For years the Breast Cancer Resource Center has hosted the Central Jersey office of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The race has grown steadily here, and last year it raised $1.9 million. Aiming to capitalize on success, the foundation decided to establish its own separate office, so both the resource center and the race headquarters have moved out of Montgomery Commons.
The Komen group went to Princess Road in Lawrenceville, already the home of several nonprofits. The Resource Center went back to its roots at the Princeton YWCA, where, as a pioneering support group, it had been founded in 1971. Kara Stephenson is its new director; she had been in charge of a similar group in Melbourne, Australia.
"BCRC is looking forward to continuing to provide women with education, information, and support with regard to breast cancer," says Stephenson. At the Y’s Bramwell House, the BCRC has a multipurpose area with a wig and prosthesis bank, a lending library, a computer hooked up to the Internet, and meeting space for 5 to 15 people. Last year, with a three-person full-time staff, the center served more than 20,000 women, according to Stephenson, either through
its outreach programs, help line, support groups, or printed information.
Though Stephenson is the lone staff person now, she is moving full speed ahead to keep up the momentum, offering support groups, counseling, lectures, seminars, and a hotline. "Volunteers will be a vital part of BCRC, and I want to involve them in meaningful ways, so they can help with counseling – to work with other women to get them through the difficult times – answer phones, do fund raising, and help with events. Those people who want to help in a one-on-one personal way will feel as if they are really needed," she says.
Stephenson emphasizes that she is not trained as a counselor, nor is she, like her predecessors, a breast cancer survivor. "I am very conscious as to where my boundary ends and where my expertise ends. I have learned how to use my volunteers to provide the information that I can’t." Says Stephenson: "I am not going to try to give people information, but we will give referrals, such as information on doctors and send people in the right direction. It’s such a personal choice."
Stephenson grew up in Saskatchewan, where her father was a fire inspector for wheat elevators and her mother a college teacher. After majoring in international studies at University of Saskatchewan, Class of 1997, she worked at the university, coordinating a program to train Mexican doctors to use bioinformatics in their work with HIV-AIDS patients. Then, at the National Serology Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia, she coordinated training programs for safe blood testing. With her husband, whom she met in Melbourne, she moved to Switzerland, to work for the World Health Organization, again in blood safety. Her husband got a job as marketing manager of Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, and they moved to Singapore.
In Singapore, Stephenson began to work with breast cancer survivors and their families, coordinating support programs, giving educational seminars such as breast cancer awareness programs for corporations, and managing volunteer recruitment and retention. She and her husband moved to New Jersey in 2004. Stephenson began writing grants for BCRC part time in November and was appointed director in early January.
Nancy Healey, formerly the executive director of both organizations, is now the executive director of the Central and South Jersey Affiliate of the Susan K. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and with her went the three staff members – Debby Maisel, Karen Hackel, and Jeanine Miller.
A graduate of Boston University, Healey has a master’s degree in special education from Columbia. She taught special education for 10 years, and after spending three years as a stay-at-home mom, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and started coming to support groups. She was hired by the late Jane Rodney as assistant director and has been working for the organization for 11 years. She has been leading a young women’s support group for eight years and will continue to do that, but now she will do it as a volunteer.
"The Komen organization is something we really believe in, and we identify with the mission – to eradicate breast cancer as a life threatening disease through research, education and screening, and treatment," says Healey. Her territory includes the counties of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Middlesex, and everything south to Cape May.
By staging Central Jersey’s annual Race for the Cure, her office raises its own funds. Like more than 150 Komen affiliates throughout the country, it turns over 25 percent of its net proceeds to the national foundation to be used for research. About 25 percent of the remainder is allocated for administrative expenses and the rest – more than $1 million this year – goes for grants to hospitals and nonprofits to educate, treat, and screen the medically underserved. The Breast Cancer Resource Center is among the organizations receiving a Komen grant.
When the well-known Komen name attracts callers who need counseling or mammograms, these women are put in touch with statewide programs. "We have an enormous geographical region," Healey says, "and are trying to get more women into the system, earlier. It needs to be done full time. We gave out 25 county grants, and we need to keep funding those grants and find other organizations who don’t know to apply to us for grants."
For instance, this Komen office funds outreach efforts to Trenton’s Polish and Hispanic communities. In Somerset County, an African American group attracted 800 women to a Saturday morning breakfast that featured the testimonies of survivors; women who showed that they got a mammogram after that breakfast had a chance to win prizes in a raffle drawing.
The next race, scheduled for Sunday, October 16, at Bristol-Myers Squibb, will no doubt top $2 million.
Breast Cancer Resource Center/YWCA Princeton, 59 Paul
Robeson Place, Bramwell House, Princeton 08540. Kara Stephenson,
director. 609-497-2100; fax, 609-497-2127. Home page: www.bcrcnj.org
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, 2 Princess Road,
Suite D, Lawrenceville 08648. Nancy Healey, executive director.
609-896-1201; fax, 609-896-1207. Home page: www.komencsnj.org
MacKay Tapped at Watershed
Everybody knows the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. Problem is, almost nobody seems to know what the organization does. Most central New Jersey residents are a bit vague as to whether theirs is one of the 26 municipalities in the watershed’s 265 square-mile area. And virtually no one knows what the CATs and RATs and BATs are up to.
These were the mixed public reviews from a marketing survey ordered by the Watershed’s board when veteran executive director George Hawkins left the organization this past November. Yet, despite some public recognition problems, the Watershed Association has scarcely been standing idle. Throughout its 56-year history, the Watershed has labored diligently toward its goal of enhancing the quality of the water and the environment of the region drained by Stony Brook and the Millstone River. In fact, despite an avalanche of development, these last seven years with Hawkins at the helm have been the Watershed’s most active and in many ways most effective.
An energetic and creative idea man, Hawkins developed a host of programs, including the Project for Municipal Excellence, which helped towns wisely manage their land; the Watershed Institute, a tenacious education and advocacy group; the Natural Lands Network, linking all central New Jersey conservation organizations; and many more. Working with him and helping make it all happen during the past year was Noelle MacKay, his deputy executive director. "George was a fabulous empire builder," says MacKay. "I saw myself as his implementer."
But Hawkins has moved on to head New Jersey Future, a statewide anti-sprawl advocacy group. MacKay brings her own fresh ideas, negotiating diplomacy, and considerable energies to the position of Watershed acting executive director, a leadership role that could become permanent.
Like many of her 26-member professional staff, Mackay began as a volunteer. When she walked in the door in l995, carrying an arm’s-length list of academic and research experience, the Watershed latched onto her immediately and set her to work in the nature center and main office.
It proved a perfect match. A native of Nova Scotia, MacKay attended Canada’s New Brunswick University earning a B.S.E in bio-anthropology and a master’s degree in environmental studies. She then moved to Toronto, where she did vaccine research. Yet it was in far off Indonesia that MacKay first learned the complexities of environmental issues. She had been sent to oversee a watershed project in which the government sought to build a dam and neighboring farmers sought any weapon to prevent it. "It was a whole involved picture of chemistry,
policy, health, and business – everyone’s business," she says. "It became obvious that my job was to carry knowledge to the various groups to help them reach a decision."
Beyond gaining techniques, MacKay’s foreign experience broadened her environmental scope. "It was no longer just the fun stuff, like saving wolves and bears," she says, "but I began to see myself as an advocating voice for all nature – trying to be an effective force at the table." For the last decade MacKay’s environmental force has proved both effective and positive in central New Jersey.
Veteran Garden State environmentalist Joe Pylka, who has headed New Jersey Audubon and several outing clubs, has worked with MacKay on a series of SBMWA biological surveys. He sums up her talent: "She’s darn good. She knows the people to contact and she knows what to say to convince them." He cites her recent triumph with the Millstone Bypass. "They were going to run that thing right along the water," Pylka says. "But Noelle went to the DEP and convinced them to see it her way – the environmental way, I mean."
Ardent as MacKay is about protecting the Stony Brook and Millstone waters, she scarcely fits the caricature of the rabid, confrontational environmentalist, chaining herself to a tree. While she admits that there comes a time to square off against the foe, belligerence, in her view, at best brings short term victories. Instead, MacKay sees the Watershed’s role – as well as her own role – as providing workable solutions. Indeed, MacKay’s hallmark as a fact-based font of creative answers has made her welcomed, rather than feared, by local
As point person for the Watershed’s Municipal Assessment Program, MacKay has helped guide 12 of the Watershed’s 26 area townships toward more conservation-based land use policies. The assessment program entails a step-by-step forging of goals and methods, explains MacKay. Watershed experts sit down with town councils and compare their resource vision with their current land use policies. Some towns, like Hopewell, seek stream corridor ordinances to protect the land from 50 to 150 feet on either side of streams. A few municipalities, such as Lawrence, want an entire green program; while others, like Montgomery, are trying to embrace a massive change to environmental friendly offices through lower energy use and a better use of paper.
"When a town finally defines set goals," says MacKay, "we go into a huddle and come back with as many viable options as possible. Then, with the town council members, we prioritize and act." If requested, SBMWA officers will even word policy and testify before the public – one of the few chances for people to catch a glimpse of the Watershed’s behind-the-scenes advocacy efforts.
And where does the Watershed get all of the data that goes into formulating these land use policies? Enter the RATs and CATs and BATs. The River Action Teams (RATs) are volunteers who regularly walk sections of rivers to look for environmental problems or legal violations. Wading down off the bank and into the stream itself come the Chemical Action Teams (CATs), which gather samples and test their assigned area’s water quality. (A running history of various
pollutants for each stream segment can be viewed on www.thewatershed.org.)
Finally, getting down and muddiest, the Biological Action Teams (BATs) muck about the banks and waters determining the numbers and health of the waters’ various life forms.
Supporters of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association are always asking MacKay what are the big environmental issues facing our area. They may even nudge her a little by mentioning farm fertilizers or suggesting that 3M’s huge new warehouse, to be erected in Hillsborough, will surely pollute storm runoff waters. But before these lip-service environmentalists get started, MacKay quickly punctures their moral smugness.
She grants that the warehouses, the developers, and the farm sprayers each pose challenges. But she quickly adds that when these groups are given praise for their good acts, and are offered enough sensible alternatives, they tend to consider the environment in a new light and opt to conserve natural resources.
"If you want to seek out the environmental villains," she likes to say, "look in the mirror." Yes, we face a staggering onslaught of development, and each new structure and piece of paving adds to potential pollution of rain, and river waters. But there are solutions and we – the residents of Central New Jersey – are not taking them.
Perhaps the failure has to do with the perceived overwhelming size of the problems. But, says MacKay, there are things that everyone can do to make a difference:
Rethink your lawn. In our Garden State more polluting chemicals are dumped on lawns than are ever spread on farm lands. That fragile narrow set of species we insist on using as yard cover is too tender to flourish in most areas, and it is a fantasy to think that every living flora other than fescue is a weed to be poisoned out.
"Change your mindset," urges MacKay. "Admit to yourself that dandelions are pretty, and that crabgrass is just as green and easy to walk on as bluegrass." If you look around you will see that the moss and laurel in sandy south Jersey or the rock gardens with peeping mountain blueberry in the north bring more beauty and less polluting maintenance than the ill-adapted green lawn.
Want to impress your neighbors? Get your soil tested and plant appropriate bushes that attract butterflies.
Hold your water. Most homeowners spend thousands on elaborate gutter and drainage systems to carry rain water away from their roofs so it can flow over oily roadways and into a sewer. Then they moan over their water bill and the cost of filling their pools and watering their gardens.
The Watershed suggests we step back to some old technology. Collect roof runoff into rain barrels. Hardware stores sell 50-gallon drums that easily group together to form a series of water collectors. The water can be gravity fed to its destination. (SBMWA has rain barrels for sale; call 609-737-3735.)
Try recycled toilet paper. If every home in America used just one roll of recycled toilet paper a year, instead of the popular virgin-tree brands, the change would save 423,900 trees and 153 billion gallons of water (recycled dissolves faster). "Now come on," laughs MacKay, "I have tried them and there are plenty soft and comfy brands of recycled toilet papers out there."
Toss the paper towels. Instead of throwing out torn clothes, tear them into rags. Switch to cloth at the table too. You’ll save paper while adding a touch of elegance to meals.
Compost. Many people worry about composting, fearing that it will pollute storm waters. "Absolutely not," says MacKay. "These natural elements filter naturally through the soil and decompose harmlessly." The practice also gets tons of waste out of the curb-to-dumpsite loop.
Join up. The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association depends on an army of volunteers to monitor rivers, teach, clear trails, and work in the nature center, store, and headquarters office. To find out more about volunteer opportunities, visit www.thewatershed.org, call 609-737-3735, or visit the center at 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington.
"It has been said that in the end we will conserve what we love," says MacKay. "I see the Watershed’s goal as pointing out what’s worthy of loving and what alternatives we can employ to conserve it."
Phoenix Capital Partners LP, 15 Roszel Road, Suite 103, Princeton 08540. David Denise, president. 609-734-4999; fax, 609-734-4994.
The venture capital firm expanded from 777 Alexander Road to 2,700 square feet in a new section of 15 Roszel Road, says Robert Gironda, one of three people in this office. Phone and fax are the same.
Penny Lane Advisors LP, 2 Tree Farm Road, Pennington Point West Suite A 110, Pennington 08534. Stephen Shaffer, partner. 609-737-3474; fax, 609-497-0611. Home page: www.pennylanepartners.com
Stephen Shaffer moved his venture capital partnership from 1 Palmer Square to 950 square feet Pennington Point West on November 1. "With only two years left in the partnership, we are actively harvesting the portfolio," says Shaffer, who has $33 million under management.
Depending on how well the portfolio companies perform, Shaffer says, he will take early retirement (he is Class of 1967 from Dartmouth) or continue working and/or investing. Two of his 10 portfolio companies are in South Jersey – Iridian Technologies and CA Technologies. The latter, in Mt. Laurel, offers software and hardware solution for point of sale security and is for sale. Iridian is the iris recognition firm. "We are actively marketing two others," says Shaffer.
Patient Marketing Group Inc. (formerly Health Answers), 112 Titus Mill Road, Building B, Pennington Office Park, Pennington 08534-4399. Lynn Benzing, president. 609-730-0100; fax, 609-730-0330. Home page: www.patientmarketing.com
On March 1, Lynn Benzing plans to move Patient Marketing Group, patient relationship marketing company, from 10,000 square feet at Pennington Office Park to 10,209 feet at 155 Village Boulevard, Suite 200. Phone (609-779-6200) and fax (609-779-6201) will be new.
"We’re doing a lot of interesting work," says Benzing. "We have a call center, for patient support, and a direct marketing facility." Though the space measures about the same in square feet, there will be more usable square feet on Village Boulevard, and Benzing looks forward to the using her new focus group room, equipped with two way mirrors. Also, the company will be able to be all on one floor, an advantage for maintaining HIPA compliance.
Benzing’s father was a tool and die designer for General Motors in Detroit, and she worked as a freelance photojournalist will attending the University of Michigan. After earning a degree from Loyola University’s University of Chicago’s school of law, she worked as vice president of marketing technologies, focusing on healthcare, for R.R. Donnelley, a Chicago-based Fortune 200 firm.
Then Benzing worked in San Francisco as vice president for direct to consumer marketing at McKesson, a $40 billion distributor of prescription products and provider of pharmaceutical marketing services. She moved to New Jersey five years ago to work for McKesson. Three years ago she was recruited to head this office. She and her husband, John, have a grown son. "Since I moved to the Garden State, I’ve been an avid gardener," says Benzing.
Patient Marketing Group is a distant cousin to Eduneering, the technology-based learning solutions company at Campus Drive that has a contract with the Food and Drug Administration to provide training courses. A company called Hastings Healthcare Group bought Eduneering, and when Hastings was bought out by Health Answers in 1999, Eduneering separated from the parent firm. In 2003 Health Answers changed the name of this division, its wholly owned subsidiary, to Patient Marketing Group, part of its effort to focus on improving patient compliance, persistency and loyalty. Based in Virginia, HealthAnswers Inc. also includes health care associations with offices in Chicago, New York, and Austin, and the Orbis Broadcast Group.
"Pharmaceutical companies are accelerating efforts to address the issue of poor patient retention," said Benzing in a release. "The marketing services we have provided for over a decade are of growing importance, and today represent a necessary consideration in every pharmaceutical brand’s promotional budget."
Barrier Therapeutics Inc. (BTRX), 600 College Road East, Suite 3200, Princeton 08540. Geert Cauwenbergh, CEO. Anne VanLent, CFO. 609-945-1200; fax, 609-945-1212. Www.barriertherapeutics.com
Barrier Therapeutics Inc. plans to issue two million shares of new stock, and existing stock holders will sell an equal number of shares for a total of four million. No price has been set. Barrier’s executive officers are not selling shares in this offering, which will be managed by Morgan Stanley along with Pacific Growth Equities and J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.
Barrier focuses on the dermatology field and has eight product candidates, four in Phase 3 clinical development. These products treat complicated diaper dermatitis. Other products treat acne, psoriasis and fungal infections. It has also just bought U.S. and Canadian rights to Solage Topical Solution, the only combination product approved in the United States for the treatment of solar lentigines, also known as "age spots" or "liver spots." Barrier estimates that
more than 20 million people in the U.S. have this condition.
Xenomics Inc. (XNOV.OB), 1 Deer Park Drive, Suite F, Monmouth Junction 08852. Hovsep S. Melkonyan PhD, Vp research. 732-438-8290; fax, 732-438-8299. Home page: www.xenomics.com
Xenomics announced on February 3rd that it closed a $2.9 million private placement financing. An advanced molecular diagnostic company, Xenomics is developing a proprietary technology platform that uses a safe and easily obtained urine sample – rather than blood or tissue – to evaluate genetic markers of disease and medical conditions.
New in Town
Chase Home Finance, 16 Nassau Street, Princeton 08542. John Goedecke, senior loan officer. 609-683-6070; fax, 866-302-2926.
Home page: www.chase.com
A graduate of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Class of 1984, John Goedecke opened a Chase Home Finance office last year. With 15 years of mortgage industry experience, he has worked at First Nationwide, Tinton Falls State Bank, Chemical Bank, PNC Bank, and Washington Mutual Bank. He is a board member of the Princeton Child Development Institute, a school for autistic children and adults on Cold Soil Road.
One of the nation’s largest residential mortgage lenders, Chase Home Finance has more than 3,000 loan officers serving more than 4 million customers. Formed from the merger of JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Bank One Corp., the Chase organization now includes more than 2,400 branches in 17 states.
Carnegie Career Partners, 51 Everett Drive, Suite B 20, West Windsor 08550. Barry Layne, owner. 609-275-0377; fax, 609-275-0933. Home page: www.ccpjobs.com
Carnegie Career Partners has moved from Princeton Overlook to Everett Drive; it did not return several calls from a reporter. It was formerly associated with Bernard Haldane Associates but has changed its name.