th the Jamaica Way Bridge in Jamaica Plain was renamed the Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo & Brian Arredondo Memorial Bridge to honor the memory of the brothers. Alex Arredondo was killed on duty in Iraq in 2004 and his brother Brian was lost to suicide in 2011.

Governor Charlie Baker, State Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, parents Carlos Arredondo and Victoria Foley, step-mother Mélida Arredondo, family, friends and several state officials were on hand to celebrate the dedication of the bridge.

“We are honored to dedicate this bridge to the memory of Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo in recognition of his service to this nation and to his younger brother Brian, who displayed courage and bravery in the face of mental health challenges following his brother’s death,” said Governor Baker.  “This bridge will stand as an important reminder of the sacrifices made by our nation’s veterans and the families who support them in service.”

The bridge is the first in Massachusetts to be named in honor of someone lost to suicide. Carlos Arredondo, President and Co-founder of the Arredondo Family Foundation said, “This is a great honor. The memory of both of our sons continues to inspire us in the work we do today. We are especially grateful that through this bridge dedication, Massachusetts is acknowledging the sacrifice of our soldiers, veterans and their families, and recognizing the fact that suicide is occurring as well among military family members.” The Arredondo Family Foundation was established to provide help to veterans and their families dealing with suicide, grief and depression.

On April 15, 2013, Carlos and Mélida Arredondo were thrust into the global spotlight when Carlos helped to save the life of Jeff Bauman in the immediate moments after the Boston Marathon tragedy.  But their story – and the work they are doing to support the families of the fallen and military veterans – began many years before the Marathon bombing.

The Arredondo Family Foundation was established by Carlos and Mélida Arredondo in 2015.  The mission of the Arredondo Family Foundation is to empower military families in the prevention of military related suicides and to provide support through education, financial relief and support services.  On October 22nd, a number of individuals will run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC on behalf of the Arredondo Family Foundation.

A Faith That Does Justice to Host First Community Meeting Focused on Immigration

A new Boston nonprofit, A Faith That Does Justice Inc., is founded on a powerful idea –connecting people of good will to vulnerable populations will help transform society.

Founded by Fr. Peter W. Gyves, a Jesuit priest and doctor who was inspired by the example of the Jesuit priests he observed in El Salvador, the program seeks to build solidarity in three ways – by hosting workshops that allow people of different faiths to explore their common goals in human rights and social justice; by sponsoring community meetings that will bring speakers to Boston to highlight the challenges facing the poor and vulnerable around the world; and by pursuing a Faith in Action component, one element of which will be English as a Second Language classes.

AFTDJAt the first of the organization’s Community meetings, A Faith That Does Justice will welcome the Honorable Ruben Zamora, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the United Nations, as its first guest speaker. Zamora will be interviewed by Fr. Gyves, where they will discuss the increase of undocumented immigrants from Latin America into the United States, as seen from the perspective of a UN representative.

Ambassador Zamora has participated in the political sphere within El Salvador for the past 30 years, holding positions as member of the Legislative Assembly, candidate to the Presidency of the Republic (1994 and 2000), and Founder and Vice-President of the Democratic Revolutionary Front (FDR).

Fr. Gyves, who is bilingual, is a retired pediatrician who once worked in poor communities in El Salvador. Two years ago, he piloted AFTDJ in Barrio Logan, San Diego. This program focuses on faith lived in action on behalf of the most vulnerable among us. He took this approach to two groups, one that spoke English and the other Spanish. Both urged him to bring the groups together, which he did in January 2015.  From there, the idea of A Faith That Does Justice was born. It was then moved to Boston in September 2016 in order to reach out to its diverse population of people, many of whom have recently arrived in the United States.

The forum with Ambassador Zamora will take place on Tuesday, October 10th from 6:15 to 8:15 pm at Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.  If you are interested in attending A Faith That Does Justice’s community meeting with Ambassador Zamora, please rsvp at this link.