Join us for WEST's 12th Annual Awards Night: Celebrating Those who "Make a Difference" and a Special Panel Discussion on Gender Parity

On September 30, 2020, the community of Women in the Enterprise of Science & Technology (WEST) will be honoring those who have championed the advancement of women throughout Massachusetts a
t our 12th annual awards ceremony. We will also reflect on ways we can challenge ourselves to expand and build on these accomplishments.

The panel will include leaders from the industry and academic sectors, who have advocated for gender parity in science and technology. Panelists include Anisha Asundi, Research Fellow: Gender Specialist, Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School, Caroline BreitbachVP R&D Programs and Strategy at Turnstone Biologics, Megan Ann Greenfield, Partner at McKinsey & Company, and Alicja Januszewicz, Head of People & Culture at Allena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 

They will be discussing the strategies they have explored and the advances already adopted by pharma and other industries to achieve greater gender parity and the advancement of more women into executive leadership roles. They will weave in legislative gains in MA, such as the Paid Family Leave Act and the 2019 MA Equal Pay Act. In addition, they will report on the latest gains in gender diversity in the science and technology industries, describing the impact it has had, and demonstrate how research can further support equal opportunities for women across their career journey.

During the awards portion, we 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 have helped us reach our strategic goals. 

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, learn about alternative options, 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!

Purchase your ticket by September 15th and get one free raffle ticket.  Raffle items will include WEST memberships, WEST workshop tickets, and fabulous items from local companies. Thanks so much to our donors Black Sheep Bagel Cafe, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, J.P. Licks, and Night Shift Coffee.

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

WEST Volunteers and Supporters

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


Date and Time:
September 30, 2020
6:00 - 8:30 PM

Evening’s Schedule 
6:00-6:30 Registration, Networking, Appetizers, Wine
6:30-6:40 Welcome, Acknowledgement of Sponsors, Opening Remarks
6:40-7:25 Panel Discussion
7:25-8:05 Award Presentation

8:05-8:15 WEST’s 2019 Accomplishments and Plans for 2020
8:15-8:30 Networking

Ipsen, 650 E Kendall Street, Atrium, Cambridge, MA 02142

$15 for Members, $30 for non-members, $275 for 10 tickets, $500 for 20 tickets

Cancellation Policy:
All programs are non-refundable.

Download Event Flyer

Register Here

Please plan to check at the reception/security desk with a picture identification card.

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


Gold Level Sponsor 


Silver Level Sponsor 


Bronze Level Sponsor 


Panelist Bios

Anisha Asundi, MPH, is currently a Research Fellow: Gender Specialist at the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. At WAPPP, she manages the Gender Action Portal ( by editing and vetting articles for the Portal and by providing content management for the website. She also works on WAPPP's Gender and Technology portfolio - which aims to increase the wealth of research on how to close the tech gender gap and advance D&I in tech fields. She is a co-chair of Harvard's Women in Techn+Allies affinity group, seeking to advance gender representation, engagement, and support in STEM and technology-related fields at Harvard. Her research experience, academic knowledge and practical work lies in the foundations of inclusion and health equity - particularly in increasing the wealth of research among marginalized populations such as women, people of color, LGBTQ communities and low-income populations, and in quantitatively and qualitatively evaluating intervention programs for these populations in our organizations and communities. She has a MPH, with a concentration in Health Disparities and Social-Behavioral Science, from Boston University School of Public Health, and a BA in Psychology from Skidmore College.

Caroline J Breitbach is Vice President, R&D Programs and Strategy at Turnstone Biologics, focusing on the development of oncolytic viral immunotherapies for the treatment of patients with advanced cancers. Caroline was previously Vice President, Clinical & Translational Research at SillaJen Biotherapeutics (formerly Jennerex Biotherapeutics), where she oversaw Phase 1 and 2 clinical studies of an oncolytic vaccinia virus. Caroline received her undergraduate degree at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and her PhD in Dr John Bell’s group at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada.

Megan Greenfield, PhD. is a partner in McKinsey’s Marketing & Sales, Healthcare, and Private Equity Practices. A biotech researcher by training, she brings an exceptional understanding of the technical and business complexities of healthcare to her client work. Megan has extensive experience in designing and implementing pricing and go-to-market strategies, as well as in making efficiency-driven operational improvements. She is adept at helping clients build the processes, tools, organizational structures, and individual capabilities to actualize those strategies. An advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in business, Megan leads diversity and inclusion initiatives—both within McKinsey and beyond. She regularly presents insights from Women In the Workplace, an annual research study conducted by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey. In partnership with local organizations in Massachusetts, Megan leads executive roundtables on how to recruit, promote, and retain women leaders. She is committed to ensuring that corporate leaders not only understand gender issues in the workplace but also are taking actions to close the gender gap.

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 is currently 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 became involved with WEST through the mentoring program. The experience was so positive, Leah decided to become a WEST volunteer and began serving on the grant writing committee. The experience crafting grants with other dedicated WEST volunteers provided both a deep dive into the history of the WEST organization as well as insights into how much collective effort is involved in, not only maintaining but growing this amazing organization. Leah subsequently became a volunteer with the WEST events committee. This current volunteer role enables Leah to put her past experiences in high school and collegiate journalism to good use as she prepares up summaries of WEST events for the website. Leah earned her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at UNC Chapel Hill and then did post graduate work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore before joining Sanofi Pasteur. In addition to working in vaccine research, Leah is a faculty mentor for the MIT IMPACT program.  

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.

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. 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. 

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.

Success Circles Peer Mentorships Steering Committee, Takeda (Amba Nair, Amina Lobban, Courtney Denitzio, Dana Shkolny, Jessica Schneider, Mojgan Hossein-Nia, Susanna Huh, and Wei Wong)
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.