The Team

Stephanie Sonnabend

Chair and Co-Founder

Stephanie Sonnabend is a proven leader and experienced board member of public, private and non-profit boards. As CEO and President of Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, she led a publicly held (NASDAQ) hospitality management and franchise company through numerous business cycles, with Sonesta branded hotels, resorts, suites and Nile cruises located in the United States, Egypt, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, The Netherlands, Italy and throughout the Caribbean and Bermuda.

After the sale of the company in January 2012, Stephanie remained with the new company until July 2013 and spearheaded the rebranding of 21 hotels in six months. Her accomplishments included launching a new extended stay brand and developing the renovation scope and design focus for all Sonesta Hotels. Today Stephanie is a principal with Son Hospitality (SonHos) Consulting providing big picture thinking with practical solutions focused on the hospitality and travel industries.

Stephanie currently serves on the Board of Directors of Century Bank and Trust and Century Bancorp, where she is a member of the Audit Committee and chairs the Asset Liability Committee. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, a commercial real estate franchisor. She has chaired numerous committees (facilities, marketing, strategic planning, nominating, governmental affairs) on higher education boards of trustees and on association and governmental boards. Her professional memberships include World Presidents Organization, Women Corporate Directors, Massachusetts Women’s Forum, and The Boston Club.

In 2010, Stephanie co-founded 2020 Women on Boards. She is an inspirational speaker educating audiences about what a board does, why diversity is important and how to advance your career and prepare for board service.

A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University, Stephanie received her master’s degree from M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management.


Malli Gero

Co-Founder and President

Malli Gero is Co-founder and President of 2020 Women on Boards. She served as Executive Director until August 2014.

Before launching 2020 Women on Boards, Malli had a long career in marketing communications and public relations. She was principal of Gero Communications, a boutique PR firm founded in 1985, specializing in B2B, non-profit and hospitality sectors, and worked as an account executive for public relations agencies in New York and Boston.

Malli is an active community volunteer. She was appointed to the Mayor's Commission on Women in June 2014 and serves on the board of More Than Words, an innovative social enterprise. She is past chair and president of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation in Brookline, MA.

She also served on the boards of the Brookline Educational Foundation, Ruggles Street Mission Hill Day Care Center, a division of Associated Day Care Services of Greater Boston, and Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline. She lives in Jamaica Plain, MA with her husband, Michael.


Breanna Bakke

Assistant Director

Breanna Bakke is the Assistant Director of 2020 Women on Boards. Breanna graduated from Bentley University with a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Global Perspectives. Her senior thesis focused on the role of Congresswomen in the passage of human trafficking policy in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Breanna brings extensive knowledge of women’s leadership issues, and is an advocate for gender equality. She was elected co-chair of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus (MWPC) Young Professional Leadership Board in March 2015 and serves on the 2020 Women on Boards/Boston Campaign Committee. Her memberships include Boston CARES, Forté Foundation, and Levo League.

Prior to joining 2020, Breanna was a marketing intern at the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus where she built a statewide 2012 race-tracking database.


Krystina Novello

Administrative Intern

Krystina Novello is the administrative intern for 2020 Women on Boards. Krystina is a senior undergraduate student at Boston College pursuing a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Ethical Philosophy. She is involved in several volunteer-based organizations at Boston College, and recently returned from a semester studying abroad in Madrid, Spain.

Krystina hopes to attend law school following her undergraduate studies, where she would like to continue to focus on ethics of inequality. She is excited to be a part of the 2020 Women on Boards' team, and to contribute to their remarkable mission.


Marnie Zoldessy


Marnie Zoldessy is a Researcher for 2020 Women on Boards. Marnie graduated from The College of Wooster in 2011 with a B.A. in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree at Brandeis University in the joint program English with Women's and Gender Studies. Her M.A. thesis will investigate "non-normative" gender performance in contemporary fiction/creative non-fiction, specifically the ways in which the boundaries of gender are constructed, deconstructed and understood in our societal approach toward identity.

Marnie hopes to make writing a career in the compositional and editorial world, as well as continue her work in non-normative gender analysis and advocacy. Thus, she is excited to be a part of the 2020 Women on Boards' team and their vitally important mission.