For the third time this year, New Jersey Lt. Governor and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno was in Mahwah Tuesday. This time, her visit was as the keynote speaker at the Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce’s “Influential Women in Business” luncheon at the Doubletree hotel on Route 17.
During her speech, Guadagno focused on her role as the state’s head of economic development over the past four years, and her personal role as a working mom and woman in business.
“We can do it all,” she told the crowd of about 75 Chamber members Tuesday afternoon.
“We can multitask.”
Several other local politicians echoed Guadagno’s sentiments during the event.
“We need to bring more women into business, and we need to bring more women into politics,” Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi said when addressing the crowd. She referenced Freeholder Tracy Zur, another speaker at the event, during her speech.
“Tracy and I are in opposite political parties, but we are dear friends. And, we can sit down to talk about something and reach a middle ground,” Schepisi said.
Referencing the current government shutdown in Washington, she added more female politicians are “needed” at the local level, the “state level, and Lord knows we could use them at the federal level.”
The event also featured Betty Garger, the President and CEO of the Girl Scouts of Northern NJ, a non-profit member of the Chamber.
Garger encouraged the room to get involved in programs that will help young girls, “have the courage, confidence, and character to change the world.”
According to Chamber President Martha Harvey of Sharp Electronics, the entire event started as a way to showcase the new alumnae program the Girl Scouts have set up.
“We knew we wanted to do something with the Girl Scouts, and since a lot of the women in business are women who were Girl Scouts, an ‘Influential Women in Business’ event seemed like a perfect fit,” Harvey said.
“When the Lt. Governor’s office reached out to us, it was like the stars aligned. It fit together really well.”
Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet, who introduced Guadagno at the event, said he was happy to have the Lt. Governor back in Mahwah.
"I think this shows how important this region is to the Governor and the Lt. Governor," he said.
With Election Day less than a month away, Guadagno also used her speech to highlight “economic accomplishments” of the Christie administration.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie will be taking on Democratic Challenger State Senator Barbara Buono in the Nov. 5 election.
During her speech, Guadagno noted cuts in business taxes, and an effort to minimize “red tape” for small and large business owners. She closed by giving out her cell phone number to the Chamber members in the room.
“Text me, or leave a message,” she said.
“I invite [hearing about] problems, because unless we talk about them, we can’t fix them,” Guadagno said.
For Harvey, she said she hopes the mix of politics and business at the event was beneficial for all Chamber members, especially the women.
“We are not a political organization, but there’s no doubt that politics and business go hand in hand,” Harvey said.
“We are happy to have [politicians] here supporting our events.”
According to the Chamber, only about 10% of its member businesses are owned by women.
“We will continue to champion, showcase, and embrace women in business,” she said.
Also happening at the Chamber - the MRCC is looking for non-profits in the Bergen/Rockland area to table at the upcoming Super Community Spirit Showcase, an event sanctioned by the NY-NJ Super Bowl host Committee. Find out more here.