Mayor Michelle Wu has tapped John Borders IV, a Dorchester native who previously worked for the Boston Celtics, as her new director of tourism, sports and entertainment. He started the job Monday.
As head of the office of tourism, sports and entertainment, Borders IV is tasked with pulling events, conventions, festivals and meetings to the city. His office will work with Meet Boston, formerly known as the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, both private sector entities.
The office also oversees film and TV productions in the city.
Borders IV, who grew up off Blue Hill Avenue and now lives in Roslindale, sees the job as a combination of his areas of expertise, from relationship management and community engagement to sports and entertainment. “Being able to shift the narrative around Boston and what this city means, I would love to be a part of that,” he told the Reporter.
“For some people, Boston hasn’t always been the most welcoming and I hope my time in this seat won’t just change the narrative but really change the opportunities we have,” Borders IV said.
Boston sees more than 19 million visitors every year, according to Meet Boston, which recently unveiled a new marketing and advertising campaign pointing to not just the city’s five-star hotels and professional sports teams, but also the 23 neighborhoods, with residents who speak 76 languages.
“Boston is a city for everyone, with something special for every resident and every visitor to experience across our neighborhoods,” Wu said in a statement. “As Boston continues to grow and welcome people from around the globe, we look to center and highlight the vibrancy of our communities even more. I’m grateful to John for his commitment to serving our city and look forward to his leadership in ensuring that Boston is a welcoming and inclusive place for all."
Borders IV previously worked as principal at the consulting firm VTH & Madison, which focused on expanding and growing businesses, including startups and boutique brands, owned by people of color. He also worked for four years as senior manager of community engagement for the Celtics, and as an account executive for Everfi, which focused on dealing with education inequity through software.
Borders IV also worked within Gov. Deval Patrick’s education secretariat. He graduated from St. Sebastian's School in Needham and Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he first met and befriended Janelle Monae, who is now a singer and movie star. Borders IV recalls when they met she was going dorm to dorm, selling CDs out of her guitar case.
Borders IV reports to Segun Idowu, the mayor’s chief of economic opportunity and inclusion. “With a vision of revitalizing our communities and turning our neighborhoods into destinations, I know that John, as a son of Boston, will enhance our standing on the local and global stage,” Idowu said.
Borders IV takes the place of Kate Davis, who was hired in 2020 and last year left to serve as executive director of the Meet Boston Foundation and director of special projects for Meet Boston, according to her LinkedIn profile. Amy Yandle, a City Hall veteran, served as interim director between the tenures of Davis and Borders IV.