General Business

New Jersey Women in Business: Profiles and Tips From Successful Executives

Below, we present 7 profiles of successful women business leaders. Whether they are entrepreneurs, corporate executives and managers, or nonprofit leaders, they represent the gamut of industry in New Jersey. Their biographical sketches and words of wisdom in the ensuing profiles underscore the fact that they are role models for other women who strive for successful careers in the Garden State.

Dayra Azcona-Marin

Vice President of Key Accounts, Liberty Coca Cola

Dayra Azcona-Marin was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States at 15. Azcona-Marin comes from a family of 12 siblings. She studied Business Administration in college. While in college, she worked at McDonalds. She quickly became a shift manager, which led to her joining Coca-Cola in 2001 as an Account Manager. Since then, she has held roles of increasing responsibility. In her current role, Azcona-Marin is responsible for leading and developing the entire Key Account Team at Liberty. She currently lives in Point Pleasant with her husband Alex. They enjoy going to the beach, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Tip/Advice: One thing I have learned from my career journey is to take risks. It is important to have an open mind when opportunities arise. You never know where one decision can take you. Another thing that helped me was having a mentor. I suggest finding someone respectable that motivates and challenges you.

Heather Coburn

Interim CEO , Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore

Heather Coburn, Interim CEO of Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore (GSJS), leads a dedicated team of more than 40 full time staff, 20+ board members and countless volunteers. The Jersey Shore council serves more than 11,000 girl and adult members (girls in K-12). Since joining the council in 2016, Coburn has served in a number of roles including chief operations officer. She is thrilled to take on the next stage of growth for GSJS with the expansion of Camp Sacajawea, the continued beautification of Camp Amity Acres, and the implementation of a mentorship program for older Girl Scouts. Most recently, Coburn helped secure a $500,000 COVID relief grant from Monmouth County to cover expenses incurred by council to support our programs and leadership experiences.

Tip/Advice: I encourage all young leaders to connect with and build relationships with inspiring and empathetic leaders. Feeling empowered and encouraged in your circle will give you the courage to take chances and reach your goals.

Kim Hanemann

President & Chief Operating Officer, PSE&G


Kim Hanemann is president and COO of Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), one of the largest electric and gas companies in the United States. In previous roles, she was responsible for PSE&G’s electric, gas and customer operations. She also oversaw the on-time, on-scope and on-budget execution of the company’s large construction projects. During her leadership, PSE&G has won the ReliabilityOne Award for superior electric system reliability in the Mid-Atlantic region for 20 consecutive years. A graduate of Lehigh University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Hanemann also holds a Master of Business Administration from the Rutgers Graduate School of Management.

Tip/Advice: There’s a lot of advice out there, but it boils down to: Find something you love to do – and do it; learn from those around you; don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty; and work hard to prove your critics wrong – they might become your biggest supporters.

Mollie Marcoux Samaan

Commissioner, LPGA


Mollie Marcoux Samaan, the ninth Commissioner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), started her journey at Princeton University as a two-sport varsity athlete in soccer and ice hockey before graduating cum laude in 1991. In 2014, she returned to Princeton as the Director of Athletics, where her teams won a league-leading 65 Ivy League Championships during her seven-year tenure. Under her leadership, LPGA purses have risen to over $95 million with events in 11 countries. She is a proven leader on issues related to equality and inclusion and is an advocate for growing investments and opportunities for women in sports/entertainment.

Tip/Advice: My biggest piece of advice for women on the rise is to wake up every day thinking about how to make all of your “teams” better. When you are passionately focused on being an agent for positive growth in all areas of your life, great things happen. Having the right mindset and the right values are critical to success, and both are within your control.

Kelsey McNeely

Biofuels Program Leader , ExxonMobil Research & Engineering


Kelsey McNeely is the Low Emission Fuels Portfolio Manager for ExxonMobil Technology and Engineering Company in Clinton. She received a PhD in Chemistry from Princeton University in 2010 and began as a Postdoctoral Fellow at ExxonMobil that same year. In her current role, she oversees the strategy and execution of low emission fuel technology development. This includes technologies such as converting vegetable oils into jet fuel, converting wood into gasoline, and creating eFuels made from captured CO2 and renewable power. The best part of her job is learning from the brilliant scientists and engineers with whom she works.

Tip/Advice: Don’t underestimate yourself or overestimate those around you. Know your value and find a support system in mentors and friends who can remind you if you forget. Prioritize your mental and physical health to help stay resilient. Address inequity and biases whenever you have the opportunity to do so.

Valerie Montecalvo

President and CEO, Bayshore Recycling Corp


Valerie Montecalvo is President and CEO of Bayshore Recycling, Woodbridge. Bayshore is a NJDEP Class B recycling company. Its 58-acre facility is home to nine different recycling operations. The company is a certified Woman-Owned Business in NJ. Montecalvo serves as a trustee for Clean Ocean Action, Monmouth Conservation Foundation, RWJ/Monmouth Medical Center, Monmouth University, and Board Director for the Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey. Valerie and her husband, Frank, funded the Montecalvo Education Platform for Invisible International. These free programs provide continuing education classes for healthcare professionals.

Tip/Advice: Whatever you do in your career, make sure you are also volunteering your time, money or efforts to do something for the world around you. The satisfaction and sense of contributing to the greater good of humanity has immeasurable value. The opportunities are endless and the experience is life renewing.

Carol Stillwell

President and CEO, Stillwell-Hansen Inc.


Carol Stillwell is President of Stillwell-Hansen, Inc., a manufacturers’ representative company specializing in HVAC solutions for computer room sales and service needs, traditional HVAC products, and commercial fire alarm and suppression services, based in Edison, NJ. Stillwell joined the Stilwell-Hansen team at its inception in 1969. She worked tirelessly to learn the industry, quickly becoming the company’s Director of Operations. Stillwell would marry founder Gordon Stillwell in 1988 and purchase Hansen’s share of the company in 1996, soon after becoming the company’s CEO. Her successful career has helped her realize her desire to give back to the community, as a leader in the NJ philanthropic community.

Tip/Advice: If you believe in yourself, anything is possible. To achieve success in life and in business, you truly must first believe that in yourself! I firmly believe if you cannot see your own intrinsic worth, it is so difficult for others to find your true value.

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