Published 03/12/12

Woman of the Year 2012

Navyn SalemSMITHFIELD, R.I.  (March 12, 2012) -- Navyn Salem, executive director and founder of Edesia, will receive the 2012 Bryant University New England Businesswoman of the Year award on Thursday, March 15, during Bryant University's 15th annual Women's Summit.®

The award recognizes excellence in leadership by a business or professional woman who is either the founder, president or CEO of a multimillion-dollar business or organization in New England. In addition, the recipient or her institution must be engaged in service projects that improve the lives of others.

Headquartered in Providence, R.I., Edesia is a nonprofit producer of ready-to-use foods (RUFs) that treat and prevent malnutrition in the developing world. Salem created Edesia in 2007 after a trip to Tanzania, her father's homeland, made her aware of the toll malnutrition can take on a country. In 2009, Salem expanded Edesia's work to include a U.S. factory focused on production, research and development, and support of local producers. To date, the company has provided RUFs in response to emergencies such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and its products have been distributed in more than 18 countries, reaching close to a half-million children.

Previous years' winners:

  • Constance Howes, president and CEO of Women & Infants Hospital
  • Maryanne Cataldo, CEO and founder of City Lights Electrical Co.
  • Cheryl Watkins Sneed, president and CEO of Banneker Industries
  • Merrill Sherman, president and CEO, Bancorp Rhode Island and Bank Rhode Island
  • Cheryl LaFleur, acting CEO, National Grid