Forum Aims to Boost Government & Civic Leadership Among Young Women
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) hosted the 2nd annual District 37 Young Women’s Leadership Forum on Wednesday at Bergen Community College, attended by some of Bergen County’s leading high school students and featuring a keynote address by Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver.
“We created the District 37 Young Women’s Leadership Program as an advanced learning experience for high school women interested in honing their leadership skills while learning about state government and the Legislature,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This program is an excellent way for young women to become aware of and engaged in the many civic and government leadership opportunities that are available. The impressively bright, young women participating in this year’s program will no doubt be our future leaders of tomorrow.”
Vainieri Huttle designed the program to raise awareness and discussion on the key issues of the day affecting New Jersey on both a statewide and local level. A focus of the program is the role of women in government and the contributions female leaders make to the State of New Jersey and society in general.
“Even though we’ve made great strides in recent years to increase the representation of women in government, we still have a long way to go to achieve true parity,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “One of the best ways to achieve this is for the women who have already broken through this barrier to take tomorrow’s leaders under their wing and help provide an entryway into government and civic involvement. I applaud Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle for this initiative, as well as all the young women who have taken an active interest in the world around them.”
The topic of this year’s forum, chosen by the program participants, was Social Media – Your Profile to the World. Following remarks by Vainieri Huttle and the keynote address by Oliver on Women’s Empowerment, the forum then featured a panel discussion on the use of social media in educational and professional contexts, specifically addressing cyberbullying and social media etiquette.
Panelists included Shannon Cuttle, an educator and nationally recognized leader in the safe schools movement; Elvira Grau who immigrated to the U.S. from the Ukraine at age 9 and has gone on to represent major Fortune 500 clients in the areas of marketing, advertising and PR; Jamie Keller, a communications professor at Bergen Community College who has created anti-bullying awareness initiatives on campus and throughout New Jersey school districts; and Angela Thomas who has over 18 years of marketing experience within major music corporations, including executive positions at Universal, Sony and BMG.
This year, 10 young women from the 37th legislative district were selected by their high schools to participate in the program, including: Danielle Gillon of Tenafly High School, Frailine Gliozzi of Bogota High School, Monica Gonzalez-Curci of Leonia High School, Ashley Hernandez of Hackensack High School, Ji-Yoon Lee of Bergen County Academies, Ta’Quashia Lee of the Academies at Englewood, Nancy Mannebach of Hackensack High School, Myla Ona of Teaneck High School, Taylor Strickland of Teaneck High School, and Nyla Thomas of the Academies at Englewood.
The event was also attended by roughly 100 students representing Hackensack, Teaneck, Englewood, Cresskill, Bogota, and Palisades Park.