I’ve dedicated my entire professional career to meeting, networking and shaking hands with thousands of people throughout the state. I have been able to showcase the state’s top trailblazers for the past decade at fabulous events with rooms filled with hundreds of decision makers and influencers.
The traditional way of doing business came to a screeching halt in March with the arrival of COVID-19. And let’s face it, the old way is not likely to ever return to exactly as it was. Thankfully, technology has opened up new doors of opportunity, and in many ways has helped us to expand our connections and increase our time efficiency and effectiveness. Even though our journey now keeps us largely behind computer screens, it does not dim the light of the awesomeness of the men and women we honor or the positive impact that they have made upon our great state of New Jersey and the world. Their work is representative of how strong our state is and how New Jersey is a global force.
Another chapter was written on June 4, when the Force for Change and Leading Women Entrepreneurs winners were announced with Magie Cook as the special keynote speaker. Our winner announcement virtual event was kicked off by guest speaker Magie Cook. She began by congratulating the Top 25. “Please know that the work you do today paves the way for the next generation of young, aspiring, entrepreneurs and business leaders,” she said. “Your innovation and ability to lift others as you climb is why you are being acknowledged. By promoting goodness and progress in the world, you are making New Jersey and the world a stronger and more equitable place to live.”
Magie’s first company was Maggie’s Salsa LLC, a fresh salsa and dips company that she started with $800 after she was homeless and was later sold to Campbell Soup Co. for $231 million. She is now living her dream by helping entrepreneurs and teams discover their hidden personal power so they can increase their revenue and grow consistently.
Next we had our esteemed LWE Advisory Board members remark on their experiences with the LWE platform and explain to the honorees why this environment is like no other.
Board member Kelley Kurtzman, vice president of global technical support of sales and services for Verizon said: “LWE helped me highlight and sponsor an organization that is very important to me. JBWS, is a domestic violence support agency and by sponsoring an Illuminator spread in LWE’s NJBIZ section I was able to highlight the incredible work this organization does to protect everyone from abuse.”
Marcia Dukes, director of diversity and inclusion at Prudential, 2020 honoree and 2021 Advisory Board member, thanked LWE & FFC. “When LWE recognized me with the Force for Change Award, my company was able to take notice of me,” she said. “This award made it possible for me to do more in my career, to meet more people, prospects and referrals, and connect with organizations that help our Human Resource business partners with some challenges and learn how to advance diversity and inclusion. I was grateful that LWE recognized me and my work, and the ripple effect is priceless.”
Board member Tara Gilvar, founder of Believe Inspire Grow (B.I.G.), congratulated the winners. “We get to spotlight some of the most amazing people this state and beyond have to offer,” she said. “LWE reminds you of your greatness and your goodness and helps you continue on your journey and make an impact through branding and exposure opportunities that get results.”
These honorees are amazing role models representative of the increasing impact diverse leaders are making in the world of business. We are excited to celebrate men, women, and companies who, despite challenges, excel in innovation and advocacy. We congratulate the efforts of all of the honorees who have been a force for change and will continue to change the state for the better.
Some examples of 2021 honorees who make New Jersey a global force include:
Robert Stack who started Community Options Inc. to help with housing and employment for individuals with significant levels of intellectual and developmental disabilities. He went from working at his kitchen table to providing over 600 well-appointed homes supporting over 1,500 residents nationwide.
Kim Hanemann has just been named the first woman president of PSE&G, Kim has broken barriers that inspire all women and keeps New Jersey safe by fighting to provide the cleanest and most equitable and efficient energy systems possible.
The Garibaldi Group LLC has been helping develop the state for more than a century through impactful commercial real estate projects like Bell Works. This is a fourth-generation family business and they most recently announced Jeffrey Garibaldi Jr. as president. Jeffrey Garibaldi Sr., president for nearly 25 years, will be receiving the award on the behalf of the company.
John Harmon the founder, president, and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey economically empowers and sustains African American communities, facilitating entrepreneurship and free enterprise activity within the state, with direct outreach programs.
Paul Hoffman, president and CEO of Liberty Science Center, was the largest provider of virtual STEM programming during the pandemic. Hoffman is the driving force behind SciTech Scity, LSC’s partnership with Jersey City to create a 30-acre campus to launch and grow dozens of world-changing science and technology startup companies and reimagine K-12 science education.
Shannon Keith, the founder of Sudara, aims to disrupt the social enterprise space and create a lasting impact for survivors and those at high risk of sex trafficking.
Dr. Regina Hampton cofounded Cherry Blossom Intimates, a bra, lingerie and mastectomy company, that offers customized products for diverse skin tones and body types. Hampton is the only physician in the country who is a certified mastectomy fitter.
As we re-emerge from this unprecedented pandemic that has kept us physically apart for more than a year, it is essential that we join together to forge new connections and build strong personal and business relationships. As part of our 2021 Top 25 winner announcements, we offered all attendees an interactive speed networking experience. Participants virtually met fellow change makers and gained access to limitless new business building opportunities.
In 2020, we launched the Force for Change awards and are expanding our base to honor New Jersey’s most innovative leaders of the next decade. In light of this unprecedented time, the Force for Change platform in 2021 will recognize those individuals who, through heroic efforts, made a significant and positive impact upon the lives of others during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 Force for Change Honorees
Carolyn Beauchamp Mental Health Association in New Jersey Mental Health
Cathleen D. Bennett New Jersey Hospital Association Hospital Advocate
Joyce Brocaglia Alta Associates Leadership Education
Kristen Christy Kristen Christy LLC Resilience
Steven M. Cohen Morgan Lewis Funding
Darrin Crisitello Mission Bio Biotechnology
Gary Dahms T&M Associates Engineering
Christian Dunning A.J. Perri Social Impact
Jeffrey Garibaldi The Garibaldi Group Family Business
Kim Hanemann PSEG Utilities
John Harmon African American Chamber of Commerce of NJ Diversity and Inclusion
Paul Hoffman Liberty Science Center STEM Education
Nancy Holecek RWJBarnabas Health Nursing and Patient Care
Shannon Keith Sudara Global Socialpreneurs
John W. Kennedy, Ph.D. New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program Manufacturing
Peter A. Levy Mandelbaum Salsburg Legal
George Liothake Atlantic Health System Healthcare Leadership
Victoria Magliacane Investors Bank Banking
Trudy McKanna Natera Inc. Medical
Spase Miloseski CodeWell Technology
Amy Spagnolo Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services Rehabilitation
Robert Stack Community Options Inc. Disabilities Advocate
Yolanda Stancil Verizon Communications
Cardinal Joseph William Tobin Archbishop of Newark Spiritual Leadership
Peter Webster Aon Risk Solutions Insurance
Dennis Wilson Delta Dental Healthcare
These amazing leaders will be honored virtually on November 8, 2021. Register here.
LWE is an organization that has recognized more than 600 outstanding women in business over the past decade. We are proud to celebrate the 2021 Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, Brand Builders and Socialpreneurs. This prestigious group of women is selected out of hundreds of impressive nominations based on their strong business acumen and ability to both influence and inspire within their respective industries. These are the women business owners and corporate leaders who excel in innovation and advocacy for women.
The 2021 Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, Brand Builders and Socialpreneurs
Emma Aer Franklin Foods
Nikki Boulukos and Carissa Jordan Benjamin Talks
Paige Brattin See Worthy Patches
Laura Crothers Osborn Crothers Consulting, LLC
Kim Crotty Morris County SHRM
Ushta Davar Canteenwalla FiND Genetics
Sari Freeman Passages of Distinction
Jennifer Gillman Gillman Strategic Group, LLC
Dr. Regina Hampton Breast Care Center at Doctors Community Medical Center (Luminis Health) and Cherry Blossom Intimates
Michelle Heide Michelle Heide & Associates
Marci Hopkins Wake Up With Marci
Kimberly Salerno WW International, Inc.
Laura J. Longman Princeton Area Community Foundation
Joanna Jin Goldman Sachs
Jessica King Botkeeper
Sandy Ko Customer Management Practice
Shelly Koonce Novartis
Lisa Marks-Canty NEST Global Solutions
Mari Marques-Thomas Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Avani Modi Sarkar Modi Toys
Maryann Pagano BlackHawk Data
Dr. Jill Saxon Bausch + Lomb
Caroline Sayan Dress For Success Northern New Jersey
Tammeisha Smith Dunbar Center, Inc.
Melissa Stosic DotLab
These amazing leaders will be honored virtually on October 28, 2021. Register here.
Linda Wellbrock is the founder and CEO and founder of Force for Change and Leading Women Entrepreneurs