Mayor Martin J. Walsh looked across the hotel ballroom at a sea of white faces.

And then he took to the podium at the business breakfast and devoted more than a third of his annual address to a subject that rarely gets openly discussed in these circles: race in corporate Boston.

He challenged business leaders at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce event to do a better job of confronting Boston businesses’ lack of diversity — and to assemble a workforce and leadership teams that are more reflective of the city’s demographics.

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