Phenomenal Women Under 40
Saluting the unlimited potential of
rising women in leadership
Thursday, September 14, 2017
1807 Boardwalk, Seaside Heights
6:00PM - 9:30PM
Phenom Award nominees should be outstanding performers who understand the hard work and dedication necessary to be a success. The award not only recognizes professional women for who they are but also for the potential for what they might achieve in their futures.
This year’s Phenom Award honorees are:
- Danielle Bagdzinski – Cowan, Gunteski, & Co. PA - Marketing Director
- Paige Baran - Hiering, Dupignac, Stanzione, Dunn & Beck, PC - Associate Attorney
- Carolyn Burtnick - Community Magazine - Editor-In-Chief
- Kelly Fliller - Jay & Linda Grunin Foundation - Director of Communications
- Allison Havemann-Niedrach - Thrive by Le-Vel - Brand Promoter
- Christina Lazaro - WithumSmith+Brown, PC - CPA, Manager
- Michelle Kelly - DW Smith Associates, LLC - Project Engineer
- Tracy Mutchiga - Ranney School - Director of Community Engagement
- Samantha Rice - Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore - Communications Manager
- Jamie Stone - Lakewood BlueClaws - Marketing/ Events Promotions & Partnership Activation
The nomination deadline is Wednesday, May 31. Five stand-out performers from each county are then chosen. Award recipients will be notified if they are chosen by the selection committee.
Meet Our 2017 Phenomenal Women
Early in her professional career, Danielle Bagdzinski started down the path of public relations at large marketing firms, only to discover greater fulfillment with work that involved a local and personal connection. She shifted career paths and joined the Girl Scout family, first as public relations manager and then as distinguished events and fundraising manager for the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. During her time with the organization, Bagdzinski earned the council’s President’s Award in 2015 and its staff Above and Beyond award the year prior.
“Danielle was a great asset to Girl Scouts when she was an employee her,” said nominator Terri Peterson, Girl Scouts’ assistant finance director.” She puts her all into everything she is involved in.”
Bagdzinski is currently marketing coordinator for Cowan, Gunteski & Co., P.A. “As a one-woman marketing team, Danielle goes above and beyond to not only expand the firm’s marketing strategies, but also to increase her own knowledge base,” said nominator and co-worker Deborah Mathis, executive director, CG Healthcare Solutions. “She never backs down from a challenge and is consistently looking for ways to improve both herself and the firm. Her work ethic, dedication and heart shine through to everyone she meets.”
With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree from Seton Hall University, Bagdzinski also understands the importance of giving back to the community. She coordinates events for the United Way, most notably the 2017 Day of Action. In that role, she recruited several members of her firm to beautify the outside of The Hope Center, a local non-profit. She is also a member of the Monmouth-Ocean Development Council and sat on the Girl Scouts 2017 Golf Classic Committee.
Outside of work and volunteering, Bagdzinski teaches Ballroom and Latin dance at a Toms River dance studio and is preparing to run a half marathon.
Girl Scouts is truly a family affair for Paige Baran. In addition to her own past as a Girl Scout for seven years growing up, she’s also an active troop leader with both a Girl Scout Daisy and Brownie Troop. In addition, she serves on the Girl Scouts’ Corporate Leadership Council and its Women of Distinction and Community Partners committee.
“I learned valuable leadership skills though Girl Scouts,” Baran said. “It taught me the importance of community involvement and giving back.”
When she’s not volunteering in the Girl Scout organization, Baran is an attorney with Hiering, Dupignac, Stanzione, Dunn & Beck, P.C., specializing in family law, civil litigation and adoption. She earned her law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Villanova University.
“Paige is a dedicated lawyer who also gives back to her community,” said nominator Madalaine Rice, Girl Scouts’ chief development officer. “She is the first to volunteer whenever asked.”
In addition to her role as a Girl Scout volunteer, Baran is a member of the Lavallette PTO and serves as trustee of the Andrew T. Baran Scholarship Fund, founded in honor of her late father.
She still lives in her hometown of Lavallette with her husband, Jarrod Grasso, her son Hunter, daughter Drew and two dogs, Scout and Mojo.
Born and raised in Colts Neck, Carolyn Burtnick has centered her work on the community she loves. Before she even began Saint John Vianney High School, Holmdel, she had entered the publishing business at 12 years old. After graduating from Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, she founded Community Magazine in 2011, when she was 28 years old. The magazine covers the communities where she grew up, Colts Neck, Holmdel, Lincroft, Red Bank, Rumson, Fair Haven, Middletown, Little Silver, Locust and Sea Bright.
“Through the magazine, Carolyn brings pride to Monmouth County by highlighting the best our community has to offer,” said nominator Carol Stillwell, president of Stillwell-Hansen, Inc. “But, it is her character, heart and kindness to others that truly makes her worthy of this award.”
In addition to her work as publisher, Burtnick is involved with many non-profits and currently serves on the board of directors of The Ashley Lauren Foundation. “Carolyn has a heart of gold and is very passionate about anything she is involved with,” said nominator Monica Vermeulen, founder and CEO of the foundation. “She has energy to burn and is continually looking for ways to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”
“You will not find a more hardworking, caring and giving young woman than Carolyn,” said nominator Carolyn Walker, board secretary, The Ashley Lauren Foundation. “She is easy to work with and is well liked and respected by her peers.”
As director of communications for the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, Kelly Fliller has a strong connection with many organizations throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties. In addition to leading the foundation’s marketing strategies, she’s also extremely involved with many volunteer organizations in the community.
“Kelly is beyond amazing with all of the activities she’s involved with,” said nominator Lauren Holman, 2016 Phenom Award recipient. “She’s also a great role model for young women. She shows how you can blend what you do for a living while giving back to the community.”
“She is just a phenomenal woman,” added nominator Kelly Servodio, CG Healthcare Solutions. “She is full of love, energy and excitement and has a passion for helping others.”
Fliller earned her master’s degree from Georgian Court University. She serves on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County and is involved with Ocean County College’s 100 Women Campaign. In addition, she is a board member of the Casey Coyle Memorial Fund and the Ocean County Military Support Committee. She is also chair of the United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Gala Committee.
When discussing Allison Havemann-Niedrach, it’s hard to know where to begin. She’s a wife. A mother. A survivor of cancer and domestic violence. She was once homeless. She’s a MENSA member and a NASA National Leadership Award recipient. All those descriptions and more provide a brief glimpse into an amazing life.
As a Girl Scout, Havemann-Niedrach earned the Gold Award in 1999. She also received a bachelor’s degree elementary and special education and master’s degrees as an autism specialist and in naturopathic medicine from Georgian Court University.
Early in her career, Havemann-Niedrach worked as a behavior specialist for a charter school in Philadelphia. While there, she helped turn around the personal and academic performance of 6th through 8th grade students by designing a custom curriculum that helped them learn how to be productive and appropriate members of the school and local community.
Havemann-Niedrach currently works for Le-Vel, the world's fastest growing health and wellness company. Within 90 days of joining the organization, she became one of its top leaders.
In addition to her professional success, Havemann-Niedrach is a cancer survivor and suffers from chronic Lyme disease. She also volunteers for her local church. “I have watched this woman rise from personal tragedy to being a true leader of her home, community, and anywhere she is called to serve, said her nominator, Eric Niedrach, a co-worker at Le-Vel. “She is the picture of unconditional tough love and unending compassion.”
A proud Girl Scout alumna, Christina Lazaro graduated from Monmouth University in 2009. Soon after she began work at WithumSmith+Brown, a public accounting firm.
“Christina is a bright up-and-coming community leader with a quiet humility and sincere kindness with everyone she meets,” said nominator Elizabeth Trottier, 2016 Phenom Award recipient. “Through hard work, dedication and loyalty, she has been promoted four times.”
Lazaro is currently a manager at the firm and was awarded its 2016 Community Strength Service Award. She’s written articles that were published in Accounting Today, New Jersey Construction and the New Jersey Builders Association newsletter.
Lazaro is also known for her passion for volunteering, specifically in connection to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She has served as event chair for its Jersey Shore Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer since 2012, helping raise approximately $550,000. As a result of her success, she was invited to attend St. Jude’s Volunteer Leadership Conference in 2016.
When it comes to equality in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, women still do not have equal representation. Currently, only 14 percent of engineers are women and less than 20 percent of engineering students are women. Leading the way within the professional engineering ranks is Michelle Kelly, an engineer with DW Smith Engineering.
Kelly earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Rhode Island. She is a professional engineer and certified municipal engineer. “Michelle has shown incredible success in balancing a career in a traditionally male dominated field, as well as being a first time mom,” said nominator Jennifer Nevins, principal, DW Smith Engineering. “She regularly mentors young females entering the STEM field because she understands that the next generation needs mentorship, and they will be instrumental in shaping our future.”
In addition to giving back within her field, Kelly also recognizes the importance of giving back to her community as well, not only participating in charitable events but also helping her company sponsor a family every holiday. “She has taken a lead role in helping families in need by purchasing clothing, toys, food and other items,” explained Nevins. “Giving back and helping others is a significant focus to Michelle, which makes her not only phenomenal, but a woman of genuine quality.”
In high school, Tracy Mutchiga planned and implemented social and fundraising events, but never imagined it would become her career. After 15 years at Ranney School, she’s travelled a path that matches her interests and desires.
“Tracy is a hardworking, kind and dedicated person who gives 100 percent to all she does,” said nominator Madalaine Rice, Girl Scouts’ chief development officer. “She is always dependable and gives tirelessly to everything she commits to.”
As director of community engagement at Ranney School, Mutchiga coordinates cultivation and fundraising events including donor receptions, recognition events and the school’s annual Panther Ball Gala and Auction.
Outside of her work at Ranney School, Mutchiga volunteers with other non-profits, including Lunch Break and Family and Children’s Services of Monmouth County.
A Girl Scout growing up, Mutchiga recently reconnected with the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. She is a member of the council’s Corporate Leadership Council and the chair of the council’s newly formed alumnae group.
Mutchiga earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. Prior to joining Ranney School, she worked as assistant sports information director for the university. She has been married to her husband, Chuck, for 14 years and they have a seven-year-old Westie named Wally.
It’s not always necessary to look beyond an organization’s walls to find a phenomenal woman; often you work with one every day. Such is the case with Samantha Rice, who grew up a Girl Scout, earning her Gold Award in 2009. “Samantha brings the professional and inspirational quality needed to be a role model for young girls,” said nominator Lori Pepenella, CEO, Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce. “Her positive outlook and skilled decision making allows her to go above and beyond in her job performance and in the community.”
As communications manager for the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, Rice manages the visual implementation of the Girl Scout brand in all council materials. She is a graduate of Central Regional High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Rowan University.
Prior to joining Girl Scouts, Rice worked as a brand manager for a wedding production company. She’s engaged to be married in August 2018. She enjoys spending time with her family; in the summer they enjoying kayaking and jet skiing at the beach. During the winter, she wishes it was summer.
Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout. Jamie Stone participated in Girl Scouts as a Brownie while in second and third grade before moving on to other activities. Through those volunteer opportunities, she discovered passions that still inspire her today. In high school, she became involved with the Key Club and Rotary Club, volunteering every year at Long Beach Island’s 18-mile run and its Chowderfest.
A graduate of Southern Regional High School, Stone earned a bachelor’s degree in sports/entertainment and event management from Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island. Upon graduation, she worked one year for the Lakewood BlueClaws before gaining experience with other sporting organizations including an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Belmont and Saratoga Springs Race Tracks. She returned to the BlueClaws in 2014, and currently works as marketing/event promotions and partnership activation manager.
“Jamie’s positive outlook and cheerful attitude is always on display in each and every task she performs,” said nominator Jim DeAngelis, executive director, BlueClaws Charities, who is also a member of the Girl Scouts’ board of directors. “She is very organized and has made it a personal goal to make our team tops in Minor League Baseball.”
In her current role, Stone is responsible for the BlueClaws’ many promotional nights, including Harry Potter Night, Caturday (a day for cats and their owners), TropiClaws, and Halfway to the Holidays.
A native of Barnegat, Stone’s mom is a teacher at Regional Junior High School and her dad owns Stone’s Northside Garage.