Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey

(201) 368-2100 Contact Us Login


Business Beat

Weekly business updates in an e-newsletter

Back to listing

Member News — Breaking Barriers: Prominent Women Leaders from the New Jersey Community Make their Voices Heard at Berkeley College during Women’s Entrepreneurship Week
October 30th, 2018

More than 450 participants gathered or followed the livestream broadcast at Berkeley College in New York City and Woodbridge, NJ, on October 17 and 18, 2018, to honor the voices of women during “Women in Leadership: Breaking Barriers.” This is the fourth consecutive year that Berkeley College has hosted this globally recognized celebration in recognition of Women’s Entrepreneurship Week.

“Women need to be effective leaders – that is of the utmost importance,” said Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., President and CEO, New Jersey Business & Industry Association. “Great businesses only work with effective leadership and great businesses make great communities.    The best business leaders are the strength behind Main Street. But you must learn to empower those on your team; you are not a good leader unless you are empowering others around you.”

Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College, encouraged the audience to learn from the speakers, panelists and conversations. “Our panelists have all faced challenges and changes in their lives,” President Smith said. “They are here to tell us how they met those challenges. Their experiences provide us with valuable leadership advice.”

Angela Harrington, Berkeley College Vice President, Communications and External Relations, and Mistress of Ceremonies, expressed gratitude to have such powerful women participate as panelists. “Breaking barriers means being the first, but not the last,” Ms. Harrington said. “Here you will get to meet many ‘firsts.’ This includes women elected officials leading in their communities. More women are also running for public office than ever before. This is a time not only to share, but to activate our voices.”

To view the video of the entire program click here.

To view all photos from “Women in Leadership: Breaking Barriers,” click here.

How Women Lead in Business

Mary Wagner, PhD, Interim Dean, Berkeley College School of Graduate Studies, moderated the first panel.  She asked the panelists how they found their way to leadership positions.

“I knew early on that things are not given to you,” said Zuleika Cuevas, Manager, Training and Development, Berkeley College. “You have to work hard.” 

Sally Glick, Principal and Chief Growth Strategist, Sobel & Co., said she worked in her father’s CPA firm while attending college. “I learned from him how to build relationships and I learned ownership and responsibility … Understanding other people and being able to integrate them into the overall vision, as well as being able to make sure that you nurture the next person, is what distinguishes a leader from a manager,” Ms. Glick said.

“To be a leader you have to stand by what you believe in. You have to pursue whatever the course is, no matter who disagrees with you … Always just focus on being the best,” said Allison C. Williams, Esq., Founder and Owner, Williams Law Group, LLC.

“As a leader you have to be able to communicate your vision to others as to why it’s good not only for them, but for the greater good,” said Diane Walsh, Executive Vice President, Communications and Programs, Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey.

How Women Lead in Our Communities

Joanna Gagis, Producer and Correspondent, NJTV News, moderated the second panel, and asked how the panelists learned to be leaders in their communities.  

“Women have to help other women all the time. You just have to empower yourself,” said Elisa Charters, President and Co-Founder, Latina Surge, a nonprofit with a mission to educate and advocate for diversity and inclusion on executive boards in government and corporate America.  

“Yes, and don’t let anything stand in your way,” added Jessica Ballew, Chief Empowerment Officer and Founder, J.E.S.S.I.C.A. Cares, an organization that provides a safe haven for women of all faiths to discuss and overcome their struggles and fears through uplifting programs, interactive exercises and academies in four states. “We are more alike than we are different,” Ms. Ballew said. “That’s important to remember with all that is going on in the world today.” 

“Women are by nature nurturers,” Patricia Perkins-Auguste, Councilwoman-at-Large, City of Elizabeth, said. “Political power is key to women running things, and we need nurturers in politics.” 

Wilda Diaz, Mayor, City of Perth Amboy said having a thick skin is important. “I am the only Latina mayor in New Jersey and that makes me want to work harder. We have to be lionesses and we have to have it in us to lead.” 

“When you’re building a team, look for women who are change agents,” said Linda Wellbrock, CEO and Founder, Leading Women Entrepreneurs. “And if you make a mistake, don’t be hard on yourself. Guilt is a useless emotion.”

“Women in Leadership: Breaking Barriers” is part of a global initiative that focuses on strategies for empowering women economically and politically, incubating the future of women entrepreneurs, and other important issues.

A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,000 students – including more than 350 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s 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 an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.


Berkeley College has four New Jersey campuses – Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. In New York there are three campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For five consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is

  • Rochelle Park, New Jersey

  • Trenton, New Jersey


    222 West State Street S-212, Trenton, NJ 08608

    P: (609) 695-5900

    F: (201) 368-3438

    E: Contact Form

  • About Us

    The mission of Commerce and Industry Association is to be the leader in free enterprise advocacy for the purpose of fostering, through education, legislative vigilance and membership interaction, an economic climate that enhances business potential and makes New Jersey a better state in which to live, work and conduct business.

  • Connect with us

    Subscribe to our email blast