As part of NJBIZ’s latest virtual discussion, women executives at New Jersey-based companies spoke to their experiences in the workplace, as well as offered guidance to the next generation of females entering the business world.
Moderated by NJBIZ Editor Jeff Kanige, the Dec. 14 panel featured:
- Elene Costan, chief human resources officer at Berje Inc., a Carteret-based leader in the flavor and fragrance industries
- Kate Janukowicz, director, Commercial & Criminal Litigation and director of professional development, retention, and associate recruitment at law firm Gibbons PC in Newark
- Masha Sherman, chief financial officer for Greek Development Inc, a vertically integrated, industrial-focused real estate firm headquartered in East Brunswick
During the hour-and-a-half roundtable discussion, panelists dove into topics such as impact inclusion (diversity and gender equality), hiring and retention efforts, how the pandemic’s shift to remote work has impacted recruitment and the importance of supporting other women in business.
Though her industry is still “somewhat” male dominated, Costan said more women are getting involved in manufacturing.
“It’s going to be a constant evolution,” Costan said. “With the next step, the next generation makes it easy – the next generation doesn’t care, male or female. They want to make sure that they’re getting, you know, paid equally … They want to talk about where they can grow [and] where they can value what the company is doing for volunteering flex time.”
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Janukowicz said one of the biggest lessons she learned starting out as an attorney was that it’s perfectly OK “to reach out to someone for advice or help along the way,” which is why she strives to mentor others.
Sherman said that while she believes it is management’s responsibility to guide, employees need to advocate for themselves. “It is a two-way street and a person has to be candid and not shy away from it,” she added.
The executives also spoke about the increasing focus on ESG-related goals in companies.
Costan said, “Sustainable leadership … really is focused on not just the environment but more about what are you doing to sustain your employees. And, that goes to gender, that goes to generation and it goes to race. We are a B2B business and many companies are asking us to certify to show those efforts that we are doing in recruiting, retention and training to make sure that we do have that diversity.”
A full recap of the panel will be available in the Jan. 9 issue of NJBIZ.