West Orange, NJ, May 4, 2016----- On Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 6:00 P.M. at the Hilton East Brunswick, Executive
Women of New Jersey (EWNJ) will honor 11 executive women from RWJBarnabas
Health for their trailblazing work in advancing women’s leadership
at the organization’s signatureSalute to the Policy Makers Gala. In keeping with EWNJ’s mission to ensure that women have equal
access to boards and senior corporate governance, this gala will showcase
the abundance of high-achieving women leaders in New Jersey. It will also
recognize companies that have created cultures the embrace advancement of women.
Salute to the Policy Makers Gala will honor 38 of the most successful women leaders in the state. “There
is a persistent misconception that the reason women are underrepresented
in top corporate leadership is because there are not enough qualified
women to assume these positions. This false perception creates a barrier
to women’s advancement, which is why highlighting the multitude
of well-qualified women is so essential,” explained Michellene Davis,
Esq., Gala Chair, EWNJ President-Elect, and RWJBarnabas Health Executive
Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer.
The 11 RWJBarnabas Health Executive Women to be honored includes:
Jennifer G. Velez, Senior Vice President, Community and Behavioral Health
from RWJBarnabas Health Corporate;
Lea Rodriguez, MAS, BS, RN, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of
Patient Care Services, Clara Maass Medical Center;
Teri Kubiel, DNP, MSN, NE, BC, Assistant Vice President, Community Medical Center;
Brenda Hall, CPHQ, CPPS, HACP, Senior Vice President, Quality and Safety,
Jersey City Medical Center;
Sharon Holden, MPA, RN, RDCS, Assistant Vice President of Cardiopulmonary,
Critical Care, and Emergency Services, Monmouth Medical Center;
Marilyn M. Harris, DMin, MDiv, MBA, BSMT (ASCP), Administrative Director
of Laboratory Services, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center;
Kristin G. Fless, MD, FCCP, Director, Division of Critical Care, Department
of Medicine and Director, Interventional Pulmonology, Saint Barnabas Medical Center;
Alice Robinson, Chief Human Resources Officer and Vice President, Barnabas
Health Behavioral Center;
Sherine E. Gabriel, MD, MSc, Dean, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical
School and Chief Executive Officer, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group;
Ann Marie Shears, RN, MA, NE-BC, Vice President, Patient Services and Chief
Nursing Officer, RWJUH Rahway; and
Lisa Breza, MSN, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, RWJUH Hamilton.
“Diverse boards and executive teams are crucial to the long-term
success of a corporation in today’s market,” said Barry H.
Ostrowsky, President and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health and Salute Honorary
Chair. “That’s why I’m honored to join with EWNJ and
recognize the contributions of these outstanding women leaders.”
In addition to highlighting the gender diversity efforts of top women leaders,
EWNJ will also honor the advocacy efforts of companies named to its Business
Honor Roll. The Business Honor Roll celebrates firms that acknowledge
systemic barriers to gender diversity and have made women’s development
a priority through sponsorship and mentoring, goal setting, and hiring
initiatives. “It is not only important to advocate for inclusion
as an organization, we must also celebrate the companies that pioneer
changes in the workplace that further women’s leadership. As proven
in the EWNJ 2015 report on corporate gender diversity, companies with
diverse boards and senior leadership consistently outperform the market,”
stated Barbara E. Kauffman, Gala Vice Chair, EWNJ Board Member, and Executive
Vice President of the Newark Regional Business Partnership.
ThroughSalute to the Policy Makers, EWNJ raises funds for leadership programs, most notably its Graduate
Merit Award Program, which is focused on establishing a pipeline of future
women leaders. As the largest provider of scholarships to non-traditional
women graduate students in New Jersey, EWNJ is proud to have awarded over
$1.2 million to deserving candidates over the last 30 years.
The gala will also feature a keynote address by insurance industry trailblazer
Christine LaSala, Chair of Willis Towers Watson, North America.
Founded in 1980, EWNJ is the leading senior-level executive women’s
organization that is committed to increasing the presence of women serving
on corporate boards and in the top leadership of New Jersey companies.
To this end, we publish a biennial report, in partnership with PwC, on
the number of women on boards and in the senior governance of publicly
traded companies in New Jersey. This report is the only one of its kind
in the state.
We also host an array of events designed to offer women executives prime
networking opportunities, to bolster and amplify our gender diversity
advocacy efforts, and to raise funds for our Graduate Merit Award Program,
which is focused on establishing a pipeline of future leaders. As the
largest provider of scholarships to non-traditional women graduate students
in New Jersey, we are proud to have awarded over $1.2 million to deserving
candidates over the last 30 years.
For more information, visit our website at