2019 Honorees |Sponsorship| Nominations| Tickets

Breakfast and Award Ceremony

 May 7, 2019
Harvard Club
7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Honoring women whose business or professional contributions significantly impact their industry and exemplify an understanding of the balance between outcome and responsibility in their workplace.


Lynda Baquero
Consumer Reporter – “Better Get Baquero”
NBC 4 New York

Emmy-award winning Lynda Baquero is NBC 4 New York’s consumer reporter.  “Better Get Baquero” investigates and resolves consumer complaints.  Lynda’s “Freebie Friday” segment,   that airs during the 5pm newscast, gives viewers the inside scoop on free deals for events, dining, beauty and pet products. She is also the host of “Visiones,” a long-running series that focuses on the hot-button issues in the Hispanic community.  “Visiones” can be seen on the Saturday edition of  “Weekend Today in New York” at 6:45 am.

Lynda has reported on stories at home and abroad, from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Holy Land and the Salt Lake City and Atlanta Olympic Games. She is the recipient of two Emmy awards, an El Diario La Prensa’s “Mujeres Destacadas” (Outstanding Women) award and the New York University College of Arts and Sciences Alumni “Achievement Award.” She is a board member of Let’s Get Ready, a non-profit that helps students prepare for their college education.

Baquero joined NBC4 from NY1 and WCBS where she was a consumer reporter and anchor.  She is a graduate of New York University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism.


Alessia Falsarone, SASB FSA
Managing Director

PineBridge Investments

Alessia Falsarone, SASB FSA, is a Managing Director with PineBridge Investments in New York, a private, global asset manager focused on active, high-conviction investing. She is responsible for the alignment of portfolio strategy and investment risk processes with focus on the developed markets’ credit platform. Ms. Falsarone served in the office of the CEO of PineBridge’s predecessor entity, AIG Investments. Prior to AIG, she was part of the Global Investments team at Citigroup as Vice President responsible for strategic co-investments and international client advisory as well as an investment banker with Credit Suisse.  

Ms. Falsarone is an NACD Governance fellow, a start-up mentor in the Stanford IGNITE accelerator program, and an active contributor to the Financial Management Association.  She serves as a Member of the Board of 1787fp, a digital platform focused on consumer finance (TechCrunch Disruptor 2017) and as a Trustee of the International Education and Resource Network (iEarn-USA). A researcher of behavioral sciences, she is contributing author to “Applying Neuroscience to Business Practice” (October 2016). 

Ms. Falsarone holds an MSc in Financial Mathematics from Stanford University, an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Business and a BS in Financial Economics from Bocconi University, Milan, Italy.  

Melissa Person-Ashforth
Co-founder and CEO
Melissa International

Melissa Person-Ashforth is an accomplished Information Technology, Software – Application Development and Information Security – Cybersecurity executive with a distinguished 25 + year career growing revenue and profits for established and early-stage companies and government agencies nationally and internationally. An innovative strategist with a record of revamping and transforming under-performing organizations. Melissa is the co-founder and CEO of Melissa International. 

Melissa co-built her first company, Lincoln1.com, an Information Technology, Information Security – Cybersecurity and Software – Application Development Technology Services company, and positioned it for acquisition by InfoSys. Her second company, Open Solutions Inc. was co-built with Fiduciary Constitution Corporate Federal Credit Union and subsequently acquired by Fiserv. Melissa and her team developed a cloud hosted platform and application for Corporate Credit Unions, Bankers Banks, Credit Unions and banks with PCI / DSS compliant payment processing. This is now known as Fiserv DNA.

Melissa co-built her third company, PRI and Insurity, an Information Technology, Information Security – Cybersecurity and Software – Application Development Technology Services company and positioned it for acquisition by ChoicePoint which is now LexisNexis Risk Solutions. Melissa and her team developed a cloud hosted platform, application and system for P&C Insurance companies and government agencies with PCI / DSS compliant payment processing.

Melissa’s fourth company Melissa International, an Information Technology, Information Security – Cybersecurity and Software – Application Development Technology Services company, was co-built and positioned for acquisition by a private recruitment and placement company who wanted to change their strategic direction to Technology Services.

Melissa is currently providing consultative leadership, information technology, software – application development and information security – cybersecurity expertise to state, local and federal government agencies. Melissa and her partners sold an e-commerce e-advertising co-patent platform, application and system to Alibaba. Melissa and her partners are currently selling a MMA and Boxing electronic scoring system with online gambling and sports betting application with PCI DSS compliant payment processing and patent. 

Nanette Buziak
Voya Investment Management
Managing Director, Head of Equity Trading

Nanette Buziak is the Head of Equity Trading, responsible for all facets of equity trading and related operations, managing a team of six traders that transact equities, currencies and futures for their U.S. Equity Team. Nanette is also responsible for the Broker Vote process at Voya IM.  Prior to joining Voya Investment Management in 2005, formerly ING Investment Management U.S.,  Nanette was a Senior Portfolio Manager at J.P. Morgan Asset Management  for eight years, responsible for their structured equity portfolios. Her previous experience includes roles as trader and portfolio manager for First Marathon America, Inc.’s domestic convertible bond arbitrage portfolio and was a member of their program trading team. She started her career as a financial analyst at Bear Stearns & Company, Inc. She is a Board Member of NOIP, the National Organization of Investment Professionals, and is also a member of the ICI Equity Markets Advisory Committee, SIFMA’s Asset Management Group Equity Trading Committee and Trader Forum.

Nanette was the 2011 inaugural year winner of the Trader Magazine Wall Street Women Industry Trailblazer Award and most recently the 2017 Markets Media Trader of the Year Award Winner.  Nanette also is an outside consultant for the CFA Institute on CFA and CIPM program readings. She is very active in mentoring both internally to Voya Investment Management Team as well as externally within the financial industry. Nanette is active with several charitable efforts, primarily with the Saint Luke Church Parish Outreach Ministry and Al’s Angels, located both in Westport CT.  She received a BBA in Applied Actuarial Mathematics from Bryant University in 1993 and holds FINRA Series 3, 7, 55 and 63 licenses.

Misti Ushio, PhD.
Founding CEO
TARA Biosystems

TARA Biosystems develops physiologically relevant 3D tissue models for drug discovery and development applications. The company’s Biowire™ II platform enables generation of large amounts of human relevant data for predictive drug development.  TARA accelerates discovery efforts for novel heart medicines via its disease modeling and phenotypic screening capabilities, and also evaluates early cardiac risk assessment of drug discovery candidates.

Dr. Ushio has over 20 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, and early stage life science company building. Dr. Ushio has served most recently as Chief Strategy Officer and Managing Director of Harris & Harris Group, where she advised and invested in life science companies to help them translate their transformational science into commercially successful companies.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Ushio held management roles at Merck & Company, where she developed vaccines and biologics products, and Columbia University, where she managed the intellectual property of several scientific and engineering portfolios.

She was graduated from Johns Hopkins University (B.S., Chemical Engineering), Lehigh University (M.S., Chemical Engineering) and University College London (Ph.D., Biochemical Engineering).  She also serves as a Director on the Boards of private and public life science companies.   In 2018, she was named to Fast Company’s Top 100 Most Creative people in Business.

Seema Kumar HLA Tips and Interview