Aditi Soni: From Bringing Rare Disease Drugs to Community Service via Saheli and United India Association

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Aditi Soni

BOSTON- A woman who never takes NO as an answer in life, Aditi Soni works hard to empower the women in her community. As President of the United India Association of New England (UIANE) and a Board Member of Saheli Boston, Ms. Soni has been at the forefront of many important support initiatives run by both organizations, in a year where everyone’s lives were effected by the coronavirus pandemic.

From UIANE’s “COVID-19 Relief Fund” that delivered hundreds of meals and groceries to the elderly and the front-line workers, to its virtual ‘Participate and Learn’ series to keep their community physically and mentally strong, to working with the Indian Medical Association of New England (IMANE) and the India Association of Greater Boston (IAGB) to host a community awareness webinar for the COVID-19 vaccine, Ms. Soni has been instrumental to these initiatives.

On March 6, Ms. Soni will be honored as one of the 20 Outstanding Women of 2021 during the 18th Annual Woman of the Year Awards ceremony— to be held virtually this year. To buy a ticket, please click here.

Ms. Soni is the Director, Program and Alliance Management at Dyne Therapeutics. She has a strong track record in the field of drug discovery and development. She is very passionate about helping patients living with rare diseases. She is a mentor with Project Management Institute, Boston chapter. She is president of United India Association of New England. She is a Board member of Saheli Boston.

A Q&A with Ms. Soni:

INDIA New England News: Please tell our readers about your work and what you enjoy most about it?

Aditi Soni: As a Director in Program and Alliance Management group at Dyne Therapeutics, I manage the programs that deliver life-transforming therapies for people living with serious muscle diseases. Most enjoyable part of my job is working with bright minds with whom I share the mission of bringing the rare disease drugs to market in timely manner.

INE: If you are engaged with any charity or non-profit, please tell us why this group and what do you do for them?

AS: I currently serve two organizations – United India Association of New England (UIANE) and Saheli Boston.

I got associated with UIANE a few years ago, first as a volunteer, then as vice-president and currently as the president of the organization. UIANE is a cultural, social, and charitable organization with team members volunteering to create a platform to showcase cultural talents. UIANE ’s mission is to promote and nurture the values of Indian heritage amongst Indians away from India. Some of the things we do is organize cultural programs and events for Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali. The community members also come together on several other occasions like Women’s day and New Year’s Eve.

Since April 2020, our team has been actively serving the New England community (not limited to the Indian population) in the ongoing pandemic. The team organized a ‘COVID-19 Relief Fund’ to help deliver hundreds of meals and groceries to the elderly and the front-line workers.

We also collaborated with many community leaders and organizations including the Boston Mayor’s office, Saheli, Newton Wellesley Hospital, YMCA Boston, We Care Charity, Shivalaya Temple, Sew we Care, and several senior centers.

UIANE launched its virtual ‘Participate and Learn’ series to keep our community stay physically and mentally strong. We offered classes such as yoga, meditation, dance, and art to the participants of different ages through this program. We organized a toy drive and blanket drive to help the Boston community during holidays. We worked with IMANE and IAGB to host a community awareness webinar for the COVID-19 vaccine.

I am very passionate about women’s empowerment and women’s equality and inclusion initiatives. In past, I have served as co-chair of ‘Cambridge Women Resource Group’ (an ERG with over 500 members) during her scientific tenure at Novartis. Currently, I serve on Board of Directors for Saheli Boston, whose mission is to empower South Asian women and families to lead safe and healthy lives.

Working together with UIANE and Saheli, we hosted a AAUW Work Smart Salary Negotiation workshop last year. At this event, we also shared additional resources for women’s empowerment including mental health awareness and the tips for enhancing personal brand through LinkedIn.

This year I am very excited to bring UIANE, Saheli, Women Who Win and Asian American Commission of Commonwealth of MA together to celebrate the International Women Day on March 6th. We hope to provide some tools and tips for women to challenge themselves and reach their full potential.

INE: What are your hobbies and interests?

AS: I love to travel and enjoy learning about rich history, cuisines, and culture of different parts of globe.

INE: In what way you feel you have most positively influenced or served the local community and your company/organization and professional field?

AS: I am a good listener and that helps me effectively collaborate with different teams and personalities. Drug discovery for rare diseases is very complex – scientifically, as well as in terms of program timelines. Because I genuinely enjoy working with people, I am able to include diverse ideas in all the endeavors I embark in.

INE: Your rare talent?

AS: I consider self-discipline and structured way of handling issues as my biggest strength.

INE: Your favorite books?

AS: • “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell

  • “Tuesday with Morrie” by Mitch Albom
  • “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

INE: Your favorite quotes?

AS: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” —African Proverb

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

INE: Who inspires you the most?

AS: My mother is my biggest inspiration. She grew up in a small town and was a 1st generation immigrant in India after the Indian/Pakistan partition. She was one of few women in 1960s to earn her master’s degree. She worked hard to be a successful professional, while raising 7 kids. She inspires me to believe in myself, work hard and never take NO as an answer in life.

INE: Your core value you try to live by

AS: Perseverance and integrity are my core values to live with. I always listen to my heart and do the right thing.

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