Emerge New Jersey, the premiere political training organization for Democratic women in the state, will hold its First Annual Women of Achievement Gala on Thursday, October 1, 2015 from 6pm to 8pm at The Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset, New Jersey.

The Women of Achievement Gala will honor eight Democratic women and one Democratic man, who are making a difference in New Jersey to help secure a Democratic future for women of New Jersey. “Our gala honorees are individuals who have made significant strides within the Democratic community in New Jersey and we are honored to acknowledge the work they’ve done and continue to do,” said Emerge New Jersey’s Executive Director Truscha Quatrone.

The Women of Achievement Gala will be MC’d by Tara Dowdell, a highly accomplished communications strategist. Tara is the Founder and President of the Tara Dowdell Group, a socially conscious marketing and PR firm. Propelled by her work ethic, passion, and extensive network of contacts, the Tara Dowdell Group has cultivated an impressive list of clients in healthcare, education, transportation infrastructure, real estate development and community development.

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In addition to her consulting practice, Tara is a respected television commentator and speaker. She appears regularly on MSNBC and Al Jazeera America where she provides progressive insight and analysis on a range of political, government, and business topics. She can also be seen on Fox 5 Good Day New York and Fox 5 News at 6:00 p.m. Tara’s proven expertise, unique insight and engaging style have also made her a sought-after speaker. She has addressed several major conferences and organizations such as the NYU Stern Women in Business Conference, the Rutgers University Student Leadership Conference, National Urban League, and the Center for American Women in Politics Ready to Run Conference to name a few.

Tara’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In 2005, after being selected out of over a million applicants, she had the distinction of competing on the third season NBC’s hit show, “The Apprentice.” In 2010, she was selected by the American Swiss Foundation to attend their prestigious Young Leaders Conference in Basel, Switzerland. Tara has also been honored by the NAACP, the New York Times, the Political Action Committee, BALLOT, and the child advocacy nonprofit organization, Project Re-Direct.

Tara is also very active civically. She serves on the Steering Committee for the Center for American Women in Politics “Ready to Run” Conference and is a Trustee on the Board of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey. She is also a member of Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey.

Tara is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government.