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Morris Arts presents 16th Annual Great Conversations

originally published: 04/07/2024

Morris Arts presents 16th Annual Great Conversations

(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Morris Arts presents the 16th Annual Great Conversations on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 from 6:00pm-9:30pm at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany. Hosted by Morris Arts' Board Trustee, Merle Johnson, this unique event gives guests the opportunity to dine and talk with a prominent individual while supporting the arts.

Our conversationalists are honored guests who contribute to the diverse character of our community including artists, top business executives, healthcare innovators, social impact leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, and many more. Attendees select their top five conversationalists in advance and are assigned to sit with one of their choices.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to exchange ideas with these fascinating individuals and connect with other community members. Register today to enjoy drinks and dinner with conversationalists including Emmy-nominated documentary producer, Chief Technology Officer for IBM AI Research, an award-winning artist who has had installations at Newark Penn Station, Chair of Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Morristown Medical Center, a certified sommelier who is Beverage Director for Harvest Restaurant Group, NJ 2023 Architect of the Year, and many more fascinating individuals.

Morris Arts presents 16th Annual Great Conversations

(L-R) from the top: Ronnie Agnew, NJ Advance Media; Dakshi Agrawal, IBM; Nate Barnes, PwC; Lee Baskerville, Fine Artist; Serena Bocchino, Contemporary Abstract Artist; Chris Casiello, Arethusa Farm Dairy; Fred Castrovinci, Valley Bank; Derby Chukwudi, Miss New Jersey USA 2023; Joe Pat Clayton, Penta Tequila; Meredith DeSalazar, Documentary Producer; Geoff Doloff, Harvest Restaurant Group; Jason Ellinger, Beard & Bowler Productions; Nancy Dougherty, Studio 1200; Graham Ferrier, PhD, Pfizer; Linda Gillam, MD, Morristown Medical Center.

Morris Arts presents 16th Annual Great Conversations

(L-R) from the top: Seth Ruggles Hiler, Artist; Stefanie Kuhner, Bristol Myers Squibb; Allison Ladd, Newark Deputy Mayor; Elizabeth McCarthy, Community FoodBank of NJ; Jean Molino, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution; Andre Romero, Mondelēz International; Tracey Saia, LPAT, Art Therapist; Drew Thompson, Consult Drew; AJ Washington, Phlote Music; John Zweig, Neuro-Insight.

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Tickets are available for purchase online. Early pricing per ticket is $250, which increases to $275 on April 18, 2024. A young professional rate of $150 is available this year for individuals who are 35 and under.

Handicap parking spots are available by the main entrance of the venue and are marked accordingly. The main program portions of the event will be Open Captioned by TotalCaption. If you should need any other essentials to attend the event, please contact Jenna Castano, ADA Coordinator at

Great Conversations helps to support Morris Arts’ programs, including our new Arts in Health Initiative which aims to bring the healing power of the arts to the communities they serve. The latest research in the field of Neuroaesthetics confirms something they’ve long believed – that engagement in the arts can have positive, lasting impacts on both physical and mental health. They’re eager to expand our outreach and offerings to provide programs that contribute to the quality of life for everyone in Morris County.

When you register, you are asked to select your top 5 Conversationalist choices. They will assign you to sit with one of these choices. Seating assignments are first come, first serve. This popular event fills up quickly, so be sure to purchase your tickets early. 

Here's a look at this year’s fascinating conversationalists.


Lee Baskerville, Fine artist, interior designer, and historic home renovator. Lee Baskerville started work as a professional artist when he was only nine years old. Always enthralled by the great outdoors, he worked as a wildlife illustrator through much of his young life. At 17, he followed his passion for the outdoors to South Africa to work as a safari guide and cattleman. He later returned to earn a BA in Art and Architectural History from the University of Virginia. Today, at 52, having painted all kinds of subjects from celebrities to children, planes to trains, and elephants to racehorses, he has amassed a whole bevy of entertaining stories. Prior to selling one of his major equestrian paintings, he was proclaimed by Sotheby’s Hugh Hildesley, as the next Sir Alfred Munnings. His commissions range from $8,500 for an informal sketch to over $100,000 for large-scale installations. Lee and his partner, Theresa, split their time between country homes in Nashville, TN, Richmond, VA, and rural South Africa. When not painting, Lee is passionate about architecture and interior design, having restored and renovated several listed antique and iconic contemporary homes, some of which have been widely published. He also enjoys management of his land and livestock, riding horses and motorcycles, big game hunting, wing shooting, and skiing.

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Serena Bocchino, Award-winning contemporary abstract artist inspired by music. Serena Bocchino is an American contemporary abstract artist working in the realm of painting, sculpture, and installation. Her studio practice investigates the intersection of abstraction and expressionism with a distinct focus on music, movement, and identity.  Her process, highly improvisational yet technically informed, is a visual language created through an intermingled vocabulary of color, media, and technique. As an undergraduate at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Bocchino studied with the renowned Polish colorist Wojciech (Voy) Fangor, worked with the painters Harold Keller and Arie Galles, and studied sculpture with Bradford Graves. While earning her Master of Arts at NYU in Greenwich Village, Bocchino was exposed to a fertile vortex of influences: the rough street aesthetics of graffiti, collage, and assemblage playing out against the backdrop of the punk, new wave, and underground club scenes, intertwined with film, art, and music subcultures. From China to San Francisco to New York City, Bocchino has had over 50 solo exhibitions, and her work has won numerous awards including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, Artist Space Award, Residency at MoMA PS 1, and awards in both drawing and painting from the NJ State Council on the Arts. She has also had installations at the inaugural TRANSITional Arts Program at Newark Penn Station and the Oculus at the World Trade Center.

Derby Chukwudi, Miss New Jersey USA 2023; member of the Global Investment Strategy Team at JPMorgan. Derby Chukwudi, Miss New Jersey USA 2023, is a first generation Nigerian-American born in Dallas, TX, raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and currently residing in Hoboken. She is also a member of the Global Investment Strategy Team at JPMorgan Private Bank in NYC. During her reign and in her career, she has been on a mission to inspire the next generation of leaders by leveraging her multi-talented background, encompassing communication, strategy, pageantry, financial education, and community development. She is an award-winning Toastmasters public speaker passionate about advocating for financial literacy among young people to prepare them for a future of financial freedom and choices. Prior to this role, she worked alongside a team responsible for advising ultra-high-net-worth individuals, families, and foundations on various wealth management matters. Derby has been featured in Yahoo Finance,, Essence, Women’s Wear Daily, and Business Insider. She was a Finalist for the She Inspires Awards and Lead5050 Awards in 2023, a finalist for the Women of Inspiration Award in 2022 and selected as one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholars in 2018. She invests her time mentoring young adults, reminding them that their dreams are valid.

Seth Ruggles Hiler, Artist inspired by nature, humans, and the communities they create. First inspired by the forest and farmland of Morris County, Seth focuses on painting nature and the communities which surround him. “When we step out into nature, we are given the freedom to connect with a force that does not speak the language of scarcity. My paintings attempt to reflect the abundance of the forests, fields, and skies which put the world into perspective for me,” Seth explains. While at Syracuse University, his creative interests bloomed into portraying the spirit of humans and the communities they create, and he went on to earn an MFA at the New York Academy of Art. His current artistic obsession is painting nature en plein air and from his own sketches and photography, focusing on the terrain of Sandy Hook, NJ, the Hudson Valley, and the Catskill Mountains. His artwork is exhibited in museums, galleries, and cultural institutions throughout the country and beyond, including Canada. A professor of Visual Arts for the Bard Early College Network, Seth maintains a studio in Atlantic Highlands, NJ where he recently moved to from Brooklyn. When he is not wandering the Jersey shoreline seeking out paintable subject matter, Seth enjoys engaging with friends over creative conversation and delicious food.

AJ Washington, Founder of Phlote, collaborative music platform for independent musicians, producers, and DJs. On the same day AJ proposed to his wife, he also bought a beat machine. In a single day, he transformed from boyfriend to fiancé, and from finance pro to artist. He is now the founder of Phlote, a music social club and label based in Washington D.C. that enables music enthusiasts to invest in music and actively participate in the local scene. Prior to founding Phlote, AJ spent 11 years working in fixed income investing where he honed his love for cash flow generating assets that he now applies to music. When he’s not busy with Phlote, AJ loves to travel with his wife, Erin and two-year-old son, Wes. In 2019, the newly married couple took off on a year-long-around-the-world adventure, which they dubbed their “Adult Gap Year”. This year-long tour took them to 22 countries and five continents, indoctrinated them into marriage, and helped realign both of their professional lives. Wes has now joined the party and is quickly racking up his passport stamps. Prior to Phlote, AJ worked for PIMCO, Providence Equity Partners, and EIG Partners. He earned an MBA from The Wharton School and a BS in Systems Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy.


Ronnie Agnew, NJ Advance Media – General Manager. Through his three-decade media career that took him from the Deep South to the Midwest and now the East Coast, Ronnie Agnew understands how important journalism and investigative reporting is to uncovering the truth. His work has been defined by a commitment to award-winning reporting, innovation, and diversity. As General Manager at NJ Advance Media, the #1 provider of local news in the state (which includes and The Star Ledger), and oversight for (a new website celebrating NJ’s diversity), Ronnie oversees the overall news strategy, including operations and content, while focusing on community outreach to serve more diverse audiences. Over the course of his career, he’s won a variety of major news awards and led coverage of Mississippi’s civil rights movement and Hurricane Katrina. During his tenure as executive editor of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, his previous post, the newspaper was one of the most highly decorated in the Gannett Co., known nationally for its coverage of civil rights and named as a Pulitzer finalist three times. He has judged journalism’s highest honor, the Pulitzer Prize, four times, and was featured in The HistoryMakers, which recognizes the achievements of historically significant Black Americans.

Meredith DeSalazar, Emmy-nominated science documentary producer at the Wonder Collaborative. Navigating the wetlands of Senegal with a blind birdwatcher, exploring inside the Pyramids of Giza, and experiencing endless daylight amidst Greenland’s icebergs are just a glimpse of the remarkable places Meredith has ventured to in the past year. As a documentary producer, she travels the world to tell stories of science (and sometimes food when she’s lucky!). She was nominated for an Emmy as a producer on Human Nature, a film about the revolutionary gene-editing tool CRISPR. Before venturing into documentary film, Meredith built a strong foundation in journalism, starting her career at ABC News and then spending over a decade as a producer for broadcast legend Dan Rather. There, Meredith conducted investigative reports such as the way the caste system is still used to abuse women in India, and the first in-depth television news story about the emerging research on concussions in sports and the NFL’s efforts to sweep the issue under the rug. She also produced numerous celebrity interviews including visiting Carly Simon’s home in Martha’s Vineyard, hanging out with Patti LaBelle in her beloved Philadelphia, and one of the last interviews with Crosby, Stills & Nash together. She loves reading with her daughters and arranging dinner parties with her husband, which allows her to try out her latest cocktail concoction.

Jason Ellinger, Master Storyteller, Commercial Filmmaker, and Co-Founder of Beard & Bowler Productions. First and foremost, Jason is a husband to a beautiful wife and a father to two amazing boys – a newborn and a four-year-old. Secondly, he is the owner of Beard & Bowler Productions, a commercial filmmaking creative company that helps nonprofits raise funds and awareness through the power of storytelling via video. He has worn many hats, including an English bowler, in his time building this company and has been privileged to work with a long list of businesses, agencies, and organizations. There is genuine power to the art of storytelling and he’s proud to be part of a company that uses this power to make an impact in our world. From his days as a hard news journalist at Fios1 News to A.J. Video to Beard & Bowler, he continues to learn and grow with greater things to come … just you wait.

John Zweig, Chairman of Neuro-Insight. Professional musician, combat veteran, race relations educator, management consultant, advertising creative director, P&G brand manager, and group CEO at WPP, the largest marketing communications company in the world … these are among the chapters in John’s remarkable career. The constant and unifying theme has been a spirit of exploration, creative expression, and a quest to find meaning against the backdrop of a dissonant culture. As Chairman of Neuro-Insight, a company using neuromarketing to study how the brain responds to advertising, John brings a life-long commitment to revealing and integrating unconscious motivation. During his career he was responsible for acquiring and leading 60-some creative businesses. He founded CommonHealth, the world’s largest and most respected healthcare marketing firm, prior to which he was a brand manager at P&G. He is a decorated patrol-gunboat veteran of the Vietnam War and served in other Asian countries among the Navy’s first race-relations educational specialists. As the youngest professional jazz guitarist in St. Louis, he performed with many renowned artists and in television commercials. He continues to play regularly at Morris County’s own Shanghai Jazz. He is a frequent keynote speaker on leadership and creativity and is involved with the Foundation for Art & Healing, dedicated to combating loneliness and alienation through creative expression.


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Chris Casiello, Arethusa Farm Dairy– Production Manager & Head Cheeser. With a love for open space and the agricultural lifestyle, Chris has worked in agriculture for the past 25 years, most recently overseeing the creation and operation of Arethusa Farm Dairy in Litchfield, CT, started by George Malkemus and Tony Yurgaitis, the executives behind the Manolo Blahnik shoe empire in NYC. In 1998, after saving the 300-acre dairy farm across the street from their home in Litchfield, they set out to raise the best dairy cows in the country. After achieving this in 2004 with both the National Grand Champion Holstien and Jersey cows, they took up the challenge of producing their own dairy products as George’s tag line still states, “like they used to taste.”  Tasking Chris to implement their vision in 2009, he created and is still overseeing the production of the most diverse line of dairy products in the state. Taking raw milk from select local farms and building a brand around flavor and quality, he has won national awards for yogurt, ice cream and cheese. Just last year Arethusa’s Europa, a Dutch gouda style cheese won “Best in Show” at the 2023 US Championship Cheese Competition in Wisconsin, making it the top cheese in the country. Chris is a founding member of the Arethusa Farm Foundation, which serves to use the farm as an agricultural education center for local school districts; acts as Board President of the Connecticut Farmland Trust; and is a member of the Connecticut Milk Regulation Board.

Joe Pat Clayton, Penta Tequila – Brand Ambassador & National Sales Director. With more than 40 years in the hospitality and wine/spirit industry, Joe Pat, based in Texas, is currently sharing the gospel of Penta Tequila across the globe.  As a certified sommelier, he was the long-time wine director at Tony’s in Houston and Dominique’s in New Orleans, creating legendary wine lists focused on Italian, French, and American wines. He was also the National Brand Ambassador for Tommasi wines from the Veneto. With Mexico at his back door, as he has lived in Marfa and El Paso, he has always carried a deep passion for all things Mexican. Listening to the tales of his father who grew up in San Miguel de Allende, as the son of a cowboy for the USDA, the seeds of his fascination for Mexico were planted. As the brand ambassador for Penta Tequila, he gets to share the world’s greatest tequila along with his passion for agave spirits and stories from the road. Joe Pat is also an accomplished photographer specializing in travel and music photography with his trusty Leica and Rolleiflex in tow. Married to a fellow sommelier/wine ambassador, they have a 17-year-old daughter who wants to conquer the literary world. Hunter S. Thompson once told a crowd that Joe Pat “is a great American Hero!” Joe Pat once introduced acclaimed artist Brice Marden to master minimalist Robert Irwin, amongst many other adventures in the business.

Geoffrey Doloff, Harvest Restaurant Group – Beverage Director. With a strong interest in the arts growing up, Geoff played the flute and then the piccolo throughout middle school and high school, joined the high school marching band, and sang and acted along the way. Thinking he would become a stockbroker like Gordon Gekko from the movie “Wall Street”, he studied Finance at NYU’s Stern School of Business. After college though, he joined the restaurant industry, working at Max’s Famous Hot Dogs in Long Branch, then Undici and the Fromagerie in Rumson before relocating up north to Parsippany. Along the way, he fell in love with wine and became a Certified Sommelier. After serving, bartending, and managing at Grato, Tabor Road Tavern, Huntley Tavern, Roots Steakhouse, 3 West, and Addams Tavern, he became the Beverage Director for the Harvest Restaurant Group. With all of the beverage experience he has amassed, he considers himself an expert in liquid libations!

Andre Romero, Mondelēz International – VP, Revenue Growth, US. In his role as Vice President of Revenue Growth, Andre Romero works to drive growth across iconic brands such as OREO and Chips Ahoy! cookies, Ritz, Wheat Thins and Triscuit crackers, Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish candies through optimal pricing, promotions, and package innovations. Andre assumed this role in April 2023, bringing with him more than two decades of consumer packaged goods (CPG) experience in various roles of increasing responsibility.  During his career, Andre has excelled at driving transformational top-line and bottom-line growth for companies including Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Campbell Soup Company. Prior to joining Mondelēz, he served as Senior Vice President, Strategy, Planning, Insights, Analytics and Revenue Growth Management at Reynold’s American Inc., where he successfully led a team of more than 130 associates in the US and Mexico. Andre spent the earlier part of his career doing market research and analytics at Nielsen, and is also co-founder of C3Research, a strategic marketing research firm, where he currently serves as a Board Member. In his free time, Andre enjoys traveling, visiting local art museums with his wife and four young children, and loves attending “classic 90’s” alternative concerts. Thanks in large part to his daughter, who is an aspiring musician and theater performer, Andre recently rekindled his passion for guitar playing, which he’s done for his Mondelēz colleagues on more than one occasion!


Dakshi Agrawal, IBM Fellow & Chief Technology Officer for IBM AI Research. As an IBM Fellow and Chief Technology Officer for AI Research at IBM, Dakshi is responsible for bringing the next generation of AI innovations into the marketplace through IBM and Red Hat product offerings (subsidiary of IBM providing open-source software products). Managing both small teams focused on sharply defined time-critical deliverables as well as large multi-national, multi-organization consortia performing blue-sky research, he has extensive expertise in AI solutions, distributed computing platforms, and security and privacy of data. With over 100 patents, Dakshi’s groundbreaking innovations enabled many first-of-a-kind cutting-edge systems which are currently operational in Fortune 50 companies.

Nate Barnes, PwC – US Deals Chief Data Scientist. While leading a team of data scientists, engineers, and technologists as Chief Data Scientist of PwC’s US Deals practice, Nate oversees data science initiatives while advising clients on complex transactions and engaging in strategic digital value creation projects with elements of data strategy, digital transformation, predictive modeling, and Generative AI. An experienced consultant across a broad range of industries, he has been on the forefront of leveraging innovative technologies, alternative data sets, and advanced techniques to assist private equity clients in answering complex questions in a variety of scenarios. Nate holds a BA in Economics from Brigham Young University, as well as two graduate degrees: Masters of Statistics from University of Utah and MBA from Brigham Young University. Passionate about solving problems within the convergence of analytics and investing, he has spent his career as an innovator who is not afraid to ask hard questions and “break things.” He’s an avid cyclist, gardener, and father of three. 

Drew Thompson, Founder, Consultant, and Coach for Consult Drew. Drew Thompson is an innovative business coach who leverages the power of generative AI to help small businesses future-proof their organizations with new levels of creativity, efficiency, and results in an increasingly disruptive business landscape. His coaching methodology centers around teaching clients to formulate the right questions and set the right goals to unleash AI’s potential to augment human creativity and productivity. The result is measurable business growth achieved more rapidly than ever before. With over 15 years of experience building successful marketing and advertising campaigns, Drew brings a wealth of real-world expertise to the table. He previously founded and grew an award-winning creative agency that worked with major brands including Bloomberg, Verizon, Hospital for Special Surgery, and Memorial Sloan Kettering. His unique background, combining creative marketing strategy with the game-changing capabilities of AI, allows him to push clients to think bigger, move faster, and accomplish more than they ever dreamed possible.


Nancy Dougherty, Owner and Principal of Studio 1200, award-winning Architecture and Interior Design Firm; awarded AIA NJ 2023 Architect of the Year. Nancy Dougherty was recently awarded “AIA NJ 2023 Architect of the Year” but what really makes her a captivating conversationalist is her passion for people, the arts, and the community. A world traveler, she lived in a thatched cottage in England, built a home in Guatemala, and spoke Italian as her first language. She has visited hundreds of museums and explored the built environment in over 75 cities. A music lover, Nancy is a devoted follower of jazz and MIKA, a British-Lebanese singer/songwriter. With a love of sewing and needlepoint, she was way ahead of the sustainable fashion trend, sewing her own clothes at a young age. An enthusiastic supporter of the local community, Nancy holds leadership positions in several nonprofits including: The South Orange/Maplewood Coalition on Race (featuring a Wealth Gap Equalizer Loan Program for Black and Hispanic first-time homeowners); Greenwood Gardens (a 28-acre public garden in Short Hills); and SparkNJ (provides financial support for Black-led charitable, community, and civic organizations.) A life-long resident of NJ, she also has strong ties in Baltimore where her non-binary 28-year-old is a medical student.


Fred Castrovinci, Valley Bank – Regional President, Middle Market Commercial & Business Banking. Fred, a recognized industry and community leader, in his 23rd year with Valley Bank, has helped to expand Valley’s market presence in NJ. His leadership journey spans from Consumer and Commercial Lending to Retail and Business Banking with roles ranging from Underwriting, Sales, Administration, Portfolio Management to Divisional and Regional Leadership. Fred has a proven record of creating trust and culture among his teams, deep development of talent, and being a catalyst of positive change. He has been an integral part of Valley Bank’s evolution on a local level, building lines of business and ensuring meaningful connectivity to the communities and customers they serve. Fred’s dynamic skill set serves the bank well, with succession, efficiency gain, and customer acquisition/growth being consistent themes across all lines of business led by him. A resident of Fairfield, NJ, he volunteers his time to help coach wrestling and recreation programs, enjoys fitness training, golf, and other outdoor activities with his family. Beyond volunteering at Valley sponsored events and helping local nonprofits, Fred serves as a Board of Director at the Essex Valley School and the Fairfield Police Foundation.


Graham Ferrier, Pfizer – Global Medical Director & Lead, Gastrointestinal Cancers & Melanoma. Graham is a passionate scientist focused on significantly improving the outcomes in cancer and the lives of cancer patients. In his current role, Graham leads Pfizer’s global medical strategy for gastrointestinal cancers and melanoma, where he plays a crucial role guiding the clinical development of novel therapies, leads collaborative activities to expand effective therapies into rare cancers, and engages with advocacy groups to ensure patients have access to empowering information during their cancer journeys. Graham holds a PhD in applied molecular biology from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, he was a Professor of Biology at UCLA where his research program hunted for potential anti-cancer/anti-microbial compounds produced by marine organisms. A local son, Graham graduated from Morristown High School and was originally interested in pursuing a career in art. A lab focused biology course as an undergraduate opened the door to science, where he quickly recognized the overlap in the creative process of art and science. An interest in art has never left Graham and he is passionate about the role art can play in the treatment journey and healing process across healthcare.

Linda Gillam, MD, MPH, MACC, FASE, FAHA, FESC, Chair, Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Morristown Medical Center and AHS Cardiology. Dr. Gillam is the Chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Service Line for Atlantic Health System, and Professor of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. An expert in echocardiography, valvular heart disease, and heart disease in women, she is widely published and has lectured extensively on these topics. During her tenure, MMC and AHS have become leaders in cardiology, attracting best-in-class talent, state-of-the-art technology, and clinical trials. She is Senior Guest Editor for Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, a guest editor for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography. She is Past-President of the American Society of Echocardiography and of the National Board of Echocardiography and a former member of both the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors of the American College of Cardiology. A graduate of McGill University, Queen’s University, and Columbia University, she also completed cardiology fellowship training at the University of Toronto and Massachusetts General Hospital. In her personal time, Dr. Gillam is a longtime supporter of the performing and visual arts, as well as numerous other charities, locally and in the Berkshires. 

Stefanie Kuhner, Bristol Myers Squibb – Global Head of Clinical Technology, Innovation, Patient Recruitment & Real-World Data. With 25 years of clinical research experience working in Clinical Technology, Innovation, Patient Recruitment, and Engagement, Stefanie is passionate about driving new therapies to patients in need of treatment options and exploring novel ways to accelerate the clinical trial process. Prior to joining BMS, Stefanie worked in Medication Adherence and Digital Biomarkers building and leading AiCure’s commercial organization. She spent 14 years in Patient Recruitment and Engagement with Acurian (now AES) before joining AiCure and started her career at TransPerfect Translations. Outside her professional career, she enjoys attending her children’s sporting events, traveling, visiting the Delaware beaches, and spending time with family and friends.  She graduated from Dickinson College with a degree in East Asian Studies & Chinese which ignited her interest in experiencing and seeing the world.

Tracey Saia, LPAT, MS, ATR-BC, ATCS, Art Therapist. Tracey Saia, an energetic and compassionate licensed professional art therapist, has been pioneering in the mental health and art therapy landscape since 2000. Her journey began with nonprofit domestic violence agencies, where she offered invaluable free services to the non-offending parent and their children. With a talent for understanding trauma, Tracey has adeptly guided her clients through some of life’s most daunting challenges, employing a trauma-informed approach that seamlessly integrates art with traditional therapeutic practices. During the onset of the pandemic, Tracey transitioned from her role as the Child and Adolescent Director at Safe in Hunterdon to cultivate her private practice. Here, she continues to impact lives, working with a diverse clientele of adults, adolescents, children, couples, and families. Tracey’s proficiency isn’t limited to clinical settings; she’s also an expert in employee growth and development. Through her workshops, she sparks transformative conversations on communication, teamwork, and cultivating a growth mindset. Art Psychotherapy, her chosen field, stands out as a unique mental health specialization that harnesses the power of artistic creation and expression for psychological growth and healing. When Tracey steps out of her professional arena, she’s an adventurer at heart. Her passion for the great outdoors takes her on journeys through America’s majestic national parks with her husband and two children.


Jean Molino, Board Member & Former Chair of Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. Jean Molino is a life-long New Jersey resident and recently retired General Counsel to McKinsey & Company, where she served for 34 years. Since retiring, Jean has focused much of her energy and time promoting collaborative problem-solving across political and other divides. The vehicle for Jean’s efforts is The Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, where Jean has served on the board for 10 years, and as Chair from 2019-2023. Convergence brings together and facilitates dialogue among experts and stakeholders who hold diverse views and interests, often directly opposing, to develop solutions to a range of important issues (e.g., economic mobility, recidivism, K-12 education). The methodology draws from many sources but is rooted in building trust (described as “Couples Therapy, but for Politics” in a recent NY Times opinion piece). After aligning around a set of recommendations, the group works together to bring their ideas into the world. Jean’s husband, Greg, is a fine arts publisher and dealer, and both have been supporters and collectors of fine art for years. Also an avid rock and roll fan and film buff, Jean loves to garden, cook, and spend time with her granddaughter. 


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Allison Ladd, Newark Deputy Mayor/Director Economic & Housing Development. Allison Ladd leads Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s equitable growth housing and development strategy which has won national acclaim for harnessing billions in new investment to create opportunity for Newark residents and businesses. She has led the development of new policies, programs, and financing tools to preserve and expand affordable housing, minimize foreclosures, prevent evictions, help residents purchase their first homes, transform abandoned properties into neighborhood assets, and create mixed income housing. She is Board Chair of Invest Newark, the organization charged with strengthening Newark’s small businesses, operating the Newark Land Bank, and implementing Newark Fiber, the nation’s fastest broadband network. Previously, she served as Deputy Director of Washington, DC Housing and Community Development. When she is not focused on creating a more equitable Newark, you might find Allison playing Candy Crush, baking, or spending time with her family. Allison’s love of the arts and music started young while playing the piano and flute and singing in the church choir. Throughout her professional career, Allison has worked to assist artists and arts organizations to grow and expand their work in communities through grant funding, advancing real estate development for the arts, and creating artist live/work developments.

Elizabeth McCarthy, Community FoodBank of New Jersey – President & CEO. Elizabeth McCarthy has been a leader in shaping and implementing government and nonprofit programs that address immediate critical needs, as well as providing the tools and support to effect long-term positive impacts on communities. She joined the FoodBank to continue this work – providing both food for today and more permanent solutions to decrease food insecurity. Prior to coming to CFBNJ last summer, Elizabeth served as the CEO of Sheltering Arms, which addressed the effects of social inequity for children and families in the most challenged New York City communities. Before that, Elizabeth served as COO at MercyFirst, Senior Vice President for Programs at Safe Horizon, an Adjunct Professor at NYU Wagner School, an Assistant Commissioner in the NYC Department of Homeless Services, and as Chief of Staff in the Mayor’s Office of Operations. She has an MBA in Public and Nonprofit Management from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. Born and raised in the Garden State, Elizabeth was thrilled to return here to continue her career. She enjoys hiking, biking, and traveling, spending recent years helping her son pursue his dream of visiting all 50 states before turning 18.

Morris Arts gratefully acknowledges the generosity of their sponsors: GOLD: Nancy and Nelson Schaenen, Jr.; SILVER: PwC; CONVERSATIONALISTS’ RECEPTION: Finn Partners; ENCORE: Beard & Bowler, Finn Partners, NJ Advance Media representing +, and ROI-NJ; OVATION: Mondelēz International, Valley Bank; APPLAUSE: En Masse Coworking, Gensler, Morristown Medical Center, Pfizer, Melanie and Alan Levitan; STAR: AMHigley, Community Builders, Eaglesite Management, HITT Contracting, Morris County Economic Development Alliance & Tourism Bureau, NK Architects, PBF Energy, ShopRite of Greater Morristown, Sills Cummis & Gross, WB Wood, Anne E. Aronovitch and Dick Eger, and Becky Button Espiritu; SUPPORTING ROLE: Kraus Marketing, Shanghai Jazz, Will Draper, Marcia and Peter Hunter, Joanne and Tom McMillian, Virginia Molino, and Clare and Martin Prentice.

Morris Arts, located in Morristown, NJ, is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1973 dedicated to building community through the arts. Morris Arts serves as a resource for Morris County with a special focus on arts programming in schools and the community, arts advocacy, and support of local artists and arts organizations.



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category: community

Click here for full description

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Sunday, June 09, 2024 @ 7:00pm
Count Basie Center for the Arts
99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701
category: community

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Fourth Annual NorwesFest 2024 to Take Place June 22nd

(LONG VALLEY, NJ) -- Set in the bucolic fields of Ort Farms (25 Bartley Road) in Long Valley, NorwesFest returns for its fourth year on June 22, 2024 and it promises to be another annual event to remember. Whether it's the delightful day on the farm with family, or the elegant night under the stars with spouse, partner, or friends – there will be plenty to do at NorwesFest 2024.

Asbury Underground Returns As Part of North to Shore Festival

WBID's Sustainably Green Music & Arts Fest to Kick off Farmers Market Season

Hear the Legacy of Juneteenth at the Ocean County Library Brick Branch

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