Corrections or additions?
These articles were prepared for the September 29, 2004 issue of
U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
What issues are the most important to you in this election? Is it the
economy? Is it national security? Would you like to know more about
the candidates and issues before you decide? The candidates have
defined their issues, but are they the issues most important to voters
in New Jersey?
"Election 2004: How Will New Jersey Vote and Why?" provides some
answers. The forum offers the public an opportunity to hear different
perspectives on the many issues of the campaign, along with
assessments on how successful the candidates have been in reaching New
Jersey voters. It takes place on Friday, October 1, at 8:30 a.m. at
the Conference Center at Mercer County Community College. Cost: $20.
Call 609-586-4800, ext. 3856. The day begins with a straw poll of the
participants followed by presentations and a question and answer
"In most recent presidential elections the general assumption is that
people are interested in two broad issues: the economy and world
relations," says Ingrid Reed, who moderates the forum. "This year,
surveys are showing that international relations are much more of a
focus for many people than in the past."
"But how will the issues of economy versus international relations
play out in New Jersey?" Reed asks. "We hope our forum will give the
people who attend more of the information that they need to know for
Reed is the director of the Eagleton New Jersey Project, a part of the
Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. The New Jersey
Project, she says, is designed to study governance and politics
specifically of New Jersey. The New Jersey Project has initiated
programs on better campaign activity, welfare reform, government and
information technology, and state planning and governance.
Other members of the panel are Miguel Centeno, director of the
Princeton Institute for International and Regional Affairs, who
discusses "The War on Terrorism and U.S. Relations with Other
Nations;" Joseph Seneca, professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School
of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers University and chairman of the
New Jersey Council of Economic Advisors, who speaks on "The Domestic
Economy;" Roger Bodman, senior partner, Public Strategies Impact and a
Republican political analyst, who presents "The Republican
Perspective;" and Julie Roginsky, political and public relations
consultant with Comprehensive Communications Group and a Democratic
political analyst, who presents "The Democratic Perspective."
"We want to know just which issues are affecting people in New
Jersey," says Reed. "Our forum is interactive. After the discussions
and polling take place the participants will have a chance to talk
with, and ask questions of the panel," she says.
Participants in the forum will take part in a straw poll to gauge
which key issues New Jerseyans find most important this year. At the
end of the forum the results of the poll will be announced and there
will be an opportunity to discuss "how the New Jersey perspective is
the same or different from the rest of the country," says Reed.
One way in which New Jersey obviously differs from the rest of the
country this year is in job growth, says Bodman, who offers the
Republican perspective at the forum. "New Jersey has seen greater job
growth than the rest of the country in the last few years," he says.
"In fact, it has been something of a star in economic growth. That
means that the economy may not be as important an issue in New
Bodman served in two cabinet positions in the administration of former
Governor Tom Kean and has worked on several national and state
election campaigns. He is currently a visiting professor at Rutgers
University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics and is a frequent
political commentator and analyst and election night commentator for
NJN News. He is senior partner in a lobbying and communications firm
based in Trenton.
"Historical trends show the state has voted mostly Democratic
recently," says Bodman. "In the last election vice president Al Gore
won the state by about 5 million votes. In 1996 President Clinton won
handily, and in 1992, he won the state by a narrow margin." This year,
however, "both parties realize the state is in play," says Bodman.
"You can see that by Mrs. Bush’s trip to Hamilton recently." The
possible shift doesn’t surprise him. Prior to the last three
elections, New Jerseyans voted Republican for president for six
elections in a row.
In part, that shift from Republican to Democrat can be accounted for
by shifting and growing populations, says Bodman, but it is also an
indicator of New Jersey’s independent nature. "Registered Democrats
may outnumber Republicans in the state, but the largest group of
voters in New Jersey register as independent," he says. In fact,
several times in recent decades New Jersey has voted for Democrats for
the Senate and for governor while voting Republican for president. On
Election Day, says Bodman, the people of New Jersey, like the rest of
the American people, will base their decision on "their perception of
who is better able to handle the situation," whether it is national
security, the war in Iraq, or the economy.
The October forum aims to help New Jerseyans make that decision for
themselves. Says Bodman, "The more the public is educated on all of
the issues the better."
– Karen Miller
Many people like to cook – some do it for pay, others open
restaurants. But Gina Martinez has created a business around her love
for teaching cooking. With her business, "Viva the Chef," she teaches
children and teens how to cook, and she offers team-building sessions
Martinez started small, but her ideas spread at a spectacular pace.
From her headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, she has 27 new stores
in development. This fall she is opening franchises in Rosemont,
Pennsylvania; Birmingham, Alabama; and Weston, Florida. Coming in 2005
are franchises in California, New York, Ohio, and Puerto Rico.
With a speech entitled "Dare to Dream," Martinez keynotes the half-day
workshop, "How to Raise Capital for Women-Owned Businesses," at
Fairleigh Dickinson in Madison, on Saturday, October 2, at 8:30 a.m.
Other speakers will represent Lindabury, McCormick & Estabrook;
Commerce Bank; and Weeks, Holderbaum, Huber & DeGraw. Attendees will
meet the panel of lending, legal, and business-planning experts and
have individual coaching sessions. Cost: $50. Call 973-443-8880.
Nationally women own nearly 50 percent of all businesses, but in New
Jersey the 175,000 women-owned businesses represent only 26 percent of
all businesses in the state. New Jersey’s growth rate is disappointing
as well. The state ranks only 34th in the growth of the number of
women-owned businesses between 1997 and 2002.
One possible obstacle for women, the experts say, is that they start
out without access to the supportive networks available to men. So
Fairleigh Dickinson’s Female Entrepreneurs Alliance – the sponsor of
this workshop – provides a chance for women to network and to give
each other business support and mentoring.
On October 2 Martinez will encourage women to find business
opportunities by following their talents and their interests, and she
will tell how to use persistence and enthusiasm to take these ideas to
the next level. "To me food and kids are my passion," says Martinez.
Martinez grew up in Miami, where her parents met after leaving Cuba in
1960 after the revolution, and she liked spending time in the kitchen
of her grandfather’s Cuban restaurant. At home, she helped her mother,
a naturally gifted cook. She worked as an airline stewardess and,
after earning a teaching degree, she founded a preschool, Toddler
University. Then she created the culinary programs for children, Viva
the Chef and Viva the Chef on Wheels. Now she has the task of building
a solid infrastructure.
At the flagship store, four full-time teachers have culinary arts
degrees and eight part-time employees are "prep chefs," often former
students, who prepare the ingredients and help individuals. Pat Fiore
of Morristown-based Fiore Associates is handling the marketing for
Viva La Chef. Illinois-based Francorp helped to organize the
franchising and Christiane Cabot left Francorp to work for Martinez.
The core business is a store front with three elements – the cooking
studios, a store, and a cafe/reception area that serves snacks, soups
and sandwiches. As many as 25 students can be in one class, and each
has a set of tools and ingredients. Class fees range from $39 to $70,
depending on the number of sessions and the type of lesson. Martinez
has leveraged parental time problems. Instead of a time-consuming
drop-off and pick-up for each lesson, parents view the class through a
one-way mirror. Or they can wait in the cafe, buy snacks prepared by
the teacher/chef, and put more money in the franchisee’s pocket.
The actual presentations are very theatrical, and the presenters –
culinary experts – must follow the script written by Martinez. The
scripts teach the preparation techniques, nutritional values, food
safety, and the culture of the food they are preparing, whether it is
pizza or sushi. Along the way students read recipes and food labels,
measure ingredients, learn to plan menus, and practice setting a
Franchising started in April. It takes a minimum of $250,000 to open a
Viva the Chef store, including the $35,000 franchising fee and a
three-month cushion of working capital. In addition to curriculum and
materials, franchisees get four weeks of training. They pay six
percent royalty on gross sales, plus two percent for national
advertising (including the website, the 800 number, magazine ads, and
even a TV cartoon), and they are expected to spend one percent on
local advertising (print ads, book covers, and theater programs).
Peter Casey, a franchising expert for Capital Franchise Group on
Forsgate Drive, notes that costs are similar to other child-oriented
businesses. For instance, the franchise for BabyPower, a parent-child
play facility on Vreeland Drive, costs $32,500 including training and
about $8,000 worth of tumbling equipment. "The market for this type of
business is strong, and they are filling a niche in this industry that
will probably be well received," says Casey.
Many franchisees remortgage their home to get the capital for a
franchise, but because much of the money for Viva the Chef goes to pay
for appliances, banks are often willing to make loans.
Buying a Viva the Chef on Wheels van is optional. Martinez had used
her stewardess experience to design a big cart that contains all the
materials and can roll out of the van into a home, a classroom, a
hospital, or a senior center. These demonstrations cost about $10 per
"When children get a positive experience, it builds their self
esteem," says Fiore, the marketing consultant. "They can make the
cupcakes, and they can make the pizza – they help their mom out and
their siblings thank them for it." And when the pizza is made as part
of a corporate team building session "you get creative thinking you
would not necessarily find in a board room."
"It’s not just about cooking but about nutritional sensibilities and
about learning self esteem and confidence," says Fiore. "It will have
tremendous influence on the rest of their lives – that is the exciting
part of this concept."
– Barbara Fox
Well past the insecurities of youth, poised and in control of their
careers, many women are sideswiped by perimenopause, an up-to-10-year
pre-menopausal stage. The life-stage change can cause even the
flintiest executives to sweat, flush, and lose precious sleep.
Having survived all the rigors of children and family, it is
unsettling for some working women to have to go through yet another
challenging time of life. But there are ways of making the
perimenopausal years easier. Maybe all of the symptoms cannot be
eliminated, but they can often be ameliorated, says Dr. Kathryn J.
Robison, an internist on the staff of the University Medical Center at
Princeton, speaks on menopause during the Women’s Health Conference of
the Princeton Healthcare System Foundation on Saturday, October 2, at
8 a.m. at the Hyatt. Also speaking are actress Debra Winger and a
number of health care professionals. Topics include nutrition and
exercise. The admission price, $45, includes not only breakfast and
lunch, but also child care. Call 609-497-4164 to register.
Robison, who has practiced at Princeton Medical Center for eight
years, is a graduate of UMDNJ and a Skillman resident.
The average age of menopause is 51, she says, but it can be a number
of years later – or earlier. Perimenopausal symptoms are not uncommon
at in the early 40s. Often, says Robison, they are relatively mild,
and sometimes are absent altogether. The most troublesome side effect
of the run up to menopause, she says, is interrupted sleep. Getting
through a packed day is difficult enough on a full eight hours of
uninterrupted shut eye, but restless nights can wreak havoc with any
satisfying work/life balancing act.
In Robison’s opinion, however, many of the sleep-robbing and
meeting-interrupting symptoms of menopause can be substantially
alleviated by lifestyle changes. "A lot gets back to healthy living,"
she says. Avoid caffeine, get plenty of exercise, and eat a balanced
diet, is her advice. If symptoms persist and interfere with daily
routine, she is not adverse to suggesting hormone therapy. While there
has been substantial controversy on the subject following research
results showing an elevated risk of heart disease and cancer, she
thinks that the risks are so small that short-term use of hormones
should not be a problem for most women.
Meanwhile, back at the office, perimenopausal women should consider
dressing in layers and keeping their thermostats set way down, Robison
suggests. If male co-workers are chilly, let them put on sweaters.
Career women have already made it over so many hurdles and have
juggled so much to meet demands of work and family that they should
not flinch when ordering up a just slightly Arctic work environment.
More than 2,700 attended Trenton’s Small Business Week last year, and
this year, the 11th annual event for entrepreneurs and small business
owners expects to be even bigger. For efficiency the schedule is
compressed from five days to four, Monday to Thursday, October 4 to 7.
The Entrepreneur of the Year awards will be given out at the kickoff
breakfast on Monday, and the Mercer Chamber’s lunch will be at the
Lafayette Yard Marriott on Tuesday. The Chamber’s business expo on
Tuesday will be spread out between the Marriott and the adjacent War
Memorial Theater. To get to some of the other venues – such as the
Trenton Business and Technology Center or MCCC’s James Kerney Campus –
will require reparking or brisk walk.
Most events are free. Register at www.smallbizweek.com or by calling
Monday, October 4:
At the Marriott, Lafayette Yard, The kickoff networking breakfast
features Michael Trebing, senior economic analyst, Federal Reserve
Bank of Philadelphia, along with Mayor Douglas H. Palmer and Brian
Hughes, County Executive. 8 a.m.
Marriott, Lafayette Yard. "How to Ensure that You Get Paid," Michael
Pucciarelli of Bartolomei Pucciarelli LLC. 10:30 a.m.
Trenton Business & Technology Center, 36 South Broad, "Top Human
Resource Do’s You Need to Know," Jennifer Zbinden, Center or Human
Resource Services Inc. 1 p.m.
Thomas Edison State College, Room 102, 101 West State, "Target
Marketing – Winning Techniques to Reach Your Market," Blaine
Greenfield, Blaine Greenfield Associates. 3 p.m.
Trenton Business & Technology Center, 36 South Broad, "Financial
Planning for Business Owners," Nunzio Cernero, MCCC. 6 p.m.
Tuesday, October 5:
MCCC James Kerney Campus, North Broad & Academy Streets, "Doing
Business with the Government," TCNJ SBDC. 8 a.m.
Thomas Edison State College, Room 102, 101 West State, "Mastering the
Sales Call – Overcoming Objections," Rocky Romeo of Rocky Romeo LLC.
Marriott, Lafayette Yard, Michael Fink of Leewood Real Estate Group,
Greater Mercer County Chamber. $40. Call 609-393-4143. 11:30 a.m.
NJEDA Board Room, 36 West State Street, "Introduction to Business
Valuation, Sales, and Transitions," Amper Politziner, and Mattia. 2:30
Trenton Business & Technology Center, 36 South Broad, "How to Submit a
Successful Bid/Proposal: the Consent of Surety, Stock Disclosure, and
Affirmative Action Requirements," Karen Marut, City of Trenton. 6 p.m.
Wednesday, October 6:
Marriott, Lafayette Yard, "Resources for Small Business," with TCNJ
SBDC, NJ EDA Entrepreneurial Training Program, Trenton Business &
Technology Center, Regional Business Assistance Corp., Mercer County
Office of Economic Opportunity, and the New Jersey State Library. 9
a.m. and 1 p.m.
"Small Business Health Benefits," Lisa Snyder of Kistler Tiffany
Benefits, moderator, with Nottingham Insurance & Financial Services,
HealthSense Inc., and NJ Department of Banking and Small Health
Benefits Program Insurance. 11 a.m.
Mercer Chamber Business Expo with "Meet the Purchasing Agents" at the
hotel, and tasting cuisine at the War Memorial. Call 609-393-4143. 11
a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Winning Media Advertising: Do’s and Don’ts for Print, Radio, & TV,"
moderated by Art Cianfano, Trenton Business & Technology Center, with
panelists from the Times, U.S. 1, Comcast, and Nassau Broadcasting. 3
Roman Hall Bar & Restaurant, 100 Whittaker Avenue, Networking and
reception sponsored by the Metropolitan Trenton African American
Chamber of Commerce. 5 p.m.
Trenton Business & Technology Center, 36 South Broad, "Financial
Statements and Loan Applications: What the Lenders Look For," Scot
Pannepacker, Lear & Pannepacker LLP CPA. 6 p.m.
Thursday, October: 7
Thomas Edison State College, Room 102, 101 West State, "Build a Better
Business Plan," Bob Small, Ressler & Small CPA. 8 a.m.
"Creating a Web Site That Gets You Noticed," David Krumholz, Strand
Management & Vision Line Media. 10 a.m.
MCCC James Kerney Campus, North Broad & Academy Streets, "Meet the
Lenders," more than 10 top SBA lenders. Bring business plans or
executive summaries. 1 p.m.
NJEDA Board Room, 36 West State Street, "Legal Basics of Business
Formation and Contracting," Lynn Blessing McDougall. 3 p.m.
Malaga Restaurant, 511 Lalor Street, "Guidelines on Obtaining
Permits/Licenses for Business in the City," sponsored by Latino
Chamber of Commerce. 6 p.m.
Trenton Business & Technology Center, 36 South Broad, "Quick Books –
How to Quicken Your Recordkeeping," Rosemary Fisher, Real
Possibilities. 6 p.m.
Everyday you receive them, maybe even send them: crates and boxes of
supplies or merchandise for work, and smaller packages for home. But
how do those packages get from the warehouse to you? Anyone involved
in the profession of engineering is well aware of all the details of
filling, packing, and shipping orders. For the rest of us, even if we
are in businesses that ship products daily, the process is probably a
Clay Hardy would like to help business learn more about the
intricacies of packing and shipping. Hardy is vice president of sales
for Hughes Enterprises, which hosts its second annual Shipping and
Packaging Expo from Tuesday through Thursday, October 5 through 7, at
its facilities at 2 Industrial Drive in Trenton. This year’s expo
focuses on individualized demonstrations of the latest innovations in
ultra-secure shipping and packaging. Hughes Enterprises represents
"all the main lines" of packaging equipment, says Hardy, and the expo
features products from a number of suppliers, including 3M, Sealed
Air, Audion, Better Packages, Clarke Scrubbers, and Combi.
The expo is open to executives, plant managers, and anyone with
responsibility for shipping and packaging equipment and systems
purchases in any size organization. In addition, those who
pre-register can schedule private demonstrations aimed at their
specific needs. Call 888-238-0162 for reservations
Now is a particularly good time for business owners to look into
purchasing new packaging equipment, says Hardy. Federal tax breaks
that allow companies to write off capital expenditures within a short
period of time are ending this year, he explains. This may make it
advantageous for a company to consider purchasing new equipment.
While packing and shipping may seem dull to many people, Hardy, who
received his undergraduate degree in package engineering from the
Rochester Institute of Technology, is enthusiastic about all areas of
his business. Before joining Hughes, Hardy worked for a number of
other packaging companies, including Pakoil Company and Sealed Air
Security in packaging and shipping has become "paramount," says Hardy,
as companies try to minimize their losses from theft and breakage.
While a company can never totally eradicate these two problems, there
are steps that can cut the damage.
A big problem with pilfering and theft, says Hardy, is finding that
boxes have been opened and part or all of the contents removed. The
box is then re-taped and shipped to its destination, where the missing
contents may not detected for weeks – or ever. The solution to this
sneaky theft can be as easy as changing the tape on the package. One
of the newest solutions to the problem is security tape. One type of
high adhesive tape tears away the box as it is peeled, so it is easy
to tell if it has been tampered with. Another type of tape leaves a
printed message on the box if it is peeled away.
During the expo, says Hardy, the warehouse at Hughes Enterprises will
be opened and set up to simulate the stages of a completely automated
Stage One includes management software to help track the packaging
process. These systems are designed to speed up packaging and reduce a
variety of problems. Some corporations, Wal-Mart among them, says
Hardy, are leading a push for completely automated tracking in
Stage Two consists of a variety of products and systems for "filling
the voids" in boxes and cartons, from sealed air pillows to foam
cushions to the ubiquitous Styrofoam peanuts. "Everyone hates peanuts,
from the packer in the warehouse to the person who gets the package at
home," says Hardy. "They are an environmental hazard. They are hard to
recycle. They are bulky and it is easy to lose an order in them. They
get everywhere and are hard to clean up, and they are just a mess!"
A lot of thought has been put into peanut replacement, he says, but it
is difficult to compete with the ease of filling a box with peanuts –
the least expensive and lightest of filling materials. However, Hardy
offers many alternatives from foam cushioning to void filling air bags
and "pillows" to paper "dunnage" and bubble wrap. These solutions,
while more expensive, offer better protection from breakage than
peanuts. "Peanuts are like the cereal in a cereal box; they compress
and settle while the items that you have packaged become the surprise
at the bottom of the box," says Hardy.
Stage Three includes case erectors and case sealers, which take flat,
corrugated boxes and automatically open them, fold them, and seal
them. When the boxes are packed and filled with "void filling dunnage"
a machine seals the boxes and labels them.
Stage Four includes "palletizers," equipment that aids in placing
several cartons or cases onto pallets for movement around and out of
the warehouse. "As boxes are filled and sealed the palletizer picks up
several boxes at once, puts them on a pallet, and comes back for more.
Instead of one box at a time, the palletizer will pick up 20 – or
more. This helping "hand" can greatly reduce back problems and
repetitive motion injuries among employees.
"It virtually eliminates the repetitive job of bending over and
picking up box after box by hand," says Hardy. "Instead, that employee
is now overseeing an entire packaging line.."
It’s not glamorous, but packaging plays a part in nearly every
business transaction. Can you imagine a world without cardboard boxes?
– Karen Miller
Today – to steal from the old song – woman are bringing home the bacon
(organic, naturally), frying it up in a pan, all while juggling kids,
yoga class, aging parents, and maybe a man. Yep, they’re women…and
we’re not talking your Carol Brady type either.
Today’s women are juggling more than ever before. Downsizing means
more to do at work; anxiety over increased competition for spots in
top colleges means more pressure at home; a realization of the
lifelong importance of strong relationships translates into more
attention to friends and family. Whether they’re managing companies or
families, taking care of their health or the health of their
communities, doing grass-roots political work or simply cutting the
grass in their backyards, women are managing to-do lists at home,
school, work, and all around the state.
This year, to support those women, the New Jersey Department of
Community Affairs (NJDCA) is holding the Governor’s Conference on
Women on Wednesday, October 6, at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick.
Designed to provide an opportunity to network with women in
government, healthcare, education, advocacy and business, the day-long
event features more than 25 different sessions to inform and inspire.
Cost:$85, but less for students and seniors. Call 609-292-7739.
"I believe that government, business, social services – all arenas of
our lives are stronger when we have diverse voices around the table,"
says Susan Bass Levin, commissioner of the NJDCA, who chairs the
event." Whether it’s in the corporate world or non-profit we all have
a part to play. We want to challenge women to take the next step," she
says on a phone call from her offices in Trenton. What the next step
might be is "different for everyone. For some it’s a role in
government, for some it’s about making their family stronger. It’s
about choices. Each of us individually can make a difference in New
Raised in Bergen County, Levin went to college in Rochester, New York,
and, she says, "like all good political science majors, after I
graduated, I went to law school." After graduating from Georgetown,
Levin clerked for a federal judge, and then went to work in a
corporate law firm. After marrying and having two girls, Levin wanted
to be closer to her family and "live in a community and town, send my
kids to public school and camp," so they moved back to New Jersey in
Levin then decided to go out on her own, and she opened her own law
firm. "I went from being a lawyer to owning my own business," a
transition that was made easier by her affiliation with New Jersey
Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO). "It was a great way to
network and get support," she says.
A stint as the president of the statewide NJAWBO organization in 1984
was followed by a run for Township Council in Cherry Hill. After that,
she ran for mayor of Cherry Hill, a position she held from 1988 until
2002, when Governor McGreevey appointed her to the cabinet as the
commissioner of NJDCA.
As commissioner, Levin oversees a variety of activities, including
promoting the advancement of women by providing the tools and
resources New Jersey’s women need. The Conference on Women is the
first of its kind during this administration. "I thought it was
important for women to share ideas and demonstrate the power of our
voices," she says. "We have five different tracks to support women in
a variety of ways."
Each track offers workshops: "The Power of the Marketplace" offers
workshops on financing and running your own business. "The Power to
Celebrate Ourselves" focuses on health care and mental health issues
for women. "The Power of a Political Voice" is about how to get
women’s voices heard, whether in lobbying and advocacy or in running
for office -it’s about changing the status quo. "The Power to go
Beyond" gives the Renaissance woman approach – art, media,
communication – because, as Levin says, "life is more than just a
The fifth track, "The Power to Lead," calls women to the challenge of
taking charge in all areas of their lives. Some of the workshops
designed to inform and inspire include: "Understanding the Media:
Making the Press Work for You;" "From the Sticky Floor To the Glass
Ceiling: Making it in a Man’s World;" and "Educational Policy and
In addition to the workshops there are four keynote speakers,
including Carolyn Kepcher, chief operating officer of Trump National
Golf Club in Bedminster, and a boardroom judge on "The Apprentice"
television show, and the Pulitzer Prize winning historian, Doris
Kearns Goodwin. Also speaking at the event are Nobel Prize winning
author and Princeton University professor Toni Morrison and Bobbi
Brown, CEO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Morrison and Brown are both New
Jersey residents, and will be receiving awards from NJDCA: Morrison,
the Renaissance Woman award, and Brown, Woman of Vision award.
Levin isn’t sure what the speakers will talk about, "We told them the
theme of the conference – powerful women, powerful visions, powerful
voices and they’re going to take it from there."
Levin also speaks at the conference, but she won’t be talking about
government, law, or lobbying. "I’ve spoken about many of these topics
before, and I’ve been to many workshops like the ones we’re having,
but this is the first time that I’m talking about health," she says.
"I’m talking about what every woman should know about cancer."
Last summer Levin went in for what she thought was routine surgery and
two days later was told she had ovarian cancer. Her life turned upside
down. But, she says, "a year later I’m a survivor."
"Last fall as I was going through chemo, I told my doctor that I
wanted to speak to woman about this, about the importance of getting
an annual check up," she says. She wanted the ordeal to have "some
meaning, not just to be about me being sick."
In sharing her personal experience, Levin is setting an example. The
whole idea of the conference is women learning from other woman,
supporting one another, and making a difference in their homes, work,
and in the world. "It’s going to be a great conference," says Levin.
"We already have several hundred registrants – diverse women from all
over New Jersey, young, old and everyone in between. We’ve got
corporate leaders, community activists, educators, doctors – it’s a
great pot-pourri. There’s something for everyone."
– Deb Cooperman
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