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.  

Aoife Brennan
President and Chief Executive Officer, Synlogic

Aoife Brennan Headshot for IWD22

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

Sandhya S. Douglas Headshot for IWD22

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
Chief of Staff, Toast

Julisa Salas Headshot for IWD22

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.

Corporate Citizenship Award

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.

2022 International Women’s Day Celebration Host
Tiziana Dearing
Host of Radio Boston on WBUR

Tiziana Dearing Headshot for IWD22

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.

2022 International Women’s Day Celebration Keynote Speaker
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu

Michelle Wu Headshot for IWD22

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.

About the International Women’s Day Event

On March 8, 2022, the International Institute of New England will host 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.

2022 International Women’s Day Host Committee

  • 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


Advocate Sponsors

Promoter Sponsors

UBS sponsor logo for IWD22

Tuan & Thuy Hangoc

Ally Sponsors

AE Events


Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Christina Bai

Irena Melnikova

Jean Marie Hynes and Mark Joseph Condon

Lisa and Theo Melas-Kyriazi

Walter and Marina Bornhorst

South Shore Health



Wayne Chen, IINE Leadership Council Member

Zoltan and Cristina Csimma

Friend Sponsors

Atlas Venture




Charlotte McKee

Deborah Long

Eastern Bank

McLane Middleton

Michael Douvadjian

Rick and Gitte Shea


TJX Companies, Inc.

Wellington Management


Supporter Sponsors

Cambridge Trust Charitable Foundation

Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP

HR Knowledge

Joan Wood

Maya Samara

Sieglinde Aigner-Crooks

Skanska SIS

Media Sponsor

International Women’s Day Past Honorees

Roxann Cooke, New England and Pennsylvania Managing Director of Consumer Banking, JP Morgan Chase
Kathrin Knauf, Vice President, Project Management, Moderna
Kanika Soni, Chief Commercial Officer, Tripadvisor
Pardis Sabeti, Professor & Founder, 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, Founder, 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 & Founder, Boston Common Asset Management
Rupa Shenoy, Host and reporter for NPR and founder of Otherhood podcast