ELIZABETH, NJ – More than 200 business women filled the ballroom of the Clubhouse at Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth for the Third Annual Union County Women Mean Business May 13.

The Summit was the brainchild of Freeholder Linda Carter. “When Alexander Mirabella was chair of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, he initiated a series of seminars, Union County Means Business,” remembered Carter. “When I became chair the next year, I saw a need for a women’s summit. I believe in empowering women, and our current chair Mohamed Jalloh has continued it.”

 The response to the event tells the whole story.

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“One of the things we are seeing is there is truly a need for this,” said Carter. “We were a little late announcing this year’s summit, and we have never filled up so quickly. We are maxed out right now. There are so many resources out there for women in business. This is a great networking event. It gives women all the tools needed to successfully network.”

The group was greeted by the Board of Chosen Freeholders chair Mohamed Jalloh, who paid homage to the women in his life. “Working women are more than just fashionable,” he said. “I acknowledge my mother and aunts who were working women while pursuing graduate degrees. My goal was to be like these women who were successful despite the obstacles. They were an inspiration to watch. Whenever I am facing my own obstacles, I think of the women in my life and what they had to overcome to get where they are today.”

The keynote speaker was Kristina Hahn, who is the head of consumer packaged goods at Google. She advised the audience, “Set balances for the things you want to do. It is about balancing your life. Don’t hold yourself to an unrealistic schedule. Take risks. Support one another.”

Heads nodded when Hahn said, “Remove ‘should’ from your vocabulary.” She also advised the woman to choose one small thing they could do for themselves each day. She turns off her email in the evening.

Hahn ended by saying, “There is so much opportunity out there. You just have to believe in yourself.”

The attendees then broke into workshop groups. They had a choice of two out six to attend:

Tales from the Front Lines: How Local Women Business Owners Continue to Beat the Odds

Panelists: Maureen Tinen, President, UCEDC, moderator

            Amy Boroff, Owner, BeCraftful

            Mary Dressendofer, Owner, Dancer’s Pointe

             Lockey Maisonneuve, Yoga Teacher, Cancer Exercise Specialist, Founder                                                 of MovingOn

             Colleen Shea, National Sales Manager, Pen Company of America

What Happens When Women Take the Lead: How to be an Effective Leader

Presenter: Phyllis Mirabella, Assistant Vice President, Operations, Chubb Insurance;                                          Community Leader

Say Yes to Yourself: Practical Tips for Healthy Living

Presenter: Mary Farrell, RN, BSN CCRN, CCU Clinical Coordinator, Overlook Medical                                    Center

Maximize Your Network: Using Social Media to Build Your Connections

            Panelists: Kay LiCausi, President & CEO, Hoboken Strategy Group

                            Katelyn Nudo-Drozd, HR Project Manager, Pearson

                            Ellen Cagnassola, Owner, Sweet Soaps

Ask for What You Want: A Women’s Guide to Negotiating

            Panelists: Mark Spivey, Director of Communication, Union County                                                                 Prosecutor’s Office

                             Grace Park, Union County Prosecutor

                             Dr. Margaret McMenamin, President of Union County College 

Finding Your Voice: What Disney Characters Can Teach Us About Public Speaking

            Presenter: Lisa Harris, Principal, L.A. Harris, Inc.

The Summit ended with a reception, a final networking opportunity.