Dress for Success Mercer County has a new executive director who aims to make the nonprofit’s clients job skills look as good as their outfits to potential employers. Melissa Tenzer was appointed to lead the organization in December and since then has launched several new programs, including English literacy skills for Hispanic workers, money management skills for low income workers, and customer service skills for disadvantaged women looking to join the workforce.
Dress For Success Mercer County was founded in 2007 as an offshoot of the national DFS organization. Women who are looking for jobs can go to the Dress for Success office on Princeton Pike, where volunteers help them pick out a professional looking outfit from the group’s stock of donated items. Most clients are referred to Dress for Success by social service groups such as Homefront or Womanspace. If the client gets the job, she can return to get an entire week’s worth of clothes to mix-and-match at the office for a varied wardrobe. Last year, Dress for Success gave outfits to 600 women.
Tenzer said clients have gone on to careers at Capital Health, mortgage service companies, sanitation companies, and many other industries, many in customer service roles, Tenzer said. “What’s really nice is that a lot of women give back to us once they get jobs,” she said. “One actually held a clothing drive at her new company.” A career center at the Dress for Success office offers a place where women can get mentoring and look for jobs on the Internet.
About 63 percent of women who go through Dress for Success end up landing a job, Tenzer said.
Dress for Success doesn’t end its support of its clients once they get a job. The group holds evening career support meetings, with speakers, where the women can trade advice on how to handle various situations they encounter in their new jobs.
Tenzer’s professional experience gives her insight into the mindset of potential employers. Before taking the job at Dress for Success, Tenzer ran her own staffing company, Careers USA, located in Carnegie Center, where she helped companies staff customer service and call center positions among other jobs. She continues to own Careers USA but has left most of the business’s day-to-day operations to subordinates.
Tenzer grew up in Middletown, Pennsylvania, where her parents were schoolteachers. From a young age, she was encouraged to help others in need. “I was the type of person who, when I saw something going on with somebody, got involved,” Tenzer recalls. A graduate of Rider University, she has held leadership positions at numerous nonprofit groups in the Route 1 corridor, including Mercer County Community College, Contact of Mercer County, Eden Autism Services, and the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Tenzer signed a contract to open a CareersUSA franchise on September 11, 2001, opening for business the following January. She persevered with the business despite an economic downturn that caused many other staffing agencies to cut back or close.
As head of Dress for Success, Tenzer is launching programs aimed at teaching the kinds of skills that she saw were in demand by employers. The new programs are aimed at helping women enter the workforce and manage their lives. A $50,000 grant from Walmart funds Dress for Success financial literacy and customer service programs. The financial literacy program aims to teach women how to live within their means on a small budget and save money every month. The “Going Places Network” customer service training aims to give them more marketable job skills. Both programs are provided in workshops with about 15 women at a time.
The Latina Literacy Mobile Program, funded by a $25,000 grant from the Princeton Area Community Foundation, teaches English to women at the Children’s Home Society and the Latin American Legal Defense Fund, both located in Trenton. Tenzer said the bilingual education is designed to help Spanish-speaking women overcome challenges that impede their ability to participate more fully in the job market.
In a further effort to deliver services in the communities where its clients live, the group has opened a satellite location at UIH Family Partners in Trenton, where women can gain confidence via the “image enhancement” professional clothing program, and gain job skills via career center programs.
Dress for Success Mercer County, 3131 Princeton Pike, Building 4, Suite 209, Lawrenceville 08648; 609-896-4112; fax, 609-896-5838. Melissa Tenzer, executive director. www.dressforsuccess.org/mercercounty.
Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company LLC, 47 Hulfish Street, Suite 400, Princeton 08542; 609-924-9775; fax, 609-924-8817. Jay Biggins, executive managing director. www.blsstrategies.com.
Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company, a relocation consulting firm based on Hulfish Street, has hired Will Cox as senior manager of its incentives and site selection teams.
“With a wide array of experience across multiple industries, Cox provides our clients with a strong proficiency and strategic vision in site selection adn the incentive capture process,” said Jay Biggins, executive managing director. “He has become an immediate and valuable contributor to our team.”
Cox, a graduate of Hobart College, worked for advisory firms Hickey & Associates and Morton Street Consulting, and his career includes stints on Capitol Hill, the Department of Homeland Security, and the leadership development program at Lockheed Martin.
Princeton Alternative Funding, 100 Canal Pointe Boulevard, Suite 208, Princeton 08540-7063; 800-261-7660; www.princetonalternativefunding.com.
Princeton Alternative Funding, an investment fund that specializes in subprime consumer loans, has revamped its C-Suite, hiring a new CEO and other senior officers.
Howard Davner is the new CEO at the company, his brother Jeff Davner is the new executive vice president, and Jack Cook has taken over as COO and chief compliance officer.
“We’re pleased to welcome this experienced executive team to lead Princeton Alternative Funding’s next phase of growth,” said Walt Wojciechowski, CFO. “They each have a deep understanding of the market and a track record of success. As a team, we’re confident they’ll achieve even more for our fund and clients.”
Princeton Alternative Funding provides capital for businesses that make consumer loans in the subprime market. The fund has an exclusive partnership with Microbilt Corporation, a company that analyzes risk in subprime markets.
“Princeton Alternative Funding has established itself as a leader in financing non-prime consumer lenders. I am excited about joining the team and look forward to providing the resources needed to serve this growing credit market,” Davner said.
Howard Davner was a founder and principal of Terrapin Advisors and Ryett Capital Partners, long and short Hedge Funds. Formerly an equity specialist for Goldman Sachs focused on small to mid-cap companies, Howard held a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. He has a bachelors in economics from the University of South Florida.
Cook was a founder of Terrapin Advisors and Director at Credit Suisse in the fixed income division as a bond trader. He holds a bachelors in economics from St. Lawrence University.
Jeff Davner was also a co-founder of Terrapin Advisors, partner of Bluestone Capital, and co-founder of ATL Consulting. He graduated from Tulane University with a bachelor’s in political science.
Creatv Microtech, 1 Deer Park Drive, Suite L-4, Monmouth Junction 08852; 301-983-1650; Daniel Adams, product development/researcher. www.creatvmicrotech.com.
Creatv Microtech, a biotech research company, has moved from 11 Deer Park Drive to 1 Deer Park Drive.
Dynamic Extractions, 11 Deer Park Drive, Suite 206-B, Monmouth Junction 08852; 732-230-3060; Philip Wood, technical manager. www.dynamicextractions.com.
Dynamic Extractions, a scientific R&D company, has moved to a different suite at Deer Park Drive.
EcoCatalytic Tech, 9 Deer Park Drive, Monmouth Junction 08852; 609-734-2183; John A. Sofranko, CEO.
EcoCatalytic, a biofuel R&D company, has moved from 1 Deer Park Drive to 9 Deer Park Drive.
Fordoz Pharma, 69 Princeton-Hightstown Road, East Windsor 08520; 732-604-4342; fax, 732-968-4458. Jin Hg, www.fordozpharma.com.
Fordoz Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company, has moved its headquarters from Deer Park Drive to Princeton-Hightstown Road in East Windsor.
Americans for Prosperity New Jersey (AFP), 4105 Route 1, Monmouth Junction.
Americans for Prosperity, an anti-tax lobbying group, has closed the Route 1 office it opened in 2013. Its listed phone number was disconnected.
Jamestown Associates, 5 Mapleton Road, Princeton.
Jamestown Associates, a political consulting firm, has moved to Philadelphia.
Martin Appraisal Associates Inc., 123 Franklin Corner Road, Lawrenceville.
Martin Appraisals has closed its Franklin Corner Road office. Its listed phone number was disconnected.
Rosetta Genomics Inc., 3 Independence Way, Princeton.
Rosetta Genomics, a biotech company that is working on identifying cancer cells by RNA, has closed its Independence Way corporate headquarters. The company is now based in a lab in Philadelphia.
Patricia Lange, 77, on April 1. She was a prominent sculptor whose work has been installed at Bristol-Myers Squibb, the New Jersey Hospital Association, 101 Carnegie Center, Weyerhauser Co., Pennswood Village, and many other locations. She is best known for her metal sculptures. A service will be held Saturday, April 9 at 1 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, 50 Cherry Hill Road.
Barbara G. Salles, 63, on March 30. She was a legal assistant at Drinker Biddle and Reath in Princeton. Services will be held Saturday, April 9, at 11 a.m., with visitation at 9 a.m., at the Ewing Presbyterian Church.
Dr. Johanna Leonowicz Burbella, 67, on March 25. She was a staff internal medicine physician at the Mercer Regional Medical Group until 1985, and later worked as an internist for the state of New Jersey at the North Princeton Developmental Center, Hagerdorn Neuropsychiatric Hospital, and Ann Klein Forensic Center.
Robert G. Conklin, 77, on March 21. He was an engineer who worked for RCA Astro Electronics, GE, Martin Marietta and Lockheed Martin, working on government contracts and later writing software for weather and space satellites. Services will be held Tuesday, May 10, at 5 p.m., at the Forked River Presbyterian Church.
Konstantinos “Gus” Kalavrouziotis, 77, on March 31. Together with a partner, he ran the Town and Country Diner for 25 years before retiring in 2005 to work in the real estate market.