BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Each week leading to the November 8 election, the candidates running for Berkeley Heights Township Council will answer question(s) that will be run in a series by TAP into Berkeley Heights.
The following answers are from Democratic candidate Jillian "Jill" Zatta.
Why are you running for council?
.l feel very fortunate to have grown up in Berkeley Heights. My family moved here from Brooklyn, NY, in search of a great school system, a strong community spirit, and everything the suburban quality of life has to offer. I played recreation sports, attended church at Little Flower, studied at the library, and otherwise took advantage of every opportunity this town provided. It was a wonderful way to grow up. Since moving back to town in 2015, I have been able to experience Berkeley Heights as an adult resident. As I think about what I want for my own family, the safe community and strong public schools come full circle.
This well-rounded perspective is the foundation of my bid to serve fellow Berkeley Heights residents on Township Council. Very few of us can say that they understand what it means to be more than one kind of resident. I have been enrolled in the school system and played on our public sports fields, but also know how to identify with what new homeowners are looking for in a community.
What unique skills or knowledge will you bring to the council?
I have always been driven to serve. When I graduated Skidmore College in 2006, I immediately started working in the Newark office of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. I saw firsthand how the Senator supported his constituency at home and in Washington. It solidified the belief that good governance and appropriate policy can drive a real good in our lives. The current presidential election has obscured this truth from the political discussion. It’s time that we remember that government can be a force for positive change and support at the local level. I plan to prove that to Berkeley Heights.
It’s not just my government experience that makes me qualified. Following my time at the Senator’s office, I worked at Goldman Sachs, supporting training and development initiatives for the Securities Division. I honed my business acumen while learning financial markets from one of the most prestigious investment banks in the world. I parlayed that love of business into a role at a small, scrappy technology startup. I was the company's first employee and I helped grow it from the ground up. In the early days, I wore many hats - operations, finance, business development, even human resources. We were a small team on a tight budget, but we made it work by being responsible, working with others, and negotiating positions that allowed us to keep the lights on the longest. Now we're a nationally recognized mobile technology company backed by Intel. Currently, I am the Director of Customer Success, a client services position. I oversee all of our accounts - major league sports teams, giant entertainment companies - taking them from contract negotiation to market execution. I am going to bring a business approach to Township Council. I will consider my fellow residents like I do my customers: people that need to be respected, understood, and served.
My background is diverse and successful because of one thing: a unwavering belief in the power of hard work. It's a principle I apply to everything I do; Council is no exception.
My running mate, Stephen Yellin, and I are running on a platform we call 'Positively Berkeley Heights'. It's about celebrating Berkeley Heights by balancing tradition with progress and supporting change that will continue to make the town a great place to live, play, and work. I hope you will be inspired to go Positively Berkeley Heights! with us in November.
Related article: Get to Know the Candidates for Berkeley Heights Township Council