“Ladies, you can have it all. I’m not going to say it’s easy, sometimes it’s very difficult, but you can have it all.”
That pearl of wisdom was part of Middlesex County Sheriff Mildred Scott’s closing remarks at the 18th-Annual Women’s Leadership Summit on Oct. 18, with a theme this year of “Create Your Own Story.”
This year, the women’s all-day summit was held at DoubleTree by Hilton Somerset Hotel and Conference Center where hundreds of women (and a few men) gathered to hear from engaging panelists and guest speakers.
Attendees heard from three panelists: Claribel Cortes, co-founder of Setroc Group and vice-chair of the New Jersey Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Victoria Vitale, Global Sourcing Manager within R&D Procurement at Johnson & Johnson; and Priti Pandya-Patel, president of the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce and former Miss India.
One of Cortes’ messages was to always try and put yourself first, putting an emphasis on self-care for women, especially mothers.
“If you do that, everything else will fall into place,” she explained.
Roundtable discussions were also held in the morning and afternoon by Priya Gopal, founder of Prispet Strategies; Kathleen Cashman, president of Cashman Consulting; Miriam Pilgrim, RYT 500 yoga instructor; Clarisa Romero, CEO of Mindful Consultants; Maryrose Agel, Retail Dietitian at ShopRite of Spotswood; Taryn Lamb, owner of Organized Havens; Tamara Robb, presidents of Robb Digital Marketing; Paige Burwell, founder of Paygb Collections; and Tamara Heyer and Portia LeGall, Personal Stylists and Corporate Sales Executives for Macy’s.
During lunch, attendees had a chance to hear from the event’s Philanthropic speaker, Veronica Findley, director of Major Gifts, before hearing from keynote speaker, Sheriff Scott, who was re-elected November 5.
As the first female sheriff of Middlesex County – and the first African American sheriff in New Jersey – Scott reflected on how her office has changed since she first started. She recalls, for example, in her first crime-fighting job, she was required to wear a skirt and carry her firearms in a purse.
When she graduated from the county police academy in 1968, Scott was one of the first female officers in Middlesex County.
Throughout the day, all of these strong female leaders shared candid stories of how they manage their work-life balance and conquer in male-dominated industries. It was truly an inspirational and motivational day.