Newswise — WASHINGTON, DC, Tuesday, August 1, 2017 –  The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) announced four new additions to its board and the election of Councilor Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., as President-Elect. The new board members’ expertise and experience complement the organization’s strategic focus on innovation and entrepreneurship for women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and will support the pilot of its new accelerator, STEM to Market (S2M). These new board appointees will join the existing 12 members to guide the organization’s programs and partnerships to accelerate positive system transformation needed to achieve equity and parity in STEM.

As the leading organization that advocates on behalf of women in STEM, AWIS has helped guide Congress, the United Nations, and pharmaceutical, biotech, and other professional organizations on decisions and best practices to achieve gender diversity related to business growth, social change, and innovation in the field.

“We’re thrilled to have these dynamic and accomplished women in STEM join our board. Through their experience, education and expertise, they bring tremendous value to AWIS partners and members, especially as we foster the next generation of STEM entrepreneurs,” said AWIS President and Executive Vice President of AstraZeneca and head of MedImmune, Bahija Jallal, Ph.D.  “Our research shows that women face barriers to inclusion throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem and only multifaceted interventions, like the S2M accelerator, can address these complex challenges and foster inclusion and real system change.”

The AWIS Board will work closely with the newly launched S2M accelerator, which represents a continuation of the Association’s nearly 50-year commitment to women in STEM. S2M is funded by an Ewing Marion Kauffman Inclusion Challenge Grant, which is made to support organizations to expand their services to empower more female entrepreneurs and engineers of color and help them succeed. The pilot program will offer cohorts of STEM innovators in Chicago, Ill. San Francisco, Calif. and Washington, D.C. with mentorship, networking opportunities and support throughout the commercialization process for products developed in early-stage businesses or through the technology transfer process.

The now 16-person AWIS governing board, chaired by current President Bahija Jallal, reflects the broad range of scientific disciplines and work sectors that AWIS represents, sets the organization’s strategic direction, and provides insight and leadership to the national organization, its chapters, and its affiliates. Each of the new members brings to the governing board a deep understanding of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, a passion for diversity and inclusion, and demonstrated experience in expanding innovation in STEM:

  • Susan Windham-Bannister, President-Elect -- Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., recognized by The Boston Globe as one of the “10 Most Influential Women in Biotech” in 2013, is an expert in entrepreneurial innovation. Windham-Bannister currently serves as managing partner of Biomedical Innovation Advisors LLC, as well as the president and CEO of Biomedical Growth Strategies, LLC. She received a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College, a doctorate in health policy and management from the Florence Heller School at Brandeis University, and a doctor of science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (honoris causa).
  • Sangeeta Bhatia, Councilor -- Sangeeta Bhatia, M.D., Ph.D., is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor at MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is the Director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, and a member of the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology and is also an Affiliated Faculty member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, an Institute Member of the Broad Institute, a Biomedical Engineer at the Brigham & Women's Hospital, and has been elected to Brown University’s Board of Trustees.
  • Jennifer Elisseeff, Councilor -- Dr. Elisseeff is the Morton Goldberg Professor and Director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Wilmer Eye Institute with appointments in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Materials Science and Orthopedic Surgery.  She was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, and a Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum. In 2002 she was named by MIT Technology Review as a top innovator under 35.
  • Sara Kenkare-Mitra, Councilor -- Sara Kenkare-Mitra, Ph.D., is senior vice president of Development Sciences at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. Kenkare-Mitra has had a significant impact on the development of a number of medicines leading to Genentech's key product approvals including Avastin®, Tarceva®, Lucentis®, Xolair®, Erivedge®, Perjeta®, and Kadcyla® and more than 65 Investigational New Drug applications. Sara also is an adjunct faculty at UCSF in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences. She was selected one of the 150 Most Influential Business women by San Francisco Business times in 2011.  Sara was elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy in 2014.
  • Wendy Mayer, Councilor -- Wendy Mayer, M.B.A., is vice president Strategy, Pfizer Innovative Health. In this role, she is responsible for articulating and evaluating strategic opportunities across Pfizer’s Innovative portfolio (Vaccines, Oncology, Internal Medicine, Rare Disease, Immunology & Inflammation, and Consumer Health), including business development and transformative innovation. She joined Pfizer in 1997, and has had various roles across different aspects of the commercial organization.

“We are thrilled to work with President-Elect Susan Windham-Bannister and add these four accomplished and innovation-driven women to the board,” said AWIS Executive Director and CEO Janet Bandows Koster. “Dr. Windham-Bannister’s leadership and guidance, and the expertise and passion of our board members, will be an indispensable asset as AWIS continues to drive excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors.”




About AWIS

The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is a global network with 80 grassroots chapters and affiliates connecting more than 100,000 professionals in STEM with members, allies and supporters worldwide. Founded in 1971, AWIS has been the leading advocate for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to achieve business growth, social change, and innovation. We are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors. To learn more, visit