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Photo Caption: More than 150 students, faculty, legislators and community members attended the Seventh Annual Berkeley College Women’s Leadership Panel, held in recognition of Women’s History Month at Berkeley College in Woodland Park, NJ, on March 28, 2016. Pictured (L to R) are Melissa Orsen, Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey Economic Development Authority; Shavonda E. Sumter, New Jersey Assemblywoman (D-35) and Majority Conference Leader; Teri Duda, Berkeley College Senior Vice President, Government Relations, and moderator; Holly Schepisi, New Jersey Assemblywoman (R-39); Jennifer Padolina, Partner, New York Life Insurance Company; and Lauren Murphy, Councilwoman, City of Clifton (D).
“It’s so important to have leaders on campus and have our students hear from successful women,” said Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College, in addressing more than 150 students, faculty, legislators and members of the business community at the Seventh Annual Berkeley College Women’s Leadership Panel, held in recognition of Women’s History Month at Berkeley College in Woodland Park, NJ, on March 28, 2016.
The panelists included Melissa Orsen, Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey Economic Development Authority; Holly Schepisi, New Jersey Assemblywoman (R-39); Shavonda E. Sumter, New Jersey Assemblywoman (D-35) and Majority Conference Leader; Lauren Murphy, Councilwoman, City of Clifton (D) and Director, Passaic County One Stop Career Center; and Jennifer Padolina, Partner, New York Life Insurance Company. Teri Duda, Berkeley College Senior Vice President, Government Relations, moderated the event.
All speakers expressed their passion about their work, and acknowledged how far women have come, taking on more responsibilities beyond their families, to include business ownership, civic engagement, and organizational management positions.
“It’s getting better,” said Ms. Orsen. “We can be proud of the thousands of women-owned businesses in New Jersey. But many of us – myself included – are mothers and wives and have busy jobs. We have to remember that sometimes we can’t do it all, and it really does take a village.”
“We still have work to do to get women into leadership positions and involved in politics,” said Assemblywoman Schepisi. “Studies show that companies that perform the best financially have the greatest number of women in leadership positions, but still women lag behind in assuming leadership and board roles. The truth is, the women aren’t stepping into enough key roles that would allow them and their companies to realize their full potential. As a collective group, we need to change that.”
Assemblywoman Sumter said support from her family and from her assistant helps her to manage her busy schedule. In addition to her role as Assemblywoman, she is the Director of Behavioral Health Services at Mountainside Hospital in Glen Ridge, NJ. “Almost anything is manageable if you learn to prioritize,” she said.
Councilwoman Murphy, who drew inspiration from her own mother, acknowledged that women have always had obstacles. With the perseverance and dedication she had learned, Ms. Murphy was the first in her family to attend college. “Once a woman makes it to the top, she paves the ways for others to come after her,” she said.
Ms. Padolina talked about her early years, becoming a nurse, then changing her career path. She was born in the Philippines, and came to the United States in 1985. “I studied as hard as I could, and it took a lot of work. I still wanted to help people and be in business for myself,” she said. “Women still have to struggle and Wall Street is still a man’s world, but I want to change that.”
Following the panel, Berkeley College students and business leaders had the opportunity to ask the panelists questions. The students asked about how to build confidence, influence legislation, and increase the number of individuals pursuing degrees in higher education.
A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls approximately 8,300 students – including more than 700 international students – in its Baccalaureate and Associate degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies, and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers a Master of Business Administration degree in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.
Berkeley College has six New Jersey locations – Clifton, Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. In New York there are three locations – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. In January 2016, U.S. News & World Report named Berkeley College one of the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Degrees for the third consecutive year. The website address iswww.BerkeleyCollege.edu
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