Kathryn R. Burton

Kathryn R. Burton

Diocesan Representative

Kathryn R. Burton Kathryn R. Burton

BA’98, DCL'23 (Vind)

Kathryn R. Burton has built an exemplary career path with social and cultural impact. A prominent public figure in Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Burton has distinguished herself as an exceptional leader and administrator, notably during the pandemic. Born in the United States, Burton is a member of the Gesgapegiag Mi’kmaw community in Gaspé, Que., spent her formative years in Eskasoni (N.S.), and has family in Membertou (N.S.), Millbrook (N.S.) and Listuguj. (Que.). She attended King’s as a Dr. Carrie Best Scholar.

Now a Partner at Sparks Street Capital in Boston, Burton was Chief of Staff to Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh from March 2020 until Walsh was appointed Secretary of Labour in the administration of United States President Joe Biden in 2021. Walsh is now the Executive Director of the NHL PA. Burton was the first Indigenous person to hold a cabinet-level position in Boston’s history of governance. In partnership with Mayor Walsh, Burton is esteemed for the exceptional leadership she provided to the city and people of Boston during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic. In an article in The Boston Globe, Mayor Walsh described Burton as “someone who is smart and driven,” and who has a “commitment to common sense solutions.”

Prior to her position with the City of Boston, Burton served as Chief of Staff to Steve Grossman, State Treasurer of Massachusetts, managing his successful state-wide election campaign. The magnitude of her responsibilities and accomplishments in those roles led to her position in the administration of Mayor Walsh. She was a senior official in the Barbara Lee Family Foundation supporting and electing women in politics and she served on an advisory panel created by former Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker to guide decision making on the reopening of the Massachusetts economy in 2020.

Burton has consulted for Harvard’s Institute of Politics and the Association of Marshall Scholars and served as Vice-Chair of the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy Board, where she played a leading role in the negotiation of a new multi-party funding agreement. She presently serves on the President’s Council of the Boston Children’s Museum and as a Board member of the Canadian American Business Council, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, issues-oriented organization dedicated to fostering dialogue between the public and private sectors in the US and Canada.

Burton’s readiness to share her time and expertise with those with whom she makes common cause includes King’s, where she is a member of the college’s recently formed Mawaknutma’tnej (Mi’kmaw and Indigenous Circle). In this role and as a loyal alum, Burton is sharing her vision and leadership experience as a socially-engaged public figure—along with her understanding of the challenges facing Mi’kmaw youth—to support the university’s work to offer a positive learning environment for Indigenous students and a welcoming workplace for Indigenous faculty and staff.