Patricia Laus - Woman of the Year

2009 Garden State Woman of the Year - Sports & Fitness
Patricia Laus – Owner & CEO, The Atlantic Club
Nominated By: Richard Hope

Pat is a long-time advocate of women in business and women business owners. She has created a woman-owned business with a predominately woman run business and has invested in comprehensive employee training initiatives. Her commitment to women in business is evident in her membership with The Advisory Board for Enterprising Women and was awarded “The Enterprising Woman of the Year” in 2007. Additionally, she has been recognized as a pioneer for Women in the Health & Fitness Industry where she was the first woman to receive “The Distinguished Service Award” for her outstanding contributions to the industry. She is also involved in several task forces that address Health and Fitness across the country, including The Industry Legislative Committee to pass bills that reward people who are living a healthier lifestyle.

In 2006, Pat created the Atlantic Club “Clubs for The Cure Team” in which The Atlantic Clubs of both Manasquan and Red Bank joined together to raise money to find a cure for breast cancer, aligned with The Avon Foundation’s Two Day Walk in NYC. Pat was able to mobilize employees and members of both clubs to create the largest team in Avon history and the biggest global donor in 2006, 2007 and 2008, raising over $1,000,000.

Pat’s tireless drive and energy has made her a successful businessperson and an outstanding contributor to important causes in the communities she serves and throughout the nation.


Gibbons P.C.

2009 Garden State Award for an Organization with a Woman's Program

Leadership Award – Gibbons P.C.

The Gibbons Women’s Initiative was founded in 1997 for Gibbons women attorneys to participate with each other, clients, and high-level representatives in quality educational, networking, and mentoring programs.

Christina Amalfe, co-founder of the Initiative has been instrumental in developing programs to promote her commitment to women in the industry. Most notably, between 2007 and 2009, Ms. Amalfe wasinvolved in a project for the New Jersey Council on Gender Parity to help create programs and research projects that address gender equity issues in various professions. A detailed report of the findings was released in April 2009, Legal Talent at a Crossroads: Why New Jersey Women Lawyers Leave Their Firms, and Why They Choose to Stay.

Additionally, Gibbons has received significant recognition as an employer of choice for women. Most notably, Gibbons was presented with the prestigious, national 2009 Catalyst Award, becoming only the third law firm to ever receive this honor, one of the preeminent corporate honors recognizing outstanding achievement in the advancement of women in the workplace.

The Initiative continues to support and promote the careers of Gibbons women attorneys and other women professionals, and continues to garner the recognition necessary to make it a model program for other businesses.


Marguerite McHale - Woman of the Year

2009 Garden State Woman of the Year - Entrepreneur
Marguerite McHale – Co-Founder, Consultants 2 Go
Nominated By: Sandi Webster

Marguerite (Peggy) is the co-founder of Consultants 2 Go®, LLC (C2G), a consulting firm that provides marketing and analytic solutions to Fortune 500 companies in the Financial Services, Telecom and Insurance industries. C2G’s consultants are available on a project or interim basis (such as maternity leave replacements.)

Founded in 2002, C2G has developed an impressive roster of Fortune 500 clients. In 2006, Consultants 2 Go, was one of twenty winners of the 2006 Make Mine a $Million Business program and was one of seven to be named to the Million Dollar Club.
Peggy is a former Vice President of Marketing at American Express, where she launched their Automatic Bill Payment Service that produced outstanding financial results and record-breaking customer activation.

She holds an MBA in Finance from St. John’s University and a BA from the College of Mount St. Vincent. Peggy served on the State Board of the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners as their Vice President of Marketing and Nominations Chair. She is also a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization. In her spare time, she has been appointed as a member of the Advisory Council for Our Lady of Peace School, New Providence, NJ and is currently managing the marketing committee.


Aphrodite Tsairis - Woman of the Year

2009 Garden State Woman of the Year - Global Impact
Aphrodite Tsairis – Co-Founder, Alexia Foundation for World Peace and Cultural Understanding

Aphrodite Thevos Tsairis is a truly remarkable woman. While many women experience tragedy in their lives, it takes a very special person to rise above the grief to turn personal pain into a catalyst for action for the better good.

Aphrodite’s daughter Alexia was a photojournalism student, returning from a semester in London, when she became a victim of the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pam Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. In 1989, Aphrodite co-founded the Alexia Foundation for World Peace and Cultural Understanding, to promote the power of photojournalism to give voice to social injustice and to understand cultural difference as a strength – not a weakness. Through grants and scholarships, the Alexia Foundation has supported photographers as agents for change for 20 years. In conjunction with seminars on photojournalism, the Foundation has exhibited award-winning photographs at the United Nations and at galleries around the world.

Aphrodite was a strong leader in the US demanding justice and improved airline security in the aftermath of the Pan Am 103 bombing. Through 2005 she held many leadership positions including chairperson of The Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Chairperson of the Terrorism Watch Committee, a contributing author of the Aviation Security Improvement Act of 1990 and family liaison to the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism of 1990.

Through her work with the Alexia Foundation for World Peace she is an inspiration for all women. This year the Alexia Foundation has commissioned last years award winner to develop a multimedia presentation about the plight of abused women in India to highlight violence against women as an historic and worldwide phenomenon, thus creating awareness about this injustice and its consequences to tens of thousands of women and girls.


Diane Turton - Woman of the Year

2009 Garden State Woman of the Year - Woman Owned Business
Diane Turton, Owner/Broker – Diane Turton, Realtors
Nominated By: Chelsea Turner

Diane Turton opened her first Diane Turton, Realtors’ office in 1986. 24 years later, the company has more than 350 agents working in 15 offices serving New Jersey’s Monmouth and Ocean Counties and an affiliate office in Florida. While other agencies are struggling or selling out, Diane Turton, Realtors continues to enjoy unprecedented growth.

A nationally recognized industry leader, Diane is a popular motivational speaker and media spokesperson who has appeared on NBC’s Today Show Weekend Edition, and is frequently asked by media outlets to comment on the vitality of the New Jersey real estate market. Among the awards Diane has earned for her business include Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year® Award, Enterprising Woman of the Year Award from Enterprising Women Magazine and the #1 ranking in the Women-Owned Business category from NJ Biz Magazine for the second consecutive year.

A business visionary, 4 years ago she launched Turton Financial Holdings, Inc., a one-stop center for title insurance, mortgage financing, and property and casualty insurance. More recently, Diane Turton, Realtors became the first residential real estate company in New Jersey to join the national U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), putting into practice several processes and policies to make her firm an environmentally sustainable company.

Diane is involved in numerous humanitarian projects and has earned several awards honoring her charitable work, including Extraordinary Philanthropist of 2009 from Luxury Real Estate, the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners’ Women’s Leadership Award for Community Service and The Clara Barton Humanitarian Award from the American Red Cross.


Sally Glick - Woman of the Year

2009 Garden State Woman of the Year - Professional Services
Sally Glick, Principal, Sobel & Company, LLC
Nominated By: Alan Sobel

Sally Glick is one of the most recognized marketing professionals in the CPA profession. She has been named year after year by Accounting Today as one of the most influential people in the accounting profession and more recently, one of the most important women in the industry. What is particularly unique about this recognition by Accounting Today is that Sally is not even a CPA or an accountant. Rather she is a marketing professional who has expanded the range of contacts and clients for her accounting firm.

She was recently named as a Principal in her CPA firm, where is has exhibited tremendous professional and personal traits. She re-shaped the marketing culture of the firm and raised their profile in the business community.

Sally is particularly impactful and passionate about helping women succeed, both personally and professionally. She has also developed a bi-monthly networking program for women that routinely attracts over 70 professional women.

She is active in numerous philanthropic endeavourers and is always generously giving of her time and leadership. She serves on the boards of business and community groups including the Executive Women of NJ where she chairs the public relations committee. She was a speaker at the graduation ceremonies at Northwestern University last June.


Linda Rosanio - Woman of the Year

2009 Garden State Woman of the Year - Media & Communications
Linda Rosanio – CEO, The Star Group
Nominated By: Cathy Schwartz

Linda Rosanio founded The Star Group in 1985 and it is now a fully integrated marketing communications agency with over 275 employees and over $200M in annual sales. Recently, Star was named number one advertising agency in the region by the Philadelphia Business Journal and Linda is the first advertising executive from southern New Jersey to be inducted in the New Jersey Advertising Hall of Fame.

Linda’s leadership is at the heart of The Star Group’s 25 years of success. Like any agency, Star takes pride in creating great advertising. But unlike many others, Linda believes that great creative product is only valuable if it creates business as well – growing sales, generating revenue, advancing the bottom line.

Linda’s achievements on behalf of numerous philanthropic causes rival her reputation as a business innovator, as her leadership and compassion benefit many community organizations. Her deep commitment to enhancing women’s health and welfare led to her involvement with Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure, WOMEN’S Way and to co-found The American Heart Association’s Annual Southern New Jersey Go Red for Women Luncheon.

Linda is the quintessential role model for women. Of Star’s team of 12 senior-most managing partners, seven are women and countless others hold departmental leadership roles within the agency.

Linda’s business and community accomplishments have earned her countless honors. But, perhaps most admirable about Linda Rosanio is that fact that everyday she demonstrates exceptional leadership, a strong commitment to making a difference in the community and serves as an exemplary role model for women.


Elizabeth Sheridan - Woman of the Year

2009 Garden State Woman of the Year - Healthcare
Elizabeth Sheridan – Chief Nurse Executive, South Jersey Healthcare System and Chief Operating Officer, South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center
Nominated By: Bruce Boxer

In her dual role as South Jersey Healthcare System’s (SJH) Chief Nursing Executive and the Chief Operating Officer of SJH Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth Sheridan has helped transform the health of Cumberland County residents while establishing nursing as a leader in the effort to better patient care. Through her leadership, disparities in care for minority patients with congestive heart failure were lessened, access to care for minority patients increased, and specialized services to better care for women and minorities introduced. She initiated the Woman’s Health Institute at SJH to address special healthcare needs of the community’s women; increasing the availability of healthcare and services provided, as well as community education and support. To address the County’s teen pregnancy rate, one of the highest in New Jersey, Ms. Sheridan provided increased access to comprehensive contraceptive options and gynecological care.

Through her leadership, the Cardiac ICU received the prestigious American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ Beacon Award for excellence in patient care. For two concurrent years, SJH is recognized by the Governor’s Annual Occupational Safety and Health Awards Program as a model for others to emulate. SJH is distinguished as an outstanding patient experience by the J. D. Powers and Associates Award. Additionally, SJH received full Joint Commission Accreditation and Disease-Specific Certifications in Stroke and Congestive Heart Failure. SJH is the only hospital in New Jersey awarded the Fit Friendly Platinum Award from the American Heart Association for two consecutive years.

Ms. Sheridan’s leadership transforms the lives of those she leads, and those in the communities she serves.


Michelle Thomas - Woman of the Year

2009 Garden State Woman of the Year - Government
Michelle Thomas – Business Administrator, City of Newark
Nominated By: Maria Vizcarrando

Michelle Thomas is the Business Administrator for the City of Newark. Professionally, she navigates effectively in a complex and male dominated environment. Personally, she works hard to balance a high profile position with a family life. As a leader, she inspires the women in the administration to achieve their highest potential while never losing sight of serving the community. As a spiritual person, she reminds us everyday that our ambitions should be tied into how we live to serve others.

Ms. Thomas is the driving force behind the administration's agenda to transform communities. She does her work strategically, deliberately and without fanfare. In these difficult economic times, she has made the hard decisions that most leaders would shun from addressing.

Yet she has also been fearless in championing those initiatives that empower children and families. Under her leadership the City has expanded its Child Lead Poision Prevention Programs, raised its child immunization rates to national standards and expanded primary health care access through the City’s clinics. Today, families enjoy more community parks and recreational opportunities and seniors are thriving.


Michele Cimicata - Woman of the Year

2009 Garden State Woman of the Year - Environmental
Michele Cimicata – Mail Direct Office Solutions

Nominated By : Cynthia Steiner

Michele Cimicata, is the founder and CEO of Mail Direct Office Solutions. She generously shares her expertise in sustainable business practices and inspires others to consider the impact of their purchasing decisions on the environment.

When asked to participate in a “green market” Michele enthusiastically responded "yes!" She demonstrated exceptional leadership by providing fact sheets and samples of the products sold by Mail Direct that save energy, use recycled materials and reduce the toxicity of products used in performing our jobs, eating in our cafeterias and cleaning our work areas. She has clearly done her 'homework' in identifying 'green' products that are clever and have real sustainability impact.

Michele established the company in 1991. She has received many awards, including the NJ Meadowlands Challenge Award, Kaleidoscope of Hope Team Spirit Award, Lyndhurst Township Certificate of Appreciation Award, and Special Olympics Award.