Gloria Cordes Larson Center for Women and Business Team Bios
Executive Director, Gloria Cordes Larson Center for Women and Business & Bentley University Executive Education
As the Executive Director, Deb Pine sets and leads all external and internal strategic efforts for the Center for Women and Business and Bentley University Executive Education, including corporate engagement, student initiatives, faculty collaboration, and research.
Deb joined Bentley from Harvard Business School, where she served as a consultant and advisor as well as a student career coach and mentor for start-up teams. Previously, she served as COO of thegrommet.com, a curated online e-commerce site that was acquired by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten. She also co-founded PreVision Marketing, a customer marketing and technology firm which developed breakthrough customer loyalty marketing programs for Fortune 500 companies. Under her leadership, PreVision was ranked on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies and the Software 500 representing leading technology providers.
Deb’s wealth of experience includes positions as head of business development for ADVO, a leader in direct-to-consumer print advertising, where she spearheaded M&A initiatives, and head of major accounts for Epsilon, a pioneer in database development and loyalty marketing. She has served as an investor and advisor to early-stage ventures and as a non-profit board member, and currently sits on the board for T1DExchange, a nonprofit organization that builds patient and community research platforms dedicated to eradicating chronic diseases.
Deb is an internationally recognized speaker in the customer relationship management field and is a member of the Harvard Business School Women’s Association and The Boston Club. She is committed to furthering progress toward corporate gender equity and is an active mentor and advisor to several women led businesses.
Deb earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and her B.A. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Trish Foster serves as Senior Director in the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University, where she oversees corporate and student programming as well as collaborative efforts with Bentley faculty.
She develops content and authors the center’s curated research reports on a range of D&I issues and speaks frequently to business and student groups on issues impacting women’s advancement and diversity. As a passionate advocate for inclusion and the men as allies movement, Trish spearheaded formation of Bentley’s undergraduate Men of Alliance group. She is a member of Bentley’s Diversity Council and Co-Chair of the Boston Steering Committee for 2020 Women on Boards, the national campaign to increase the number of women on US corporate boards. Previously, Trish served as vice president of Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations and senior vice president of FleishmanHillard Public Relations. She holds a B.S. in business from The University of Delaware.
Anna Babbi Klein
As the Program Director, Anna Babbi Klein focuses on developing and delivering leadership programs that engage and empower Bentley students. This includes managing the Women's Leadership Program and guiding the range of student programs offered by the CWB. She is also responsible for driving the center's communications strategy to effectively communicate with corporate partners, students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
Anna began her career in higher education at MIT where she served as the Communications Manager for the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education. Most recently, she was at Simmons College School of Management, serving as the Director of Communications and Academic Programs.
While a passion for working with students brought Anna to higher education, she worked in the software industry for over 10 years as a project manager and developer. She also had the unique experience of owning and operating an ice cream shop in Boston for several years.
Anna earned a Master of Higher Education Administration and a MBA from Boston College. Her undergraduate work at Rochester Institute of Technology was focused on computer science and business.
Assistant Director, Events
As the Assistant Director of Events, Becky McDougal develops strategy and executes details for the center’s corporate events, including an annual signature conference, Gearing Up, designed to provide skills-building support for women in the first decade of their careers. She also works with organizations to design custom workshops tailored to their specific workplace and gender diversity needs. Becky serves on the Boston Steering Committee for 2020 Women on Boards, as part of the national campaign to increase the number of women in board positions.
She joined Bentley from Combined Jewish Philanthropies, where she managed a wide portfolio of events including programs for the Professional Networks, Women’s Philanthropy, and Planned Giving, to name a few. Prior to CJP she worked as an Event Coordinator at CBI/Advanstar Communications, planning domestic and international conferences for the life sciences.
Becky earned her degree in Marketing from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. With experience in planning both corporate programs and non-profit events, she brings the right blend of skills, energy, and professionalism to the center.
Student Programs Manager
As the Student Programs Manager, Dorothy Polatin develops CWB student-focused programs and events. This includes managing the CWB Fellowship Program, supporting the Women’s Leadership Program, and advising the Women’s Leadership Community, Men of Alliance, Bentley Women’s Network and Dresses to Dreams. As the key liaison for student groups, she counsels students on programs and assists in management and implementation of communications. She also drives cross-campus collaboration on student-focused programs with other Bentley centers and programs.
In her previous role at Cambridge Computer, she coordinated marketing and events for sales representatives nationwide and throughout the company itself. Prior to Cambridge Computer, she worked at TrU2U Communications, where she managed PR and special events for a diverse group of clients.
Dorothy earned her MBA from Bentley University and graduated from University of Massachusetts at Amherst with dual bachelor’s degrees in business management and communications, minoring in women’s studies.
Director, Partnership Development
As the Director of Partnership Development, Melissa collaborates with corporations to identify ways the CWB can help foster more inclusive organizations through thought leadership opportunities as members of our Executive Working Group, and custom diversity and inclusion workshops. Melissa also serves on the Boston Steering Committee of 2020 Women on Boards, the national campaign to increase the number of women in board positions.
Melissa is passionate about female empowerment. She has been a mentor to underserved Hispanic girls and co-led an after-school program for Haitian girls, focused on building self-confidence and leadership skills. Most recently, she helped over 300 women launch their businesses as independent stylists, and developed programs to help women who had taken a career break successfully re-enter the workforce. Melissa has deep experience in business and corporate partnership development across a variety of industries including publishing, pharmaceuticals, and financial services.
Melissa is a graduate of Penn State University.
As the Program Assistant, Janelle Gee provides administrative and technical support for the team. This includes front desk operations, data and information management, website and social media support and research. She also sets meetings, supports special events, coordinates travel arrangements and supervises work study students in the department.
Janelle joins the Bentley community from YMCA Greater Boston, where she served as Membership Director. She directed internal branch marketing strategies, including the development of program guides, social media and Constant Contact. Additionally, she managed branch external marketing strategies including Corporate Partnerships. Her passion for Healthy Living was displayed during her tenure as a Lifestyle Coach for a Diabetes Prevention Program.
Janelle earned her BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Framingham State University. She is currently pursuing her MBA with a concentration in Marketing at Bentley University.
Donna Maria Blancero
CWB Faculty Advisor
Interim Dean of Business and the McCallum Graduate School of Business, Bentley University
Donna Maria Blancero is Interim Dean of Business and the McCallum Graduate School of Business at Bentley University and an Associate Professor of Management. She is one of three Latina business deans in AACSB accredited Universities in the United States. She has been a faculty member at Bentley for 9 years and was at Arizona State University for over 10 years. She teaches courses in diversity, organizational behavior, and managing teams.
Donna Maria is passionate about issues of inclusion and equity. Her research has focused primarily on Hispanics and other people of color in Corporate America. She is the founding editor for The Business Journal of Hispanic Research and is a national speaker on issues related to Hispanic leadership, inclusion, and unconscious bias. She co-leads the SACNAS Linton-Poodry Leadership Institute and the Advanced Leadership Institute, the NAMIC Multicultural Leadership Program, and the Wells Fargo’s Latin Leaders Program. As a consultant, she has worked with organizations on topics such as unconscious bias, networking, mentoring, biculturalism, and work/life balance (or lack thereof).
She is a Fellow in the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Division Chair for the Gender & Diversity in Organizations Division for the Academy of Management, a faculty member of the PhD Project for over 20 years, and the Chair of Committee for Hispanic Excellence (CHE), a White House Initiative started in 2015.
She is the recipient of several awards for diversity, including the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s Brillante Award for Hispanic Education, the National Black MBA Diversity Educator Award, and the MLK Leadership Award from Bentley University. She received her PhD from Cornell University and was the first Latina to graduate with a PhD from the Industrial Labor Relations School.
CWB Faculty Advisor
Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences, Bentley University
Wiley Davi is Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences at Bentley University and an Associate Professor in English and Media Studies (EMS). Prior to her current position, she served as chair of the EMS Department for seven years overseeing 60 faculty. She has published articles on leadership, on the value of liberal learning in a business curriculum, and on diversity in the classroom. Currently, she is working on a co-authored book on leadership and metacognition.
Fully committed to diversity initiatives, Wiley has served as a facilitator of Bentley’s faculty and staff workshops on diversity, on being an LGBTQ ally, and on being a transgender ally. For this work, she received Bentley’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award. She has also received numerous awards for her teaching, including Bentley’s Innovation in Teaching Award and the Gregory H. Adamian Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Since 2015, Wiley has served as a Women in Leadership program facilitator for the Erasmus Center for Women and Organizations (ECWO) out of the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University in the Netherlands. Through ECWO, she has worked with women in organizations such as ING Bank, TNO (a nonprofit that focuses on applied science), and the European Central Bank. She received her PhD from Tufts University.
CWB Faculty Advisor
Lecturer, Bentley University
Mateo Cruz is a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) in the social-organizational psychology program at Columbia University and a Lecturer in organizational behavior at Bentley University. His primary research focuses on gender & diversity, specific to stereotype threat and social identity management in workplace contexts. Secondary interests include: women in STEM careers, stereotype threat interventions, and STEM organizational culture and change.
As a scholar-practitioner, Mateo’s work is guided by one central goal: To design and deliver evidence-based interventions that advance change leaders at the intersections of identities. He has 15+ years of experience as an executive coach and organization development (OD) consultant specializing in diversity leadership, team effectiveness, and organization change. He has designed & delivered programming for organizations across industries and currently serves as a faculty trainer for The New York Academy of Sciences’ Science Alliance Leadership Training (SALT), a program for early career scientists working to advance institutional transformation. He holds a Master’s degree in organizational psychology from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s in social work from the University of Portland.
CWB Faculty Advisor
Lecturer, Bentley University
Vasilia Vasiliou is a PhD candidate in Business and Fellow of the Gloria Cordes Larson Center for Women and Business at Bentley University. Her research focuses on how corporate governance and gender diversity relate to the appointment process of new directors, board dynamics, and career issues. This research links organizational behavior (OB) theory to novel qualitative data on the experiences of male and female directors to better understand the persistent underrepresentation of women on corporate boards. Vasilia teaches OB and has served as advisor for senior capstone projects within Bentley's Honors Program.
Vasilia holds a BSc (Hons) in Mathematical Science from City, University of London, and an MBA from the Cyprus International Institute of Management (CIIM). Her direct access to corporate directors and strong background in mathematics enable her to combine qualitative and qualitative methods to produce impactful research. Vasilia is also part of the research team at the National Initiative on Gender, Culture and Leadership in Medicine: C - Change, at Brandeis University. C - Change engages medical schools and academic health centers in action research to promote culture change for an organizational environment that helps faculty and trainees reach their full potential and to enhance diversity among those in leadership positions.
CWB Faculty Advisor
Assistant Director of Gender Equity and Development and Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Bentley University
Alex Hirs serves as the Assistant Director of Gender Equity and Development and Deputy Title IX Coordinator at Bentley University. Based on his research and professional expertise, he frequently coordinates conversations and programming related to men as allies, diversity, and gender issues.
Alex is an adjunct Bentley faculty member and teaches a management course on diversity and inclusion. He also sits on Bentley’s Diversity Council. Alex received his Bachelor of Arts in Clinical Psychology and Linguistics at Boston College and his Master of Science in Student Affairs and Higher Education at Miami University.
CWB Student Workers and Interns
Laura Pianin '20
Hope Leonard '21
Natasha Bajaj '21
Women's Leadership Program Student Coordinator
Major: Computer Information Systems
Holly Fiscus '19
Elizabeth Barker '20
Emily Spinelli '20
Ore Onabanjo '21
Kristen Novit '22
Minerva Nguyen '20