In a “hiring coup” the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce on May 12 announced Patricia Teffenhart joined the organization as senior vice president, Strategic Initiatives.
In her new role, Teffenhart will report directly to Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Bracken.
“This is a hiring coup for the state Chamber,” Bracken said. “Patricia is highly regarded both in the business community and in the halls of state government because she has been a force for positive change on some of New Jersey’s most difficult and sensitive issues.
“I was flattered when Patricia proactively reached out to me to discuss the possibilities of joining the state Chamber. There was no doubt in my mind we wanted her on our team,” Bracken continued. “Patricia said she was looking for new challenges. I told her she would be coming to the right place. The business community is facing new and more complex challenges all the time.”
Teffenhart will primarily be responsible for ensuring that the objectives of the Chamber’s diversity and inclusion strategic initiative are met. In addition, her lobbying experience is expected to add more depth to the Chamber’s already strong government relations team.
Teffenhart served as executive director of the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) for the past seven years. In 2019, the Chamber struck a partnership with NJCASA to help address the continuing issues of sexual assault and harassment of women in the workplace.
“We need people who are not shy about leading, and Patricia is not shy,” said Linda Bowden, chair of the New Jersey Chamber’s board of directors. “We saw that as she brought the issues of workplace sexual assault and harassment to the forefront, and demanded action both from the state Legislature and the business community.”
“The fact that the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce has added Patricia to its team speaks to the importance the Chamber attaches to diversity and inclusion,” said John Harmon Sr., founder, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACNJ). “Having watched Patricia effectively lead NJCASA, I believe she is the right person to ensure our diversity initiative will have the impact across the business community we all want it to have. Patricia’s addition to our collective efforts to improve the economic conditions for black people and black-owned businesses in New Jersey is desperately needed and we at the AACCNJ applaud this decision.”
The N.J. Chamber and the African American Chamber of New Jersey have been working together on the diversity initiative since the boards of both organizations signed a memorandum of understanding last August.