Clanking Around the Bases for Charity

Turn a Career Break into a Career Boost

Diversity Drive: In the Fast Lane

Reinvention Rocks at Chamber Fair

Corporate Angels

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring were prepared for the

August 20, 2003 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Nominations Please

PSE&G is accepting applications for its 2003

Recognizing

Excellence in Volunteerism grant programs. Competitive grants are

available for qualified nonprofit organizations where PSE&G employees

volunteer.

Up to 17 grants will be awarded this year, ranging from $1,000 to

$10,000. An independent panel from the business and non-profit

communities

will review all applications. Awards will be based on overall service,

duration, and quality of volunteer work.

Last year’s grants were awarded to organizations such as the March

of Dimes, Little Leagues, Boy Scouts of America, and rescue squads.

Non-profits with PSE&G employees on their rosters of volunteers are

invited to submit a nomination. For more information call

973-430-5874.

Top Of Page
Clanking Around the Bases for Charity

Integra is putting a whole new face on the charity

softball

game. When Integra takes the field for its "Fourth Almost Annual

Charity Softball Game" its opponents will be wearing full suits

of armor.

Robyn Dormer, director of graphics for the life science company

based at 311 Enterprise Drive, is in charge of the "almost

annual"

event. In the past, she recruited radio station WPST to play in the

softball game, but this year the radio station found itself without

a team. And so Dormer was left without an opponent for the charity

game, which has raised as much as $4,200 for the Brain Injury

Association

of New Jersey.

Dormer says her first thought was to fill visitors’ jerseys with

stars.

She signed up actor Brian O’Halloran, who appeared in the film Clerks.

Then she went to see a friend’s performance in New Jersey Renaissance

Kingdom. Based in Somerset, and performing in West Orange, the acting

troupe recreates a day in the life of a Renaissance village. As soon

as she saw the troupe, she knew she had a better idea for the softball

event. She asked if the Renaissance players — armor and all —

would play Integra’s team in its charity classic. They readily agreed.

Joining the Renaissance Kingdom and O’Halloran are John Mozes of WPST,

Boomer, that rascally Trenton Thunder mascot, and Sparkee, the mascot

of the Somerset Patriots’ baseball team. Dormer has not yet seen

Sparkee,

but says he is a dog-like character.

A music group, the Zone, two of whose members live in Ewing, will

be on hand to provide live music throughout the game, which begins

at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 20, at Community Park Field No. 2 in

Plainsboro at Scotts Corner Road, off Dey Road.

Integra employees will sell their home-baked goods at the game, and

there will be games for children and for adults.

Dormer says she has lost track of how much time she is spending

organizing

the event, but she does say that she has been at it since June.

Integra

administration is generous is giving employees time to work on the

event, and it comes at a relatively slow time for the business.

"Spring

and fall are our busy times," says Dormer. "Summer is a little

more quiet."

Dormer expects that this year’s event, featuring an armor-clad

opposing

team, will raise more money than any of the company’s previous

fundraisers.

But one burning question remains. Will baseball players decked out

in steel and iron mesh be able to swing a bat?

"We’ll see," says Dormer.

Top Of Page
Turn a Career Break into a Career Boost

What’s My Line? Not only is this the name of one of

the most popular game shows in television history, but it is also

a real-life question aimed with unnerving frequency at legions of

well-educated women. Trained to be attorneys or analysts or animal

trainers, many answer "mom" to the ubiquitous question, at

least for a time. For others the honest answer is "caregiver to

my mom." Other popular answers include "career changer"

and "novice business owner."

Few women walk a straight line. Yet nearly all women need to keep

an eye on long-term career prospects, even while pushing a stroller

or helping an elderly relative learn to pilot a walker.

Melissa Wahl, executive director of the National Association

of Female Executives (NAFE), was surprised to find herself deviating

from the straight-and-narrow career path, and wandering off into an

alley that was anathema to bright, fast-trackers of her generation.

A producer for television game shows, including To Tell the Truth

and What’s My Line, Wahl shocked even herself by opting to stay at

home after the birth of her first child.

"I was a real women’s libber," says Wahl. "Deciding to

stay at home with my child was a 360 degree turn. I had always said

`I’m going to have my child and get right back to work.’" Held

hostage by the unparalleled strength of a baby’s smile and outreached

arms, Wahl parked her career. But she kept herself revved up for the

day when she was ready to merge into the fast lane once again.

On Wednesday, August 20, at 5:30 p.m., Wahl speaks to the Central

Jersey Women’s Network on "Maximizing Your Connections to Stand

Out in a Crowd." The dinner meeting takes place at the Wyndham

Mount Laurel. The cost is $32. Call 908-281-9234 for more information.

A graduate of New York University, where she studied communications,

Wahl is a California native who has lived in New York City since she

was five. Providing evidence that no trace of the west coast remains

in her life, Wahl proclaims, "I don’t drive." In an example

of keeping an eye out for every eventually, however, she says she

has a driver’s license, and is careful to keep it current. "It’s

great I.D.," she says, "and I would never pass the test

again."

Landing game show jobs right out of college, Wahl enjoyed the

excitement,

despite the pressure cooker working conditions. "We had

presidents,

including Jimmy Carter, on What’s My Line?" she says. "We

had astronauts, fashion designers, actors. We would do five shows

in one day, starting at dawn and working right through." She was

a judge on Sale of the Century. "I did all the research,"

she recalls. "When a contestant gave an answer, they turned to

me, and asked `Is this answer acceptable?’ It was a lot of

pressure."

And a lot of fun.

Walking away was not something she planned, but after the birth of

her first son, who is now 24, walk away she did. Six years later,

she had another son. By the time her second child was born, computers

were in broad use. "We had used IBM Selectrics," she says

of the state of the world during her game show period.

Seeking to re-enter the working world, Wahl contacted a former

colleague,

and asked for a crash computer course. She learned enough so that

she could add "computer literate" to her resume.

"Trying to re-enter the workforce is tricky," she says.

Television

game shows had decamped for the West Coast, so going back to her old

career niche was not a possibility. Rather than think in terms of

industries, she thought in terms of her skills. Writing popped up

right away as an area of strength. When she spotted a job working

for NAFE’s magazine, Executive Female, in the New York Times, she

applied, attracted in part by the flexible hours if offered. It turned

out that the hours were pretty much full time, but that was okay.

Just as she had been hooked by her first baby, she was soon hooked

by her new job.

After publishing NAFE’s magazine, something she still does, she became

fascinated by NAFE’s far-flung chapters, and started NAFE Networks,

of which the Central Jersey Women’s Network is a part. Then, after

a stint at another women’s organization, she was asked to become

executive

director of NAFE, which is now a part of WorkingMother Media,

publisher

of Working Mother magazine.

Wahl admits that re-entering the workforce — as so many women

do for so many reasons — does tend to set a career back for a

time. But reentry can lead to even greater career heights, if it is

done wisely. Lessons from Wahl’s experience show how to merge back

in smoothly:

Maintain industry ties. An ongoing work friendship was

Wahl’s ticket to insight into just what computer skills were

necessary,

and to instruction in the basics.

No matter how enthralling it is to watch a baby grow — and it

can be plenty enthralling, not to mention exhausting — make time

for lunches, phone chats, E-mails, and even weekends away with former

colleagues. They will know all about trends, the rise and fall of

important players, and the hottest new must-have technology tools.

Burn no bridges. The fact that Wahl left NAFE for a time

to work for another women’s organization, and then was invited back

to head up the association, speaks volumes on the importance of

leaving

a job — for whatever reason — with the utmost grace.

Inventory transferable skills. Ready to get back to work,

Wahl no longer thought of herself as a game show producer, or even

as a television producer. She let her old titles — and her old

industry — go. Way ahead of her time, she thought of herself as

a collection of skills. Transferable skills.

Be open to new possibilities. Wahl identified writing

as one of her most important core skills, yet when an opportunity

to move into association management came along, she welcomed it.

Actually,

she went one step further, and created an opening for herself in a

field in which she had no formal training or experience.

A break from work can easily be a career buster, but it can

also be a career booster, as Wahl’s experience demonstrates. For her,

the answer to What’s My Line? has changed a few times, but the answer

to Are You Loving Your Work? has remained constant.

Top Of Page
Diversity Drive: In the Fast Lane

DSR Motorsports Inc. has formed an

African-American-owned

race team destined to compete in National Association of Stock Car

Racing (NASCAR). It begins a national tour in Trenton at the new

Pennington

Village Plaza on Friday and Saturday, August 22 and 23, from 3-8 p.m.

Pennington Village Plaza is located at 359 Pennington Avenue, Trenton.

The mobile exhibit will feature a show car, racing simulator, free

food, music, giveaways, and DSR employment opportunities. For

information

call 609-977-4789.

DSR plans to enter community-based teams into both Busch and Nextel

level races in 2004 with the team will racing out of the Northern

VA area.

"DSR was formed with the interest of improving diversity in auto

racing and attracting a wide variety of new people, both fans and

participants, to the sport," says DSR president Jus James

Hoagland,

"The catalyst for the team has all along been our desire to

increase

the presence of people of color in this ever-evolving, popular sport.

DSR’s strategy includes a multi-city and racing capital tour to expose

the many minority market segments that have not been properly exposed

to the sport of auto racing."

Top Of Page
Reinvention Rocks at Chamber Fair

Nothing is static. Not even a business community. A

theme at this year’s Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Business

Trade Fair and U.S. 1 Technology Showcase is change.

"People are reinventing themselves," says Joanne Meehan,

who is organizing the fair for the Chamber. "The Princeton economy

is good," she says, "with a lot of new businesses." A

number of the new businesses exhibiting at the fair are fledglings

launched by men and women who worked for some of the area’s largest

employers not all that long ago.

Taking its theme from the spirit of these intrepid entrepreneurs,

the annual fair’s logo reads "New Ideas, New Products, New

Business,

New Services."

The event takes place on Thursday, August 28, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.,

at the Westin hotel in Forrestal Village. Throughout the day, there

are workshops, question and answer sessions, and talks, including

the U.S. 1 Technology Showcase keynote speech by Edward Felten,

director of Princeton University’s Secure Internet Programming Lab.

Felten speaks at 3 p.m.

At 11 a.m. representatives from the College of New Jersey Small

Business

Development Center take questions from people eager to learn about

how to start a small business and from business owners looking for

ways to move their enterprises to the next level. At noon, Herb

Greenberg and Patrick Sweeney of Caliper interview

Princeton-area

business owners during a live Nassau Broadcasting program. After lunch

(the only event for which there is a fee — $35), the Princeton

Work Life Alliance, led by Barbara Kaplan of AmericanRe, talks

about low-cost, and even no-cost, ways in which employers can

compensate

their employees.

Throughout the day, area eateries keep fair attendees refreshed.

Breakfast,

starting at 10 a.m., features food from Chambers Walk, Panera, Main

Street, and the Westin. Then at 2 p.m., the Rusty Scupper, under the

supervision of new manager, Kelly Campbell, serves sorbet and

fresh fruit. As the day begins to wind down, after 3 p.m., River Horse

Brewery and Triumph Brewery host a beer tasting. The beer is

accompanied

by appetizers from Amalfi’s and from the Conference Center at the

New Jersey Hospital Association.

Interwoven among the talks and the tastings are exhibits by more than

100 businesses. Some, like A-1 Limousine, Eden W.E.R.C.s, McCarter

Theater, and the Nassau Inn, have been household names in the

Princeton

area for years. Others are brand new, and a quick glance at the

newcomers

reveals a trend.

Service is in. There are some tasks that simply can not be exported

to India or Ireland. Among the new businesses are bed and breakfasts,

errand services, and a handyman operation. The Chamber’s Joanne Meehan

is especially knowledgeable about the last. Called Call Pat 4 Help,

it is owned by her husband, Pat Meehan.

Until late last March, Pat was doing SEC regulatory

compliance work for Equitable. Then the company was purchased by AXA,

and he was out of a job. Given outplacement at Lee Hecht Harrison,

Pat immediately buckled down and looked for a new job. But, says his

wife, "the people at Lee Hecht Harrison kept saying `you may get

a new job, but only expect to keep it for two years.’"

Faced with this discouraging prospect, the 56-year-old decided to

go with plan B. "He had wanted to start a handyman business when

he retired, at 60," says Joanne. Moving the timetable up, he

decided

to start right away.

The biggest hurdle was procuring business insurance. "No one wants

to insure someone who’s climbing around on ladders," she says.

Persevering, Pat did obtain the insurance, from Commerce Bank.

His next step was incorporating. "He did it all over the Internet

in less than a day," says his wife. "He got all the tax ID

numbers on the Internet. I came home, and he held up a piece of paper.

`Look, I’m incorporated!’ he said."

In the first days of his new business, Pat has been busy installing

ceiling fans. He also fixes sump pumps, installs garage door openers,

power washes houses and decks, repairs screens and sprinklers, does

yard work, and more.

Business prospects look good. The Meehans live in Cranbury, surrounded

by new developments, some for seniors. "People moving in don’t

know how to do anything," says Joanne. And even if they do, it’s

a good bet that few want to spend weekends fiddling with sump pumps

or dragging wet leaves out from under bushes.

"Pat got signs made for his truck," says Joanne. Soon

thereafter,

he pulled into Home Depot for supplies and was promptly propositioned

by a harried homeowner. "He wanted him to do three things,"

she laughs.

Who knew that reinvention would be the most important skill 21st

century

man could possess? The ability to switch from complex research, number

crunching, and office politics to sump pump repair is not part of

any curriculum taught from kindergarten through grad school. Yet

gathering

the courage to make such a leap can do more than keep household cash

flow healthy.

"Pat has never been happier," says his wife as she spends

the last hectic days before the trade fair filling booths with

corporate

refugees excited about starting life anew as entrepreneurs.

Top Of Page
Corporate Angels

Bristol-Myers Squibb has given a $6,500 grant to the Girl

Scouts of Delaware-Raritan to educate girls about the various types

of mental illness. The grant provides a mechanism for Girl Scouts

at various age levels to complete specific activities that will

increase

their awareness and understanding of serious mental illness.

This program was developed by Princeton Service Unit Director Kim

Steinnagel with the support of her Cadette Girl Scout troop. It

includes

nine level-appropriate program boxes for troop leaders, complete with

supplies to support the delivery of the program.

Each of the program boxes will consist of posters, brain models,

informational

videos on mental illness, hands-on activities, games, resource lists,

informational pamphlets and books, copies of the patch program, and

a leader’s guide.

With studies showing that girls are seven times more likely than boys

to be depressed and twice as likely to attempt suicide, the Girl

Scouts

of Delaware-Raritan say that this program could not have been

developed

at a more critical time.

Once the pilot workshops and program boxes have been tested, the

Mental

Health Awareness Patch program may be distributed to many of the over

300 other Girl Scout councils around the country.

The community projects committee of the Mercer County Bar

Association is conducting a Backpack Fundraiser. The committee

is collecting cash for the purchase of backpacks and school supplies.

The filled backpacks will be distributed to children in the community

who do not have proper school supplies for the start of the upcoming

school year.

Anyone who would like to help out with the effort is asked to call

609-585-6200.

In mid-July Dow Jones hosted 35 students, ages 14 to 16,

from the Princeton Community House. Company representatives spoke

to the youngsters about how technology fits into the everyday

operations

of the corporation. There was a demonstration of how reporters send

their stories from around the world to Dow Jones’ South Brunswick

office and of how computers are used throughout the organization.

The Princeton Community House, founded in 1969 by a group of

undergraduates,

exists to address the needs and inequities that exist in the John

Witherspoon community. It exists as a mechanism for community service

and as a place for the sharing of ideas and the airing of challenges

in a place where needs are understood and valued.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey , making a

connection between good health and the ability to read well, is

working

to improve literacy through a variety of school, community, and

workplace

literacy programs. To date, Horizon has established health literacy

programs with two Boys and Girls Clubs, partnered with Cumberland

County College to establish a leadership program to literacy

mentoring,

and co-sponsored the Governor’s Book Club, a program established by

Governor McGreevey in conjunction with Scholastic Books.

Princeton Insurance Company has completed a drive to

collect

useful items for U.S. soldiers stationed abroad. Organized by

Princeton’s

Employee Activities Committee, collections were accepted under the

guidelines of the American Red Cross of Central New Jersey’s

"Quality

of Life" program.

Rider University students and staff have raised $11,814.41 for

Womanspace, a Trenton-based non-profit agency that provides

comprehensive

services to individuals and families affected by domestic and sexual

violence.

Led by Vince Meyers, EHM NJ K-12 Architects co-produced

"Build and Believe," a youth mentoring program with

MentorPower

Inc. and also gave financial support. The Nassau Street-based

architectural

firm used to be known as E. Harvey Meyers, Architects, but has changed

its name to EHM NJ K-12 Architects.

In this program, which utilized Mercer County College’s Auto CAD

center,

a dozen students, one from Lawrence High and the rest from Trenton

High, participated in an architectural project and received a $400

stipend. They had to design and build a model of a warehouse and also

create an original design for Trenton Central High School. The

students

also learned public speaking, critical evaluation, and long-term

thinking.

MentorPower (formerly NJEnvironmentors) works with underserved high

school students, helping them to be active stewards of their lives,

communities, and environment, says Maureen J. Quinn, director.

Corrections or additions?


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— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

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