Speaker and Moderator biographies

Dr. Ian Smith

Dr. Ian Smith
Medical/Diet Expert on Celebrity Fit Club
Creator and Founder of The 50 Million Pound Challenge and The Makeover Mile™

Dr. Ian Smith has served as the medical/diet expert for six seasons on VH1's highly-rated Celebrity Fit Club, the creator and founder of The 50 Million Pound Challenge and The Makeover Mile™, and a medical contributor on the nationally syndicated television show Rachael Ray. Dr. Smith is also the host of his own nationally syndicated radio show HealthWatch on American Urban Radio Networks. He is the former medical correspondent for NBC News network and for NewsChannel 4 where he filed reports for NBC's Nightly News and the Today show as well as WNBC's various news broadcasts. He has appeared extensively on various broadcasts including The Oprah Show, The View, The Tyra Banks Show, Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, and Showbiz Tonight. Dr. Smith has recently been appointed by President Obama to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. He has written for various publications including Time, Newsweek, Men's Health, and the New York Daily News, and has been featured in several other publications including, People, Essence, Ebony, University of Chicago Medicine on the Midway, Cosmopolitan, and Black Enterprise.

A highly sought-after speaker, Dr. Smith's work has been honored by several organizations, including the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for his coverage on the momentous events beginning on Sept. 11, 2001. Dr. Smith is very active in charitable causes. He is currently a national advisory board member for The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity. He has also served on the boards of the American Council on Exercise, the New York Mission Society, the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the New York Council for the Humanities.

Dr. Smith graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. (class of '91) and received a master's in science education from Teachers College of Columbia University. He attended Dartmouth Medical School and completed the last two years of his medical education and graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Dr. Smith is also the author of eight books, the #1 New York Times Bestseller Extreme Fat Smash Diet, the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Fat Smash Diet, the New York Times Bestseller The 4 Day Diet, the critically acclaimed The Blackbird Papers (2005 BCALA fiction Honor Book Award winner), Happy, Dr. Ian Smith's Guide to Medical Websites, and The Take-Control Diet. His eighth book, EAT: The Effortless Weight Loss Solution was published April 2011.


Carla Harris
Managing Director and heads the Emerging Manager Platform
at Morgan Stanley Investment Management

Carla Harris is a Managing Director and heads the Emerging Manager Platform at Morgan Stanley Investment Management where she also provides investment advice to corporations, public pension plans, foundations and endowments. She formerly headed the equity capital markets effort for the consumer and retail industries and was responsible for Equity Private Placements. Ms. Harris has extensive industry experiences in the technology, media, retail, telecommunications, transportation, industrial, and healthcare sectors.

For more than a decade, Ms. Harris was a senior member of the equity syndicate desk and executed such transactions as initial public offerings for UPS, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Ariba, Redback, the General Motors sub-IPO of Delphi Automotive, and the $3.2 Billion common stock transaction for Immunex Corporation, one of the largest biotechnology common stock transaction in U.S. history. Ms. Harris was recently named to Fortune Magazine's list of "The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America", U. S. Banker's "Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance" (2009, 2010, 2011), Black Enterprise Magazine's "Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business" (2010), Black Enterprise Magazine's "Top 75 African Americans on Wall Street" (2006 – 2011), Essence Magazine's list of "The 50 Women Who are Shaping the World,"Ebony's list of "15 Corporate Women at the Top" and was named "Woman of the Year 2004" by the Harvard Black Men's Forum.

Ms. Harris began her career with Morgan Stanley in the Mergers & Acquisitions department in 1987. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Carla received from Harvard Business School an M.B.A., Second Year Honors and an A.B. in economics from Harvard University, magna cum laude. Carla has also received Honorary Doctorates of laws, humanities and business from Marymount Manhattan College, Bloomfield College and Jacksonville University, respectively. Carla Harris is actively involved in her community and heartily believes that "we are blessed so that we can be a blessing to someone else." As a result, Carla has funded the Carla Harris Scholarship at Harvard University and at Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Florida.

She is the Chair of the Board of the Morgan Stanley Foundation and sits on the boards of the Food Bank for NYC, The Executive Leadership Council, The Toigo Foundation, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), A Better Chance, Inc., The Apollo Theatre Foundation, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Xavier University, and is an active member of the St. Charles Gospelites of the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church and the Mark Howell Singers. Ms. Harris is a member of the National Social Action Commission of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and was a member of the Board of Overseers' Committee on University Resources, Harvard University. She has received the Bert King Award from the Harvard Business School African American Alumni Association, the 2005 Women's Professional Achievement Award from Harvard University, the Pierre Toussaint Medallion from the Office of Black Ministry of the Archdiocese of New York, the Women of Power Award given by the National Urban League, the Bill and Camille Cosby Award given by Associated Black Charities, the NASP New York's Wall Street Hall of Fame Award, Blazing New Trails Award from the Robert A. Toigo Foundation and many other awards. In her other life, Carla is a singer, and has released her third gospel CD Unceasing Praise (2011), her second CD, a gospel album entitled Joy Is Waiting, was featured on BET Nightly News while her first CD entitled Carla's First Christmas, was a bestseller on Amazon.com in New York and in record stores, and was featured on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather in his "American Dream" segment. She is also the author of the newly released book, Expect to Win (Hudson Press).

Bonnie St. John

Bonnie St. John
Author, Inspirational Speaker, Executive Coach,
TV Personality & Former Olympic Skier

Despite having her right leg amputated at age five, Bonnie St. John became the first African-American ever to win Olympic or Paralympic medals in ski racing, taking home a silver and two bronze medals in downhill events at the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria.  In recognition of this historic achievement, Bonnie was quoted on millions of Starbucks coffee cups and was honored at the White House by President George W. Bush as part of the 2007 celebration of Black History Month.

Bonnie has achieved the highest levels of success in a variety of endeavors throughout her life.  In addition to her success as a Paralympic athlete, she is the author of five books, a highly sought after keynote speaker, a television and radio personality, a business owner, and the single mother of a teenage daughter. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1986, and won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, taking an M.Litt. in Economics. Upon her return to the United States, Bonnie was appointed by President Bill Clinton as a Director for Human Capital Issues on the White House National Economic Council.

Today, Bonnie travels the globe speaking, leading seminars, and researching her various writing projects.  She frequently donates personal appearances to schools, homeless shelters, community groups, and other organizations in hundreds of locations while traveling for corporate clients.  During the winter, she coaches disabled ski racers for the Adaptive Sports Foundation in Windham, New York.  Prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bonnie served as one of a handful of Paralympic Ambassadors who helped train our athletes going to China to be positive representatives of the United States.  In 2010, Bonnie once again represented the USA as a member of President Obama’s official delegation to the Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

The celebrated author of five books, Bonnie has co-authored her next work, How Great Women Lead (coming May 2012 from Hachette publishing) with her teenage daughter, Darcy.  Together they traveled around the world on an extraordinary mother-daughter journey into the lives, and life lessons, of fascinating women leaders including Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, the President of Liberia, movie stars, fashion designers, CEOs, activists, and many more. 

NBC Nightly News called Bonnie, "One of the five most inspiring women in America." She has been featured extensively in both national and international media including: The Today Show, CNN, CBS Morning News, NBC News, and The New York Times, as well as People, “O”, and Essence magazines, to name just a few. 

Bonnie lives in Princeton, NJ, with her daughter, Darcy.
Lori Grifa

Donna Brazile
Professor, Author, Syndicated Columnist, Television Political Commentator
Veteran Democratic Political Strategist Donna Brazile is an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, television political commentator, Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee, and former Chair of the DNC's Voting Rights Institute. Last, but never least, she is a native of New Orleans.

Aside from working for the full recovery of her beloved New Orleans, Ms. Brazile's passion is encouraging young people to vote, to work within the system to strengthen it, and to run for public office.

A New Orleans native, Ms. Brazile began her political career at the age of nine when she worked to elect a City Council candidate who had promised to build a playground in her neighborhood; the candidate won, the swing sets were installed, and a lifelong passion for political progress was ignited. Four decades and innumerable state and local campaigns later, Ms. Brazile has worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she served as Campaign Manager for former Vice President Al Gore, becoming the first African-American woman to manage a presidential campaign.

Author of the best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, Ms. Brazile is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, a syndicated newspaper columnist for United Media, a columnist for Ms. Magazine, and O, the Oprah Magazine, an on-air contributor to CNN, and ABC, where she regularly appears on This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

In August 2009, O, The Oprah Magazine chose Ms. Brazile as one of its 20 "remarkable visionaries" for the magazine's first-ever O Power List. In addition, she was named among the 100 Most Powerful Women by Washingtonian magazine, Top 50 Women in America by Essence magazine, and received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's highest award for political achievement. A former member of the board of directors of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, responsible for leading the state's rebuilding process in the aftermath of two catastrophic hurricanes, Ms. Brazile is the proud recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from Louisiana State University and Xavier University of Louisiana, the only historically Black, Catholic institution of higher education in the United States.

Ms. Brazile is founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, DC.

Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan
Columnist, The Wall StreetJournal & Best-Selling Author

Peggy Noonan is a columnist for The Wall Street Journal and the best selling author of seven books on American politics, history and culture. Her essays have appeared in Forbes, Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the New York Times and other publications. She is a frequent guest on political talk shows. She has also been nominated for Emmy Awards for the writing of a post-9/11 television special and for her work on the television drama The West Wing. Noonan is a member of the board of the Manhattan Institute.

Her most recent book, John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father, was published by Viking in November, 2005. Her collection of post-9/11 columns, A Heart, a Cross and a Flag: America Today, was published by Free Press in June, 2003. When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan, published by Viking in November, 2001, was a New York Times bestseller.

Noonan is also the author of the best selling The Case Against Hillary Clinton (HarperCollins, March, 2000). Her first book, What I Saw at the Revolution was called "A love letter to the American political process," by Time Magazine. Her second book, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness was called "the voice of our times" by USA Today. Noonan's third book, Simply Speaking, was published in paperback as On Speaking Well, in 1999; Forbes magazine said of it, "Peggy Noonan packs a wallop of practical wisdom and insightful tips for rookie and veteran speechmakers alike… this wee volume, written by one of this century's premier presidential speechwriters, will guide you correctly."

In 1996, Noonan was one of ten historians and writers who contributed essays on the American presidency for the book, Character Above All. In 1995 she wrote and hosted a PBS series on the debate over American values. Noonan was a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1984 to 1986. In 1988 she was chief speechwriter for George Bush when he ran for the presidency.

She holds honorary doctorates from Adelphi University, St. John Fisher College, Miami University, and her alma mater, Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Before entering the Reagan White House, Noonan was a producer at CBS News in New York, where she wrote and produced Dan Rather's daily radio commentary. She also wrote television news specials for CBS News. As editorial and public affairs director at WEEI-AM, the CBS-owned station in Boston, she won the Tom Phillips Award for broadcast commentary. In 1978 and 1979 she was an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.

She lives in New York City.

Donna Brazile

Dr. Lois Frankel
President of Corporate Coaching International and Author
Dr. Lois Frankel, President of Corporate Coaching International, a Pasadena, California consulting firm, literally wrote the book on coaching people to succeed in businesses large and small around the globe. Her books Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office and Nice Girls Don't Get Rich are international bestsellers translated into over twenty-five languages worldwide. Stop Sabotaging Your Career, a book based on her experiences as a pioneer in the field of business coaching working with everyone from CEOs to entry-level professionals, is a must-read for both men and women. And See Jane Lead is a virtual road map for any woman who wants to take charge at work. Her most recent book, Nice Girls Just Don't Get It, co-authored with Carol Frohlinger, provides practical advice and coaching tips for how to win the respect you deserve, the success you've earned, and the life you want. Josh Berman, creator and producer of Drop Dead Diva, has optioned the rights to all three nice girls books for a television series. 

Sought-after as a public speaker for her witty, warm and practical presentations that simultaneously engage, educate and entertain, Dr. Frankel is among the top names of international speakers. She has appeared on The Today Show, Larry King Live, CNN, and Fox News and been featured in USA Today, People magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. ABC television purchased the rights to Corner Office for a comedy series.

Her client list reads like a who's who of multinational corporations, including Amgen, British Petroleum, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, GE, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Procter & Gamble, MasterCard, McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, Warner Bros., The Walt Disney Company and Goldman Sachs to name just a few of the hundreds of companies that have invited Dr. Frankel back time and again.

Dr. Frankel is the founder of two non-profit organizations, MOSTE: Motivating Our Students Through Experience and Bloom Again Foundation. She has been honored with Maybelline's Women Who Empower Through Education award, The Los Angeles County Commission for Women's Woman of the Year award, and a Presidential Medal from her undergraduate alma mater, the State University of New York at Oswego. In addition to her doctorate earned from the University of Southern California, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Phillips Graduate Institute.

Although she is originally from New York, Dr. Frankel currently resides in Pasadena, California where she has not had to put snow tires on her car or storm windows on her home even once. When not writing books, she is an ardent traveler and avid photographer.


Mary Adelman Adelman, Mary
Owner and Founder
Green Star Services, LLC

Mary Adelman, owner and founder of Green Star Services LLC, a virtual assistant business, is the Assistant Director at the NJSBDC of Northwest Jersey, one of eleven Small Business Development Centers in New Jersey.  Mary uses her management consulting, small business, and financial services experience to assist SBDC clients. In addition, through this affiliation, she teaches courses at Sussex County College in QuickBooks. Green Star Services provides marketing and strategic services to help support other businesses and organizations.  Mary works from her own office, using the Internet, e-mail, phone, fax, and mail to reach her world-wide client base.  The Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce recognized Mary as the 2010 Business Leader of the Year.
Diane Allen

Allen, Diane
Senator, District 7
New Jersey Senate

Diane Allen joined the New Jersey Senate in January 1998 after serving two years in the state’s General Assembly. She represents District 7, which covers parts of Burlington County, where she’s lived for nearly 50 years. Senator Allen is currently the Senate Republicans’ Deputy Minority Leader and a member of the Senate Health, Human Services & Senior Citizens, Military & Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Education Committees. She also serves on the State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Schools and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, among other entities. Senator Allen has had a long, distinguished career in broadcasting, having worked at New Jersey Network (NJN), KYW-TV in Philadelphia, and WCAU-TV in Philadelphia. Senator Allen has received numerous distinctions, including the Women’s Fund of New Jersey Recognition of Achievement in the New Jersey Legislature and induction into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. Senator Allen was a National Merit Scholar Finalist, who graduated from Moorestown High School as valedictorian and has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Bucknell University.

Angelini, Mary Pat
Assemblywoman, District 11
New Jersey General Assembly

Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, of Ocean Township, was sworn in on January 8, 2008 to represent the 11th Legislative District. Assemblywoman Angelini sits on the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee and the Assembly Human Services Committee. She currently serves as Deputy Conference Leader in the Assembly Republican Caucus. Since 1992, Assemblywoman Angelini has been the executive director of Prevention First, which provides educational programs and services to schools, businesses, and community organizations to counter the negative effects of substance abuse, violence and bullying. During her tenure in the Legislature, Assemblywoman Angelini has sponsored legislation to improve the lives of residents in Monmouth County and New Jersey and to make life more affordable. She has crafted legislation to save taxpayers money through shared services agreements, improve the conditions at state psychiatric hospitals, and address underage drinking and drug abuse. She was the prime sponsor of the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights,” and the “911” or “Lifeline” legislation, which establishes a “safe haven” from prosecution for minors who summon medical assistance for intoxicated underage persons.  Assemblywoman Angelini earned a Bachelor of Social Welfare degree from East Tennessee State University and a Masters of Public Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University.  She is a Certified Prevention Specialist.

Susan Ascher

Ascher, Susan P.
President and CEO
The Ascher Group, Inc.

Susan P. Ascher is the President and CEO of the Ascher Group, Inc., a premier provider of contract human resources professionals.  Originally founded in 1981 as an executive search firm, the Ascher Group reinvented itself and continues to revolutionize the workplace, as well as help secure a far more satisfying life for all those they serve.  Susan, who considers herself a “mindshifter,”  is also the author of two books: Sphere of Excellence in Communications – Building Great Teams Through the Power of Protocol Awareness and Better Communications, and Dude, Seriously, It’s NOT all About You!”  Because of Susan’s expertise, she has been featured on numerous television and radio programs including, CNBC’s Power Lunch, Fox 5’s Good Day New York, WABC Channel 7’s ABC World Business News This Morning and WCBS AM Radio’s The Small Business Report. Susan’s work has garnered an array of prestigious business awards including “Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneur Award New Jersey,” New Jersey’s “Best 50 Women in Business” from NJBIZ, and “Small Business Person of the Year” from the SBA. Ms. Ascher holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Lehigh University, and is affiliated with many non-profit organizations, professional groups and governing boards.

Jennifer Beck

Beck, Jennifer
Senator, District 11
New Jersey State Senate

Senator Jennifer Beck started her career as Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Joe Azzolina, before leaving for the private sector, where she ran the Trenton office of MWW, New Jersey’s largest public affairs firm. Before serving in the Senate, she served one term as an Assemblywoman. She also served two terms on the Red Bank Borough council. She was the only elected Republican on the council during her tenure. Senator Beck has received accolades from multiple organizations during her political career, including receiving the Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award in 2008, presented by WPC – NJ/PAC, an honoree for the Forty Who Make a Difference presented by 4074 Magazine and the Millicent Fenwick Award for Public Service by the Somerset County Federation of Republican Women. Senator Beck is President of JAB Marketing, a media relations and marketing firm. She is also a trustee with the Monmouth Conservation Foundation, and a member of the Red Bank Womans Club. Senator Jennifer Beck attended Boston College, where she majored in Physics and Mathematics. She also was a walk-on for the BC track team where she was named co-captain her senior year. She then got her Masters in Government Administration from the Fels School of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jessica Binkiewicz Binkiewicz, Jessica
Client Services Coordinator
Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL)

Jessica Binkiewicz is the Client Services Coordinator at the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL). Her focus is on assisting new entrepreneurs in developing strong business plans and securing the resources they need to create a foundation for success in entrepreneurship.  Prior to joining IFEL, Jessica worked at Community First Fund, a Community Development Financial Institution in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At Community First Fund, her responsibilities included analyzing how the businesses and surrounded areas were impacted by the loans disbursed by the organization. Ms. Binkiewicz graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a B.A. in Economics, specializing in economic development.
Dr. Allison Blake

Blake, Allison, Ph.D.
New Jersey Department of Children and Families

Dr. Allison Blake was appointed Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families by Governor Chris Christie and was confirmed with a unanimous vote by the Senate on June 21, 2010.  As Commissioner, she has emphasized an integrated and strategic approach to serving children and families in the state. To that end, Dr. Blake has focused on a community-based, family-centered approach to service delivery throughout the work of the entire Department, ensured the inclusion of the parent and youth voice in the Department’s planning and quality improvement work, and fostered a significant expansion of partnerships with the community to help enhance child abuse prevention and family strengthening efforts across the state. With a vision to promote sustainable growth and identify areas of improvement, as one of her first initiatives, Dr. Blake elevated the status of the Division of Youth and Family Services’ office on adolescents to a Department-level office with an emphasis on more strategic approach to serving youth transitioning to adulthood. For nearly 30 years, Dr. Allison Blake has been working on behalf of children and families and the social workers who serve them. Dr. Blake earned her B.S. in Social Work from University of Dayton, an M.S. in Social Work from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in Social Work from Fordham University.

Michelle Bodden-Wiggins

Bodden-Wiggins, Michelle
Regional Director of Certification
Women Presidents' Educational Organization (WPEO)

Michelle Bodden-Wiggins is the Regional Director for the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization (WPEO), where she oversees the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council certification process for women-owned businesses in New York, Northern New Jersey, and Southern Connecticut. She guides firms through the process of certification and helps facilitate business opportunities for women entrepreneurs in both the private and public sector. Ms. Bodden-Wiggins and her team develop effective programming with the overall mission of increasing access, awareness, and advocacy for WBEs. She also serves on the Supplier Diversity Development Council board of New Jersey. Prior to her work with WPEO, she worked for several Fortune 500 firms. Additionally, she has also worked with the New Jersey Association of Health Plans. As CEO/founder of her own boutique “practice development” and business consultancy, which serves physicians nationwide, she remains passionate about helping women gain economic self-sufficiency through business ownership and expansion. Ms. Bodden-Wiggins earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Delaware State University.

Linda Bowden

Bowden, Linda
Regional President
PNC Bank

Linda Bowden is the New Jersey regional president of PNC Bank. Ms. Bowden is responsible for providing executive leadership and supporting client relationship and business development initiatives across the firm’s lines of business in the region, including corporate and institutional banking, commercial banking, and wealth management, as well as supporting the firm’s community-based activities. Ms. Bowden adds extensive industry experience to PNC that spans every aspect of wealth management, having served as portfolio manager, trust and investment officer and as a manager overseeing private banking officers. In 2005, Bowden was named one of the “25 Women to Watch” by U.S. Banker magazine. Prior to joining PNC in 2009, she was the managing director of Wachovia Wealth Management. She began her career as a teacher for seven years in Wyckoff, N.J. and authored two children’s math books. Ms. Bowden earned an M.S.W. from Columbia University, an M.A. in institutional counseling from William Paterson University, an M.B.A. with a concentration in finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a B.A. in education from Rowan University. Additionally, Bowden completed the National Trust School at Northwestern University, earned her Certified Trust Financial Advisor designation and has completed numerous sales management and leadership programs.

Angela Brathovde

Brathovde, Angela, MSN, RN, BC, HNB-BC
Assistant Clinical Director, Psychiatric Emergency Screening Services
Monmouth Medical Center

Angela Brathovde has been a nurse for 30 years. She received an RN diploma from Ann May School of Nursing in New Jersey in 1981. After working for a year close to home, she became a traveling nurse, which took her to Arizona where she began her psychiatric nursing career. Angela received a B.S. in Nursing from the University of Phoenix in 1986. She became interested in holistic nursing while working at Canyon Ranch Resort in Tucson, Arizona. Upon returning to New Jersey where she grew up, she earned a Doctor of Philosophy of Naturology from the American Institute of Holistic Theology in 2000. She also became a certified holistic nurse, a Reiki Master and an Integrated Energy Therapy Practitioner. In 2005, while working at Monmouth Medical Center in Behavioral Health Services, Angela earned an M.S. in Nursing Education from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. Her scholarly work, “A Pilot Study: Reiki for Self-Care of Nurses and Healthcare Providers,” was published in Holistic Nursing Practice Journal in 2006. In early 2010, she became Assistant Clinical Director in the Psychiatric Emergency Screening Services at Monmouth Medical Center. This past year, the nursing administration asked her to initiate and facilitate a Holistic Nursing Practice Council.

Rebecca Brooks

Brooks, Rebecca
President and Founder
The Brooks Group

Rebecca Brooks is the President and Founder of The Brooks Group, a NYC-based public relations agency renowned for promoting and developing personalities and their brands and transcending them beyond the expected. Founded in 1995 when she was 25, she was determined to avoid the “cookie cutter” style of public relations. Among The Brooks Group’s success stories are Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray.  Ms. Brooks and her team spearheaded their PR for 4 years and launched several New York Times Bestselling books, shows and products. They also secured first appearances on all of the major morning, talk and late night shows, as well as features in top print outlets. Prestige beauty brand Bare Escentuals also rates as one of The Brooks Group’s major achievements. Past and present clients include high profile food personalities Andrew Zimmern, Bitchin’ Kitchen’s Nadia G, Ingrid Hoffmann, Cat Cora and Buddy Valastro, as well as beauty icon Mally Roncal, Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner and wine & social media guru, Gary Vaynerchuk.  Rebecca was recently featured in an inspirational book, In Conversation with Exceptional Women. The author, Monica Bhide, brought together a talented group of women from the food world to candidly discuss how they successfully balance their personal and professional lives.

Barbara Buono

Buono, Barbara, Esq.
Senator, District 18
New Jersey Senate

Barbara Buono was elected to the New Jersey State Senate in 2001 and was re-elected in 2003, 2007, and 2011 to represent the 18th Legislative District. She previously served as a Metuchen Councilwoman and served as a member of the General Assembly for seven years after winning a special election in December 1994. She was reelected in 1995, 1997, and 1999. While in the Assembly, she became the ranking Democrat on the Assembly Budget Committee. Senator Buono, an attorney, currently serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, member of the Health, Human Services, & Senior Citizens Committee and member of the State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. Up until January 2010, she was the first woman to chair the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Senator Buono then became New Jersey’s first woman to serve as Senate Majority Leader until January 2012. Senator Buono received her law degree from Rutgers University.

Stephanie D. Burroughs
Burroughs, Stephanie D.
Director, Procurement Programs
NJ Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC)

Stephanie D. Burroughs, Director of Procurement Programs for the NJ Small Business Development Centers, manages a team of consultants and staff who provide a variety of services to diverse small businesses. The services include individual advisor sessions focused on federal and state government agency sourcing strategies, identifying contract opportunities, and procurement preference programs, as well as registrations, certifications, certification auditing services, matchmaking opportunities and more. A variety of training and matchmaking programs are developed to provide small business owners direct contact with buyers and purchasing decision makers; educate them about the current sourcing environment; develop marketing strategies; and demystify the contracting process with various federal, state and local government sectors. Ms. Burroughs has been featured on news programs and in print media and has received a variety of awards, including the “State Star Award” from the Association of Small Business Development Centers in San Antonio, TX; “Women’s Leadership Award” from the National Minority Business Council in NYC, and recognition for her economic development efforts in the City of Newark by the Brick City Development Council.
Marlene Caride

Caride, Marlene, Esq.
Assemblywoman, District 36
New Jersey General Assembly

Assemblywoman Caride is serving her first term on the General Assembly. She serves on the Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee, Telecommunications and Utilities Committee, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and NJ Intergovernmental Relations Commission. Assemblywoman Caride is a partner in the Union City law firm of Gonzalez & Caride. She serves as the Ridgefield Municipal Prosecutor and the West New York Alcoholic Beverage Control Prosecutor, as well as a Hudson County Special Civil Part court mediator. She serves on the Hudson County ethics’ fee committee and is a former chairperson on the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee. She is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the U.S., the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Hudson County Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association. The Assemblywoman has served her hometown of Ridgefield on multiple municipal boards. She continues to serve as a volunteer legal counsel at the Englewood Women’s Center providing free legal advice to women. Assemblywoman Caride is a graduate of California Western School of Law where she served as Vice President of the Multicultural Student’s Association, as well as a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a Bachelor of Arts in Education.

Christene Carr Carr, Christene
Marketing and Account Manager

Christene Carr has over five years’ experience in business development and marketing, working with entrepreneurs, small businesses and government entities. Ms. Carr started her marketing career as a marketing associate at a hedge fund in Florida. She has also served as business development specialist for a technology and management services company serving state, local and federal government clients. Ms. Carr brings this experience to the world of digital media where today she works with brands of all sizes, creating effective business development and marketing strategies using digital tools. Her experience utilizing social media platforms to engage the public and grow businesses has made her an in-demand panel participant and business consultant. While an adept marketing generalist, she has a particular passion for the health, beauty and wellness category, and she is a regular contributor to beauty and lifestyle blogs. She is currently the Marketing and Account Manager at Websignia and she holds an M.B.A. from the University of South Florida.
Caroline Casagrande

Casagrande, Caroline
Assemblywoman, District 11
New Jersey General Assembly

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande is currently serving her third term in the Assembly, now representing the 11th Legislative District, and is a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Women and Children Committee. Assemblywoman Casagrande was a partner in the firm of Menna, Supko and Casagrande in Shrewsbury, and municipal attorney to Manalapan Township and special counsel to Fair Haven. She was a Commissioner for New Jersey’s Congressional Redistricting Commission and is on the board of the Visiting Nurses Association of Central Jersey, and the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. Casagrande is the recipient of numerous accolades including:  2011 Legislator of the Year by the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey, the Guardian Of Small Business Award by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Today’s Youth Asia Young Achievers Award, the Pennsylvania State Alumni Achievement Award and St. Catharine School Distinguished Graduate. She is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, and Rutgers School of Law.

Rita Christensen Christensen, Rita
Founder & CEO
iColor Studio, LLC

Rita Christensen is the founder of iColor Studio, which bills itself as Madison Avenue creativity at South Jersey prices since 1999. She has also trademarked the name “The Poducator” and was the first person to teach Podcasting in the United Stated at a local college. Her firm is now a leading expert on Social Media planning and execution. Aside from her duties as CEO of iColor and The Poducator, she is also an adjunct instructor, President of the Business and Professional Association of Berlin, NJ, and a member of the Economic Redevelopment Authority in Berlin. She has recently begun a side career as a standup comic. iColor Studio is a full service advertising agency serving businesses from Texas to New Jersey to New York.
Sandra B Cunningham

Cunningham, Sandra B.
Senator, District 31
New Jersey Senate

Sandra B. Cunningham joined the state Senate in November 2007 and represents District 31, which comprises Bayonne and part of Jersey City. She is the first woman elected to the Statehouse from the 31st Legislative District. Senator Cunningham is a member of the Senate leadership, serving as Majority Whip, and is vice chair of the Economic Growth and Labor Committees. Senator Cunningham also sits on the Budget and Appropriations Committee. She is an advocate for education, affordable health care, workplace safety, prison reform, and “Second Chance” programs, which provide training and job placement to recently released offenders who are eligible. Prior to her Senate service, Senator Cunningham was the Hudson County Bar Association’s executive director. She is the board president of the Sandra and Glenn D. Cunningham Foundation, a Jersey City-based nonprofit organization that offers financial assistance and mentoring to Hudson County students in college. Senator Cunningham received a bachelor’s degree from Bloomfield College and attended the New York Academy of Theater Arts.

Patricia Davidson Davidson, Patricia G., DCN, RD, CDE
Director, Nutrition Care Center
The Cardiovascular Care Group

Dr. Patricia Davidson has been a registered dietician since 1984 and is a Certified Diabetes Educator in joint practice with The Cardiovascular Care Group, with offices in Westfield, Springfield, and Clifton, New Jersey. Her research skills were honed by seven years of medical research in Israel at the Rebecca Sieff Medical Center. After earning her Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (DCN) from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), she began serving as graduate adjunct faculty at NYU. Her service to the American Dietetic Association (ADA) has included coauthoring the Heart Failure Toolkit, chairing the Prediabetes Workgroup, serving as president of the NJ Dietetic Association (NJDA), and assisting with several leadership and legislative training programs. In 2011 she received the “Carolyn Sebastianelli Distinguished Member Award” from the NJDA. In recognition of her works as a certified diabetes educator, she received the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Garden State Association of Diabetes Educators and also serves as their president.
Michellene Davis, Esq.

Davis, Michellene, Esq.
Senior Vice President for Policy Development and Government
Barnabas Health

Michellene Davis, Esq., is Senior Vice President for Policy Development and Government Affairs for Barnabas Health. In her current role, Ms. Davis helps to direct the strategic policy decisions of the system and enhances the system’s position with state and federal elected officials and agencies. Prior to joining Barnabas Health, Ms. Davis served as Chief Policy Counsel to a former New Jersey Governor. As the Governor’s Chief Policy Counsel, and the first African American to serve in this position, Ms. Davis provided oversight of the development and implementation of the Governor’s policy initiatives. The first African American State Treasurer, she was responsible for administrating a state budget of over 30 billion dollars, a department of over 6,500 people and a state pension investment portfolio of $70 billion. In this position, Ms. Davis established the New Jersey Department of the Treasury’s Office of Supplier Diversity and Division of Minority and Women owned businesses. She is a lawyer and trial litigator by training and is an honors graduate of Seton Hall University. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law.

Christine DeStefano

De Stefano, Christine M.
Vice President, Compensation and Benefits
PSEG Services Corporation

Christine M. De Stefano was named Vice President, Compensation and Benefits of PSEG Services Corporation, in May 2009. She oversees the design and implementation of the benefits and compensation programs for PSEG’s employees and retirees. Prior to joining PSEG, Ms. De Stefano held the same position at Alpharma Inc., a pharmaceutical firm located in Bridgewater, New Jersey, where she worked since 2003. In addition to her experience at Alpharma, Ms. De Stefano has worked in benefits at Reed Elsevier Inc., was a consultant with Towers Perrin and held various finance and benefits management positions with J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc. Ms. De Stefano has a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from Fordham University, Graduate School of Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance from Pace University, The Lubin School of Business. She is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society.

Sonia Delgado, Sonia
Princeton Public Affairs Group (PPAG)

Sonia Delgado is a seasoned healthcare professional, providing representation and expert guidance in health policy, strategic planning and business development. Ms. Delgado has over twenty years of experience in the analysis and management of legislative and regulatory issues in public sector, corporate and healthcare settings. Prior to joining PPAG, Ms. Delgado held senior executive positions at HIP Health Plan, UMDNJ University Hospital, and Mercy Health Plan of New Jersey. A former policy analyst with the New Jersey State Senate Democratic Office, Ms. Delgado participated on the health transition teams for Governors Corzine and McGreevey and was appointed by Governor Codey to the Board of Trustees of UMDNJ where she served as interim Chairperson to the Board. In 2001, she was appointed by the State Democratic Chairman to the Legislative Apportionment Commission. Her expertise includes redesign of the original NJ charity care authorizing legislation, licensing of nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, and negotiation of HCRA (Health Care Reform Act of 1991). Ms. Delgado has led coursework in healthcare policy at Seton Hall University and the New School for Social Research. A Fels Scholar, she received a Master’s degree in Government Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Linda M. Doherty

Doherty, Linda M.
President and Chief Executive Officer
New Jersey Food Council

Linda M. Doherty serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC), a Trenton-based business-trade association representing supermarkets and the food distribution industry in the Garden State. Ms. Doherty is only the fifth NJFC President in its 42 year history. Prior to her promotion by the NJFC Board of Directors, Ms. Doherty served as Executive Vice President, Vice President, and has also held the position as Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the association. Ms. Doherty served on NJ Governor Christie’s Transition Team as a member of the Economic Growth and Development sub-committee. Ms. Doherty also serves on the Board of Directors of the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers University, The Food Innovation Center, NJ DARE, and the Clean Communities Council. Recently, Ms. Doherty was honored with the Food Marketing Institute’s “Donald H. MacManus Association Executive Award” for her extraordinary leadership in public affairs. She is also a Sector Representative on the Infrastructure Advisory Committee, a part of the Governor’s Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force. Under her leadership, Ms. Doherty has been instrumental in creating and developing Food Safety & Defense programs for NJFC members in conjunction with government partners. Ms. Doherty received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

Kathleen Donovan

Donovan, Kathleen A., Esq.
County Executive
Bergen County

Kathleen Donovan is currently serving her first term as the first and only female County Executive of Bergen County, New Jersey. She previously served as County Clerk for four terms and one term in the New Jersey General Assembly. In the Assembly, County Executive Donovan served on the State Regulatory Efficiency Committee (as Vice-Chair) and as a member of the Environmental Quality Committee. In 1994, she was appointed by Governor Christine Todd Whitman as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey with the designation of Chairwoman of the Port Authority. She was a commissioner when the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks destroyed the World Trade Center. County Executive Donovan holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University-Newark and was awarded a J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Teri Duda

Duda, Teri
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs
Berkeley College

Teri Duda was appointed Senior Vice President, Government Affairs for Berkeley College in July 2010. In this role, Ms. Duda provides a direct line of communication between Berkeley College and elected officials and is responsible for conveying the needs of Berkeley College and its students on the municipal, county, state and federal levels. Ms. Duda began her career at Berkeley College in 1991 as Campus Operating Officer of Berkeley College’s former Waldwick Campus. She has also served as Administrative Director, Director Agency Relations, Vice President of Workforce Development, Vice President of External Affairs, and most recently as Senior Vice President of External Affairs where she was responsible for creating and coordinating many important New Jersey state partnerships and programs. Ms. Duda serves on the Board of Directors for several Chambers of Commerce including Greater Paramus and Greater Paterson. Additionally, Ms. Duda served on the Board of Directors for Newark Regional Business Partnership (NRBP), the membership task force for Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) and the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She holds an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. from the San Diego State University.

Ben Dworkin

Dworkin, Ben
Director, Rider Institute for NJ Politics & Adjunct Assistant Professor
of Political Science
Rider University
Ben Dworkin was named the Director of the Rider Institute for New Jersey Politics and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science at Rider University in July 2008. In September of that year, the Institute’s name officially changed to The Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, honoring its founder, the late Dr. David Rebovich (1949 – 2007). As Director, Professor Dworkin oversees the Institute’s day-to-day operations, organizes programming, and provides internship, academic and professional guidance to students. He has built a reputation as one of New Jersey’s most insightful political analysts. He has appeared on numerous network and cable news shows, and is frequently quoted by all of New Jersey’s major newspapers, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Professor Dworkin is currently completing his Ph.D. in political science at Rutgers University, where he has taught the classes “Political Campaigning” and “New Jersey Politics.” At Rider, he continues to teach “New Jersey Politics” along with “Interest Groups and Lobbying,” “Urban Politics” and honors courses to undergraduates. Professor Dworkin is a graduate of Princeton University and received his Master’s degree from Rutgers University.

Regina M. Egea

Egea, Regina M.
Director, Authorities Unit
Office of Governor Chris Christie

Regina Egea currently serves as the Director of the Authorities Unit under Governor Chris Christie. Prior to this assignment, Ms. Egea was Chief of Staff to the State Treasurer. Her responsibilities included general management of all Treasury operations and she also played a leading role in developing and implementing the historic pension and benefits reforms that Governor Christie signed into law in June 2011. Before joining state government in February 2010, Ms. Egea was a Senior Vice President with AT&T in Bedminster where she led its global sales segment marketing team. Her more than 300-person team, located in offices around the world, supported AT&T’s business sales force by delivering a full range of marketing programs. She earned an M.B.A. in Marketing from Fordham University at Lincoln Center in New York City along with a B.A. from Montclair University in New Jersey. She also completed the International Executive Program at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Beverly Fedorko Fedorko, Beverly H.
Director of External Affairs
New York Shipping Association (NYSA)

Beverly Fedorko is the Director of External Affairs for the New York Shipping Association, Inc., (NYSA) a non-profit corporation located in Edison, New Jersey since 2001. Ms. Fedorko serves as the Association’s spokesperson with the media, outside organizations and interest groups. Her position includes the development, writing and creative production of the Association’s Annual Report and other public relations media, as well as planning and executing special events. She is the liaison to the NYSA Board of Directors’ Environmental Committee, and a member of the Northeast Harbor Operations Committee. She serves as the Communications Sub-Committee Chair for the New York District Area Maritime Security Committee. Prior to joining NYSA, Ms. Fedorko served in multiple capacities with the State of New Jersey, including: Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Public Relations Director for the NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust; Special Assistant to the Commissioner, Director of Communications and Public Education for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Public Events Coordinator for Governor Thomas H. Kean; and Press Assistant to Governor Brendan T. Byrne. She is a Trustee on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Foundation, where she serves on the Executive Committee as Vice President and previously as the first woman President of the Board.
Robin Fogel Fogel, Robin
Robin Fogel & Associates

Robin Fogel is the President of Robin Fogel & Associates, an executive coaching and human resource consulting business. Prior to starting the company in 2000, Ms. Fogel had over 20 years of experience as a Human Resources director and NJ Assistant State Treasurer where she was responsible for all administrative operations for a 5,000-person department. Ms. Fogel works with businesses, individuals and non-profit groups. She provides advice on staffing issues, develops emerging talent, and helps the client create an effective, productive organization. She has been active in coaching senior and emerging staff leaders at Princeton University. Ms. Fogel writes the “Ask the Coach” column for the APIW Insider (a publication of the Association of Professional Insurance Women) and publishes a monthly newsletter on topics of interest to the business community. She presents customized keynotes, seminars, staff development and communication workshops to companies and professional, service and community organizations. She has a B.S. in Business Studies and an M.A. in Human Development; is a graduate of Coach University, a professional training program for career coaches; and is certified by the Hay Group to offer their Emotional Competency Inventory.
Dr. Linda Gillam Gillam, Linda D., M.D., M.P.H.
Vice Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine
Atlantic Health System

Dr. Linda Gillam is the Vice Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine for Atlantic Health System, having previously served as Medical Director of the Cardiac Valve Program and Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University. She is an expert in echocardiography, valvular heart disease and heart disease in women. She has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, 11 book chapters and is co-editor (with Catherine Otto, MD) of Advanced Echocardiographic Techniques. She has lectured nationally and internationally on these and related topics. Dr. Gillam is Past President of the American Society of Echocardiography and a former member of both the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors of the American College of Cardiology. She is a former Chair of the Women in Cardiology Committee of the American Heart Association (AHA) and served on the leadership committee of the AHA Council on Clinical Cardiology. She is a graduate of McGill University and Queen’s University, Canada and Columbia University, NY. She completed cardiology fellowship training at the University of Toronto and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Gail Gordon

Gordon, Gail
NJ Governor's Conference for Women

Gail Gordon is an attorney who brings her extensive experience and a national reputation to government, public relations and political and non-profit organizations. She began her professional career as a press staffer working for Dick Thornburgh, a two-term Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, and Attorney General of the United States under Presidents Reagan and Bush. Her earliest assignment was working on the nuclear disaster at Three Mile Island.  Since then, she has gone on to counsel clients through a variety of crisis and image issues, including the tobacco settlements in the late 90s.  Ms. Gordon has also worked with both NFL superstar Nick Buoniconti and NHL hockey great Mario Lemieux to found non-profit organizations like the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami and the Mario Lemieux Foundation.  Although she is an attorney in private practice, she is still active in politics, having worked on the presidential campaign of NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and serving on the Finance Committee for (now NJ Governor) Chris Christie. She is currently Co-Chairperson of the Joe Kyrillos for U.S. Senate campaign. Ms. Gordon serves on a host of boards, including as Vice Chairman of the New Jersey Hall of Fame. 

DiAnne Gove

Gove, DiAnne C.
Assemblywoman, District 9
New Jersey General Assembly

Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove was selected to fill a vacant Assembly seat in District 9 in 2009.  Later that fall, voters elected her to a full term in the Assembly.  She was reelected in 2011.   Assemblywoman Gove serves on the Military and Veterans’ Affairs, Higher Education, and Tourism and the Arts Committees.   Previously, Assemblywoman Gove had served on the Long Beach Township Commission as a Commissioner and Mayor.  After joining the Assembly, she resigned her township elected position to focus on her legislative responsibilities.   Assemblywoman Gove is a life-long resident of Long Beach Township who has dedicated her life to serving the community.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Science from Cabrini College and a master’s degree from Monmouth University.

Deborah Gramiccioni

Gramiccioni, Deborah, Esq.
Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy & Cabinet Liaison
Office of Governor Chris Christie

Deborah Gramiccioni currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Cabinet Liaison after serving as the Director of the Authorities Unit under Governor Chris Christie. She previously served from June 2008 to January 2010 as the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice for the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law and Public Safety, where she oversaw criminal investigations and prosecutions brought by the State of New Jersey. Before she came to work in state government, Ms. Gramiccioni served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey from September 1999 to November 2005. In September 2004, she was promoted to the position of Chief of the Commercial Crimes Unit, where she supervised the prosecution of white collar crimes involving financial fraud, identity theft and intellectual property. In November 2005, Ms. Gramiccioni was appointed Assistant Chief of the Fraud Section in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where she supervised cases brought nationwide under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Ms. Gramiccioni graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 and the University of Virginia School of Law in 1997.

Lori Grifa Grifa, Lori, Esq.
Chair, Regulatory Affairs Group
Wolff & Samson, PC

Lori Grifa was sworn in as the 15th Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs by Governor Chris Christie in 2010.  During her tenure at DCA, Ms. Grifa oversaw the creation of 3,000 units of affordable housing, created the Special Needs Housing Partnership to provide housing for the state’s developmentally disabled population, made access to healthy foods in urban areas a priority and reformed discretionary municipal aid to hold towns accountable for their spending. Before her service in the Christie Administration, she had a long and distinguished career in law. Immediately before joining the Department, Ms. Grifa had been a partner at and a member of the Government and Regulatory Affairs Group of Wolff & Samson, PC. Earlier in her career, Ms. Grifa served as Chief of Staff in the Attorney General’s Office from 2002-2003. She also served as a Gang and Homicide Prosecutor in the offices of the New York and Kings (Brooklyn) County District Attorney for nearly ten years. As a lawyer and before joining the Department, Ms. Grifa received a number of special appointments by the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, including the Committee for Women and the Courts and the State Domestic Violence Working Group.  She was appointed to the District V-A Attorney Ethics Committee and served from 2008 to 2010. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of administrative law and was named by NJBIZ magazine in 2008 as one of New Jersey’s “Best 50 Women in Business,” as well as New Jersey’s “50 Most Powerful People in Real Estate” in 2010 and 2011.
Joyce Wilson Harley

Harley, Joyce Wilson, Esq.
Executive Director of Administrative Services
Essex County College

Joyce Harley is an attorney specializing in community development, economic development, and public policy initiatives. She is the new Executive Director of Administrative Services for Essex County College. Prior to joining Essex County College, Ms. Harley was the first African-American elected to the South Orange City Council where she also served as Mayor. She has taught courses on community development and leadership development as an adjunct professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She currently serves at a Visiting Associate at Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics in New Brunswick, NJ. Ms. Harley was recognized in 2008 when she was inducted into the Rutgers University African American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame. In 2009, she was invited to serve on the University’s Board of Trustees where she chaired the Committee on Buildings and Grounds. In April 2011, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appointed her to serve on the UMDNJ Advisory Committee to do a thorough analysis of the best way to deliver medical education in the State of New Jersey. She is an honors graduate of Douglass College and Rutgers Law School. She has won many awards for her work as the Director of Community Development for First Union Bank and Fleet Bank in New Jersey where she held the corporate title of Senior Vice President.

Nancy Healey

Healey, Nancy
Executive Director
Central and South Jersey Affiliate of Susan G Komen for the Cure

Nancy Healey has served as the Executive Director of the Central and South Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure since its establishment in January 2005. Ms. Healey is responsible for all activities of the Affiliate including fundraising, community education, and overseeing grant programs. Working closely with the Board of Directors, she ensures that the Affiliate fulfills its commitment to increase screening mammography in order to save lives through early detection. Under her leadership, the Race for the Cure has grown to be the largest 5K race in New Jersey, with funds raised in 2011 resulting in over 9,000 women receiving lifesaving mammograms. Prior to leading the Komen Central and South Jersey Affiliate, she served as the Director of the Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC) of the YWCA Princeton. She collaborates with numerous state and local cancer agencies which offer services to women with breast cancer. Ms. Healey advocates for the interests of breast cancer patients and survivors by serving on the Institutional Review Board for the University Medical Center at Princeton and the Task Force on Cancer Prevention, Early Detection and Treatment. She received her bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a Master of Education from Columbia University.

Kethleen M. Heintz

Heintz, Kathleen M., D.O.
Clinical Cardiologist, Division of Cardiovascular Disease
Cooper University Hospital

Kathleen M. Heintz, D.O., is a Clinical Cardiologist in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey. Dr. Heintz is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. A graduate of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Heintz completed her internal medicine residency at Abington Memorial Hospital, and her fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Cooper University Hospital. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease. Dr. Heintz’s areas of interest include: heart disease in women, management of coronary artery disease, and preventive cardiology. She is a talented educator who has received multiple awards for excellence in teaching medical students, residents, and fellows. Dr. Heintz is also an accomplished and popular speaker and a frequent recipient of TOP DOC accolades in Delaware Valley publications.

Joan Hermann Herrmann, Joan
Executive Producer of Weekly Radio Show
Change Your Attitude… Change Your Life

Joan Herrmann is the host and executive producer of the weekly radio show, Change Your Attitude… Change Your Life, which airs on New York’s AM 970 The Answer, and the publisher and editor of the digital magazine, Change Your Attitude… Change Your Life: 24/seven. She began her career in corporate communications working for a Fortune 500 company. She moved into publishing as the editor of a monthly trade magazine and quickly rose from editor to executive editor, responsible for overseeing all editorial activities of the company’s array of publications. In 2009, Ms. Herrmann created the Change Your Attitude… Change Your Life radio show; she launched the accompanying magazine in November 2010. Her guest and magazine contributors list reads like a who’s who of the most influential and inspirational people in the world such as Joel and Victoria Osteen, Franklin Graham, Dr. Bernie Siegel, Gregg Braden, Marianne Williamson, Erin Brockovich, Debbie Macomber, Bob Greene, Nick Vujicic, and Dr. Christiane Northrup.
Jacqueline Hollywood Hollywood, Jacqueline, M.D., FACC
The Advanced Cardiology Institute, Hackensack
University Medical Center Cardiovascular Partners

Dr. Jacqueline Hollywood is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology. Her practice is The Advanced Cardiology Institute, a Division of Hackensack University Medical Center Cardiovascular Partners. Dr. Hollywood was named one of America’s Top Cardiologists in 2008-2012 by the Consumers’ Research Council of America. She has been a spokesperson for the American Heart Association and has been very active in the “Go Red for Women Campaign” since 2002. Dr. Hollywood has been a featured expert on ABC News’ Now and other cable news programs, as well as in many magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Redbook. Dr. Hollywood graduated from The Mount Sinai School of Medicine where she is also a Clinical Instructor. She has additional board certifications in Nuclear Cardiology and Echocardiography and specializes in Women’s Health and Preventive Cardiology. Dr. Hollywood has over 20 years of medical experience and began her career as a Registered Nurse.
Holtzman, Elise R Holtzman, Elise R., Esq., ACC
The Advocate Success Group, LLC
Elise Holtzman specializes in supporting attorneys at all stages of their careers in creating the business success they desire. She also works with law firms and legal departments to guide them in creating and refining the right environment in which to provide exceptional client service. An experienced lawyer, and the founder of Advocate Success Group LLC, she has developed a straightforward and practical approach to guide her clients in identifying, and then meeting, the unique challenges each one faces in pursuing his or her own vision of success. Ms. Holtzman practiced law in the New York offices of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, concentrating in the area of commercial real estate transactions. She earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was an editor of the Columbia Law Review. She earned her coach certification from iPEC Coaching, a premier coach training organization accredited by the International Coach Federation, and is a member of both the International Coach Federation and the New Jersey Professional Coaches Association.
Valerie Vainieri Huttle

Huttle, Valerie Vainieri
Assemblywoman, District 37
New Jersey General Assembly

Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle is serving her fourth term as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly representing the 37th District. She sponsored the landmark New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, as well as laws establishing the Department of Children and Families, civil unions, and autism awareness and prevention measures. She also worked to post legislative voting records on the Legislature’s website. Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle is the sponsor of bi-state legislation to reform the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She is serving her second term as the Chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee and she is a member of the Tourism & the Arts Committee. She is an active advocate for victims of domestic violence, and her efforts include a law establishing Denim Day to raise awareness of domestic violence. Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle also serves as an Ex-Officio member of the New Jersey State Council of the Arts and in 2003 she helped establish the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood. She attended Rider University and graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a B.A. in English. Since 1981, she has served as president and director of Vainieri Funeral Home, a family-owned business in North Bergen.

Angelica Jimenez

Jimenez, Angelica M.
Assemblywoman, District 32
New Jersey General Assembly

Assemblywoman Jimenez is serving her first term in the New Jersey General Assembly. She serves on the Education Committee, the Health and Senior Services Committee and the Housing and Local Government Committee. Assemblywoman Jimenez is a MRI, CT and Mammography Radiographer Specialist at American Imaging located in Jersey City.  She is currently serving as a Member of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee and Member of the West New York Housing Corporation. Previously, Assemblywoman Jimenez has held the following positions: Vice Chairwoman of the West New York Housing Authority from 2008 to 2010, Vice President of the West New York Board of Education from 2009 to 2011 and Chairwoman of the West New York Democratic Municipal Committee from 2010 to 2011.

Jill Johnson

Johnson, Jill
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer
Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL)

Jill Johnson is the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership (IFEL). She has over twenty years of experience as a business strategist with expertise in financial analysis, marketing, and business development. Ms. Johnson started her career as a Financial Analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in mergers and acquisitions where she worked across industries groups to help clients execute deals at a minimum transaction value of $100 million. Currently, as Co-Founder and CEO for the IFEL, as well as CEO of Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO), Ms. Johnson is responsible for building organizational capacity, managing client advisory services and working with fifteen early stage companies to execute launch or growth strategies. With Ms. Johnson’s leadership, IFEL is extending its brand to the New York City and national market by partnering with WIBO. Ms. Johnson has a B.A. in economics from Harvard University and was honored in 2007 as an NJBIZ “40 Under 40” awardee and as a “Women of Influence in Finance” by the Women’s Fund of NJ. She is host of the North Star News.com weekly webcast, Taking Care of Business, and a frequent speaker on business plan writing and small business development.

Jeannine LaRue

LaRue, Jeannine
Senior Vice President
Kaufman Zita Group

Jeannine LaRue has almost 40 years of experience in New Jersey public and governmental affairs in both the public and private sectors. Her seasoned lobbying skills have spanned a gamut of industries, including healthcare, labor, K-12/higher education, and non-profit organizations. A champion of children and women’s issues, her vision served as the catalyst that founded the NJ Governor’s Conference for Women, originally called the N.J. Women’s Summit. She has served in both elected and appointed positions ranging from township council to the NJ Casino Control Commission to former Governor Jon Corzine’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Ms. LaRue’s decades long experiences landed her at Barnabas Health, the largest healthcare system in the state as Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs and at Rutgers University, the State University, as Vice President of Public Affairs. A consummate networker and social media expert, she is founder of the well-known blog, The LaRuelist Report, and is currently Senior Vice President of the Kaufman Zita Group, the fourth largest lobbying firm in the state.  

Mark Leichtling Leichtling, Mark
Training and Technical Assistance Officer
Union County Economic Development Corporation (UCEDC)

Mark Leichtling is a Training and Technical Assistance Officer with UCEDC, a non-profit economic development corporation serving small businesses throughout New Jersey. In this role, Mr. Leichtling helps UCEDC’s clients operate their businesses more effectively by providing them with a variety of services customized for the individual client. Additionally, he provides financial and business literacy training in free workshops offered statewide. He joined UCEDC in 2007 as a Loan Officer, reviewing and underwriting small business loan requests and providing technical assistance to loan clients. Mr. Leichtling’s background in lending and training, and earlier careers in management and broadcasting brings a wide variety of skills to his small business advocacy.
Dina Lichtman

Lichtman, Dina
DLS Coaching LLC

Dr. Dina Lichtman is an Executive and Career Coach, who has created behavioral, changes in the hundreds of leaders with whom she has worked. Dr. Lichtman is the founder of DLS Coaching LLC where she advises clients on strategic business and human resource issues, including career management and transition, executive coaching and change management. Her coaching practice encompasses corporate leaders, scientists, physicians, financial executives, and men and women in new leadership positions. She has been very successful with executives in increasing their emotional and social intelligence. In addition, Dr. Lichtman has worked with the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, as a coach in their High Potential Executive Education program. Dr. Lichtman holds a doctoral degree in Adult and Organizational Dynamics from Temple University, and is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania. She also has a coaching certificate from the Coaching Certification Institute. In addition, she has a graduate certification degree from The National Training Lab (NTL) in Bethel, Maine in individual and group processes, and a White Belt certification in Lean Six Sigma.

Elizabeth Litten

Litten, Elizabeth G.
Fox Rothschild LLP

Elizabeth Litten has been a Health Law Attorney for more than 20 years, with a focus on New Jersey regulatory issues. Named one of the leading healthcare attorneys in New Jersey by Chambers USA, she has broad experience representing New Jersey hospitals, physicians, ambulatory care facilities and other New Jersey-licensed providers and payers. She serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s Government Relations practice and has been a registered lobbyist for more than 15 years. Ms. Litten has worked closely with the executive and legislative branches of both parties and with healthcare leaders throughout New Jersey in drafting regulations and legislation affecting the New Jersey healthcare payment and delivery system. She served on the board of directors of the New Jersey Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and currently serves as Editor of The Garden State FOCUS, its bimonthly news magazine, which is circulated to more than 1,200 hospital and healthcare industry executives and professionals throughout New Jersey. In addition, Ms. Litten serves on the executive committee for the Association of Corporate Wellness and on the advisory board of CareKinesis, Inc. She previously served on a New Jersey gubernatorial Health Care Transition Committee, as well as on several New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services’ advisory committees.

Lori Matheus Matheus, Lori
Managing Director
New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA)

Lori Matheus is Managing Director for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. In this position, she is responsible for developing and executing the strategic plan for business development and manages key statewide initiatives. The EDA is a self-supporting, independent state agency whose mission is to stimulate business development, job creation and community revitalization throughout the state while promoting economic growth through financing assistance, business advocacy, small business services and real estate development activities. Prior to joining the EDA in 2006, she served as Chief Operating Officer for New Jersey Community Capital. She began her financial career in 1990 as a Financial Analyst with Chemical Bank New Jersey and through a merger, joined PNC Bank as a Vice President in 1996. Ms. Matheus is a graduate of Rider University, where she earned a B.S. degree in finance.
Colleen McCullough McCullough, Colleen
Senior Business Development Director

Colleen McCullough is a Senior Business Development Director at DIVERSANT LLC, the largest African-American owned IT staffing and solutions firm in the U.S.  The company partners with Fortune 1000 and midmarket clients to provide them with IT talent, expert solutions, and diversity initiatives that address key business concerns. Members of DIVERSANT also work closely with business leaders, members of Congress, and other minority-owned firms to promote growth and diversity in the American workplace and supply chain. Ms. McCullough has been in Executive Search and Outplacement for over 18 years. Initially specializing in the Financial Services sector, she now works across several industries, working with executives to identify exceptional talent for their organizations. She has produced and hosted a radio show, Doing the Right Thing, where she interviewed CEOs to see what they were doing towards promoting a culture that encouraged work/life balance. Ms. McCullough also has been featured on CNN Financial where she has spoken about the job market and trends she has seen throughout her career. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Rider University.
Tracye McDaniel

McDaniel, Tracye
President and CEO
Choose New Jersey

Tracye McDaniel serves as president and chief executive officer of Choose New Jersey, an independently funded and operated nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to encourage and nurture economic growth throughout the State of New Jersey, including a focus on making New Jersey’s most distressed cities engines for growth and opportunity. Ms. McDaniel has more than 26 years of leadership experience in economic development, destination marketing, public relations, tourism and international business development, including holding cabinet-level positions in three Texas gubernatorial administrations. Ms. McDaniel is a Ford Foundation Regional Sustainable Development (RSD) Fellow, a program of American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). She was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). With her extensive economic development experience and expertise, Ms. McDaniel has led Choose NJ’s creation of a solid foundation in the organization’s first operational year, already influencing NJ’s business attraction and retention success by conducting research-based lead-generation initiatives and promoting the competitive advantages of doing business in the state. Ms. McDaniel holds leadership positions in numerous professional and industry organizations and is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin.

Alison McHose

McHose, Alison Littell
Assemblywoman, District 24
New Jersey General Assembly

Alison Littell McHose joined the Assembly in February 2003 and is the first woman to represent District 24, which covers all of Sussex County and parts of Warren and Morris Counties. She is also the first New Jersey State Legislator to give birth while in office. Assemblywoman McHose serves as the Deputy Republican Whip.  She is a member of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee, the Legislative Services Commission and the Ellis Island Advisory Commission. She was named as a “Hero of the Taxpayer” by Americans For Prosperity New Jersey in 2012. She has also received a “Guardian of Small Business Award” from the National Federation of Independent Business in 2011; “New Jersey Veterans of Foreign Wars Legislator of the Year” award in 2007; and “Legislator of the Year” award from the New Jersey Conference of Mayors in 2006, among other accolades. Previously, she served as a State Senate Legislative Aide specializing in budget issues. She also worked in the first Bush Administration at the National Endowment for the Humanities as Special Assistant to the Chair and at the U.S. Department of the Treasury as Special Assistant to the Treasurer. In 2008, Assemblywoman McHose was a delegate to the Republican National Convention and one of the Co-Chairs for the McCain-Palin campaign in New Jersey. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Geraldine Mehú-Moore Méhu-Moore, Geraldine
Executive Director, Wealth Management Solutions
UBS, Financial Services

Geraldine Méhu has been with UBS Wealth Management for seven years and oversees a number of strategic initiatives for products and services that address cross-organizational opportunities, risks and revenue growth. Ms. Méhu commenced her career at UBS as Head of Diversity for Wealth Management US and later transitioned to the business to establish the Private Wealth Management Desk. Prior to joining UBS, she served as an Associate Director at Barclays Capital. Previously, she spent six and a half years in politics as Deputy Press Secretary for former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman. She is a recipient of the 2005 “40 Under Forty” Award and a 2005 and 2006 UBS Global Leadership Excellence (GLE) Participant. She also received the 2007 “UBS Global Circle of Excellence Award”, 2008 “Top 100 under 50” award from MBA Diversity Magazine, 2009 “Women of Achievement Award” from Marylawn High School, and 2010 “Haitian Trailblazer Award.” She is a board member of the Financial Women’s Association, Marylawn High School, and a member of the Executive Leadership Council. Geraldine is a graduate of Seton Hall University and holds certificates from Cornell University in Human Resources Studies from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, as well as from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
Nina Moseley

Moseley, Nina
Department of Treasury
State of New Jersey

Nina Moseley serves in the NJ Department of the Treasury where her responsibilities include acting as a liaison with the Small, Minority and Women Business Enterprise (SMWBE) community and managing databases focusing on state procurement practices. She also monitors activity associated with the Small Business Set Aside Law. The law is the state’s primary vehicle for broadening the ability of small business enterprises to compete for state business and provides procurement oversight of 109 state agencies. She spearheaded a task force comprised of directors from the major procurement agencies (i.e., NJ Turnpike) that revised the rules and regulations providing guidelines for SMWBEs under the New Jersey Administrative Code to offer more efficient and effective access to the procurement process.  Ms. Moseley also served as Senior Director of Business Services with the New Jersey Commerce Commission. Previously, she served as Executive Director of Democracy South, an organization funded primarily by the Ford and Carnegie Foundations, which focused on campaign finance reform. Ms. Moseley earned her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, holds a professional certification as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and received her B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University.

Nancy Münoz

Muñoz, Nancy F.
Assemblywoman, District 21
New Jersey General Assembly

Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz was sworn into office on May 21, 2009 to complete the unexpired term of her late husband Assemblyman Eric Muñoz, M. D. On November 8, 2011 she was elected to her second two-year term representing the 21st Legislative District which includes 15 towns in Morris, Somerset and Union counties. Assemblywoman Muñoz is Co-Chair of the Assembly Republican Policy Committee and serves on the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee as well as the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee. As a health care professional, Assemblywoman Muñoz has experience in both the delivery of health care and the insurance industry itself. Assemblywoman Muñoz is a graduate of Skidmore College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing; she earned her master’s degree as a clinical nurse specialist from Hunter College. She has worked as a nurse in surgical intensive care at Yale-New Haven Hospital and has also worked at Massachusetts General, Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey.

Elizabeth Muoio Muoio, Elizabeth Maher, Esq.
Chair, Mercer County Democratic Committee
Director, Mercer County Office of Economic Development & Sustainability

Elizabeth Maher Muoio has served as Chair of the Mercer County Democratic Committee since being unanimously elected to the position in June 2010. Ms. Muoio has served as Director of the Mercer County Office of Economic Development and Sustainability since 2008. Together with oversight of economic development and sustainability initiatives in the county, the office also includes the Divisions of Housing and Community Development, Cultural and Heritage; the Mercer County Workforce Investment Board; and the Mercer County One Stop Career Center. At the time of her appointment to the Office of Economic Development, Ms. Muoio was serving as a member of the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders, a position to which she was elected in 2000 and reelected in 2003 and 2006. An attorney, Ms. Muoio received her J.D. from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and her B.A. from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. She lives in Pennington, NJ with her husband and three children.
Sheila Oliver

Oliver, Sheila
Assembly Speaker, District 34
New Jersey General Assembly

Democrat Sheila Oliver of East Orange first took the oath of office as New Jersey’s 169th Assembly Speaker in January 2010. Oliver is the first African-American woman to lead a legislative house in New Jersey and just the second African-American woman in American history to lead a legislative house. Speaker Oliver was first elected to the Assembly in 2003. Before serving as Speaker, she served as Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore, Assistant Majority Leader, Assembly Human Services chairwoman and a member of the Assembly Higher Education and Labor committees. She represents the 34th Legislative District, which includes Orange, East Orange, Montclair and Clifton. Oliver co-sponsored the law creating the Department of Children and Families. She has also sponsored legislation creating paid family leave, providing specialized social services and medical treatment for persons in the criminal justice system with mental health issues, and providing low-cost auto insurance. Speaker Oliver graduated cum laude in 1974, with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. She earned a Master of Science degree in community organization, planning and administration from Columbia University in 1976.

Annette Quijano

Quijano, Annette
Assemblywoman, District 20
New Jersey General Assembly

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano has been serving in the New Jersey General Assembly since 2008 and is the first Latina representative for the 20th Legislative District. She currently serves as Chairwoman of the Homeland Security & Preparedness Committee and as Vice-Chair of the Judiciary Committee, as well as a member of the Housing & Local Government Committee. Before joining the Assembly, She served as an Assistant Counsel to Governors McGreevey, Codey, and Corzine. Assemblywoman Quijano has also served on the United Way Hispanic Advisory Council of Union County, as a Commissioner for New Jersey’s Congressional Redistricting efforts, and as a board member for Legal Services - Elizabeth. She is the recipient of various leadership awards including the Women of Excellence in Government and LUPE’s Power of Women award. Assemblywoman Quijano also serves as a member of the Hispanic Bar Association and as a member of PRIMER, an organization to promote Hispanic leadership in the public and private sector. In addition to her responsibilities as an Assemblywoman, Annette Quijano is also a per diem prosecutor for the City of Elizabeth. She received her B.S. in Management from Rutgers and her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law, and was later admitted to the bars in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Continuing her education, she attained a Project Management Certification from Villanova University.

Marion Reinson Reinson, Marion
To The Point Communication, LLC

Marion Reinson’s expertise is in strategic planning, marketing and communications. Companies call Marion when they are stuck and need someone to help them through the process – whether that is developing a marketing plan, sales process or web development project. Ms. Reinson has over 20 years of marketing communications experience. Having been a partner in a boutique ad agency for over 12 years, she understands that every organization has a unique set of marketing and business needs. She founded To The Point in 2004 to focus on helping companies better communicate with their target audiences. Her work ranges from assisting for-profit companies that need to effectively communicate their marketing message to helping non-profit organizations create public awareness about the services they provide. To The Point Communications has been helping clients grow their business by providing insightful and effective marketing communications services. Located in Princeton, New Jersey, To The Point is convenient to New Jersey, Manhattan and the Philadelphia metropolitan marketplaces.
Teresa Ruiz

Ruiz, M. Teresa
Senator, District 29
New Jersey State Senator

Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, elected in 2007, is serving her first term in the New Jersey State Senate, representing the 29th Legislative District, which includes the Union County Township of Hillside, and parts of the City of Newark in Essex County. A first-generation Puerto Rican American, she is the first Latina to serve in the State Senate. Senator Ruiz, an Assistant Majority Leader, serves as Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Vice Chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee and as a member of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee, Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Joint Committee on Public Schools. A lifelong resident of Newark’s North Ward, Senator Ruiz is active in Essex County government and politics. She is Vice Chair of the Essex County Democratic Party, and Deputy Chief of Staff and former Director of Public Information for Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. A fearless advocate for the people and issues in which she believes, Senator Ruiz uses the skills she learned in county government and the political realm to promote the ideas of justice, inclusion and equality. Senator Ruiz worked as a Pre-K Teacher after she graduated from Drew University as an English major. She was a First Fidelity Bank Scholar in her junior year of college, and spent 6 weeks studying art and culture in West Africa.

Valerie Jones Simson

Simson, Valerie Jones
Badger Financial Group

Valerie Jones Simson is an Independent Financial Advisor affiliated with LPL Financial. Her 25-year career in financial services began in Institutional Fixed Income Sales in New York and Boston. She transitioned to Private Wealth Management in 2003 when she joined the Madison, WI-based Smith Barney office. She moved to New Jersey in 2006 and formed Badger Financial Group in 2009. Ms. Simson is active in the community, this year serving as Secretary of the Board for the Financial Women’s Association. In the past, she has been a board member of various not-for-profits including Enable, Inc. (Princeton, NJ) and the Junior League of Madison (WI). While in Madison, she was a contributing senior business writer for Madison Magazine (Wisconsin), as well as a business commentator for Channel 3-CBS in Madison. She earned her M.B.A. in Finance from New York University Stern School of Business, her M.A. from the University of Kansas and her B.A. from the University of Vermont.

Smith, Deborah L.
Foxtrot Media, LLC

Deborah Smith is the owner of Foxtrot Media, LLC, a digital media company specializing in social media marketing and online publishing. Ms. Smith got her start in Internet marketing in 1998 with the launch of her first business, which offered online recruiting services for in-home childcare.  She is currently the owner and Executive Editor of JerseyBites.com, an online publication reporting on food news and restaurants in New Jersey. Her latest web based adventure is a site called 3SquareDeals.com, a Daily Deals program to support hunger relief in New Jersey.  Before her fascination with the Internet, Ms. Smith served as Chief of Staff for the 10th Legislative District in New Jersey.
Sylvia Speller

Speller, Sylvia, RN, BA, CYT
Clinical Liaison
BAYADA Home Health Care

As a Clinical Liaison for BAYADA Home Health Care, Sylvia Speller is responsible for assessing clients to determine eligibility for skilled nursing within their homes. She uses her clinical training and her background in psychology and wellness to make the determination using strict Medicare guidelines. After an assessment and the transmittal of key information, her goal is to ensure each client receives his/her level of optimum level care. Ms. Speller’s life doctrine is based on mind and body wellness and living life to its optimum level. She believes when there is homeostasis in the body, it provides for a balanced life. She graduated from Graceland University in Missouri with a Bachelor of Arts degree in healthcare psychology and received a degree in registered nursing from Burlington County College. She is a Certified Yoga Trainer, teaching numerous classes throughout the region.

Ggrace L. Spencer

Spencer, L. Grace, Esq.
Assemblywoman, District 29
New Jersey General Assembly

Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer was elected to the New Jersey State Assembly in November 2007 and sworn in on January 8, 2008.  In January 2010, the Assemblywoman was selected to be a Deputy Speaker for the New Jersey General Assembly.  She is Chairwoman of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee, Vice Chair of the Assembly Finance Insurance and Banking Committee and a member of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Assemblywoman Spencer has sponsored and co-sponsored several pieces of legislation.  Assemblywoman Spencer graduated from Queen of Angels grammar school in Newark, New Jersey and is a graduate of Mt. St. Dominic’s Academy in Caldwell, New Jersey.  In 1992, she graduated from Rutgers Newark College of Arts and Sciences and earned her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law, Newark in 1996. She is admitted to practice law in New Jersey and before the United States Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Barbara Steinberg Steinberg, Barbara
Founder and CEO
BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions

Ms. Steinberg is a Certified Financial Planner™ and Registered Financial Gerontologist™. Ms. Steinberg obtained her CFP™ in 1994 by taking six college-level courses and passing a 10-hour comprehensive exam. To maintain her CFP™ certification, she is required to take 30 hours of continuing education every two years, including a specified course in ethics. To obtain the Registered Financial Gerontologist™ designation, she attended courses given by leading academics and practitioners at the University of North Carolina. She passed the comprehensive certification with distinction. Ms. Steinberg stands out for her caring, compassionate approach to working with families. She recognizes that caring for a loved one is challenging and stressful. Having personally conquered bipolar disorder, she understands what it is like to experience severe cognitive impairment and be unable to function independently. She had the good fortune to overcome her illness and go on to create a nationally-recognized company that serves others. Ms. Steinberg graduated from the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center with a B.S. in Medical Computer Science. She received an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University. She also holds an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Stoler, Felicia Stoler, Felicia D., DCN, MS, RD, FACSM
Nutritionist & Exercise Physiologist
Dr. Felicia Stoler is a Registered Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist and Expert Consultant in Disease Prevention, Wellness and Healthful Living. She is a member and fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and a member of the American Dietetic Association and is on the House of Delegates. Dr. Stoler hosted the second season of TLC’s groundbreaking series Honey, We’re Killing the Kids!, which took aim at the unhealthy lifestyles of families across the country in an effort to motivate them to make positive changes. She is the author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes™: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great (Pegasus), which was featured in USA Weekend among the top “must have” books in the New Year. Dr. Stoler has been on many national and local television and radio programs across the U.S. She is one of the most sought-after nutrition/fitness experts for TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. She also writes for FoxNews.com Health.
Tigue, Kathy Tigue, Kathy M. MPA, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator
Co-Owner of Diabetes Management Services, LLC

Kathy Tigue is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. Ms. Tigue has over 25 years’ experience providing nutritional services in several NJ hospitals as well as consulting positions. She is presently co-owner of Diabetes Management Services, LLC, a multidisciplinary private practice in Emerson, NJ, providing diabetes and nutritional education. She also counsels adults and children with diabetes at the Molly Diabetes Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. Ms. Tigue currently serves on the Executive Board of the NJ Dietetic Association (NJDA) as Treasurer. Previously she was President of the Northern District of the NJDA. She has also served on a national task force for the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators, the credentialing agency for diabetes educators. She is a member of the American Diabetes Association, American Association of Diabetes Educators, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition from Montclair State University and a Master in Public Administration with a concentration in Health Care Administration from Long Island University.
Cleopatra Tucker

Tucker, Cleopatra G.
Assemblywoman, District 28
New Jersey General Assembly

Cleopatra G. Tucker was elected in 2007. Currently serving as Assemblywoman of the 28th Legislative District, Assemblywoman Tucker has been working diligently to ensure a fair and equal education for Abbott and non-Abbott school districts. She also has been a strong advocate for veterans, early childhood development, senior services and children with disabilities. Assemblywoman Tucker serves as the Chair of Military and Veterans Affairs, Vice Chair of Human Services, Health & Senior Service Committee, Commissioner of the Martin Luther King Commission and the Amistad Commission, American Legion Auxiliary, Guyton Callahan American Legion Post #152, and the South Ward District Leader. She is currently an active member of the NAACP, First Baptist Church of Nutley and the Girl Scouts of America. Assemblywoman Tucker attended Miles College.

Lilian Valenti

Valenti, Lillian D.
Director, Procurement Department
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey

Lillian Valenti was named Director of the Procurement Department in January 2008. She had been Deputy Director since May 2007. Since then, she has provided leadership for the largest number of awards in the Agency’s history and has been credited with ensuring procurement best practices related to competition, integrity and transparency. Prior to her present work, Lillian’s career included human resources and occupational health functions. Over the years, she has led training and development, executive development, organization development, and consulting functions. She was also responsible for running four occupational health facilities to provide medical and psychological services to over 7,000 employees. Following 9/11, she was responsible for providing services to injured employees, baseline evaluations on rescue and recovery workers, on-going counseling for civilians and police, and family assistance to victims’ families. Ms. Valenti graduated from Lafayette College, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a major in psychology and minor in economics. She has a Master’s degree from the Master’s Program for Executives at Columbia University.

Connie Wagner

Wagner, Connie Terranova
Assemblywoman, District 38
New Jersey General Assembly

A Bergen County native and Paramus resident, Connie Terranova Wagner has made protecting the middle class the focal point of her work in the Assembly, where she has served District 38 since 2008. She is a strong voice for protecting New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents from recent budget cuts, and has sponsored legislation to protect the environment and fought to cap tuition increases at public colleges and universities. A retired educator, Assemblywoman Wagner spent 37 years as a teacher and guidance counselor in the Bogota and Paramus schools. She served as a member of the Paramus Borough Council and as Bergen County Freeholder before being elected to the Assembly.

Debbie Walsh

Walsh, Debbie
Director, Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP)
Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University

Debbie Walsh is the Director of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. CAWP is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about American women’s political participation. Ms. Walsh joined the Center staff in 1981. As Director, she manages and oversees CAWP’s multi-faceted programs. CAWP’s newest initiative, The 2012 Project, is a national, non-partisan campaign to increase the number of women in legislative office by identifying and engaging accomplished women 45 and older and encouraging them to run for Congress and state legislatures in 2012. CAWP’s latest research report, Poised to Run, provides an unprecedented look at how women reach state legislatures and how women’s election to office has changed over time. Ms. Walsh is frequently called upon by the media for information and comment, and she speaks to a variety of audiences across the country on topics related to women’s political participation. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from SUNY Binghamton and her M.A. in political science from Rutgers, where she was an Eagleton Fellow.

Loretta Weinberg

Weinberg, Loretta
Senator, District 37
New Jersey Senate Majority Leader

Loretta Weinberg was elected to the New Jersey State Senate in November 2005. She is currently the Senate Majority Leader and also serves on the Senate Budget and Senate Judiciary Committees, and sits on the New Jersey Israel Commission, New Jersey Historical Commission and State Legislative Services Commission. Senator Weinberg is the first person to run as a Democratic Candidate for Lt. Governor in the State of New Jersey. Prior to joining the State Senate, she served in the New Jersey General Assembly for 14 years. In 2004, after 10 years of work, Senator Weinberg’s 08 Legislation, which lowers the legal alcohol level to .08 in New Jersey, was signed into law. She sponsored the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act, which prohibits smoking in indoor public places and workplaces. She has also sponsored legislation that overhauled the jury selection process; required health insurance companies to pay for at least 48 hours of hospital care for new mothers and their babies; created the Governor’ Advisory Council on Adolescent Pregnancy; and shaped a landmark autism research funding bill that gives $1.00 from every NJ traffic violation to autism research, which is projected to yield $20 million toward autism research within five years. Senator Weinberg has been active in a number of organizations, including the American Red Cross, Shelter Our Sisters, the Bergen Family Center, the New Jersey Network of Women Elected Officials, and the National Council of Jewish Women.

Melanie Willoughby

Willoughby, Melanie
Senior Vice President for Government Affairs
New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA)

Melanie Willoughby is the Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA). As the senior executive at the largest statewide business association in the country, with over 22,000 business members, she is invited to speak for business before many organizations in the state. She oversees the development of Association legislative and regulatory policy through the management of nine policy committees, advocating on behalf of business with state and federal executive departments and agencies. Prior to joining NJBIA in 2003, she served for 18 years as the President and CEO of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association. Ms. Willoughby started her career in the government arena 34 years ago when she joined the administration of New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne. She served as the Director of State and Federal Government Affairs for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Ms. Willoughby serves on many State Boards and Commissions, advocating many issues from healthcare reform to employment & labor policy and innovation. Ms. Willoughby is actively involved in many community and civic organizations, such as the Rutgers University Alumni Federation and the New Jersey Women’s Political Caucus. She is a Rutgers University Eagleton Institute Visiting Fellow, serving as a mentor to Eagleton students.

Cheryl Wilson

Wilson, Cheryl
Lead Trainer
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)

Cheryl Wilson is a Certified Professional Coach (CPC), Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP), professional speaker, one of iPEC’s Lead Trainers, and a mother. Ms. Wilson has over 25 years’ experience helping others become masters of their mental, emotional and physical energy through her work as a Lead Trainer for the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). She also has 20 plus years in corporate America and now serves as president of her own firm. Since 2007, Cheryl has trained over 1,000 graduates through iPEC’s Coach Training Program. She recently served as iPEC’s Vice President of Operations, and currently is the President of The Zone Advantage, Inc, a company she created in 2002. Having a diverse background and experience allows her to easily connect with individuals, both in the corporate and small business worlds.

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