Susu Wong, Co-Founder
Susu Wong, MBA: Susu is the co-founder (along with Sze and Brandy) of Women Accelerators (fka de la Femme) and also the founder of Tomo360, a digital marketing company focusing on helping small- to medium-sized businesses to promote their business. She is also an adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a speaker for local business workshops.
She is passionate about helping women to succeed in business, the boardroom or wherever their career paths lead them. Before starting Tomo360, she has worked in a variety of fields, including Fortune 500, healthcare, universities, and technology transfer.
Susu received her MBA with a focus in Management in Information Technology from Lesley University and a Bachelor of Arts from Magdalen College. She loves the great outdoors and enjoys participating in triathlons, snowboarding, swimming, and biking. She is also a foodie that loves to explore different ethnic food.
Gianna Iantosca, President
Gianna Iantosca is a Research Associate II at Jnana Therapeutics working on drug discovery and characterization of novel therapeutic targets. She received her bachelors from Emmanuel College with a distinction in the field of biology and a concentration in biochemistry. She has had experiences working in industry at Agios Pharmaceuticals and Navitor Pharmaceuticals where her focus was bringing therapies to patients with rare disease.
Gianna was inspired to pursue a career in science at an early age being a first hand witness to a family member with a rare disease. She was sparked to lean more about rare disease, which led to her education in biology and later career. She believes in order to be truly successful a person must be well balanced. She does this through her passion for fitness and well being, which include runs along the Charles. In the push to continue her career and be in a position to inspire others, she joins the team as the Event Coordinator in October 2019, hoping to bring the values and insight that she learned along the way to young women. In January 2020, Gianna has stepped up to the President role.
Razan Hadad, Vice President
Razan has diversified professional experience in the biotech and healthcare industries and has recently moved to Boston from Jordan. She is looking to combine her passion for science and business to find her next career opportunity. Razan has an undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Kentucky and an MBA in management from German Jordan University.
Being inspired by women in STEM and in business, she finds her purpose by being a part of a network of women in leadership, while volunteering her time to be a valuable resource within her community. Her last position was a project coordinator with the Business and Professional Women Association, where she successfully implemented a project with the Embassy of Sweden on ‘The Challenges that Face Women in Jordan”. She led a research paper and presented outstanding results that generated extra funding for the association. She enjoys writing, networking, and being a source of inspiration and love for her family.
Madeleine Hoebenstreit-Spitzbart, Head of Business Development and Operations
Madeleine Hoebenstreit-Spitzbart moved to Boston from Austria in January 2020. She holds a master’s in marketing from Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) and a certificate in online marketing. Before Madeleine moved to Boston, she has worked in marketing communications in the banking and pharmaceutical industries and is now a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Specialist at Tripadvisor.
Madeleine joined Women Accelerators in June 2020 to enable women to broaden their network and use their strengths to accelerate. She supports the team with marketing campaigns and website design and is excited to work in a passionate and driven team.
Colleen M Beaumont, Financial Advisor
Colleen M Beaumont is a Lowell Five Bank employee for 30+ years, joined as a Teller 1988 and has been the VP/Cash Management Officer since 2013. She worked at multiple branches in various positions including being a Branch Manager for 12 years, opening two new branch locations. Colleen enjoys working with local business owners, large and small, and learning about how they run their business. She finds it rewarding to collaborate with business owners on their goals and customizing solutions to fit their specific needs.
Colleen is a current member of the Lowell Transitional Living Center Development Committee and a past board member. She also enjoys volunteering with Lowell Five coworkers for the annual Alternative House holiday donation drive. Past associations include New England Safe Deposit Association – Board Member and Past President, Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader, AIB General Banking Diploma, New England School of Financial Studies graduate. She enjoys time with family, cooking, and cheering on the Patriots!
Jonathan Rubins, Ambassador Team Chair
Jonathan Rubins is currently a Research Associate II at Jnana Therapeutics, working on genetic target validation for IBD. Prior to Jnana, he was an Associate Scientist I at Emulate, Inc., where he helped develop of a novel Liver-on-Chip device for drug toxicity screening. He received his Sc.B. in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University, where he completed his honors thesis in computational profiling of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in breast cancer cells.
Jonathan comes to Women Accelerators with a passion for mentorship as well as driving diversity and inclusion initiatives. At Brown, he was an LGBTQ+ Student Mentor with the Queer Alliance, and remains an active member of the alumni-student career mentoring network.
Sandra Mohr, Mentoring Chair
Sandra Mohr is the Dean of Academic Resources and Administration at the New England College of Optometry. She is known for being a change agent in higher education institutions through engaging multiple stakeholders and investing in modern learning environments for the 21st century. She has proven talent for aligning institutional strategy and objectives with established departmental paradigms to achieve maximum faculty and student success. Sandra has earned a doctorate degree in Global Educational Leadership from Lamar University, a master’s degree in Higher Educational Leadership and Administration from West Virginia University, and a master’s degree in Counseling and bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California University of PA.
Samantha Stone, Event Co-Chair
Samantha Stone is a Clinical Medical Writer for MJH Associates. Previously, she served as the Medical Science Liaison for ADM Protexin specializing in probiotics relating to various health conditions. She holds a Bachelors degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Westfield State University, a Masters Degree in Human Nutrition from Columbia University, and a Doctorate in Food Science and Microbiology from the University of Reading. Most of her career has been spent spreading proper and factual scientific information to health care and lay communities. Besides her academic training, Sam is also a 200hr registered yoga teacher and a Mad Dogg Certified Spinning® instructor.
Sam was continually supported and driven by strong women throughout her scientific endeavors and hopes to continue to pay this kindness forward. She wishes to inspire and instill confidence in all women to push past and overcome any obstacle by providing a collaborative and encouraging community to engage with.
Hiral Kapadia, Event Co-Chair
Hiral Mehta is a graduate student at Bentley University pursuing her MBA with a concentration in Business Analytics. Prior to pursuing her MBA, she worked across various industries – Insurance and Food Manufacturing. She worked with General Mills as the Process Coach where she trained new hires and existing employees on new processes and changes to existing processes where she helped develop the training metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of learning initiative. She received her Bachelors in Management Studies from Usha Pravin Gandhi College of Management, India with a distinction and a concentration in marketing.
Hiral comes to Women Accelerators with a passion for empowering women, building opportunities to network and engage with other women; thus, paving way for women to rise to leadership positions. At Bentley University, she is the Vice President for Graduate Women’s Leadership Organization, Manager of Alumni and Inter-University Relations as well as the Manager of Events and Operations.
Hiral is a trained classical dancer and enjoys spending her free time hiking, exploring new places, traveling, creating her own art pieces, and socializing with friends and family.
She currently shares all her travel, food tales, and DIY tips via her lifestyle blog – My Bite of Life.
Kristen DeFranciso, Communications Chair
Kristen currently works as a Supervisor in Process Development at T2Biosystems and was previously a Scientist in Molecular R&D at Becton Dickinson. She attended Hofstra University for her bachelors in biochemistry and Johns Hopkins University for a masters in chemistry with a focus in bioorganic chemistry. Kristen is passionate about her work to improve patient outcomes by providing fast and accurate diagnoses to help guide treatments. Kristen believes it is important to have strong female leadership in industry and is looking forward to the networking and mentoring opportunities that the Women Accelerators provides to empower women.
Divina Hernandez, Business Development and Operations Chair
Divina Hernandez is from Oceanside, California. She is an experienced community development programs professional with proven competencies in community outreach, program management, and program development. She earned her BA in Ethnic Studies and Theology from the University of San Diego. Divina has many years of experience serving her community in Oceanside, California. She specializes in program development and management for the empowerment of the Latino/a community. She has created and managed the Noche de Damas (Ladies Night) program, a monthly event that gathered 20 women in the community and focused on education, self-empowerment, and job development through interactive activities. She also created a resource, “Guide on how to accompany Migrant & Refugee families” specifically for vulnerable communities.
Divina joins Women Accelerators as a volunteer with a passion to empower individuals to reach their full potential. She enjoys singing, dancing, and inspiring others to be the best versions of themselves.
Stephanie Skouras, Engagement Chair
Stephanie is a researcher in the field of immunology. She is currently an associate scientist at Kymera Therapeutics where she is a member of the immunology and inflammation team. She started her journey in immunology at Harvard Medical School where she completed the Summer Immunology Program, which ignited her curiosity in the field. She earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Medical and Molecular Biology and a Masters of Science in Clinical Research from MCPHS University.
Stephanie joined Women Accelerators because she is passionate about inspiring and promoting women in the workplace to hold more leadership and decision-making positions. She advocates that providing a supportive and informational environment for women it can help inspire one to step out of their comfort zone and conquer their goals.
Outside of work, Stephanie is an active speaker in the TED community. She has published a TEDx titled “Listen to Your Gut,” providing insightful tips on how to listen to your gut when it comes to your decision-making processes. Stephanie advocates it is important to teach and aid at risk communities for certain disease disparities. She was an active coordinator for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Sun Safety Program for three years, where she helped provide free skin cancer screenings. She also provides mentoring to undergraduate students to help facilitate their transition from school to the workplace. In her free time Stephanie enjoys listening to philosophy podcasts, hanging out with her cat Myelin, and going on scenic walks.
Hailea Palmer, Blogger
Hailea was brought on by Gianna after they connected through social media. Hailea will be writing our blog on a regular basis.
Hailea is passionate about helping others realize their own happiness. She enjoys spending time outside, hiking, reading in her free time, and cuddling her black lab.
Vanessa Chumbley, Events
After graduating with a BFA in Violin Performance, Vanessa began a career in Stage Management. She has worked for opera and dance companies all over the country for almost ten years, most recently with Houston Ballet. With COVID-19’s devastating effects on the performing arts industry, Vanessa is excited to bring her expertise and experience coordinating events to Women Accelerators and be a part of supporting women and bringing them together. Vanessa enjoys travel, salsa dancing and photography.
Sally-Joe Akiki, Blogger and Mentoring Program
Sally Akiki holds a bachelor degree in Architecture and Master’s degree in Conflict, Peace, and Security. Sally used to work in the Middle East- Lebanon and moved back to the US recently; she is currently in the management of the operations department in a medium scale construction company.
Born in USA and raised in Lebanon, Sally grew in a diverse family and community. The diversity she was surrounded with is reflected in the interdisciplinary line of thinking she developed- In one of her talks about sharing the street with the ‘other’, Sally elaborated how the built environment with its unspoken languages plays a role in diversity integration.
With her interest in interdisciplinary approach within this male dominant field, construction, Sally is looking forward in pushing women to be more involved in infrastructure. At the end of the day, infrastructure does affect both men and women; thus, both should have an effective role in decision making when it comes to infrastructure/ development.
Feel free to reach out to Sally by email- [email protected] and she will be more than happy to brainstorm with you on development, diversity, and interdisciplinary thinking.
If you are interested in participating in the Women Accelerators team, please contact us at [email protected]