RELEASE: Fifth District Women’s Leadership Summit Brings Together North Jersey High School Students & Local Women Leaders

Mar 29, 2021

Gottheimer Celebrates Women’s History Month

Above: North Jersey high school students hear from local women elected officials and community leaders during today’s Fifth District Women’s Leadership Summit.

GLEN ROCK, NJ — Today, the First Annual Fifth District Women’s Leadership Summit was hosted by U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), bringing together North Jersey elected officials and community leaders for a dialogue with local high school students to discuss progress in the ongoing fight for equality, to provide career and leadership advice, and to highlight challenges and accomplishments of women leaders in North Jersey.

“I’m bringing everyone together today so that high school students from throughout the Fifth District have an opportunity to hear from women leaders in our communities, to discuss their successes, and to get advice as they shape their own futures. It’s great that we have so many brilliant women leaders here in North Jersey and, of course, there’s more that we can do to challenge the status quo and make the progress our nation needs,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Today, our country stands on the foundation that women throughout our history built, we look around at the progress we’ve made towards expanding equality — like electing our nation’s first female Vice President, and we look ahead to the work we still have to do.”

“It was an honor to participate in today’s forum with so many extraordinary and distinguished women leaders from across the Fifth Congressional District. The questions asked by our future women leaders were on the right point and showed their interest in becoming future women-leaders. I was honored to participate,” said Tammie Horsfield, President of the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce.

“Thank you to Congressman Gottheimer for hosting today’s Women Leadership Summit,” said Bergen New Bridge Medical Center President and CEO Deb Visconi. “It is more important than ever for us to empower and mentor our next generation of female leaders by sharing history, showing resiliency, and being a source of support. It was an honor to be part of today’s program.” 

“It was a privilege to join Representative Gottheimer today to speak with these young women and share my experiences in the workplace and as an elected official,” said Tracy Schoenberg, Oradell Council President and Executive Vice President of Communications & Government Affairs for CIANJ. “As the mother of two daughters, I know the importance of mentoring young female leaders and empowering them to reach their goals and share lessons learned on how best to achieve them.”

“It was an honor and privilege to be among such distinguished women leaders celebrating Women’s History Month today in participating in the Congressman’s Women’s Leadership Summit. The responses to the students’ questions highlighted leadership ability and compassion for the communities in which we serve. The message for the students is to ‘stay on course and expect to be successful!’” said Karen Gwynn, Senior Assistant Prosecutor at the Bergen County’s Prosecutor’s Office and President of the Black Prosecutors Association of New Jersey.

“It was an honor to join Congressman Gottheimer’s forum today and speak with many bright and eager young women from our district. As our country navigates the 21st century, we will need the best efforts, ideas, and talents of young women just like these. Many of the women leaders present today spoke about their history, explaining that they attained their positions because of others who supported them and offered a hand up. Today, Congressman Gottheimer helped us establish those connections and encourage New Jersey’s next generation of women leaders.  It was a pleasure to take part,” said Knowlton Mayor Adele Starrs. 

“It’s invaluable to have the opportunity to reach out to a younger generation of women to offer them hope and life lessons about our journey as female leaders.” said Bergen County Commissioner Mary Amoroso.

The Fifth District Women’s Leadership Summit featured the following local leaders:

  • Bergen County Commissioner Mary Amoroso;
  • Warren County Commissioner Lori Ciesla;
  • Knowlton Mayor Adele Starrs;
  • Tracy Schoenberg, Oradell Council President and Executive Vice President of Communications and Government Affairs for the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey;
  • Karen Gwynn, Senior Assistant Prosecutor at the Bergen County’s Prosecutor’s Office and President of the Black Prosecutors Association of New Jersey;
  • Tammie Horsfield, Sussex County Chamber of Commerce President; and 
  • Deborah Visconi, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center President and CEO.

The Fifth District Women’s Leadership Summit included students from the following schools:

  • Belvidere High School 
  • Bergenfield High School 
  • Fair Lawn High School 
  • Lodi High School
  • New Milford High School
  • Newton High School 
  • North Warren Regional High School 
  • Pascack Valley Regional High School 
  • Teaneck High School 
  • Vernon Township High School

In Congress, Gottheimer recently helped pass a measure in the House that moves the Equal Rights Amendment closer to becoming part of the Constitution, to affirm women’s equality and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.

Gottheimer is also cosponsoring bipartisan legislation, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will help close the gender pay gap and help secure equal pay for equal work for all Americans.

This past December, Gottheimer and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which he co-chairs, helped pass bipartisan legislation that was signed into law to create a new Smithsonian Women’s History Museum on the National Mall.


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