Inaugural Awards Ceremony Demonstrates Power of Mentorship

The Stockton Women's Leadership Council held its first-ever Excellence in Mentoring Awards on Friday, March 22. Recipients of the awards (L-R): Andrea Steinberg, CEO of Jewish Family Services; Tina Byrne '20 of Suasion Communications Group; Michele Myers '90 of Caesar's Entertainment; and Cookie Till '83 of A Meaningful Purpose at Reed's Farm.

Galloway, N.J. – “As my (Stockton Women’s Leadership Council) ladies know, behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.”

The Campus Center Event Room erupted into applause as Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt, Ed.D. ’23, concluded her introductory remarks. She was presenting the SWLC Student Leadership Award to her mentee, Tina Byrne ‘20, during the council’s first-ever Excellence in Mentoring Awards on Friday, March 22.

The Stockton Women’s Leadership Council (SWLC) is a Stockton University Foundation initiative dedicated to the empowerment of women and seeks to promote networking among women and the community. The SWLC offers a platform for professionals to build relationships, discuss issues related to women, engage in mentorship opportunities, and explore ways that relevant program events and leadership development opportunities can be supported by enhanced philanthropy.

Byrne joined the council during her sophomore year in 2019, seeking purpose and guidance. She soon found that and more. Through her mentoring relationship with Adelizzi-Schmidt, president of Suasion Communications Group, Byrne has developed both professionally and personally and felt like her voice as a student was heard by the community of leaders who encouraged her growth as a fellow leader. 

“The impact that this program has goes far deeper than most people would even know, and this is just such an honor. I'm so appreciative that I can accept this award. I'm so glad that my mom is here and that my dad is looking down at me right now; I know he is so proud,” Byrne said.

Tina Byrne and Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt
Byrne '20 and Adelizzi-Schmidt, Ed.D. '23, shortly after the awards ceremony. Photo by Susan Allen. 

Mentorships don’t just have a profound impact on mentees – mentors find that the relationships they create with their mentees is reciprocal and teaches them valuable lessons as well. Recipient of the Mentoring Champion Award, Michele Myers ’90 of Caesars Entertainment, shared some of the lessons that mentoring taught her. 

“First, know that nothing in your life is ever wasted: every experience and moment that you have is to the benefit of someone else around you if you let it be. Secondly, listen more than you talk because people need to be heard now more than ever, and if you do that, I guarantee you will find the third thing, which is an opportunity to mentor. It's more important to learn from people that you've touched for a moment so that you are touched for a lifetime,” Myers shared. 

Andrea Steinberg, CEO of Jewish Family Services and recipient of the SWLC Impact Mentor Award, echoed those sentiments, adding that she is looking forward to continuing to nurture these relationships within the SWLC.

“It is an honor to mentor such amazing women and be just a small part of their journey,” Steinberg said. “The students I have met are juggling school, work, volunteer opportunities and their lives with such enthusiasm, commitment and grace. I am inspired by their determination and their drive to succeed both professionally and personally.”

Mentorship isn’t just about interpersonal relationships, as demonstrated by the significant impact that A Meaningful Purpose at Reed’s Farm has had on the local community through its investment of time and funds in mentorship programs and initiatives.

The Stockton Women's Leadership Council: Alicia Trombley '03, Andrea Steinberg, Gayle Gross, Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt, Johanna Johnson, Donna Albano and Noel Criscione-Naylor

Cookie Till '83

Michele Myers '90

Tina Byrne '20

Andrea Steinberg and Gayle Gross

Cookie Till ’83 accepted the Community Leadership Award for Reed’s Farm and talked about their journey of creating a community hub full of healthy, organic, and nutrient-dense food that will fuel the next generation of leaders. The journey was full of lessons and reflected a mentoring relationship similar to the relationships honored during the ceremony — they saw potential in something and transformed it through listening and learning.

“From the land to the people, we now know that diversity is key: you can't have a monoculture. We need to embrace the differences in our abilities, backgrounds and points of view. We have to live with respect and kindness for the land, for each other, for the surrendered farm animals in our care and for all living things in our local and greater ecosystem.

“Reciprocity: everything must be done thoughtfully and with great intentionality so as to not simply take but also give back. Now rising through the challenges of the last three years, abundance is finally arriving at Reed’s. We are facilitating life returning to the soil, and we want to see that reflected in our community,” Till shared.

The SWLC hopes to host more ceremonies recognizing and honoring the power of mentorships in the future.

“So, if anyone doesn't know why we do what we do, here are perfect, living and breathing examples of why we do what we do here at the SWLC,” Donna Albano, chair of the SWLC, said in her closing remarks. “This event was to try to share with all of you what we do and to acknowledge the work and what's going on in the mentoring world outside of the Stockton Women’s Leadership Council. Today shows you the importance of mentoring at all ages and all stages, and the importance of bringing people with you on your journey.”

‘Equity in Action’ Draws Business, Community Leaders to AC Campus

October 26, 2022

(L-R): Bob Ortiz (AtlantiCare), Eduardo Arabu (NHCC), Jenny Hernandez (AtlantiCare), Donna Albano (SWLC), Howard Munves (Meet AC), Alicia Trombley (SWLC) and Diana Strelczyk (Continuing Studies).
(L-R): Bob Ortiz (AtlantiCare), Eduardo Arabu (NHCC), Jenny Hernandez (AtlantiCare), Donna Albano (SWLC), Howard Munves (Meet AC), Alicia Trombley (SWLC) and Diana Strelczyk (Continuing Studies). Photo by Loukaia Taylor. 

Atlantic City, N.J. Leaders dedicated to supporting and promoting the Hispanic community participated in a day of learning with the Stockton’s Women Leadership Council (SWLC), the Office of Continuing StudiesMeet AC and the National Hispanic Corporate Council (NHCC) on Oct. 21.

“Today, we celebrate Hispanic leaders of Atlantic City. They make up 30% of our local population and growing and we’re proud to tell that story here,” said Meet AC’s Howard Munves.

Eduardo Arabu, executive director of the NHCC, shared valuable insights and statistics about the Hispanic population and how businesses can support the population during his keynote speech.

“I think it’s important for non-Latinos to learn about our community, not only from an awareness and education perspective but from an inclusion perspective,” Arabu said. “Involve us as part of your workforce and talent, as customers and consumers of your product and services and as entrepreneurs. Putting that together allows for organizations, employers and entities to move forward in diversity, equity and inclusion strategies.” 

– Story by Loukaia Taylor

– Photos by Susan Allen