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

Director of Finance and Administration

Breanna Bakke is the Director of Finance and Administration for 2020 Women on Boards. She served as Assistant Director until January 2016.

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.

Breanna is also an assistant project director with YPO - Young Presidents' Organization, where she provides logistical support for national and international business events. Prior to joining 2020, Breanna interned at Morgan Stanley and the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, where she built a statewide race-tracking database.

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 U.S. Congresswomen in the passage of human trafficking policy.

Evelyn Garrity

Communications Coordinator

Evelyn Garrity is the communications coordinator for 2020 Women on Boards. Evelyn is a Masters student at Boston College pursuing a degree in British and American Literature. Her research interests include women and gender, the eighteenth century, and the history of the novel. As an undergraduate she also studied Spanish Language and Literature and International Studies. 

Evelyn aspires to hone her analytical writing skills and teach writing courses at the college level. She is excited to be a member of the 2020 Women on Boards team and contribute to the pursuit of gender equality in the workforce.

Betsy Keating

Researcher

Betsy Keating is a Researcher for 2020 Women on Boards. Betsy has extensive experience in journalism; she worked as a Photo Editor for Time Inc. and Hearst Magazines.

She earned her undergraduate degree from Boston College in English and Philosophy, and her master’s degree from Columbia University in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. Her master’s thesis was entitled Hero or Snitch? A Case Study on American Corporate Whistleblowing.

Betsy received her grant-writing certificate from the American Grant Writers’ Association. She also recently co-authored a research paper for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies titled The Unexamined “Selfie” is not worth taking: The Explosion of Amateur Digital Image Technologies in the Early 21st Century.

Betsy is enthusiastic about the mission of 2020 Women on Boards, as gender parity has always been an issue for which she has felt strongly.