A smart, dynamic and dedicated group of 40 women volunteers comprise our Board of Trustees. For 22 years, community leaders, philanthropists and professional women have led the WA to raise $49 Million for NJPAC and its amazing Arts Education program.
Mary Beth O’Connor
President of the Board
Owner/Managing Partner, Lucky VIII Films
Founding/Managing Partner, Ironbound Film and Television Studios
Mary Beth is a founding member and managing partner of LuckyVIII, an independent film, television, and theatre production company. Currently, with partner Robert Cole, LuckyGoDot, Mary Beth is launching a slate of projects in development for Broadway 2016. Her Broadway producing credits include That Championship Season (2011), Orphans (2013), Big Fish (2013), The Glass Menagerie (2013-2014) and Rocky, The Musical (2014). And, on London’s West End: The Female of The Species, (Vaudeville) and Strangers on a Train (2013/2014 Gielgud). Feature films include The Other Man, and in development: Play Dead and Frozen Flashback. With partners Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Parris, LuckyVIII is focused on cultivating a continuing pipeline of viable productions and industry leading content creators to its Newark, NJ based media company and their strategic partners. Mary Beth is founding partner and Director of Business Initiatives for Newark, New Jersey based Newark Media Partners, a marketing company offering Madison Avenue services to corporate and government partners. She is a managing member of Ironbound Film and Television Studios which currently services MTV Networks’ SPIKE TV’s INKMASTERS, now in its 6th Season in Newark. Mary Beth served on the NY/NJ 2014 Super Bowl Host Committee and is a trustee for: Newark Boys and Girls Club, LifeCamp and she’s a member of The Broadway League, Parent’s Executive Committee for Hobart William Smith College, The President’s Circle and The Performing Arts Council of The University of Notre Dame. Mary Beth lives in New Jersey with her husband David and their family of six children.
Co-Executive Vice President
Founder/CEO, The Cultivation Group
Tenagne is an integrated Marketing Expert and Brand and Digital Strategist with a background in global beauty, spirits and packaged-goods brands. She is a change agent with a proven track record in building global brands, winning business, managing teams and growing accounts. Tenagne has served as Vice President of Marketing Strategy and Development for Our Shade of Brown, and has worked at Ogilvy and Mather, Grey Worldwide, The Kaplan Thaler Group and The Sawtooth Group. Most recently, she launched a new venture called The Cultivation Group, which has allowed her to merge her love for community planning and development with her expertise in marketing. Its mission is to visually and culturally transform the urban landscape of Newark one block at a time with a goal to create a real movement around community-based economic development. The Cultivation Group just purchased and completed construction on its first commercial project with YouthBuild Newark. Tenagne is Founder of The Weequahic Neighborhood Association, and former SPARK Family Association President. She lives with her husband and two children in Newark, NJ.
Co-Executive Vice President
Co-Founder, STARCH Branding, LLC
Archie served as the Chief Branding Officer/Owner of Edison Properties, the parent company of Manhattan Mini Storage and Edison ParkFast, for 28 years. Manhattan Mini Storage is widely recognized and well-loved for its snarky, hilarious, meaningful and provocative ads. Making ads for a dull product like self-storage that are tweeted and shared all over the world has been a branding joy. After wondering, “Why should self-storage have all the fun?” Archie recently co-founded her own branding agency, STARCH, to help bring that joy to other organizations and businesses and help them to share their message in original, powerful ways. She started by rebranding Judaism with www.marketingjewru.com. Archie’s philanthropic interests include serving on various boards, among them the Foundation for Jewish Camp and Animal Haven Shelter, NYC. She lives in Summit, NJ with her husband, their three daughters and four shelter-no-more dogs.
Christine C. Gilfillan
Immediate Past President of the Board
President, The MCJ Amelior Foundation
Christine is President of her family’s foundation in Morristown, The MCJ Amelior Foundation, that supports organizations that are committed to helping those less fortunate by promoting harmony and understanding, furthering education and workplace skills, and improving the overall quality of life. In 1997, she played an integral role in the development and implementation of the President’s Summit for America’s Future in Philadelphia, which was chaired by General Colin Powell. Christine also chaired the Leadership Roundtable Luncheon after the Summit’s opening ceremonies for Presidents Clinton, Bush, Ford and General Powell. She serves on the Boards of NJPAC, Newark Museum, Kent Place School, and Harvard Women’s Leadership Board. Christine is co-founder along with fellow WA Trustee, Suzanne Spero, of Jersey Cares, which organizes teams of socially minded individuals for community service projects. She is a founding member of the New York City Chapter of the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. Christine has a MD in Public Administration from NYU and a BA in Journalism from the University of Richmond. She is a 1994 graduate of Leadership New Jersey. Christine, her husband, Michael, and their four children live in NJ and all enjoy an active lifestyle including skiing, hiking, running, biking, lacrosse and ice hockey.
Suzanne M. Spero
Vice President, Fund Development
Executive Director, The MCJ Amelior Foundation
Suzanne is the Executive Director of The MCJ Amelior Foundation, a family foundation created to help fund programs in Newark, NJ and surrounding communities. Prior to nonprofit work, Suzanne worked in Washington, DC for Congresswoman Marge Roukema. She also serves on the Drew University Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee and chairs its Student Affairs and Campus Life Committee. She is Co-Founder along with Christine Gilfillan of Jersey Cares, which organizes teams of socially minded individuals for community service projects. She also serves on the Board of Directors of MENTOR and co-chairs its Governance Committee. Suzanne lives in Chatham, NJ with her husband and two daughters.
Vice President, Promotion
Senior Producer, Access Hollywood
Emmy-nominated TV producer Terri MacLeod is a 25-year veteran of the entertainment industry. For the past 15 years, she has been a Senior Producer at NBC’s Access Hollywood. Terri is at the epicenter of fashion, beauty, lifestyle trends and breaking celebrity news. She has interviewed major a-list stars, has reported on every red carpet event, including the Oscars, the MET’s Costume Institute and New York’s fashion week. In addition to Access Hollywood, for the past five years, she’s been the Supervising Producer of Health & Wellness at Access Hollywood Live. She single-handedly created the show’s wellness department and provided content that was not historically a part of the entertainment TV landscape. She develops and executes daily content for the morning talk show. She has strong relationships with top experts in the wellness industry. Terri has also spoken on the media’s role in the wellness industry at various conventions. In 2010, Terri created the Healthy Hollywood blog on Access Hollywood’s website. She wrote daily on trending wellness topics, nutrition news and interviewed celebrities and athletes on their health tips/regimens. As a published writer, Terri wrote the tween self-esteem guide, “113 Things To Do By 13.” She was also instrumental in the launch of In Touch magazine in 2002. She created and wrote weekly fashion spreads, including “Winning Looks” and “Steal That Style.” Plus, she’s written articles for numerous national magazines and websites. Prior to joining NBC, Terri worked at CBS and Fox News. She earned a B.A. from Denison University. She’s also a certified Food for Life instructor with Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine based in DC. Terri earned a plant-based nutrition degree from E-Cornell. She lives in Morristown and has one 21-year old daughter who is a junior at Hobart & William Smith College. In her free-time, Terri enjoys yoga, competitive athletics, cooking and has an insatiable appetite for wellness websites and books.
Mary Kay Strangfeld
Vice President, Advocacy
Mary Kay has been on the Women’s Association Executive Committee since 2008 and served as Co-Chair of the WA Annual Spring Luncheons in 2010 and 2011. She chairs the NJPAC Arts Education Advisory Committee for the community and is a member of the Arts Education Board Committee. Mary Kay worked in the investment areas of Prudential Financial for thirteen years in Minneapolis, San Francisco and the Corporate Office in Newark.
Robin Cruz McClearn
Principal, East Avenue Advisors, LLC
Robin is an attorney with an extensive career in banking and business management, and recently established her own firm, East Avenue Advisors, LLC, a financial advisory firm providing estate planning services along with investment and real estate management. After completing graduate school, Robin spent 10 years as a banker in Boston and another 10 years managing her family’s construction business, E.E. Cruz & Company. Robin and her husband Cameron have two children and enjoy living in their historical home in Summit, NJ when they are not skiing in Vermont.
Ferlanda Fox Nixon, Esq.
Leadership Consultant, Ferlanda
Ferlanda is founder and CEO of FerlandaTM, which provides total leadership consultancy to businesses, orgs, and individuals in the areas of leadership and professional development; communication, presentation and meeting facilitation skills; event planning; marketing and new business development; and general business strategy and administration. She is an adjunct professor at the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University-Newark where she teaches a course on ethics and another on leadership. She is also a part-time public relations specialist in the Office of Communications. Ferlanda practiced corporate law for five years at Whitman & Ransom and 13 years at CIT Group, Inc. At CIT, she held the position of vice president, managing chief counsel and assistant secretary and for nearly 10 years, was ranked the highest African-American female officer at CIT. Ferlanda is an active member of and Sunday school teacher for Calvary Baptist Church. During a two-year term as executive director of The Hope Chest Scholarship Foundation, Ferlanda designed and launched the LTD (Leadership Training and Development) ProgramTM. As the executive director of the Community Development Corporation of Northern New Jersey for three years, she operated a summer camp and leadership academy for children and teens. She served as president and co-lead teen advisor for the Morris County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. After 12 years of marriage to her college sweetheart, Ms. Nixon lost her husband to leukemia and became a single parent of two young sons in 2000. She remarried in 2003, which blessed her with a grown daughter who lives in New York.
Beverly Baker-Jackson, Esq.
President, Baker & Baker Management Services
Beverly is a lawyer, real estate developer and entrepreneur in Bergen County, NJ. She holds a Bachelors degree in Sociology from St. Peter’s University, a JD from Hofstra University School of Law, and an Advanced Professional degree in Construction Management from New York University. Beverly is the Owner and Manager of Baker & Baker Management Company, which develops and manages a diverse portfolio of residential and commercial properties in NYC, NJ and FL. Beverly’s expertise in Property Management and development began in 1983 when she began managing the NY properties for Integrated Resources Property Management. After only five years, she was directly responsible for the supervision of over 2,000 multi-family residences along with a $12M construction defect program. Beverly works part-time with the law firm of Gutman, Mintz, Baker & Sonnenfeldt PC. She owns and operates Headliner’s, a full-service family barber shop in Englewood and Bevy Chapeaux Hats & Accessories, a high fashion boutique. She is past President and Board Chair for the Urban League of Bergen County and serves on the Boards of Bergen County Links, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and Volunteer Center for Bergen County. She is the President of the Black Law Students Alumni Association at Hofstra University School of Law and a member of the Board of Adjustment for the City of Englewood. Beverly is the recipient of numerous awards including “The Professional Women of the Year Award” in 2003 and 2007 from the National Association of Business & Professional Women and The Bergen County Urban League’s “Community Service Award.”
A watercolorist, Audrey’s paintings feature floral and landscape themes. Her work has been shown at several juried art shows and she is a featured watercolor painter in the 2004 book Watercolor for the First Time: A Beginner’s Guide. Audrey’s paintings are the featured artwork of the WA’s Tribute Fund cards. Prior to her retirement, she was the owner and buyer of a retail shop in West Orange called THE PARTY PLACE. She also serves on the Board of The Paper Mill Playhouse and the NJ Symphony Orchestra and is an avid duplicate bridge player. Audrey is the widow of Martin Bartner, publisher of the Star-Ledger until his death in 1999. Together they have two children and three grandchildren. Audrey resides in Verona, NJ and enjoys spending time and traveling with her family and with Morry.
Style and Lifestyle Expert, Founder/Principal, Tai Life Media, LLC
Tai is a veteran journalist and editor with a rare ability to connect with all demographics. Known for her savvy sense of style, women of all ages recognize her as the voice of stylish living. She is also a social entrepreneur and champion for causes, most of them aimed toward youth and education and empowering women through fashion and beauty. Tai began her editorial career at Good Housekeeping and Harper’s Bazaar magazines and went on to work as a beauty editor at O, The Oprah Magazine, Suede, and Seventeen. She later served as the deputy editor of VIBE Vixen and style contributor to ivillage.com. Tai is Style Ambassador of InStyle, a lauded host, beauty and style authority, and CEO of Tai Life Media, LLC. Tai has partnered with some of the most reputable consumer and retail brands including Dior Cosmetics, Nordstrom, Tacori, Target, and Proctor & Gamble where she served as spokesperson of P&G’s “My Black is Beautiful Movement.” She appears regularly as a correspondent on network and cable television for the likes of ABC, CBS, BET, TV One and shows including “The Today Show,” “Good Day New York,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “The Talk,” “Bethenny,” “The View” and “The Wendy Williams Show.” Tai has also hosted The Grammy and Academy Awards red carpets and is a powerful public speaker.
M. Michele Blackwood, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Director of Breast Health and Disease Management, Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center
Since 2009, Michele has served asDirector of Breast Health and Disease Management at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. Previously, she was the Director of Breast and Women’s Health and Prevention Services for Nyack Hospital in Nyack, NY; Medical Director and Founder of the Connie Dwyer Breast Center and Deputy Chairman, Dept. of Surgery at St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark; and, Medical Director of the Blackwood Breast Center and the Stamford Breast Center at Tully Health Center in Stamford, CT. Michele has received numerous honors and awards including The Ray of Hope Award from The Center of Hope, The Honoree Award of the Pink Tie Ball, Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and was named Garden State Woman of the Year, Healthcare in 2007. She has been a featured medical expert on CBS’ The Morning Show, Fox Five Good Day New York, and 60 Minutes. Michele earned her M.D. from Medical University of South Carolina and Graduated with Distinction with an A.B. from Georgetown University where she met her husband Adam. They have three children and live in New Jersey.
Marcia Wilson Brown, Esq.
Vice Chancellor for External and Governmental Relations, Rutgers University Newark
Marcia has over 30 years of academic leadership and community service experience in the Newark community. She is currently Vice Chancellor for External and Governmental Relations under Chancellor Nancy Cantor of Rutgers University-Newark. In 1999, Marcia was appointed Philanthropic Manager for the Lucent Technologies Foundation where she was responsible to provide counsel and oversight for its multi-million dollar funding initiatives aimed at the City of Newark. Her community advocacy helped lead to the founding of the Student Ambassadors Outreach Program at Rutgers-Newark, which builds bridges between the campus and Newark high school students, the South Ward Junior Crimefighters, Harriet Tubman Girls Club, and the Women of Imani, a charitable organization serving poor and low-income families. After graduating from Rutgers Newark Law School, Marcia clerked for the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and practiced in the area of employment and civil rights. She is a poet and also the founder of Dare to Fly Productions and the Newark Repertory Theater company, which seeks to create diverse, professional and sustainable theatrical repertory (classic, original, experimental, mixed media productions and children’s theater) to the Newark community. She resides in Long Branch, NJ.
Mary Ellen Burke
National Director of Sales, AM Resorts
As National Director of Sales for AMResorts, Mary Ellen is responsible for managing the company’s USA Regional Sales Managers, and Sales Support and Customer Service teams. With over 25 years in the travel industry, Mary Ellen is a true sales industry expert. Previously, she was Regional Sales Director for United Airlines, managing and leading the NJ and Eastern PA sales teams, increasing revenues and maximizing the new United’s exposure in the travel agency, corporate and local communities. Prior to United, Mary Ellen held various sales positions within Continental Airlines, managing the highly regarded and industry-leading Continental Airlines New Jersey Sales team and serving as President of the Continental Airlines Management Association. She began her airline career with Eastern Airlines reservations team and succeeded in managing NY and NJ Latin travel agencies. Mary Ellen serves on the Board of Live Sun Smart Foundation and Luxury Travel Exchange Advisory Board and previously, on the Susan G. Komen Board of Trustees, NJ Girls and Boys Club Advisory Board, Joe Piscopo Positive Impact Foundation, Cancer Vixen, Garden State Cancer Center Board and NJ Cancer Institute Leadership Advisory Board. Mary Ellen was recognized and awarded the SGK Pink Tie Ball honoree, Patriots Path Council’s Woman of the Year, Marty Lyons Lion Award and Joe Namath’s March of Dimes 1st Spirit Award. Mary Ellen lives with her husband Joe and their two children, Alyssa and Matthew, in Watchung.
Patricia A. Chambers
Community Leader/Philanthropist and Chair of Lambert Bridge Winery
Patti is the owner and chairman of the board of Lambert Bridge Winery in Sonoma County, California. She also serves on the Boards of The MCJ Amelior Foundation, P.G. Chambers School, and is a Founding Board Member and Vice Chair of the Branch Brook Park Alliance. Patti serves on the Advisory Board of the Central Park Conservancy Women’s Committee in New York City and previously served on the Board of Park Avenue Club. Patti and her husband Ray live in New Jersey. They have three children and six grandchildren.
Founding Member, Trustee Emerita
Sally and her husband, Percy Chubb, have been supportive of NJPAC since the very beginning as Founding Members. Sally is a Trustee Emerita and Founding Member of the WA. She is alongtime Trustee of the Victoria Foundation, a private grantmaking institution founded in 1924 in honor of Victoria Eddis Chubb that targets giving to programs that impact the cycle of poverty in Newark. Most recently, Sally served for many years on the Boards of the National Portrait Gallery; Smithsonian Institution; Morristown Neighborhood House (now called Cornerstone); and, Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack, NJ. Sally and Pi have three children and four grandchildren.
Mindy co-founded Evergreen Partners, Inc. in 1993. She has over 35 years of experience organizing both large- and small-scale events at venues throughout New Jersey and the country. From conceptualization through design and execution, Mindy’s work benefited Fortune 500 firms as well as prestigious non-profit organizations before her retirement at the end of 2016. Her work on behalf of clients has been featured in newspapers and journals, including The New York Times and the Washington Post. Mindy’s career began on Capitol Hill where she served in various positions, including Legislative Assistant to Congressman Herman Badillo (NY) and Congressman William Hungate (MO) and, at age of 27, became Chief of Staff to Congressman Harold Volkmer (MO). In 1980, Mindy established and owned a national fundraising consulting firm. Her clients included U.S. Senators, Congressmen and political organizations. In 1982, Mindy spearheaded the Washington and New Jersey fundraising efforts for Senator Lautenberg’s first campaign and served as his exclusive fundraising counsel for over ten years. In 2002, Mindy joined the Board of Trustees of WBGO, Newark Public Radio, Inc. In 2009, she was elected Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Executive Committee. Mindy is the first woman in the station’s 38 year history to serve in this position. She was named one of NJBIZ’s Best 50 Women in Business 2013. In December, 2016, Mindy retired from Evergreen Partners, Inc. after 23 years. Mindy and her husband David live in West Orange and they enjoy music, theater and travel together.
Barbara Bell Coleman
Trustee Emerita, Past President
President, BBC Associates, LLC
Barbara Bell Coleman has been a consultant to corporate and not-for-profit entities since 1999 after a long public service career. Barbara who has a passion for social activism now spends her time serving on a combination of philanthropic and corporate boards. She is on the board of The MCJ Amelior Foundation; The Schumann Fund and is the volunteer managing co-chair of the Branch Brook Park Alliance that has been working for over a decade in partnership with the County of Essex, to restore and revitalize one of the nation’s oldest and nationally registered historic Olmsted parks. Barbara has earned emeritus status from both the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Board of Directors and the Women’s Association. Barbara is a former Director of several corporate and worldwide public companies including Caesars Entertainment and Hilton Hotels, as well as City National Bank of NJ. Barbara remains a corporate director of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. A long time resident of Newark, she and her husband Claude M. Coleman now reside in Bergen County.
Michellene Davis, Esq.
Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, RWJBarnabas Health
As the Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for RWJBarnabas Health, Michellene leads Social Impact and Community Investment across the System. She oversees the areas of Policy Development and Governmental and External Affairs, Healthy Living and Community and Employee Wellness and Engagement, and Global Health. Michellene is also the creator of the RWJBarnabas Health Women’s Leadership Alliance and Institute for Corporate Internship. Soon after joining Barnabas Health in 2009, she was named Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, the first woman and first person of color to serve as an Executive Vice President in the Barnabas Health system’s history. She has been named to NJBIZ Magazine’s “2015 Health Care Power 50 List” and ranked by NJBIZ as New Jersey’s top lobbyist in the healthcare industry as well as one of the most politically powerful people in New Jersey by PolitickerNJ. Previously, Michellene served as Chief Policy Counsel to former NJ Governor Jon Corzine, the first African American to serve in the role, and Acting New Jersey State Treasurer. Prior to Treasury, she led the $2.4 billion New Jersey Lottery as Executive Director and CEO. She is also active in her civic community serving on a number of boards and councils. Michellene is an Honors graduate of Seton Hall University and holds a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall School of Law.
President, Erica Ferry & Associates LLC
Erica is the President of Erica Ferry & Associates LLC. Before starting her own company in 2010, she was President of the Schering-Plough Foundation and Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Schering-Plough Corporation. Erica was named as one of NJBIZ Magazine’s “Best 50 Women in Business” and recognized as one of NJBIZ’s “Power 50: The 50 Most Powerful Nonprofit Board Members.” In addition to serving on the Board of the Women’s Association, Erica serves on the boards of the New Jersey Alliance for Action and the Independent College Fund of New Jersey. Erica received a BA in Communication from Cook College (Rutgers University), a Masters in Communication and Information Studies from Rutgers University, and holds a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Seton Hall University. Erica and her husband Brian reside with their two sons in Dayton, New Jersey.
Founder, Friday Talks Food
In 2010, Nicole founded The Cupcake Craze, a gourmet catering company. Inspired by her favorite desserts, Nicole launched a line of goodies that were your “favorite desserts turned cupcake,” from lemon meringue and sweet potato to coconut cream and chocolate soufflé. Nicole’s pastries have been featured on Essence.com and she has been recognized by Essence Magazine as the “Cupcake Boss.” Nicole has also contributed to Brides.com as a baking expert; and in 2010 was crowned the winner of Macy’s “Battle of the Cupcakes.” Having appeared on ABC, TLC, ASPiRE, parents.com, Cupcakestakethecake.com, brides.com, madamenoire.com, NBC and Emmy Award winning The Kitchen on Food Network, Nicole turned her passion into a career as a culinary instructor and food blogger. She has partnered with Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Architectural Digest Home Design Show, Whole Foods, William-Sonoma, and The New York Botanical Garden. Nicole has also been a featured chef at Food Network’s Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival and the NY Chocolate Show. She is the former host of Black Enterprise’s web series “Inside Dish.” In 2011, Nicole launched a culinary series at Whole Foods Market entitled Around the World from Home. This year, Nicole will appear on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay judging delicious desserts! She is a graduate of Howard University and a focus in food media and essentials in cooking. Nicole lives in New Jersey with her husband, Jeff, two sons, and 93 year-old grandmother.
Executive Director, Council of Urban Professionals
Chanda is the Executive Director of the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP). She has dedicated her entire career, which has spanned the nonprofit, legal, political and financial services sectors, to advocacy and service with a dedicated focus on advancing social justice issues like diversity and inclusion, educational access, and corporate responsibility.
Previously, Chanda was the Global Head of Environmental, Social and Governance for the Corporate Services and Real Estate division for Goldman Sachs. During her tenure, Chanda served on her division’s People Development Committee, was the Chief Operating Officer of the firm-wide Black Network for six years and was the founding Executive Director of America Needs You-New Jersey, the first expansion site of the nonprofit organization that provides first-generation college students with transformative mentorship and career development opportunities.
Chanda is from California but left her legal career in 2002 to support now United States Senator Cory Booker’s first mayoral race in Newark. She has a law degree from the University of Southern California and a BA in Political Science and African & African-American Studies from Stanford University.
Veronica M. Goldberg
Founding Member, Past President
Veronica, affectionately known as “Ronnie,” grew up in Hillside, NJ and has lived in various towns in New Jersey ever since. She has worked as a volunteer and with nonprofit organizations for most of her life. She serves as President of her family foundation that mainly contributes to education initiatives and to the arts on an annual basis. Ronnie has served on the boards of the following: Pingry School, Drumthwacket, NJ Conservation Foundation, NJPAC, and NJN Foundation. She is a Founding Member, Past President, and current Trustee of the WA and a Trustee of the Morristown Medical Center Foundation. She is also a political fundraiser having served as a NJ delegate to the Democratic Presidential Convention for President Bill Clinton in NYC and John Kerry in Boston. Ronnie served on President Clinton’s President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from 1994-1996. In 2007, she was appointed to the NJ Hall of Fame Advisory Commission. Ronnie also spearheaded the Newark Walk of Fame project inspired by her desire to recognize individuals who have contributed to the arts who are New Jersey natives. She enjoys life in Far Hills, NJ with her husband, Rick Nordling, an avid big game hunter. Ronnie and Rick are extensive global travelers having vacationed “around the world.” She has four children and ten grandchildren.
Sheila F. Klehm
Managing Director, Wealth Management Division, UBS
Shelia is a Managing Director in the Wealth Management Division of UBS, where she provides comprehensive wealth management solutions to ultra high net worth individuals, family offices, trusts, foundations, and endowments with significant pools of wealth and liquidity. A leader in the field of wealth management, Sheila has been named to Barron’s List of “Top 100 Women Financial Advisors.” She has a history of exceptional business success and prior to joining UBS, she was an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley where she ran the Private Bank’s business in New Jersey and upstate New York for several years. Sheila was also a Managing Director at JP Morgan Private Bank for 22 years where she focused almost exclusively in Private Wealth Management. For more than 7 years she held positions in the International Private Bank serving some of the most prominent European and South American families. She holds Series 7, 24 and 63 Securities Licenses. A graduate of Villanova University, Sheila is an extremely active alumnus. She was elected to the Board of Trustees in January 2011. She also served as Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council of The Villanova School of Business. Shelia and her husband Henry have long been active members of various education institutions, charitable organizations and the New Jersey community and have two sons.
Ellen W. Lambert
Chief Diversity Officer, PSEG
Ellen Lambert is currently the Chief Diversity Officer at PSEG. In addition, she holds the position of President of the PSEG Foundation and Director, Corporate Responsibility and Culture. Ellen was appointed to the CDO position in October of 2013 and has held the other PSEG roles since February, 2013. Ellen’s roles include responsibility for the company-wide diversity and inclusion strategy as well as leadership of the Diversity and Inclusion Council, development and implementation of social investment strategies and overseeing employee engagement, corporate contributions, volunteering, sponsorships and employee giving programs. She most recently led the Merck Foundation and its Office of Corporate Giving. At Merck, Ellen was responsible for philanthropic, community and volunteer endeavors including the development of The Richard T. Clark Global Fellowship program, strategic health, education and community-focused initiatives. She created corporate-wide employee engagement programs that allowed workers to ‘give back’ and hone their professional skills by working with non-profits. She led the groups responsible for the Merck Institute for Science Education and the Merck Childhood Asthma network. Formerly, Ellen was the Executive Director of the ROCHE Foundation and Director of Corporate Relations and Contributions for the company. She served as Executive Director of the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, the Executive Director of the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center Foundation and the Vice President of Development for the New York Special Olympics. Ellen holds a J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Tulane University and a Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University. She is an adjunct professor at New York University. Until 2012, Ellen served as a member of the advisory boards of Every Woman Every Child (UN), and the Global Water Coalition and Women for Water.
Linda M. Layne
Director, Human Resources, Cartier, North America
Linda Layne has an extensive career in human resources in a variety of leadership roles where she managed teams and human capital risks at global brands. Linda’s tenure spans a diverse range of industries and organizations. Her career in human resources includes positions held at Merrill Lynch, the National Basketball Association, Tiffany & Co., Bridgewater Associates, and most recently at Cartier, North America. Linda is also a rising professional coach in the space of women in leadership and she serves space as a life coach to young minority women seeking consultation and advice on a myriad of issues that typically inhibit the achievement of their full potential. Linda is passionate about the development and growth of people and women and minorities, in particular. Born and raised in Harlem, Linda has been a resident of New Jersey for the past 15 years. The last 10 years, Linda has been a resident of Newark and believes in fostering and developing strong community relationships. Linda earned her bachelor’s degree in Latin American Language & Culture at SUNY at Purchase and she earned her master’s degree in organizational psychology from Teacher’s College at Columbia University. Linda is currently in the process of submitting her application for her doctorate degree in counseling/social/organizational psychology – and continues to practice the profession of HR from a Christian lens.
Ruth C. Lipper
Trustee Emerita, Past President
Ruth is the former Executive Vice President and Treasurer of Lipper Analytical Services, Inc. She is active on several New Jersey boards serving as Co-Chair of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and member of the NJ State Council on the Arts and Chair of the Council’s Arts Ed and Public Value Committee as well as Board appointments with St. Vincent Academy Advisory Board, Branch Brook Park Alliance Advisory Board, Newark Museum, and Drumthwacket Foundation. Ruth is also a sustaining member of the Junior League of Summit; a member of the Museum of Modern Art Education Committee and the MoMA Council on Photography; a Historic Mt. Vernon (VA) Lifeguard; and, Chair of The Lipper Family Charitable Foundation. Together with her husband, Mike, she is a founding member of the Catholic American Studies Program at Fordham University in New York. Ruth and Mike reside in Summit, NJ.
Dena F. Lowenbach
Dena was the first volunteer at NJPAC and then founded the Office of Volunteer Services in the early 1990’s. Some of her efforts at NJPAC include establishing the craft exhibits, heading up the information desk, chairing the volunteer dinners, and organizing many cultivation events. The Dena F. Lowenbach Volunteer of the Year Award is presented each year at NJPAC’s Annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner. Dena is also passionately involved with GlassRoots studio in Newark serving on its Board of Directors and as the Chair of its Governance Committee. In addition, she is Past President, Secretary, and former Chair of the Development Committee for the nonprofit glassmaking studio. She has also served on the Board of the Newark Emergency Services for Families. She serves as Co-Chair of the WA Cultural Legacy Committee and as our liaison on the NJPAC Arts Education Advisory Committee. Dena and her husband Ralph own an extensive collection of studio glass that was the basis of the first contemporary glass exhibit of the Newark Museum. Dena and Ralph live in South Orange. They have a daughter.
Pamela T. Miller, Esq.
President and CEO, Summit Global Strategies, Ltd.
Pamela is a nationally recognized leader in health care, health insurance, policy, sustainability, and international development. She is President, Summit Global Strategies, Inc., an international consulting firm that she launched in 2012. The firm works with public and private sector clients in developing and advancing their market strategies, policy, and sustainability agendas. From 2003 to 2012, Pamela was Chief Sustainability Officer for Medco Health Solutions, Inc., the leading pharmacy benefits management company, where her portfolio included market and product development strategy, global sustainability, policy and leadership of the Medco Foundation. Prior, Pamela served as Chief Strategy and Quality Officer for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and as Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Health Services for the City of New York, as well as the Director of Environmental and Public Health for Hudson County, New Jersey. She holds a B.S. in Natural Science from Saint Peter’s University and a J.D. from Seton Hall University Law School. She serves on several Boards including Saint Peter’s University, Sacred Heart University Board of Visitors, and National Medical Fellowship. The recipient of numerous awards, Pamela is a frequent speaker at national forums on healthcare, health insurance, policy and sustainability issues. Pamela resides in Bergen County, New Jersey and Washington, DC.
Gabriella E. Morris, Esq.
Founding Member, Past President
Senior Vice President, The UNICEF Bridge Fund at US Fund for UNICEF
Gabriella is President of Connective Advisors, LLC, an integrated, comprehensive consulting practice offering a wide range of expertise and services to the philanthropic sector, including strategic planning, governance, fund development, networking and inclusion. She has recently added real estate services to her practice by joining LG Fairmont as a licensed real estate advisor. Gabriella most recently completed over 26 years of service in senior legal, philanthropic and community relations positions at Prudential Financial. For more than seventeen years, she served as President of The Prudential Foundation and Corporate Vice President of Community Resources. Long involved in the non-profit sector, she assumed her first volunteer position at the age of nine, supporting her mother in launching a local Head Start program in Houston, Texas. She joined her first non-profit board, a mental health agency, as soon as she finished law school, and has continued to serve on numerous boards, agencies and public sector committees. She is also on the Boards of Annie E. Casey Foundation, Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She has been a founding board member of many organizations, including the WA, United States Artists, the Newark Trust for Education and Brick City Development Corporation. She and her husband Dennis live in New York City.
After 32 years as Executive Director of Newark Day Center, Trish retired in 2013. She administered a multifaceted organization that offered a holistic approach to social services for children, youth, adults and seniors. The agency is also home to the FRESH AIR FUND, a program that provides summer camperships and leadership training to inner-city youth. Trish’s interest in children blossomed when she established a childcare center on campus while attending Livingston College. Later, after earning a bachelor’s degree at Livingston and a master’s degree at Rutgers Graduate School of Education, she became the first director of The CHEN School in Newark, which her daughter now heads. She was a visionary in a new concept of mainstreaming children with developmental difficulties into a regular school program. Trish has been the recipient of many honors in recognition of her work like “Woman of Influence Award,” “Distinguished Service Award,” “Professional Woman of the Year,” and “100 Most Influential in New Jersey” award. She serves on many boards and is the former president and current vice president of the Newark Public Library, Board President, National Congress of Black Women, Inc., founding president of the Newark Commission on the Status of Women and, Co-Chair of the Cultural Legacy Committee, Women’s Association of NJPAC. Trish and her husband, Dr. A. Zachary Yamba, President Emeritus of Essex County College, are noted for their dedication to enhance the educational achievements of today’s youth.
Christine is a member and avid patron of NJPAC. She is an alumna of Duke University’s School of Nursing and has enjoyed the last two decades raising her four sons who are now all college students: Andrew, Morgan, and twins Trevor and Parker. The boys were all educated at Delbarton where they excelled in activities like distance running and swimming. Christine is a graduate of Duke University’s School of Nursing. In October 2012, Duke University and School of Nursing leaders broke ground on the new 45,000-square foot addition to the Christine Siegler Pearson Building. She serves on the Duke School of Nursing Alumni Board and on the Parents Board of University of Colorado. She enjoys hiking, biking, and sailboat racing. Born in Toms River, NJ Christine lived briefly in Washington DC before returning back to New Jersey where currently, she and her sons reside in New Vernon and also enjoy spending time in Spring Lake.
Patricia E. Ryan
Founding Member, Past President, Trustee Emerita
Pat is a Founding Member of the WA and a Past President. Her husband Art is the former Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial and during his tenure, Pat took a particular interest in the City of Newark and working to evoke its renaissance. Pat also served as Chairperson for Connection Newark, a board member of the Newark Museum and Co-Chair of the Branch Brook Park Alliance. In 2012, the lion sculptures located at the edge of the Balustrade in Branch Brook Park and that were donated by Prudential were named for Pat and Art. The sculptures were created by Karl Bitter around 1904 and were originally located at the entrance to the Prudential Building at the corner of Broad Street and Bank Street in Newark. Prudential donated the sculptures to Essex County in 1959. The Ryans have homes in New Jersey and Florida and have four children and seven grandchildren.
Senior Vice President Global Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Wyndham Worldwide
Faith currently leads Wyndham Worldwide’s Corporate Social Responsibility program policies, reporting and strategies, which include sustainability, philanthropy, wellness, diversity, human rights, ethics and responsible sourcing. She also oversees Wyndham’s Charitable Foundation and global giving, which has grown by over 200% in the last two years. Under Faith’s leadership, Wyndham Worldwide has been recognized for their innovative environmental programs by organizations like Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Newsweek. Faith chaired the Sustainability Group of the World Travel & Tourism Council where she led the development of Environmental, Social Governance Reporting for the industry and currently chairs the Board of Directors of the USGBC of New Jersey. In 2014, the National Diversity Council named her “One of the Most Powerful Women in the Industry.” Faith has an MBA from the Wharton business school and a BA from Stanford University and is an adjunct professor who teaches about innovation and sustainability.
Author, Speaker, Founder, Mikki Taylor Enterprises LLC, Editor-at-Large, ESSENCE Magazine
Mikki is the quintessential authority on all matters regarding beauty. From A-list celebrities and world-renowned cover models to women-in-the-know, Mikki influences all types of women with her vision of beauty and style. For 30 years, she served as ESSENCE Magazine’s Beauty & Cover Director, and is now Editor-at-Large. She is the Founder and President of Mikki Taylor Enterprises, LLC, which serves as a holding company for a number of vertical businesses, including Satin Doll Productions, a full-service image building and consulting division, and MT Communications, a strategic communications and branding company. Most recently, she was national spokesperson for AMBI Skincare, a division of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company. Mikki has written two books: Self-Seduction: Your Ultimate Path to Inner and Outer Beauty (Ballantine Books/One World) and Commander-in-Chic: Every Woman’s Guide to Managing Her Style Like a First Lady (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster). She has been featured on many television outlets including: The Insider, Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, The View, The Steve Harvey Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC Nightly News, E! Entertainment Television, BET and CNN. She also served as host of the TV One series Makeover Manor.
Diana T. Vagelos
Founding Member, Past President, Trustee Emerita
Diana is a Founding Member and our first President of the Board. She became the first liaison between NJPAC’s Arts Education program and the WA and instituted the idea to showcase Arts Education talent at Women’s Association events, which have now become a staple to everything NJPAC offers. She served as the long-term Chair of NJPAC’s Arts Education Committee and on the NJPAC Board. She is an Alumna and Trustee of Barnard College. Its campus holds special significance for Diana and her husband Roy who met over fifty years ago at Morningside Heights when Diana was a first-year student and Roy was attending Columbia Medical School. Both are very active alumnae. “The Diana” is a student center there in her name that opened in Spring 2010. Diana also serves as a Trustee of WNET New York Public Media. Roy and Diana enjoy traveling around the world to remote spots to study ecological effects. They live in New York City and New Jersey and have four children and nine grandchildren.
Nina Mitchell Wells, Esq.
Former Secretary of State, State of New Jersey
Nina served as the Secretary of State for New Jersey from 2006 to 2010. Prior to becoming Secretary of State, Nina was Vice President for Public Affairs for Schering-Plough Corporation and President of the Schering-Plough Foundation. She began her legal career as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Newark and practiced corporate law with major corporations including New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, Bell Communications Research, Inc. and The CIT Group. Nina was also Director of the Division of Rate Counsel, Department of the Public Advocate and also served as a Rutgers University Law School Assistant Dean. Nina was recently appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. She has served as a board member of numerous non-profits. She is a cum laude graduate of Newton College of the Sacred Heart (now Boston College) and has a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, Boston, MA. Nina is a graduate of the Executive Management Program, NYU Stern School of Business, and was a Woodrow Wilson Corporate Visiting Fellow. She has received Honorary Degrees from the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ and Drew University in Madison, NJ. She is married to attorney, Theodore V. Wells, Jr. and has two grown children, Teresa and Phillip.
Karen C. Young
Partner, PwC LLP
Karen is the US Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Assurance Leader at PwC. Her focus has been serving global SEC registrants and she has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical, medical device, biotech and healthcare industries. Karen has been recognized as an NJ BIZ “Best 50 Women in Business 2012,” with the Rising Star Award (2010) by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and she received a TWIN (Tribute to Women in Industry) Award from the Bergen County YWCA (2002). She is a corporate partner with the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New York and New Jersey Societies of Certified Public Accountants, and the Institute of Internal Auditors. Karen is a graduate of Villanova University with a BS in Accounting. Karen and her husband Bill live in Chester with their three children.