Morristown-based law firm Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP is pleased to announce that Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ) honored Kelly Strange Crawford, Co-Chair of Riker Danzig, alongside 31 of New Jersey’s most influential and accomplished women leaders. Crawford was recognized for her trailblazing professional achievements and her efforts towards advancing women’s leadership. Special guest honoree First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy was also honored at the organization’s signature biennial gala, Salute to the Policy Makers, on May 9, 2018 at The Palace at Somerset Park.
Susan Chapman-Hughes, Senior Vice President of Global Commercial Services at American Express, served as the keynote speaker and Laurence M. Downes, Chairman and CEO of New Jersey Resources, served as the Honorary Chair.
“We were thrilled to honor these prominent women leaders, not only because of their individual achievements, but because of what their presence represents. It is undeniable that there is an abundance of talented and highly capable women leaders, yet women continue to be severely underrepresented on boards and in the senior leadership of public companies,” stated Michellene Davis, Esq., President of EWNJ and EVP and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of RWJBarnabas Health. “That’s why we highlight these trailblazers to showcase the impact of women’s leadership and to continue to spotlight the issue of corporate gender diversity.”
“I was honored to have been recognized with so many impressive women leaders who are having an impact on New Jersey,” said Crawford. “As Co-Chair of Riker Danzig, I am mindful of the fact that I am one of just a handful of women in the top position at major law firms around the country. We need a strong pipeline of future female leaders, in the legal and corporate worlds, and I am pleased that EWNJ is committed to helping women excel and advance in business.”
In addition to highlighting the impact of top women leaders, EWNJ also spotlighted the gender diversity efforts of companies named to its 2018 Business Honor Roll. The Business Honor Roll celebrates firms that acknowledge systemic barriers to gender diversity and have made women’s development a priority through sponsorship and mentoring, goal setting, and hiring initiatives. The 2018 Business Honor Roll companies are Prudential Financial and South Jersey Industries.
“As an organization that advocates for women in positions of senior corporate governance, it is important that we recognize not only the women who ascend to these positions but the companies that create an environment that makes that ascension possible. As we know from EWNJ’s 2017 report on the number of women serving on boards and in top management of publicly traded companies in New Jersey, firms with more women on their boards not only have stronger financial performance but also fewer governance-related issues such as bribery, corruption, shareholder battles, and fraud. Salute to the Policy Makers presents us with an important opportunity to highlight the companies that recognize the value that women deliver and to amplify our message,” stated Barbara E. Kauffman, President Elect of Executive Women of New Jersey, Chair of Salute to the Policy Makers, and Executive Vice President and COO of Newark Regional Business Partnership.
“For nearly four decades, Executive Women of New Jersey’s Salute to the Policy Makers Gala has been the premier event celebrating the influence and impact of New Jersey’s women business leaders,” said Laurence. M. Downes, Honorary Gala Chair and Chairman and CEO of New Jersey Resources. “Creating opportunities for women to achieve their full potential as leaders is vital not only to business, but also to our state and our future.”
Salute to the Policy Makers funds EWNJ’s various programs and initiatives aimed at advancing women’s leadership. Most notably, it benefits the organization’s Graduate Merit Award Program, which provides scholarships to women who are non-traditional graduates. As the largest provider of scholarships to women who are non-traditional graduate students in New Jersey, EWNJ has awarded over $1.3 million to deserving candidates over the last 30+ years.