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Phenomenal Women Under 40

The Phenom Award recognizes exceptional women
who have gone above and beyond in all that they do,
including their amazing accomplishments and
commitment to business growth, professional excellence
and community service.

2021 Phenom Awards Photos

2021 Phenomenal Women Under 40

2021 Honorees

  • Alaina Bontales
    Monmouth Medical Center

    Kristina Henderson
    Henderson Promos
    Mrs. New Jersey

    Danielle M. Jones
    Brookdale Community College
    Borough of Eatontown

    Eboné Lawrence-Smith
    Long Branch Public Schools

  • Chelsea Masterson  
    Chelsea’s Messy Kitchen

    Megan O’Keefe
    Caregiver Volunteers of Central New Jersey

    Shannon Oreficé
    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Coastal & Northern NJ

    Melissa Schwaner
    Swan Therapy Group

2021 Honoree Bios & Thank You Videos

Alaina Bontales
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Alaina Bontales is a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient and a lifetime member. She is a parishioner of the Greek Orthodox Church in Holmdel where she accomplished her Gold Award by converting an old storage closet into a religious bookstore. She has also dedicated her talents there as a Greek Folk Dance instructor and as a nurse to her parish. She spends most of her free time playing with her baby nephew and two nieces. She enjoys going on hikes with her fiancé and listening to any kind of live music. 

Alaina graduated from the Wagner College School of Nursing in 2016. She worked as an inpatient Oncology and hospice staff nurse at Monmouth Medical Center for three years. During these three years, she learned valuable lessons about humility and human dignity. In her first year as a nurse, she was nominated as Novice Nurse of the Year and quickly became a preceptor and a resource to other new nurses. She was instrumental in advocating for more staffing on her unit and obtaining better nurse to patient ratios. With this came a nomination for Mentorship of the Year Award after Alaina spent over a year orienting new nurses and building a strong staff.  Shortly after, Alaina was promoted to a Unit Nurse Leader where her critical thinking and problem solving skills could shine.

At the onset of COVID-19, and not long after starting her new role, Alaina’s unit was converted into a COVID unit. She was tasked with relaying up to date and ever-changing information to her front line staff, her patients, and their families during a time when visitation was prohibited.  Alaina’s hospice skills proved helpful during daily phone calls to family members of COVID patients when critical and emotional conversations needed to occur.

Since February, Alaina’s unit has transitioned back to an Oncology and hospice unit. She has recently taken on a new role as the Clinical Director of Patient Care for Inpatient Oncology. She takes much pride in educating new staff and molding them into successful Oncology nurses in order to provide patients with the most exceptional care they deserve

Kristina Henderson
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Kristina Henderson, the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Owner of Henderson Promos in Red Bank, New Jersey, was crowned 2020 Mrs. New Jersey American in the Mrs. America Pageant at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on August 8, 2020. The 29-year-old who grew up in Colts Neck, New Jersey, placed top 6 in the Mrs. American 2021 pageant in Las Vegas in March.

Henderson is using her reign to empower other women in business to take their existing companies to the next level. During her reign, she has visited with women in all 21 counties of New Jersey to support them and the local economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I encourage women to look for other successful women in business for inspiration, guidance, encouragement, and mentorship,” said Mrs. New Jersey Kristina Henderson. “Women really need to embrace each other's triumphs and build a network of support with each other. When one woman succeeds, we all succeed.”

Recently, Henderson held an extraordinary, red-carpet event in Red Bank, New Jersey, honoring the “Stars of Women in Business” in New Jersey. About 100 women attended the networking event and awards presentation where several women leaders in television, business, and the nonprofit arena were honored for their contributions to the community and to the advancement of women. A high school graduate also received the first annual “Kristina Henderson Empowering Young Women Scholarship” for college.

Additionally, Henderson has used her reign to spread awareness about hunger and opioid addiction in our community. She works closely with “Fulfill Food Bank”, an organization to prevent drug abuse called “Tigger House Foundation,” and a nonprofit called “Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation” which provides free dance and music lessons for children in need. Kristina and her husband have also started a nonprofit of their own, “The Kristina and Bart Henderson Foundation”, which will help fund community projects.

During the height of the pandemic, Kristina and her husband donated more than 125,000 masks to frontline workers and families in need through a collaboration with Feeding America. They donated the masks to food banks and nonprofits in five states to help keep employees, volunteers, and the community COVID safe. Their efforts received national and local attention on Good Morning America, NBC, and ABC.

Henderson graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism.

She is the Co-Founder of “The Giving Back Forum” - an event that brings together 65+ non-profits in the community to one space, where they can learn from one another, share resources, and promote awareness for their causes. 

Henderson became a flight attendant at the age of 19. She went on to be a television news producer in New Hampshire. When Kristina's not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Bart, Co-Owner of Henderson Promos, and her two dogs, Gatsby and Kona, at the Jersey Shore.  

Danielle M. Jones
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Danielle M. Jones Professional Biography June 14, 2021 Danielle M. Jones is the Student Communications & Leadership Development Specialist for the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) at Brookdale Community College. In addition to overseeing the program’s outreach and communications, she serves as Club Advisor to both the EOF Student Alliance (EOFSA) and the Delta Alpha Chapter of Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society at Brookdale.

Danielle earned her B.A. in Psychology, with a minor in Sociology, from Cabrini University in 2013. She has also earned her A.A. in Social Sciences from Brookdale Community College in 2009. Her academic accomplishments led her to becoming a life member of four national honor societies. In 2017, Danielle served as graduate intern for Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of New Jersey (AICUNJ), and Legislative District #11 for General Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey. In Fall 2019, Danielle served as a Graduate Fellow for the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) for the State of New Jersey.

Danielle currently attends Seton Hall University, pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration, with a concentration in Non-Profit Management. In addition, she currently serves the Chair of the Governmental Relations Committee for the EOF Professional Association of New Jersey (EOFPANJ). Her two-year term as a Sector Representative for County Colleges (Central/South Region) will be completed on June 30, 2021; she will begin a new two-year term serving as the Association’s Public Relations Officer on July 1, 2021. On January 1, 2021, Danielle was sworn in to serve a three-year term on the Eatontown Borough Council. In addition, she was appointed to serve as College Caucus Chair for the New Jersey Young Democrats (NJYD) in March 2021. Danielle has successfully completed the six-month Institute for the New Jersey Chapter of New Leaders Council (NLC) in June 2021. She is actively involved with implementing voter registration and political advocacy initiatives for both Brookdale Community College and EOFPANJ. Danielle enjoys planning outreach and advocacy events to educate students about civic engagement, community service, voter education, and government. Furthermore, she is engaged with local community leaders in Monmouth County to plan events and outreach to address various topics, including mental health, COVID-19 vaccinations, and social justice reform.

With her diverse work experience and academic training, Danielle strives to utilize the knowledge, skills, and resources gained from her experiences to be successful in both her personal and professional life. She believes in collaboration, cooperation, and creating strategic partnerships in building successful relationships and networks. Her attention to detail, planning and organizational abilities, and interpersonal communication skills have served as valuable assets throughout her career.

Danielle currently resides in Eatontown, New Jersey, with her family.

Eboné Lawrence-Smith
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Eboné M. Lawrence-Smith was born on March 21, 1989, in Long Branch, New Jersey to Herman and Janet Lawrence. She was raised in Middletown, New Jersey with her brother Jordan and attended the Middletown Public Schools District. In 2007, she graduated from Middletown South High School and enrolled at Montclair State University, dual majoring in Education and Family Services, with a minor in Business. While attending Montclair, Eboné served on the Executive Board of the Caribbean Students’ Organization, the Yearbook Committee, and the Peer Ambassadors.  She was also inducted into and served on the Executive Boards of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and Sigma Alpha Lambda National Leadership and Honors Organization. Eboné graduated with honors in 2011 with a dual Bachelor of Arts Degree.

Immediately following graduation, Eboné was offered a position as an elementary school teacher for Newark Public Schools. Throughout her four years in the district, she served as Lead Teacher for her grade level, the Girl Scout Troop Leader, and as Director of the after-school program. During her time in Newark, she decided to pursue her Master's Degree, dual majoring in Reading and Special Education.  Eboné graduated in 2014 with a Masters of Education from Concordia University-Portland. In 2014, she also became a proud member of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Sorority Inc., Delta Pi Chapter in Hillside, New Jersey.

In 2015, Eboné left Newark Public Schools to begin a new adventure as a fourth-grade reading teacher at Gregory Elementary School in the Long Branch Public Schools District. Within her school, Eboné has served as the Head Reading Teacher, Secretary for the PTA, the Assistant Girl Scout Troop Leader, a tutor for the after-school STEAM program, Co-Advisor for the Gregory Step Team, and Technology and Distance Learning Co-Advisor. In 2019, Eboné was honored to be selected as Teacher of the Year for her school.

In 2016, Eboné became a member of The North Jersey Shore Chapter of Continentals Societies Incorporated. In 2017, became an Advisor for Jacob’s Ladder of Monmouth County and continues to serve in that capacity today. Eboné is currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and is expected to graduate in 2022.

Eboné has been married to Gyasi Smith since 2015, and they currently reside in Neptune, New Jersey with their daughter Cadence. She is a member of Quinn Chapel AME Church in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey where she is active on many committees. Free time is uncommon for her, but when she does find free time, she enjoys spending it with her family and friends. She lives by the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. 

Chelsea Masterson
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Chelsea Masterson is the owner of Chelsea’s Messy Kitchen, a local baking service in Ocean County. She is also the Digital Managing Editor at Townsquare Media South Jersey and on-field emcee at Jersey Shore Blueclaws. Prior to starting her own venture, Chelsea was a radio host on Cat Country 107.3 and SoJO 104.9. Circumstances changed due to the COVID pandemic and in March of 2020 she found herself, like many, unemployed. Rather than sitting idly by, Chelsea put her focus into launching Chelsea’s Messy Kitchen as well hosting and producing a Podcast for Her Product Lab, a company which brings female product managers together to help each other grow in their careers. Female empowerment has always been an important issue to Chelsea which is why she remains an active Girl Scout, advocating for the program. She has been a member of Girl Scouts since kindergarten and signed up as a lifetime member after high school. Chelsea is a Bronze and Gold Award recipient and hosts multiple programs a year for the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore.

Megan O’Keefe
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Megan O’Keefe is the Executive Director at Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey, a non-profit who provides supportive service to seniors help them aging in their homes a part of their community.

Before leading Caregiver Volunteers, Megan worked in nonprofit development building of value-adding programs fueling campaign growth, competitive advantage, and transformative change in the social service, higher educations and healthcare sectors.

Megan enjoys spending time with family, reading and hiking. She her husband and three children live in Bayville, NJ.

Shannon Oreficé
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Shannon Oreficé grew up in Ocean Township, New Jersey to a large, loving family and strong connection to her community.  She is very grateful for the many mentors in her life that valued family, education, and community service.   Upon graduating high school, Shannon headed to Virginia Tech to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications, taking a semester off to fulfill her childhood dream of interning at the Late Show with David Letterman.  After graduating college, she headed back to Manhattan to continue working for the Late Show, eventually moving on to pursue the next chapter in her career in Corporate Event Production. After 5 years serving as Project Manager for countless corporate events, Shannon began volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters to assist them in developing a new fundraising event.  Soon after, a job became available at the agency, and Shannon decided to apply and never looked back. She quickly advanced into the role as Director of Programs and has now been with the mentoring organization for 12 years.  Over the years she has led the programmatic efforts of the agency, most recently playing a lead role in its expansion into 8 additional counties. Shannon has truly found her passion in providing innovative youth empowerment programs while always advocating for social justice both professionally and personally.

Shannon is married to her loving husband, Dan and they have two children who bring such joy and love to their lives – their daughter, Jay (7) and son, Harrison (3).  

Melissa Schwaner
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Melissa is the proud owner of Swan Therapy Group LLC with locations in Toms River, expanding to Manahawkin and Brick, New Jersey. She has been working with children, adolescents and young adults for her entire career. She holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University, where she minored in psychology.

Melissa has an extensive history working in a partial care program where she assisted teenagers after school who were in need of intensive outpatient therapy. She also worked as a Military Family Life Counselor on the Naval Base helping children of active duty parents. Melissa opened up Swan Therapy Group LLC in 2019 and has been continuing to assist as many children and families as possible with any issues that arise. Melissa strives to make therapy fun and enjoyable through games and play therapy for children. She also utilizes sand tray therapy and is currently getting fully certified in this modality. Melissa strives to create a safe atmosphere for everyone to feel comfortable discussing topics that may not be easy for them to bring up with others in their life.

When she is not in therapy sessions with clients, Melissa enjoys going to the beach, spending time with her family, eating ice cream, and playing with her trained therapy dog Charlie!

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Support Opportunities

Individual tickets are $85 per person

  • COURAGE SPONSOR - $3,000   
    • Reserved table of 8
    • 3 Social media posts
    • Logo on event landing page
    • Event signage and lawn sign
    • 30 second digital ad
    • 4 reserved seats
    • 2 Social media posts
    • Listing on event landing page
    • Event signage and lawn sign
    • 20 second digital ad
    • 2 reserved seats
    • 1 social media post
    • Listing on event landing page
    • Event signage and lawn sign
    • 15 second digital ad
    • Signage at Beverage Center
    • Lawn sign
    • 10 second digital ad
    • Event signage
    • Lawn sign
    • 10 second digital ad
    • Signage by Entertainment
    • Lawn sign
    • 10 second digital ad
    • Lawn sign
    • 10 second digital ad

50/50 Raffle tickets are $10 per ticket. The winning ticket will be pulled at the Phenomenal Women Under 40 Event on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.

Thank you to our Sponsors


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Confidence Sponsors

The Causeway Family of Dealerships

Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners


Character Sponsors

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Coastal & Northern NJ

Holman Frenia Allison

New Jersey Natural Gas

NorthStar Strategies LLC

PNC Bank Institutional Asset Management

Upbeat Cardiology Solutions