As the Zumba music filled the parking lot, teenage girls from the Paterson area gathered for the Second Annual Leadership and Success Summit sponsored by Garden State Woman Education Foundation (GSWEF) and Oasis, a resource for women and children in Paterson. The all-day event was held on Saturday, September 10 at the Oasis facility in Paterson.
Welcomed by GSWEF Founder, Judy Chapman, the opening Keynote was delivered by Assembly Woman Shavonda Sumter (photo) who represents the 35th Legislative District, Assembly Majority Conference Leader. Growing up in the area, she was able to share her story of success with the audience.
Topic 1 on the program “Self Esteem & Empowerment” presented Amy Scialdone, CPC, ACC, Founder and Leadership Development Coach, The Empowerment Key,LLC; Joanna Gagis - Host, “Life & Living With Joanna Gagis” on NJTV and FIOS1. She is Exec. Producer/VP Programming , Caucus Educational Corp. and Nadine Alexandre, Founder and Managing Director of DTM Consulting.
Topic 2: “Education & Careers in STEM” featured Julia Abromova, Director of IT at Railroad Construction Company; Holly Gresko, Senior Manager, Digital Services, Health and Wellness Partners; and Sharon Mistretta, Doctoral Candidate, Johns Hopkins University, Instructor-NASA Endeavor STEM Leadership.
A Mixed Martial Arts instruction in self defense was conducted by Kabir Amani, Instructor at Eagle Martial Arts in Boonton.
Topic 3, following lunch, “Avoiding Phishing, Fraud and Scams” was presented by Kara Moore, Regional Security Manager at BAE Systems, a defense contractor. Oasis social worker, Shikha Shaw, shared her concern that young women are vulnerable on the internet to being misled to provide photos and other personal information which cannot be reclaimed once it is up there. Sexting is a very dangerous activity for young women. Extreme caution using the internet was the tone of the advice.
Topic 4 “Preparing for Your Future” included presentations by Natasha Moody, VP of Premium Services, New Jersey Devils & Prudential Center; Farhanna Balgahoom, Manager of Retail Sales for Kiehls in the NY-NJ area and Mary Kate Naatus, Associate Professor and Chair of the Business Administration department and Director Research of the Ignite Institute at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City.
Oasis Executive Director, Jennifer Brady, and her staff hosted the event with sponsorship by the Merkovsky Family and Berkeley College.