Meet 5 Boston Men Who Positively Impact the World

By Lisa Pierpont | April 3, 2018 | People Feature

Boston men have swagger... always have. 2018 is proving to be seminal for a special group of overachievers who spend each day focused on improving the world.

GORDON HAYWARD

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Shirt, $155, by Hugo Boss at Neiman Marcus, Copley Place; jeans, jacket and shoes, Hayward’s own.

Oh, my God! That was the biggest reaction to Gordon Hayward’s excruciating injury during his first game with his dream team, the Boston Celtics. It was only six minutes in... after signing a four-year, $128 million contract. The hotshot from Indiana suddenly had a different kind of battle to conquer—finding the courage to get back out onto the court. Practice sessions are now within his reach.

“I always loved basketball. Being on the basketball court and winning with my team is one of the greatest feelings I have. This injury, I mean, I have never been through anything like this in my life. You go from excelling at a really advanced level to concentrating all [your] efforts just to do a calf raise. An experience like this changes you. My wife and I took some hospital visits. I was really down and having dark thoughts, but we visited kids who were really going through terrible illnesses. It put things in perspective. I know I can and will be an inspiration for people. Twenty-eighteen will be my year. I will be back on the court.”

GEOFFREY VON MALTZAHN

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Sanita plaid wool-blend two-button sport coat, $3,225, by ISAIA; Pinpoint cotton Oxford cloth dress shirt, $395, by Cifonelli; superslim five-pocket jean, $395, by PT05; burnished leather blucher 450 boots by private label; all at Barneys New York.

In German, “von” means nobility. Geoffrey von Maltzahn grew up in Texas, not Germany, but he delivers on the expectations of his name with a résumé that can only be described as majestic. The 37-year-old Ph.D. graduate of MIT, entrepreneur and CEO has co-founded multiple companies. He’s an inventor on some 200 patent applications and patents, and he’s a partner at Flagship Pioneering, a startup incubator and venture firm. No, he does not sleep.

“I have never been motivated by conventional definitions of success. To me, the most interesting version of the future is one that’s totally different from the present—and better in all sorts of ways. My work spans biology, engineering and entrepreneurship in industries as diverse as health care and agriculture. A focus of my work now is in the microbiome—a term describing the trillions of ‘good’ microbes that live in our gut. There are applications in agriculture too. 2018 will be a year of scaling up these ideas onto a million acres of farmland and through clinical trials for new therapeutics.”

SHUN NG

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Sibyl pearl and disk bead bracelet, $250, by M. Cohen; hematite beaded bracelet, $125, and smoky quartz beaded bracelet, $125, both by private label; all at Barneys New York, Copley Place. Clothes and necklace, Ng’s own.

There’s something called “presence” in showbiz. When musician, composer and singer Shun Ng walks into a room, heads turn. The Berklee College of Music graduate has style, sure (brocade blazer, anyone?). He’s got talent, of course. But it’s his charisma that has him picking up fans wherever he travels.

“I grew up on the sunny island of Singapore. I was training to be a national gymnast but always dreaded the rigorous training regime. One day, my friend brought a guitar into the gym and it caught my attention. I started to see the world through music. I’ve performed in front of 40,000 people at the Youth Olympics. The most memorable performance was the recent Santa Monica show where legendary producer Quincy Jones presented me. I am releasing two solo albums [one with J. Geils’ harmonica player, Richard Salwitz, and another with drummer Leslie Mok]. I want to use music to connect people from all different walks of life in a genredefying way.” Shun will be performing in The Verb Hotel at Hojoko with Lesley Mok April 3 at 7:30pm.

HARRY SETIAN

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Clothes, Setian’s own.

His lips are zipped. That is definitely a clue to the caliber of pro athletes and celebrities whom Mr. Harry Setian has bedecked and bejeweled. His priority is to honor their confidentiality. With his estimate of tens of millions in sales in 2017 at his Downtown Crossing store, Boston Jewelry Exchange, his approach to selling fine jewelry and watches is paying off. Although Setian started in the car business, his eye for top-tier jewels was undeniable. This year, a second location for Boston Jewelry Exchange is in the works. We can only imagine how high the million-dollar mark is set for 2018.

“You can say watches and jewelry are my calling. My collection includes $500,000 watches and large gemstones, mostly diamonds. Words really can’t describe our jewelry. Some products are custom, rare or often limited-edition pieces to satisfy any buyer. I am always traveling. This week, I am off to Hong Kong. We also do a lot of business catering to celebrities, musicians and, of course, many athletes. I’ve been blessed to meet some very influential and prominent individuals in my career.”

DR. MICHAEL RICH

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Pants, $375, by PT01; sweater, $795, by Ami; chukka boot, $545, by Tod’s; all at Barney’s New York, Copley Place.

You could never accuse Dr. Michael Rich of sitting still. He’s spent a good chunk of his life traveling the world, living in Asia, working with director Akira Kurosawa on the film Kagemusha, becoming a doctor and founding an institution examining perhaps one of the biggest public health challenges humans have faced: social media. If his past is any indication, Dr. Rich will figure something out in a big way.

“I spent 12 years in the film industry, working as a screenwriter and documentarian. I was privileged to apprentice as an assistant film director in Japan to Akira Kurosawa. When I returned to the U.S., I realized our film industry had little interest in changing hearts and minds. I am a pediatrician, and my work is listening to and really hearing young people. [I founded] the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital, an academic research center whose mission is to educate and empower children and those who care for them to create and consume media in ways that optimize health and development. Twenty-eighteen is when the tech-lash will evolve into problem-solving.”

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Photography by Eric Levin. Styling by Alisa Neely

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