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WPCNJ-PAC Honoring Karin Elkis Recipient of the Barbara Boggs Award

Women's Political Caucus of NJ PAC 
Women of Achievement
 Award Honoree
Karin Elkis 
Senior Vice President, Optimus Partners LLC  
Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award 
Thursday, June 6, 2019
NJ Restaurant & Hospitality Association  
126 West State Street, Trenton  
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Award Recipients
Karin Elkis 
Senior Vice President, Optimus Partners LLC 
Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award
Kate Gibbs
Deputy Director, ELEC 825   
Labor-Management Fund of Operating Engineers Local 825 
Carol Murphy Award
Karin Elkis has been committed to serving the people of New Jersey for four decades. During that time, she has helped thousands of New Jersey residents navigate the complexities of State and Federal Government to solve their most pressing issues. She has been a Senior Advisor to three United States Senators and numerous State legislators, advised many of our State's Governors, served as government relations advisor to many of our State's leading corporate and non-profit entities, and served in leadership roles for numerous charitable and community service-oriented organizations.
During the early years of her career in government, Elkis served as Legislative Aide to New Jersey Assemblyman Martin Herman, where she managed the Third District office staff and advised the Assemblyman on legislative and policy matters.
Karin began her federal service in the United States Senate in 1983 and continued on a career path that led her to become Director of the Southern New Jersey Offices and State Director for three United States Senators - Frank Lautenberg, Jon Corzine and Robert Menendez. In this capacity, Karin served as a senior policy advisor on New Jersey matters, managed the broad range of constituent services throughout the State, and traveled regularly alongside the Senators managing their relationships with elected officials and corporate leaders.
Later in her career, Karin would return to State Government as Chief of Staff of the New Jersey Senate Majority Office. Today, she serves as Senior Vice President of Optimus Partners, a consulting and lobbying firm, based in Trenton, New Jersey.
In addition to her official governmental positions throughout her career, Karin has remained active in elective politics - having been involved with countless campaigns at all levels of government in New Jersey.
Karin continues to serve many charitable organizations, but is best-known for her dedication to New Jersey's Jewish community. She is a leading member or chair of numerous boards and commissions. 
Her recent recognitions include the Trailblazer Award from the New Jersey Leaders Council and the Women Who Get It Done Award by Pam's List. She is a Founding Board Member of Maria's Women United, a southern New Jersey women's Political Action Committee (PAC) in honor of the late Maria Barnaby Greenwald. In addition, she has been the recipient of the Evangelina Menendez Women's Trailblazer Award and the John Adler Advocacy Mission Award. Throughout the years, she has been named to various lists of New Jersey's leading female political leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg's annual Women Power List.
Many young people - especially young women in their first jobs - who have interned and worked under Karin have gone on to build successful careers of their own. She takes great pride in mentoring these young women and men and continues to provide guidance and support as they pursue their aspirations of becoming active leaders in their communities and the State.
She lives in Haddonfield with her husband, Steven Weinstein, Executive Vice President for Policy & External Relations at Rowan University. Elkis and Weinstein have four children: Jordan (and wife Janet), Noah, Lara and Asher. They are also the proud grandparents of Jackson, Ty, and Lila.
Elkis earned her M.S.W. from Tulane University and her B.A. from the Newcomb College for Women.
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WPCNJ Elects New Board President

The Women's Political Caucus hosted its Annual Meeting on Tuesday evening.  Thank you to Assembly Budget Chairwoman Eliana Pintor Marin for sharing her wisdom and helping ensure that women's voices are present throughout state government. 
2019-2020 WPCNJ Board of Directors 
Special thanks to outgoing president Chrissy Buteas for all her years of service. Under her leadership, the WPCNJ organization has grown both financially and in membership. WPCNJ welcomes incoming president Jennifer Mancuso, Executive Director of the Fair Share Hospitals Collaborative.  

The meeting marked the addition of 
two new board members: 
* Jayne O'Connor, Vice President of Taft Communications  
* Scarlett Rajski, Director of Legislative Affairs at the New Jersey Schools Development Authority  
Sharon Shinkle Gardner, Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Daniel Benson,  was also sworn in as the new WPCNJ PAC Chairwoman   
Thanks to Asw. Nancy Pinkin for swearing in the 2019-2020 board members and for Asw Verlina Reynolds-Jackson for joining us. 
2019-2010 WPCNJ Executive Board & WPCNJ Board

WPCNJ Executive Board 
President, Jennifer Mancuso
VP of Finance, Kelly Stewart Maer
VP of Membership, Jodi Bouer, Esq.
Treasurer, Elizabeth Murray
Secretary, Sonia Das

WPCNJ Board Members
Jade Bechelli
Rosemary Bernardi
Chrissy Buteas
Flora Castillo
Lisa Chapland, Esq.
Tai Cooper
Marilyn Davis
Eileen Della Volle
Jeanne Fox, Esq.
Deborah Hurley
Lisa Mizrahi Kaado
Eileen Kean, Esq.
Jennie Lamon
Jeannine LaRue
Jeralyn Lawrence, Esq.
Jayne O’Connor
Scarlett Rajski
Antonia Ricigliano
Patricia Teffenhart
Joyce Watterman
Sharon Weiner, Esq.
Pamela Yuen

Board Counsel
Rebecca Moll-Freed, Esq.
Alix James, Esq.
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Join Us Thursday: 2019 Passion * Power * Progress Awards

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Passion * Power * Progress Awards
February 7, 2019
Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick, NJ
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

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WPCNJ Expresses Condolences to Family of Babs Siperstein

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Services will be held on Wednesday, February 6 at Flynn and Sons Funeral Home in Fords. Detailed information can be found at   
In lieu of flowers, it was Babs' wish that memorial donations be made to "The Barbra Siperstein Endowed Scholarship at Middlesex County College"
MCC Foundation
2600 Woodbridge Avenue
Edison, NJ 08818-3050
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WPCNJ To Honor Assemblyman Daniel Benson, Good Guy Award Recipient

Women's Political Caucus of New Jersey
Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson
Legislative District 14 
Good Guy Award 

Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-14 Mercer) first joined the Assembly in 2011 and is currently serving his fourth term. A former member of the Environment, Commerce, and Law and Public Safety Committees, the Assemblyman currently serves as the Chair of the Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee and as a member of the Health and Senior Services and Budget Committees.  He represents towns in Mercer and Middlesex Counties including Cranbury, East Windsor, Hamilton, Hightstown, Jamesburg, Monroe, Plainsboro, Robbinsville, and Spotswood.   
Assemblyman Benson has a Bachelor of Science in physics and government from Georgetown University and a Master of Public Policy in science and technology policy from Rutgers University. Professionally, the Assemblyman is an energy and telecommunications policy consultant and resides in Hamilton with his wife Hande and their son Nicholas.   

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WPCNJ To Honor Madeline Ferraro, Esq., Mary Philbrook Award Recipient

Women's Political Caucus of New Jersey
Madeline Ferraro, Esq.  
Vice President of Government Relations & Public Affairs, 
Atlantic Health System
Mary Philbrook Award 

Ms. Ferraro has been Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs at Atlantic Health System since 2002.
In this senior leadership position, Ms. Ferraro helps devise and direct the system's strategic policy decisions and enhance the system's position with state and federal leaders. Ms. Ferraro is responsible for all legislative and regulatory matters and she meets regularly with federal and state legislators, local elected officials, the Governor and his staff, and the Commissioners and staff of various state departments.
Ms. Ferraro was the architect for Atlantic Health System's corporate strategic giving program and heads the committee that directs and distributes over one million dollars annually of Atlantic Health System funds to charities with aligned missions.
In 2017, Ms. Ferraro was named to NJ Governor-Elect Phil Murphy's transition team, as a member of the transition's healthcare committee.  She also served as Appointments Counsel to Governor Christine Todd Whitman and as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey.
Ms. Ferraro is very active in her civic community. She sits on the boards of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, the National Public Affairs Council (the preeminent association for public affairs professionals worldwide), Georgian Court University, Brookdale Community College, the New Jersey Hospital Association HealthPAC Board of Directors, Policy Development Committee and Government Relations Committee, and the Fair Share Hospitals Collaborative Government Affairs and Strategic Planning Committee. Ms. Ferraro also acts as a mentor to young and seasoned professionals in varied fields.
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WPCNJ To Honor AECOM, Corporate Award Recipient

Women's Political Caucus of New Jersey

Corporate Award 
AECOM, a premier, fully integrated global infrastructure firm, is built to deliver a better world. They design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets for governments, businesses and organizations in more than 150 countries. As a fully integrated firm, AECOM connects knowledge and experience across their global network of experts to help clients solve their most complex challenges. From high-performance buildings and infrastructure, to resilient communities and environments, to stable and secure nations, their work is transformative, differentiated and vital.  
Inclusion and diversity are key AECOM core values and they're committed to creating an inclusive culture
where all employees are empowered to thrive. AECOM actively supports the pursuit of diverse leadership in
both business and politics as a best practice in promoting positive societal values. 
For more information on AECOM, please visit aecom.com and @AECOM.

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Women's Political Caucus of New Jersey Announces 2019 Passion * Power * Progress Award Recipients

On the evening of February 7, 2019, the Women’s Political Caucus of NJ (WPCNJ) will gather at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick at 6:00 p.m. for its annual Passion * Power * Progress Awards reception.  Each year this event showcases individuals and organizations whose leadership, civic involvement, and professional efforts have helped make New Jersey a better place for women. 


We are delighted to present the following awards for 2019 to:

  • Madeline Ferraro, Esq., Atlantic Health System – Mary Philbrook Award
  • Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson, Legislative District 14 – Good Guy Award
  • Gil Medina, CBRE, Inc. – Good Guy Award
  • AECOM, Global Design and Construction Firm – Corporate Award
  • Rev. Deborah Stapleton – Social Justice Award

“This year’s honorees are being celebrated for their outstanding contributions and dedication to improving the lives of women & families,” stated Chrissy Buteas, President of the WPCNJ. “From empowering and mentoring young women to fighting for social justice, they have all had a tremendous impact on their communities. WPCNJ is thrilled to honor their accomplishments.”


For more information regarding the 2019 Passion * Power * Progress Awards, please visit www.wpcnj.org/calendar.


WPCNJ State Legislator, Local and County Endorsements

Please email [email protected] if you are interested in receiving a questionnaire. 

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3 Days Away: WPCNJ-PAC Women of Achievement Reception

Women's Political Caucus of NJ PAC 
2018 Women of Achievement
Thursday, June 7, 2018
NJ Restaurant & Hospitality Association  
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

All proceeds from this event are used to support our endorsed women candidates! 
2017-2018 WPCNJ's Endorsed Candidates  
Gabriela Mosquera (D)* District 4, Assembly
Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D)* District 5, Senate
Patricia Egan Jones (D)* District 5, Assembly
Pamela R. Lampitt (D)* District 6, Assembly
Carol Murphy (D) District 7, Assembly
Joanne Schwartz (D) District 8, Assembly
Maryann Merlino (D) District 8, Assembly
Jill Dobrowansky (D) District 9, Assembly
Emma Mammano (D) District 10, Senate
Joann Downey (D)* District 11, Assembly
Mariel Didato (D) District 13, Assembly
Linda Greenstein (D)* District 14, Senate
Shirley Turner (D)* District 15, Senate
Elizabeth Muoio (D)* District 15, Assembly
Laurie Poppe (D) District 16, Senate
Nancy Pinkin (D)* District 18, Assembly
Yvonne Lopez (D) District 19, Assembly
Annette Quijano (D)* District 20, Assembly
Jill Lazare (D) District 21, Senate
Lacey Rzeszowski (D) District 21, Assembly
Nancy Munoz (R)* District 21, Assembly
Christine Lui Chen (D) District 23 Senate
Laura Shaw (D) District 23, Assembly
Kate Matteson (D) District 24, Assembly
Gina Trish (D) District 24, Assembly
Lisa Bhimani (D) District 25, Senate
Mila M. Jasey (D)* District 27, Assembly
Cleopatra Tucker (D)* District 28, Assembly
M. Teresa Ruiz (D)* District 29, Senate
Eliana Pintor Marin (D)* District 29, Assembly
Shanique Speight (D) District 29, Assembly
Sandra Cunningham (D)* District 31, Senate
Angela McKnight (D)* District 31, Assembly
Angelica Jimenez (D)* District 32, Assembly
Annette Chaparro (D)* District 33, Assembly
Nia Gill (D)* District 34, Senate
Sheila Oliver (D)* District 34, Assembly
Nellie Pou (D)* District 35, Senate
Shavonda Sumter* (D) District 35, Assembly
Marlene Caride* (D) District 35, Assembly
Loretta Weinberg (D)* District 3, Senate
Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D)* District 37, Assembly
Linda Schwager (D) District 39, Senate
Jannie Chung (D) District 39, Assembly
Holly Schepisi (R)* District 39, Assembly
Christine Ordway (D) District 40, Assembly
*signifies incumbent
Join us or renew your WPCNJ Membership today to be part of New Jersey's premier organization for women who are passionate about politics and increasing women's representation at all levels of government.

For more information, contact [email protected].   
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