Women's Association of NJPAC Board of Trustees
Marcia Wilson Brown, Esq. - President
Senior Vice Chancellor for External and Governmental Relations, Rutgers University, Newark
Marcia has over 30 years of leadership and community service experience in the Newark community. She is Vice Provost for the Rutgers Newark campus. In this capacity, she is the chief advisor and advocate for the University’s student life and community affairs activities and services. She is also the creator of the Student Ambassadors Outreach Program at Rutgers-Newark, which builds bridges between the campus and Newark high school students. Marcia is the co-founder of the South Ward Junior Crimefighters, Harriet Tubman Girls Club, and the Women of Imani, a charitable organization serving poor and low-income families. After graduating from Rutgers Law, she served in the position of Assistant Dean of the Minority Student Program (MSP) and Director of Financial Aid. In 1999, she was appointed Philanthropic Manager for the Lucent Technologies Foundation. Marcia served as a labor relations specialist and program manager with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1980-1994.
She is the founder of Dare to Fly Productions whose focus is on classic stage plays, new original plays, experimental theater, mixed media productions and children’s theater. Marcia is also a poet and a singer. She resides in Long Branch, NJ.
Robin Cruz McClearn - Co-Executive Vice President
East Avenue Advisors, LLC
Robin is an attorney with an extensive career in banking and business management, and recently established her own firm, East Avenue Advisors, LLC, a financial advisory firm that handles the Cruz family’s personal finances and properties. After completing graduate school, Robin spent 10 years as a banker in Boston and another 10 years managing her family’s construction business, E.E. Cruz & Company. Robin and her husband Cameron have two children and enjoy living in their historical home in Summit, NJ when they are not skiing in Vermont.
Suzanne M. Spero - Co-Executive Vice President
Executive Director, The MCJ Amelior Foundation
Suzanne is the Executive Director of The MCJ Amelior Foundation, a family foundation, created to help fund programs in Newark, NJ and surrounding communities. Prior to nonprofit work, Suzanne worked in Washington, DC for Congresswoman Marge Roukema. She also serves on the Drew University Board of Trustees and Executive Committee and chairs the Student Affairs and Campus Life Committee. She is co-founder of Jersey Cares, which organizes teams of socially-minded individuals for community service projects. Suzanne resides in Chatham, NJ with her husband and two daughters.
Mindy A. Cohen - Vice President
Community Leader & Philanthropist
Mindy co-founded Evergreen Partners, Inc. in 1993. She has over 35 years of experience organizing both large- and small-scale events at venues throughout New Jersey and the country. From conceptualization through design and execution, Mindy’s work benefited Fortune 500 firms as well as prestigious non-profit organizations before her retirement at the end of 2016. Her work on behalf of clients has been featured in newspapers and journals, including The New York Times and the Washington Post. Mindy’s career began on Capitol Hill where she served in various positions, including Legislative Assistant to Congressman Herman Badillo (NY) and Congressman William Hungate (MO) and, at age of 27, became Chief of Staff to Congressman Harold Volkmer (MO). In 1980, Mindy established and owned a national fundraising consulting firm. Her clients included U.S. Senators, Congressmen and political organizations. In 1982, Mindy spearheaded the Washington and New Jersey fundraising efforts for Senator Lautenberg’s first campaign and served as his exclusive fundraising counsel for over ten years. In 2002, Mindy joined the Board of Trustees of WBGO, Newark Public Radio, Inc. In 2009, she was elected Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Executive Committee. Mindy is the first woman in the station’s 38 year history to serve in this position. She was named one of NJBIZ’s Best 50 Women in Business 2013. In December, 2016, Mindy retired from Evergreen Partners, Inc. after 23 years. Mindy and her husband David live in West Orange and they enjoy music, theater and travel together.
Michellene Davis, Esq. - Treasurer
Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer
As the Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for RWJBarnabas Health, Michellene Davis leads Social Impact and Community Investment across the System. She oversees the areas of Policy Development and Governmental and External Affairs, Healthy Living and Community and Employee Wellness and Engagement, and Global Health. She is the creator of the RWJBarnabas Health Women’s Leadership Alliance and Institute for Corporate Internship. Ms. Davis helps to direct the strategic policy decisions of the System and strengthens the System’s position with state and federal elected officials and agencies. Ms. Davis joined Barnabas Health in 2009, and soon after was named Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, the first woman and first person of color to serve as an Executive Vice President in the Barnabas Health system’s history. Before joining Barnabas Health, Ms. Davis served as Chief Policy Counsel to former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, the first African American to serve in the role, and Acting New Jersey State Treasurer. Prior to Treasury, Ms. Davis led the $2.4 billion New Jersey Lottery as Executive Director and CEO and served as a senior policy advisor in the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. She began her legal career as a trial litigator, is an Honors graduate of Seton Hall University and holds a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall School of Law.
Ellen Weisbrod Lambert, Esq. - Secretary
President, EWLambert, LLC, 2018 - present Chief Humanitarian Officer, Mothers Monument, 2017 – present Artist/Sculptor
After 35 years of culture change, corporate responsibility, civic engagement and philanthropic work, Ellen has left the corporate world to focus on customized, culture change for businesses and non-profits using the tools she learned and created during her work at PSEG, Merck, Roche and the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. She formed EWLambert, LLC as a service company “organizing exceptional workplaces through motivational, leadership, and innovation training; cooperative/inclusive exercises, “Know Your Allies” and ideas labs. She also serves on the Mothers Monument board pursuing US awareness on the incidents of maternal mortality and near misses in NJ and across the country. She advocates for maternal health awareness education for both mothers and fathers to be, nurses, and healthcare personnel. She works with state and federal governments to increase awareness and dollars available for the preventable causes of maternal mortality, speaking at the Commission on the Status of Women, March 2018. In addition, she is pursuing the early career of her dreams, sculptor.
Ellen has won many awards for the organizations at which she served, including top 25 Diversity Leaders (2016), and Forbes 100 Most Responsible Corporations (2017). Ms Lambert holds a JD from Seton Hall School of Law, an MAT from Tulane University and a BA from Syracuse University. She has taught at NYU and guest lectured at Rutgers University.
Mary Beth O' Connor - Immediate Past President
Owner/Managing Partner Lucky VIII Films
Mary Beth O’Connor is a founding member and managing partner of Lucky VIII, an independent film, television, and theatre production company working with top tier talent, which supports quality content, education and the arts. She was a member of the NY/NJ 2014 Super Bowl Host Committee (February 2014) and serves as a trustee for: Newark Boys and Girls Club, the Women’s Association of NJPAC and LifeCamp. She is also a member of the Broadway League and Parent’s Executive Committee for Hobart William and the President’s Circle of the University of Notre Dame and the DeBartolo Performing Arts Council. Mary Beth O’Connor is a graduate of Fordham University where she majored in English and Theatre. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband David and their family of six children.
Christine C. Gilfillan - Past President
President - The MCJ Amelior Foundation
Christine Chambers Gilfillan is President of The MCJ Amelior Foundation, her family’s foundation, which assists those entities that encourage mentoring relationships, are creating unique entrepreneurial opportunities, and promoting national and local participation in voluntary community programs and services. Christine serves on boards of the Newark Museum and is a Past President of the Women’s Association of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. She is co-founder of Jersey Cares, which organizes teams of socially-minded individuals for community service projects and a founding member of The New York City Chapter of the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Richmond. She is a 1994 graduate of Leadership New Jersey. Christine resides in Madison, NJ with her husband, Michael, and four children, Michael, Patrick, Natalie and Elisabeth.
Beverly Baker-Jackson, Esq.
Deborah Q. Belfatto
Sherri-Ann P. Butterfield, Ph.D
Patricia A. Chambers*
Sally Chubb* **
Barbara Bell Coleman**
Veronica M. Goldberg* **
Melissa A. Honohan
Sheila F. Klehm**
Ruth C. Lipper**
Dena F. Lowenbach
Gabriella E. Morris, Esq.*
Ferlanda Fox Nixon, Esq.
Mary Kay Strangfeld**
Diana T. Vagelos* **
Nina M. Wells, Esq.
Karen C. Young