Presenting the 2023 People to Watch in Finance (slideshow)

NJBIZ STAFF//May 22, 2023//

Presenting the 2023 People to Watch in Finance (slideshow)

NJBIZ STAFF//May 22, 2023//

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On this page, readers will find profiles listed alphabetically of business people who are doing great work without making a lot of headlines. The individuals honored here have either completed difficult tasks, are producing game-changing innovations or perhaps leading others in those endeavors. The common thread is that you, the reader, might never have heard of them. But you will.

The NJBIZ Power lists recognize the most influential business leaders in the state. Many of those folks have spent their entire careers building businesses, ascending the ranks of corporate management, training new generations or in some other way making New Jersey a better place to live, work and do business.

The individuals here are well on their way to earning spots on those lists. If they make it – and many of them undoubtedly will – all New Jerseyans will reap the benefits, because their successes will strengthen the economy and improve lives.

This list honors the money people – those individuals who help ensure profitability, avert financial crises, invest wisely in promising ventures and generally keep the wheels of business turning in the right direction. Without talented professionals in these sorts of positions, businesses could not function properly, if at all.

So don’t think of them as bean counters or number crunchers. The point of being in business is to make money. The state’s economy and its citizens’ livelihoods depend on it. That makes the task of ensuring a steady flow of dollars – earned honestly – among the most important in any company.

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Know someone you think belongs on this list? Or maybe on one of our Power lists? Click here to submit a recommendation.

And just one word about how we find people like this. Many of them are known to NJBIZ editorial staff members because we encounter them in our coverage. We are always looking for new and different stories – and people who are new to us often have interesting stories to tell.

But we also depend on our readers to clue us in about others we may miss. New Jersey may not be the largest state, but the magnitude of its economy is impressive. That means there are a lot of emerging leaders we are not aware of. So, if you know someone we should get to know, use our nomination form. Go to NJBIZ.com click on Power Lists at the top and choose Submit a Recommendation from the menu.

We look forward to hearing from you. And we look forward to your feedback on this list. Let us know what you think.

— Jeffrey Kanige

2023 People to Watch in Finance:

Carrie Anderson

Appointed in February as Campbell Soup Co.’s new chief financial officer and executive vice president, Anderson is leading the Camden-based soup and snack giant’s finance function, including corporate strategy and development, financial planning and analysis, investor relations, internal audit and treasury. She also serves as a member of the operating committee, which focuses on board-level matters and development of both the strategic plan and annual operating plan. Anderson brings a wealth of financial experience to Campbell, having worked in a variety of complex industries. Before joining the company, Anderson served as CFO and executive vice president at Integra LifeSciences, a leading global medical technology company in Princeton. Her professional background also includes positions with Dover Corp., Delphi Product & Service Solutions and General Motors Co. Her appointment comes as Campbell embarks upon a plan to invest $50 million to upgrade and expand the company’s New Jersey headquarters amid a consolidation of its snack businesses from Connecticut and North Carolina.

Ryan Blake

Blake is the COO, a senior vice president and a director at BCB Bank and has built a solid reputation at a relatively early stage of his career. According to BCB, he has become an invested community leader and executive role model. For the past 14 years, Blake has risen through the ranks after starting as a teller. His commitment to BCB’s mission to serve the community transcends just organizational growth. Blake helped the bank make aggressive updates to both its online and mobile banking operations to attract and better serve an increasingly younger and more diverse customer base. And at 33, he is one of the youngest C-Suite executives and the first openly LGBTQ+ banker to be appointed to BCB’s board of directors in New Jersey.

Shawn Broderick and Nick Plante

Earlier this year, Broderick and Plante launched dlab, a startup program focused on decentralization and blockchain technologies, as a standalone fund spun out of SOSV, the Princeton-based venture capital fund. The spinoff was the first such move for SOSV, where Broderick and Plante previously served as general partner and partner, respectively. In 2018, the pair began working with founders innovating in Web3 decentralization and the blockchain to find the early-stage startups that were building the necessary infrastructure to support the Web3 universe. That led to SOSV launching the dlab startup development program in 2019. Over the past few years, SOSV has invested in more than 20 dlab startups. “Shawn and Nick have done a great job in backing pioneering blockchain companies that will really matter and side-stepping the nonsense,” said Sean O’Sullivan, SOSV managing general partner, in January when the spinoff was announced. “Blockchain, DeFi, and distributed apps have a wealth of applications where they provide fundamental value and will succeed. I’m proud of the dlab companies that will remain in the SOSV portfolio, and I look forward to dlab earning great returns for all its limited partners.” Said Broderick in January: “After more than four years proving out dlab as part of SOSV, Nick and I are ecstatic to take things to the next level as an independent fund. The promise of decentralization made possible via blockchain technologies represents a generational opportunity to create a more transparent, open, and participatory world.”

Kelly Ford Buckley

A former tech industry executive turned growth equity investor at Edison Partners, Ford Buckley made history in August 2022 when she was promoted from general partner to chief operating officer, a newly created position at the 36-year-old Princeton-based growth equity firm. As COO of Edison – which targets fintech, health care IT and vertical SaaS companies outside of the Silicon Valley – Ford Buckley oversees operations, including investment development, finance, portfolio operations and marketing. The firm’s active portfolio has an aggregated market value of over $10 billion and it manages $1.6 billion in assets. Since joining Edison nine years ago, she’s worked with more than 55 portfolio companies, been involved in 15 financings, served as director at 11 companies and pioneered the Edison Edge operating platform. Before that, Ford Buckley spent the first two decades of her career working with high-growth tech companies, from pre-revenue startups to fast-growing businesses. She is also regularly featured in business, technology and investor media, as well as an in-demand speaker at industry events.

Mario Camino

Camino, the CEO of Arkad Capital & Arkad Group, was an honoree at the 2021 NJBIZ Leaders in Finance Awards for innovating and bringing technology to private real estate lending. He boasts 15 years of experience in real estate development, financing, management and repositioning of residential, commercial and mixed-use properties. In Plainfield, where he is a resident, Camino has been an active developer of a large portfolio of properties and has supported the city’s downtown redevelopment. As the chairman of the downtown Plainfield SID, he restructured the organization. Camino also serves as commissioner for Historic Preservation in Plainfield.

Sharon Carmeli

Bluevine is a fintech that provides banking solutions for small businesses. And as of January, it provides those services from its new headquarters in Jersey City. With the firm’s move from the West Coast, New Jersey gained a new corporate resident along with the talent running the company. People like Carmeli—Bluevine’s general counsel and chief compliance officer (who, incidentally, was recognized as a 2021 Woman of Influence in Silicon Valley by Silicon Valley Business Journal). In the dual role, which she’s held for eight years, Carmeli has built and is responsible for managing both Bluevine’s legal and compliance organizations – an important role for a company in a space that can draw a lot of attention. After Bluevine’s name cropped up among a group of fintechs being investigated by the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis with regard to fraud in the Paycheck Protection Program, the company was ultimately distinguished from other firms in a subsequent report for its efforts to reform its practices and exclude bad actors over the course of the program. Carmeli is also passionate about supporting and mentoring women in the workplace. According to one insider, that’s a role she’s aptly suited for as a strong example of an effective and compassionate leader. She’s also involved in the industry outside of Bluevine and was elected president of the board of directors for Innovative Lending Platform Association in 2020. Having served 450,000 small businesses since getting its start in 2013, and with a global view from Hudson County, Carmeli’s guidance will continue to be instrumental moving forward.

Joseph Carnevale

With more than 15 years’ experience in public accounting, Carnevale was promoted to partner at Grassi in February. Working from the firm’s Park Ridge office, the certified public accountant provides advisory, assurance and tax services for clients in various industries, specializing in family-owned and closely held businesses, health care organizations, real estate, and employee benefit plans. And Carnevale’s work speaks for itself. In 2022, he received a unanimous “perfect score” – 10 out 10 – in Grassi’s annual client survey. In particular, Carnevale’s clients noted his efforts to go above and beyond to provide proactive guidance and “forward thinking” ideas. He was also commended for his expertise, compassion, attentiveness and flexibility, and accommodating his schedule to address concerns or answer questions. Outside of the office, Carnevale is involved in his community, serving as treasurer of the Oradell Chamber of Commerce. A member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants, NJCPA named him one of its “30 under 30” in 2015 and Carnevale is still proving he’s one to keep an eye on.

Steve Cohen

A managing partner in Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP’s Princeton office, Cohen chairs the emerging business and technology practice, representing entrepreneurs, private equity investors and venture capital funds across numerous industries including life sciences, chemicals, consumer products, fintech and digital health in the Mid-Atlantic region. Through his practice, Cohen handles a variety of transactions including equity financing, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, joint ventures and international strategic partnerships. After publishing a book on the professional benefits that come from maintaining a consistent meditation practice, Cohen went on to co-found a nonprofit in 2018 that offers organizations a way to implement their own meditation programs. He also serves as chairman of the board for Meditation4Leadership.

Scott Crocco

Crocco was named in January as the new chief financial officer of Imperial Dade, a fast-growing foodservice packaging and janitorial supply company located in Jersey City. He is in charge of the company’s finances, overseeing tax, financial planning and analysis, and accounting. In taking on the role at Imperial Dade – which has made 64 acquisitions since it came under the leadership of Robert and Jason Tillis in 2007 – Crocco said he looked forward to advancing the company’s “vision from a financial and strategic planning perspective.” Before joining Imperial Dade, Crocco spent 31 years with Allentown, Pa.-based Air Products and Chemicals Inc., where he most recently served as executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Anthony DeSenzo

In March, Hamilton-based First Bank announced that DeSenzo, as first senior vice president/market executive, would lead its new North Jersey headquarters in Fairfield that opened in early April. DeSenzo has 30 years of banking experience and is a veteran of the Essex County business community. He has been with First Bank since 2021. At the Fairfield location, DeSenzo is leading a team of professionals to help increase the bank’s market share and expand the brand in the region. “At First Bank, we focus on our customers and make everything else revolve around them,” said First Bank President and CEO Patrick Ryan, in a statement announcing DeSenzo’s appointment. “We’ve created a banking experience where our customers have access to decision-makers, a place where our team members have real authority to help. As a result, we listen carefully, ask smart questions and deliver solutions – not products. That’s the foundation for a true community bank.” The Fairfield location includes a range of personalized services for clients, including resources for private equity groups and their portfolio companies, as well as a new specialty financing group offering asset-based lending to help entrepreneurs and business owners. First Bank has 18 full-serve branches throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Sal Giovine

Serving as CFO, Pharmaceutical BD & External Innovation at Johnson & Johnson, Giovine has more than 20 years of finance leadership experience within the health care industry. He has led successful finance teams across strategy and execution, business and corporate development, R&D and commercialization. The bulk of that experience has been with J&J, which he rejoined after a brief stint at Xilio Therapeutics, a biotech company that develops therapies for people living with cancer, which he helped guide during its private to public transition period and first year as a public company. Giovine has been a leader at Johnson & Johnson Finance for more than 15 years in two chapters across Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Health, and corporate functions. That included a period with Janssen Biotech, leading finance for the $5 billion NTS U.S. Oncology business, and leading all commercial finance aspects of Darzalex, Imbruvica, Erleada, Zytiga and Balversa. It also included a four year-stint leading finance for J&J’s Corporate Venture Capital Group, where Giovine ran the financial aspects of more than 200 equity capital investments in more than 75 companies. He recently served as a panelist during BioNJ’s annual BioPartnering Conference.

Bernel Hall

At 35 years old and the president and CEO of New Brunswick-based New Jersey Community Capital, Hall leads the state’s largest community development financial institution. And, while other lenders have turned to tightening amid economic headwinds and uncertainty, NJCC processed $43 million in loans in 2022—the most in its history, Hall told NJBIZ earlier this year. “Our current portfolio is $123 million in both loans to small businesses and real estate. I’m happy to say that 55% of those loans are outstanding to minority- and women-owned companies,” he said. Racial equity is at the center of NJCC’s work, which takes a holistic and all-encompassing approach to revitalizing neighborhoods. And that work – collaborating on multifaceted, public-private real estate transactions, lending to minority-owned small businesses and homebuyers, and supporting the preservation and development of affordable homes and sustainable development – is paying in increased jobs, improved access to education and by strengthening communities. Looking ahead, good things appear to be on the horizon for NJCC, in and outside of the state. Speaking to NJBIZ, Hall said the CDFI was poised to surpass its 2022 total-year lending by June of this year. And after NJCC expanded into Philadelphia with its first affordable financing deal in the city, Hall reiterated his commitment to the Garden State, along with his aspirations: “We are currently in our strategic planning stage. And we are planning to obviously continue to be based in New Jersey. So, I want to be very clear on that point. But we are going to expand nationally and do this work in communities across the country that have similar problems that we believe we can help with.”

Nancy Hall

Hall serves as senior vice president, End User Computing at Fiserv where she is responsible for the technical environment for all of the company’s associates globally. Those responsibilities included the roll out of technology at the Fiserv’s flagship location in Berkeley Heights and recently opened overseas locations in Dublin and Buenos Aires. According to the company, Hall has a unique approach to her role, focusing on the person who will use the technology, rather than the technology itself, which enables her to contribute to the creation of an exceptional workplace experience that leads to better results for clients. She is also actively involved in the company’s Employee Resource Groups and is committed to mentoring other women seeking to advance their careers and to giving back as a volunteer in the community. Before joining Fiserv, Hall served as the vice president of Desktop Computing for AXA XL, where she led a diverse, globally dispersed team of 13,000 employees to deliver a best-in-class end-user experience. According to Fiserv, she motivated her teams through a clear vision, leveraging their talents and strengths to achieve outstanding results.

Pavita Howe

Howe was appointed in December as vice president, Innovation & Entrepreneurship at BioNJ, the trade association for New Jersey’s life sciences industry. “We are thrilled to have Pavita join the BioNJ team,” said Debbie Hart, BioNJ president and CEO. “Pavita will engage and support the life sciences entrepreneurial community and innovation ecosystem expanding BioNJ’s outreach and collaboration with investor, academic, industry, and government partners with the intention to increase successful entrepreneurship.” Howe brings more than 20 years of experience in business development; marketing; strategy; program management; new product launches; business planning; and building ecosystems at startups, academic institutions and large organizations. Previously, Howe served as director of entrepreneurship partnerships at Rutgers University, where she was involved with growing the schools’ entrepreneurial ecosystem, bringing visibility to startups affiliated with RU, and connecting them to resources. Howe has hit the ground running at BioNJ, where she helped organize the group’s annual BioPartnering Conference last month, connecting more than 500 industry executives, investors, academic collaborators and business development professionals as it returned to an in-person format.

Meha Jain

As vice president of retirement strategies and assistant treasurer at Prudential Financial Inc., Jain’s responsibilities include supporting new product initiatives, corporate financial planning processes, reviewing hedging strategies, liquidity stress testing and execution of strategic initiatives. Before taking on that role, she led the borrowing and relationship management team for Prudential’s treasury department, which handles capital markets strategy, as well as funding and liquidity solutions. Along with her experience in coaching and leading high-performing teams, Jain is known for pitching innovative solutions. In 2021, she led a sustainable finance initiative for Prudential’s $4 billion sustainably linked credit facility – a first-of-its-kind in the life insurance industry.

Aiysha Johnson

Johnson was named in May as the next chief executive officer and executive director of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants, replacing Ralph Albert Thomas who retires in June after 23 years leading the organization. Johnson brings more than two decades of experience working for nonprofits, including professional and trade associations, building strategic partnerships and developing member value strategies. Most recently she was executive director of independent accounting and business advisory firm BKR International’s Americas region, where she was in charge of implementing strategic efforts for accounting. In transitioning to the new role, Johnson said, “It is an honor to continue to support the profession and build upon the amazing success of my predecessor.” Johnson went on to say the NJCPA “remains strongly positioned to support CPAs and accounting professionals” and that she looks forward to working all 13,000 members of the statewide professional association “to ensure that their needs are represented and addressed.”

Tom Lyons

Lyons, senior executive vice president and CFO at Provident Bank, is a long-time leader at the institution and has been responsible for providing strategic and tactical leadership on all critical financial areas. Serving as a member of the executive leadership team, he is a key liaison between the CEO, board of directors, management, and shareholders. Lyons oversees the management of all financial matters while also serving on the board of Beacon Trust Co., Provident Bank’s wealth management subsidiary. Last September, Provident Bank and Lakeland Bank announced a $1.3 billion merger with the combined bank operating under the “Provident Bank” name and the administrative headquarters of the company in Iselin. Lyons will continue to serve in this vital role in the new company, which will have 16 directors, consisting of nine directors from Provident and seven from Lakeland. In February, the shareholders from both sides approved the merger, which remains subject to regulatory approvals and certain other customary closing conditions. “We are excited to announce this transformational combination of two amazing organizations,” said Anthony Labozzetta, president and CEO of Provident. “The scale of profitability of the combined organization will enable us to invest in the future, better compete for market share, and better serve our customers and communities.”

Ellen Marshall

An executive vice president and head of middle market banking for NJ/NY at Santander Bank, Marshall was appointed in 2017 to lead the region’s middle market business for Santander. In that role, she brings more than 30 years of commercial banking experience in these markets. Before joining Santander, Marshall was at Capital One as its regional market executive for the New York metropolitan area. Prior to that, she was managing director for information services and technology at CIT Group, and formerly served as the New Jersey commercial market president at Santander, then Sovereign Bank, from 2002 to 2007. In November, Santander announced the appointments of two new commercial lenders as a nod to the bank’s growth in this sector, spearheaded by Marshall, a 2023 NJBIZ Leaders in Finance honoree. “The success to date of our New York/New Jersey Market, under Ellen Marshall’s leadership, has been proof of the region’s potential and our need to invest further in the wealth of opportunity here,” said Joe Abruzzo, Santander’s head of commercial banking.

Alisa McCabe

The founder, owner and managing director of First Steps Financial, a successful remote outsourced accounting firm, McCabe’s goal is to set up small businesses for success. Based in Princeton, the 15-year-old firm’s team of certified accountants – spread across five states – handles key services in the areas of bookkeeping, streamlining processes and analysis of financials so that business owners can focus on day-to-day operations. In addition, First Financial collaborates with clients on strategic thinking and planning to help owners make thoughtful decisions. McCabe, who hails from a family of entrepreneurs, also regularly appears on podcasts to discuss everything from being a female business owner to running a productive – and happy – remote firm.

Betsy McNeilly

A certified financial planner and executive director at Morgan Stanley, McNeilly leads the wealth management practice at the firm’s New Brunswick office, serving business executives, families and ultra-high net worth individuals. Her 35-plus year career in wealth management includes working at J.P. Morgan, where she managed a team of commercial lenders, and BNY Mellon, where she built a practice focused on legacy planning for business owners and families. McNeilly, a second-generation Irish immigrant who received a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a masters in finance at New York University, also uses her planning skills to make an impact in the community, serving roles with several nonprofits such as the Rutgers University Foundation board, the McCarter Theatre Center board, and the Princeton Area Community Foundation’s Strategic Planning, Audit and Professional Advisors committees. She also has held advisory board positions with organizations including TechUnited:NJ.

Robert Michlewicz

In June, Michlewicz will celebrate a year with Visual Lease, which he joined as president. Two months later marks his anniversary as CEO. And during that year, the Woodbridge-based company racked up a number of wins. In April, the lease optimization software provider reported year-over-year double-digit annual recurring revenue and customer percentage growth. In addition to overseeing corporate strategy, product, engineering, marketing, sales, customer service and general administrative functions, Michlewicz is responsible for sustaining that growth while maintaining standards—which he’s done before. With more than 20 years’ experience in the fintech sector, Michlewicz – an active member of the Young Presidents Organization-Gold – was chief strategy officer at Trintech, a provider of financial corporate performance manager software, prior to Visual Lease. During his tenure there, the company grew from 100 to more than 500 employees, maintaining year-over-year, double-digital ARR growth. The growing team – three other executives have come on board with Michlewicz at Visual Lease – is also a happy one: in 2022 the company was named a Best Places to Work by NJBIZ (a distinction based upon employee feedback). Watch to see what year two has in store.

Kevin Moyer

When you work on business transactions you need to keep your eyes peeled for trends and opportunities that may not be readily apparent. Moyer, a partner at Sax LLP and leader of the firm’s Transaction Advisory Services, does just that. As evidence, see the conference he organized, along with a colleague at KPMG, exploring investment and M&A in the veterinary business. An aging cohort of veterinarians is looking for exit opportunities for retirement. “We see we see a lot of activity within our group, as it relates to just overall health care,” he told NJBIZ. “When you think of different special needs, one of the emerging niches that we’ve been seeing more and more over the last year is veterinary. I think that you’re seeing a lot more corporate aggregators and consolidators coming into the market.” Joining Sax in 2022, Moyer has more than a decade of experience and is responsible for the overall strategy and the delivery of client related services. His transaction knowledge allows him to advise his clients on financial and operational diligence, finance transformation and corporate restructuring mandates. Before Sax, Moyer was a member of the Transaction Strategy & Execution Group at EY Parthenon, a major global strategy consulting firm. He also served as the CFO of a private equity-backed manufacturer during a large-scale turnaround and restructuring effort. His work earned both the Small Market Turnaround of the Year award from the Global M&A Network and the Restructuring Community Impact award from The M&A Advisor, having previously served as the director of M&A strategy for the firm.

Valerie Murray

In the U.S., fewer than a quarter of financial advisors are women. For women in leadership roles in the sector, the figures are about the same. As president at Beacon Trust, a company of Provident Bank, Murray is among that minority. Under her leadership – she was COO before her current role – the wealth management company has been a success, with assets under management growing to approximately $4 billion in recent years. According to those she works with, Murray’s leadership style attracts and motivates key talent with a focus on customer commitment and service. Outside of Beacon Trust, Murray is secretary of the board of directors for JBWS, a Morristown nonprofit agency that provides safety, support and solutions for victims of abuse and domestic violence. She also serves as chief wealth management officer for Provident Bank. And, like Robert Michlewicz (see above) Murray is a member of YPO. “I did not set out to become the president of a company,” she said in a 2019 interview. “I left a decent job in NYC to pursue a new opportunity 6 miles from my house, leaving behind three hours of daily commute time.” After that new opportunity led to the unexpected one to take on her current roles, Murray added she had learned good things come when you least expect them.

Phil Nisbet

Nisbet is co-founder and a director at World Insurance Associates, one of New Jersey’s most acquisitive companies. And Nisbet led acquisition strategy for the rapidly growing brokerage firm. At last count, WIA had completed more than 190 acquisitions since its founding in 2011. The company now operates in more than 250 offices across the U.S. In a 2020 interview with NJBIZ, Nisbet said WIA intended to maintain its M&A strategy and continue its growth. The company is ranked No. 34 on the 100 Largest Brokers of U.S. Business List, No. 3 on the Fastest Growing Brokers list, and No. 3 on the Fastest Growing Benefits Brokers list by Business Insurance; and No. 24 on the Top 100 P&C Agencies and No. 20 on the Top 50 Personal Lines Agencies by Insurance Journal. Nisbet boasts more than 30 years of experience at global banks in securities lending, derivatives, and commercial real estate. He was previously at Barclays, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and the chairman of Colonial American Bank.

Umasankar Nistala

Nistala is chief information officer, Payments at Fiserv. In that role, he serves as the CIO for multiple divisions within the company, focusing on solutions offered by thousands of businesses and financial institutions to enable millions of consumers to receive and pay bills and make purchases at the point of sale. Fiserv solutions are so widely used that the company reaches nearly 100% of U.S. households. Nistala has played a key role in modernizing payment platforms and building innovative new solutions to enable consumers to move money. He is actively involved in recruiting diverse, experienced and early career technology talent from the local community and is passionate about coaching and mentoring. A seasoned technologist and leader in the financial services sector, Nistala most recently was the managing director and chief executive officer for BNP Paribas India Solutions. Previously, he served 16 years with JPMorgan Chase in a variety of technology leadership roles.

Gina Tedesco

Tedesco serves as managing director and NJ Chapter lead of Golden Seeds, a national network of angel investors dedicated to investing in early-stage companies founded and led by women, and is also managing member of Amala Ventures. She is an active investor and entrepreneur who has nearly 30 years of experience that includes co-founding three startups. Amala Ventures invests in early-stage companies with diverse teams and innovative disruptive technology in the U.S. and Brazil. Her areas of expertise include internet technology, software as a service technology, biotech, pharmaceuticals and education. Tedesco is also a member and board trustee of Jumpstart NJ Angel Network. In 2020, First Lady Tammy Murphy and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority joined with Golden Seeds to launch the New Jersey chapter with an aim to build out the state’s innovation ecosystem. “We are so impressed with Golden Seeds’ track record of ensuring that female-led startups have access to the capital they need to succeed and compete on the global stage,” Murphy said at the time. “With Golden Seeds’ network of support, the potential for New Jersey’s female entrepreneurs is limitless.” Tedesco also serves on the boards of numerous private companies and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she is also an adjunct professor.

Bridget and Wesley Wilcox

In the past year, Bridget and Wesley Wilcox have closed more than half a billion dollars in commercial real estate financings. The pair, who were promoted to partners at Morristown’s G.S. Wilcox & Co. in 2022, have also been integral in expanding the firm’s loan servicing portfolio to more than $1.6 billion. Bridget is responsible for originating and underwriting debt and equity financing; Wesley assists with underwriting and origination functions, and both are involved with growing the firm’s relationships and its capabilities. Outside of the office, they’re also involved in the industry with organizations including NAIOP, Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce, Urban Land Institute and Morris Arts. Wesley serves as a trustee of NAIOP NJ and Bridget serves on the executive board of the Morris Arts Organization and advisory board of Citizens Bank. Another reason to watch? Bridget and Welsey are literally what’s next, representing the second generation of ownership at the family-owned commercial real estate mortgage banking firm founded by their mother, Gretchen Wilcox.

Mike Wiley

At Princeton-based Foundation Venture Capital Group, Wiley serves as vice president and oversees a team that provides funding as well as pre-seed investments for health-related projects and startups. Wiley’s team supports health-related portfolio companies by providing financing and assisting with various strategic, operational and back-office management issues associated with developing and growing early-stage, health-related companies. Foundation works with a select group of affiliate partner institutions throughout the state including Hackensack Meridian Health, Kessler Foundation, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Rowan University, Rutgers University and Stevens Institute of Technology. “We don’t only support health care and the traditional therapeutic or medical device market segments, we are also interested in projects across multiple other domains of health – planetary health and community health – as well,” Wiley told TechUnited last year. “We are especially excited to see the recent increase in AgTech and FoodTech technologies being developed, as a sustainable food sources will be critical for a sustainable future. We’re constantly staying innovative – we look forward projects at an extremely early stage of development and help them understand what it takes to bring their technology out of the lab.”

Joseph Yewaisis

Things are happening at Union County Savings Bank and those things are thanks to Yewaisis, who took the lead at the community bank in 2022 as chairman and CEO. Since then, the bank is nearly unrecognizable from what it was, aligning itself more closely with the current needs of the community and introducing new services and capabilities, like online banking. The diversification of the $2 billion institution’s model is timely, too—moving away from simply providing high rates on CDs, reinvesting the money and living off the spread while retaining interest rate risk, which is less ideal in the current environment, as it was described. Another big change is the team Yewaisis has built: a slate of executives – three-quarters of whom are women – where previously there had been none except for the CEO. As a leader, that team says Yewaisis empowers others to do what they need to, deferring to their experience and fostering a flat organization with lots of open communication and collaboration. The physical spaces the bank occupies are undergoing changes as well, with investments in its four locations physically conveying UCSB’s commitment. Between a recently opened administrative office in Springfield and upgrades at UCSB’s Elizabeth branches, including its historic and current headquarters, so far more than $11 million has gone into building better spaces, with a refresh for the Cranford branch planned as well. “And that starts with Joe,” an executive at the bank said about the values that drive the team’s work. Having celebrated his anniversary in March, Yewaisis is just getting started. With an infectious energy – for his work, the communities UCSB serves, and for his team – the leader is proving that a nearly 140-year-old institution can still learn some new tricks.