Debbie Hart, MS, CAE, APR
President and CEO
Debbie Hart, founding President and CEO of BioNJ, is dedicated to the mission and work of BioNJ. She worked alongside New Jersey’s biotechnology industry leaders to establish BioNJ in 1994 and has been dedicated to the organization since then. Debbie has been active on the boards and committees of numerous government and academic institutions.
She was appointed by Governor Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno to the NJ Council on Innovation. She was recently named to the Advisory Boards of the New Jersey Innovation Institute and the Institute for Life Sciences Entrepreneurship at Kean University. She is a member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) Technology Advisory Board and a former member and Chair of EDA’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT). Debbie served on the transition teams of two former New Jersey governors and was appointed by two Governors to the New Jersey Israel Commission for her work in economic development.
Past government support activities include the Prosperity New Jersey Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Cluster Study commissioned by a former Governor and conducted by Professor Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School, the Jobs Growth and Economic Development Commission established by a former Governor and chaired by Dr. Roy Vagelos as well as the Task Force on Higher Education Quality and Competitiveness of the State. She also served on the Business Task Force established by the New Jersey State Legislature in 2011.
Debbie is a founding Board Member and Officer of OpportunityNJ, a non profit organization working toward a strong and sustaining State economy.
A strong advocate for advancing education, Debbie has served as a board member of the Rutgers University Blanche and Irwin Lerner Center for the Study of Pharmaceutical Management at Rutgers University Business School, the Advisory Board of the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair University, the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Silberman College of Business and the Science Advisory Board at Rider University as well as the advisory boards for the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT) Biomedical Engineering Program, Monmouth University’s School of Science, Technology and Engineering and as a Director of the Liberty Science Center’s Women’s Leadership Council.
Debbie served on the advisory board that guided the establishment of the nationally recognized Monmouth County Biotechnology High School and as a member of the New Jersey Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Advisory Board. In 2005, she delivered the Commencement Address at Raritan Valley Community College’s graduation ceremonies.
As an advocate for the industry, Debbie has testified before State and federal legislative committees. She is also a frequent speaker at industry events, including serving as the Keynote speaker at the Russian Pharmaceutical Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia; the Knowledge for Growth Conference in Ghent, Belgium; the Women’s Clinical Leadership Forum at the Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference in Orlando, Florida; and the Shanghai Bio Conference in Shanghai.
Debbie was honored by the Women’s Fund of New Jersey as a Woman Advancing Science, and she and BioNJ were recognized by NJIT with a New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame Award.
Debbie is an NJBIZ New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business honoree. In March 2014 in commemoration of Women’s History Month, she was nominated by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt and honored by the New Jersey General Assembly as a Woman Advancing Science. In May 2014, Debbie was named as one of 50 people to PolitickerNJ’s Health Care Power List of 2014.
Most recently, Debbie was named one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Biotechnology by Scientific American Worldview; as one of HudsonMod Magazine’s 2015 list of Women in Power along with Diane Von Furstenberg, Ivanka Trump, Sandra E. Peterson, Sheri McCoy and Nina Mitchell Wells; one of New Jersey’s top CEOs by COMMERCE Magazine; one of New Jersey’s 2015 Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs & Business Owners by Leading Women Entrepreneurs and for the fourth time in 2016 to the NJBIZ Power 100, a listing of the 100 most influential people in New Jersey business.
Debbie holds an M.S. from the S. I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University where she graduated cum laude and a B.A. from Trenton State College, now The College of New Jersey, where she graduated magna cum laude.
Vice President, Operations
As Vice President, Operations, Donna has been instrumental in developing internal controls and systems, which continue to meet and exceed accreditation standards. Donna oversees all aspects of operations, improving efficiencies, service levels and closely monitoring operating costs. Donna ensures compliance with employment and related laws.
Vice President, Communications and Marketing
Randi brings more than 20 years of experience working as a marketing and business communications professional. Her extensive experience includes managing media relations and writing and executing forward-thinking marketing strategies and initiatives that foster member engagement, build awareness and drive growth. With a strong analytical and market research background, Randi has a keen eye for identifying and developing new marketing opportunities. Most recently, Randi was the Executive Director of Marketing for ASI, the leading trade association within the advertising specialty industry. Randi’s broad-range of experience includes business intelligence, branding, marketing communication, customer relationship management, social media and public relations.
As Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Randi’s role is to support BioNJ’s Mission to enhance the robust life sciences ecosystem in the state of New Jersey by creating and executing astute communications and marketing strategies and programs that help our Members help their Patients.
Vice President, Engagement
Linda brings more than 25 years in clinical research and drug development in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the U.S. and as an expatriate internationally. She has worked both in early stage and large company environments, including 13 years with Merck and Company in roles spanning manufacturing, clinical research and drug development, public and investor relations, fund raising, marketing and business development. Throughout her career, Linda has held leadership and liaison positions engaging teams and organizations to provide strategic direction to emerging companies and new business initiatives. Most recently Linda served as a global team leader for a contract research organization developing strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to support their needs to expedite clinical development to get important treatments to market.
Because Patients Can’t Wait®, as Vice President of Engagement, Linda will use her diverse experience in the life sciences industry to promote new opportunities, partnerships and programs that will foster a stronger life sciences community within New Jersey and enhance the development of new, innovative therapies and cures.
Vice President of Government Affairs
Rebecca Perkins is a public policy and communications strategist with over twenty years of experience. Since 2004, Rebecca has been President and CEO of The Perkins Partnership, a public policy consulting firm focused on advocacy, stakeholder engagement, strategic communications and nonprofit organizations, with special expertise in healthcare and life sciences.
Previous positions include Senior Vice President at the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey, where she led communications, legislative and philanthropic initiatives focused on healthcare; Special Assistant to the President of the University of Medicine & Dentistry for External Affairs, where she promoted private/academic research relationships and represented the University to the life sciences community; and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Prosperity New Jersey in the administration of New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, where she led policy and mission initiatives.
As Vice President of Government Affairs, Rebecca’s role is to lead BioNJ’s efforts in addressing industry issues with members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation in Washington and Trenton as BioNJ continues to stay at the forefront of legislative initiatives and programs aimed at supporting and helping our Member companies grow both now and in the future.
Director, Life Sciences Talent Network at BioNJ
As a graduate from Rutgers University in 2006, with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and minor in public policy, Matt Alcalde has worked in both the private and public non-profit sector. Matt currently holds the position of Director for the Life Sciences Talent Network, where he leads business and workforce development efforts for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. The Life Sciences Talent Network is dedicated to connecting employers, professionals, educators and government through networking, creative programs and sourcing activity. Prior to his current role, Matt was the Grant Coordinator for the Bio-1 Fellowship Program, an internship initiative designed to help recent graduates gain visibility and hands-on experience in the life sciences industry. Matt also worked as the Grant Director for a New Jersey REDI workforce development grant, focused on green technologies, as well as a Grant Coordinator for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Through his current work with job seekers, Matt provides support which includes career coaching, 21st Century career strategies using social media and effective ways to leverage connections to secure a new job.
Director of Meetings
Debbie began her career with BioNJ as the Meeting Manager in 2011 and was recently promoted to Director of Meetings. Debbie brings 10 years of event and conference planning experience from her previous roles at Merrill Lynch. Debbie has strategically planned and coordinated events ranging from high-profile corporate events, industry conferences and annual meetings to nonprofit fundraisers, employee celebrations, networking briefings, forums and summits. By working closely with the BioNJ Team and Member Committees, Debbie executes exceptional events that meet business objectives and exceed expectations. Her work process reflects an authentic desire to ensure that all attendees, speakers and sponsors feel comfortable, appreciated and welcomed.
Debbie has also volunteered at the local American Red Cross and has served as a Co-Chair on the Planning Committee for Anderson House to plan their Annual Comedy Night Fundraiser.
Katina Pearl-Blando, MPH
As Project Manager for BioNJ, Katina brings with her more than 20 years of project management experience, including an extensive background in planning and implementing a wide breadth of education programs and policy initiatives for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Katina also served as a Project Director for Genecom, serving their pharmaceutical clients by overseeing the development and execution of various programs to broaden medical providers’ awareness of certain medical conditions, including Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), and fostering the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of patients in need.
Katina’s core responsibility is to work with the BioNJ BioPartnering Conference Planning Committee on the annual International BioPartnering Conference which brings together 250 life sciences leaders from New Jersey and beyond to form new business opportunities, licensing agreements and partnerships.
Communications Manager at BioNJ
Nicole brings over 5 years of creative marketing experience to BioNJ’s communications and marketing team. Prior to joining BioNJ, Nicole was the Production Coordinator for Physician’s Weekly, Graphic Designer for Pet Age Magazine and NJBIZ and the Communications Manager at Special Olympics New Jersey. She is a graduate of Rider University where she received a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership in Communications, as well as Bachelor of Arts in Radio & T.V. Communication, with a minor in Graphic Design & Multimedia.
As BioNJ’s Communications Manager, Nicole is responsible for building a vibrant online community, creating informative content for BioNJ.org and developing impactful communication campaigns that support BioNJ’s Mission and articulate New Jersey’s robust ecosystem to the life sciences industry near and far.
Member Services Manager
Edie Esposito joined the BioNJ team in September 2012, as a Member Services Coordinator after 5 years of Association Management experience with the New Jersey Chapter of Community Association Institute, where she was the Membership Services Coordinator. Outside the office Edie has served in several leadership roles with the Cub Scouts and with the PTA.
Executive and Public Affairs Assistant
Peggy joined BioNJ in June 2010 and brings 40+ years of administrative experience with her. She is a graduate of Fordham University, College of Business Administration with a BS degree in Marketing and Management. Peggy has a wide variety of experience supporting senior executives in the finance, pharmaceutical, trade association and government industries. Prior to joining BioNJ, she was a Strategic Communications Associate at Schering-Plough Corporation supporting the Head of Corporate Strategic Affairs. In her current role, she provides various levels of support in administration, communications, and public policy.