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International Women’s Day 2022

We Are Very Proud To Honor Outstanding Immigrant Women In 2022


Aoife Brennan



Sandhya S. Douglas

Wellington Management


Julisa Salas


About The Event

On March 8, 2022, the International Institute of New England hosted an International Women’s Day Celebration to honor the achievements of immigrant women and daughters of immigrants who have made a profound difference in New England and the world.

The event highlights the impact refugee and immigrant women have on our economy and our communities, and it celebrates the achievements of women everywhere. Our speaking program features a conversation with our honorees about their life experiences.

The International Institute of New England has been celebrating International Women’s Day since the early 2000s.

We are very proud to honor three outstanding immigrant women in 2022.

Aoife Brennan

President and Chief Executive Officer, Synlogic

Dr. Aoife Brennan is an experienced physician, scientist and drug developer responsible for the successful clinical development and registration of multiple transformative medicines. She has served as Synlogic’s president and chief executive officer since May 2018. She joined Synlogic in September 2016 as chief medical officer. Prior to Synlogic, Aoife spent six years at Biogen, most recently as vice president and head of the Rare Disease Innovation Unit, developing programs from pre-clinical to commercial.

A first-generation college graduate, Aoife was born in Kilkenny in the southeast of Ireland, and moved to Boston “for one year only” 16 years ago.

Sandhya S. Douglas

Sandhya S. Douglas

Senior Managing Director, Partner, and Chief Operating Officer, Investments, Wellington Management

Sandhya S. Douglas leads a global team at Wellington Management which operates at the intersection of all the investment functions and acts as a strategic engine powering a strong, dynamic, and global investment platform. Before joining Wellington Management in 2006, she was a senior vice president at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

Sandhya was born in Chennai, India, lived there until she was ten years old, and then lived in Singapore until age 18, before coming to college in the U.S. in 1989.

Julisa Salas

Julisa Salas

Chief of Staff, Toast

Julisa Salas, as Chief of Staff, is responsible for driving Toast’s operating system and working alongside the executive team to manage strategic initiatives. Prior to her role as Chief of Staff, Julisa established and led the Go-To-Market Strategy and Operations department at Toast. Julisa was an early employee at Toast, joining in 2016 and serving as Chief of Staff when the company went public in 2021. Before joining Toast, she worked at J.P. Morgan, where she provided financial advice to ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Julisa was recognized by El Mundo’s “Latino 30 under 30” in 2016 and was awarded the Toast Founder’s Award in 2019.

A Dominican-American, Julisa was born and raised in Washington Heights, New York. Her parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic 34 years ago in search of the American dream.



The Corporate Citizen Award is awarded in recognition of Tripadvisor’s progressive policies, community partnerships, and ongoing investment in their employees. The award is given annually to an organization that advances women institutionally and in the world.

Tiziana Dearing

Tiziana Dearing

Host of Radio Boston on WBUR

Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston on WBUR. She’s been a commentator and contributor to WBUR for more than a decade, and has contributed to a number of other regional and national news outlets.

Prior to joining the Radio Boston team, Tiziana was a professor at Boston College in the School of Social Work, where she taught social innovation and leadership. A longtime anti-poverty advocate, Tiziana also ran Boston Rising, a startup antipoverty fund to end generational poverty in Boston, and was the first woman president of Catholic charities for the Archdiocese of Boston.

Michelle Wu

Michelle Wu

Mayor of Boston

Mayor Wu is the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, and is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first Asian American to serve as mayor of Boston. She is known for using her platform as a local politician to fight for gender and racial equity.

2022 International Women’s Day Host Committee

Committee Members

Jane Steinmetz, Event Co-Chair, Managing Principal, EY Boston
Zoltan Csimma, Event Co-Chair, Former Board Chair, International Institute of New England
Christina Bai, President & Chair of the Board, MeBo Global Education Inc.
Jim Ducey, Managing Director, Greater New England Market Head, UBS Financial Services Inc.
Mary Jefts, CFO, Salsify
Deborah Long, M.D., SVP, Medical Affairs, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Charlotte McKee, Chief Medical Officer, Stealth Mode Company
Irena Melnikova, Ph.D., Chief Financial Officer, Umoja Biopharma
Colette Phillips, Founder & CEO, Colette Phillips Communications
Lauren Powell, Vice President, US Health Equity & Community Wellness, Takeda

IWD 2022 Committee


International Women’s Day Past Honorees

Colette Phillips, Founder & CEO, Colette Phillips Communications
Razia Jan, Founder & President, Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation
Eveline Buchatskiy, Founder, One Way Venture
Dr. Nawal Nour, A Sudanese-American, founded the African Women’s Health Practice at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Founder & Chair of Women Waging Peace
Malalai “The bravest woman in Afghanistan” Joya, refugee, activist and politician
Marie St Fleur, Vice Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means
Victoria Reggie Kennedy, attorney, and advocate for issues affecting lives of women, children, and families
Jeanne Shaheen, Former NH governor, and current US Senate member
Rya Weickert Zobel, Federal Judge of the US District Court, District of MA
Dr. Charlotte Yeh, CMO of AARP
Geeta Ayer, President, and Founder of Commonwealth Management Asset
Rupa Shenoy, Host and reporter for NPR and founder of Otherhood podcast