This year, the North Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® marks the 15th anniversary of its founding this year. As the Affiliate celebrates the many lives its touched over the years, the many lives it has helped save, it’s revealing some exciting changes and a revitalized and determined outlook for the future. There are new spaces—on September 14, the Affiliate will pack up its pink ribbons and move from “Komen House” at 785 Springfield Avenue in Summit into a new, modern, more efficient space in the Prisco Building at 44 Middle Avenue in Summit. And there are some new faces.
According to the Affiliate’s new Executive Director, Jennifer Griola, this is a Komen North Jersey that is renewed in spirit, steadfast in its commitment and driven to reach more, to help more, and to have a greater impact on the 4.5 million people in the nine counties that comprise its service area. “This is such an exciting time to be a part of the North Jersey Affiliate,” says Ms. Griola. We really are beginning a new era. As we celebrate our 15th year, we have a new location, new staff and lots of new ideas circulating. You can literally feel the energy and enthusiasm when you walk through the door each day. More than ever, we are focused on our vision—to eradicate breast cancer forever. I recently lost my grandmother to breast cancer, and I hope that by the time my two little girls grow up and I’m a grandmother, their children will know a world without breast cancer.”
Ms. Griola brings hands-on experience in non-profit management to her position. She double-majored in Psychology and Religious Studies and minored in Sociology/Women’s studies for her undergraduate degree from the prestigious Allegheny College, and holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Kentucky. Her early career as a social worker involved working with troubled youth at a large multi-service community organization serving the Cincinnati area. Through a series of fairly quick promotions, Ms. Griola eventually became the Family Center Director where she oversaw a staff of 40 and managed eight program areas. More recently, she taught Social Justice at a Manhattan private high school, and after starting a family, turned her focus to health and wellness which “morphed” into a deep passion for women’s empowerment. She has spoken nationally not only on health and wellness, but on the importance of women supporting one another and maintaining positive self-esteem. Ms. Griola is a resident of West Orange, NJ.
The Affiliate is also pleased to announce the appointment of Mary P. Ruotolo of Westfield, NJ as Director of Development (a newly-created position), and Marianne Wiatroski of Union, NJ as the new Volunteer and Events Manager. Ms. Ruotolo brings an extensive background in the non-profit and government sectors to her new position at Komen North Jersey, along with a BA in Political Science from Kean University. Most recently, she was Senior Consultant for Donor and Public Relations at The Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ, where she was responsible for cultivating and managing a portfolio of major gift and planned giving donors. As Director of Development, Ms. Ruotolo will oversee all fundraising initiatives for the organization including sponsorships, special events, planned giving and major gifts. Ms. Ruotolo will also manage all the details for the Affiliate’s signature event, the Pink Tie Ball®, which is returning on Friday, November 2nd (at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston, NJ) after a two-year hiatus.
Ms. Wiatroski is a licensed registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Kean University. Prior to joining Komen North Jersey, Ms. Wiatroski was employed as the Director of Development at an educational non-profit involved with events, volunteers, fundraising, campus tours and marketing. As Volunteer and Events Manager, Ms. Wiatroski will oversee the Affiliate’s comprehensive volunteer program including recruitment, training, staffing health fairs and other outside events, and recognition. Ms. Wiatroski will also help to plan and implement major events such as the annual Race for the Cure and the Pink Tie Ball®.
Since its founding in 1997, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure North Jersey Affiliate has awarded over $14.7 million in community grants to local non-profit organizations in support of life-saving education, screening and treatment support services for uninsured and underinsured women and men in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties. Last year alone, the Affiliate helped to provide over 4,600 screening mammograms and reached over 51,000 individuals with its breast care/breast cancer awareness education programs. They have also directed $6.4 million towards national research programs in pursuit of new breast cancer screening techniques, better treatment options, and the ultimate vision—a world without breast cancer.