ElevateHER: Women of Color Leaders Panel Discussion & Networking

Join Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition (MAWOCC) and Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology (WEST) for an inspiring evening celebrating the achievements and contributions of women of color in STEM. This dynamic event will feature a panel of accomplished professionals sharing their personal stories, career journeys, and insights on overcoming challenges in the field. 

Engage in a thought-provoking panel discussion on topics such as: 

  • Navigating the STEM landscape as a woman of color
  • Building resilience and overcoming bias
  • Mentorship and sponsorship opportunities
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Professional advancement strategies and resources
  • Career opportunities in STEM

There will be plenty of networking time to connect with fellow attendees, panelists, and industry leaders in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. This is a unique opportunity to build meaningful relationships, exchange ideas, and expand your professional network.

Panelists include:

  • Jennifer Bradford, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine & Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Yvette Dalton, Program Manager - Diversity, Equity and InclusionEversource Energy
  • April Effort, Vice President, Head of Corporate Development, Vigil Neuroscience
  • Gail Jackson-Blount, President, Jackson Communications & Vice President, Eastern Region, Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition
  • Celia J. Blue, President and CEO, Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition, Moderator  


Date and Time:  
June 26, 2024
5:30-7:30 PM ET

  5:30-6:00 PM: Registration, Networking, Snacks
  6:00-7:00 PM: Panel, Q&A
  7:00-7:30 PM: Networking

Foley & Lardner LLP, 111 Huntington Ave., Suite #2500, Boston, MA 02199

Members: $10; Non-Members: $15


Given our mission is to promote women's development in STEM we would like to offer a free spot in our workshops to those in transition between jobs or who cannot afford the ticket price. Please contact [email protected] if you qualify.


Register Here

MAWOCC Mission

Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition is dedicated to eradicating the racial inequities among women of color created by structural, institutional, interpersonal, and internalized racism. We will address racial inequities through authentic inclusion in the areas of political and civic leadership, education justice, economic power and sustainability, criminal justice reform and health and wellness. Our success will maximize the benefits and contributions for all aggrieved communities of color and the Commonwealth as a whole. Learn more


More about the panelists

Dr. Jennifer Bradford, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical SchoolShe is board certified in Family Medicine and earned her Master of Public Health while completing a Preventive Medicine Residency at UMMS. Dr. Bradford started her career at the Homeless Outreach and Advocacy Program (HOAP) in Worcester, MA where she noted patients with a triad of homelessness, substance use disorder, and history of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). Through community engagement, she became aware of the profound adverse impact that CSE has on the individual and community. Currently, she is launching a clinic that provides medical, behavioral health, and case management care for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. In addition, she has grant funding through UMMS to provide survivors of commercial sexual exploitation with peer recovery coach training and opportunities to mentor other survivors. Dr. Bradford’s other clinical roles include Medical Director of Community Healthlink Detox program and physician at Spectrum Health Systems where she offers substance abuse treatment in both outpatient and inpatient settings. 

Yvette Dalton, Program Manager - Diversity, Equity and InclusionEversource Energy: Yvette is currently Program Manager - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Eversource Energy. Prior to that, she was Senior Diversity Specialist at Charles River Laboratories and responsible for US, Canadian and Global Teams on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts. Before that, she was Senior Diversity Sourcer at Boston Scientific and oversaw the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts of Talent Acquisition to find professionalized diverse talent for the business units. LinkedIn

April Effort, Vice President, Head of Corporate Development, Vigil NeuroscienceApril leads business development. April has over 15 years of business development experience across biotech, venture capital and academic technology transfer. Before joining Vigil in 2022, April lead corporate development at Allena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNA) which included business development, corporate communications, investor relations, commercial strategy and project management for a discovery stage program. Prior to Allena, April was an Associate at Third Rock Ventures, an early-stage life science venture capital firm. At Third Rock, April focused on business development strategy and support for the firm and portfolio companies. In addition, April led discovery, the firm’s company building process, where Neon, (NASDAQ: NTGN acquired by BioNTech), Decibel (NASDAQ: DBTX) and Pliant (NASDAQ: PLRX) launched under her purview. Prior to Third Rock, April held business development and licensing roles with increasing responsibility at Boston University and Boston Medical Center. April has an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management as well as a B.S. and M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan.

Gail Jackson-Blount, President, Jackson Communications & Vice President, Eastern Region, Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition: A trailblazer, Gail most recently served as the first Chief Marketing and External Affairs executive at Carney Hospital, a member of the Steward Health Care System. A member of the hospital’s executive leadership team, she reported to the hospital president. She created and oversaw the implementation of a marketing strategy to rebrand the hospital, strengthen partnerships to increase the patients, developed community and legislative relationships to enhance the delivery of equitable health care. Previously, as the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center’s first Chief Development and Communications Officer, Gail led fundraising, communications, government relations and external affairs. She joined Harvard Street, first as a consultant, to launch a marketing and re-branding campaign which produced its 50th Anniversary gala, and worked with the CEO and Board to begin a capital campaign for a new state-of-the art health center building. Prior to joining HSNHC, Gail was the president of Gail Jackson Communications (GJC), a consultancy she founded and led for 17 years specializing in all aspects of communications including: fundraising, diversity & equity marketing, community outreach strategy, political affairs, and events production and management. Full Bio

Celia Johnston Blue, President & CEO, Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition: In 2015, Celia collaborated with 12 women of color from across Massachusetts and led the development and public launch of the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition (MAWOCC) Inc. In her current role as President and CEO, she is leading the organization to realize its vision and mission, overseeing the day-to-day operations while strongly advocating for the voices of women of color to be heard to address the inequities that are present in every aspect of our lives. In her prior role, Celia Johnston Blue was the Interim Director of the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS), a cabinet level position reporting to Governor McKee. Interim Director Blue oversaw approximately 1000 employees in multiple divisions, with a budget of approximately $900M, providing benefits and services to approximately 300,000 or 1/3 of Rhode Island’s population. She oversaw many partnerships and collaborated with many federal and state stakeholders including the legislature and community organizations. Full Bio