2019-2020 WPCNJ Board Members
EXECUTIVE BOARD BIOGRAPHIES
Jennifer Mancuso - President
Jennifer Mancuso is the Executive Director of the Fair Share Hospitals Collaborative (FSHC), a coalition of nine healthcare systems representing 31 New Jersey hospitals tasked with proving accessible and accountable health care to their communities.
Before joining the FSHC, Ms. Mancuso served for seven years as Chief of Staff to State Senator Bob Gordon. In that position, she developed and oversaw the Senator’s legislative agenda, working with stakeholders, elected officials, advocacy groups and the media to advance Gordon’s initiatives. Prior to her work in Senator Gordon’s district office, she worked for several years for the New Jersey General Assembly.
Ms. Mancuso has an extensive background in state government with expertise in legislative policy, politics and advocacy. She also has considerable experience working on political campaigns at Congressional, state and local levels, including assisting Senator Gordon’s successful re-election campaigns to the 38th Legislative District, one of the most competitive legislative districts in the state. She received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers College, Rutgers University in both Political Science and English Literature. Born and raised in New Jersey, Ms. Mancuso now resides in Fanwood with her husband and two young children.
Kelly Stewart Maer - VP of Finance
Kelly joined the non-profit Capital Health as Director of State and Federal Public Affairs in June of 2016 reporting directly to Capital Health’s CEO, Al Maghazehe, to advocate the needs of safety net hospitals serving the most vulnerable New Jersey residents and address the ever changing healthcare policy environment in our statehouse and nations capitol.
Prior to joining Capital Health, she served in various positions with numerous state and federal governmental offices and political campaigns. During her career, she has worked for three New Jersey Governors, the NJ Senate President, the Speaker of the NJ General Assembly and a United States Senator. Her campaign experience includes serving as finance director, political director, and political organizer on numerous state-wide campaigns. Most recently, she managed ballot access and the delegate selection process for the NJ Democratic State Committee during the 2016 US Presidential campaign cycle
She has more than two decades of government and advocacy experience working on behalf of a diverse range of issues from healthcare to transportation to small business serving as: Vice President of Health Policy for New Jersey's largest statewide business association (NJBIA); media spokesperson and head of Media Affairs for NJ TRANSIT; elected (2003) and served on the New Jersey Small Employer Health Benefits Program Board; and as an advocate on behalf of a wide variety of entities ranging from non-profits, major corporations, small business, government, social equality and professional associations. Her extensive experience has enabled her to be a part of a team developing and executing successful policy and grassroots advocacy campaigns.
Jodi Bouer, Esq. - VP of Membership
For many years, Ms. Bouer worked as an insurance coverage litigator for the top NJ law firms and insurers, including Sills Cummis & Gross and CNA. Prior to that time, she worked as an insurance broker.
Ms. Bouer opened her Firm after successfully pursuing health insurance first for a family member, then a gravely ill friend and later, a child diagnosed with autism. She realized there was a great need for a law firm that specializes in representing providers, policyholders and insurance professionals in pursuit of erroneously denied health insurance claims and coverage matters, audits/recoupments, and in response to fraud allegations. She specializes in matters involving autism and mental health therapies, medical and end-of-life issues, as well as disability law, generally.
Sonia Das - Secretary
Sonia Das is Vice President of Government Affairs at Advocacy & Management Group (AMG). A graduate of the University of Washington, she began her career working on political campaigns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She transitioned into government work during Governor Jim McGreevey’s administration, where she served as an Advance Representative. Sonia went on to become Assistant Press Secretary for Governor Richard Codey and later served as a Senior Research Associate in the New Jersey Senate Democratic Office. As Senior Research Associate Sonia oversaw legislative committees focused on public employees, elections, State Government, and gaming issues. Sonia left the New Jersey Senate Democratic Office to serve as Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg’s Chief of Staff, managing the Senator’s legislative agenda. Sonia started her own firm, DasWorks, in 2016 before joining AMG.
Elizabeth Murray - Treasurer
Elizabeth Murray is Director of Regulatory Affairs in Comcast’s Eastern Division with responsibility for both cable and telephone regulatory issues. Prior to joining Comcast, she was Director of Regulatory Affairs for Cablevision in New Jersey. Elizabeth served in the Whitman administration as Chief of Staff at the Board of Public Utilities and at the department of Banking, and as a Policy Advisor and Deputy Chief of Policy in the Governor’s Office. She has also worked for Congressman Dick Zimmer and Assemblymembers Lisa Randall and Kathe Donovan, as well as on several campaigns. She is a graduate of Douglass College and lives in Metuchen, New Jersey.
Sharon Shinkle Gardner - PAC Chairperson
Sharon Shinkle Gardner is a public affairs professional with over 20 years of experience in state and local government. For the past eight years, she has served as Chief of Staff to Transportation Chair and 14th District Assemblyman Daniel Benson. She previously was employed by the NJ Department of Transportation as Assistant Commissioner of Government Affairs and Legislative Liaison under 3 Governors. Ms. Shinkle Gardner has also worked as a lobbyist and a municipal government manager. She is currently the President of the Mercer County Park Commission of which she was a member for over 13 years. She is active in the NJ Women’s Political Caucus and in the Hamilton And Mercer Democratic parties. She lives in Hamilton with her husband Steven and son Joshua.
Pamela 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.
Chrissy Buteas - Past President
Chrissy Buteas is Chief Government Affairs Officer of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), the nation's largest state-level business association whose member companies collectively employ more than one million people. Prior to joining NJBIA, Chrissy served as the president and CEO of the Home Care & Hospice Association of New Jersey.
Chrissy most recently served on the Murphy-Oliver Transition 2018 Healthcare team. She is also a member of the board of Executive Women of New Jersey, which is committed to increasing the presence of women serving on corporate boards of companies in the state. Buteas serves as a member of the New Jersey Mandated Health Benefits Advisory Commission, which responds to requests from the State Legislature to provide independent analysis of the medical, financial and social impacts of proposed health insurance benefit mandates. She is also a member of the New Jersey Medical Assistance Advisory Council, which advises the state Department of Human Services on matters of medical care and health services.
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.
Board At Large:
Rosemary Bernardi: Rosemary is the WPCNJ communications chairperson. Rosemary is a former elected official, elected three times to Evesham township school board and served as New Jersey School Board Association's Vice President of Legislation. She was an Alt-delegate to the DNC in 2012.
Flora Castillo: Flora has served as a member of the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors since 1999. At that time, she was recognized for her community and civic work and was appointed to the NJ TRANSIT Board by New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman - making her the first Latina and the youngest member to serve on the Board.
Lisa Chapland: 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.
Eileen 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. 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.
Jeanne Fox, Esq.
Deborah Hurley: Deborah Hurley has more than 10 years of proven experience in fundraising, public relations, and event management. 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.
Eileen Kean, Esq:
Eileen Kean joined Komjathy & Stewart, LLC in 2010 and brings to the firm over twenty five years of lobbying experience including work in Washington, DC and Trenton. She is well versed in New Jersey politics and has excellent relationships with legislators on both sides of the aisle. She attended law school with Governor Chris Christie and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno is a personal friend from the Jersey shore.
Eileen is active in the state Republican Party and President of the Neptune Township Republican Club. She is a volunteer in several non-profits in Monmouth County including the Church of the Seven United States Presidents.
Jeannine LaRue: The Honorable Jeannine Frisby LaRue is the Senior Vice President at Kaufman Zita Group. She began her career at KZG in 2011 after retiring from Rutgers University as Vice President of Public Affairs, where she served in the University President’s Cabinet and was charged with advancing the University’s goals of cultivating and maintaining relationships with key leaders in the public and private sectors.
Prior to joining the University’s administration, Jeannine served as Deputy Chief of Staff for former New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine. She remained in that post for two years and oversaw the Office of Appointments, the Office of Constituency Services and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Jeannine has long been a champion of issues affecting women and children. She convened the first ever Statewide Women’s Summit in 1992. The success of that event was noted by then Governor Whitman who, in 1994, made the annual event a function of state government and changed the name to The Governor’s Conference for Women. That event has continued under every governor since and today attracts more than 2,000 participants annually. Jeannine continues to be involved in organizing that event today.
Jayne O'Connor: Vice President at Taft Communications, Jayne is at the frontlines of political battles and cutting-edge healthcare innovations. She has advised CEOs and political leaders in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Jayne served as press secretary to New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman and, more recently, specialized in healthcare communications and marketing, and philanthropy communications. After serving as director of corporate communications for Bristol-Myers Squibb she led Capital Health’s successful rebranding and reputational transformation. A recognized community leader with a history of service on nonprofit boards, Jayne currently serves on the boards of NJ Spotlight, the online news organization, and Eden Autism Services. Previously, she helped to found the Mercer County affiliate of Dress for Success and served on its board for 10 years. She was also on the boards of MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce, Trenton YWCA, and Hopewell YMCA.
Scarlett Rajski: Scarlett Rajski is the Director of Legislative Affairs at the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, where she serves as the primary liaison between the Authority and members of the New Jersey State Legislature. She joined Governor Murphy's administration in January 2018 as the Director of Appointments and prior to that worked 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, a public relations and public affairs agency, and as Special Projects Director for United States Senator Robert Menendez. Scarlett holds a degree in Political Science and American Studies from Boston University and a Master of Public Affairs and Politics from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.
Patricia Teffenhart: Patricia is a graduate of Douglass College, the women’s college of Rutgers University. She began her career with the New Jersey Women and AIDS Network, where she utilized her passion for female-focused programming to provide critical health information to New Jersey women living with HIV/AIDS. Following her time at NJWAN, Patricia was the Director of Regional Programs for the National Latina Health Network for seven years, where she advanced the national health promotion infrastructure in support of Latinas and their families. Prior to joining NJCASA, she served as the Assistant Executive Director of Woman Aware, the state-designated domestic violence organization serving Middlesex County. Patricia has a Masters in Public Administration and was a 2013 Alice Paul Equality Award recipient. Patricia has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to improving the treatment and status of women, and works diligently with NJCASA’s stakeholders to elevate New Jersey’s public discourse on sexual violence.
Joyce Watterman: Joyce is the Councilwoman at Large for the City of Jersey City. She serves as a Planning Commissioner, Chairs the Disabled Parking committee, serve as a member of the Affordable Housing Trust Funds, the Budget Committee, The Jackson Hill Main Street SID, Dissolution of Parking Authority, Chairs the Street Naming and Re-naming committee, Chaplin for the Hudson County Sheriff’s Department, member of NAACP, Licensed Realtor, Co-Chairperson of Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, and former President of the Women Political Caucus of Hudson County.
Shari 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.
Rebecca 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.
Alix James, Esq.