Newsmakers: A wealth manager, a ‘mermaid’ and more

Editor’s note: Newsmakers is a new weekly feature spotlighting accomplishments of Newton community members, businesses and organizations.

Newton wealth management advisor named to Forbes ‘Top Women Wealth Advisors’ list

Jenna Carroll, a Merrill Lynch wealth management advisor in Newton, was named to the 2024 Forbes “Top Women Wealth Advisors Best-in-State” list for the third year in a row.

Carroll joined Merrill Lynch in 1999 and has over two decades of industry experience advising high-net-worth families and individuals on how to successfully manage their finances and grow their wealth. She is a graduate of St. Michael’s College in Vermont and has an MBA from the UMass Amherst. She also earned the CFP® certification awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. and recently obtained the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) designation.  In addition to family activities, Carroll is an avid downhill skier and is learning to surf. The Forbes ranking is based on criteria such as assets under management, industry experience and the adoption of best practices.

Jenna Carroll, Merrill Lynch wealth management advisor in Newton. Courtesy Photo

Newton’s Monica Risi starring in production of ‘Mermaid’

Chestnut Hill actor Monica Risi stars in Moonbox Productions’ New England premier of David Valdes, Mermaid Hour.

Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary, Mermaid Hour will run from April 26 through May 19 at Arrow Street Arts, 2 Arrow St., Cambridge.

Tickets are $55 for premium center section seating and $45 for regular seating with Pay-What You-Wish options available at

Mermaid Hour is a coming-of-age comedy in which the parents, not the teenagers, need to learn how to change. For Pilar and Bird, parenting a trans tween is all about guessing how to get it right when they’re not even sure what that means—and it doesn’t help that they’re not on the same page. She just wishes they would keep up: she’s busy navigating her first crush on super-cool Jacob, obsessing over her favorite YouTube vlogger, and just about ready to make herself an internet sensation. Fast-paced and heartfelt, Mermaid Hour finds all three confronting the gaps between who they are and who they wish to be.

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Chestnut Hill actor Monica Risi stars in Moonbox Productions’ New England premier ‘Mermaid Hour.’ Courtesy Photo

First cement poured at Cooper Active Living Center

A few weeks ago, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the Cooper Active Living Center, a senior community center set to open in late 2025 and named after local legend and community icon Audrey Cooper.

Last week, the construction crew marked another milestone and poured the first cement for the project.

“It was a bit chilly, but the crews kept the rebar and forms tucked in their blankets overnight to make sure we get a high quality pour,” said Josh Morse, public buildings commissioner.

Construction crew pours the first cement for the Cooper Active Living Center, a senior community center. Photo by Newton Buildings Commissioner Josh Morse

The Second Step in Newton gets $2 million gift

MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving is giving $2 million to The Second Step in Newton, one of the Yield Giving Open Call’ awardees who work with people and in places experiencing the greatest need in the United States.

The Second Step provides help to individuals and families across Eastern Massachusetts who have experienced violence with a wide range of services, including safety planning, legal representation, counseling, peer support, transitional housing and more.

Focusing on trauma-informed healing, The Second Step works with survivors and their families to achieve long-term independence, safety and stability.

“We are thrilled with this gift from Yield Giving,” The Second Step Executive Director Susan Ross said. “Domestic violence is often a hidden issue. This tremendous investment in the work we do to help survivors gain safety and stability is not only transformative programmatically, it also tells survivors that they are important, that they deserve the support and commitment this wonderful grant provides.”

The Second Step logo. Courtesy Photo