For Immediate Release

Contact: Deborah Gilleran

Georgian Court University Continues Centennial Celebration with Women’s Leadership Conference

Keynote Speaker and Children’s Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman Charts a Course for the Next Generation

Lakewood, N.J., Jan. 23, 2009—Georgian Court University continues its Centennial Celebration with a Women’s Leadership Conference on Friday, March 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Wellness Center on the Lakewood campus, 900 Lakewood Ave. The cost is $25 per person and includes lunch. Professional development units are available for New Jersey teachers. To make reservations, which are required, call 732.987.2263.

“At no other time in history have women held such global prominence as leaders in so many sectors,” says Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., president of Georgian Court University. “In business, government, and education, women continue to make groundbreaking strides,” she adds. “Georgian Court University’s Women’s Leadership Conference will bring women together to hear a group of female leaders in business, politics, and education sharing their insights and journey to leadership.”

The daylong conference will feature keynote speaker Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, and panels on leadership for women in the fields of business; politics and the media; and education, which will be facilitated by prominent women in these areas.

Marian Wright Edelman, Keynote Speaker
Founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans throughout her professional life, and under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. Ms. Edelman will present the keynote address based on her latest bestselling book The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.

“We have pushed so many of our children into the tumultuous sea of life in small and leaky boats without survival gear and compass,” says Ms. Edelman, who encourages her listeners and readers to give children “the anchors of faith and love, the rudders of purpose and hope, the sails of health and education, and the paddles of family and community to keep them safe and strong when life’s seas get rough.”

Ms. Edelman’s book is a series of letters to young people, parents, educators, Dr. King, and her grandchildren in which she addresses the role poverty, among others, plays in the lives of children. Although the problems can seem overwhelming, Ms. Edelman says, “This is not a doom and gloom book; it is a wake-up, get-off-your-duff and stand up and reclaim our children, families, community, moral values, and our nation [book].”

Ms. Edelman, a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, began her career in the mid-1960s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began organizing before his death. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the CDF. For two years she served as the director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University, and in 1973 began CDF.

In her address, Ms. Edelman will deliver her plea to finish the job that the Civil Rights Movement started. “It is up to us…you and I have the opportunity and awesome responsibility to compose and to play the next movement of America’s symphony of freedom and justice; to forge a nation and community where more good people outplan and outmobilize less good people; where more people fight for justice than those who fight to maintain an unjust status quo.”

“At Georgian Court one of the main tenets of our mission statement is to provide students with the will to translate social justice into action,” says President Jeffries. “Marian Wright Edelman is one of the most respected activists for social justice in our nation. We know our students and everyone who hears her speak at the conference will go away encouraged and empowered.”


8:15 a.m. Registration & Check-In

9:00 a.m. Opening and Welcome

9:15 a.m. Leadership Lessons From Women in Business
Lisa Fontenelli, managing director at Goldman Sachs, New York City, and the chief operating officer of the Global Investment Research Division, will facilitate this panel of business executives as they share their journey to business leadership positions and the lessons learned along the way.


Daphne E. Jones, Vice President of Information Technology and CIO for Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Veridex, and Therakos Operating Units at Johnson and Johnson
Daphne E. Jones is the vice president of information technology for the Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Veridex, and Therakos Operating Units at Johnson and Johnson. She joined Johnson and Johnson after 14 years with IBM and 3 years with PSE&G.

Since joining Johnson and Johnson in 1997, Ms. Jones has been a director, and then an executive director, at several Johnson and Johnson Companies. She is responsible, along with her team, for enabling the $2-billion operating company to achieve and sustain market leadership through the use of technical solutions. She is also a member of the Worldwide Global Management Board.

Ms. Jones earned her B.S. in business administration (marketing) and her M.B.A. (management) from Illinois State University. She serves as a commissioner on the New Jersey Advisory Commission on the Status of Women for Governor Jon Corzine. She is a 2006 Global Standards of Leadership Award recipient and a J & J TWIN Award recipient. As the former co-chair of the J & J African American Leadership Council, she also served as a steering committee member of the J & J Women’s Leadership Initiative. She is a member of the Society of Information Management and was recently named the J & J Champion for the National Society of Black Engineers.

Nina Moseley, Senior Director, Division of Minority and Women Business Development
Nina Moseley is the senior director for the Division of Minority and Women Business Development within the New Jersey Department of Treasury. Her office ensures equal opportunity for minority and women-owned business enterprises as they participate in state purchasing and procurement processes.

Prior to this appointment, Ms. Moseley served as the senior director of business services with the New Jersey Commerce Commission. In this position, she oversaw the registration of small businesses and the certifications of women- and minority-owned businesses so that they could compete for state contracts. She also served as the executive director of Democracy South, an organization focused on campaign finance reform.

Ms. Moseley earned her B.A. in economics from Rutgers University, and her M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She holds a professional certification as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.

Daisy Chan, Director, Enterprise Communications, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
Daisy Chan is the director of enterprise communications for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Prior to this position, she worked for New York Life, a financial services company offering insurance, mutual funds, and asset management.

Ms. Chan earned her B.A. in business and marketing from Buffalo University and her M.B.A. in international business from Baruch College. She was honored by the Women’s Fund of New Jersey with the 2006 Women of Influence in Communications Award. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of communications. She is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators, the American Marketing Association, and the Communications Executive Council.

10:30–10:45 a.m. Break

10:45 a.m.–12:00 Noon Women in Politics and the Media
Ruth B. Mandel
, director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics and a national speaker and writer on women as political candidates and officeholders, women’s political networks, and the gender gap, will facilitate this panel. Panelists will offer their best advice to potential female candidates by addressing strategies for handling the “heat in the kitchen,” the strengths women bring to elective office, and ways to deal with the media.


Carol Jenkins, President, Women’s Media Center
Carol Jenkins is president of the Women's Media Center and a founding member of its board of directors. An Emmy Award-winning former news anchor and correspondent who covered presidential politics as well as international issues, Ms. Jenkins leads the Women’s Media Center’s online publication and its advocacy initiatives.

She is a national spokeswoman for women and the media, arguing the case for inclusion of women throughout the media: in ownership positions, at the highest levels of management and creativity, and in the telling of women's stories in television and film, radio, print, and online.

As president of the Women’s Media Center, Ms. Jenkins has testified before Congress and the Federal Communications Commission and written about what she calls “the Invisible Majority”—the 51 percent of the population (women) who occupy only 3 percent of "clout" positions in media. As a media and political analyst, she has appeared as a guest and in debates on top national outlets.

Ms. Jenkins enjoyed a 30-year, award-winning tenure with several New York City news departments, including 23 years at WNBC-TV, where she co-anchored the pivotal 6:00 pm newscast. She was most identified with her reporting of national political stories, including from the floor of Democratic and Republican National Conventions that nominated Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton. From South Africa, she reported on the release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years in prison, and anchored and co-produced an Emmy-nominated prime time special on apartheid. She hosted her own daily talk show, Carol Jenkins Live, on WNYW-TV.

Jennifer Beck, New Jersey State Senator (R-Monmouth)
Jennifer Beck is a Republican State Senator serving Monmouth County’s 12th District. She previously served as the chief of staff for Assemblyman Joe Azzolina and ran the office of MWW Group in Trenton, New Jersey’s largest public affairs firm. She served one term in the New Jersey Assembly and two terms on the Red Bank Borough Council.

In Trenton, Senator Beck serves on the Judiciary Committee; the State Government Committee; and the Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee. Recently, the Senate approved a pair of bills promoting teen driver safety that she had endorsed. Senator Beck is also the president of JAB Marketing LLC, a media relations and marketing firm.

Senator Beck received her B.A. in physics and mathematics from Boston College, and earned her Master of Government Administration from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. She was recently selected by Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership as one of 24 elected public officials in its 2008 Class of Fellows.

Nia Gill, New Jersey State Senator (D-Essex)
Nia Gill is a Democratic State Senator serving Essex County’s 34th District. Prior to winning her Senate seat, Senator Gill served in the New Jersey State Assembly for three terms, was the Democratic Whip, and was named to the Speaker’s Education Funding Task Force. She was also a legislative aide to the late Senator Wynona Lipman and clerked for New Jersey Superior Court Judge Harry Hazelwood Jr.

She serves as chair of the Commerce Committee and as vice chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee. She is also a member of the Legislative Services and Judiciary committees. Senator Gill has championed education issues and has lobbied for adequate funding for higher education. Senator Gill is currently a partner in the law firm of Gill and Cohen, P.C.

Senator Gill received her B.A. in History and Political History from Upsala College and her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law. She was awarded the New Jersey Business and Industry Association’s 2003 Woman of the Year Award, the Outstanding Contributions to Women and Families Award, and the City News 100 Most Influential New Jerseyans Award. The YWCA of North Essex also recognized her as one of the Women You Should Know in 2000. She has also been named Essex County Legislator of the Year.

12:00 Noon–1:30 p.m. Lunch and Keynote Speaker
Marian Wright Edelman, President Children’s Defense Fund

1:45–3:00 p.m. Educating the Next Generation
Facilitating this panel is Jane Oates, the executive director of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and senior policy adviser to Governor Jon Corzine. She was the senior policy adviser on higher education, adult literacy, education research, and workforce issues for Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). Panelists will range from education experts in Pre-K–3 to K–12, tackling major education challenges and opportunities.


Ruby Takanishi, Ph.D., President, Foundation for Child Development
Ruby Takanishi is president and CEO of the Foundation for Child Development (FCD), a national private independent foundation in New York City. Before assuming the role of president in 1996, Ms. Takanishi was the assistant director for behavioral and social sciences and education in the President’s Office of Science and Technology. In this role, she was responsible for staffing the Children’s Initiative. From 1986 to 1996, she was the executive director of the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. This council issued national reports that contributed to policy and program changes to support the development of young adolescents. One of these reports, A Matter of Time (1992), recognized the need for after-school programs.

After joining FCD, Ms. Takanishi led efforts to gauge the effects of welfare reform. FCD developed the national Child Well-Being Index (CWI). This index documents the quality of life of America’s children since 1975. FCD also funded efforts to promote universal access to pre-kindergarten programs. This initiative has also made efforts to increase investment in universal pre-kindergarten. FCD believes that preparing all children to compete in a global economy demands a new first tier of public education beginning with pre-kindergarten and continuing through grade 3.

Ms. Takanishi received her B.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, and her M.A. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She serves on the Board of Grantmakers for Education, the Board of Public Policy and International Affairs, and the Board of the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy. Ms. Takanishi received the Fred Rogers Leadership Award in Philanthropy for Children, Youth, and Families from Grantmakers for Children, Youth, and Families. She also received the Distinguished Contribution to Research and Public Policy Award from the American Psychological Association and the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in Public Service Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues.

Lucille Davy, New Jersey Commissioner of the Department of Education
Ms. Davy is charged with ensuring that more than 1.4 million children in New Jersey have the tools necessary to compete and succeed in the 21st century workplace. As commissioner, Ms. Davy oversees the 2,400 public schools in the state, as well as the many initiatives the department continues to create, foster, and maintain—including the efforts to strengthen the academic performance of Abbott district students in grades 6 through 12.

Prior to her appointment as commissioner, Ms. Davy spent four years as special counsel to the governor for education. In that role, Ms. Davy was the governor’s representative to the State Board of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and New Jersey’s Technology Board of Trustees, and served as liaison to the professional education organizations and the business community. She was also involved in national education policy through her work with the National Governor’s Association, Achieve, and the James B. Hunt Institute for Education Policy and Leadership.

As special counsel, Ms. Davy was instrumental in several key Department of Education initiatives, ranging from the Early Literacy Task Force and Mathematics Literacy Task Force, the Governor’s Book Club, and high school alignment and reform. The commissioner credits her background as an attorney and former teacher as good training to lead more than 600 school districts across the state.

3:00–3:30 p.m. Summation and Closing Remarks

3:30–4:30 p.m. Reception and Book Signing in the Mansion with Ms. Edelman

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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