Please join us virtually on Monday, March 8, 2021

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Please join us to honor immigrant leaders

2021 International Women’s Day Celebration Honorees

Roxann Cooke
Regional Director of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management, JP Morgan
During the COVID-19 economic crash, JP Morgan Chase was the number 1 lender of Paycheck Protection loans that helped save thousands of jobs, and has continued to expand storefronts in communities of color throughout the shutdowns. As Managing Director of Consumer Banking in New England, Roxanne Cooke has been on the frontlines of Chase’s outreach to low income neighborhoods.

A native of Jamaica, Roxanne moved to Dorchester when she was young and now leads as Chase’s Managing Director of Consumer Banking in New England and Philadelphia, Ms. Cooke has been on the frontlines of Chase’s outreach to low income and immigrant neighborhoods.

Kathrin Knauf
Vice President of Project Management, Moderna
As VP of Project Management for Moderna, Kathrin Knauf led the team responsible for manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine. Before coming to the United States at 28, Kathrin lived in her native country of Germany, and worked for Novartis and Chiron.

At Moderna, Kathrin saw hundreds of foreign-born scientists participate in the vaccine development, but became bothered by rising nationalism and political hostility to foreigners. Nervous about securing her U.S. citizenship, she accelerated her application, renounced her German citizenship, and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in December, the same month the Moderna vaccine was approved by the FDA.

Kanika Soni
Chief Commercial Officer, TripAdvisor
A longtime executive in technology and media, Kanika Soni exemplifies the ingenuity that women from immigrant families bring to their fields. Before serving as Chief Commercial Officer at TripAdvisor, Ms. Soni was head of Global Digital Marketing at Tesla and then SVP of Global Ecommerce at Disney, before moving to Massachusetts in 2019.

The COVID-19 shutdowns have highlighted immigrants’ roles in the hospitality industry at all levels. Raised in a refugee family herself, Ms. Soni has a unique perspective on how foreign-born people and refugees participate at all levels to respond to the crisis. A passionate advocate for refugees and immigrants, she was influenced at a young age by her grandparents, who escaped from the riots in Pakistan during the Partition of India.

2021 International Women’s Day Celebration Host

Tiziana Dearing
Tiziana 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.

About the event

On March 8, 2021, the International Institute will host a virtual International Women’s Day celebration to honor the achievements of women leaders. International Women’s Day is a global phenomenon, and we celebrate in a festive, supportive atmosphere that honors 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. International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed around the world since the early 1900s It is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity.

The International Institute of New England has been celebrating IWD since the early 2000s as a way to showcase immigrant women and their advocates. Past honorees include: Rep. Nikki Tsongas, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Dr. Charlotte Yeh, Colette Phillips, Christina Qi, and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

For sponsorship information
please contact: 

Register today
Sponsor the event
View 2021 IWD Sponsorship opportunities packet

Why International Women’s Day?

IINE serves more than 2,500 refugees, asylees, and immigrants in Boston and Lowell, and Manchester, NH each year. Fifty percent of IINE program participants are women enrolled in refugee resettlement, job training and placement, English language classes, and legal services. 

The women we meet in IINE programs protected their families as they fled war and violence in Somalia, Congo, Iraq,  El Salvador, Bhutan, and other countries. Since 2016, more than 150 families served by IINE list a woman as their head-of-household. IINE programs are designed to be responsive to and respectful of the unique lived experiences of women who have faced and fled persecution and distress.

2021 International Women’s Day Committee

Committee co-chairs
Colette Phillips, CMC Communications
Cathy Schmidt, McLane Middleton

International Women’s Day Past Honorees

Pardis Sabeti, Professor, founder of Sabeti Lab at Harvard University

Monica Grewal, Partner, WilmerHale

Christina Qi, Co-founder & partner at Domeyard LP

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