Below, New Jersey Business magazine presents 16 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.
Vice President and General Manager
Judy Cavalieri is the Vice President & General Manager in the New York/New Jersey market for AT&T Mobility and Entertainment Group. Judy’s team oversees the sales, service and operations for more than 3,000 employees. With over 30 years in the wireless industry, Judy has held a variety of leadership roles within the organization. Beginning her career as a Marketing Manager, Judy has also led positions in AT&T Bell Labs, Business Sales, Marketing, International and Retail Sales. Judy has held P&L responsibilities for multi-billion-dollar portfolios including wireless voice, mobile protection, and international services. Judy has a Bachelor of Science degree and an M.B.A. from Rutgers University. She is a member of the Rutgers Business School Board of Advisors. Judy is also a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion.
Tips/Advice: Leave your role in a better place than when you got there. Don’t just settle for the status quo, beat your best every day to continually grow. When things get hard, don’t be afraid to take smart risks. Sometimes, you may fail and that is okay, fail fast, learn from it, and move forward and try again.
Senior VP & COO of Non-Utility Businesses, Strategy and External Affairs
New Jersey Resources
Amy Cradic is the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Non-Utility Businesses, Strategy and External Affairs at New Jersey Resources (NJR). She is responsible for the company’s clean energy, storage and transportation and energy marketing businesses. She also oversees NJR’s corporate strategy, government affairs, communications and sustainability agenda, which is focused on reducing emissions, sound governance and corporate responsibility. Prior to joining NJR, Cradic spent nearly 25 years in state government, where she served as Chief of Staff to Governor Christie and worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations at the state Department of Environmental Protection and Commission on Higher Education.
Tips/Advice: Every opportunity is an opportunity to make a difference, influence change, and have an impact. I believe we have a responsibility to help others raise their level of contribution and achieve their potential. To me, that is what it means to be a leader and what it means to succeed.
ConnectA Strategic Solutions Group
Lynn Donaldson is the Chief Executive Officer & Founder of ConnectA Strategic Solutions Group, a leading consulting firm that leverages mental resilience, team optimization, strategy and execution to launch and propel teams to 10-figure success. With more than 20+ years of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries, Lynn brings her experience in working across different stages of the product life cycle to a broad variety of therapeutic product launch areas such as neurology, oncology and cardiology. It is ConnectA’s “people always” approach that enables them to empower companies to achieve their business objectives while enhancing the lives of others. You can email Lynn at Lynn@connectastrategy.com.
Tips/Advice: Mental resilience is one of the most powerful development skills to master, especially to build team synergy. It is by being able to navigate any situation with clarity, confidence and calm that will create the new generation of impactful, inspiring leaders.
Lisa Laird Dunn
Chief Operations Officer & Global Ambassador
Laird & Company
Ninth-generation Laird family member Lisa Laird Dunn is COO and Global Ambassador of Laird & Company, distillers of Laird’s Applejack since 1780. Lisa sits on the Board of Directors, serves as company spokesperson visiting markets across the world, and is the company historian. Over the past three decades, her deep immersion in all departments has instilled a profound understanding of the company as she oversees the operations today. Lisa also champions Laird’s spirits among craft bartenders across the US and globally. Lisa is responsible for supporting the resurgence of Applejack in the contemporary craft cocktail scene. Along the way, Lisa broke new ground for women in the traditionally male-dominated spirits industry.
Tips/Advice: As working women, we place enormous pressure upon ourselves regarding our career and caring for our families. Accept that everything will not be accomplished perfectly, and that is ok. Additionally, we place undue stress upon ourselves with matters out of our control. Let go of the things that you cannot control.
Siri Berkowsky Heinrichs
Chief Executive Officer
Berkowsky and Associates, Inc.
Siri Berkowsky Heinrichs is the Chief Executive Officer for Berkowsky and Associates, Inc., a WBENC certified women-owned design and construction company. Over the course of 14 years, she has provided strategic leadership for this second-generation family-run business. Working with its board and executive management team, she has developed effective business plans that promote future growth and long-term success of the company. In addition, she successfully manages all financial, human resource and information technology oversight and ensures that the mission and core values of the company are consistently met. Siri graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN with a Bachelor of Science in Human and Organizational Development.
Tips/Advice: You can learn something new every day, even if it’s a small lesson. Find someone who can be your sounding board with whom you can share ideas, no matter how crazy they may seem. Work hard, but also take time to relax, and prioritize your family over everything else.
Natasha L. Hemmings
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey
Natasha Hemmings is CEO for the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey and is the first African-American woman in the council’s history to lead the organization. A long-time advocate of girl empowerment, Natasha is a lifetime member who served Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey as Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for 18 years. Natasha earned an MPA from Rutgers University and a BA in Communications & Theater from Trenton State College. She holds Executive Certificates in Non-Profit Leadership and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion from Fairleigh Dickinson and Cornell universities.
Tips/Advice: Be the change you wish to see in the world. Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission to make an impact. Figure out what you’re most passionate about and whatever it is, go for it in a BIG way. Surround yourself with the smartest, most successful, and creative people you can find, then be a sponge.
Director of Customer Success
ZAGO Manufacturing Co.
Kim Keating is Director of Customer Success, ZAGO Manufacturing Co., where she oversees sales, marketing and customer success. Prior to joining ZAGO, Keating ran a purpose-driven strategic planning and marketing firm and helped clients build values-based organizations that aligned business objectives with the needs of all stakeholders. She served on the Executive Steering Committee of Made in Newark, an advocacy organization that promoted and connected over 300 Newark-based manufacturers to help them access resources, develop business relationships, and increase public awareness. Keating is a member of the nonprofit IMPACT 100 Jersey Coast and holds B.A.s in Communications and Psychology from Rutgers University.
Approach challenges as opportunities.
Don’t accept “we’ve always done it this way,” as an answer.
Talk less; listen more.
Seek out stakeholders with different perspectives.
Read everything and anything.
Megan Myungwon Lee
Chief HR Officer & VP of Strategic Planning, New Business Initiatives
Panasonic Corporation of North America
Megan Myungwon Lee is the Chief Human Resources Officer and the Vice President of Corporate Planning and Strategic Initiatives at Panasonic Corporation of North America in Newark.
In addition to her responsibilities at Panasonic, Lee serves as a Board Chair of the Panasonic Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides disadvantaged students with the skills and credentials they need to lead fulfilling and successful lives in a global 21st-century economy. She also serves as a Board Member for the Newark Museum of Art.
Tips/Advice: Grow your emotional intelligence (EQ). It is a critical part of leadership. It starts with understanding yourself and paying close attention to how you are perceived, which can be different from who you think you are. Understanding and managing self is important and enables you to be effective in professional and social settings.
PharmD, Executive VP & Chief Pharmacy Officer
As Executive Vice President, Chief Pharmacy Officer, Dr. Indu Lew leads the RWJBarnabas Health Pharmacy Enterprise, an integrated system of 25 divisions with accountability for clinical, quality, patient safety, and financial outcomes related to medication use across the continuum of care. Dr. Lew is a fierce advocate for the system’s pharmacy practice and is responsible for its distinction as a center of excellence. She works to integrate pharmacists into care teams to serve patients holistically and advances a data-analytical approach to medication adherence. Her expert management of the pharmaceutical supply chain was vital to New Jersey’s COVID-19 response, including vaccinations.
Tips/Advice: Take risks! Knowing when to take calculated risks and operate outside of your comfort zone is an important part of growing your career, and the best way to learn how much you’re capable of.
I’m passionate about professional development. Mentoring is essential, and especially powerful for women of color.
ZAGO Manufacturing Co.
Jackie Luciano joined ZAGO over 13 years ago as Director of Marketing and General Manager before being appointed Vice President of Manufacturing Operations. In May 2019, she advanced to Vice President, overseeing implementation of corporate strategy that aligns with the company’s mission and vision, development of functional roles and operations, among other responsibilities. During her tenure, she has sharpened her skills in Management, Operations, Customer Service, Sales, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Business Development, and LEAN & Continuous Improvement. She earned an Executive MBA in Finance at Rutgers Business School – Newark, and a Green Belt Certification in Lean Six Sigma.
Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
Stop to help people along your journey, it can make a world of difference in their lives and helps to build leadership skills.
Don’t be afraid to make a new start, never stay in a position where you feel undervalued.
Be inquisitive, don’t be afraid to ask Why?
President and CEO
Bayshore Recycling Corp
Valerie Montecalvo is President, CEO and Founder of Bayshore Recycling, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. 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 New Jersey. Montecalvo serves as a trustee for the Clean Ocean Action, Monmouth Conservation Foundation, RWJ/Monmouth Medical Center, Monmouth University, and Board Director for the Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey. Valerie was the first woman to serve as President of the National, Construction Material Recycling Association (2013-2016). She will be inducted into Junior Achievement’s Hall of Fame in December of 2021.
Tips/Advice: Stay true to yourself. Find your passion and work towards it. Be as honest as possible at all times. Work hard and enjoy yourself on your journey. Trials and roadblocks are there to help you learn. Remember that change is inevitable so be flexible.
Senior Vice President & General Counsel
NJM Insurance Group
Kate Ro began her career at NJM in 2008 as a staff attorney in the General Claims Department after previously working at a firm as an insurance defense litigator. She quickly assumed additional leadership responsibilities in the claims department, before she was ultimately transferred to NJM’s General Counsel’s Office in 2014.
In 2018, Kate became the Company’s chief legal officer with her promotion to General Counsel. In that role, she oversees all NJM legal operations, both corporate and claims related, and is a member of the Company’s Executive Leadership Team.
Tips/Advice: Do not feel discouraged or intimidated if you are asked to do work that is unfamiliar to you. I frequently operate outside of my comfort zone and have learned that if I ask enough questions and do independent research, I feel more confident engaging on a topic that I would normally shy away from.
Gail Friedberg Rottenstrich
Co-Founder and CEO
ZAGO Manufacturing Co.
Gail Friedberg Rottenstrich is CEO of ZAGO Manufacturing Co., a woman-owned business and global producer of high-tech sealing fasteners and components. A former corporate attorney, Gail started ZAGO in 1993 with her husband, an engineer, at the NJIT Enterprise Development Center small business incubator. Today, ZAGO operates from a refurbished factory in Newark. Gail serves on the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP), as Councilmember of the Fair Lawn Borough, and as liaison to its Green Team and Planning Board. Gail graduated from SUNY Albany and the George Washington University Law School.
Apply for opportunities that will be an uncomfortable stretch, not a comfortable fit.
Always ask questions, but never ask the same question twice.
Empower other women through mentorship, friendship and trust.
Know your weaknesses as well as your strengths and hire others who balance both.
Monica C. Smith
Founder & CEO
Monica C. Smith is a successful entrepreneur, board member, investor and philanthropist. She has made her mark on the advertising world in her role as the founder and CEO of Marketsmith Inc. Smith founded Marketsmith Inc. in 1999 and grew the agency to become a national leader in data-driven direct marketing using its proprietary analytics-based patented prediction platform i.Predictus. For nearly a decade, Smith has been recognized for her analytical platform and her approach. She drives billions in retail sales annually for the greatest brands in the world. Smith and her wife of 25 years, Amy Allan Smith, have founded, funded and started up numerous non-profits
and businesses in the state, including ROI-NJ, the state’s first women-owned business publication, and One More Smith
501(c)(3) Animal Sanctuary.
Tips/Advice: It is imperative that we support and lift each other in business and life. The confines of the past do not need to be the steppingstones of the future. Doing the right thing is often more difficult, but when done consistently, everything gets better.
Jayne Warne, PE
Matrix New World Engineering
Jayne Warne, P.E. President & Co-founder of Matrix New World Engineering has built the firm into one of the largest woman-owned, environmental engineering firms that focuses on the nation’s most pressing issues – climate change, water supply, disaster response, and urban revitalization. Her successes include the receiving of such awards as the: first-ever ‘Salute To Women In Construction’ (2021); SILVER, Female Entrepreneur of the Year, STEVIE Awards (2018); ‘Best 50 Women in Business’ NJBIZ (2011); Finalist, ‘Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year’ (2011); and ‘Small Business Person of the Year’ from the US Small Business Administration (2002). The firm has garnered numerous accolades; ranking in the Inc. 5000 (2014); named ‘Business of the Year’ (2010); and one of ‘New Jersey’s Finest Companies’ (2004).
Tips/Advice: Strive to make a difference in every organization at which you work; don’t be afraid to fail – it will bring you closer to success; always give 150% no matter the task at hand, look to see who you could pull up as you rise in your career.
Chief Fuels Technology Engineer
ExxonMobil Research and Engineering
Krystal Wrigley is Chief Fuels Technology Engineer at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering’s global innovation campus in Clinton, NJ. She graduated from Rowan University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering and has worked for ExxonMobil for over 16 years. In her current role, she leads strategy and development of leading-edge product technologies across the fuels value chain. This includes business & customer technical support, differentiated fuel and asphalt product development, renewable fuel product pathways, and strategic studies on emerging fuels and transportation applications. Krystal now lives in Hunterdon County with her husband and four children.
Tips/Advice: Be resilient and determined to achieve your maximum potential. Find mentors who you respect and who will stretch you with honest feedback. Never consider development done, look introspectively at how you can continue to grow in every situation. Most of all, have fun and don’t underestimate all you can achieve!
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