2020-2021 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.
Sharon Shinkle Gardner - VP of Finance
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 the former President of the Mercer County Park Commission of which she has been 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 recently was named Co-Chair of Mayor-elect Jeff Martin of Hamilton Twp transition team. She lives in Hamilton with her husband Steven and son Joshua.
Eileen Della Volle - VP of Membership
Eileen currently serves on the board of the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey, on the Brick Planning Board, and is a former member of the Brick Board of Adjustment. She has a Bachelor’s degree in public administration from Kean University. She also has served on numerous industry-specific boards, including Women in Transportation Seminar and the Society of Marketing Professionals. She was named one of the “Top 50 Women in Business” by NJBIZ Magazine and was the recipient of its “40 Under 40” award; earned the SMPS New York City Chapter Marketing Achievement Award; was named “Outstanding Woman” by the Women’s Building Council; and received an “Award of Excellence” in recognition of her commitment to maximizing contracting opportunities for women and minority owned firms.
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.
Scarlett Rajski - Treasurer
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.
Eileen Kean, Esq. - PAC Chairperson
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.
Pamela L. Yuen - PAC Treasurer
Pamela is the Government Relations Manager at YWCA USA where she focuses on national policies relevant to YWCA's mission to eliminate racism and empower women. She has almost a decade of government relations and advocacy experience and regularly liaises with Capitol Hill on a diverse range of issues ranging from racial and gender-based violence and economic security to women's health and safety. Prior to joining YWCA, Pam served as the Senior Government Relations Coordinator at the American Association of University Women (AAUW), where she led the work with key stakeholders and advocates to advance the organization’s public policy platform on Capitol Hill and within the Administration. She also managed the AAUW Action Fund Capitol Hill Lobby Corps, organizing local AAUW members who speak out on Capitol Hill on a weekly basis concerning issues that affect women and girls. Before 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. 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.
Rosemary has 16 years of software development and project management expertise in the IT industry. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania, Rosemary is also a graduate of Leadership NJ, one of the most prestigious leadership development programs in the state. Rosemary currently resides in Evesham Township in Burlington County. She volunteers on local civic and school booster clubs, including a former role as PTA president. She is a proud mom of two young men.
Jade Bechell: Jade has over a decade of experience as a policy analyst. She is the Director of Policy to Majority Leader Louis Greenwald in the General Assembly Majority Office. She also serves as a Democratic Committee Aide to the Assembly Education Committee and the Assembly Budget Committee. She previously served as the Legislative Director to Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt. Jade is a graduate of The George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management where she earned a master’s degree in political management. She holds a bachelor's degree from Arcadia University in political science and women and gender studies. Jade is active in the Cherry Hill and Camden County Democratic parties. She previously served as the Executive Vice President and Women’s Caucus Chair to the New Jersey Young Democrats. She lives in Cherry Hill with her husband Chris, daughter Matilda and stepson Lincoln.
Jodi Bouer, Esq.: 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.
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 is the Director of Government Affairs of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Lisa is also of counsel to Hill Wallack LLP in Princeton. Prior to her work at the NJSBA, she was a full-time attorney at Hill Wallack 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. Having recently been a kinship resource parent, Lisa also focuses her work on child welfare issues and is a member of organizations focused on improving New Jersey's child welfare system and resource parent rights.
Marilyn Davis: Marilyn joined Altice USA in January 2017 as the New Jersey Area Director for Government Affairs. Ms. Davis manages relations with elected officials and community partners as well as oversee legislative and regulatory matters.
Previously, Ms. Davis worked at the Democratic National Committee as the National Director of Community Engagement until December 2016. She lead a team of nine individuals responsible for engaging stakeholders in the African American, Hispanic, AAPI, Jewish, LGBT, youth, women, ethnics, veterans, rural, and small business communities. She served in the Obama/Biden Administration as a political appointee at the United States Department of Labor where she worked under the leadership of Secretary Thomas E. Perez. As the Deputy Director of the office of Public Engagement, Ms. Davis managed labor and African American outreach.
She was also the president and chief executive officer of the consulting firm, Davis & Associates, LLC. As a consultant, Ms. Davis specialized in campaign management, fundraising, strategic development, political organizing, and community outreach.
Jeanne Fox, Esq.: Jeanne is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (2015 - present). Ms. Fox is a co-founder and Board member of the non-profit Center for Renewables Integration. She served as a Commissioner of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (January 2002 -September 2014) and was its President and a member of the Governor’s cabinet (January 2002 – January 2010). The NJBPU has regulatory jurisdiction over telephone, electric, gas, water, wastewater and cable television companies and works to ensure that consumers have proper service at reasonable rates.
She is a member of: The National Academies of Science Panel on Resiliency of the Transmission and Distribution System; the Carnegie Mellon University’s Advisory Board for the Center for Climate Energy Decision Making: GRID Alternatives Tri-State Board of Directors; Rutgers University Trustee Emerita; Associate Alumnae of Douglass College President; Women’s Political Caucus of NJ Board; New Jersey AARP’s Executive Council; and the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern NJ Board Development Committee.
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.
Lisa Kaado: Lisa has dedicated her life’s work to the empowerment of women in public and private spheres, and the promotion of gender equity. She has been a consultant and service provider for non-profit political and social justice organizations including the San Francisco based Women’s Funding Network, the Women’s Fund of New Jersey, the Long Island Fund for Women and Girls, the Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade, the New Jersey Women and AIDS Network, and Planned Parenthood Association of New Jersey. She has also produced a series of leadership programs for the U.S. Department of State Office of International Visitors. A strong supporter of increasing the representation of women in government, Lisa has produced campaign events for women candidates running for municipal, legislative, gubernatorial, and congressional office. She has also been an adjunct professor at Rutgers University teaching courses in Political Science and ELL.
Lisa joined the Board of the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey in 2002 and has served in a number of capacities before being elected to serve two terms as President. She founded the Rutgers University Women’s Political Caucus in 2002 and continues to serve as an advisor and mentor to young women.
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.
Jeralyn Lawrence: Jeralyn is the Managing Member and Founder of Lawrence Law, and devotes her practice to matrimonial, divorce, and family law, and is a trained collaborative lawyer, divorce mediator, and arbitrator. Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney, Jeralyn represents clients with matrimonial and family law needs. Jeralyn is Second Vice President of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA), where she is slated to become its President in 2022. She is Vice President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers New Jersey Chapter and is certified by the Academy as a Family Law Arbitrator.
Jeralyn was selected by the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey to receive their Carol Murphy Award and received the 2014 New Jersey Professional Lawyer of the Year Award from the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law. She was honored by NJBiz as one of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business and was selected as a Kean University Distinguished Alumna. Jeralyn was honored as an Outstanding Woman in Somerset County by the Somerset County Commission On the Status Of Women. She received the NJSBA’s Young Lawyers Division’s Professional Achievement Award and received three Annual Legislative Recognition awards from the NJSBA. She was named a 2019 New Jersey Legal Trailblazer by the New Jersey Law Journal and is one of the New Jersey Super Lawyers in the Family Law section.
Kelly Stewart Maer: 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.
Elizabeth Murray: Liz 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.
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 community leader with a history of service on nonprofit boards, Jayne currently serves on the board Eden Autism Services. She has recognized by a number of organizations, including NJBiz as one of the “Top 50 Women in Business,” Princeton YWCA’s “Tribute to Women,” The Girl Scouts of Southern and Central NJ as a “Woman of Distinction.”
Antonia Ricigliano: The first woman Mayor of Edison Township from January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2013.
An Edison resident who served on the Township Council from 1998 to 2001 and again from 2006 to 2009. She and her husband of more than 62 years, have nine children, sixteen grandchildren most of whom live in Edison and one great-grandson. Antonia holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary & Secondary Education, K-12 certification with a focus on History from Kean University.
Patricia Teffenhart: Patricia is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA). NJCASA elevates the voice of sexual violence survivors and service providers by advocating for survivor-centered legislation, training allied professionals, and supporting statewide prevention strategies that work to address and defy the sociocultural norms that permit and promote rape culture.
Patricia is a proud graduate of Douglass College and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration. She has dedicated her career to the promotion and advancement of women and girls, having worked for county-wide, statewide, and national feminist organizations.
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.:
Alix has served as WPC NJ’s Co-Board Counsel since 2014. Working as an in-house attorney for an international real estate investment trust, Alix manages corporate legal matters and specializes in obtaining construction and land use approvals. She also oversees government affairs and community group engagement. Alix brings with her over a decade of experience working in a law firm, government agencies, start-up ventures and politics. While attending law school, Alix worked in the Constitutional Litigation Clinic on congressional redistricting and voter protection issues, where she was awarded the Mark J. Lopez Civil Liberties Award and the Frank and Marilyn Askin Award for Excellence in Clinical Studies. A graduate of Vanderbilt University and Rutgers University School of Law, Alix enjoys skiing, cooking and travel in her spare time. She lives in Jersey City with her husband and daughter.