Judy’s Comments

Young Women of Bergen County Receive Leadership Awards from The Community Chest

The Community Chest of Eastern Bergen County has announced the recipients of its fourth annual High School Young Women’s Leadership Awards program.

In response to the applicants of the program, Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer, Executive Director of The Community Chest said, “We were very impressed with the caliber of the applicants for these leadership awards. Each demonstrated exceptional talents and a commitment to social justice causes. A tremendous need always exists for good leaders and especially now, young women with strong leadership abilities and a commitment to social consciousness are critical in our communities.”

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Leslie Howard, Esq. Founder and Managing Partner Cohen Howard, LLP

Leslie Howard, Esq. Founder and Managing Partner Cohen Howard, LLP

More than 20 years ago, I co-founded The Law Offices of Cohen Howard, LLP with the goal to provide our clients with outstanding service and successful outcomes. My practice specializes in representing providers in the administrative appeal process on medical claims that are denied or under-reimbursed by commercial insurance carriers.

The remarkable Cohen Howard team is comprised of legal, billing, coding and insurance professionals that handle thousands of out-of-network health insurance claims throughout the U.S. in the following specialties: plastic reconstruction, orthopedics, thoracic, general emergency care, maxillofacial, neurology and spine.

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South-Indian-born Composer To Premier “Book Of Ragas” At Carnegie Hall

South-Indian-born Composer To Premier “Book Of Ragas” At Carnegie Hall

Suri becomes one of the first Indian American jazz composers to have an entire evening devoted to her work

New York, NY: South-Indian born composer, Charu Suri, becomes one of the first Indian American women to premier work at Carnegie Hall in New York City on December 20th with her double bill “Book of Ragas” and “The New American Songbook” CD releases.

Born in Madurai, India, Suri began learning the piano at the age of five and won an international piano competition at the age of 15. After emigrating to the United States to attend Princeton University, she composed several pieces in her teenage years for orchestra and chamber orchestra, but never recorded her music commercially until recently.

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Building a Safe Playground for All Children

Building a Safe Playground for All Children

One of the last places we might expect to find Jo-Ann Dixon is on a playground unless she was babysitting her grandchildren. Finding Jo-Ann in unexpected places is not unusual. One of her passions is the service club, Kiwanis. A long time member of the West Caldwell Kiwanis Club, she recently headed up a committee to meet a need for the community. The Club had identified the need for a playground that was safe for children who might normally not be able to enjoy a public playground. We asked Jo-Ann what the special aspects of such a playground would be. 

"It's lower to the ground, has soft (plastic) coverings on all components so they can't cut their little fingers, tear their clothing or get too hot, and has lots of 'handles' for them to hold onto as they climb as well as a very soft/thick landing surface if they fall."

We asked Jo-Ann where her interest in Kiwanis originated.

JC:How did you become interested in Kiwanis? Why?

JD: I had been a very active volunteer since my college days and my husband was an active Kiwanian for many years. I was actively involved in the League of Women Voters and other women's groups but none seemed to have a scope the way I envisioned it should be.

Kiwanis, Rotary and Lions, all of the 'big' community groups with expansive reach were closed to women, but in early 1988, I received an invitation letter to 'take a look' at the Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex. It seemed that Kiwanis International had decided to open membership to women (followed two years later by Rotary).

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An Inside Look at a Famous Military Scandal

An Inside Look at a Famous Military Scandal

You may have heard about the photographs of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners of war in Abu Ghraib that emerged in 2004. When the photographs were brought to surface, there was a whirlwind of interviews with words twisted, propaganda, allegations, and pointed fingers—pointed at Janis Karpinski, the commanding General of Abu Ghraib at the time the photos were taken.

In Janis Karpinski's book, One Woman's Army: The Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story, she doesn't hold back. Right in the first chapter, she lays it all out, giving her side of the story and how she came to be used as a scapegoat. Not only does she give the reader an honest look at what went on in Abu Ghraib, but she pulls the reader in to what it was like being a female in a male-dominated military: the stereotypes, the harassment, and how she preserved her femininity.

Despite these adversities she rises through the ranks and serves as a model for all ambitious women pursuing that career. She describes her time in the Middle East as well, where she established a women's military force and passionately trained the women of the United Arab Emirates to defend their homeland. Learning the hardships of these women and the sexism they face every day is astounding.

Although the United States is much further along with women's rights than the Middle East, Janis Karpinki's book makes it clear that we still have a ways to go. There is still a very prominent stigma of women in the military, and her story definitely brings that to the forefront.

I was fortunately able to hear Janis Karpinski speak at a New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO) event. She held herself with the confidence of a woman who has been through it all and I will never forget it.

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35th Anniversary for Huntington Learning Center

35th Anniversary for Huntington Learning Center

"When we opened our first Huntington Learning Center in 1977, we couldn't begin to realize the impact it would have on students. We had a mission: to give every student the best education possible; and we built a business around this simple, yet spirited philosophy. As the business grew, we realized we truly made a difference."  Eileen C. Huntington and her husband, Dr. Raymond Huntington, launched the first Huntington Center to help students who struggled with the basics.

When they saw the academic success their early students enjoyed, the Huntingtons expanded their tutoring to help prepare students for the SAT, PSAT, ACT and other standardized exams.

A tenured high school teacher, Eileen sensed that there was a need for a first rate tutoring facility that was "child friendly".  It did not take long for Eileen's hunch to become a viable business.  Word of mouth quickly spread and parents sought expert help for their children.  This trend has continued for thirty five years.

In addition to her daily responsibilities as a corporate executive of a company that has several hundred branches as well as a franchises, Eileen has authored a book, Making a Difference The Huntington Way which is a collection of true, heartfelt stories and sincere letters of gratitude from parents and students who have experienced a true difference in their lives.

Eileen writes in the introduction to her book, "I created this book to share just a few of many thousands of stories of inspiration and appreciation that portray the miracles we ignite every day. We celebrate all those who teach children, and who help them and their families experience a real difference in their lives."

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Rothstein Kass Among Working Mother's 100 Best

Rothstein Kass Among Working Mother's 100 Best

The Rothstein Kass Firm is Commended For Innovative LIFE Initiative.

Rothstein Kass (www.rkco.com), a leading national professional services provider announced it has been recognized by Working Mother magazine as one of the nation's leading family-friendly companies on the "2012 Working Mother 100 Best Companies" list. The firm was specifically recognized for its LIFE initiative, the firm's pioneering women's career development program, and complementary family-oriented policies, which enable working parents to strike the sought-after work-life integration.

"We're honored to be recognized as a company committed to family values in the workplace," said Steven Kass, Co-CEO and Co-Managing Principal of Rothstein Kass. "At Rothstein Kass, our employees are our extended family, and we want to help them flourish both professionally and personally without having to make sacrifices at the office or at home. Our programs have led to tangible increases in employee satisfaction and engagement, which we believe translate into better results for our clients."

Rothstein Kass' highly acclaimed LIFE program was established in 2007. An acronym for Leadership, Inspiration, Family and Empowerment, the program strives to attract, retain and advance women leaders throughout all levels of the company. Most notably, Rothstein Kass offers customized work arrangements and a firm-wide mentoring program. Additionally, LIFE provides professional skills and personal development sessions, networking partnerships, business development training and strategic alliances.

"In the past, many women have been forced to make a choice between investing in their careers and being a mother. But recently, the paradigm has begun to shift nationwide, and, as a working mother myself, I can personally say I'm proud Rothstein Kass is a leader in the movement," said Rosalie Mandel, Founder and Principal-in-Charge of the Rothstein Kass LIFE program. "Through our LIFE initiative, I am confident our organization is giving women the tools, training and networking opportunities to reach their full potential professionally and at home."

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EWNJ Awardees Interviewed

EWNJ Awardees Interviewed

Garden State Woman interviews six executive women of NJ.

Click to view the interviews of Keitha M. Lackey, Margarita Comancho, M.D., Kimberlee S. PhelanMargaret (Peggy) ForanKay Koplovitz, and Lucia DeNapoli Gibbons that Editor Judy Chapman conducted  in conjunction with the Executive Women of New Jersey Salute to the Policy Makers Dinner.  Typical of the membership of Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ), these women shared their thoughts on the advantage of networking with their peers.   See for yourself what they have achieved and how they focused on what was important to them.

Keitha M. Lackey, EWNJ President-Elect and 2012 Salute Dinner Chair; Director for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
Margarita Camacho, MD, FACS Surgical Director, Cardiac Transplantation & Mechanical Assist Device Program, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Kimberlee S. Phelan, Partner, WithumSmith+Brown, PC
Margaret M. Foran, Chief Governance Officer, Vice President and Corporate Secretary, Prudential Financial, Inc
Kay Koplovitz, Founder of USA Networks and Chairman of the Board, Liz Claiborne Inc.

Lucia DiNapoli Gibbons, Executive Vice President, Regional President - Northern NJ, Wells Fargo

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Liz Claman, Fox Business, Interview

FOX Business Network anchor and Edgewater resident Liz Claman is a busy mom. When she's not at home with her two kids in New Jersey, she is anchoring Countdown to the Closing Bell (3 PM/ET) and After the Bell (4 PM/ET) on FBN, or traveling the globe to conferences like this weekend's Berkshire Hathaway investor meeting in Omaha, Nebraska or Davos Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. On Monday, May 7th at 9:30 AM/ET, Liz will sit down with Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Charlie Munger for an exclusive interview. Below are some questions we asked her about how she balances it all.

This weekend you will interview legendary investor Warren Buffett once again. What have you learned about educating women investors from spending time with Warren Buffett?

Educating women investors is really no different from educating any motivated investor. You have to read, study, and become knowledgeable. One of the best ways to do that is to study smart, successful investors, like Warren Buffett. Buffett thinks in terms of buying great companies that have a 'moat' of competitiveness around them. Are they the best or at least top 2 in what they do? Are they run by passionate managers? These are the questions he asks.

How did you get interested in business journalism? Is this what you always wanted to do?

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Rosalie Mandel, CPA

Rosalie Mandel is a principal in Rothstein Kass' Roseland, New Jersey office. Rosalie specializes in audit, general accounting and business consulting services for private entities. As an accountant and business advisor, she works with a diverse group of industries, including broker-dealers, employee benefits, manufacturing and distribution, and helps her clients' management teams evaluate the unique needs of their businesses and advises them on how to maximize returns through various tax planning and financial strategies. Additionally, she is the principal-in-charge of the Firm's national employee benefits practice.

Rosalie is also the principal-in-charge of LIFE, Rothstein Kass' women's initiative. LIFE is dedicated to helping women reach their full potential by fostering leadership opportunities, creating new business development platforms and facilitating mentoring relationships. As a result of the program's success, Rothstein Kass has been recognized as one of "The Ten Best Accounting Firms for Women" by The Accounting MOVE Project for two consecutive years and has received the "2009 National Women's Initiative of the Year" award from Garden State Woman Magazine.

Rosalie is a frequent speaker on the topic of women in leadership. She has been recognized as one of New Jersey's Best 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ business journal and has received the Executive Women of New Jersey 2010 Salute to the Policy Makers award, based on dedication to business growth, professional and personal accomplishments, community involvement and advocacy for women.

Rosalie graduated from Farleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. Her professional affiliations include memberships in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the New Jersey Society of Certified Public accountants (NJSCPA) and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA). She is also a member of the American Women Society of Certified Public Accountants (AWSCPA), Executive Women of New Jersey and National Association of Professional Women.

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Mary Dougherty to Receive 2011 Spirit of Community Award


Mary Dougherty
Join Us for a Free Reception & 'Friend Raiser' to Celebrate the Spirit of Mary Ann Cobb


On Sunday, October 29, Mary Dougherty of Morristown will recieve the inaugural 2011 Spirit of Community Award. Mary is a community leader in Morristown, chairwoman of the Morristown Democratic party and wife of Mayor Tim Dougherty. Her generosity and community involvement made her the obvious candidate to receive an award that honors Civil War era community leader Mary Ann Cobb.

Mary Ann Cobb was a Morristown woman of the Civil War era. The wife of George T. Cobb – the first Mayor of Morristown, Congressman and philanthropist - she rose above prevailing convention to reach across social boundaries. Her sense of civic engagement led her to act in a variety of ways. In one case, after she purchased a building near the Green, she had it moved to a Spring Street location and donated it to the Bethel AME Church - which is celebrating its 168th anniversary this month! She provided many gifts to Morristown, the United Methodist Church, and to other groups.

Mary Ann Cobb reached out and was a unifying force at a time when the social and political divisions after the Civil War ran deep and hard. Where some people saw 'them', she saw 'us' and acted on her vision. She speaks to us today across the ages as a beacon and symbol of
community, friendship and civic mindedness.

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Rebecca Cenni Brings a Human Touch to Staffing

It’s not uncommon to look around a workplace and think, “If I were the CEO I would do this differently.” It is less common, however, to act on that impulse, and even less common to make that leap after only two years of experience in the industry. But that was exactly the bold move made by Atrium Staffing CEO Rebecca Cenni, and she has never once looked back.

Graduating from the University of Wisconsin and beginning a job at a staffing firm, Rebecca quickly discovered a passion for connecting people with the right job and felt that she could create a better agency – one that had a heightened focus on the candidates they were placing. With that credo in mind, Cenni formed Atrium Staffing in 1995 with an office in Manhattan. Sixteen years later, Atrium Staffing has eight offices, with the most recent office opened in San Francisco, CA. Four of those offices span New Jersey from Little Falls to Princeton, Iselin and Jersey City.

When asked about the key to her success, Cenni confidently asserts that the difference is in her Applicant Centric ™ approach, which provides benefits normally associated with corporate employment, including training and career counseling and a medical, dental and 401K plan that all applicants can buy into. She also implemented a fully automated “e-office” that applicants can access to log hours, check their job histories and view benefits and accrued vacation time.

“Everyone else in the industry focuses on the client - the companies and organizations with positions that need to be filled. At Atrium, we focus on the associate, taking the time to get to know them, find the right match between applicant and client, and offering benefits and services that foster positive and empowered working relationships for those we place. Being a temp is a hard job and it helps to feel that someone is invested in your success,” says Cenni. “What sets Atrium apart is knowing that it’s not just about putting someone in a job; it’s about finding the right opportunity for the applicant to feel comfortable and to grow and excel.”

With that theory driving the company, Atrium takes time during the pre-qualifying phase to best understand who the applicant is, what they are looking for and what they are passionate about and analyzing both the hard and the soft skills that will help identify the best match. With clients ranging from small five-person entrepreneurial start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, Atrium has the range of positions available to fit most applicants.

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Unlimited by Disability

Imagine you are a beautiful, talented young woman in your early twenties. You have travelled the world, been a champion college lacrosse player, a dancer with the New Jersey Ballet and your modeling career has just started to take off. You love all kinds of sports and are an accomplished equestrian.

Suddenly your world is changed by a freak accident.

This is the story of a New Jersey woman who has gone from a vibrant, energetic, active lifestyle to one confined to a wheel chair from severe spinal column injuries. Her vitality and intelligence make her an inspiring role model. Learning to cope with the challenges of life in a wheel chair has neither dimmed nor diminished her beauty and sparkle as well as her drive and ambition.

Ashley Lauren Fisher was born and raised in Montville, New Jersey. At age five she began studying the arts. During her ten plus years with the New Jersey Ballet, she danced, studied jazz and classical ballet and participated in many theatrical performances including The Nutcracker. Also a student of Julliard Master Assuntina Giorgio, she excelled at classical piano.

As a performer, Ashley has been in both Carnegie Recital and Steinway Hall. After the NYC fashion industry spotted her and she was soon modeling for major fashion houses. Aspiring toward acting, she began dancing for MTV, was in several music videos and began auditioning regularly. Athletics also became a central part of her life, lettering as a four year Varsity Lacrosse player and all state center in New Jersey. Ashley also excelled at extreme sports such as skateboarding, rollerblading, water sports and snowboarding.

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GSW Scholar Excels Despite Adversity

Mahmuda, one of our Garden State Woman Scholars, is definitely a future leader and the Garden State Woman Education Foundation is proud to be able to contribute to her development and education.

We met Mahmuda 4 years ago when she was a high school senior applying to Garden State Woman's Education Foundation for scholarship support. The Scholarship Program provides financial support and mentoring to a few exceptional inner city young women graduating from a New Jersey high school and going on to a 4-year New Jersey college or university.

The year we interviewed Mahmuda, she was one of more than a dozen applicants for our scholarship program. Most were deserving of help to get them out of difficult family and economic circumstances but with limited financial resources, our Foundation could only pick four from the group.

Mahmuda stood out right from the beginning of our relationship. She came to this country from Bangladesh at age 7. She had never been to school and could not speak English. Despite that daunting start, and a family that did not appreciate or encourage her commitment to education, she graduated 3rd in her high school class and was accepted by Rutgers and other top universities in New Jersey and out-of-state, determined to pursue her dream of becoming a dental surgeon.

Eventually Mahmuda's family cut off their relationship with her leaving her to fend for herself, working at whatever jobs she could find (waitressing, tutoring, dorm sitting and more) while carrying a full load of tough courses.

But Mahmuda has survived the struggle for independence so far. She just finished her junior year with a GPA of 3.5 for the year and she has saved enough to take a $1000 Kaplan course that prepares her for the dental school admission exam. Of course, she is also working several jobs to cover her tuition and living expenses.

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Deborah Zastocki to Speak at EWNJ Dinner

Deborah Zastocki, President and CEO of Chilton Memorial Hospital, is the featured speaker at the October 21, 2010 Graduate Merit Awards Dinner hosted by Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ). The dinner, to be held at the Palace in Somerset, will begin at 6:00 pm and is an annual event of the EWNJ. This year, 23 women pursuing graduate level degrees at colleges and universities throughout New Jersey will be awarded over $65,000 in scholarships to continue their studies. Since the organization was founded thirty years ago, EWNJ has awarded over $1 million in scholarships to assist outstanding New Jersey women pursuing advanced degrees. No other women's organization in the Garden State has made such an investment in women pursuing graduate level studies.

According to EWNJ President Mary S. Hartman, who is the Founding Directorof the Women's Leadership Institute at Rutgers University, "Every year we're inspired by the women who apply for scholarships through our organization. We're awed by how well they juggle the demands of active personal lives, high-level professional careers, and challenging academic study. EWNJ is proud to assist them pursuing advanced degrees that will help them reach  next heights in their professional endeavors."

"We're particularly pleased to have Deborah Zastocki address our scholarship recipients this year," said Meg Paradise, Chair of EWNJ's Scholarship Committee and Director of the Women's Leadership Initiative at J H Cohn. "Deborah is a professional who truly understands the importance of advanced education for women today. As a CEO, role model, mentor, and friend she is an ideal candidate to tackle the issues facing our scholarship winners."

An accomplished administrator, nurse, teacher, and author, in 2004, Zastocki joined the ranks of only 25 other female hospital CEOs in New Jersey. One of her biggest accomplishments since stepping into her role as President and CEO of Chilton Memorial Hospital has been transforming the hospital's financial performance from that of a large operating loss to one of an operating gain within her first full year as CEO. Along with other awards and honors, Zastocki was also elected one of the Best 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ in 2010.

To be eligible for the EWNJ merit award, applicants must be pursuing graduate level degrees at New Jersey accredited colleges and universities further their careers. While EWNJ bestows scholarships on traditional graduate level students, the association is particularly interested in assisting non-traditional students who may be returning to their studies several years after completing their undergraduate degree or students who are pursuing advanced studies after having completed an undergraduate degree at a later age.

Scholarships will be presented to the following women:

  • Marien Elizabeth, M.A. Diplomacy & Int'l Relations Candidate, Seton Hall
  • Syrita Farrow, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Candidate, UMDNJ School of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Jenifer Hashem, MD Candidate, UMDNJ
  • Jennifer Jones, School Psy.D Candidate, Rutgers, The State University
  • Cassandra Kahn, DMD Candidate, UMDNJ - New Jersey Dental School          
  • Melissa Kibbe, Ph.D. Cognitive Psychology Candidate, Rutgers, The State University
  • Gina Miranda-Diaz, DNP-Doctor of Nursing Practice Candidate, UMDNJ School of Nursing
  • Felicia Miller, M.A. in Counselor Education-School Counseling Candidate, Kean University
  • Lisamarie Moore, Ph.D. Neuroscience Candidate, UMDNJ
  • Michelle Neidleman, Sc.D. in Audiology Candidate, Montclair State University
  • Delina Parkhurst, Doctor of Dental Medicine Candidate, UMDNJ
  • Demis Ros, MD Candidate, UMDNJ
  • Mirvetk Tonuzi, MA Teaching and MA Educational Leadership Candidate, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Doctoral Candidate in Education Leadership, Management, and Policy, Seton Hall University
  • Kahyun Yoon-Flannery, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Candidate, UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine

 Special awards will also be presented to:

  • Bonnie Gordic, PsyD in Clinical Psychology Candidate, Rutgers, The State University: EWNJ's 30th Anniversary Scholarship (Most outstanding candidate)
  • Nicol Brodie, M.A. Public Policy and Administration Candidate, Rutgers, The State University: President's Award (Outstanding candidate pursuing a degree in public service)
  • Heidi Bramson, J.D. Candidate, Rutgers School of Law - Newark: Leslie Ehrlich Award (Outstanding candidate pursuing a degree in law) in honor of a past EWNJ board member
  • Olena Kulyanda, MBA Finance Candidate, Montclair State University: Mary Jane Meehan Award (Outstanding candidate pursuing an MBA) in honor of a past EWNJ president
  • Phoebe DelBoccio, M.S. in Professional & Technical Communications Candidate, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • STRIDES-Advancing Women in Business Award (Outstanding Achievement in Business or Technology)
  • Kathy Foster, M.B.A. Candidate Concentration Accounting, Caldwell College: Syms Foundation Award (Outstanding candidate pursuing a degree in business)
  • Stephanie Arena, M.S. Chemistry and M.A. Teaching Candidate, Fairleigh Dickinson University - South Jersey IndustriesWomen's Leadership Initiative Award (Outstanding candidate pursuing an advanced degree in Engineering or Energy Related field)
  • Fabiana Di Sanzo,  Ph.D. Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Candidate, UMDNJ: PSEG Award (Outstanding candidate pursuing an advanced degree in Science, Technology, engineering, math or environmental science)
  • Erika Enriquez, MBA Finance & MS AccountingCandidate, St. Peter's College: North Jersey Federal Credit Union Award (Outstanding candidate pursuing a degree in banking or finance)

The EWNJ Graduate Merit Award Dinner is sponsored by STRIDES - Advancing Women in Business - a Lowenstein Sandler initiative, J.H. Cohn and Chubb.
All are welcome to attend this inspirational evening. To register for the dinner, visit http://www.ewnj.org or call EWNJ headquarters at (609) 249-7982. The cost is $65 for EWNJ members and $79 for non-members.

EWNJ is a non-profit, professional association committed to promoting the advancement of women to the highest levels of business, the professions, and government.

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ACLU-NJ - Supporting Women's Rights for 50 Years

Abbe Seldin was a sophomore at Teaneck High School in 1972 when she decided to try out for the school tennis team. After discovering there was no women's team, she decided to try out for a spot on the men's team.

She was shut out. The coach refused to let her try out, citing a New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association rule that prevented girls from participating with boys in non-contact sports. Seldin's mother responded by serving up a lawsuit, taking the dispute from the tennis court to federal court.

The Seldins turned to the ACLU of New Jersey, who assigned the case to two young attorneys who took a special interest in gender discrimination cases – future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Annamay Sheppard. Midway through the trial, the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association changed its rule and Seldin was allowed onto the team.

The lawsuit is just one of countless cases the ACLU-NJ has handled that have broken down barriers, evened the playing field or protected the rights of women since it was founded on June 16, 1960. In 50 years, the ACLU-NJ has paved the way for other female athletes such as Seldin to gain equal footing on sports teams, it has fought for a woman whose car insurance was canceled because she was living with a man out of wedlock in 1974 and it forced Princeton University to open its all-male eating clubs to women in 1992.

"When it was founded 50 years ago, women had few rights and opportunities and needed the permission of their fathers or husbands for many personal and economic choices," said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Deborah Jacobs. "Although women's legal protections have improved immensely, we continue to stand guard and fight fresh assaults on women's reproductive freedom and we will continue to protect the rights of women in the workplace and beyond."

In some instances, laws protecting women in New Jersey have been more progressive than the rest of the country because of the ACLU-NJ.

In 1970, the ACLU-NJ represented a group of doctors who had lost their licenses for performing illegal abortions, in a case that challenged New Jersey's abortion statute. In 1972, a three-judge federal panel struck down the state law, calling it unconstitutionally vague and that women have a right to determine whether to have a child.

The decision was issued one year before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Roe v. Wade.

In 2000, the state Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of the ACLU-NJ and Planned Parenthood, striking down a "parental notification" law that required doctors to get approval from parents before they perform abortions. Most states require one or two types of parental involvement.

In cases, such as Seldin's, the battle for women's rights had a profound effect later in life. Seldin, who was a ranked junior tennis player, rightfully earned a spot on the Teaneck men's tennis team, but quit because of the taunting by her coach and teammates. She went on to play tennis at Syracuse University, where she pressured the school's administration to provide scholarships for female athletes.

Seldin was tapped for the cause because she had already proven to be an ace on the courts and in them. Once again she prevailed and went on to become the first female student-athlete to win a scholarship at Syracuse, opening the doors for many more to follow.

"I believe in the ACLU and support it because everybody should have the same rights," said Seldin, 53, who continues to play tennis. "I think having an organization like the ACLU is important. Who else could you go to for help?"

The ACLU-NJ is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with a night of laughter at The Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick on Thursday, Nov. 4. Please visit www.aclu-nj.org/events for more information and to RSVP to Freedom Fest.

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Kathleen Waldron Assumes Presidency of William Paterson University

Kathleen Waldron, Ph.D., the former president of Baruch College and a former senior executive at Citigroup, has assumed the presidency of William Paterson University in Wayne effective August 2, 2010. She is the institution's seventh president.

Waldron served as president of Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY), one of the most selective public colleges in the northeast, from 2004 to 2009, and led the college to achieve national rankings in its business and public affairs programs and a place in the Princeton Review's list of the top fifteen percent of colleges in the country. Previously, she served as dean of the School of Business, Public Administration and Information Sciences at Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus from 1998 to 2004. Prior to her transition to higher education administration, Waldron held numerous senior management positions at Citibank over a 14-year period, including president of Citibank International in Miami from 1991 through 1995. Since August 2009 she has held the position of University Professor at CUNY. Waldron, who served as a Fulbright Fellow at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas, Venezuela in 1981, is currently a fellow at the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies.

As president of William Paterson University, Waldron will lead an institution with 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students. One of the nine state colleges and universities in New Jersey, the University offers more than 250 undergraduate and graduate academic programs through five colleges: Arts and Communication, the Cotsakos College of Business, Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Science and Health. Among the University's faculty are 36 Fulbright scholars and recipients of numerous other awards, grants, and fellowships. Students benefit from individualized attention from faculty mentors, small class sizes, and numerous research, internship, and clinical experiences.

Waldron has a long and distinguished record of achievement in the academy and in the public sector. As president of Baruch, she led the capital campaign for Baruch, which raised more than $160 million during her presidency. With 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Baruch has been recognized as the most ethnically diverse college in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review.

Before joining Baruch as president, Waldron served for six years as dean of the School of Business, Public Administration and Information Sciences at Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus. While at LIU, she guided their master's degree in public administration through its first national accreditation, hired more than 50 percent of the faculty within a three-year period, established endowed scholarships, and obtained the first corporate foundation awards. She co-chaired the college's five-year strategic planning effort that resulted in enrollment growth and improved quality of student and faculty services.

Previously, Waldron distinguished herself for 14 years in several executive positions at Citigroup. From 1997 to 1998 she served as vice president for Citibank Global Private Bank. In that role she was a member of the policy committee for Citibank's Global Wealth Management Division, which managed over $100 billion in assets of clients from over 40 countries and offered a full range of investment, credit and corporate finance products. She was in charge of global strategic planning for the Private Bank as the group achieved revenues of $1.4 billion. She also served on a transition team when Citicorp merged with Travelers Insurance to form Citigroup in 1998.

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Debra Taeschler – Business Women Advocate

To say this lifelong Jersey girl's (as she puts it) professional accomplishments began when she launched her own company would be an understatement. To say they began after graduating summa cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers University's ultra competitive fine arts program really wouldn't do it either. No, the true beginning of Debra Taeschler's accomplishments was losing her father at age 12 and subsequently seeing her mother take on multiple jobs to provide for her family. These life-altering experiences and her mother's daily verbal and non-verbal message of "do it right or don't do it at all" is really when the accomplishments began. That message became her motto and set her on a path to professional and personal success.

To that point, following college graduation, Debra began working her way up the advertising agency world ladder, first as mechanical artist (when they existed) and then on to layout/design artist, production manager, account executive, account manager, and vice president of account management. Through this career advancement, she developed a deeply-rooted strategic underpinning, a love of creative and its power to communicate, a solid foundation in operational efficiency, and a work ethic that drove her beliefs on how clients should be treated, how an advertising agency should be managed and the superior service that always needed to be delivered.

With this core of experience, values and ethics in place, Debra set off and launched her own state-certified, woman-owned company, GráficaGroup, from her home basement in 1986, thus beginning her company's ongoing rise and remarkable growth into one of the metro area's leading full-service, integrated advertising and digital marketing agencies. During a continuing several decade run of seeing countless competitors rise and fall, GráficaGroup has flourished primarily because of Debra's ability to inspire and hire marketing communications professionals who share her unwavering commitment to quality work and service, her insistence on being judged by bottom-line results, her foresight into new technology solutions, and her indefatigable resolve to immerse herself in a client's business.

As a Who's Who of American Women and the company's driving force, Debra not only serves as President and CEO of GráficaGroup, she also plays a hands-on role in day-to-day activities, maintaining solid working relationships with client executives to ensure that objectives are being met and exceeded. Under this leadership style and commitment, the company has become an agency of choice among many FORTUNE 1000 companies and New Jersey's leading corporations and associations, including AT&T, Beneficial Management, Cathedral Healthcare System, Century 21 Real Estate LLC, First Morris Bank and Trust, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Inventa, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, KPMG LLP, Lucent Technologies, New Jersey Office of Clean Energy, Novartis, PSE&G, Rutgers University, St. Paul Travelers, Summit Medical Group, Trane, Trinity Biotech, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and many more.

Beyond her company's success is Debra's ongoing advocacy for women. With several decades of professional experience both as an employee and owner, Debra has seen much in the way of inequity and advancement of females in the workforce. Like her personal and professional experience molded her work ethic and management style, it also had a profound effect on the core programs and policies she instituted within her own company.

For example, early in her career, there were maybe one or two "token" female senior executives in organizations. Seeing and experiencing this issue, Debra consciously made the decision to actively hire and promote capable women senior executives (per bringing aboard the best expertise on what skills/experience were needed) throughout her career in an effort to further break down the glass ceiling of the business world. She also made a commitment to pay to the level and ability of an employee regardless of being male or female (which wasn't common then and rarely is now).

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Edible Gardens Raise Awareness


Jackie Ehlert-Mercer
Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ and The White House in Washington, DC have something in common. The commonality is an edible garden. The Presidential wives, Michelle Obama and Jacqueline (Jackie) Ehlert- Mercer, share a common goal – to improve the eating habits and health of children and adolescents through education.

In 2006, Dr. Ehlert-Mercer founded the Havemeyer Edible Garden at Ramapo College, where college students learn nutrition through a living curriculum. Her research interests are centered on the eating and nutrition behaviors of college students as well as food ecology and sustainable food systems.

Jackie Ehlert-Mercer is a registered dietitian/nutrition educator and researcher. She holds a bachelor of science from Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada), a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, B.C.) and a doctoral degree in nutrition education from Teacher’s College at Columbia University (New York). She is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario where she teaches nutrition in the faculty of dental continuing education and at the University of British Columbia where she runs the nutrition programs for students on and off campus.

Realizing that changing eating habits of college students would be a challenge that required innovation in the curriculum, Ms. Ehlert-Mercer designed a course for freshman that would incorporate gardening. As part of a freshman course at Ramapo, students were required to participate in the planting and harvesting in gardens next to the President’s residence. Starting with an understanding of the needs of plants and the variety of soil they preferred to actually eating a tomato they had grown were hands on experiences of the students. Subtle awareness of the nutritional advantages of baked chicken versus fried chicken were incorporated into the curriculum.

Ingenuity is not new to Ms. Ehlert-Mercer. After completing her Dietetic Internship at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, she wanted to work there. There were no jobs available. She saw a need and was able to convince the hospital to let her test her idea. The idea was to be able to offer kosher catering and meals to those visiting patients. In addition, there was no facility offering early morning coffee and pastries for doctors and visitors in the hospital. She convinced the hospital administration that both ideas would be good public relations as well as a source of revenue. She was successful in both endeavors and created a job for herself at Mount Sinai where she worked for twoyears. She was recruited by St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver to head its Diabetes TeachingCenter. In addition to her work at the hospital, she was teaching at University of the Fraser Valley and Douglas College. She then moved to Vancouver Community College as Director of the Hospitality programs and was sought to consult to hotels and other corporations to make their menu offerings lighter and healthful. Eventually, she started her own consulting business to corporations on dietary issues.

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Angelica Berrie

Angelica Berrie, a Remarkable Woman, Leader and Difference Maker

Angelica Berrie is awesome. Petite in stature, she projects a giant intellect. New Jersey resident Angelica Berrie is smart, passionate and compassionate. In her early 50’s she heads two successful companies while leading a very major, high-impact foundation started by her husband, Russ Berrie who passed away on Christmas day, 2002. The Russell Berrie Foundation, with assets above $200 million, was started by her husband in 1985 with a philosophy based on entrepreneurial, creative, transformational giving. As if that is not enough to keep her busy, Angelica has her own Angelica Berrie Foundation with its own ambitious goals and plans.

Angelica was born and raised as a catholic in the Philippines. Her journey from the Philippines to New Jersey is one of accomplishments. Leaving the rural area where she grew up, she went to Manila for an education. It was there that she met her future husband. Russ who was on a buying trip for his Russ Berrie company, a publicly traded NY Stock Exchange global gift company, he had started from scratch.

In the Philippines Angelica, one of 6 children, had been a marketing executive with a leading global marketing firm as well as heading a paper Mache exporting company. She has always had a passion for elegant paper products.

Settling in the States and married to Russ, Angelica became involved in the management of his company and the Russell Berrie Foundation that he established in 1985. She remained heavily involved in both organizations well past Russ’ passing from a diabetes-related heart attack until the company was eventually sold. She continues concentrating on heading the Russell Berrie Foundation while pursuing some of her other areas of interest.

Under Russ’ and Angelica’s joint leadership and for the past 8 years exclusively under Angelica’s stewardship the Russell Berrie Foundation has been having a global impact as well as making major contributions to life in New Jersey. For details about the Foundation’s mission, vision and activities visit www.russellberriefoundation.org.

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