2024 NAWBO Beyond Glass Ceiling Awards: What Can’t These Women Do?


BY ERIKA HEINRICH | South Jersey Information Equity Project

VOORHEES — Determination, advocacy and spark is what it takes to be honored by the National Association of Women Business Owners South Jersey Chapter at its 2024 Beyond Glass Ceiling Awards at The Mansion in Voorhees on March 6.

The annual event celebrates the success of women advocates, women-led organizations and women-led businesses. March’s honorees, who were recognized during Women’s History Month, spotlighted women who took the extra step to advocate for women and girls, and carve a pathway for women of the future.

NAWBO has a diverse volunteer membership of women of all ages and backgrounds who come together to promote women’s leadership and resources for women entrepreneurs.

The honorees for 2024 include:

Photo by Erika Heinrich, South Jersey Information Equity Project.
  • Women’s Advocate of the Year: Gabriel Mosquera
  • Nonprofit of the Year: Alice Paul Institute
  • NAWBO South Jersey Champion: Denise Pereau
  • Diversity Advocate of the Year: Tyrese Gould Jacinito
  • Community Advocate of the Year: Dr. Marguerite Hall
  • Company of the Year: Bowman & Cowman LLP
  • Trailblazer of the Year: Colonel Elizabeth Hanson
  • Women Business Owner of the Year: Liz Thomas and Pam Boyd

Being in charge of logistics, loading, operations and maintenance of 34 planes on a military base seems like a challenge for anybody. But for Hanson, “Every day is an adventure.” Hanson is the commander, of the 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (MDL) in New Jersey.

Gould Jancitio has a different day-to-day adventure. Inspired by her heritage within the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Nation, Gould Jancitio has published over 10 children’s books and self-help books. Additionally, she is involved with multiple environmental councils to advocate for environmental justice.

Born in Ecuador and just the second Latina in South Jersey that served 12 years in the New Jersey Assembly, former Assemblywoman Mosquera advocated for issues pertaining to women and girls in New Jersey.

Hall is a financial educator and president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW100), which elevates, advocates and educates Black women and girls through leadership programs and gender equity.

Multimedia writer and entrepreneur, Pereau, who contributes to many publications such as Womenz Straight Talk Magazine and Jez Magazine, is also the Co-Chair of Women’s Advocacy for the National Association of Women Business Owners SJ.

The Beyond Glass Ceiling Awards cocktail hour filled up rapidly with NAWBO members and community guests in support of the honorees.

A DJ played hits from the 80s to now, while mini cheesesteak egg rolls and sliders made their way around through the hour. A silent auction was hosted to fundraise NAWBO’s mission. Businesses, personnel, and nonprofits all donated baskets; everything from Gould Jancinto’s children’s book collection, to sports jerseys to even a one-year Chamber of Commerce membership.

NAWBO is a national organization that promotes women’s advocacy. NAWBO has a South Jersey chapter which was founded in 2003.

Photo by Erika Heinrich, South Jersey Information Equity Project.

Mosquera was very excited and grateful for NAWBO’s decision to celebrate her 12 years in the General Assembly. She described her proudest work as a bill signed last year by Gov. Phil Murphy to provide free feminine products for New Jersey students, grades 6-12. “It only took five years,” Mosquera jokes, “But it got done. I kept pushing and advocates helped with that.”

This bill and many other works were celebrated as Mosquera took home the Women’s Advocate of the Year Award.

It is organizations like NAWBO that have lobbyists in Washington, D.C. to help advocate for issues regarding women and girls. Chapter members also advocate by calling and writing to public officials.

Before Hanson was commander of the McGuire Field and Lakehurst Maxfield Field runways and staffed at the Pentagon, she was a graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY) with degrees in Science, Aeronautical & Mechanical Engineering. Col. Hanson says to all the aspiring female engineers and STEM careers, “Go for it and don’t let anybody tell you ‘no.’ Because people will. But just keep going.”

Hall was commended for her advocacy in her presidency of the Southern New Jersey Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW100). The NCBW100 is a South Jersey Organization created to provide educational, economic, and leadership resources for Black women and girls.

She also hosts workshops on economic empowerment and financial literacy. Hall was excited to not only share her success as President of NCBW100, but to see what other organizations are doing, and what potential collaborations she can find.

“Collaboration means greater numbers, which makes a greater impact,” she shared. Additionally, she describes the importance of collaboration between medical businesses and advocacy groups for women. “Hospitals and medical centers are a very important collaboration for us. Our three areas are health, education and economic empowerment.”

Women’s health and women in healthcare and its connection to women’s advocacy is an important link to examine. NAWBO receives a lot of support from multiple medical practices and corporations. Collaboration with businesses in the medical industry and advocate groups are very important because it is important to advocate for topics like women’s health research and supporting women’s careers in healthcare.

Two sponsors, Lisa Morina, a representative from the Cooper Foundation that sponsors NAWBO and Dr. Sandy Gips, a cardiologist at Heart House who has been an individual sponsor for more than five years, spoke about the importance of supporting women in advocacy through medical fields.

“As a cardiologist, it is known that women’s cardiology symptoms can be overlooked,” Gips stated. “But organizations like NAWBO that advocate and bring awareness to issues like this help change happen. And I have seen that over the years.”

Morina explains that the intersection between women and the medical field is that, “a lot of healthcare decisions are made by women who are mothers, daughters, along with the women who work in hospitals every day. So, it’s important for Cooper to connect, so women know we are by their side.” 

The Beyond Glass Ceiling Awards are known to many as one of the best NAWBO events of the year. It gives eight amazing women and organizations a place of recognition.

NAWBO’s mission overall is advocacy, by bringing awareness and advocating for the successes these women and organizations have made up to this point, helps to further break the glass ceiling holding women down. In NAWBO’s words; “Strength, creating innovation, building alliances, and transforming public policy.”

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