• Five Women Trailblazers in Technology, Health Tech and Biotech to be Honored at October 1st 'Women in Tech' Awards Luncheon

  • SEPTEMBER 01, 2015 | ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, INT'L BUSINESS, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • IBM Exec Linda Sanford to Deliver the Keynote Address

  • For some inexplicable reason, there’s been a bias against women in the STEM fields, which has manifested itself in fewer opportunities, salaries, prizes, and recognition for women scientists. With Westchester emerging as a significant biotech and health tech hub, the Westchester County Association (WCA) wants to reverse that trend. Last year, the WCA, Westchester’s leading business organization, inaugurated the Women in Tech Awards Luncheon to honor pioneering women scientists who work here.


    Their stories were an inspiration, and in some cases, heartbreaking, as each woman related the painful obstacles she had to overcome to succeed in her field.

    The Second Annual Women in Tech Awards Luncheon will honor five more outstanding women. The event, which takes place on Thursday, October 1st, at Tappan Hill Mansion, also will recognize two outstanding Westchester students who have chosen to enter one of the STEM fields.

    “The Women in Technology luncheon provides a forum for the women to share their stories and for us to shine a light on their successes,” notes Marissa Brett, president of the Westchester County Association. “Westchester is a leader in technology and the life sciences, and we are honored to recognize these trailblazing women who are improving our lives daily.”

    The 2015 Honorees are:

    JoAnn Difede, PhD, director of the Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and professor, Department of Psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, for pioneering uses of virtual technology to treat survivors of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She is internationally recognized for her pioneering work using virtual reality technology in the treatment of PTSD subsequent to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. She is also the recipient of many grants and corporate medical contracts for projects concerning the delivery of optimal care for trauma survivors and their families. Her treatment research spans survivors of burn injuries, terrorism, and occupations at-risk for PTSD, including U.S. soldiers deployed to OIF/OEF/OND, firefighters, police officers, and disaster rescue and recovery workers.

    Joan Fallon, DC, chief executive officer, Curemark, LLC for developing innovative therapies to treat autism & ADHD. Curemark is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapies to treat serious diseases for which there are limited treatment options. The company’s pipeline includes a phase III clinical-stage research program for autism & ADHD, as well as three preclinical programs focused on Parkinson’s Disease, schizophrenia, and addiction. In 2013, Curemark commenced the filing of a New Drug Application for the first unique drug for autism under the FDA Fast Track Program.

    Lynn Macdonald, PhD, executive director, Pain, Neurology & VI Next, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, for developing genomic technologies for the treatment of human diseases. She has been a key contributor to developing Regeneron’s ground-breaking VelociSuite of genomics technologies, and specifically, VelociGene®, a novel technology for the modification of the mouse genome, and subsequently played a critical role in the development of the VelocImmune® Mouse. This humanized mouse strain has been used to develop fully human antibodies that can be rapidly translated into treatments for human disease. So far, these technologies have led to 14 antibodies. Dr. Macdonald is an inventor on 26 US Patents (9.22% of Regeneron’s total granted US Patents).

    Rebecca Sommi, senior vice president of operations, support, and engineering, Broadview Networks, for leading this IT organization through a technological tidal wave amidst an unsteady market. In her current position as senior vice president of Operations Support and Engineering, she oversees critical operations of the company, including: vendor management, ILEC relations, network planning and provisioning, optimization, network engineering, warehousing, inventory management and regulatory support.

    Andrea Soto, vice president, MasterCard, for championing and leading a global, corporate Women in Technology initiative. She serves as a key advisor to the president and helps drive execution of strategic goals across this global organization One of her greatest passions is getting more women involved in technology careers and exposing younger generations of girls to STEM education programs. Ms. Soto helped establish key programs in more than a dozen global cities, and led the development of partnerships with organizations like Girls Who Code, an organization dedicated to inspiring, supporting and educating middle and high school girls to choose careers in technology, and Women 2.0, who want to develop the next generation of women technology leaders.

    Linda Sanford, senior advisor, IBM Corporation, will deliver the keynote address. Sanford was responsible for transforming IBM’s core business processes, creating an IT infrastructure to support and integrate processes globally, and helping to create a culture that fosters innovation. She was senior vice president, Enterprise Transformation, responsible for IBM’s internal transformation to the premier globally integrated enterprise. In this role, she worked to transform core business processes, create an IT infrastructure to support and integrate processes globally, and help create a values-based culture that fosters innovation. Previously, Ms. Sanford was senior vice president and group executive, IBM Storage Systems Group, where she helped take IBM from fifth place in storage market share to second in two years. Prior to assuming that position, she headed IBM Global Industries, the organization that manages relationships with IBM's largest customers worldwide and is responsible for generating almost 70 percent of IBM's revenue. Ms. Sanford is a member of the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame and has been named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Business by Fortune magazine.

    The Women in Tech Awards Luncheon also will honor two Westchester students for their the achievements and passion for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM): Brigitte Obermeyer, a rising senior at Briarcliff High School, and Lindsay Peckham, pursuing a degree in Cyber Security at Westchester Community College. “We are proud to play a role in encouraging these young women to develop their careers, and the critical skills needed to fuel our Innovation Economy,” notes Marissa Brett, WCA president.
    The event is sponsored by Citrin Cooperman & Co., Con Edison, Harrison Edwards, Inc., Hospitality Resource Group, Greenberg Traurig, KeyBank, N.A., JP Morgan Chase, Skyline Genesis Event Marketing, Sterling Bank, and Westchester County’s Office of Economic Development. Supporters of the event are Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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