Nearly 300 leaders of non-profits from throughout South Jersey learned how to take advantage of the changing business landscape - shifting - thanks to millennials, at the Third Annual Southern New Jersey Not-For-Profit Conference on Tuesday, October 18. Investors Bank hosted the free conference – The Art of Thriving: Getting Inside the Minds of Millennials – at Stone Terrace, in Hamilton.

“You are changing the world. You are making a difference. You are the heart of our communities. Although you have different missions and serve these communities in varying ways, each day, you strive to create a purpose and make a difference in the communities that you serve, and all of us at Investors salute your efforts,” Investors Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Cummings told conference attendees. “Investors is a community bank that believes in keeping ‘community’ in banking. We believe across the board that in order to do well, we have to do right.”

The keynote speaker of the well-received, half-day conference was Dr. Kathleen Waldron, President of William Paterson University (WPU), one of the largest public universities in the state with more than 11,000 students. Waldron has more than 18 years of experience in higher education – she has been president of WPU for the past seven years – and has 17 years of experience in international banking. Waldron holds a doctorate in Latin American history and was a Fulbright fellow in Venezuela. She was recognized as one of the Top 50 Women in New Jersey by NJ Biz.

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“The thing about being a university president is every year I get older, and every year they’re still 18 to 24 years old! I have been dealing with 18 to 24 year olds for the last 10 years,” said Waldron. “Our students participate in philanthropy in a variety of ways – through blood drives, cancer walks, food drive donations… The world of philanthropy as we know it is changing and we have to step up our game.”

Under Waldron’s leadership, WPU has increased the number of full-time faculty, improved retention and graduation rates, revitalized student support, completed a 2012-2022 Strategic Plan, and developed several zone master facility plans to renovate and construct new facilities. 

In addition to Waldron’s presentation and networking opportunities, conference-goers were treated to a panel discussion moderated by Sally Glick, Principal and Chief Growth Strategist of Sobel and Co. The panelists were Amanda Q. Blount, MSW, Director of Development and Communications of Trinity Counseling Service and Board Chair, Young Non-Profit Professionals Network – New Jersey Chapter; Dominic Prophete, Chief Executive Officer of Wynona’s House Child Advocacy Center; and Pau Aragay Marin, non-profit professional and adjunct professor at Seton Hall University. The panel covered the topics of ways to involve millennials as staff, Board members, and funders.

“We are all individuals who want to make a difference,” said Prophete. “With change we need to be able to let go of the ego. The true constant here is the fluidity of knowledge. We can learn from you, but you can learn from us.”

“I didn’t even know we worked with a millennial until I got here! I love the idea of being able to know how to recruit them because they are the workforce we will be dealing with. They are the future,” said attendee Asaiki Simon, CEO/President of Because God Chose Me Community Center and Sportsplex. “A lot of what they talked about today is so related to what’s important to [our millennial employee].”

Sandy S. Broughton, Investors Bank Vice President/Community Development Officer, was pleased with the outcome of the conference.

“I hope the conversations will continue even after today’s conference,” said Broughton.