The Team

Stephanie Sonnabend

Chair and Co-Founder

Stephanie Sonnabend recently retired from Sonesta International Hotels Corporation after a thirty-five year career in the hospitality industry. She led the publicly held (NASDAQ) family controlled business 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.

In January 2012 Stephanie successfully completed a sale of the company, which involved taking the management company private and selling off the hotel assets to an affiliated REIT. She remained with the new company for a year and a half, and spearheaded the rebranding of 21 hotels in six months. Her recent accomplishments included launching a new extended stay brand and developing the renovation scope and design focus for all Sonesta Hotels.

Stephanie is currently 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. Her professional memberships include World Presidents' Organization, Women Corporate Directors, Massachusetts Women’s Forum, and The Boston Club.

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

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Malli Gero is the principal of Gero Communications, a marketing communications firm. Prior to starting her business in 1984, Malli served as an account executive for public relations agencies in New York and Boston, working in the fashion and design, healthcare, B2B, and leisure industries. Today, she represents clients in the hospitality, healthcare, B2B, and women’s leadership fields.

Malli is an active community volunteer. She currently serves as president of the board of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation, where she has been a director since 2000. She recently was elected chairman of the board of More Than Words, a social enterprise that empowers youth to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business. Malli is a graduate of Hunter College.


Breanna Bakke

Assistant Director

Breanna Bakke is the Assistant Director for 2020 Women on Boards. Breanna graduated from Bentley University with a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Global Perspectives. She was an active member of Bentley University Cheerleading, studied in Florence, Italy, and was involved in the Women’s Center on campus. 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 active advocate for gender equality. Her memberships include Boston CARES, Forté Foundation, Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, and United Way's Emerging Leaders. 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.



Navera Asghar


Navera Asghar is a Researcher for 2020 Women on Boards. Navera is a rising senior at Bentley University and a candidate for a B.S. in Finance, a B.A. in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Quantitative Perspectives, and a minor in Computer Information Systems. She is a head resident assistant for a first-year dorm, and president of a student organization that raises awareness about philanthropy. Navera was a part of the inaugural class of the Women's Leadership Program; a fellowship program at the Center for Women in Business at Bentley University. Additionally, she helps plan Consent Day; an event that promotes community safety and wellness while educating the community about sexual violence.

Navera is very excited to contribute to 2020 Women on Boards' mission to create a corporate culture that is more gender diverse.


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.