HOLMDEL, NJ: A snowstorm threat didn't stop the crowd who gathered to celebrate International Women's Day at Bell Works and support the #PressForProgress movement. Women and men filled the open atrium space enjoying cocktails, great food, upbeat music and plenty of mingling, before going downstairs to hear a series of motivating talks from five successful business women.
Paola Zamudio, Creative Director at Bell Works and Founder of NPZ Style + Decor, enthusiastically gave the opening remarks. She thanked and welcomed everyone and received great applause from the audience after exclaiming, "This year's International Women's Day theme is: Press for Progress! Let's press for progress and celebrate all women! I personally owe everything I am to a woman, my mom!!" Zamudio's mom traveled from Miami to celebrate the event with her daughter. Zamudio talked about how thankful she is to work with so many wonderful and inspiring women...and gave special thanks to Somerset Developer Ralph Zucker who was seated in the audience.
The successful free event was hosted by Performance Coach, Casey DeStefano whose commentary was met with loud applause, "Tonight is about celebrating women...we have the potential to inspire others, to give hope and to change lives. So please know that when you give your big NJ woo hoo applause tonight, you are clapping for all of the girls and women everywhere who have the will to tell their story...!"
The keynote speakers were Vice President of Product Management at Vydia, Jenna Gaudio who spoke about "How to get What you Want in the Workplace and in Life". Gaudio shared many personal work experiences and her team building initiatives. Gaudio, a female leader in technology shared her personal success with breaking through barriers and creating an all inclusive work environment where today she has a highly successful team and Vydia was voted one of the best places to work in 2018 by NJ BIZ.
Sarah Krug, Founder of Health Collaboratory and Executive Director of CANCER 101, gave a powerful inspirational talk about the great challenges she had in her young life, starting with losing her beloved mother to breast cancer when she was a young girl, and how her life was then turned upside down overnight. Krug tells her personal story of strength and determination, how she faced what was seemingly impossible, and how she overcame and persevered. Krug spoke about being stuck in a bad situation and life changing possibilities and commented, "Overcoming fear is the prerequisite for greatness..." and continued; "Almost every superhero story begins with loss and darkness and eventually leads to the discovery of the power within. It’s time to awaken that inner super hero we each possess to overcome challenges and conquer those dreams that seem out of reach."
Margaretha P. Laurenzi, Director of the Communication Foundation of New Jersey spoke about philanthropy and the power of women to make real change in the world. Laurenzi also gave a shout out to Impact 100 Jersey Coast who made a strong presence at the event. Laurenzi said, "Every woman has the potential to create positive change... What can you do?" she asked. The interesting line up also included Senior Director of Cloud Services at iCIMS, Jennifer Scandariato, who spoke about her mother who immigrated to the United States from Mexico at only age 16, and her father who came from Europe. "I learned to become a pioneer from both of my parents...I face fear everyday and I make it my friend...we all have a story to tell and it's part of our journey." Scandariato went on to speak about overcoming fear and the courage to move through it. Christine Zilinski, owner of Salon Concrete spoke directly about her challenges as a small business owner and offered encouragement for women to follow their dreams and find their inner strength to persevere through challenges.
Next, Paola Zamudio returned to the stage rallying a great round of applause for all of the inspirational speakers and reminding the audience to 'strive for gender parity in their lives and workplaces'. The event concluded with a video loop (see link below) of a young girl giving away purple balloons in the atrium at Bell Works. The purple balloons representing the color designated for International Women's Day, stand for "visionary thinking," according to International Women's Day organizers, and dates back to the early 20th century. Many attendees mingled afterwards and there was a lot of cheerful chatter.
See Video here created by Silver Style Pictures and Marketing Rival as part of Bell Works' #AtWork video series.
Christine Hallery of Middletown, commented, "I think the talks tonight were so inspiring that everyone is leaving tonight feeling great! There are so many valuable take home messages from the speakers. It was just an all around great event."
Catering was provided by Chef Marilyn Schlossbach and Cocktails by Caravan. The entertainment was provided by DJ Mel Houston of http://www.incrediblesoundz.com