Burlington County Freeholder Felicia Hopson announced the 2019 winners of the Burlington County Annual Outstanding Women of Burlington County Awards.
“Every year, it is such an honor to recognize the outstanding women in Burlington County that contribute so much to our community through their selfless dedication to others, inspiring leadership and achievements,” said Freeholder Hopson. “Please join us in acknowledging this year’s outstanding award nominees for being incredible role models for all women in Burlington County.”
The winners have been chosen from several areas of exceptional service. In addition to the awards being presented, three local students will also receive scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each. They will be honored at an awards reception on Tuesday, June 11 at 5:30 p.m. at The Merion in Cinnaminson. The banquet provides a forum to explore and learn more about the often-unpublicized activities of the award recipients.
Tickets are $75 each to attend the event, or $675 per table of 10, and may be purchased by mailing a check or credit card via EventBrite.
For check, please make payments out to: Treasurer, County of Burlington, and then mail to:
Women's Advisory Council
c/o Burlington County Freeholder's Office
P.O. Box 6000
Mount Holly, NJ 08060-6000
To pay by credit card, visit EventBrite at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/outstanding-women-of-burlington-county-awards-tickets-60704884945
Sponsorship opportunities and advertisements in the annual program book are also available. For more information visit: http://www.co.burlington.nj.us/268/Programs. The Council is also soliciting items to be donated during a silent auction. To participate please contact Christine Gonnelli at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (609) 265-5020. Ads and all RSVPs are due by Monday, June 3.
The Burlington County Women’s Advisory Council identifies and addresses issues that affect women of Burlington County, and raises public awareness of the special needs and roles of women, in order to enhance the quality of life for all women. The Council’s purpose is to advocate for the general needs of women, examine the health and social service needs of women, promote the expansion of rights and opportunities available to women, and to promote representation of women in government.
In addition to Freeholder Hopson, other women in leadership positions at the County include: Clerk Joanne Schwartz; Sheriff Diane Jassmann; Carolyn Havlick, Chief Financial Officer; Surrogate Mary Ann O’Brien; Administrator Eve Cullinan; Holly Cuccuzzella, Health Officer; Shirla Simpson, Director of Human Services; Mary Pat Robbie, Director of Resource Conservation; Ranjna Das, Director of the Burlington County Library System; and Erin Kelly, Clerk of the Board.
The Burlington County Women’s Advisory Council was renamed and elevated in 2018. Previously it was called the Burlington County Advisory Council on Women. Its predecessor, the Burlington County Committee on Women, was founded in 1987 by the Freeholder Board.
2019 Honorees include:
Mentorship – Kendra Biggi
Kendra has been employed at Lockheed Martin in Moorestown since 1999, and has been a dedicated engineer over the past 20 years. She was recently promoted in December 2018 to a Principal Engineering Project Manager (EPM) position within the Rotary and Mission Systems business area. She is the technical leader for a team of approximately 100 engineers responsible for development, integration, deployment and support of state-of-the-art industry Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) system enhancements which is the foundation for every mission.
During her career, Kendra has been very motivated to provide technical, programmatic and functional leadership by leveraging twenty-four years of achievements specializing in C4I network infrastructure and computing platform design, system integration and testing. Kendra is part of a diverse leadership team in the Chief’s Engineering Organization leading combat systems development and ship integration programs at Lockheed Martin.
She is also a member and active participant in Lockheed Martin Women’s Impact Network (WIN). As a member, she maintains multiple mentoring relationship with female engineers at Lockheed Martin. She participates in various empowering events such as Lunch and Learn events, WIN Potluck Luncheons for Lockheed Martin Networking, the Women Tech Fellows Panel Discussion, and the International Women’s Day Celebration. Lockheed Martin has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion and Kendra is an active member of several employee resource groups focused on Women in Engineering and a variety of unique voices of the workforce.
Kendra also provides mentoring and coaching to other women in the community. Kendra has participated in the 2018 Junior Achievement Women’s Future Leadership Forum at the Virtua Health Education Center to mentor students from Camden on STEM career opportunities. She was also a mentor during the 2018 Burlington County Women’s Advisory Council mentoring event at Rowan College at Burlington County for high school and college students. Lastly, she was the 2018 Rancocas Valley Regional High School hostess and Lockheed Martin Technical Leadership Panel Speaker at the Women in Engineering Day.
Kendra received a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University in Camden, NJ and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering and Minor in Mathematics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA.
Outside of her work responsibilities, Kendra has five children and two stepchildren. She resides with her husband Mark in Lumberton. She has maintained a challenging career while raising her five children, also volunteering as a coach and parent volunteer in numerous activities during the children’s youth, and now is focused on providing them with academic direction for their college pursuits.
Volunteerism – Viola Scott
Viola has been a resident of Willingboro for 36 years and was previously employed at the United States Postal Service for 28 years before retiring in 2007. While at the United States Postal Service, she was the Organizer of the Affirmative Action Program, Advisor to the EEO Post Office Committee and Advisor to the Post Office Career Awareness Program. Throughout her career, she received awards in the areas of educational programs, safety and volunteerism. She was instrumental in organizing educational programs and celebrations for Black History Month, Women’s History Month and the Toastmasters Club.
As a leader in the community, Viola has served as Secretary and Treasurer for many organizations including Secretary (1977-1981) of the New Jersey State Democratic Committee, Secretary of the Willingboro Chapter of National Association of Retired Federal Employees (2011-2014) through the merging of the Willingboro and Cherry Hill NARF Chapters, Treasurer for the New Jersey State Federation of Democratic Women, Treasurer for the Burlington County Federation of Democratic Women and Treasurer for the Willingboro Democratic Committee.
Additionally, Viola is a Board Member of Willingboro’s Providence House, which provides services to victims of domestic abuse and their children. She is also an Executive Board Member of the Burlington County Federation of Democratic Women. The Federation is an organization of women dedicated to supporting each other to advance political goals. Viola is also a member of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Lastly, Viola is a member of the NAACP, which is one of the oldest civil rights organizations.
Viola is a volunteer for the Willingboro Neighborhood Watch and a Committeewoman in the 5th District. She has volunteered for several years in the New Jersey 7th Legislative District. Viola is currently the President of the Willingboro Friendship Guild. The Guild has over 200 senior members from Burlington County. Viola and her husband, T-Wayne Scott, organize and coordinate historic cross country trips for the members.
Not only has Viola demonstrated outstanding dedication in volunteerism and serving her community, but she also goes above and beyond in mentorship. Viola is committed to keeping young women involved in the political process. Viola has participated in the following Marches: March on Washington D.C. against the Iraq War, March on Washington D.C. for Affordable Healthcare, March on Washington D.C. for One Nation, March on Washington D.C. for the Voters Right Act, and the Women's March in Washington D.C.
Viola was a recipient of the 2017 Peg Robert Award, NAACP Award for Community Service, Phenomenal Women Award, and the Community Service Award from Senator Robert Menendez. Viola received an Associate’s Degree from Mercer County Community College and also attended the College of New Jersey and Rider University. Viola is married with four children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Education – Dr. Rhonda Palmer
Dr. Palmer, a resident of Willingboro, has devoted much of her time as a mentor for at-risk youth and as an advocate for children with special needs in Burlington County. Dr. Palmer is the CEO/Founder of the Michael J. Hawkins Transition Planning Services NJ Corporation. The Michael J. Hawkins Transition Planning Services is a non-profit organization that provides annual scholarships and a hands-on community approach to SAT/ACT and military preparation, academic enrichment and career planning for youth from high school into adulthood.
The foundation was created in light of one of her former students and mentee, Michael Hawkins, who was murdered in Camden in 2010. Her lifelong mission is to “pay it forward by providing the necessary services for young people to transition into adulthood, ultimately enabling them to make positive and productive decisions for their future.”
Dr. Palmer retired in 2013 with 23 years combined military service. As a Personnel Management Technician in the United States Air Force, she enjoyed traveling the world and has visited Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and France. She also served in the New Jersey Army National Guard at Fort Sea Girt. She was a former Burlington County Corrections Officer and formerly the Director of Special Education at Camden County Community Charter School, and currently is a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant.
She was the recipient of the Youth Achievers’ Committee (YAC) 2013 President Excellence Award, the YAC 2013 Scholarship & Awards Luncheon keynote speaker, the recipient of the Mayor of Camden City 2013 Women of Purpose Award, the recipient of the United States Army Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters, a Member of the Special Education Delegation to Russia in 2008 and 2005-2006 Teacher of the Year for the Burlington County Special Services School District.
Dr. Palmer has worked tirelessly while raising six children to obtain four college degrees and still manage to make a difference in the youth of Burlington County. She has also fought breast cancer twice. Her degrees include a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership from Rowan University and a Master’s Degree in Education from Central Michigan University.
Community Service – Crystal Charley
Crystal has 15 years’ experience within the Social Services and Behavioral Health sector inside the Child Welfare systems. Her duties have included crisis intervention services, client assessment in determination of the level of care needed, client monitoring, evaluation of clients, and making necessary recommendations for additional services. She has an extensive background providing services to adolescents with major psychiatric disorders, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
Furthermore, as a subscribing Silver Life Member of NAACP, Crystal was elected to serve as the President of the South Burlington County Branch of the NAACP in November 2014. She was sworn into office on January 15, 2015, making her the youngest Branch President serving in the New Jersey State Conference of the NAACP for the 2015-2016 term. Having been reelected for a third term as President of the Southern Burlington County NAACP, Crystal remains in service in the ongoing fight for civil rights and equality.
In 2018, Crystal was appointed by Governor Philip Murphy to serve on the Youth Justice Task Force for the Continued Transformation of the Juvenile Justice System in New Jersey.
Crystal is a sought-after speaker and panelist, often requested by mentoring programs servicing African-American young women and is known for her participation in panels focused on civil rights, diversity and inclusion, as well as women’s empowerment. Recently, Crystal has taken a strong position in advocating specifically for legislation that will close the disparities for equal access to healthcare, maternal fetal mortality rates in black women and reproductive rights for all women.
Her passion is the empowerment of women of color, which is why she co-founded Queen Village, LLC, to empower women of color through professional development services, preparing women for entrepreneurial or career advancement, by way of interactive forums and much more.
Crystal is a proud Alumna of Delaware State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice. She went on to earn her Masters of Business Administration specializing in Public Administration from Strayer University. She is engaged to Marcus A. Sibley and is the proud mother of their daughter.
Corporate Leadership/Advocacy – Mary Cruz
Mary is a resident of Marlton with over 15 years’ experience in New Jersey politics and government. She currently serves as the District Director for Congressman Donald Norcross where she is responsible for managing the congressman’s in-state operations and staff.
Prior to joining Congressman Norcross's staff, Mary served as Political Director for 1199SEIU New Jersey where she was a fierce advocate for working families, healthcare workers and women’s rights in managing 1199SEIU’s legislative and public advocacy. She also currently serves as the a Board Member of both Pam’s List and Maria’s Women United.
Mary has also served in several senior roles in campaign and government including the Manager for John Adler’s 2012 campaign in New Jersey third congressional district, Senior Political Advisor for John Adler’s 2010 congressional campaign and Field Director for John Adler’s 2008 campaign. Mary’s prior congressional experience also includes serving as Congressman Adler’s District Director from 2009-2011.
Mary’s earlier career accomplishments also included successful local campaigns and initiatives while serving as the field representative for the Democratic National Committee’s 50-State Strategy Program. During her time with the Democratic National Committee, she worked alongside the then party Vice-Chair, Mayor Dana Redd, to help start the New Jersey Democratic State Committee Step-Up Program, aimed at mentoring and inspiring women to run for office.
Mary graduated from Washington College with a major in International Relations and Economics with a focus on Latin American politics. She currently lives in Marlton with her husband and is the proud mother of two children.
Diversity/Inclusion – Lisa Bungarden
Lisa, a Burlington Township resident, is an established professional social worker, a respected public official, a tireless community volunteer, an advocate for children with special needs, and a role model for women in Burlington County. Currently, Lisa works as a social worker in Westampton Public Schools where she assists and advocates for vulnerable students and their families.
As a military wife, Lisa traveled the country with her husband Rich before settling in Burlington Township in 2005. She knew Burlington County was where she wanted to raise her three young children, Rachel, Adam and Drew. Her first child, Rachel was born with a 7q35 deletion which can result in severe mental and physical disabilities and a life expectancy of less than two years. Lisa’s career as a social worker was temporarily suspended as she became a caretaker and advocate for her own child. Defying the odds, Rachel learned to walk, speak through an assisted device and sign language, and also discovered her passion for riding horses through an equine therapy program. Rachel passed away in 2010 at only 11 years old.
Losing her child was an almost unbearable tragedy for Lisa to endure. In 2011, Lisa created the Scatter Sunshine Foundation with the mission to raise funds to sponsor young children with special needs to ride horses, allowing them the opportunity to reach their fullest potential despite physical and cognitive challenges. The entire Burlington Township community has embraced the Scatter Sunshine movement and hosts “Scatter Sunshine” days in the local schools and community to help support Lisa’s mission and remember the life of her young daughter.
The program has recently expanded into schools in Westampton. The program also impacts young Burlington County children who ride in Moorestown at the Majoda stables, as well as the Riding Stables in Allentown, NJ. To date, Scatter Sunshine has raised over $58,000 and helped provide horseback therapy scholarships to approximately 50 children with special needs.
Lisa was elected to the Burlington Township Board of Education in 2018 where she proudly serves the schools and community. Lisa has devoted her life to helping others and continues to inspire women as a role model who displays strength and resilience in the face of tragedy. Lisa was born in New York and raised in California where she attended San Diego State University and later received her Masters of Social Work from Kansas University.
Law – Dina Rocco, Esq.
Dina Rocco, Esq., a Medford resident, has been an Attorney with the Burlington County Legal Department for over 14 years, and currently serves as First Assistant Solicitor. Before working for Burlington County, Dina worked in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
Nearly three years ago, a female paralegal began in the Burlington County Legal Department, and without hesitation Dina took the new employee under her wing and mentored the new employee. During this time, Dina was the only female in the office and knew mentoring another young female in a typically male dominated and office field was crucial.
Dina has also been instrumental in assisting the new County Solicitor, and proves her talents daily as Counsel to the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Dina’s leadership skills are noticed by every client she counsels. She works tirelessly to advocate for the working woman through her work with the Burlington County Human Services Department. Over the course of her career, she has fought to maintain a senior legal services program, which offers free legal advice to seniors in Burlington County.
Outside of her work responsibilities, Dina always goes above and beyond volunteering at County-wide functions such as the Trunk or Treat event for children with special needs, the planning of events for women in the community though the Women’s Advisory Council, and she helps to raise raise funds for the Burlington County Animal Shelter.
Dina graduated from Villanova University then attended Widener Law School. Dina exemplifies what it means to be a hardworking mother in a professional world. She balances being a wife, a mother, an active member in St. Mary of the Lakes (her son’s school) events all while being one of the most proficient attorneys to represent Burlington County.
Rosie Lloyd-Slifkin – Celeste Arties Memorial Award & Scholarship Recipient
Delran High School
Rosie is a graduating senior at Delran High School, and is ranked in the top ten students in her graduating class. She has participated in various activities in both school and the community. Last year, Rosie assumed the position of Student Representative to the Board of Education in Delran, a role which allowed her to attend monthly meetings and learn the functions of the Board of Education. As a Student Representative to the Board of Education, Rosie provides a student voice in conversations impacting decisions for the Delran School District.
Additionally, Rosie has been an active participant in numerous school clubs during her high school career including Green Team, Interact Community Service Club, Concert and Bel Canto Women’s Choirs, Jazz and Concert Bands and the Spring Musical in which she is the Apprentice Director. She is also a member of the Delran High School Golden Regiment, in which she plays the alto saxophone. Last year, Rosie led the school in the March 14 walk out to end school violence.
In addition to being a dedicated student, in the community Rosie volunteers as an usher for the Burlington county Bridgeplayers Theatre Company, and serves as a student director and mentor for third grade through fifth grade children in the Delran Intermediate School Theatre Club. She also volunteers and prepares meals for transplant patients and their families at the Gift of Life House in Philadelphia and volunteers for Main Line Health’s Homecare and Hospice department.
Upon graduation, Rosie’s career goals are to attend the University of Minnesota to major in political science in the fall of 2019. Her decision to study political science was cemented one year ago when she began an internship with Congressional candidate for New Jersey’s Third District, Andy Kim. After dedicating hundreds of hours as a campaign volunteer during the spring and summer, Rosie was offered a job as an Assistant to the campaign’s Finance Director. By the conclusion of the race, Rosie had developed a passion for campaigning and knew that her post-college aspirations would involve a career which fulfills both her personal interests and the needs of a community.
Rosie’s interest in politics stems from her enthusiasm for women’s empowerment and her commitment to women’s issues. She has attended the Women’s March on Philadelphia for the last three years. She also has participated in the Running and Winning program by the Burlington County League of Women Voters, a group who aims to teach women about the strategies and goals of women running for office.
Megan Tumelty – Elizabeth Coleman White STEM Award & Scholarship Recipient
Cinnaminson High School
Megan is a graduating senior at Cinnaminson High School and is the top student in her graduating class. One teacher describes Megan as an exceptional, once in a lifetime student and states that her academic record speaks for itself. Megan untraditionally began her high school experience while in eighth grade. During her eighth-grade year, she would get up earlier than her peers and attend first period at Cinnaminson High School for Honors Geometry and then go to middle school for her remaining classes. She earned a perfect score on the SATs and ACTs in mathematics. She is also a member of the National Honor Society.
Megan has also participated in a variety of activities throughout her high school career including being a member of the Physics Club, Class of 2019 Student Council Treasurer all four years of high school, on the Homecoming Committee and Prom Committee, member of the Field Hockey and Track Teams, as well as a member of her high school’s INTERACT club. Megan is also involved in a student mentoring club called Cinnamentors.
In addition to her school activities, Megan volunteers and serves her community in a number of roles. Since 2018, she has been volunteering at the Voorhees Pediatric Facility where she reads to and plays with children who are in the nursing home for debilitating, severe illnesses. She also has raised money for the Jane Weilenbeck Needy Family Fund in Cinnaminson since eighth grade. After the money is raised, she buys school supplies for needy families in her town. Additionally, she has volunteered at her Irish Dance School, the Cummins School of Irish Dance, since eighth grade and has taught young dancers how to dance and work together as a team. She also teaches younger girls in her town how to play field hockey. Lastly, she is a math tutor for students in her town.
Last year, Megan was invited to be a delegate at the New Jersey Girls State event. She was also accepted into a college program for women in STEM. Through this program, Megan takes park in research projects and learns about leadership.
Upon graduation, Megan plans to attend a four-year college or university where she will study mathematics with a concentration in biology. After attending undergraduate school, Megan hopes to go to medical school and embark on a career where she can make new discoveries in the medical field. She wants to excel in the STEM field because her true goal in life is to help people and lessen the suffering of others. She is motivated about possibly discovering more about cancer, and finding ways to effective cure or treat it. Additionally, she is interested in finding better ways to prevent the spreading of infectious diseases in less developed countries.
Arianna Davis – Alice Paul Champion Award & Scholarship Recipient
Willingboro High School
Arianna is a graduating senior at Willingboro High School. She is a strong student academically and currently ranks within the top ten students of her graduating class. Throughout her high school career, Arianna has been a member of the debate team and is a member of the girls’ softball team.
Arianna is extremely dedicated to her community and enjoys serving others. Last year, Arianna hosted a blood drive through the American Red Cross Leaders Save Lives Program. As the drive host, it was her responsibility to obtain donors, schedule all appointments, ensure donors arrive on time and coordinate the event to run smoothly.
She is also a volunteer at the Masonic Village at Burlington. Arianna has also volunteered with the YesSheCanCampaign, a non-profit dedicated to providing educational resources and professional development to young girls and women. Through volunteering with the YesSheCanCampaign, Arianna has had the opportunity to mentor young girls. Arianna was also awarded the Next Generation Youth Award by the Willingboro and Vicinity Branch of the NAACP.
Upon graduation, Arianna’s career goals are to attend law school and open a firm in New Jersey. She believes that social injustices continue to have a significant presence in America and is motivated to change this. She plans to obtain a Juris Doctorate Degree with a focus in Criminal Justice and hopes to be an advocate for those who are struggling to have their voices heard.
Arianna has been inspired by the “Me Too” movement and hopes to advocate for domestic violence survivors in the future. She states she will not only protect them in court, but open a shelter to provide a safe sanctuary for victims.