Business 100 - 2013

Kathleen L. Flanagan/Abt Associates

Since becoming president and CEO of Abt Associates in 2009, Kathleen L. Flanagan has more than doubled the size of the firm to a $550 million company with 2,700 employees worldwide. She joined Abt in 1983 and is the company’s first female CEO. Prior to her 2009 appointment, she was group vice president for U.S., business, and has worked with clients such as the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, HUD, the World Bank and USAID over her 30 years at Abt.

Born in Syracuse, New York, Kathleen is a third-generation Irish American on both parents’ sides. She holds an MS in public policy and a BA in economics and political science from the University of Rochester, and is a member of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum. Of her Irish heritage, Kathleen says she grew up with a deep sense of the spirit of Céad Míle Failte, which helped define her approach to business. “Everyone has something to contribute,” she says, “and I want to hear what they have to say.” She and her husband, Larry Orr, have two daughters.