Judy’s Comments

Is Your Network a Resource?

How often in the course of a day's events do you come across the opportunity to seek advice? Often you are looking for validation of a decision. Do you have a network of people that you trust, that you know are confidants? This is particularly challenging when you are faced with a business decision. What are the resources that you have available?

Is there someone with expertise that you can consult? Too often we do not focus on building a network of personal as well as professional resources. Traditionally women rely on a network of "girl friends" to serve as a sounding board. This will be helpful as long as the friend understands the big picture with which you are dealing.

Being diligent about building a reliable network is key. It does not just happen. It requires thought and planning. Join Garden State Woman on Friday, May 20, 2011 from 8:30 am to 11 at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park for tips from a master networker, Jack Killion. Sign up here.



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2011 Governor's Conference

Former Governor Christine Todd Whitman was in attendance last week at the 2011 Governor's Conference which she created along with the input of Jeannine LaRue. I attended that first conference (one of 100) which was held at Skylands in Randolph. This year the conference attracted 1400 and was held in the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Breakfast speaker Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno challenged women to not be afraid to wear pink and high heels. Dressed in a muted pink suit which she modeled for the crowd, she shared the story of being told - when elected sheriff of Monmouth County - "they" did not want their sheriff to wear pink or to wear high heels. Incidently she was the first woman in the country to be elected sherrif.  She admitted that she did not then, but in her current role as the first Lt. Governor, she does wear pink and high heels.

The luncheon speaker, Star Jones, who grew up in the projects in New Jersey, was introduced by Lori Grifa, Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. Sharing a personal connection with the TV Personality, Host, Author and former Prosecutor Star Jones, Ms. Grifa assured the group that this event would provide educational workshops, motivational stories and networking opportunities.

The importance of networking as a tool for growing a business and expanding your personal growth was stressed throughout the day.  With this in mind I invite you to sign up for the Garden State Woman Networking Workshop on Friday, May 20, 2011 from 8:30 - 11:00 a.m. at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park. Sign up at www.gswoman.com


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Happy Thanksgiving

One of the positive benefits of tough economic times is that we look among our friends and family for resources. Our value system rotates as we head into the holiday season. Gifts are symbolic of the value we place on friends and loved ones. Often the symbolism far outweighs the dollar value of the gift. Sharing a new idea, a new adventure, a new acquaintance are personal gifts that are priceless. Showing interest in the lives of those around us is a priceless gift. The gift of time is a priceless gift. The old fashioned idea that "little things mean a lot" is really not so old fashioned.

As you get caught up in the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, take time to give some hugs, smile a lot and share happy thoughts. These are the gifts you can give that mean so much to everyone that you come in contact with.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family and friends from all of us at Garden State Woman.

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Look Carefully at "Sale" Items

As we move into the thick of the holiday gift shopping season I would like to share a shopping tip.

Look carefully at the stores who are discounting sharply. I have noticed that the "sale items" seem to have their original price inflated to the extent that the discounted or sale price just brings the cost down to where it was originally. For example, I was in a shop this weekend looking at men's sweaters. The tag read $350 with a 70% discount, bringing the cost of the sweater to $105 which is more realistic than $350. That pricing is not particularly competitive but it is an effective come on to get you in the store. The issue for all of us is "time". It is disturbing that marketing people have so little respect for consumers that they will contrive to attract customers hoping that they will believe the hype that the store is doing something to help consumers in a tough economy. I think the old adage "buyer beware" is particularly relevant in 2010.

On a happier note, try to have a stress free pre Holiday adventure, don't waste time shopping – accept the fact that you cannot win – have a budget and pick out gifts you like. Remember to have fun.

Smiles ....while driving down Rte 78 recently jockeying for position on the 3 lane speedway, we came upon a conservative driver who had a license plate that made us smile, OGROWUP. We can think of many instances where this applies, but Road Rage is certainly one.

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Happy Holidays

On behalf of the trustees of the Garden State Woman Education Foundation we would like to express our sincere appreciation to all the friends of Garden State Woman who have supported our efforts this year. In these tough economic times we are especially grateful for so many loyal friends.

Just like many small business, it is a challenge to keep the doors open. It would be easy to say  "This is too hard." After more than twelve years of basically being the voice of New Jersey women, we know how important this work is. It will be increasingly important in 2011, particularly in getting out solid information about the trends in health care. We are putting together a conference on April 30, 2011 that promises to be unique. Innovations in health care will be the theme. The delivery of health care is changing. Many believe the future of health care is technology. We all recognize that major changes are before us as we all struggle to come to grips with escalating costs.

One thing is certain. Each individual is going to be expected to take personal responsibility for lifestyle choices that affect their health. Prevention is the word. Being a smart consumer is key to a healthy lifestyle for you and your family. Ingredients that help us age gracefully include: an active, inquisitive mind; low levels of stress; an awareness of family health issues; a balanced diet and a regular exercise plan. These are the minimum ingredients that need to be in your life.
As you get ready for a New Year, make resolutions that you will keep. Give your health and your family's health the top resolution. We plan to give you lots of encouragement and tips, so keep clicking on gswoman.com for support of your healthy lifestyle.

A personal note. It is impossible to express my appreciation to The Provident Bank Foundation for the on going financial support they have provided to the Garden State Woman Education Foundation. Their grants have enabled us to continue to provide scholarship aid to six inner city girls studying at Rutgers New Brunswick. These students are amazing and their work ethic enviable. People helping people is the distinguishing characteristic of the human race. Happy Holidays.

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Women's Equality Day

Annually, August 26th commemorates the passage in 1920 of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which gave women the right to vote. This was the culmination of a peaceful civil rights movement that began in 1848 with the first organized women's assembly for equal rights. It took 72 years for the legislation to be enacted. The women who lobbied for this were known as suffragists –a voting tablet in ancient times.

Interestingly, the women of New Zealand were granted the right to vote in 1893. More information can be found on the website National Women's History Project www.nwhp.org

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LIFE’S Precious Moments

I just received an email from my friend JoAnn Dixon sharing a precious moment as a mom and a golfer.

JoAnn played in a charity golf event Sunday at Minebrook with her youngest son. Even if you do not know anything about golf you have probably heard the expression "a hole in one" which loosely translates to getting the little white ball in the little round hole with one swing of a golf club.

This is not something that happens often – JoAnn said the last time she remembers getting a hole in one, she was too young to appreciate the accomplishment. Now, a mature, experienced golfer she totally appreciates the uniqueness of her accomplishment. Not to be outdone by his mother, Peter won closest ball to the pin and they came away as the #1 team. For a mom and a golfer it does not get better than that. Congratulations to JoAnn and Peter – we admire your skill.

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Responding to increasing educational costs

Given a choice of how to handle escalating costs in New Jersey public schools over 80 percent of those responding to our recent poll indicated they preferred having teachers contribute more to their benefits packages and reducing administrative positions and expenses. These are difficult, challenging issues facing many of our communities across the state. It will be interesting to see how Governor Christie's tough stand with the teachers union works out.


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Wine Tasting A Home Run

Maria Baniel is an Independent Wine Consultant and supporter of Garden State Woman who conducted a wine tasting event for the Garden State Woman Education Foundation last week at Lenfell, the Mansion at the Florham campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University.

We love to hold events at FDU. The setting is elegant, especially this time of year when the grounds are beautiful. It is fun to let your imagination wander back in time and speculate on the life style of the residents of this magnificent property. For this event, Ashley Overa and Michael Malinowski treated us to wonderful music. Joseph Knight of Knight & Hammer displayed his extensive collection of custom made jewelry, donating 20% of sales back to us. We thank all our many guests who were surprised by a door prize drawing of a trip to Italy (not airfare) given by Anna Maria Sorrentino of Shop, Wine and Dine. As usual, the event went smoothly because of the careful planning of our own Megan Sones.

There are always behind the scenes events that contribute to any successful endeavor. Our thanks to Bourbon Street Liquors in Flemington for their support and Dianna and Adam Lee of Siduri Wines in California for generously donating their wines.

Wines that were sampled included:

Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée • California • Chardonnay

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Summer Fun

This coming weekend is one of the highlights of summer. It is an excuse to collect family and friends for a day of fun. The Fourth of July – mainly because of the fireworks – is a day of national celebration. This year there is the bonus of Monday as a day off from work. Red, White and Blue are the colors of the day. In true American style, tablecloths, napkins, paper plates and cups pick up the color motif. Food for the day usually calls for a barbeque of hamburgers, hot dogs, etc as well as corn on the cob and steamed clams.
Dessert can be watermelon or other seasonal fruits. In New Jersey, the garden state, we have lots of "Jersey Fresh" produce from local farm markets.
The holiday is celebrated as Independence Day. I think the holiday has additional meaning this year. As we celebrate, let's remember our men and women in harm's way around the world. Even though we celebrate the accomplishments that gave us our freedom, we owe today's service men and women a debt of gratitude. We remember the families who have made the ultimate sacrifice with the loss of loved ones. We salute our fellow citizens who have returned from combat wounded physically and emotionally. As we fly old glory – remember that the red, white and blue of the American Flag stands for all those freedoms that we hold dear. With all our shortcomings, we live in the greatest nation on earth. Happy Birthday America.

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Do You Think You Are Beautiful?

I recently read the book The New 10 by Dawn McIntyre which I received as a review copy. The cover line is "40 days to creating a boldly beautiful life from the inside out". The author explains her motivation for writing the book. "Believing that I was fat and ugly for the majority of my life, affected my sense of self-worth and self-esteem to the degree that I kept repeating self sabotaging patterns until even the pain of that became too unbearable. I began to witness the same patterns in women and teens all around me and so, in the name of all you women and teens, this program comes from my heart to yours."
Ms. McIntyre is a Professional Spiritual Intuitive leading men and women into higher states of expression and beauty consciousness.
Dawn begins the book remembering the first time she had heard a woman referred to as a "10." It was 1979 and Bo Derek became the "official" standard for beauty. It included being tall and blonde, having a golden tan, a killer smile and a body that looked dynamite in a bathing suit. That's about all there was – an outer beauty that created a global sensation. Men quickly began ranking the women they knew from 1 – 10. Women began to judge themselves by the same standards and began to care more about what they looked like rather than who they were. A number now defined our worth.
How much progress have we made since 1979? Have we successfully redefined beauty? What value system do we teach our children? Lots of food for thought and discussion.

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Busy Planning for the Fall

Even though it is summer and we expect things to be slower than usual, we are busy as bees getting ready for an action filled fall season.

First on our schedule is some retail therapy with Bloomingdales in October. We are participating in a two day event for non-profits.  Stay tuned for details. We could use some volunteers to help staff a table at Bloomingdales in Bridgewater. If you can spare a 4 hour shift, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The other big event we have planned is our 5th annual Health/ Wellness/ Networking conference on Saturday, November 6, 2010 at the corporate campus of sanofi-aventis in Bridgewater. This is going to be an information packed event that you will not want to miss. Keep checking www.gswoman.com for details.

Please be thinking of nominations for our Women of the Year Awards. You can find nomination information and forms on the web site.

We will be scheduling several networking events as well. Keep checking the web site.

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NJ Sexual Violence Prevention Plan

At last a movement to stop sexual violence before it occurs. The 2010-2020 New Jersey Sexual Violence Prevention Plan is the result of a three year collaborative effort by national, state and local partners. Historically, New Jersey focused most of its efforts on crisis response and survivor treatment only after an incident of sexual violence has occurred. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this new plan represents a proactive, cutting edge and comprehensive set of actions to stop sexual violence before it occurs in New Jersey.

Sexual violence is part of a larger culture of violence that shares risk factors with other societal problems of child abuse, gang violence, bullying, and domestic violence. These problems plague our communities, schools and families and require our joint efforts to solve them.

These thoughts are excerpted from a report prepared by the Prevention and Public Education Committee of the Governor’s Advisory Council Against Sexual Violence of which I have been a member for the last two years.

Please join the Garden State Woman community facebook group and share your thoughts on addressing violence in New Jersey.

We encourage you to learn more about Denim Day which will be observed this Wednesday, April 28th.  Sponsored by NJCASA to raise awareness, you can learn more from their website. Sign up on Facebook to give your support to this important movement.

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Credit and Credit Scoring

Beginning today, I will post a new Judy's Thoughts every Monday. Hopefully it will be a subject that inspires you to respond. I encourage you to join Judy's Circle so that you can comment on my postings. This will be a place to share your thoughts.

It seems ludicrous to me that credit scoring companies have big budgets for tv advertsing to tell us how important our credit score is. Is this a disconnect? Worrying about your credit score is another attempt at manipulating us. With many wondering how to just make the mortgage payment, why should we also be worrying about our credit score? Most of us want to get out of debt not take on more. For years, the US economy has thrived on the backs of the middle class and credit. Now the economy needs to find something else to stimulate it other than the willingness of Americans to exist on credit.

The thought for the week is: What is your five year plan to get out of debt and send the whole concept of being manipulated by my credit score out the window? Any suggestions? Regsiter with Judy's Circle and share your thoughts with other readers.

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The Perfect Escape

Iam not a big "beach person" other than to hear and look at the ocean but I recently returned from 7 days in Mexico and it was heavenly. We flew to Cozumel via Charlotte, NC from Newark. It is an easy journey on US Airways (Newark to Charlotte is a little over one hour; clearing security and customs in North Carolina = one hour and the flight from NC to Cozumel is a little over 2 hours.) Cozumel is an island that offers a variety of scuba diving and snorkeling options. I was traveling with my son who is an avid scuba diver. He was going to Mexico for the wedding of close friends and wanted to catch a few dives beforehand. Since his usual dive buddy could not make this trip, I convinced him that he should have someone with him. In exasperation (and to shut me up) he agreed to let me tag along. I was looking for a few days of solitude - my scuba diving days are past but I understand the fascination of the ocean.

We arrived at an oasis – Baldwin's Guest House Cozumel - The perfect place to sleep, read, have amazing breakfasts and relax. The innkeepers, Dale and Kathy Gardner are very attentive. They share their wonderful B&B with lots of native creatures and birds. Dale and Kathy have been on the island for more than 15 years. They came down from Western Canada to Cozumel. Among the natural disasters, they have experienced hurricanes. All the food and supplies come to the island by ferry. When a hurricane is forecast, the ferries stop running two days before the storm and for a week after the storm. Kathy told me that two years ago, a hurricane wiped out thousands of birds because they had no shelter. Island living requires a certain resourcefulness.

If you visit Cozumel by cruise ship, you will most likey miss seeing the wildlife, neighborhoods and the lifestyle of the native people. There are children everywhere and lots of young girls with babies. The other phenomenon is mopeds. They are the transportation of choice and seem to be driven at record speed with anywhere from 3-6 people (an entire family – no helmets for the children) on board. The food everywhere we went was delicious and affordable. Visitors seem to be mostly from Europe and the West Coast of the USA.

Where have you visited that opened your eyes to a different way of life. Reach me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Wishing you and yours a restful 3-day weekend. Have you signed up for our wine tasting on June 10, 2010? Hope to see you there.

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Women Wine Vintners

Women have broken down doors in many male dominated professions. This is especially true in the wine industry. However, it has not been an easy path. In Europe, where the people are bent on tradition, a woman would only gain control of a winery when widowed or when there were no sons for inheritance. In the United States, a woman not only has to be educated and hard working but also needs to excel in winemaking to become recognized. As a result many of the wines made by woman today top the charts, earn high scores and tend to be expensive. Just look at Heidi Peterson Barrett. She is the only person (male or female) to ever receive four perfect 100 scores for her wines from Robert Parker, a highly acclaimed wine critic. Why is it that we have to work so much harder than our male counterparts?

To learn more about the struggles and achievements of women vintners, join us on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at Lenfell Hall at the Madison Campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University from 6-8:30 PM. You will not want to miss this learn and laugh evening. Sponsored by the Garden State Woman Education Foundation, the networking and wine tasting event will be a fundraiser for the Foundation. Conducting the tasting will be Independent Wine Consultant, Maria Baniel. Maria has an extensive knowledge of all aspects of wine making. Maria has selected wines from California, Argentina and Italy made by incredible women vintners.

Make your reservation today

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NJWAN Honors Three

Recently I was one of three women honored by the New Jersey Women & Aids Network (NJWAN) at their Spring into Action Luncheon at the Pines Manor in Edison. Sally Hodder, MD, Infectious Disease Medicine at University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ; Mildred C. Crump, President of the Newark City Council and Judy Chapman, Founder of Garden State Woman, were 2010 Women of Excellence Award Recipients. NJWAN is a private, non-profit organization that is the only women-specific statewide AIDS service organization. Thank you to Executive Director, Monique Howard and the dedicated staff for this honor. You are  all truly amazing. To learn more: www.njwan.org.

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Last week's networking event

The 1st quarterly networking event held by the Garden State Woman Education Foundation was held at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park on JUanuary 19th. Over 50 professional, corporate and business owning women showed up to network, enjoy the wine and food and to listen to two really interesting presentations.

Dr. Lorraine Maita, with a practice in Short Hills, shared her expertise and knowledge about how we can all live younger longer by preventing and slowing degenerative diseases of aging and restoring your health and vitality through comprehensive and personalized assessments, guidance and support. Dr. Maita had the group sitting on the edges of their chairs.

Jenny Rossilli, a trained kettle bells instructor, had the group on their feet watching her demonstrate kettle bells as an easy to learn, highly effective way for all of us to get and stay in shape in only minutes two or three times a week. After her discussion and kettle bells demonstration Jenny was surrounded by attendees looking to learn more and to sign up for instructions.

It was another exceptional night of networking for women who understand the huge personal and professional benefits of quality networking. Watch for our upcoming events.

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Prostate Cancer & The Men In Your Life

My husband through the years has always said that if you live in New Jersey long enough you eventually have to come down with some form of cancer. A little over two years ago his words came back to bite him. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer, a cancer that often goes undetected for too many years. It is also a cancer that can be "dealt with" effectively if caught in time. Yesterday he met with a friend who also had developed prostate cancer in his early 40's - my husband wishes he was in his early 40's!

My message is a simple one, make the men in your life - your dad, husband, significant other, brother, uncle, friends - get their PSA level tested every year starting at age 50 or even before. A rising PSA result at 4.0 or above is a warning sign that he needs to see a oncology specialist. Be a nag. It can make a difference.

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Remedy For Cabin Fever - Find Some Fun

The Morning After
What to do about Cabin Fever. It is the morning after another winter storm in New Jersey. It seems as if this winter is going to go on forever. Not only did this storm hang around but it also necessitated the rescheduling of  our long anticipated 5th Annual Garden State Woman Education Foundation Awards luncheon to Friday, March 12, 2010 at noon at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park.  The event drew a sellout crowd of family and friends of the awardees. We deliberated long and hard before we trusted our intuition that told us that changing the date was the right call. As the snow piled up and the wind blew, we were glad that we had made the decision.
We recently took a 48 hour trip to New England that proved to be a homerun. A business meeting for my husband drew us to Cambridge, Mass. We drove up the day before the meeting and bunked in a highly recommended spot – the Kendall Hotel – see the write up under Your Life and click on Fun . After the morning meeting, we headed for Stowe, Vermont for a late afternoon appointment.   After the meeting we found a wonderful resort, the Golden Eagle,  where we checked in for the night. We took a short ride up to the ski lifts and  the village of Stowe. The next morning we found a great Dutch Pancake House and then explored the Main Street. I found a wonderful hand made ski cap to bring back with me. An interesting fact about the children living in Stowe. During ski season, every Friday everyone heads to the ski slopes!
My suggestion for Cabin Fever – do something fun.


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