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 by Governor Murphy to the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology; as co-chair of the New Jersey Higher Education Strategic Plan Research, Innovation and Talent Working Group; and the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnership. Debbie served as chair of the bipartisan, bicameral New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force which was charged with making recommendations to the Legislature for fostering the growth of the biotechnology industry in New Jersey. The report was issued in June 2018. Debbie is a founding board member and officer of OpportunityNJ, a non-profit organization working toward a strong and sustainable State economy; and serves on the boards of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and Choose New Jersey.
Debbie serves on the New Jersey Presidents Council’s branding and marketing task force for New Jersey institutions. Debbie was appointed to the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Business Partnerships and to the NJ Council on Innovation. She was named to the Advisory Boards of the New Jersey Innovation Institute and the Institute for Life Sciences Entrepreneurship at Kean University. She served as a member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) Technology Advisory Board and is 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. In 2015, she was named as one of HudsonMod Magazine’s list of Women in Power and one of New Jersey’s Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs & Business Owners by Leading Women Entrepreneurs.
More recently, Debbie was named one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Biotechnology by Scientific American Worldview; to ROI-NJ’s 2019 Influencers Power List; to the 2019 NJBIZ Health Care Power 50, to the NJBIZ Manufacturing 50, to PharmaVOICE‘s 2019 100 Most Inspiring People list; one of New Jersey’s top CEOs by COMMERCE Magazine and for the seventh time in 2019 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
Donna joined the organization in 1995 bringing nearly a decade of diverse operations experience with her from purchasing, to human resources to systems support. She has been vital in the nurturing and growth of the organization and now oversees BioNJ’s human resources, accounting and operations functions. Donna was instrumental in creating internal controls and systems, recruiting and developing personnel, and continues to support the organization on a daily basis.
Vice President, Communications and Marketing
Randi is a strategic, analytical and creative thinker with more than 20 years of experience as a marketing and business communications professional in medical/scientific publishing and association management. Her extensive experience includes managing media and public relations, brand building, speech writing, authoring articles, fostering online communities, program development and conducting market research. Most recently, Randi was the Executive Director of Marketing for the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), the leading trade association for the advertising specialty industry. As a performance-driven leader with a keen eye for identifying and developing new business opportunities, Randi played an integral role in launching and building ASI’s five national, four boutique and 50 traveling events and shows, which included certified educational workshops, keynote presentations, networking/business-building offerings and exhibits.
Randi began her career in medical and scientific publishing, where she spent more than 10 years leading the marketing and communications programs for some of the most prestigious medical publications, such as Neurology (American Academy of Neurology) and The Laryngoscope (Triological Society).
A champion for Patients and dedicated to BioNJ’s mission of helping our Members help Patients, Randi’s role as Vice President of Communications and Marketing is to create and effectively execute forward-thinking strategies and campaigns which foster medical innovation, ensure Patient access and position New Jersey’s robust multi-sector life sciences ecosystem as a leading biopharma hub. She spearheads BioNJ’s work and related messaging on the importance of bringing all stakeholders together to develop Patient-centered, value-based models that will provide Patients with access to the right medicines at the right time at affordable out-of-pocket costs. Randi serves on the New Jersey Presidents Council’s branding and marketing task force for New Jersey institutions.
Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Programs
Linda brings significant experience in clinical research and drug development, as well as other disciplines in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the U.S. and internationally. 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®, 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.
Vice President, Government Affairs
John Slotman brings nearly two decades in the health care and public policy sectors with broad strategic and tactical experience in government relations and policy, advocacy, communications and association management. As Vice President of Government Affairs, John leads BioNJ’s state and federal government relations efforts, working to ensure that Patients come first via innovation and growth in New Jersey’s life sciences sector. Most recently, John served as the Vice President for Graduate Medical Education Policy and Teaching Hospital Issues at the New Jersey Hospital Association. In this role, John was responsible for association activities in medical education, accountable care organizations and other state and federal policy issues. During his NJHA tenure, State support for medical education more than doubled and all four of the State’s medical schools joined NJHA as members.
Prior to coming home to his native New Jersey, John spent more than 14 years in a variety of positions in Washington, D.C., including roles on the federal relations teams with the American Hospital Association and the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (now known as the Association for Accessible Medicines). As GPhA staff, John led the association’s policy and advocacy efforts on drug shortages, working with policymakers, regulators and others to develop strategies aimed at solving ongoing shortages of critical treatments. In his role with the American Hospital Association, John worked with national leaders in rehabilitation and long-term care, assisting in shepherding legislation through Congress to provide inpatient rehabilitation facilities relief from the so-called 75% Rule. John also served as staff to a senior members of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations and as an advisor to clients from across the health care spectrum with the multinational law firm DLA Piper.
John is a graduate of Drew University in Madison, NJ, with a double major in French and Political Science. John is currently working to complete his Master’s in Health Care Management.
Coordinator, Programming Operations
Samantha brings nearly 10 years of administrative, financial and project management experience supporting executive functions in multiple corporate environments, including Boston Consulting Group, Heritage Investment Partners, LLP and Sterling Resources International. She has significant experience in managing daily office operations, event management and special projects in client-facing roles. As Coordinator, Programming Operations, Samantha provides project management support to BioNJ’s advisory committees, programming development and event planning.
Social Media and Design Manager
Erika works with departments across the organization to help create and execute all communications. She is also responsible for building BioNJ’s social media community. Prior to joining BioNJ, she was the Integrated Marketing Manager for Art in America and ARTnews publications 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 build brand awareness and foster engagement.
Erika graduated from Hofstra University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations with a concentration in graphic design and advertising.
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.
Director, Talent Services & Events
Debbie brings 10 years of event and conference planning experience from her previous roles at Merrill Lynch. She 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. Recently, Debbie took on the additional role of overseeing BioNJ’s Talent Services initiatives, including our HR Conference and Forum and BioNJ’s Inspiring Women in STEM Conference.
As Membership Manager 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, 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.
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.
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.
Cheri has worked as an administrative assistant for more than 20 years. She began her career working in the dental field, first as an Assistant, then as an Office Manager. She then moved on to become the Director of a children’s daycare center, where she worked for seven years and oversaw the daily functions of the facility including compliance, safety and the ensured the well-being of 150 children and 11 team members. Immediately prior to joining BioNJ, Cheri served as an administrative assistant in a Trenton, NJ-based medical office. She has been with BioNJ for six years and assists our Members with the utmost in professionalism and care on a daily basis.
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.
Manager, Accounting Services
Prior to joining BioNJ in 2009, Ann was the Director of Admissions and Marketing at King James Care Center and owned her own consulting business where she worked as a liaison with area hospitals, RWJUH at Hamilton, Capitol Health and the now defunct Mercer Medical Center. At BioNJ, Ann manages the accounts receivable function and supports the financial management processes. Ann interfaces with our Members and accountants on a daily basis, ensuring proper accounting practices are being followed.
Ann received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with a Minor in Psychology and graduated Cum Laude from York College of Pennsylvania. She is actively involved in the community as a volunteer on the Board of the Bordentown School PTO, and as a volunteer for various civic organizations.