Goan awarded 'Woman of the Year 2024' in Boston

Rowena Mascarenhas receives award for Non-Profit Leadership; the third award to be presented to her in three years

THE GOAN | MAY 04, 2024, 12:56 AM IST
Goan awarded 'Woman of the Year 2024' in Boston

Rowena Kay Mascarenhas receiving the Woman of the Year 2024 award from Desh Deshpande, Indian-American venture capitalist and entrepreneur, at the India New England Gala in Boston, on April 26.

Photo Credits: Dyuti Majumdar


Barely two months after being named to the Top Women Leaders of Washington DC for 2024 by Women We Admire, IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE) Boston Executive Director Rowena Kay Mascarenhas, a Goan hailing from Saligao, has received the Woman of the Year 2024 at an event in Boston.

Rowena received the award from Desh Deshpande, Indian-American venture capitalist and entrepreneur, at the India New England Gala in Boston, on April 26.

With a wealth of professional experience spanning more than two-and-half decades, Rowena has been praised for demonstrating excellence in corporate, academic, and non-profit sectors. 

Her career spans corporate, academic, and non-profit sectors, and this cross-sectoral expertise extends to multicultural, local and global environments. 

Rowena's pivotal roles, prior to her current position at TiE Boston, were at the American India Foundation, Oxford University Press, and Crompton Greaves, and they underscore her diverse and accomplished career trajectory. She was the recipient of the WILL Women Choice Award in 2021. 


Rowena said TiE Boston is a platform that intentionally acts to cultivate and support the entrepreneurs community. 

“We recognise that entrepreneurs are a wide community of self-starters that range from those who start out working from their garages/homes, to those who are leading top-notch biotechnology firms.” 

“TiE Boston’s mission lies at the intersection of business, society, economy, and sustainability. Our members cut across age groups, gender, nationalities, religion, and race. I believe that I have this wonderful and unique opportunity to drive change.”

“TiE is a global organisation with 61 chapters across the world. This opens up a plethora of opportunities for everyone who chooses to become a part of the organisation, and they in turn generate impact for the communities they live in.”

“I lead signature programs, fundraising efforts, strategic partnerships, and while I place special emphasis on advancing the intersection of business and social impact, I also champion growth opportunities for women-led businesses.”


Apart from her professional responsibilities at TiE Boston, Rowena dedicates her time to volunteer on an urban farm and at DAWN Worldwide, a non-profit dedicated to reducing gender disparities. Rowena also takes great joy in adventure travelling, and spending time with her family and pets. 

“A life-work balance is very important for one’s well-being, and I have deliberately not mentioned it as work-life balance. Beyond my professional pursuits, I have a diverse range of interests and I struggle to make the time for them. It is not easy, as I tend to work hard and forget all about life-work balance,” said Rowena.

“I am an avid traveller, and try to go on nature trails or explore local cultures. Experimenting with new recipes and flavours to put some great food on the table is another of my hobbies.”

“Recently, I have developed a passion for photography; capturing moments and scenes that inspire me brings me a lot of joy. And, oh, I love gardening, and a wonderful way for me to leverage my gardening skills is by volunteering on an urban Farm to Table project that donates its produce to families in the city that need it the most. Last year, more than 11,000 lbs of vegetables and fruit from the farm were distributed in food cartons to needy families.”


Rowena volunteers with a Cambridge-based non-profit organisation called Direct Action for Women Now (DAWN) Worldwide, which works towards eliminating gender-based violence and advance gender equity. 

“DAWN has given me the space to grow, through an empowering sisterhood of successful and like-minded people who are mission-driven and strongly believe in an equitable world,” said Rowena.

“As a way of giving back to my community, I also volunteer on the Green Team of the neighbourhood SHCDC. We work with the state department to create awareness in households on benefits of switching to clean energy, clean water, and replacing plastic with biodegradable items. Volunteering often fosters a sense of community and collaboration, which I find personally fulfilling.”

Prior to TiE Boston, Rowena worked for seven years with a leading US-based non-profit organisation called the American India Foundation (AIF) and had the opportunity to immerse herself in development projects across 26 states of India. 

“Recognising that poverty is multi-dimensional, AIF supports systemic change in health, education, and livelihoods in India,” said Rowena. 

“Whether it was remote mountainous regions where healthcare access is not easily available for pregnant women, or rural villages where the power of classroom digitisation brought joy on the faces of children, or enabling a person with disability to be financially independent, every single project touched me and gave me more than I gave to them.”

“This unique circular experience of giving and getting has shaped my philosophy and outlook on life in general. I have received so many blessings from the Universe, and to keep the circle unbroken, we must give back more than what we receive. At the core, I believe I’ve made a significant positive impact on community empowerment and collective growth,” she adds.

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