Our Team

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.

Debbie was recently named to the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships and appointed as Chair to the New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force. She is also a founding board member and officer of OpportunityNJ, a non-profit organization working toward a strong and sustainable State economy; is on the board of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Board of Directors for Choose New Jersey.

Debbie was appointed to the NJ Council on Innovation and 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). Additionally, she 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.

A strong advocate for advancing education, Debbie serves as a board member of the Rutgers University Blanche and Irwin Lerner Center for the Study of Pharmaceutical Management at Rutgers University Business School, and has served on 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 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; to ROI-NJ’s 2018 Influencers Power List; as one of HudsonMod Magazine’s 2015 list of Women in Power; 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 fifth time in 2017 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.

Donna Gibbons

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.

Randi Bromberg

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 Patients.

Linda Brown

Vice President, Engagement

Linda brings more than 25 years in clinical research and drug development as well as other disciplines in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the U.S. and as an expatriate. She has worked in both early stage and large company environments, including 13 years with Merck & Co., 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. Immediately prior to joining BioNJ, 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 draws from her diverse experience in the life sciences industry to drive forward multi-sector regional initiatives, partnerships and programs that foster building a stronger life sciences community within New Jersey and help optimize opportunity for medical innovation, new therapies and cures. Linda serves as Chairperson of the advisory board for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) Life Sciences Incubator; is an advisory board member for ResearchWithNJ, New Jersey’s research portal initiative to drive industry and academic collaboration; and is a member of Princeton University’s Biomedical Data Science steering committee supporting regional collaboration in biomedical research and data analytics.

John Slotman

Vice President, Government Affairs

As Vice President of Government Affairs, John leads BioNJ’s state and federal affairs efforts to ensure that Patients are protected and the life sciences industry is able to prosper and grow in New Jersey and at the national level. John brings with him nearly 20 years of experience in the healthcare and public policy sectors with broad strategic and tactical experience in government relations, policy and advocacy.

John previously served as Vice President, Graduate Medical Education Policy and Teaching Hospital Issues, for the New Jersey Hospital Association where he focused on issues related to New Jersey’s 43 teaching hospitals. Prior to joining the New Jersey Hospital Association in 2013, John served as Policy Advisor for DLA Piper where he represented clients to Congressional Republicans and Democrats, including House and Senate leadership, relevant committees and regulatory agencies on issues of interest to healthcare providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurers and others. John’s vast experience includes government affairs positions at the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and the American Hospital Association; as well as working on the legislative staff of multiple members of Congress.

Debbie Mennito

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

Project Manager

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 opportunitieslicensing agreements and partnerships.

Denise Machado

Manager, Membership Operations

Before joining AAI in August 2013, Denise spent 20 years at a New Jersey based pharmaceutical company holding several positions including Executive Administrative Assistant, Marketing and Sales, Administrator, Visiting Faculty in the Medical Education Division.  She also spent several years working for a marketing communications company as the Director of Meeting Planning.  Outside of AAI, she has volunteered in various board positions for her local Parent Teacher Association.

Kim Minton

Membership Operations Associate

As Membership Operations Associate for BioNJ, Kim brings more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, business development and membership services. She has worked with a wide variety of organizations, including the Philadelphia Business Journal, Bancroft, the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey, American Heart Association and JEVS Human Services. Kim has successfully helped build corporate communities while developing new value-based programs for member groups. In her role at BioNJ, Kim will support membership development and event planning, while also working to build BioNJ’s Purchasing Consortium Program which offers Members savings on services such as laboratory supplies, shipping, insurance, research publications and news distribution.

Dana Sacco

Executive Assistant

Dana joined BioNJ in 1996 after serving for five years as Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at  Covance. Dana manages the President and CEO’s office coordinating meetings and conference logistics and serving as a liaison to Member companies. Dana is a consummate professional with a strong desire to make a positive impact.

In addition to her role here, Dana is actively involved in the community and serves on the Board of the Steinert High School After Prom Committee and SHS Baseball Booster Club as Vice President/Fundraising.

Peggy Schell

Talent Services and Public Policy Assistant

Peggy joined BioNJ in June 2010 as Executive Assistant to the President and CEO and Public Policy Coordinator and brings 50 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.

Erika Herbstman

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Erika joined the BioNJ team in March 2018 as a Marketing and Design Coordinator, working with departments across the organization to help create and execute all communications. Prior to joining BioNJ, she was the Integrated Marketing Manager for Art Media Holding in New York City. With her background in digital media and publishing, Erika is experienced in advertising, content marketing, social media and graphic and web design to create brand awareness, foster brand loyalty and increase engagement.

Erika graduated from Hofstra University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations with a concentration in graphic design and advertising.