Women Accelerators’ mentoring program is a great way to cultivate professional relationships and facilitate career growth. Whether you are a mentor or a mentee we all have something to learn from this program; mentoring is a two-way street!
In this program, we will provide resources to both mentors and mentees in cultivating their professional relationships and bringing value to their mentoring experience. We have been extremely successful in building relationships between women and allies measured by their ability to take the next step in their career as a direct result of entering this program. Started in 2013, the Women Accelerator’s mentoring program has grown larger each year, and 2021 promises to be better than ever.
Mentees are paired with a mentor based on their application materials. Mentees typically look for guidance on topics such as career advancement, gender roles, leadership skills, and communication strategies with their management. We think that this is an effective way to help women and their careers at a time when it is much needed.
Our mentoring program applications start in the fall each year. Mentors and mentees are expected to meet at least once a month starting in January and running through June; although many mentors and mentees continue the relationship long after the program is over.
Sally Akiki is an interdisciplinary (re)searcher and construction management architect. Sally holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a Master’s degree in Conflict, Peace, and Security. She is currently working in a family-owned construction company and supporting Medford Resilience Project.
Born in the USA and raised in Lebanon, Sally grew up in a diverse family and community. The diversity she was surrounded with triggered ‘what if’ questions. As a participant in diversity and social inclusion conferences and as an architect, Sally explained the interdependence between the layers of the street, inclusion, and the unspoken language.
‘Amazed’ how the built environment is designed and built under the supervision of a male-dominant field, Sally is a woman determined to push other women forward in male-dominant fields. For her, infrastructure development does affect both men and women; thus, both should have an effective role in decision making when it comes to a lot of fields and on top of these field infrastructure/ development.
Feel free to reach out to Sally by email- [email protected].
Szifra Birke is an executive leadership coach and financial behavior specialist. Her forward-looking work with entrepreneurs, CEOs, private practitioners, dentists, attorneys, financial professionals, and other service providers, as well as families and their financial advisors, is grounded in over 30 years of experience in behavioral health and helping people with transitions.
Szifra (Shifra) has been featured in Business Week, Investment News, Dow Jones Newswire, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Boston Globe. She is the author of “Together We Heal,” as well as the producer of “Shrink Rap,” a syndicated cable TV show that aired for twenty years.
She earned a B.A. in psychology and education from Boston University and an M.S. in professional counseling from Purdue University.
Szifra grew up fully involved in her family’s retail business, including managing “Sue’s Teen Shop” while in high school, and has co-owned a number of other small businesses over the years.
Influenced by her parents’ Holocaust experience and inspired by their tenacity, Szifra has been personally and professionally involved with Holocaust survivors and their families since 1973 while a graduate student at Purdue. She is the co-producer of Browsing Through Birke’s, a documentary film about her parents and their very quirky Lowell clothing store. In 2017, Szifra told her story on WGBH as part of Suitcase Stories, Stories from the Stage.
I’m a multidisciplinary professional with a background in coaching, writing, and project management.
I was born and raised in Beirut Lebanon where I worked as a cost controller and procurement engineer in the construction field. My passion for inspiring people to discover their inner world and purpose in life pushed me to become a coach.I worked as a relational needs coach and got my ICF ACC certification.
I also moved to Belgium to get my master’s in Entrepreneurship and Innovation to start my own business.
I am currently in Boston working as a project manager and I am a freelance coach, writer, and speaker on my platform Voice Within.
The mission of my blog Voice Within is to empower women to take charge of their lives by being more curious about their inner world, more connected to their body, and more resilient. I write articles and run a podcast that addresses several issues such as body image, shame, purpose, identity shaping, and entrepreneurial endeavors.
For more info, you can find my page on Instagram @voice within women or email me at [email protected]
Jana Harris is a registered patent attorney in Greenberg Traurig’s Global Patent Prosecution Group. She focuses her practice on building global intellectual property portfolios in the life sciences industry. She has experience representing start-ups, universities, and life science companies with technologies relating to oncology, immuno-oncology, gene-editing, biomarkers, diagnostics, biologics, stem cell compositions, proteomics, genetics, food and agriculture science, drug delivery and medical devices. Her legal practice further encompasses brand development, trademark prosecution and clearance, enforcement and defense strategy consulting, litigation, and transactions.
Prior to practicing law, Jana obtained a B.S. in Biology from Grand Canyon University and a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Vanderbilt University. Jana attended law school at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and has been a practicing lawyer for ten years.
For the past 10+ years, Prajakta Kulkarni (PK) has been helping organizations succeed in uncharted territories through her expertise in strategy, business and human-centered design. She has worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500s to early stage startups in multiple industries like financial services, insurance, healthcare, travel, retail, non-profits, women’s health etc.
For the past 5 years, she has been working with EPAM Continuum, a design and innovation consultancy helping clients build solutions that are right for customers, businesses and organizations, all through an understanding of the humans involved.
Prajakta has an engineering background with a Masters degree in Innovation Management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Amy W. LaMarche is a Vice President and Branch Manager at Salem Five Bank. For the past 20 years she has served businesses and individuals by providing guidance on banking, lending and managing cash flow. Her strengths lie in her ability to listen, analyze and advise her clients. Amy has served as the President of the Rotary Club, the President of BNI Strategic Partners and as a member of the Board of Advisors for the non-profit Beyond Benign. She is also the treasurer for the North Andover Merchant Association. Recently, in order to continue her career growth, she graduated from New England School of Financial Studies through the Mass Bankers Association.
Born and raised in Osaka, Japan, Yoko moved to Boston, MA after graduating from college. She is a Senior Manager at BerryDunn, a CPA/consulting firm, leading the Compliance and Risk Management practice under the Government Consulting Group. She works with state and local government all over the U.S. to help them strengthen internal controls and improve business processes while maintaining compliance. In addition to leading her practice team, she organizes the remote-based employee community and actively leads and participates in team-building activities across the firm.
Yoko earned her bachelor’s degree at Kobe College in Japan, and her MBA at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is a Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Information System Auditor, and Certified Government Financial Manager.
Outside of work, Yoko is a very active community member. She is a co-organizer of a community that connects Japanese-speaking females in Boston area, which currently has over 400 members. She is also a co-founder of a community that serves as a platform where Japanese-speaking female professionals can educate, inspire, and advance one another to improve visibility as well as gender equality in their professional career and personal life. She also serves in the mentoring program of Association of Government Auditors. She is a mother of two daughters, Mia and Anna, and loves to read, listen to podcasts, travel, and see live music.
Sasha Mezer is an Enterprise Account Director at TechTarget, a publicly traded data services company. A dedicated sales professional for 13+ years, Sasha has a deep curiosity about what motivates people and is passionate about helping customers move their businesses forward. With experience in client acquisition, enterprise account management, and customer success, Sasha has held a variety of sales roles. She is a 10x President’s Club member, and has been twice awarded Sales Rep of the Year. As a mother of two young children, Sasha is passionate about women in business and sales and is inspired by helping young women navigate the workforce.
Sandra has over 20 years of leadership experience within higher education where she has found practical ways of advancing impactful learning in all of us. She is a passionate leader who helps develop a culture where teams work collaboratively focusing on a shared mission. Sandra currently is the Dean of Academic Resources and Administration at New England College of Optometry. Outside of work, Sandra is actively engaged in the community on non-profit boards, actively mentors women, and is invited to speak on increasing reliance and learning to create successful workplace cultures.
Deirdre Pierotti has 25 years of leadership and management experience in the higher education sector. Her most recent position as Executive Director of the Department of Global Health at the Boston University School of Public Health encompassed a wide range of responsibilities in strategy, communications, and operational management. She has experience leading groups through significant organizational changes and leadership transitions. In her roles at BU, and prior to that at the Harvard Institute for International Development, she had responsibilities in a wide range of functional areas. Experienced in human resources management, Deirdre has been the senior manager for over 60 faculty and staff, with responsibilities in all aspects of the employee lifecycle. She oversaw the management of a $20 million/year sponsored research portfolio, including pre- and post-award management and finance, budget, and compliance. Particular areas of strength are strategic planning, policy and procedure development, and organizational structure and staffing. She has extensive program management experience in managing complex international research projects funded by major donors, mainly in Africa. For the past nine years, she has also lectured and/or co-taught a highly rated experiential learning course on implementing health programs in developing countries; and has extensively mentored, coached, and advised students, staff, and faculty. She holds a Master’s degree from the Boston University Center for Energy & Environmental Studies, and a Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Alexandra Post, APMA® is the Owner of Brightbar Boston, a spray tanning boutique in the heart of Boston. Alexandra graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Business with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing. She later began her career as a Financial Advisor and Investment Specialist at Ameriprise Financial Services. After 6 years in finance, Alex left the corporate world behind to create Brightbar Boston within the mission of spreading awareness about how to protect yourself from the dangers of the sun.
Robin is a customer-focused operations leader with extensive experience creating and delivering inventive business strategies and client-focused solutions that improve margins and increase customer retention. For over 20 years she has worked with companies in the software and services industry helping them establish processes and create efficiencies to improve business outcomes. She is passionate about optimizing the customer journey to provide a best-in-class experience, aligning customer’s expected outcomes to build adoption, create delighted brand ambassadors, and develop new business opportunities.
An engaging communicator and relationship builder Robin enjoys unifying diverse resources and cultures to build high-performing teams. She has a strong interest in empowering women in the workplace and is a member of several boards charged with supporting women, particularly in their local communities, and increasing leadership opportunities.
Robin graduated from Trinity College with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Psychology. She is a voracious reader, a local sports fan, and loves to travel.
I have extensive experience building talent acquisition and development programs and processes for a variety of industries and individuals. In addition, I have held learning & development roles in both industry and academia, including my current role as Associate Co-op Faculty at Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University. My past roles have included, Director People & Culture, Perficient; Director Learning & Development, Charles River Development and Manager of Recruiting Programs at MathWorks responsible for college recruiting, immigration and relocation. Before joining MathWorks, I held roles at Cisco, Babson College as both a finance and human resource professional with such firms as Fidelity Investments, W.R. Grace, TIAA/CREF and Drexel Burnham Lambert.
I received my B.A. in English Literature from Mount Holyoke College and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University. I am married to Dale Lemke, CFO/COO of an educational non-profit, and have at least two children Emily (24) and Daniel (33), plus various ‘adopted’ children/young adults.
Before becoming a lawyer, Melissa earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania and her thesis research resulted in a first author paper in Cell. She followed this accomplishment with a four-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology laboratory of Nobel laureate H. Robert Horvitz where she was a Jane Coffin Childs fellow.
Dr. Cidhinnia M. Torres Campos completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, and holds masters and doctorate degrees in Ecological/Community Psychology from Michigan State University. She was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on an NIMH-funded research grant, under Dr. Jean Phinney, at California State University, Los Angeles. She is a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® from the Project Management Institute. She also completed the Education Policy Fellowship through the Institute for Educational Leadership. Awards received include the Change Award for Innovation and Leadership, Phenomenal and Remarkable Women Award, Women in Philanthropy Award for Volunteerism, and the Leading Women Award.
Cidhinnia has worked extensively with a wide variety of public, non-profit, and education organizations on issues related to positive youth development, academic success, and access. She has broad and comprehensive expertise in the evaluation of clinically-based, faith-based, and community-based programming. She has also worked extensively in agency and regional accreditation in higher education, learning outcomes assessment of academic and co-curricular programming, institutional research/effectiveness, strategic planning, and project management. She has presented and provided training across the country on theories and principals of community and educational research and assessment, strategic program development, and evaluation strategies and implementation. She has presented and published globally in a variety of academic and applied forums. Cidhinnia has teaching experience in a variety of areas, including psychology, research methods, statistics, management principles, higher education administration, and project management.
Rita (She / Her/s) is an Associate Director at Commonwealth Corporation where she leads projects in Operations, Learning & Development, and Employee Engagement.
Rita is an innovated and data-driven Learning and Development Leader offering over 10 years of experience spearheading the design and delivery of impactful learning programs and experiences that help individuals, teams, and organizations realize their fullest potential. A history of drastically enhancing struggling programs by thoroughly assessing and identifying problem areas, gaining consensus, and motivating teams to execute strategy in a logical and efficient manner. Exceptional interpersonal skills, known to quickly build and deepen relationships with colleagues, stakeholders, partners, and vendor team.
Rita is a serious foodie. Her favorite activities include trying different restaurants (via take-out or delivery), watching cooking shows, and learning how to create delicious meals.
(Mentor since 2016)
Susu is the Principal and Founder of Tomo360, an online marketing agency, and the co-founder of Women Accelerators. She is an experienced business and marketing strategist who worked on a variety of companies from the high-tech industry, healthcare, biotech, higher education to startup companies.
She was an adjunct Professor in Marketing at UMass Lowell and a frequent workshop speaker at the Center of Women Enterprise and other small business accelerators. She has a unique combination of marketing, business, and technical experience that provides a well-rounded advantage for her clients. See her career profile on LinkedIn.
Susu is an advocate for helping women advancing their careers. She holds a Master in IT Management from Lesley University. Susu has been a Women Accelerators mentor since 2016.
Download prospectus to save and share mentoring program information: WA Mentoring Program Prospectus 2021.
See our past mentor list here.