‘Womenomics’ is focus of upcoming, innovative conference in Jersey City

Daryl Rand said she has been working on an upcoming, innovative, three-day event for nearly a year.But in reality, “One World: Empowering Women for the Global Conversation” has been more than a decade in the making.  

“Future business leaders, and especially women, must learn to become globalists,” Rand, CEO and president of Guttenberg-based HarrisonRand Advertising, said. “Their products, services and leadership will undoubtedly be affected by what is going on in the world, and will change the dialogues that they have on a routine basis within their own business landscapes.”  

The program, hosted by New Jersey City University’s School of Business from May 17 through May 19 at the Mack-Cali Harborside Complex in Jersey City, will focus extensively on “womenomics” and the empowerment and advancement of women in multiple areas, including health care, financial wellness, education, corporate leadership, entrepreneurship and global business.  

With a strong focus on technology-enabled live conversations with women leaders in India and China, more than 350 members of the business community and university students are expected to attend.

“This conference intends to remind us to refocus our energies on acquiring the necessary skills that will position us well within a global marketplace,” Rand said. “I believe that impacting hundreds of people within multiple networks and spheres of influence, while also communicating with and bringing together those living in other countries, will make all the difference when it comes to the realization of gender parity.”  

Rand already is an expert in such matters.  

As former president of the New York Chapter of the International Advertising Association and the IAA World Board, Rand observed that very few women ever got the chance to attend world congresses or participate in global organizations.

In response, starting in 2005, Rand organized and led groups of businesswomen from New Jersey and New York in traveling to India for a week to establish and grow business relationships and encourage gender parity.

Since its beginnings, approximately 120 women have traveled as part of Friends of India to serve both networking and philanthropic purposes by supporting Children’s Hope India.

“Many of the women who traveled with Friends of India served on the advisory committee for ‘One World,’ ” Rand said. “They have all been enriched, both professionally and personally, by gaining much more diverse insights into the global economy.”

Alma DeMetropolis, manager director and market manager for J.P. Morgan Private Bank of New Jersey, and Sue Henderson, president of New Jersey City University, are just two of the women who traveled with Rand as part of the organization.   

“Given that JPMorgan Chase is a global financial services firm, ‘One World’ is very much in line with what we promote within our own workplace and industry,” DeMetropolis said. “This event will take a 360 degree view, knowing that what is good for women is good for families, good for communities, and good for businesses.  

“For me, that was a critical factor is us deciding to support this event.”

JPMorgan Chase will act as the lead sponsor for the event.  

“JPMorgan Chase also wants to continue to try to understand what the global practices and barriers are in terms of building wealth and improving financial health for women, and what the leadership, investment and communication strategies may be to continue helping women remain competitive in the global marketplace,” DeMetropolis added.  

Sue Henderson said she knew New Jersey City University was the perfect host for such an event given the diversity of Jersey City.  

“Within any diverse group, we need to start earlier to empower our children, both male and female, to achieve success and leadership in any industry,” Henderson said. “While there may of course be cultural differences, for women, in particular, we have found across the globe that many do not know exactly how to maneuver within the system and advocate for themselves.  
“We want to help change that.”  

Rand believes the global connection of this event will help to play a significant part in that change.  

“While we typically view issues through an American lens, this event will help us to look at the same issues through the lens of other countries, such as China and India,” she said. “What can we learn from each other?”

Event speakers will include Katty Kay, lead anchor, BBC World News America; Michele Brown, president and CEO of Choose New Jersey; Michellene Davis, executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer of RWJBarnabas Health; Rebecca Freed, partner, Genova Burns; Michele Siekerka, president and CEO, New Jersey Business and Industry Association; and Alfa Demmellash, co-founder, Rising Tide Capital; among others.

Aspiring managers hoping to rise to the C-suite and women entrepreneurs are especially encouraged to attend the event.  

For more information, click here.

Gambling on millennials As A.C. turns away from gaming, play to the millennial culture may be key to diversified growth

Boraie Development has been in the real estate game for decades. The family-owned company is well known for making long-term plays in less-than-perfect urban areas, such as New Brunswick and Newark.

So when Wasseem Boraie, the second-generation leader who serves as the company vice president, went before his final meeting with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in Atlantic City a few years back, he was a bit surprised by their question:

“Are you insane?” they asked. “We just had four casinos close in a month.”

“I said, ‘Yeah, but you’ve got seven left,’” Boraie replied.

He can laugh about the moment now, because he was able to close the deal.

And he is a big supporter of the gaming industry — “Tell me a municipality that wouldn’t want a $2.5 billion industry?” — but, he wasn’t necessarily betting on an Atlantic City comeback because it was a gaming town.

He was betting that Atlantic City would also become a go-to destination for millennials.

Boriae, speaking earlier this month at a Future of Atlantic City conference sponsored by the Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said the time is right to put a new face on the old gaming town.

“Our family is humbled to have been selected as one of the first private developers to actually build in Atlantic City,” he said. “It’s something we take very seriously.

“That’s why we’re putting together something that I think is really going to make millennials want to live here.”

His $81 million project, the Beach at South Inlet, will have 250 luxury units, all of which will have state-of-the art updates and amenities. The project, he said, is the first of its kind in the city in decades. Which is another reason he had confidence when others didn’t.

“When we looked at the 50,000 people that still work in the greater Atlantic City area, 85 percent live in Atlantic County but only 5 percent live in Atlantic City. That’s what we’re going to draw from.

“I think the reason for a lot of these young people (not living in Atlantic City) is that there is no new product.”

Boraie intends to give Atlantic City new product. Others, too, aim to give it something other than gaming.


Michael Renna, the CEO and president of South Jersey Industries, remembers when his predecessor, Edward Graham, first posed the idea of moving a big part of the company from Folsom to Atlantic City.

He remembers there not being much of a discussion.

The company, then called South Jersey Gas, had started decades before in Atlantic City. Renna said management felt the move was right, despite the less-than-stellar situation Atlantic City faced.

“It was the right thing to do,” Renna said at the conference. “It was coming home. Sometimes, when your hometown is in trouble, you run into the fire, not away from it. We couldn’t be happier in our decision to relocate. We think it’s going to be game-changing for our company.”

The company’s new building will be a seven-story tower over a parking garage. It will serve as one of the anchors of the soon-to-be formally introduced Gateway Project by the Atlantic City Development Corp., or ACDevco. The project will feature a campus for Stockton University, including dorms that face the ocean.

In other words, it will be everything millennials want.

And make no doubt about it, South Jersey Industries wants millennials, too.

“It’s a chance for us to accommodate a growing workforce; it’s also an opportunity for us to accommodate a changing workforce,” Renna said. “We’re not getting any younger. Our employee base is a utility company at its core. It’s everything that you would think it is. It’s a big old 1974 Oldsmobile as its culture.

“But that’s changing rapidly. We are getting much younger as an organization, with an infusion of young, bright, energetic talent in our organization. Millennials want a different type of work environment and this is giving us an opportunity to do that. It’s going to be game-changing for us because we can build the kind of building and equip it with the type of amenities that will allow us to attract the type of talent that is going to make this company a success long after all of us are gone and retired.”

Outside, Renna is confident there will be plenty of restaurants and coffeeshops to entice the next generation of workers. But he’s still planning on making the inside modern, too.

“Things that people are looking for today in a workplace, we’ll be able to put in this building, whether it’s a fitness studio or expanded dining options,” he said. “The new workforce is communal. You don’t really have a desk. You come in and pick a spot where you want to work for the day.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity. I think it’s going to be great for our existing employees, but I think it’s going to greatly improve our ability to go out and attract and retain the kind of talent that we need — those who are in college or graduating from college and are looking for their second job post-college.”

Those are just the type of millennials the city is looking for, too.


Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Atlantic City will always be a gaming town. That was evident at the news conference to announce the opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.

The event, which took place two days before the Future of Atlantic City panel, was on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

“I was fortunate enough to be there,” Renna said. “It really was an unbelievable experience. There’s some real energy in Atlantic City right now.

“I have never been more certain of our decision to move to Atlantic City as I am today. I really think that the city’s new birth is not coming, it’s happening.”

It’s happening, Boraie feels, because the city had to go through a necessary turnover.

“In Atlantic City, due to casinos being the only game in town for 40 years, land prices were exorbitant,” he said. “The unfortunate shrinking of the Atlantic City gaming market actually, in a strange way, created this opportunity for more of the other corporate partners to come into Atlantic City.”

It took, Boraie said, a number of things going in the right direction.

“Our bet was basically that the government was going to have to balance itself out,” he said. “We were betting that the gaming monopoly would stand, which we thought was very important to the brand because psychology has a lot to do with where people live. People have to believe in this city for it to have energy. Things that happen like the Hard Rock starts creating what John Maynard Keynes called, ‘Animal Spirits.’ It gets people excited about what’s happening in Atlantic City.”

No one is more excited than Don Guardian.

The Atlantic City mayor has come under fire from the state, which wrestled away control of the city’s finances.

But Guardian never gave up hope, and is thrilled to see his city suddenly be on a winning streak.

“We’re business friendly,” he said. “Atlantic City is back. We’re like Dracula — they’ve tried to kill us, but we keep just coming back. We’re a resilient city: 2018 is going to be a great year. We’re going to be tired of cutting ribbons.”

Guardian said the next budget will see a reduction of $56 million without a reduction in services.

“We’ll have about 400 fewer employees,” he said. “We don’t like to do that, but it’s necessary.”

Guardian said the new Atlantic City will have more to offer, especially to the younger set, rattling off concerts, air shows, Red Bull events and triathlons, among other events.

“I think we have something for everyone, whether you are enjoying a fine film or a scotch,” he said. “We have five Iron Chefs in the city with everything from fun dining to fancy dining. It’s a place to come have fun, let your hair down. It’s a great place for a second home.

“This is going to be a millennial city. That’s who we think is going to be moving here. We want this to be cool. We want them to enjoy themselves. We would prefer for them not to have cars, not to pollute the air. We want them to be able to walk and enjoy themselves, find the coffeehouses in the morning and be able to crawl home safely from that cocktail bar from the night before. That’s what we’re looking to be.”

Taco Pizza is latest craze helping Tony Boloney’s build on its success

When was the last time one of the items off your menu was flown on a private jet to the Bahamas?When was the last time one of the items off your menu was flown on a private jet to the Bahamas?

For Tony Boloney’s in Hoboken, that was Wednesday.

The item? A Taco Pizza.

Owner Mike Hauke is no stranger to gimmicks and ways to capture media attention.

His “Mustache Mobile” and “Farm Table” trucks are hard to miss, as are his giveaways — one of the most recent to the first responders at the train crash site in Hoboken last September.

“I usually think of goofy gimmicky stuff. I’ll be honest, this one has brought us more exposure than anything. This was the one time I was not like, let’s do a gimmicky thing,” Hauke said.

It all began when he was at his Hoboken location (his other, the original, is in Atlantic City) and a couple of teens who were “high as hell” walked in asking for tacos about a month ago.

“They were good kids, they’re in here all the time. Surfers and skaters,” Hauke said. “They said, ‘Yo, what’s up, can we get some tacos?’ I said, ‘I see you once a week. You do understand we don’t make tacos, right?’”

But they kept asking, and Hauke was reminded of his own days as a teen.

He recalls his mother making nachos for him and his friends when they had the munchies.

“As long as we were with her and home, she would make us happy. She knew. But we were all really good kids. I was never a slacker stoner,” he said.

So when the teens walked in, and he happened to have a tortilla press in the kitchen, he got his chef on board to start making some tacos. The teens were raving about how good they were, and Hauke went one step further.

“They were bugging out, said it was the best tacos ever,” Hauke said. “I was once one of those kids, high as hell. I just kept thinking, ‘That used to be me. I used to be these guys. I’m going to blow their minds.’”

He made a large pie, threw on some guacamole, chips and cheese, and made sure each slice had three tacos on it.

That was about one month ago.

On Wednesday, he was sending five taco pizza pies on a plane, and had more than 300 orders preordered for the next three days.

And he’s going to introduce the new Taco Tuesday item on Thursdays in Atlantic City, which usually sees weekend traffic year-round, he said.

The history of Tony Boloney’s is well-known in Atlantic City, where Hauke started the small food business in the shadow of what would be the Revel casino.

It was 2008, and he catered to the roughly 5,000 construction workers daily as Revel was built. But he served more standard fare of hot dogs and hamburgers.

After realizing it wasn’t a stable business plan, he closed for a few months, stopped selling the assembly-line style foods and reopened with a made-from-scratch focus.

Then in 2009, he focused on paying attention to demand and his supplies, moved toward 40 percent fresh and 60 percent manufactured. “That was when Tony Baloney’s opened in its current form,” Hauke said.

The company is starting to taste success after opening location No. 2 in Hoboken in 2014.

The two markets are different and have different demands. Atlantic City is a seasonal spot and sees traffic on the weekends. Hauke has between four to 15 employees at that location, depending on the season. Sales have been growing at roughly 10 percent per year.

“It slowed when Revel closed and has been steady since,” Hauke said.

Meanwhile Hoboken employs about 25 to 45 employees depending on the season and is growing at roughly 25 percent per year. It’s more active from September through May and lends itself to the New York City crowd for customers and catering.

“When I started in A.C. as brick and mortar, Revel was being constructed and there were 5,000 construction workers. We were doing well and I wasn’t focused on the margins and the business. I was just focused on business development. I sacrificed a lot in terms of the bottom line,” Hauke said.

But soon he realized he wasn’t making money, mostly breaking even at best.

Loved in the area by his loyal customers, he stayed open seven days a week, even though it was draining his resources.

But, after some time, once Revel failed, he realized he needed to adopt a new strategy.

So, now Atlantic City is only open Thursday through Sunday, and Hoboken is open during the week from September through May, Hauke said.

“When I didn’t (close) for years, I lost hand over fist because people wanted me open. I can’t accommodate everyone for everything,” he said.

But with Hoboken “rocking” and a line out the door, Hauke believes he’s finally figured out both markets.