WEST's 20th Anniversary/12th Annual Awards Celebration

On September 23, 2020, the community of Women in the Enterprise of Science & Technology
(WEST) will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of WEST. The event will honor those whose vision has helped WEST advance its mission to serve the community and make a difference by supporting the advancement of the careers of women. The event will have networking, a fireside chat with Sandra Glucksmann, and our 12th annual awards.

The awards will honor those who exemplify the mission of WEST. The two key award categories this year will be Making a Difference in the Community (examples: running non-profit, helping in a soup kitchen, volunteering with animals) and Making a Difference for Women (examples: supporting women, mentoring, championing diversity). We will also honor WEST volunteers and supporters whose dedication and outreach efforts help WEST advance its mission.

WEST is devoted to supporting women at all stages of their careers by offering the tools, insights, and networking connections to promote their career advancement and build leadership skills. We would be honored to have your support in helping us celebrate the achievements of women in the Cambridge and greater Boston ecosystem!


Making a Difference in the Community Awardees

  • Bonnie Bertolaet, Science Club for Girls
  • Heather F. Cole, Danforth Advisors
  • Hilary Lucier, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center
  • Elena Spencer, Pfizer & Kelly Clark, Biogen

Making a Difference for Women Awardees

  • Barbara Fox, Rheos Medicines
  • Evelynn M. Hammonds, Harvard University
  • Alexa Harris, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
  • Werner Meier, Revitope Oncology
  • Jodie Morrison, Cadent Therapeutics
  • Juliana Soto-Girón, Solarea Bio
  • Success Circles Peer Mentorships Steering Committee, Takeda
  • Jane Wilkinson, Broad Institute at Harvard & MIT

WEST Volunteers and Supporters

  • Rita B. Allen, Rita B. Allen Associates
  • Leah Cole, Sanofi
  • Shreosi Ghosh, LifeMine Therapeutics
  • Phyllis Ottaviano, Voyager Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Alice (Chiyu) Zhang, Boston University College of Communication


Stay tuned for some more exciting 20th anniversary activities including blog posts highlighting 20 years of WEST with 20 stories.


Date and Time:
September 23, 2020
6:00 - 8:00 PM

Evening’s Schedule
6:00-6:10 Welcome, Acknowledgement of Sponsors, Opening Remarks
6:10-6:25 Networking
6:25-6:45 20th Anniversary Keynote, History
6:45-7:00 Making a Difference for Women Awardees
7:00-7:15 Networking
7:15-7:25 WEST’s 2019-2020 Accomplishments and Plans for 2020-2021
7:25-7:35 Making a Difference in the Community Awardees
7:35-7:45 WEST’s Volunteers/Supporters Awardees
7:45-7:50 Closing Remarks
7:50-8:00 Optional Networking


$5 for Members, $15 for non-members, $135 for 10 tickets, $250 for 20 tickets

Cancellation Policy:
All programs are non-refundable.

Download Event Flyer


Register Here


Become a sponsor and contribute to a great cause. For more information, email [email protected] or call 857-600-2598.   


Thank You to Our Event Sponsors  



Awardee Bios

Rita Balian Allen
Rita Balian Allen has been a workshop leader for many WEST events over the years. Rita is the president of Rita B. Allen Associates, a national career management firm specializing in executive coaching, leadership development, management training and career development. She is a lecturer at Boston-area universities, a sought-after speaker and presenter, the author of numerous articles, blogs and the book, "Personal Branding and Marketing Yourself". She has been a regular contributor to Chief Learning Officer, Huffington Post, ATD and Leadership & Management Books. Rita was voted one of the top ten executive coaches by the Boston Women's Business Journal. Rita brings much HR experience to her practice and has worked with leaders across all industries and professions. She holds an MS in Leadership and a BS in Business Administration from Northeastern University; is an Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach and a Professional Certified Coach. Rita has served on various boards in different capacities including as past President of The Boston Club.

Bonnie Bertolaet
Over the past two years at Science Club for Girls (SCFG, a 25 year-old non-profit that provides free, mentor-led STEM programming to girls from underrepresented communities in greater Boston), Bonnie Bertolaet served as Chair of the Board of Directors in 2018 and became the Executive Director in 2019. During this time, she reinvigorated SCFG through implementation of a new strategic plan, helped recruit an all-women board of accomplished and experienced women from academic and industrial STEM fields and created a development and fundraising infrastructure that enabled SCFG to dramatically increase its programming from 2018 to 2019: SCFG has more than doubled the number of sites, driving a 70% increase in enrollment, and recruited women mentors that reflect the communities it serves (67% women of color). Her efforts have put SCFG in a strong position to continue to grow sustainably and serve girls from underrepresented communities to become the next generation of diverse STEM leaders. Bonnie received her B.A. from Amherst College and her Ph.D. from Harvard University and trained as an NIH post-doctoral fellow at the University of California San Diego and The Scripps Research Institute. She has previously worked in biotech and with educational organizations in a variety of roles.

Heather F. Cole
Heather has been a wholehearted supporter of the community for nearly 30 years, committing her time and energy to wide-ranging programs. She has been a regular volunteer at Rosie’s Place for the past 25 years, and in January of this year she organized a group of her Danforth Advisors colleagues to join the effort, prepping and serving lunch to over 140 women. She is currently an active member of Marshfield’s Neighbor to Neighbor program, which help residents struggling to put a meal on the table, and the Marshfield Food Pantry helping over 244 families in need. Heather is also an active supporter of the SATO Project, a rescue organization, helping foster and transport abandoned dogs from Puerto Rico. She was a former committee member for Jewish Vocational Services, often hosting panel discussions on various topics from how to write a resume to interview presentation. She also previously sat on the committee for the Friends of The Shattuck Shelter, fundraising for transitional programs for homeless men and women.

Leah Cole
Leah has been involved with WEST since 2012. She first connected with WEST through the mentoring program. Because the experience was so positive, Leah became a WEST volunteer and served on the grant writing committee. Crafting grants with other dedicated WEST volunteers provided her with a deeper understanding of the history of the WEST organization. Additionally, this experience imparted insights into the collective effort needed to maintain and grow this amazing organization. Subsequently, Leah became, and remains, a volunteer with the WEST events committee. This current role enables Leah to put her past experiences in high school and collegiate journalism to good use as she prepares summaries of WEST events for the website. Leah earned her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at UNC Chapel Hill. She then did post graduate work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore before joining Sanofi Pasteur. Leah is deeply committed to helping people grow and develop in their scientific careers and is both a leader in the Sanofi WISE organization (Women Inspiring Sanofi Excellence) and faculty mentor for the MIT IMPACT program for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. 

Barbara Fox
Barbara S. Fox, PhD, is CEO of Rheos Medicines, a Cambridge biotech company harnessing the power of immunometabolism to develop novel medicines to treat autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. Barbara has supported and mentored women scientists and entrepreneurs throughout her career, both in her own companies and throughout the local ecosystem. She has served as an advisor to Springboard Enterprises, as an Executive Coach for awardees of the MLSC MassNextGen program for women-led life science companies, and as a mentor for WOMEN Unlimited, an organization supporting women leaders. Barbara strives to model the resilience, integrity, empathy, and tenacity that can empower women to set and achieve the highest personal and professional goals.

Shreosi Ghosh
Shreosi graduated with her Master’s degree in Medicinal Chemistry from Northeastern University. While there, her curiosity to study proteins helped her develop an interest in Proteomics and Analytical Chemistry. Currently, she is working at LifeMine Therapeutics, in the field of Natural Products. After joining the industry, she still wanted to make connections with people working in the STEM community. On the personal ground, she was also looking for inspiration. After knowing what she was looking for, the internet presented WEST to her. She was amazed after reading the profiles of members associated with WEST! At that moment, she made the decision to be involved with the organization. Volunteering with WEST has been an exciting journey for her! She hopes to continue providing back to the community. And in her free time, she likes learning languages and playing tennis. :)

Hilary Lucier
Hilary Lucier has devoted more than 20 years to helping Thompson Island Outward Bound engage under-served Boston youth in outdoor challenge and hands-on science. As a key member of the Development team, she helps lead fundraising campaigns and builds relationships with donors & board members to engage them in the organization’s mission. Through deep partnerships with Boston’s public middle schools, Thompson Island is helping close Opportunity and Achievement gaps. Programs combine the social & emotional learning of Outward Bound, & a STEM component where the Island itself serves as the outdoor laboratory. As a result of Hilary’s hard work & dedication she has enabled many thousands of children in Boston develop the tenacity and the skills to succeed in school, life and career. Creating opportunity for under-served youth has been a life-long commitment for Hilary, encompassing volunteer youth work in London during her corporate sales career, service on Boards including Teen Voices in Boston, and a 30-year career in fundraising for youth non-profits.

Jodie Morrison
Jodie Morrison is the CEO and Board Member at Cadent Therapeutics. Jodie has helped establish a Company culture that champions its people and empowers women. She leads by example, expecting a lot out of her team by naturally drawing out the best in them. Diversity and equity are at the forefront for Jodie, and she brings her thoughts on the topics to panels, the boards she serves, her network, her community and the Company she leads. Jodie is deeply committed to the advancement of women in life sciences and beyond. Her involvement ranges from serving our industry to serving on the STEAM committee for girls in a public school system in greater Boston. She co-founded the gender diversity initiative at Mass Bio where she was a primary author of the second open letter to the industry giving best practices for gender diversity and helped with the issuance of the “Opening the Path to a Diverse Future” report with LiftStream. She also serves on the Career Development Board/Task Force at Mount Holyoke College and as an advisor to the Boys and Girls Club of Stoneham and Wakefield, MA.

Phyllis Ottaviano
Phyllis Ottaviano found WEST as a postdoctoral research fellow exploring opportunities outside of academia. She was looking for a group of professional women and allies committed to supporting and empowering women to reach to beyond the glass ceiling in the life sciences. Inspired by the stories and journeys of the female leaders, Phyllis joined WEST and started volunteering in 2014. Phyllis graduated with a PhD in Molecular Medicine with a focus in Cell and Molecular Biology from Boston University School of Medicine where she studied the translational regulation of the extracellular selenoprotein plasma glutathione peroxidase in thrombosis and stroke. She completed postdoctoral training at BIDMC/Harvard Medical School on dilated cardiomyopathy. After some time working as Scientist, she supplemented her technical and scientific skill set with her current role in program management. In her free time, Phyllis enjoys traveling, latin and ballroom dancing, yoga, and biking. 

Elena Spencer and Kelly Clark
Kelly and Elena drive collaboration among science and technology companies in Kendall Square through music. In 2018 they founded Kendall Square Orchestra (K2O), which includes 70+ members from 40+ local science & technology institutions. On May 11, 2020 at Symphony Hall in Boston, K2O will present the 2nd Annual Symphony for Science benefitting Next Step, a Cambridge-based organization that assists young individuals managing life-threatening illnesses in the transition to adulthood. www.symphonyforscience.org Elena Spencer is Chief of Staff to the Pfizer Inflammation & Immunology Research Unit with 20 years’ experience as a scientist and organizational leader. Beyond her volunteer work with K2O as CEO & violinist, Elena serves on the board for Eureka Ensemble, an organization that leverages music to spark social change in underserved MA communities. Kelly Clark is head of the R&D Project Management Office at Biogen where she leads a talented team of project managers who help execute Biogen's R&D neuroscience portfolio. Over the last twenty years, she has also held roles at Pfizer and Merck ranging from associate principal scientist to informatics and data analytics leadership.

Juliana Soto-Giron
Juliana Soto-Giron is a Colombian Scientist who is passionate about mentoring and research. She currently works as a Bioinformatics Lead at Solarea Bio, a biotech startup focused on developing microbiome-based solutions for musculoskeletal conditions in post-menopausal women. As a Latina, immigrant, and first-generation student, Juliana is committed to advocating and inspiring girls to reach their potential in STEM fields. She instills that education is the key element to improve people’s quality of life and build a better world. Juliana’s tireless advocacy efforts resulted in her winning a prestigious grant from the Colombian government to create a mentorship program dedicated to empowering Colombian girls from rural and underrepresented communities in STEM fields. Juliana holds a BS in Biology from Universidad del Valle, Colombia, a MS in Molecular Biology from University of Puerto Rico, and a PhD in Bioinformatics from the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Success Circles Peer Mentorships Steering Committee, Takeda (Amina Lobban, Courtney Denitzio, Dana Shkolny, Jean Ciano, Madeline Valera, Mojgan Hossein-Nia, and Susanna Huh)
A cross-functional team of women from one of Takeda’s employee resource groups are working collaboratively across the MA site to pilot an innovative program to develop women through peer mentoring. During the program, called Success Circles Peer Mentorships (developed by the Next Level Leadership, Inc.), participants will make powerful connections with one another, help to understand & appreciate diversity of thought, encourage & learn to ask the right questions, help the group develop leadership skills, broaden everyone’s vision of networks of expertise, & gain rich insights from peer mentoring. The program will also support participants to break down organizational silos & increase cross-functional teamwork. The pilot will kick-off in the Spring of 2020 with the intent to offer the program more broadly later in the year to women of all levels & functions at Takeda. Nominees are the members of the steering committee who have worked tirelessly to advance the program to implementation.

Alice (Chiyu) Zhang
During her first summer in the United States, Alice was a graduate student at Boston University and decided to volunteer with WEST. She spent a productive summer as a communications volunteer and found WEST to be welcoming and supportive. Alice continues serving the organization by making events flyers, because she thinks WEST is helpful in providing resources to help advance women in STEM industries. Alice is a graduate student in the College of Communications at Boston University, earning her degree in public relations. Born and raised in China, she completed her undergraduate studies at the Communication University of China in Beijing majoring in media market studies. She then decided to further advance her career in communications by studying in the United States. She now aims at a career in investor relations, specifically helping Chinese companies that plan to go public in the US. Alice loves the Harry Potter series and enjoys cooking.