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Department of State

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary of State

New Jersey Secretary of State Announces Senior Staff Leadership Team

TRENTON, N.J. – Secretary of State Tahesha Way today announced key senior staff positions including Chief of Staff, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Director of Communications and Executive Director of the Business Action Center.

“Today I am proud to introduce my leadership team and am grateful they have joined the New Jersey Department of State. Between the critical responsibilities of the Division of Elections, the promotion of travel and tourism, the arts, culture and history the department serves, this talented group of professionals have diverse backgrounds and qualified experience to help spearhead quality work here for the citizens of our great state,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way.

During a career that has spanned over two decades, Secretary Way has been a judge, educator, public servant, and has worked for numerous philanthropic causes. As New Jersey’s 34th Secretary of State and chief election official, Ms. Way will work to partner with each division to expand the Department of State’s mission of civic engagement while promoting the diverse richness of our state’s arts, culture, history, and economic vitality.

Chief of Staff Jasaun Boone comes to the Department of State with over 17 years of experience serving on local, federal, and state levels. In addition to leading government relations efforts for several labor unions and advocacy groups throughout the tri-state region, Boone served on the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Development, as Legislative Assistant, under former Ranking Chairman Paul S. Sarbanes. He also worked for former United States Senator Paul D. Wellstone, of Minnesota. Most recently, Boone was Senior Vice President at Beaudoin & Company, a public affairs firm, in New York City.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tiffany M. Williams is a former Administrative Law Judge and law professor, with extensive government experience having served as Deputy Chief Counsel to a prior Governor, as a former Chief Counsel in the NJ General Assembly and as a former federal prosecutor. She is a seasoned civil litigation attorney with experience at large law firms in New Jersey and Massachusetts and is admitted to practice in NJ, DC and MA. Ms. Williams is also an ordained minister, published author and the founder of a women’s empowerment organization. She holds a BA and an MPA from Rutgers University and a JD from Northeastern University School of Law.

Director of Communications Timothy J. Carroll is a communications specialist, writer, and former journalist. His journalism career included stints as an award-winning beat reporter in Hoboken and a statehouse reporter in Trenton. Mr. Carroll has handled communications for state senators, more than a dozen professional associations, and a New Jersey congressman.

A seasoned business advocate, association executive and public policy strategist, Melanie Willoughby joins the team as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Business Action Center. Ms. Willoughby’s career in Trenton has included, Government Affairs Director at the NJ Department of Community Affairs during the Brendan Byrne administration, President of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association and Senior Vice President for Government Affairs of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. Over the years, Ms. Willoughby has been appointed to many gubernatorial task forces and commissions regarding economic development, innovation, healthcare insurance regulation, workforce development and career & technical education reform.

Elizabeth Parchment joins Secretary Way’s team as the Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Volunteerism. Ms. Parchment has worked as the Deputy Clerk to the Clerk of the General Assembly for the past nine years where she has streamlined processes, and handled budgets and personnel matters for assembly members. She has extensive legislative and operational experience having served as a policy operations manager and policy analyst for the Assembly Majority Office. She has been successful in organizing and coordinating major volunteer and faith-based initiatives.

Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Lauren Zyriek’s career has taken her from a Representative to the United Nations to a Specialist at the U.S. Census Bureau, to serving as the first Latina Deputy County Clerk in Bergen County. She strongly believes that analyzing facts and evidence is the best approach to ensuring good government. Ms. Zyriek has an Executive Education Certificate in Cybersecurity from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, is a New Jersey Registered Municipal Clerk, and is near completion of her Doctorate in Public Administration.

Director of the Center for Hispanic Policy Research and Development Sara Pena brings 20 years of experience developing and implementing communication strategies and building relationships geared towards addressing community affairs for non-profit, healthcare, and government sectors. She is a Leadership Newark Fellow, a program designed to cultivate leadership through immersion in public policy and engagement with social and political issues. Ms. Pena is also a graduate of Emerge New Jersey, a political leadership training program for Democratic women.

“Together we will continue the great work of this department and uphold the sanctity of our positions while doing so. I look forward to working with my senior staff and the entire Department of State as we collectively fulfill our duty to the wonderful State of New Jersey and all of its residents,” added Secretary Way.


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