NJ Society of CPAs Honors 41 Ovation Award Winners

The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) has honored 41 individuals with its 2022 Ovation Awards, which represent outstanding achievements in seven categories: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Exceptional Educators; Emerging Leaders; Impact; Innovation; Lifetime Leader and Women to Watch.

The individuals were recognized by their peers, colleagues, members of the community and/or the NJCPA for significant contributions in advancing the accounting profession. The selected winners presented exemplary ideas on their jobs or in their volunteering, utilized new uses of technology or in assisting clients/customers; made an impact in their communities; improved and enhanced the well-being of their employees or staff; exhibited leadership with the next generation of CPAs; made their mark in classrooms; promoted an open and diverse accounting profession; or were honored for a lifetime of dedication.

“It’s an honor to award these prestigious individuals and celebrate their many accomplishments and dedication to the accounting profession. It is particularly rewarding to be able to do that in-person this year,” said Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CEO and executive director at the NJCPA.

The winners in each category are:

Lifetime Leader

  • Michael A. Polito, CPA — Retired Partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Parsippany

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

  • Keri Fleming — Chief People Officer, Mazars USA LLP, Edison
  • Al-Nesha Jones, CPA, MBA — Partner and Founder, ASE Group, West Orange
  • Patrice K. Turner, CPA— Audit Professional, Deloitte, Parsippany

Emerging Leaders

  • Ryan Berdnik, CPA, CFP® — Senior Manager, Mazars USA LLP, Edison
  • Joseph W. Breen, CPA, MBA — Senior Tax Accountant, Withum, Red Bank
  • Kyle R. Drost, CPA — Assurance Manager, Untracht Early LLC, Florham Park
  • Jay H. Guttmann, CPA — Partner, SRG Advisors, LLC, Hackensack
  • Joseph F. Hunt, CPA, PSA — Audit Senior, SobelCo, Livingston
  • Karen Nici-Talarico, CPA — Director, Merck & Co. Inc., Kenilworth
  • William C. Smitheman, CPA — Audit Manager, Baratz & Associates, P.A., Marlton
  • Christopher R. Stoop, CPA — Senior Manager, EisnerAmper, Iselin
  • Rachel A. Suntag, CPA — Audit Senior, Deloitte, Parsippany

Exceptional Educators

  • Amy Lysak, CPA, Ph.D. — Assistant Professor, Rowan University, Glassboro
  • Sarah O’Rourke, CPA — Lecturer of Professional Practice, Rutgers Business School, New Brunswick


  • Neil Becourtney, CPA — Tax Partner, CohnReznick LLP, Holmdel
  • James Blake, CPA — Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Mazars USA LLP, Edison
  • Robbin E. Caruso, CPA, CGMA — Partner, Prager Metis CPAs, LLC, Cranbury
  • Nicole M. DeRosa, CPA, MAcc — Senior Tax Manager, Wiss, Florham Park
  • Della Hammer, CPA, CGMA — CFO, Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey, Monroe Township
  • Brian G. Lawrence, CPA, MBA — CEO, Fellowship Senior Living, Basking Ridge
  • Christopher M. Lovasz, CPA — Managing Director, Deloitte & Touche, LLP, Parsippany
  • Jerry Maginnis, CPA — Executive in Residence, Rowan University and author, Sewell
  • Daniel J. Marques, CPA, MT — Principal, Drucker & Scaccetti, P.C., Philadelphia, PA
  • Alan J. Preis, CPA — Owner, Alan J. Preis, CPA, PC, Florham Park
  • Ainsley A. Reynolds, CPA, CGMA —New Jersey Division of Investment, Trenton
  • Michele Theuerkauf, CPA — Michele Theuerkauf, CPA LLC, Glen Rock
  • Edward K. Zollars, CPA — Owner, Thomas Zollars & Lynch, Ltd., Phoenix, AZ


  • Vincenzo Antinozzi, CPA — Audit Staff, WilkinGuttenplan, East Brunswick
  • Daniel Geltrude, CPA — Managing Partner, Geltrude & Company, LLC CPAs, Nutley
  • Shawn T. Henderson, CPA — Manager, Citrin Cooperman & Company, LLP, Livingston
  • Christopher Massood, CPA — Senior Accountant, Massood & Company, P.A., Totowa
  • Ryan P. Warnet, CPA — Accountant, SKC & Co. CPAs, LLC, Boonton Township

Women to Watch

  • Danielle N. Abrahamsen, CPA — Assistant Controller, CommVault Systems, Inc., Tinton Falls
  • Paula G. Ferreira, CPA — Office Managing Partner, Mazars USA LLP, Edison
  • Michelle E. Gasiorowski, CPA — Partner, Bowman & Company LLP, Voorhees
  • Courtney A. McLaughlin, CPA — Senior Tax Manager, Johnson & Johnson, Titusville
  • Lori A. Roth, CPA, ABV/CFF — National Managing Partner, Prager Metis CPAs, LLC, Basking Ridge
  • Jenna Sanfilippo, CPA — Senior, WilkinGuttenplan, East Brunswick
  • Caitlin M. Smith, CPA — Accountant, SKC & Co. CPAs, LLC, Boonton Township
  • Valerie Thorpe, CPA — Manager, WilkinGuttenplan, East Brunswick

The winners were announced during the NJCPA 2022 Convention & Expo on June 16. They will also be featured in the fall issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. To learn more about the award recipients, visit

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