WPCNJ | The Political Voice of New Jersey Women Since 1977

WPCNJ Leadership

2016-2017 WPCNJ Board Members 


EXECUTIVE BOARD BIOGRAPHIES

Chrissy Buteas - President

Chrissy Buteas serves as President and CEO of the Home Care & Hospice Association of New Jersey, the leading voice in Trenton and Washington, D.C. for home health agencies, hospices, and health care service firms.  The Association represents more than 160 such entities which collectively serve over 100,000 patients annually. 

Chrissy most recently served as Vice President of the Capital Impact Group, a bi-partisan public affairs and business development firm located in Trenton.  In this role, she advocated on behalf of non-profit organizations and fortune 500 companies.   Prior to joining CIG, Chrissy served in a senior role at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and represented her community as a Councilwoman in South Plainfield.  Currently the Vice President of the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey and a member of Rowan University’s Alumni Board and Athletic Advisory Committee, Chrissy is also a graduate of Leadership NJ, one of the most prestigious leadership development programs in the state.  

Chrissy served as a Raimondo Fellow at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. She holds an MPA from the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University-Newark and a BA from Rowan University. 

 

Grace.jpg Grace Strom Power, Esq. - Vice President Finance

Grace Strom Power is a Partner at Feller Law Group, PLLC. She focuses her practice on legislative and regulatory affairs, administrative law, and civil litigation with an emphasis on commercial matters. Previously, she served as the Legislative Liaison for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

Grace is a three-time Rutgers graduate, with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Rutgers College, a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs and Politics from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and a Law Degree from Rutgers-Newark School of Law. She was a Graduate Fellow and Undergraduate Associate of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers.

Grace is a Registered Government Affairs Agent in New Jersey and admitted to practice law in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Grace most recently served as PAC Chair for the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey.

 

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Nicole D. Cole, Esq.  - Vice President Membership

Nicole D. Cole, Esq. is the President & CEO of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, a 501(c)(3) membership association representing the state’s 89 charter schools and the 40,000 children they serve.  NJCSA is committed to advancing quality public education for New Jersey’s children through quality public charter schools, with the vision that every child should have the opportunity to attend a high-quality public school that best meets his or her needs.

Nicole is a seasoned government affairs professional rooted in Trenton for much of the last decade, most recently with one of Trenton’s most prolific government affairs firms, Princeton Public Affairs Group. At PPAG, Nicole  represented clients in the energy, education, housing, and business arenas before the NJ Legislature, the Governor's Office, and departments within the State.  

Prior to her time at PPAG, Nicole practiced various areas of law including complex commercial litigation and labor and employment law.  In her law practice, she served as general counsel to various public entities.  Her legal career began with the New Jersey State Legislature where she staffed several committees in the Senate Republican office. Nicole holds a Juris Doctor from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Nebraska.

Nicole is active in Union County politics and serves on the Executive Committee of the Union County Republican Committee.

 

Lisa_Chapland_pic.jpgLisa Chapland, Esq. - Secretary

Lisa Chapland is the Director of Government Affairs of the New Jersey State Bar Association, recently joining the Association in January of this year.  Prior to this, Lisa was an attorney at Hill Wallack LLP in Princeton, New Jersey where she focused her practice on commercial litigation. She specialized in election law, having represented clients on a number of issues related to ballot access, campaign finance matters, pay-to-play issues, and election day matters.  In 2009, while at Genova Burns, Lisa developed and oversaw the election day volunteer attorney network for the Corzine for Governor campaign managing over 80 attorneys statewide. Prior to practicing law, she was a political consultant for Message & Media in New Brunswick, where she helped to develop multi-media campaigns for private corporations, special interest groups, and high profile federal, state and local candidates throughout the country. 

Lisa was recently named as one of New Jersey’s most powerful women in politics by Senator Loretta Weinberg in this year’s Women’s Power List. Senator Weinberg created the list to acknowledge the “dynamic and powerful women in New Jersey who deserve recognition for their work.” She has also been twice named Rising Star by New Jersey Superlawyers. She has lectured on election law and political campaigning. She received a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and Mass Media/Political Science from Douglass College and her Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall School of Law.  

Lisa is a Registered Government Affairs Agent in New Jersey and admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia, District Court of New Jersey and the Third Circuit. She serves on the Board of Women's Political Caucus of New Jersey, having previously served as their Board Counsel. 

 

scarlett_pic.jpgScarlett Rajski - Treasurer

Scarlett Rajski works in the Corporate & Regulatory Affairs Department of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. She previously served as Project Manager for the Government Affairs Department of Gibbons P.C. and as Communications Specialist at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession. She has also worked at MWW Group, a public relations and public affairs agency, and as Special Projects Director for United States Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Scarlett holds a degree in Political Science and American Studies from Boston University.

 

 

JLL_headshot.jpg  Jeralyn Lawrence, Esq. - PAC Chairperson

 Jeralyn is an attorney at Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A. in Bridgewater, devotes her practice to matrimonial, divorce, and family law, and is a trained collaborative lawyer, divorce mediator and arbitrator. Ms. Lawrence serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association Family Law Section, President of the Somerset County Bar Association and is senior editor for the New Jersey Family Lawyer. Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney, she is a Fellow, and sits on the Board of Managers, of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and has been certified by the Academy as a Family Law Arbitrator. Ms. Lawrence is a barrister of the Central New Jersey Inns of Court. She is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association, New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, the New Jersey Supreme Court Matrimonial Certification Committee, the New Jersey Association of Justice, and the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.

In 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015, Ms. Lawrence was named as one of the Top 50 Female New Jersey Super Lawyers, and was honored with the New Jersey State Bar Association Distinguished Legislative Service Award in 2007, 2013 and most recently in 2014 for her cumulative and diligent efforts on alimony reform, as well as open adoption records and electronic monitoring on domestic violence. Ms. Lawrence was a recipient of the 2014 New Jersey Professional Lawyer of the Year Award from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law, and was a New Jersey Law Journal 2015 Attorney of the Year finalist, as well as being named in The Best Lawyers in America under Family Law and Family Law Mediation and was named the Best Lawyers 2016 Family Law Mediation “Lawyer of the Year” in the Woodbridge New Jersey, Metro Area. Ms. Lawrence earned her B.A. from Kean University and her J.D.,summa cum laude, from Seton Hall University School of Law.

 

pamyuen.jpgPamela L. Yuen - PAC Treasurer

Pamela is the Government Relations Coordinator at the American Association of University Women (AAUW) where she works in coalition and with key stakeholders to advance AAUW’s public policy platform on Capitol Hill. Her legislative responsibilities covers a range of civil rights and education issues including career and technical education, strengthening voting rights, ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment as well as assisting on K-12 education issues. She also manages the AAUW Action Fund Capitol Hill Lobby Corps, organizing local AAUW members who speak out on Capitol Hill weekly. Prior to joining AAUW, Pam served as Scheduler and Staff Assistant to Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.

Pam is a graduate of The George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management where she earned a dual degree in strategic public relations and campaign strategy. She holds a bachelor's degree from Douglass College, Rutgers University. While at Douglass, Pam served two terms as president of the Rutgers Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey (RUWPC-NJ). During her tenure, the student organization doubled its membership and maintained an active role on campus, raising awareness for a greater need to have young women involved and active in the political process.

 

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Michel Bitritto, Ph.D. - Past President 

Dr. Michel Bitritto is an accomplished scientist, economic development expert and business executive skilled in management, marketing, communications, and government. She currently is the President of Women’s Political Caucus of NJ and has over 20 years of experience in the global chemical industry where she held senior positions in R&D, Business Management and Entrepreneurship. She served as Associate Director of Business Relations at the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology in Trenton where she authored a white paper on Nanotechnology for the state. Michel is past President of the New Jersey Business Incubator Network which represents the state’s 15 business incubators with more than 500 early stage innovation-based entrepreneurial companies. She has also served on the leadership team of Business Incubators at NJIT, the NJ Meadowlands Commission, Bergen Community College and the Township of Woodbridge.

Michel has served as President of the Union County WPC, Vice Chair of the Democratic Task Force and Vice-President of Membership. She currently serves on a number of boards including Runnells Hospital, Prevention Links and the Union County Cultural and Heritage Board. Dr. Bitritto was elected to Summit City Council and the State Democratic Committee. She has received awards from Summit Business and Professional Women, the Resource Center for Women, and the Plainfield YWCA.

She has a post doc in Chemistry from the University of Maryland, a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut, a Masters from NYU Polytechnic Institute and a BA in Chemistry and Math from Douglass College. She completed the Women’s Leadership Program at Stanford University. Michel holds patents, is a published scientific author and is a frequent speaker at venues throughout the state on technology-based economic growth.

 

Board At Large:

        • Rosemary Bernardi
        • Tai Cooper

 

eileen_D._pic.jpgEileen DellaVolle

Eileen has more than 15 years of marketing and business development experience. As Vice President of Business Development, she draws from her vast experience in the design and construction industry and works directly with government and private sectors, developing relationships with community and business leaders. Ms. Della Volle is responsible for expanding KSE’s presence in the private, education sectors, as well as science and technology and urban development in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Her ability to develop long-lasting client relationships has given her an expansive multilevel network with business leaders, government officials, communities, diversity representatives, and trade organizations. Eileen's skills as a communicator have made her a sought-after participant in public policy development efforts. Additionally, she possesses a unique understanding of diversity in the community and in the marketplace.

 Eileen has a distinguished history of volunteer activities and board service for Ocean County Community College, Kean University,William Paterson University and The Society for Marketing Professionals, the Southern NJ Development Council and the Womens Political Caucus - NJ. NJBIZ Magazine has recognized Eileen with their prestigious “40 Under 40 Award” and as one of the “Top 50 Business Women” in the in the state. She is also the recipient of the SMPS NYC Chapter Marketing Achievement Award and Womens Building Council " Outstanding Woman" as well as the Odyssey International Productions “Award of Excellence” in recognition of her commitment to maximizing contracting opportunities for minority and woman owned businesses.

  

        • Zulima Farber, Esq.
        • Judith Fenelus
        • Jeanne Fox, Esq.

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Deborah Hurley

Deborah Hurley has more than 10 years of proven experience in fundraising, public relations, and event management. Presently, Hurley is the Development Director for the York Street Project where she leads a team that is responsible for raising $1.1million annually to support transitional housing and education services for homeless women and their children. Prior to her involvement with York Street Project, Hurley owned a consulting firm that provided fundraising, event management and public relation services for not-for-profits and elected officials.


Before starting her business, Deborah served as a congressional staff member in Washington, DC.; Finance Director of congressional and gubernatorial races; and Executive Director of a not for profit organization. She is a graduate of Marymount College, Tarrytown, New York, receiving a B.S. in Political Science and a Minor in Sociology. Throughout the years she has developed a reputation for getting the job done --- on budget and on time.

 Hurley is the recipient of the NJBIZ 40 Under 40 award”, a Board Member of the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Newark, member of the Women Political Caucus, member of the Hudson County Community College, Business Advisory Committee and serves on the board of the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies at Fairleigh Dickenson University.

        • Lisa Mizrahi Kaado
        • Jeannine LaRue
        • Elizabeth Murray

Kelly_S._Maer_headshot.jpgKelly Stewart Maer

Kelly is a Government Affairs Manager for Duane Morris Government Strategies. Kelly has more than twenty years of political and government experience in New Jersey. Prior to joining Duane Morris Government Strategies, she ran her own consulting business, which focused on grassroots lobbying, campaign finance and media events. 

Kelly has served various positions with numerous local, state and federal campaigns including serving as Finance Director for several statewide races. Her extensive experience has enabled her to be a part of a team developing and executing successful campaigns. She has comprehensive knowledge of the New Jersey legislative and executive branches from serving in various government positions working for two New Jersey Governors, Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly and working as media spokesperson for NJ TRANSIT. 

Kelly has more than a decade of lobbying and advocacy experience from working on behalf of a diverse client base and from working as healthcare lobbyist for New Jersey's largest statewide business association. She has advocated on behalf of clients in a number of industries ranging from major corporations, small business, government entities along with trade and professional associations. 

 

 

Kelly was elected to and served on the New Jersey Small Employer Health Benefits Program Board. She also served as a Delegate to the 1996 Democratic National Convention. She currently serves on the Board of PAM's List (Power and Money for Choice and Change). She was elected in 2014 and is currently serving a two-year term as Treasurer of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (NJDSC). 

 

        • Annabel Pierce
        • Antonia Ricigliano
        • Patricia Teffenhart

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 Eileen Thornton

Eileen is retired from a lengthy and distinguished career in state government.  She continue to lead a very purposeful life being involved in several organizations. Governor Christie re-appointed Eileen as the public member on the New Jersey Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. She also volunteers her time serving as: President of the Hamilton Township Democratic Club; Vice President of the Communications of America, Local 1036, Retiree Chapter; Development Committee Chairperson for Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County and member of fundraising committee.  Additionally, she is actively involved with Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey, Mercer County WPCNJ Chapter, and Sunshine Foundation. 

Eileen is a former Hamilton Council member and during her tenure served as Hamilton Council President. 

Eileen has been a member of WPCNJ since it's inception. Her resume includes serving three years as President and chairwoman of WPCNJ PAC. At the National Woman's Political Caucus, she was elected to its board, served on Political Resources Committee and was Vice President of Democratic Task Force. 

 

S._Weiner_pic.jpgShari Weiner, Esq.

Shari Weiner, Esq. is a partner with the law firm of Murphy McKeon P.C. where she specializes in municipal and land use law.  Ms. Weiner followed a career in government relations as an elected official with a second degree in the field of law in 1986. She served as Mayor of Livingston, New Jersey, after serving as Deputy Mayor and Councilwoman. In 2002, she was appointed Livingston Township Attorney. In 2011, Governor Christie appointed her to the Council on Local Mandates-which she chaired.

Ms. Weiner is the immediate past chair of the Local Government Law Section of the New Jersey Bar Association and is assistant counsel to the New Jersey League of Municipalities. Shari was awarded a Diplomate in local government law by the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys and she was recognized as one of New Jersey’s best 50 women in business by NJBIZ.

Shari is past President of the WPCNJ, has remained active in the Caucus by chairing its Political Resource Committee. Shari's passion is to get more women into appointed and elective office! 

Deirdre Woodbryne

 

Board Counsel

Rebecca-Moll-Freed-.jpgRebecca Moll Freed, Esq

 Rebecca Moll Freed, Esq is partner Genova Burns LLC’s Newark, New Jersey office. She is the Director of the Corporate Political Activity Law and the Non-Profit and Tax Exempt Organizations Practice Groups where she advises corporations, limited liability companies, trade associations, charitable organizations, social welfare organizations and political action committees on the legal aspects of their political activities. Rebecca also has substantial experience with New Jersey’s pay-to-play and procurement laws.


Ms. Freed is currently involved in the Newark Scholars Program, which provides full scholarships to Newark Academy to deserving students from the City of Newark. Ms. Freed served as a trustee for Partners for Women and Justice from November of 2011 to November 2014. Ms. Freed has been recognized by New Jersey Law Journal, “Forty Under 40″ (2008) and NJ Biz Magazine, “Forty Under 40″ (2010). Ms. Freed was honored by Newark Academy as a “Woman of Distinction” for the Class of 1994 for her contributions to the legal industry and to the community (2014).

She is co-Chair of the firm’s Inclusionary Initiative, which encompasses the firm’s Women’s Initiative and Diversity Initiative. The Inclusionary Initiative focuses on the common goal of fostering better lawyers and serving our clients’ needs.  Ms. Freed also serves as the firm’s point Marketing Partner and is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the firm’s Marketing Department.

Rebecca  is Board Counsel to the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey.

Board Co-Counsel

  • Alix James, Esq.

 

Board Administrator 

      • Megan Hutton 
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